Georgia Tech on: “the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice”

Antarctic sea ice today from the University of Bremen, on track for a new record high this year:

From Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry:

“Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…”

Resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice

While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly.  Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide an explanation for the seeming paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming climate. The paper appears in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the week of August 16, 2010.

“We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,” said Jiping Liu, a research scientist in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica.  This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.

However, the climate models predict an accelerated warming exceeding natural variability with increased loading of greenhouse gases in the 21st century. This will likely result in the sea ice melting at a faster rate from both above and below. Here’s how it works. Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean, which will increase the melting of the sea ice from below. In addition, increased warming will also result in a reduced level of snowfall, but more rain.  Because rain doesn’t reflect heat back the way snow does, this will enhance the melting of the Antarctic sea ice from above.

“Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease,” said Judith A. Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

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151 thoughts on “Georgia Tech on: “the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice”

  1. “climate models predict” blah blah blah

    This basically says “it will get hotter and the Antarctic will obviously have to melt” and completely ignores the fact that supposedly it’s already gotten hotter and it’s not melting.

  2. “…a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…”

    About the same time the Arctic sea ice extent begins to increase?

  3. So first the warming caused more ice. But soon it will cause less ice. Makes perfect sense, and I am glad that they took the time to explain it.

    One little thing, though. When will the warming know that it is time to stop causing more ice and start causing less ice? Is there a “tipping point”? I am dying to read predictions of tipping points, and this would be as good an example as any.

  4. “We may”, “It might”, “there is a possibility” …
    How fascinating climate science have become. No need for substantial data, no need for proof, just wild imagination and many “maybe s”.
    So sad.

  5. Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean

    Air heating water… challenging. Fellow ought to try warming his bath water with a hair dryer (take care not to drop it). Then try the reverse, fill a tub with warm water to heat the bathroom. Which do you suppose will change the temperature of the other 1 C first?

  6. Well! There’s your problem!

    Alleged scientists have blindly accepted the climate models and then make forecasts based on them.

    But to be fair. Maybe the study grant probably stated that a forecast be made on the acceptance of the “accepted” climate models.

  7. ‘The most resilient parasite is an idea planted in the unconscious mind’
    – Inception

    We see that constantly with people who have been infected by fear of CO2.

  8. The comment about the increase in the hydrological cycle interested me. Nice to see an admission that a warmer climate means more precipitation. While the world obsesses about sea ice levels in places almost nobody ever goes, the sahara continues to green.

  9. One of the more charitable figures for this comparison, climate models predict ~3.2C of warming. We have seen ~0.8C. One quarter of that figure. CO2 has a logarithmic effect. If Trenberth doesn’t find that missing heat soon, we may be undoomed!!! What do the models look like when sensitivity is multiplied by 0.25?

  10. Sorry… Out of topic, but I read absurdity from http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/16aug_vco/

    A scientist declares:

    “In so many ways, Venus is similar to Earth. It has about the same mass, is approximately the same distance from the sun, and is made of the same basic materials,” says Imamura. “Yet the two worlds ended up so different. We want to know why.”

    Approximately the same distance from the Sun? You want to know why the two worlds ended up so different? Quite obvious, huh? Venus has not a magnetic field, has not oceans, its surface is so hot that it melts lead, is the nearest planet to the Sun except Mercury, Venus is losing its atmosphere due to the solar wind, Venus receives 2687.6 J of energy while the Earth receives 1364.5 J, etc. Take those many “abouts” off and the conclusion is that both planets are not similar in any way!

    The scientist adds:

    “By comparing Venus’s unique meteorology to Earth’s, we’ll learn more about the universal principles of meteorology and improve the climate models we use to predict our planet’s future.”

    How could we compare a “unique” meteorology with another “unique” meteorology? Venus has not oceans of water! Why to go to another planet with a “unique” meteorology to study the meteorology of the planet where we live on? Was Venus a kind of Earth in the past such that we can study its current conditions for knowing the future of our planet? What’s this?

  11. personally, i’m still awaiting the first description of an experiment where IR heating from above is used to boil water.

    Considering that only visible light – incoming solar – can penetrate the surface of the water and that more cloud cover is going to reduce this incoming power, one really has to contort their views to believe it’s going to warm. More ghgs in the atmosphere means more downward radiation which doesn’t penetrate – what can it do but evaporate more water, causing more convection and creating more cloud cover?

  12. There could be another explanation – the additional CO2 is cooling Antarctica.

    Yes, cooling.

    See:

    In the tropics and mid lat(top two plots), CO2 presents a ‘dip’ in the emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a lower temp than the surface, thus reducing loss to space.

    In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic.

    Incidentally, the same principal pertains to high clouds:

    Cooling from high clouds and the Antarctic may be what’s limiting heating elsewhere.

  13. “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.”

    The first sentence sounds exactly like a negative feedback, which obviously exists in the real world but does not exist in the models. Therefore, the real world must be ignored in determining future trends. (This follow’s Woody Allen’s example of reasoning when he stated: Socrates was a man. Socrates was gay. Therefore, all men are Socrates.)

    The second sentence makes absolutely no sense at all. How does snow falling on the ocean surface stabilize it, and how does it insulate the upper-ocean from the ‘heat below’, which, by the way, is colder, not warmer. It is like proclaiming that the insulation between the refrigerator and freezer compartments keeps the milk from getting heated up by the frozen ice cream!

    The third sentence is no better. There is, by definition, only water below the sea ice. Water can not melt. There is no melting below the sea ice…ever. Perhaps they meant that this magical ‘snow insulation’ reduced the amount of sea ice melting FROM below. I will assume that is what they meant, but it is awfully poor writin for a collage graduit.

    The last sentence makes sense…describing another well known negative feed back to global warming.

    These folks keep providing us with compelling evidence that there is no crisis in AGW, rationally describing negative feedbacks that help keep the climate in check. To get the crisis back, they have to make up some pretty irrational stuff and then write about it very poorly!

  14. “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,”

    When a model fails to reflect the data it is not a paradox. A paradox is when to two equally true things are mutually exclusive. There is no paradox for a broken model to exist right along with contradictory data.

  15. it’s election time in australia so we have the big guns out:

    17 Aug: SMH: Scientists say global warming is undeniable
    Deborah Smith SCIENCE EDITOR
    THE world will be hotter by 2100 than at any time in the past few million years if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the Australian Academy of Science warns in a new report…
    Produced and reviewed by two expert panels, the 24-page report, The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers, acknowledges there are still scientific uncertainties about some of the details of climate change…
    A former academy president, Kurt Lambeck, said the report was aimed at clarifying often contradictory comments from non-scientific ”instant experts”….
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/climate/scientists-say-global-warming-is-undeniable-20100816-12701.html

    pdf: Academy of Science: The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers
    http://www.science.org.au/reports/climatechange2010.pdf

    from Lambeck’s Foreword:

    “The Academy also thanks the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency for providing financial support to
    prepare this document.”

    Austn Academy of Science: The membership of the Working Group who prepared these questions and answers was as follows:
    • Dr lan Allison (Co-Chair)
    • Professor Michael Bird
    • Dr John Church
    • Professor Matthew England
    • Professor lan Enting
    • Professor David Karoly
    • Dr Mike Raupach (Co-Chair)
    • Professor Jean Palutikof
    • Professor Steven Sherwood

    The draft answers to the questions were reviewed by an Oversight Committee of Academy Fellows and other experts including:
    • Professor Graham Farquhar
    • Dr Roger Gifford
    • Professor Andrew Gleadow
    • Dr Trevor McDougall
    • Dr Graeme Pearman
    • Dr Steve Rintoul
    • Professor John Zillman

  16. pat

    Temperatures in Australia have been running well below normal.

    At least the alarmists in this country have finally learned to pick a hot week when they present their case.

  17. Haven’t these people bothered to even LOOK at the temperature???

    South Pole Anomaly 1957 – 2007

    Deviations from minus 55.5C at Vostok

    Statistics: http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/index.shtml
    ” Temperatures on the Polar Plateau range from -115°F to +6°F; the mean temperature is -56°F. Winter wind-chills can plummet to -148°F.

    Coldest Temp:
    -129°F (-89°C) on July 21, 1983
    Location: Vostok Station
    Warmest Temp:
    +59°F (+15°C) on Jan 5, 1974
    Location: Vanda Station
    Mean Temps:
    Winter: -40 to -94°F (-40 to -70°C)
    Summer: -5 to -31°F (-15 to -35°C)”

  18. Funny that the Antarctic sea ice has been increasing only “slightly”, while in the Arctic, the ice has been “diminishing” for “decades”.

    Plenty of charts and graphs presented here show that Antarctic sea ice has increased as much as the Arctic has declined, and since we know that the Arctic is in a Death Spiral, the sea ice at the other pole must be undergoing what…? An Explosion? maybe an Eruption Ever More Out of Control? Perhaps a Tipping Point that will send freezing air masses to the sub-tropical parts of South America? (Like that would ever happen).

  19. “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduced melting from above.”

    Is this really what happens in the Antarctic? Although it might make sense in the Arctic, the Antarctic is a different animal, in that the sea ice is forming around a land mass and extending northward each winter, and then melting (in most cases nearly back to the land mass) in the summer. The dynamics of sea ice being pushed around by winds and growing thicker year by year, as happens in the Arctic, doesn’t really occur in the Antarctic to an appreciable extent, does it? The idea that the little bit of snow that falls in the winter somehow insulates the sea ice at the outer fringes so that doesn’t melt “below the sea ice” doesn’t seem to make much sense. We’re not talking about multi-year ice in the vast majority of the Antarctic, and an increase in thickness in those areas that do have multi-year ice would have no meaningful effect on the single year ice that freezes and melts every year.

    Also, how does snow falling on top of the ocean “stabilize it from the ocean heat below”?

    Something isn’t adding up in the way they describe the processes. Might just be a problem with the press release as I assume the Antarctic is faithfully modeled in their actual work . . . ?

  20. It is interesting to reflect on the possibility that a direct statement may perhaps, at some future date, be uttered without equivocation by Judith Curry. Contingent upon certain other factors and conditions, this projected eventuality would conceivably, at least in some measure, negate the apparent perception occasionally arising in certain quarters…

    …that the woman is shifty!

  21. Mike says:
    August 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    “Is Antarctica melting?”

    Sure is, Mike. In a few years it’ll be like Hawaii. And I’ve got a couple islands down there for sale if you are interested. The only catch is that you have to wear lead boots in the low grav conditions, but that shouldn’t affect any plans you might have to build or farm, gravity should be back to normal around 2012. Then you can plant your first palm tree!
    Contact me for terms of sale through “theresafoolborneveryminute.com”. Discounts on all summer swimwear and suntain oil available as well for a limited time only.

  22. Yin, yang. I could be wrong, but it is apparent to me, the earth seeks a balance. Polar ice isn’t the only instance.

  23. Consolidating several of my posts from Sea Ice News #18:

    The Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) appears to be a significant contributor to the current record high Antarctic Sea Ice Extent:

    In July 2010 the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) had its 2nd largest positive anomaly in the historical record, following only May 1989:
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/aao/monthly.aao.index.b79.current.ascii.table

    Note that when viewing the top 15 largest positive anomalies in chronological order:
    1979 June 1.70
    1979 July 2.41
    1985 July 1.91
    1989 May 2.69
    1989 June 1.99
    1993 July 1.96
    1994 August 1.91
    1998 April 1.93
    1999 May 1.64
    1999 Oct 1.65
    1999 Dec 1.78
    2006 May 1.70
    2007 Dec 1.93
    2010 July 2.42
    2010 June 2.07

    2 occurred in 1979, 2 in 1989, 3 in 1999 and 2 thus far in 2010, indicating that there is a decadal aspect to the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO).

    From a visual perspective:
    Here is a animation of the Southern Polar Vortex and AAO over the last month;
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/z500_sh_anim.shtml

    Here’s an animation of a global view;
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/z200anim.shtml

    and here is an animation of the Northern Polar Vortex and Arctic Oscillation (AO) over the last month:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/z500_nh_anim.shtml

    Here is some background on the relationships between several of the Global Atmospheric Oscillations;
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:SyNZdbGlSxAJ:scichina.com:8080/kxtbe/EN/article/downloadArticleFile.do%3FattachType%3DPDF%26id%3D418397+correlation+aao+decadal&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    I am trying to make sense of the atmospheric temperature anomalies reported by the NCEP Climate Data Assimilation System (CDAS) over Antarctica:
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp10anim.shtml
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp30anim.shtml
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp50anim.shtml

    Is the large positive anomaly over Antarctica indicative of what occurs when the Antarctic polar vortex breaks down;
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/z500_sh_anim.shtml
    and non-polar air penetrates? Is a portion of the anomaly associated with latent heat being released due to rapid and expansive sea ice formation? Is there another atmospheric temperature data set that these anomalies can be compared to in order to assess their accuracy?

  24. As Eric Says:

    This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below.

    How come snow on the top insulates the ice from the heat below? Wow!!

    How can someone refute such solid science? We’ve lost the debate…

  25. For anyone that cares… using the numeric keypad [ALT] 248 yields ° as in 30°C and [ALT] 247 yields ≈ as in ≈0.3°C.

    This public service announcement was brought to you by Water™.

  26. Err, isn’t this part of the Earth’s ‘wobble’?

    That is, the earth wbooles on its axis, so that sometimes the artic is relatively closer to the sun and melts slightly, while the Antarctic is relatively further away and freezes more water. The other end of the cycle has the reverse occurring.

    I thought that was Polar ice 101?

  27. GeneZeien says: August 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    “Air heating water… challenging. Fellow ought to try warming his bath water with a hair dryer (take care not to drop it). Then try the reverse, fill a tub with warm water to heat the bathroom. Which do you suppose will change the temperature of the other 1 C first?”

    Exactly so. Well said.

  28. I would be interested in Prof. Curry’s assessment of McShane and Wyner 2010 and its potential impact on the GCMs upon which this paper relies. Would the moderators care to solicit her comments?

    Tks,

    RayG

  29. cba says:
    August 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    …..more downward radiation……what can it do but evaporate more water, causing more convection and creating more cloud cover?

    I’ve always liked this video, a lot, of Reginald Newell saying what you’ve covered. Reginald Newell worked for years at MIT as a professor ‘on the physics of the upper atmosphere, on past and present climate, and on global air pollution’, and at NASA as a meteorologist. He also ‘served as president of the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (IAMAP) International Commission on Climate from 1977 to 1983 and was a member of the IAMAP Commissions on Meteorology of the Upper Atmosphere and Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution from 1971 to 1983.’

  30. What’s the difference in bare ice vs. snow covered ice between yesteryears and recent years? Also, is it really a strange notion to have snow in Antarctica?

  31. If the Southern Hemisphere was a mirror image of the Northern Hemisphere and Earth’s orbit about the Sun was a circle and (insert any other condition not allowed to vary), and then the ice in the south did not track the ice in the north – an explanation would be in order. As the mentioned things are not true, why does anyone think there is an issue here? It is a WAL to invoke GHGs in such a different and complex situation about which we know almost nothing.

  32. However, the climate models predict an accelerated warming exceeding natural variability with increased loading of greenhouse gases in the 21st century.

    And this is where science and empirical data get off.
    Until the climate models link up with the real world, they are just models, no different than any unproved theory.
    One could just as easily have a model that predicts an accelerated cooling exceeding natural variability with decreased loading of greenhouse gases in the 21st century.
    Well, where is the testing of the opposing theory?
    You are brave to put this out there, Dr. Curry.
    Dig us up some opposing theory/models and let’s get this PNS behind us.

  33. “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below.”

    Really Dr. Curry worries me with this kind of sentences: she starts from an assumed connection that is in fact refuted by the meteorological facts. If indeed more precipitation has reached Antarctica it is because of the renewed strength of mobile anticyclones coming out of the continent and the increase of those. Correlatively, depressions have been deeper (the frequency of those deeper than 980hPa on western Antarctica is rising). That’s what brought an increase in precipitation as a result of energy gradient between colder polar air masses reaching further toward the equator and bringing lost of moist warmer air to the pole through advection channelized along the Andes. In fact there was a study few years ago confirmed this and showed that along the coast of Chile, temperatures steadily declined while along the mountain ranges temperatures were climbing. Paleoclimatology indicates that this circumstance is incompatible with a warming scenario as it shows an increase of contrast between the pole and the rest. In fact regional dynamic warming of the western Antarctica and its record snowfall are explained as well as the melting of some but not all Andean glaciers. And this stuff gets published in PNAS? Dr. Curry may be well inspired reading Leroux “dynamic analysis of weather and climate” Springer 2010 2ed. before putting the cart before the horses!

  34. Eric Anderson says:
    August 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    There is a possibility that there is no continuance to warming, or even a plunge to cooling.
    Note the lopsided nature of the Sea Ice that forms around Antarctica.
    Keep that imbalance growing and you could make an argument for the wobble of the Earth to increase, nudging the axial tilt of Earth to what climactic end I dare not say.
    Just another theory to toss on the barbie.

  35. GeneZeien says:
    August 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean

    Air heating water… challenging. Fellow ought to try warming his bath water with a hair dryer (take care not to drop it). Then try the reverse, fill a tub with warm water to heat the bathroom. Which do you suppose will change the temperature of the other 1 C first?

    I’ve tried to make that point with all sorts of high-falutin’ terms like “Heat Capacity” and “Density”, only to get blank looks or derision. Your analogy is perfect – thanks!

  36. ClimateWatcher says:
    August 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm
    There could be another explanation – the additional CO2 is cooling Antarctica.

    Yes, cooling.

    See:

    In the tropics and mid lat(top two plots), CO2 presents a ‘dip’ in the emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a lower temp than the surface, thus reducing loss to space.

    In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic.

    Incidentally, the same principal pertains to high clouds:

    Cooling from high clouds and the Antarctic may be what’s limiting heating elsewhere.

    Marvellous – so CO2 causes both warming and cooling, is there any phenomenon actually ruled out by current CO2 theory?

    Empirical scientists would like to know.

    BTW: Not missing a tropospheric hot spot are you, or some Long Wave radiation as measured by the ERBE and CERES satellites, and how are those model projections holding up vs the actual temperature record? Hmmmm?

    In all seriousness – how on earth do I distinguish your all warming all cooling CO2 theory as an actual falsifiable scientific theory and not quakery?

    As I said – please rule some phenomena out – then we can measure it and see how your theory stacks up. – anything else is nonsense.

  37. Given that there is both sea ice and blue ocean, neither phase has the upper hand. If there is some swing one way or the other in the volume of ice vs blue ocean, would that really surprise anyone? Makes me want to slap my forehead and say “duh”. So I will.

    Why is normal not seen as normal for these people? Maybe we should try the old trick of shouting of “Hey! The climate is variable!” Might knock them off their roosts long enough to take a few reading for a few decades to discover the trends, long and short.

    I can’t help but wonder how damaging it is to rational thought that the satellite record began only in 1979 and not 1650. I’m certain that there is an entire generation that believes that time frame defines “normal” for polar ice. Does anyone really know what the actual tonnage of polar ice should be for August, 2010? I think not.

    The good news is, in 30 years people around then will look back and wonder why we thought we had any say in their world. For perspective, how much sway does Hirohito, Stalin, Mussolini, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, or De Gaul, have today? Zip, maybe? I think so, and yet they were running the world in their day. How dated. Hansen will fade to a bullet point in a high school paper soon enough.

  38. Current GCM’s have blown seasonal forecasts left & right.
    To now trust them as they predict continued warming would be to ignore failed testing.
    Buggy software does not sell very well. Witness Windows ME and Vista.
    Both were flops, people hated them, and they cost Microsoft.
    I want to see the Linux versions of GCMs: Open source.

  39. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    August 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Your video caused me to search Newell, and I found this:

    “Reginald E. Newell, Jane Hsiung, and Wu Zhongxiang of MIT,
    along with colleagues from the “British Met,” as they call it,
    have collected and analyzed these data. MIT Press intends to
    publish them in the Global Ocean Surface Temperature Atlas. One
    of the most striking results suggested by the data is that there
    appears to have been little or no global warming over the past
    century.”
    (1989)
    http://www.fortfreedom.org/s47.htm

    Quite a difference from CRU
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

    Phil must know more about temps 1900-1989 than the MIT guys did in 1989…or


  40. SSam says:
    August 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    For anyone that cares… using the numeric keypad [ALT] 248 yields ° as in 30°C and [ALT] 247 yields ≈ as in ≈0.3°C.

    This public service announcement was brought to you by Water™.

    Sorry, but may I suggest a correction to your ANSI codes? My ANSI sheet says and yields the following. ALT+0176=° [degree symbol]; ALT+0248=ø; and ALT+0247=÷


  41. SSam says:
    August 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    For anyone that cares… using the numeric keypad [ALT] 248 yields ° as in 30°C and [ALT] 247 yields ≈ as in ≈0.3°C.

    This public service announcement was brought to you by Water™.

    Sorry, but may I suggest a correction to your ANSI codes? My ANSI sheet says and yields the following. ALT+0176=° [degree symbol]; ALT+0248=ø; and ALT+0247=÷

  42. This is one way to get aligned with what will likely happen, and still pretend to believe in warming for a few decades.

    “increasing slightly” ………. let’s just say it’s in a “Life Spiral”

  43. “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,”

    …….. So they should explain why the same effect does not take place in the Artic.

  44. “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated.”

    Well well. Just as I’ve been saying for nearly 3 years.

    Now all they need to do is think through the implications of that as regards the global energy budget and the size position and intensities of the air circulation systems especially the jets and the ITCZ.

    They suggest that the speeded up hydro cycle protects the Antarctic surface waters against the effects of AGW.

    Why not extrapolate that globally and accept that a faster global hydro cycle protects ALL the ocean surfaces against the effects of AGW ?

    They know not what they say (yet).

  45. “More ghgs in the atmosphere means more downward radiation which doesn’t penetrate – what can it do but evaporate more water, causing more convection and creating more cloud cover?”

    sarc on! Did you not know? the CO2 molecules created by man’s evil are imbibed with a mystery knowledge, probably created and harnessed by the illuminati, which means that they prevent cloud cover during the day and that creates extra heat during the day which is stored in the upper layers of the oceans and then that creates the clouds at night. which traps the heat. The clouds then magikally dissipate in the next day’s heat to allow more sunlight in to warm the oceans further, creating more evening and night time cloud trapping more and more heat.

    It is ONLY the CO2 created by man’s evil as part of an illuminati plot to turn this planet into a Venus like dessert suitable for the illuminati lizard masters to inhabit.

    /sarc off!

    Sorry, could not resist having a pop at the ridiculous CO2 alarmism again. Yes more heat will create a bit more cloud which will cool the surface. It is part of the earth’s natural thermostat.

  46. It is evident that the decadal oscillations in the north and south are driving the high/low ice to some extent. So why is this not addressed?

    It is also evident that rain is not going to fall anytime soon, just look at antarctica temperature ranges.

    More muddled nonsense from a woman who seems to have, to be frank, lost the plot.

  47. “How dated. Hansen will fade to a bullet point in a high school paper soon enough.”

    Hopefully it will be a bullet list of people whose alarmist predictions, both time and science proved wrong.

    That day cannot come soon enough!

  48. Climate Watcher says:

    There could be another explanation – the additional CO2 is cooling Antarctica.

    Yes, cooling.

    See:

    In the tropics and mid lat(top two plots), CO2 presents a ‘dip’ in the emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a lower temp than the surface, thus reducing loss to space.

    In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic.

    Incidentally, the same principal pertains to high clouds:

    Cooling from high clouds and the Antarctic may be what’s limiting heating elsewhere.
    —————————–
    I think you are misinterpreting what these charts are showing. The actual situation is very simple.

    The radiation emitted by CO2 at wavelengths between 13 and 18 micron is emitted from within or just below the tropopause. This is because CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas and it is not until you get to these rarified levels that the radiation has a chance to reach space without being reabsorbed. The temperature of the tropopause is 220K everywhere e.g. over the poles and over the equator or tropics. So the radiation at these wavelengths will always be on the 220K line as the charts show.

    The thing that is varying is not the CO2 radiation but the radiation at other wavelengths relative to CO2. This radiation will come from the surface and lower troposphere. Clouds will reduce this radiation and so will a very cold surface with high albedo (as in the case of the poles relative to the tropics). In both these cases the radiation characteristic of CO2 will be greater than the background so will appear as a “bump”. There is nothing surprising about this.

    Incidentally the statement:

    “In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic”

    is just wrong.

    The tropospause is always colder than the surface although in many places the mountains reach close to the tropopause (which is only at about 8Km at the poles) and so the temperatures will come very close. CO2 is cooling the Antarctic but no more than at any other lattitude.

    The issue that these charts raise is one that I have raised before. The concept of global warming depends on reducing the amount of energy radiated into space by CO2. These charts clearly show that this radiation is being emitted from the coldest layer in the atmosphere. The only way that radiation can be reduced further is for the temperature of this layer to reduce. I am unaware of any good evidence that this is happening.

  49. “‘The most resilient parasite is an idea planted in the unconscious mind’
    – Inception”

    Yes I’ve planted quite a few over the past couple of years.

    Such as:

    Changing speed of the hydrological cycle.

    Trying to heat a bath with a hair dryer.

    Latitudinal shifting of the jets beyond normal seasonal variability.

    Greater climate extremes regionally when the jets are more equatorward with more room to loop about.

    Negative polar oscillation associated with a less active sun.

    And lots more but those are the ones I have seen resurfacing most recently even from AGW proponents.

  50. “Here’s how it works. Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean..”

    Yeah, and then the tail will start wagging the dog.
    Southern ocean is, despite expectations, cooling during last few decades.

    Antarctic is cold area with minimum humidity, so 30% increase in CO2 should mightily increase the “GH” effect there. Alas, it is cooling.

    Explanations about snow are nonsense. Antarctic is covered with glaciers miles thick, so additional snow can not increase the reflectivity much. More, this effect should work during the southern summer, but the cooling is equal both in polar day and polar night.

    More, additional snow is attributed to fictional warming, which is not the case neither in case of southern polar atmosphere, nor surrounding ocean. Admit it, you are clueless.

  51. dp: August 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm
    Why is normal not seen as normal for these people?
    I can’t help but wonder how damaging it is to rational thought that the satellite record began only in 1979 and not 1650. I’m certain that there is an entire generation that believes that time frame defines “normal” for polar ice.

    Bingo.

    For perspective, how much sway does Hirohito, Stalin, Mussolini, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, or De Gaul, have today? Zip, maybe?

    Personal sway, you’re right — zip, zero, nada. However, the worst of their *policies* still have reverberations: Hirohito — China still hates Japan; Stalin — the Gulag Archipelago (albeit considerably smaller) still exists; Mussolini — never that big a player, except in Libya and the Horn of Africa; Roosevelt — don’t get me started on the precedents he set; Truman — still a pretty good example for politicians to emulate; Eisenhower — okay, a zip for lasting influence; De Gaulle — probably the sole reason the Sovs and WarPac never rolled through the Fulda Gap, because *nobody* would believe he’d pass on the excuse to throw a couple of megatons onto German soil.

  52. Would the phenomena of warming Arctic/cooling Antarctic switching to cooling Arctic/warming Antarctic not just be a product of ocean circulations?
    The PDO has switched to it’s cool phase, the AMO is about 10 years behind that in this cycle, and both of these are Northern Hemisphere phenomena.
    As the PDO continues cooling we will see increasing Arctic ice and stasis in the Antarctic. Then, once the AMO goes negative, we will see further increases in the Arctic, but actual reduction in the Antarctic. We only have satellite records for ~30 years, so this would not have been picked up by them yet, as the PDO seems to be a 60 year cycle and the AMO about 70 years.

  53. Halfwise
    So first the warming caused more ice. But soon it will cause less ice. Makes perfect sense, and I am glad that they took the time to explain it.
    One little thing, though. When will the warming know that it is time to stop causing more ice and start causing less ice? Is there a “tipping point”? I am dying to read predictions of tipping points, and this would be as good an example as any.

    .
    This is indeed a very relevant and important comment Halfwise .
    Yes , what J.Curry is telling is that there IS a tipping point and that this tipping point is ONLY function of CO2 concentration .
    And she even hints that it may happen right now .
    .
    I have been in Antarctic (in summer) and one can make several rather common sense observations .
    – there is a reason why the air temperatures are at or below 0°C most of the time even in summer . The air is in contact with thousands of km² of snow and ice which is at 0°C . So only when the wind blows from the ocean does it go , slightly , above 0 . As soon as the sky is covered and the winds blow from the continent , what is most of the time , the temperatures immediately drop below 0°C . Any precipitation happening then is always snow . Of course during any season other than summer , the temperature go far below 0°C .
    – air is not a good ice melting tool . Water is much better . But the whole af Antarctic is a continent which is not in contact with water . So in order to reach the tipping point over the continent , the air temperatures whould have to increase above the continent sustainably by 10°C or more . Yet they can’t , see above . That can be nicely observed in the Antarctic peninsula where you see in summer that the shore is a VERY thin strip of rock and beyond that strip you have a sheer ice cliff between dozens and 100 m of ice . It would take centuries at very high temperatures to get this beach strip only a little wider .
    – so while it is obvious that any precipitation in Antarctic is snow and it explains why more water vapor means more ice and snow , it is not clear at all when and under what condition this precipitation would become … water !
    .
    Indeed I would also be very interested by a prediction when this alleged tipping point will be reached .

  54. Don’t be too hasty in thinking this is an all bad paper. There is a big silver lining to it. Most everyone that I talk to that are not CAGW “groupies” like we are, has had it ingrained in their head that the reason the drastic measures to cut CO2 are necessary, is because “the poles are melting faster than we thought”. This paper from a top university clearly shows that the South Pole(where 90% of the ice is) is NOT melting. Very few people actually know that! And it doesn’t use alarmist language terms such as certainly will start melting, or is predicted to start melting soon, etc. It just says perhaps, or could occur, which it could. Dispelling this myth of Antarctica melting is worth its weight in gold, as far as I am concerned. Rising seas that will flood coastal cities is the number one answer I get (by far) when I enquire why someone thinks we need to stop emitting carbon.

  55. Has anyone noticed/read/commented on the following? Its already called Satellitegate: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/26603
    Some quotes:

    >US Government admits global warming satellite sensors “degraded” – temperatures may be out by 10-15 degrees. Now five satellites in controversy. Top scientists speak out.
    In an escalating row dubbed ‘Satellitegate’ further evidence proves NOAA knew of these faults for years. World’s top climate scientists and even prior governmental reports cite underfunding and misallocation as the trigger for spiraling satellite data calamities. Key flaws with five satellites undermines global data.US Government Foresaw Satelligate Failures Mounting

    But it wasn’t just a handful of skeptical climatologists sounding the alarm. The National Academy of Sciences, in its 2007 455-page report concluded that because of degradation in the U.S. satellite network, the country’s ability to monitor the climate and severe weather was “at great risk.”

    By coincidence, in the same week my article led to the shut down of NOAA-16, Susan Bohan published her excellent article here in which she exposes the broader systemic failures in the wider satellite network. Among the calamities Bohan reported, “the satellite, Landsat 7, is broken. And it’s emblematic of the nation’s battered satellite environmental monitoring program.”<

  56. Anthony, thank you for your interest in our paper. I will check in periodically to see if there are any questions about the paper. I glanced through the questions so far, didn’t see any questions that were specific to the paper. If you have any, pls put my name “Curry” in your message, I will search for these messages. Thank you for your interest.

  57. Judith, I’m sorry but you know this is crap. Go read Joe Bastardi. His explanation is much more believable even though he agrees with your statement that Antartic ice will likely decrease in the next few years BUT at the same time that the Artic ice increases as it has done for the last 3 years.

  58. These simpletons try to find false answers, to keep their agendas from failing. It’s all due to the oceanic oscillations. Yes, the Antarctic sea ice will melt in the next 30 years, but Arctic ice will increase. That’s why Antarctic Sea Ice hit a record low in 1980, and the Arctic hit a record high in 1980.

    When you get a cold PDO and AMO, it distorts the Global Heat Budget to favor cold overall, and cools the Northern Hemisphere (if you’ve taken geography, there’s more land in the NH.) And when you get cool continents, folks, that surround the Arctic, what happens to the Arctic Sea Ice? It increases. The SH cools more slowly than the NH, as the PDO and AMO are cool in the NH. Antarctic temperature records, showed that it warmed very substantially from 1950-1977 (the cold PDO) then began to cool after that, solidifying my claim.

  59. Ref – Judith Curry says:
    August 17, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Dr Curry:
    The newsrelease states: “While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide an explanation for the seeming paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming climate.” Jiping Liu is quoted as saying, “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming.”

    I take it that what you’re trying to say is: “While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide an explanation.” Jiping Liu is quoted as saying, “We wanted to understand.”

    I know you’re trying to sell GT to an AGW world but couldn’t you have put this in more technical terms and not used so much Jones&Mann Steak Sauce?

  60. Since we have the ear of Judith Curry I would like her views on this point:

    Where her paper seems to go wrong is not seeing a locally faster hydrological cycle as a sign of generally speeded up global hydrological cycle that accelerates energy to space separately from any radiative mechanisms.

    The models propose that the atmosphere becomes more humid and STAYS more humid but that can only be so if the speed of the hydrological cycle remains constant despite increased humidity. So that paper’s acknowledgement of a speeded up hydrological cycle fails to take the logic to it’s proper conclusion which is that the models are not reliable and will not be reliable until they factor in that change of speed of the hydrological cycle on a global basis.

    Since the models are admitted to have no adequate treatment of cloud and water vapour variability they cannot yet accommodate changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle netted out globally.

    If they were right about increased humidity then the optical depth of the atmosphere would have changed over the past 60 years yet apparently it has not.

    So the only possible logical scenario is that the extra evaporation caused by more CO2 translates into a faster hydrological cycle and that faster cycle ensures that total global humidity does not rise and indeed that the rate of energy transfer to space is enhanced by non radiative convective processes to result in no additional warmth from more CO2. There may well be more energy passing through and being exhausted from the system but it will be in the form of latent heat until it reaches higher levels with no change in thermometer readings from that particular cause. The increase in radiative energy out is likely to be drowned by the noise of natural variability.

  61. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduced the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice.

    Ocean Heat below? The amount of melting occurring below the sea ice? What warming? What heating and Melting? Why is it then that this study which Anthony covered earlier in the year could find none of that when the drilled holes and actually measured it (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/11/antarctic-sea-water-shows-no-sign-of-warming/), instead of trying to predict it on a computer model in some lab thousands of kilometres away?

  62. Snowlover123 says:
    August 17, 2010 at 5:32 am

    These simpletons try to find false answers, to keep their agendas from failing. It’s all due to the oceanic oscillations. Yes, the Antarctic sea ice will melt in the next 30 years, but Arctic ice will increase. That’s why Antarctic Sea Ice hit a record low in 1980, and the Arctic hit a record high in 1980…………Antarctic temperature records, showed that it warmed very substantially from 1950-1977 (the cold PDO) then began to cool after that, solidifying my claim.
    ____________________________________________________________
    Snowlover123, the reason why you do not get money grants for doing science is because you say it so simply and truely. You must add some spice into your statements, like “the end of the world is nigh”, or ” we re all gonna die of the heat” or later on “we re all gonna die of the cold” or ocean inundations or whatever. But saying the simple truth will not get you any money grants, sorry. You shall die of hunger before the heat gets you, while the “true” scientists shall inherit the (scorched) earth. Sarc off.

  63. Stephen Wilde, our assessment and interpretation of the basic physical mechanism relies on data sets and also the coupled climate model simulations for the 20th century. There isn’t sufficient data in the Antarctic to rely only on the data to do this analysis. We selected two climate models, NCAR and GFDL, that do the best job among other models relative to the observations that we do have of the Antarctic climate. The models show that both evaporation and precipitation are increasing in the region, but on balance the increase in precipitation is greater. This agrees generally with observations in the region, although determination of satellite derived evaporation fluxes in the Antarctic is problematic; Jiping Liu and I have a NSF grant to figure out how to do a better job of this and we are using some new data sets from the International Polar Year and also some historical data from Chinese ships to test our satellite derived methods. We will publish a paper on that sometime in the next two years. But in the mean time, the information that we do have to analyze this is from the weather model derive reanalysis products and the coupled climate model simulations. Since we are interested in the dynamics of the atmosphere/ocean/sea ice interaction, the coupled model simulations are the best tool we have to analyze this.

    Your question seems to be about the global hydrological cycle and its acceleration in the context of atmospheric humidity. There is substantial debate and discussion on that topic, which our paper does not go into.

  64. The propensity to speculate about the future and to see “signs” is endemic in science today. Increasingly, modern science is no longer distinguishable from voodoo or witchcraft. I suspect Judith and her cronies have a cauldron:

    “Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. ALL. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

    We skeptics can have oracles too – for McIntyre said that:

    “Mann shall never vanquish’d be until
    Great Burn’em wood to high Hokey shtick
    Shall come against him.”

  65. These folks at Georgia have no clue how Climate works. As the globe warms the precipitable potential arriving to the poles decreases; the perturbations that turn that potential into precipitation become weaker. And as usual, no mention of the upward migration of the rain/snow threshold in a warming scenario.

    The media and these unscrupulous “scientists” try to deceive the public day by day with things like this. When will it all end?

  66. “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,” said Jiping Liu, a research scientist in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.”

    And here I thought that you made observations and then formulated a theory based on the observations….

  67. Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean

    Of course, this mode of heating will totally overwhelm direct solar heating. One might call this the reverse conduction mode of heating.

  68. Happy to see that others have found similar incongruities.

    Judith is waving her arms about her so much she’s actually taken flight.

  69. The “CO2 is a pollutant” scientists remind me a lot of the “fat and cholesterol are killing you” scientists. Both take substances essential to life and demonize them to the point where the substances’ irreparable harm reduced to an assumption. Odd that these very same people believe themselves to be the protectors of the environment.

  70. It is pretty obvious that these people have no practical experience whatsoever of cold climates or sea ice. Increasing snowfall leading to more sea-ice! Utterly absurd. Sea Ice freezes mostly from above, since water can’t get colder than about -1.7 centigrade even when salt. Snow is an excellent insulator and prevents thick ice from forming. It is always chancy to walk on ice covered by deep snow, because it may be paper-thin even after a prolonged cold spell.
    The only time when increased precipitation can lead to thicker ice is in arctic summer when fresh water percolating through the ice will freeze on contact with the subzero saltwater and “underplate” the ice.

  71. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease,” said Judith A. Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

    This is as useful as the following forecast: “In the next 12 months we may see some clouds, but also some sunshine, and some rain, as well as some snow. It will be windy sometimes, too. But not all the time. I think.”

    Are these people scientists?

  72. mosomoso says August 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    …that the woman is shifty!

    It may be that Judith Curry just doesn’t buy this BS any more, but cannot say that without losing her job. She is already on warning, I expect, given the reaction of the Team to her previous attempts at reason.

  73. West Antartica is part of the ring of fire.
    Has a study been done to see the effect elevated seabed temperatures have on seawater temps and corresponding ice shelf effects.

    How about gravity effects do to shifting Magma or the possible sinking of the seabed do to overburden of the ice accumulation.

  74. “Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. ”

    Are “findings” here that of intrepid explorers on the sea ice or the GCMs and their intractable CO2 viruses.

  75. Judith

    I just read Zhang’s paper from 2004 where he basically said the same thing. Is there any real data to support this thesis? What are the long term salinity measurements in the Antarctic, have they confirmed the stratification?

    Looking at how the seas act in the Circumpolar area I have a hard time believing that this extreme stratification exists.

  76. Had another thought on this one as I have been reading the papers. If this model based thesis is true and the stratification of salinity and the temperatures is the case, then we should be seeing a shift forward in the inflection point where the maximum melting occurs during the Antarctic ice melt season. Has this shift been seen? Just looking at the NSIDC graphs I don’t see it.

    The reasoning is this. Especially today with the much greater volume of Antarctic ice, the stratification effect should be amplified during the initial part of the melt season. This would tend to decrease local salinity and since mixing is reduced vertically, this should result in a retardation of the rate of melt. Therefore a shift of the inflection point of when the maximum melt period is should occur.

  77. Dear Dr. Curry…

    Specifically, I don’t agree with your following argument:

    However, the climate models predict an accelerated warming exceeding natural variability with increased loading of greenhouse gases in the 21st century.

    Most models are based on incorrect data that attributes physical properties to “greenhouse” gases that they don’t have. For example, the absorptivity of the carbon dioxide, its total effective emissivity, its capability to intercept IR photons, its incapability to retain photons for periods longer than 15 – 25 as (1 attosecond = 1 x 10^-18 s), etc. Still on Venus, where the carbon dioxide mass fraction is 950000 ppmV, the carbon dioxide is not a good interceptor of photons due to the high temperature of the Venusian surface.

    My question is, have you considered the geological phases of sea level and ice extent and the sequence of icehouse-warmhouse periods? I have the impression that those natural hasty shifts have been absolutely dismissed on models.

  78. AGW experts should argue that due to global warming, you know with the increased snow storms and record-breaking cold air outbreaks, that Arctic sea ice will increase in a warming environment…because that’s what we’re observing the past few years.

  79. As soon as I see ‘might’ ‘may’ ‘maybe’ ‘could’, on the same page as models…

    …….I start thinking about what to have for lunch

  80. Marvellous – so CO2 causes both warming and cooling

    Precisely!

    The important distinction is on a regional basis.

    What this means is that the global energy imbalance (if any)
    is actually too high because the cooling effect of additional CO2
    as occurs in Greenland, Antarctica, and high clouds.
    The forcing number ( from the the log formula for CO2 and other GHGs )
    is from one-d models which don’t include things like the cold surface of
    Antarctica or any clouds. This is applied to the GCMs.
    So that amount of GHG forcing is baked in the cake as an assumption
    because the 1d models lack fidelity to the real world where additional
    CO2 cools the Earth/Atm system under some cases.

    Empirical scientists would like to know.

    BTW: Not missing a tropospheric hot spot are you, or some Long Wave radiation as measured by the ERBE and CERES satellites, and how are those model projections holding up vs the actual temperature record? Hmmmm?

    In all seriousness – how on earth do I distinguish your all warming all cooling CO2 theory as an actual falsifiable scientific theory and not quakery?

    As I said – please rule some phenomena out – then we can measure it and see how your theory stacks up. – anything else is nonsense.

  81. Judith Curry says:
    August 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Thank you for your response, Judith.

    I wonder whether I made myself clear enough.

    You conceded that a change in the speed of the hydrological cycle was capable of ‘insulating’ the Antarctic surface waters against the effect of AGW.

    You must accept that if such an outcome can occur regionally it can also occur globally. You report a greater increase in precipitation than the increase in evaporation which suggests there is a link to an accelerated hydrological cycle outside the geographical area of study.

    Thus none of your speculations in your paper can be valid if they rely on an AGW effect from more CO2. You confirmed that a regional CO2 effect can be cancelled out by a change in the speed of the hydrological cycle. Do you not realise where that must lead you ?

    Furthermore you seem to accept that the models are inadequate on the issue yet seem determined to speculate on the basis of modelled outcomes.

  82. Why do people here need the hair dryer bathtub analogy to understand what they should have already comprehended from high school physics? I don’t think most do need that, but here goes:

    Water has one of the highest heat capacities of all known substances. Ice has an amazing heat capacity coupled with one of the largest latent heats of crystallization of known substances. These facts mean that it takes a whole lot of energy to do a little movement.

    Water and ice are up at the top of the most efficient heat sinks in the universe. Earth’s surface is 70% of this stuff to depths of miles. Amazing stuff.

  83. The temperature of the tropopause is 220K everywhere e.g. over the poles and over the equator or tropics.

    No. http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~nese/3_12_Tropopause_Temperature.bmp

    The thing that is varying is not the CO2 radiation but the radiation at other wavelengths relative to CO2. This radiation will come from the surface and lower troposphere. Clouds will reduce this radiation and so will a very cold surface with high albedo (as in the case of the poles relative to the tropics). In both these cases the radiation characteristic of CO2 will be greater than the background so will appear as a “bump”. There is nothing surprising about this.

    Right. Under these circumstances, additional CO2 means more energy is leaving
    earth than would otherwise occur.


    Incidentally the statement:

    “In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic”

    is just wrong.

    The tropospause is always colder than the surface although in many places the mountains reach close to the tropopause (which is only at about 8Km at the poles) and so the temperatures will come very close. CO2 is cooling the Antarctic but no more than at any other lattitude.

    No. During the Antarctic winter (limited to be sure),
    surface temperatures can in fact be lower than the temperatures
    at the level of CO2 emission as the spectrum indicates.

    Look again at the emission spectra.

    Over the Sahara, the dip means a reduction in the energy lost to space due to CO2.
    Over the Antarctic, the bump means an increase in the energy lost to space due to CO2.

    Increasing the amount of CO2 should increase the width of the dip and the bump
    due to band broadening.


    The issue that these charts raise is one that I have raised before. The concept of global warming depends on reducing the amount of energy radiated into space by CO2. These charts clearly show that this radiation is being emitted from the coldest layer in the atmosphere. The only way that radiation can be reduced further is for the temperature of this layer to reduce. I am unaware of any good evidence that this is happening.

    I believe the average CO2 emissions in the middle of the band are from higher
    than the tropopause, from within the stratosphere.

    And there is evidence in the RAOB data and MSU data of a decades long
    cooling trend in strat temperatures as the GCMs do successfully model.

    But one will notice that much of the trend comes from the resolution of
    the El Chichon and Pinatubo eruptions – temperatures rose after the
    eruption because of increased absorption by the dust/SO2.
    In both cases, after the dust/SO2 settled, temperatures fell to levels much lower than
    the pre-eruption levels. What caused this? Not CO2 which steadily increased.
    Since Pinatubo resolved circa 1995, there is no significant trend in strat temperatures, though strat temperatures are at a lower temperature than the 1950s.

    That being said, reduction in strat temperature is not the only mechanism of
    GHG forcing – band broadening is a significant action as well.

  84. And this is what passes for science in the 21st Century! . . . It’s overloaded with unjustifiable assumptions and speculative in the most obvious and shallow fashion conceivable.

  85. Marvellous – so CO2 causes both warming and cooling

    By the way, there are a couple of other important points about CO2
    both warming and cooling.

    1. At nearly all levels, CO2 tends to cool the atmosphere:

    though less effectively than H2O tends to cool.
    The distinction is that while GHGs tend to cool the atmosphere,
    they also tend to warm the surface, warming which is transported to the atmosphere.

    2. The ‘forcing’, at least as far as the IPCC says,
    is quite different from pole to equator, and from the surface to
    the ‘top of the atmosphere’.


  86. And what is this “slightly” increased Antarctic ice extent? It is one million+ square kilometers greater than the average. We make a big deal of a couple of hundred square kilometers more or less in the Arctic. The differences at any time between the two poles in ice anomaly is as much as an order of magnitude.

    Does Judith know about the well-established phenomenon during interglacial periods known as the polar see-saw?

    When the anomaly is positive at both poles, watch out!

  87. “”” “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,” “””

    WHAT PARADOX ??

    Gaiaa doesn’t make paradoxes; she takes care to see that everything works exactly as it is supposed to; so for the last time; there is no Antarctic paradox !

    If you guys (and gals) don’t know how or why it works, why don’t you say so; instead of implying that you do understand how it works; but it isn’t working that way. You and your blathering are the paradox; not Antarctica !

  88. Dear Dr. Curry,

    The press release begins with this sentence: “While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly.”

    Cryosphere Today indicates that the global sea ice anomaly is currently positive by a half million sq. kilometers, indicating that currently the ‘slight’ increase in the south is larger than the decrease in the north. If we take running means of both icecaps over the satellite era, one could argue that we have seen a reduction of 1.2 to 1.5 million sq. kilometers of sea ice in the north, and an increase of about 1 million sq. kilometers in the south, which is not a huge difference. Would you not agree that the opening statement, which implies a significantly larger negative trend in the north than the positive trend in the south, is inaccurate and misleading?

    The second sentence proclaims that it is paradoxical for Antarctic sea ice to be increasing while the climate is warming, but there has not been any warming of the Antarctic region as a whole over the last 50 years. Most of the so-called global warming has been in the Northern Hemisphere, much like it was during the historical MWP. Given that there has not been any warming of the Antarctic Region, would you agree that there is no paradox, apparent or otherwise, and that the use of the phrase is scientifically inaccurate and misleading?

    If you acknowledge that the first two sentences are scientifically inaccurate and misleading, could you explain the motivation for writing them that way? If you do not agree that they are inaccurate and misleading, could you defend them, please?

    One finally question: would you agree with the statement that this study assumes, from the very beginning, that CO2 induced AGW is a given (in line with IPCC projections) and only attempts to understand the observations in the context of that assumption, and, therefore, has no real value in the debate over the AGW theory?

    Thank you for your response!

  89. They are clueless. Happily it seems their co2 pseudoscience has only a few years life left.

  90. “”” “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed, the hydrological cycle accelerated and there was more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. “”

    Izzere someone who would care to translate that into English, so we would know what they blazes she (I presume) is talking about ?

    What means “the hydrological cycle accelerated” This sound like a button on my dish washer went haywire.

    Could someone assume the role of a Maxwell’s Demon and give us a blow by blow of exactly what goson when “the hydrological cycle accelerates.” Maybe its a part of the Tour de France in the lake region.

    People use these gobbledegook phrases as if they actually have some scientific meaning; so give us the 8th grade high school science version of just exactly what “acceleration of the hydrological cycle” is doing from start to finish.

    And what is this business of precipitation in the Southern Ocean. If tropical waters evaporate, and deposit latent heat out in the upper atmosphere when clouds form, and those clouds move south and then it rains/snows/sleets/hails in the Southern ocean, does that convey more heat south or less heat south, than simply having ocean surface currents transport warmer triopical waters south; like the Gulf stream does in reverse in the Northern hemisphere ?

  91. Wait a minute! If Antarctic ice extent has been “increasing slightly” and overall global ice is currently above the 30-year average, then how can the Arctic Ice be in a “death spiral”?

    Enquiring minds want to know!

  92. I don’t often get snarky. This article closes with the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard a scientists say:

    “Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease,” said Judith A. Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

    What an absolutely ridiculous statement.

    Sam Clemens was standing on a porch one day with some friends, watching it rain cats and dogs. One gentleman mused, “Wow, do you think it will ever stop?”

    Clemens replied, “It always has.”

    [That is the joke. Laugh now.]

    Do we put this in the “It always has” category? In the “WTF?” category? How about the “No duh” category?

    OF COURSE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DECADES THE ICE EXTENT WILL DECREASE. IT IS AN OSCILLATION.

    This is like two people sitting on a bench watching a very long pendulum swinging up toward one high point and one asking if it will keep going up and up forever. The other one slowly slides to the far end of the bench…

    “We may see”??? MAY?

    We MAY see the Sun appear in the northeast tomorrow morning.

    We don’t want to hold you to this rock solid, scientifically based prognostication, Ms Curry. Science is supposed to be about SOLID predictions. Curry can’t even say unequivocally that SOME DAY the ice extent might actually start to shrink. Something as certain as the Sun coming up tomorrow, and she is waffling on it.

    The problem is that she knows she is just flapping her gums. The reporters seemed not to notice and duly wrote it down.

  93. “What means “the hydrological cycle accelerated”

    When I use the term it means more and faster evaporation leading to more and faster convection with cloud forming sooner than it otherwise would have done with rainfall heavier than it otherwise would have been.

    The energy budget result is faster transport of energy from the surface to higher levels in the atmosphere. However no rise in humidity occurs as per the steady optical depth of 1.87 over the past 61 years. The increased speed of the cycle prevents the increased evaporation from adding to total global humidity.

    Note that because water vapour is lighter than air an increase in evaporation results in more convection without any need of a higher surface temperature.

    The concept of a variable speed for the hydrological cycle is essential for an appreciation of why and how climate changes occur.

    Once an AGW proponent concedes that a variable speed for the hydrological cycle is possible (and without a rise in surface temperature) then that provides a mechanism for negating any attempt at surface warming by GHGs over water.

    There will be warming over land though but on Earth that will be negated by our 70% ocean surface as oceanic air flows into and out of continental areas. Furthermore warming over land by day is swiftly lost at night whereas diurnal differences are much reduced over water.

    Judith has exposed AGW’s most vulnerable flank.

  94. Julian Braggins says:
    August 17, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Yep, you [and SSam] are right. My bad for not trying SSam’s code [without the leading zero] before posting, …still one wonders at the wisdom of having multiple codes for the same symbol.

  95. George E. Smith says:
    August 17, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Evaporation from the oceans cools it and cools the adjacent troposphere in so doing. “Tropos” means change — it is where all the change, or circulation, occurs. In water vapor form, the stored energy (enthalpy) is given up to the upper troposphere through the tropopause, and beyond, eventually into space, mostly by conduction or, predominantly, radiation (the tropopause inhibits convection and conduction). It condenses into water (clouds) and gives up the latent heat of evaporation.

    It coalesces (don’t say “condenses” — it already has done this) into large cold droplets (much of the heat has already been removed) which then cool the seas accordingly, adding either cold water or snow to the land and sea.

    So heat has been removed from the tropic/subtropic zones, heat removed from earth, and precipitation is mostly deposited relatively locally before the now dry air would reach either pole. [especially dry when it is exhausted of moisture well before it reaches the drier south pole]

  96. To: Dennis Wingo

    Using measurements from the Argo network of profiling floats and historical oceanographic data, a more-recent analysis detected that the Southern Ocean
    became fresher since the 1960s, which extends to depths of more
    than 1,000 m (Boning CW, Dispert A, Visbeck M, Rintoul SR, Schwarzkopf FU, 2008).

  97. Wow reality trumping fiction as snowing in antarctica is now considered a paradox.

    Wonder what they calla an normal warm day in sahara, a freak of nature?

  98. Alex the Skeptic says…

    Snowlover123, the reason why you do not get money grants for doing science is because you say it so simply and truely. You must add some spice into your statements, like “the end of the world is nigh”, or ” we re all gonna die of the heat” or later on “we re all gonna die of the cold” or ocean inundations or whatever. But saying the simple truth will not get you any money grants, sorry. You shall die of hunger before the heat gets you, while the “true” scientists shall inherit the (scorched) earth. Sarc off.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/16/georgia-tech-on-resolving-the-paradox-of-the-antarctic-sea-ice/#comment-459424

    ————————
    Haha I guess that’s how Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews make their money off of the liberal media! ;)

  99. Tom in Texas says…

    “…a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…”

    About the same time the Arctic sea ice extent begins to increase?
    ———

    Yep. That’s something the alarmist media “forgot” to mention… :)

  100. I have to applaud Judith Curry on having the guts to present her paper in the boxing ring of climate blogs where the wild and ignorant rule. but also these that think unbiased and try to address problems in creative ways. I just hope she was not counting on any mercy here.

  101. “For the last half of the 20th Century, as the atmosphere warmed”

    I thought the recent warming started in the 70’s. Last 30% doesn’t sound as impressive, but it does sound (1) more accurate and (2) like half of a PDO :)

  102. >> Jiping Liu says:
    August 17, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Using measurements from the Argo network of profiling floats and historical oceanographic data, a more-recent analysis detected that the Southern Ocean
    became fresher since the 1960s, which extends to depths of more
    than 1,000 m (Boning CW, Dispert A, Visbeck M, Rintoul SR, Schwarzkopf FU, 2008). <<

    The Argo floats have only been there since 2003 (IIRC). How accurate are salinity measurements 1000 m deep in the Antarctic ocean before that? How many salinity measurements were taken there, and at what depths?

  103. Jim Clarke,

    The follow statement is correct:

    “While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly.”

    It is a qualitative statement. You can talk about the increase/decrease in terms of sq km or in terms of % area.

    The observed sea surface temperatures in the Southern Ocean shows an overall increase during the period 1960-present. Yes, there are short term ups and downs, and regional variability. But overall, the surface temperature has increased in the Southern Ocean. Note, the trend for the Southern Ocean is different from that of the Antarctic continent.

    In summary, I don’t see that either of these statements are inaccurate or misleading. Any statement is of course open to misinterpretation, but that is in the eye of the beholder.

    The paper does not assume anything about the attribution of the 20th century warming. The paper then discusses the scenario whereby CO2 would increase surface temperatures, and investigates how the processes and balances would change in a warmer climate.

    I don’t think this paper has any particular importance for the debate over AGW theory. It is an interesting paper that unravels some physical mechanisms that explains why the Antarctic sea ice is increasing in spite of a warming climate. The main significance in the AGW debate is that some skeptics use evidence of growing Antarctic sea ice as evidence that there is no AGW. Such an increase in Antarctic sea ice cannot be used as evidence against AGW given the arguments we have put forth.

  104. Lucy VC, not interested in mercy. Still scanning for some thoughtful questions that I will respond to.

  105. Stephen Wilde says:August 17, 2010 at 11:01 am
    Judith has exposed AGW’s most vulnerable flank.

    Perhaps, because Judith’s been twittering around trying to coalesce CAGW and skeptic groups into one great big group hug………………And then this. How does this add anything to science.

    From your paper:
    Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean, which will increase the melting of the sea ice from below. In addition, increased warming will also result in a reduced level of snowfall, but more rain. Because rain doesn’t reflect heat back the way snow does, this will enhance the melting of the Antarctic sea ice from above.

    1. At what temperature will precipitation change from snow to rain? Make your thesis falsifiable or you just posturing for grants and you know it. Enough of the mays, possibility, etc.
    2. Does your model take into account the increased cloudiness resulting from increased rain resulting from ever increasing temperature.
    3.I didn’t know that snow reflected heat. I thought it reflected sunlight. By the way, how much sun does Antarctica get? How much less snow must fall down there with low albedo. Are you sure that more rain will fall, but not more snow also.

    .This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilized the upper ocean and insulated it from the ocean heat below. …………………Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean, which will increase the melting of the sea ice from below. In addition, increased warming will also result in a reduced level of snowfall, but more rain. Because rain doesn’t reflect heat back the way snow does, this will enhance the melting of the Antarctic sea ice from above.

    1.Your thesis on this point is that higher temps lead to more precipitation. Mostly snow now, insulating the surface water from heat below. Increasingly temps will cause more rain. So, I’m confused by the circular logic. The rain falling is bound to be cold. No tropical rain down under. What temperature is the falling rain? Does your computer model show any sleet? How about wet slushy snow. And, with increasing catastrophic temperature, the precipitation will increase even more and the area will get a greater volume of cold rain. What must the temperature of the cold rain be and what increased volume is necessary to maintain the absolute temperature of the upper ocean surface from upwelling heat from below. At what magic tipping point does the surface temperature of the water fall beneath to allow upwelling heat? Have you done an energy calculation? How much more cooling rain must fall relative to slightly colder snow to inhibit upwelling warm water?

    This paper is a big disappointment. I expected a little better from you. Another paper submitted with the aid of cronyism. Similar to this one also submitted:
    Solomon M. Hsiang
    Temperatures and cyclones strongly associated with economic production in the Caribbean and Central America
    PNAS published ahead of print August 16, 2010,
    Understanding the economic impact of surface temperatures is an important question for both economic development and climate change policy. This study shows that in 28 Caribbean-basin countries, the response of economic output to increased temperatures is structurally similar to the response of labor productivity to high temperatures, a mechanism omitted from economic models of future climate change. This similarity is demonstrated by isolating the direct influence of temperature from that of tropical cyclones, an important correlate. Notably, output losses occurring in nonagricultural production (–2.4%/+1 °C) substantially exceed losses occurring in agricultural production (–0.1%/+1 °C). Thus, these results suggest that current models of future climate change that focus on agricultural impacts but omit the response of workers to thermal stress may underestimate the global economic costs of climate change.

    Their thesis? When it gets hot, the islanders don’t work. Well doh. Apparently, you consider this good company.

  106. Judith Curry says: August 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “The main significance in the AGW debate is that some skeptics use evidence of growing Antarctic sea ice as evidence that there is no AGW. Such an increase in Antarctic sea ice cannot be used as evidence against AGW given the arguments we have put forth.”

    Here we get into the subtleties of the debate. I have seen very few skeptics who “use evidence of growing Antarctic sea ice as evidence that there is no AGW.” I for one have a reasonable degree of confidence in the basic tenants of the AGW hypothesis. However, I think it is quite appropriate that “some skeptics use evidence of growing Antarctic sea ice as evidence that there is no” CAGW. The Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming narrative is based on a fragile patchwork of suspect data, questionable assumptions, speculative positive feedbacks and flimsy models. At present, we don’t understand how the sun works, we don’t understand how the clouds work, we barely understand how the oceans work and volcanic activity is a complete wild card. Our understanding of Earth’s climate system is rudimentary at best. We have 130 years of highly suspect surface temperature data and 31 years of reasonably accurate satellite data, on an approximately 4.5 billion year old planet. Our understanding of the history of Earth’s climate system and its average temperature is rudimentary at best. Based on our limited understanding of Earth’s climate system, any predictions about Earth’s climate system and the long term trajectory of its average temperature are, at best, educated guesses. We are still learning how to accurately measure Earth’s temperature, much less accurately predict it 50 – 100 years into the future.

    Further confounding any analysis of Earth’s climate system, is that there seems to be reasonable evidence of a significant ocean component based on the cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation;
    http://icecap.us/docs/change/ocean_cycle_forecasts.pdf
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/PDO_AMO.htm
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_egec.htm
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_cs.htm

    And there also may be a significant volcanic component based historical observation:
    http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html
    http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011222.shtml

    If you look at all of the potential variables involved in Earth’s climate system;
    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7y.html
    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/whatfactors.pdf
    it seems like folly to assign primary driver status to any variable when we have a rudimentary understanding of such an astoundingly complex system.

    As such, while “an increase in Antarctic sea ice cannot be used as evidence against AGW” I think that the trends in Antarctic Sea Ice Extent;

    and Global Sea Ice Area;

    can reasonably be used as evidence against the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming narrative.

  107. “”” bubbagyro says:
    August 17, 2010 at 11:17 am
    George E. Smith says:
    August 17, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Evaporation from the oceans cools it and cools the adjacent troposphere in so doing. “Tropos” means change — it is where all the change, or circulation, occurs. In water vapor form, the stored energy (enthalpy) is given up to the upper troposphere through the tropopause, and beyond, eventually into space, mostly by conduction or, predominantly, radiation (the tropopause inhibits convection and conduction). It condenses into water (clouds) and gives up the latent heat of evaporation.

    It coalesces (don’t say “condenses” — it already has done this) into large cold droplets (much of the heat has already been removed) which then cool the seas accordingly, adding either cold water or snow to the land and sea. “””

    So here’s what i actually did say :-

    “”” And what is this business of precipitation in the Southern Ocean. If tropical waters evaporate, and deposit latent heat out in the upper atmosphere when clouds form, and those clouds move south and then it rains/snows/sleets/hails in the Southern ocean, does that convey more heat south or less heat south, than simply having ocean surface currents transport warmer triopical waters south; like the Gulf stream does in reverse in the Northern hemisphere ? “””

    So where was it now that I said condenses ? or any of that stuff about enthalpy. It seems I did say that the process transfers a lot of latent heat to the upper atmosphere; doesn’t matter to me where that is, it is heat removed from the ocean and ultimately deposited where at least some of it can escape to space.

    And if only dry air can reach the polar regions then where does all that ice and snow come from on Antarctica? We are continually bombarded with Antarctica is the driest continent on the planet; yet some how most of the fresh water on the planet is there; and it seems that we only get fresh water as a result of either evaporation from where it is warm enough to evaporate or sublime, or from the freezing of salty ocean water. So why does Antarctica have all the fresh water ?

  108. This from the Georgia Tech article:
    “We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming,” said Jiping Liu, a research scientist in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

    And this:
    However, the climate models predict an accelerated warming exceeding natural variability with increased loading of greenhouse gases in the 21st century.

    And this from Judith Curry’s comment:
    I don’t think this paper has any particular importance for the debate over AGW theory…

    The trick is to tag-team with the other authors to avoid blatant self-contradiction; and to almost-say or almost-imply with cunning shifts whereby a speculation or assumption is deftly transformed to a fact-base for further speculations and assumptions.

    When all else fails, there’s the princess routine: that lofty and wistful yearning for a “thoughtful question”.

  109. paulhan: You asked, “The PDO has switched to it’s cool phase, the AMO is about 10 years behind that in this cycle, and both of these are Northern Hemisphere phenomena. As the PDO continues cooling we will see increasing Arctic ice and stasis in the Antarctic.”

    No reason to believe so. The PDO does not represent the SST anomalies of the North Pacific north of 20N. A negative PDO represents a pattern where the SST anomalies are cooler in the east than they are in the central and western North Pacific.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

  110. Judith Curry: About the paper, since ENSO and AAO are the driving forces of Antarctic climate, I assume your models include ENSO. Are you assuming the frequency and amplitude of ENSO events are increasing during the 21st century? Are you assuming that NINO3.4 SST anomalies (or whatever related index you’re using) are increasing?

    Somewhat on topic: As an Antarctic researcher, I’m sure you’ve had occasion to look at the ERSST.v3b version of the Southern Ocean SST data. It differs significantly from the HADISST data prior to 1960. (Over that period, the HADISST Southern Ocean data looks to be little more than occasional inputs on top of the climatology). If you have examined the ERSST.v3b data, have you come up with any explanation for that unique ERSST.v3b Southern Ocean curve, which shows a negative trend over the term of the data?

    And based on the next graph, would you have any explanation for the difference between the SST anomalies of the Southern Ocean south of the Pacific and those south of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans?

    Last question: I ran across a paper a couple of years ago that was a reconstruction of Antarctic Sea Ice from the late 1800s to the late 1900s that appeared to be an inverted version of the ERSST.v3b Southern Ocean SST anomaly data, showing a long-term increase in Antarctic sea ice. Do you recall the paper?

  111. Ed Caryl says:
    August 17, 2010 at 6:15 am
    I learned one thing here. Ignore Judith Curry!

    ———
    Good luck getting your paper accepted Dr. Curry. The establishment seems to have turned on you, as they do to anyone who stops drinking the kool air and worshiping at their altar, even if only temporarily.

  112. Judith Curry wrote, “The observed sea surface temperatures in the Southern Ocean shows an overall increase during the period 1960-present.”

    It depends on the dataset. ERSST.v3b shows a slight positive trend of 0.004 deg C/ decade for the Southern Ocean (90S-60S) and HADISST shows a negative trend of
    -0.007 deg C/decade.

  113. Bob Tisdale:

    Great graphs Bob.
    [ http://i34.tinypic.com/20s828o.jpg & http://i38.tinypic.com/2u3v0pz.jpg ]

    The HADISST version of the Southern Ocean record is humorous.

    Also: Great questions you’ve posted for Dr. Judith Curry.

    I encourage all to consider that EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters) tell more about the Southern Ocean than anthropogenic computer fantasies based on untenable assumptions.

    Here’s some reference material for those interested:

    Sidorenkov, N.S. (2005). Physics of the Earth’s rotation instabilities. Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions 24(5), 425-439.
    http://images.astronet.ru/pubd/2008/09/28/0001230882/425-439.pdf

    Sidorenkov, N.S. (2003). Changes in the Antarctic ice sheet mass and the instability of the Earth’s rotation over the last 110 years. International Association of Geodesy Symposia 127, 339-346.

    Sidorenkov, N.S. (2005). The decade fluctuations of the Earth rotation velocity and of the secular polar motion. In: Journees 2004 – systemes de reference spatio-temporels. Fundamental astronomy: new concepts and models for high accuracy observations, Paris, 20-22 September 2004, edited by N. Capitaine, Paris: Observatoire de Paris, ISBN 2-901057-51-9, 2005, p.153-154.
    http://syrte.obspm.fr/journees2004/PDF/Sidorenkov.pdf

    That’s just the beginning of the story.

  114. Thanks for the clarification, Bob. I suppose I should have said whatever mechanism that causes the PDO to peak and trough every thirty odd years

  115. Dr Curry,

    Not having access to the paper, I am asking some questions out of ignorance. If the added ice extent due to GW in the Antarctic is thin, even given the increased winter extent, wouldn’t the minima show either a constant value or reduction? they seem to be increasing like the maxima which would imply multiyear ice is building up. Is this explained by your theory?

    Why does the NH differ from the SH? Basin vs ocean surrounded land mass? Shouldn’t the same effect apply to both? Should we expect to see greater winter ice extent outside of the Arctic Basin based on the same effect?

  116. “Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…”
    ———

    We will see, ” on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…”

    Bi-polar seesaw
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7233/full/4571093a.html
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061109130709.htm
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/new-paper-twentieth-century-bipolar-seesaw-of-the-arctic-and-antarctic-surface-air-temperatures-by-chylek-et-al-2010/

  117. “Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease…” (From Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry)

    At least on this point we are all agreed. What goes up must (usually) come down.

    Dr Curry:
    This “news release” is an example of modern journalism and PAO-manship at its most pathetic. Whoever put this thing to paper and on the web should have been fired a week before it was ever typed. If the intent was to be clear and concise, it was only concise. It makes GT and you and your collegues look and sound totally inept. I look forward to reading the actual study and finding out what it was your Public Affairs Office was trying to actually describe. Better luck next time!

  118. Barry W, you ask good questions. There are a number of differences between the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. Most of the Antarctic sea ice melts during summer, whereas much of the sea ice in the Arctic survives the summer melt season. Hence, you can have much thicker multi-year ice in the Arctic (up to several meters thick), whereas Antarctic sea ice is almost all first year, with maximum thickness less than 1 m. Also, the ice concentration (fraction of ice) in the antarctic is typically about 80% during local winter, whereas in the Arctic (away from the marginal ice zone in the north Atlantic) has a concentration of >95%; this a function of landlocked ice in the Arctic vs unconstrained ice in the Antarctic.

  119. >> Bob Tisdale says:
    August 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm
    Judith Curry wrote, “The observed sea surface temperatures in the Southern Ocean shows an overall increase during the period 1960-present.”

    It depends on the dataset. ERSST.v3b shows a slight positive trend of 0.004 deg C/ decade for the Southern Ocean (90S-60S) and HADISST shows a negative trend of
    -0.007 deg C/decade.
    http://i35.tinypic.com/10dboyp.jpg <<

    Nice graph Bob. I somehow doubt that the .004 deg C / decade is sufficient to drive the model used in this paper.

    I do, however, question temperatures before 1979. If you limit the trend to just the (presumable much more accurate and comprehensive) measurements of the satellite era, the SST trend is very negative and there's no 'paradox.'

  120. George: I did not mean you when I said coalesce. You know this stuff.

    There are no monsoons in Antarctica. The sparse moisture that arrives stays for almost ever in place. A lot of the interior is cold desert. The blizzards we see there are “dry” blizzards with very fluffy snow and high winds that make it “real”.

    Judith says there are many ways to say how much ice extent anomaly there is. Only the absolute amount of ice, not percentages up or down, is relevant to global warming debate, sea levels rising, etc. Using % is disingenuous at best, and shows her bias.

  121. Judith Curry says:
    August 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm
    Lucy VC, not interested in mercy. Still scanning for some thoughtful questions that I will respond to.
    —————-
    Bob Tisdale,
    Please don’t take offence. Judith did not say that she would respond to ALL thoughtful questions.
    It was good of her to spend time responding to Lucy, I thought.

  122. Eric Anderson said:
    August 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    “Also, how does snow falling on top of the ocean “stabilize it from the ocean heat below”?”

    Reading the paper it makes it less saline so heat is not transferred as much to the more weakly stratified layers.

    Dr Curry ( Prof?) thanks for putting the link to your paper it was an interesting read. (thumbsup)

    A question related to the southern ocean, as well as the SST going up by 0.2C and perhaps more snowfall/rain is the wind speeds also increasing?

    Andy

  123. tty says:
    August 17, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Perhaps not entirely OT: Cryosphere’s sea-ice curve for Antarctica just went off the chart

    Hehehe, I just noticed it this morning. Priceless. I was about to write about it but you came in first :)

  124. Tom_R: You wrote, “I do, however, question temperatures before 1979. If you limit the trend to just the (presumable much more accurate and comprehensive) measurements of the satellite era, the SST trend is very negative and there’s no ‘paradox.'”

    Agreed. I only started the graph in 1960 because Judith used it in her comment. And I just downloaded a copy of the paper Judith linked and noticed they used ERSST.v2 in the paper, not ERSST.v3b, so I’ll have to rerun the trend graph, but ERSST in either version is not satellite based.

  125. Oops, I’ve also noted that the authors are not using the classical definition of the Southern Ocean, (south of 60S), but include mid latitudes of the So Hemisphere also, so my earlier graphs don’t apply to the paper.

  126. Climate Watcher says

    The temperature of the tropopause is 220K everywhere e.g. over the poles and over the equator or tropics.

    No. http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~nese/3_12_Tropopause_Temperature.bmp
    OK I SHOULD HAVE SAID ABOUT 220k (ACTUALLY 210k+/-10). I DO NOT THINK THIS IS SIGNIFICANT. I WAS TRYING TO INDICATE THAT IT VARIED FAR LESS THAN THE EARTH SURFACE TEMPERATURES WHICH CHANGE DRAMATICALLY FROM POLE TO EQUATOR, MONTH TO MONTH AND DAY TO NIGHT.
    The thing that is varying is not the CO2 radiation but the radiation at other wavelengths relative to CO2. This radiation will come from the surface and lower troposphere. Clouds will reduce this radiation and so will a very cold surface with high albedo (as in the case of the poles relative to the tropics). In both these cases the radiation characteristic of CO2 will be greater than the background so will appear as a “bump”. There is nothing surprising about this.

    Right. Under these circumstances, additional CO2 means more energy is leaving
    earth than would otherwise occur.

    Incidentally the statement:

    “In the Antarctic ( bottom plot ), CO2 presents as a ‘bump’ up in emissions.
    CO2 emits to space from the stratosphere at a higher temp than the cold Antarctic
    surface, thus INCREASING the loss to space – cooling the Antarctic”

    is just wrong.

    The tropospause is always colder than the surface although in many places the mountains reach close to the tropopause (which is only at about 8Km at the poles) and so the temperatures will come very close. CO2 is cooling the Antarctic but no more than at any other lattitude.

    No. During the Antarctic winter (limited to be sure),
    surface temperatures can in fact be lower than the temperatures
    at the level of CO2 emission as the spectrum indicates.
    THE ADIABATIC LAPSE RATE IS CONSTANT. IT MUST GET COLDER AS YOU GET HIGHER. THE EMISSION SPECTRUM IS SHOWN AS WATTS PER M2. THIS IS TRANSLATED INTO A BLACK BODY TEMPERATURE. HOWEVER THE SURFACE OF THE ICE IS NOT A BLACK BODY. I SUSPECT THIS IS THE REASON FOR THE VERY LOW EFFECTIVE TEMPERATURE. IT CANNOT BE THE REAL TEMPERATURE SINCE IT IS FAR TOO LOW TO BE AN AVERAGE.
    Look again at the emission spectra.

    Over the Sahara, the dip means a reduction in the energy lost to space due to CO2.
    Over the Antarctic, the bump means an increase in the energy lost to space due to CO2.
    THE AMOUNT LOST TO SPACE IS THE SAME IN EACH CASE BECAUSE THE EFFECTIVE TEMPERATURE IS THE SAME. YES IT DOES MEAN THAT IT IS LESS OVER THE SAHARA THAN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IF THERE WERE NO CO2. MY POINT WAS THAT YOU CANNOT POINT TO CO2 COOLING THE ANTARCTIC AS IF IT DID NOT DO SO ELSEWHERE. IF THERE WERE NO CO2 THE ANTARCTIC WOULD ALSO BE COOLER BUT NOT BY AS MUCH AS THE SAHARA.
    Increasing the amount of CO2 should increase the width of the dip and the bump
    due to band broadening.

    The issue that these charts raise is one that I have raised before. The concept of global warming depends on reducing the amount of energy radiated into space by CO2. These charts clearly show that this radiation is being emitted from the coldest layer in the atmosphere. The only way that radiation can be reduced further is for the temperature of this layer to reduce. I am unaware of any good evidence that this is happening.

    I believe the average CO2 emissions in the middle of the band are from higher
    than the tropopause, from within the stratosphere.
    I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY “IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BAND”. CERTAINLY CO2 IS THE MAIN COOLANT IN THE MESOSPHERE AND THERMOSPHERE AND IS RADIATING HUGE AMOUNTS OF ENERGY INTO SPACE KEEPING THE THERMOSPHERE TO A RELATIVELY COOL 2000k OR SO!
    HOWEVER THIS RADIATION IS COOLING THE STRATOSPHERE AND NOT COOLING THE TROPOSPHERE SO I DO NOT SEE THE RELEVANCE TO THIS DISCUSSION.

    And there is evidence in the RAOB data and MSU data of a decades long
    cooling trend in strat temperatures as the GCMs do successfully model.
    I BELIEVE THE COOLING IS DUE TO THE INCREASED CONCENTRATION OF CO2 IN THE STRATOSPHERE AND NOT DUE TO INCREASED CONCENTRATIONS IN THE TROPOSPHERE, WHICH IS WHAT I UNDERSTAND THE GCMs ASSUME. THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY RELEVANT TO THE TEMPERATURE OF THE TROPOPAUSE SINCE THE TROPOPAUSE IS STILL COOLER THAN THE STRATOSPHERE ABOVE. I AM NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE THERMODYNAMICS AT THESE LEVELS. I SUSPECT THE CLIMATE MODELLERS ARE NOT EITHER.

    But one will notice that much of the trend comes from the resolution of
    the El Chichon and Pinatubo eruptions – temperatures rose after the
    eruption because of increased absorption by the dust/SO2.
    In both cases, after the dust/SO2 settled, temperatures fell to levels much lower than
    the pre-eruption levels. What caused this? Not CO2 which steadily increased.
    Since Pinatubo resolved circa 1995, there is no significant trend in strat temperatures, though strat temperatures are at a lower temperature than the 1950s.
    WHY DO YOU SAY “What caused this? Not CO2 which steadily increased” WHEN INCREASED CO2 SHOULD INDEED LEAD TO LOWER TEMPERATURES?
    STRAT TEMPERATURES ARE LARGELY DETERMINED BY INCOMING RADIATION. THE CURRENTLY WEAK SUN MAY BE ALSO BE HAVING SOME EFFECT. HAVING STRUGGLED WITH A FEW PAPERS ON STRATOSPHERIC COOLING I WOULD NOT SUGGEST I UNDERSTAND THE SUBJECT WELL ENOUGH TO DEBATE IT.
    That being said, reduction in strat temperature is not the only mechanism of
    GHG forcing – band broadening is a significant action as well.
    CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THE REDUCTION IN STRAT TEMPERATURE BECOMES A GHG FORCING WITHOUT CHANGING THE TEMPERATURE OF THE TROPOPAUSE?

  127. “There isn’t sufficient data in the Antarctic to rely only on the data to do this analysis. We selected two climate models”
    So much for the confession-
    how about the apology and REFUND THE MONEY?

  128. “The main significance in the AGW debate is that some skeptics use evidence of growing Antarctic sea ice as evidence that there is no AGW. Such an increase in Antarctic sea ice cannot be used as evidence against AGW given the arguments we have put forth.”

    So turning that around, diminishing Arctic sea ice cannot be seen as evidence for AGW?

  129. J.Curry

    In addition, increased warming will also result in a reduced level of snowfall, but more rain.

    Only 2 simple questions .

    1) When “will” it happen ? I guess this statement applies to an average (decadal ?) then which decade will be the first one when there will be more rain than snow/hail in Antarctic ? I also guess that the statement implies that once it happens , it will repeat every dacade thereafter .

    2) Where “will” it happen ?
    As I mentionned I have been to Antarctica (always in summer) . I have seen often precipitations but not once rain . The thermal momentum of the ice mass is so huge that the air temperatures simply can’t get far from 0° even if the wind is blowing from the ocean . When the wind is blowing from the continent I have never ever seen temperatures above 0°C (in summer) .
    So if one considers 2 situations where rain is physically impossible :
    – over the continent at all season
    – over the shore/sea in winter and when the wind is coming from the continent in summer
    then where can it rain more than snow in Antarctic ?

  130. “”” AndyW says:
    August 18, 2010 at 12:20 am
    Eric Anderson said:
    August 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    “Also, how does snow falling on top of the ocean “stabilize it from the ocean heat below”?”

    Reading the paper it makes it less saline so heat is not transferred as much to the more weakly stratified layers. “””

    Simply marvellous; the ocean keeps on getting less salty because snow falls in it. How long will we have to wait, until the whole ocean is fresh water so we can solve the world’s drinking water problem ?

    And all these years, I have believed that the fresh water on the land; in lakes and rivers, basically comes from the oceans via evaporation and precipitation. So now it appears that the opposite is true; the land supplies fresh water to the clouds, which drop snow over the ocean and gradually turn the whole ocean into fresh water. I suppose that sublimation of ice on Antarctica and Greenland must also contribute fresh water to make the ocean less salty.

    It’s totally amazing what you can learn by reading WUWT; that’s WUWT or WUTW or WWUT or UTWW or WUTW……
    just in case I spelled it rong.

  131. George E. Smith said

    “Simply marvellous; the ocean keeps on getting less salty because snow falls in it. ”

    yep, seems logically correct. If you remove it from the macroscale to the microscale then melt ponds in the Arctic also get less saline due to the same thing.

    “And all these years, I have believed that the fresh water on the land; in lakes and rivers, basically comes from the oceans via evaporation and precipitation. So now it appears that the opposite is true;”

    Yep you learn something new everyday. That’s science, it progresses.

    Andy

  132. I’m moving this discussion to this thread…

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/17/dr-curry-warms-the-southern-ocean/

    …since it has a more complete picture of the issues, plus links to the full paper.

    Part of the problem with this thread was speculation induced by the press release, which was missing important technical elements.

    Please direct all comments to the new thread, and be courteous in responses. Thank you for your consideration. – Anthony

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