The ARCUS June Arctic Sea Ice Outlook

WUWT readers may recall last month when I asked them to complete a web poll for the ARCUS Arctic Sea Ice Outlook. Readers obliged and I submitted the results to ARCUS to be included in their June Outlook, as shown below:

Figure 1. Distribution of individual Pan-Arctic Outlook values (June Report)

Download High Resolution Version of Figure 1.

WUWT is second highest, at 5.5 million sq km. Notably missing this year is “Wilson”, who in the last two years started out with impossibly low values such as 1 million sq km. I’ll repeat the poll next week in preparation for the July Outlook. In the meantime, check the WUWT Sea Ice Page for the latest.

Pan-Arctic Full Outlook

OVERVIEW OF RESULTS

With 19 responses, including several new contributors (thank you), the June Sea Ice Outlook projects a September 2011 arctic sea extent median value of 4.7 million square kilometers with quartiles of 4.4 and 4.95 million square kilometers (Figure 1). This compares to observed September values of 4.7 in 2008, 5.4 in 2009, and 4.9 in 2010. The distribution of the June Outlooks is skewed toward lower values, with a range of 4.0 to 5.6 million square kilometers, suggesting either persistent conditions or a substantial drop below 2008 and 2010 values and the long-term downward trend. The 2011 June Outlook differs from the 2010 Outlook by not including projections of major increases in extent. It is important to note for context that all 2011 estimates are well below the 1979–2007 September climatological mean of 6.7 million square kilometers.

Individual responses were based on a range of methods: statistical, numerical models, comparison with previous observations and rates of ice loss, composites of several approaches, or ‘educated guesses’ based on various datasets and trends (included in the heuristic method category). The median of individual uncertainty estimates, where provided, is ±0.6 million square kilometers (near the values suggested from last year), with quartiles of ±0.5 and ±0.9. Similar to the 2010 Outlook, the range of the four numerical modeling methods represents examples of both persistence and low Outlook values. The range of all Outlook values and the range of Outlook values within method categories are larger than implied by individual uncertainty estimates, suggesting most uncertainty lies in the separate approaches to the Outlook. Still, the consensus of a stable low level of sea ice extent or continued modest sea ice loss is a strong result.

Outlooks are not firm forecasts, but promote a discussion of the physics and factors of summer sea ice loss. Again in 2011, we are pleased at the extent of methods and discussion and thank the contributors for their efforts.

Figure 1. Distribution of individual Pan-Arctic Outlook values (June Report) for September 2011 sea ice extent.

As discussed in the section below on late spring 2011 conditions, May 2011 looked similar in many respects to May 2010 and supports an early sea ice loss. Total sea ice extent for the previous three months was near or below the level of 2007, the year with the lowest minimum summer ice extent during the satellite record. Ice-free areas were beginning to open up in the northern Kara Sea and north of Bering Strait. There were arctic-wide positive temperature anomalies with hot spots in recently open water areas. The Arctic Dipole (AD) climate pattern, which advects heat and moisture across the western Arctic from the south, is present. However, the Climate Prediction Center’s 8- to 14-day atmospheric forecast suggests a weakening of the AD during June.

This brings up one of the most important questions in arctic science. The September sea ice extent for every year since 2007 has been lower than all extents prior to 2007 (Figure 2) and there is no reason to expect 2011 to be wildly different. Does this suggest a new level of reduced summer ice extent persisting at around 5.0 million square kilometers, relative to a value of 6.0 million square kilometers in the early 2000s? If so, what is driving this transition and when will summer sea ice extent drop down to a lower level? Climate models suggest periods of stability (with variations around a stationary summer mean extent) with intermittent years of rapid reductions in ice extent as the Arctic warms (see Serreze, Mark C. 2011. Climate change: Rethinking the sea-ice tipping point. Nature 471, 47–48, doi:10.1038/471047a). Perhaps the ice extent in summer is conditioned by the rapid growth rate and thickness of the newly expansive regions of first-year sea ice? Are these regions of first-year sea ice vulnerable to early melt? Or will it take additional arctic warming to increase the probability for the next major drop in summer sea ice extent? The contributors to the 2011 Outlook suggest a modest decrease for summer 2011.

Figure 2. NSIDC chart of September sea ice extent during the satellite data era

Figure 2. NSIDC chart of September sea ice extent during the satellite data era through 2010.

LATE SPRING 2011 CONDITIONS

Regarding initial conditions for Spring 2011, Figure 3 by Jim Maslanik and others shows maps of sea ice classes derived from sea-ice age for the end of January and May 2011. Their approach to determining sea-ice age is based on tracking of sea ice using satellite imagery. Purple regions are areas of first-year sea ice. An interesting feature in both images is the tongue of old sea ice (white) extending into the southern Beaufort Sea. According to Maslanik, “the reduced extent apparent at the end of May compared to January reflects transport associated with a mostly positive Arctic Oscillation situation in winter, followed by negative Arctic Dipole (positive dipole anomaly) in April and May. Please keep in mind that these maps basically indicate areas where at least some multiyear (MY) ice is expected to be present rather than areas where MY ice is prevalent.” (personal communication). The ice age plot is supported by several ice thickness flights carried out by the Alfred Wegener Institute in collaboration with University of Alberta and University of Alaska Fairbanks in this region, which found a thinner mode of total level first-year ice thickness north of Barrow (1.4 m compared to 1.7-1.9 m in previous years) and little, comparatively thin multiyear ice in regions showing old ice in Maslanik’s data. Pending further analysis, there are indications that this situation—presence of some MY ice mixed in with substantial amounts of first-year ice—is increasingly common. This also helps explain differences in ice type distributions obtained from radar- and passive microwave-derived MY ice extents.

Credit: Maslanik and Fowler.

Figure 3. Sea-ice age estimates showing conditions during January and May 2011. Credit: Maslanik and Fowler.

Figure 4 shows a loss of sea ice extent through May below the 2007 level (National Snow and Ice Data Center plot); contributions to the loss were especially important from the Barents and Chukchi Seas (Figure 5). Similar to 2010, such loss can be related to warm temperatures throughout the Arctic during May (Figure 6). Given the hint of a sea ice-free region near the New Siberian Islands (off the Siberian Coast) in Figure 5 and the temperature maximum in Figure 6, one might suggest an early sea-ice melt along the Siberian coast this summer. The North Atlantic Oscillation turned positive in spring and can be seen as low sea level pressures over Iceland during May 2011 (Figure 7). Compared to positive temperature anomalies over southern Baffin Bay as in 2010, temperature anomalies are now negative. Stroeve has pointed out that we had an Arctic Dipole (AD) pattern in May 2011 with geostrophic flow directed across the top of the Arctic (Figure 7); this contrasts with May climatology, which has high pressure over the central Arctic and weak gradients. However, the AD pattern may be weakening in June, according to the Climate Prediction Center’s 8- to 14-day forecast. Overall, the curve shown in Figure 4 is commensurate with the notion that a thinner arctic ice cover that is more mobile in May 2011 can lead to continuing relative sea ice loss.

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Figure 4. Daily sea ice extent as of 4 June 2011. The solid blue line indicates 2011; the dashed green line shows 2007; and the solid gray line indicates average extent from 1979 to 2000. The gray area around the 1979–2000 average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Figure 5. Sea ice extent for the beginning of June 2011

Figure 5. Sea ice extent for the beginning of June 2011, relative to climatology (1979–2000 median, denoted by the orange line).
Credit: NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory.

Figure 6. Near-surface air temperature anomalies for May 2011. Credit: NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory.
Credit: NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory.

Figure 7. Sea Level Pressure field for May 2011. Credit: NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory.

KEY STATEMENTS FROM INDIVIDUAL OUTLOOKS

Key statements from the individual Outlook contributions are below, summarized here by author, organization of first author, Outlook value, standard deviation/error estimate (if provided), method, and abstracted statement. The statements are ordered from highest to lowest outlook values. Each individual contribution is available in the “Pan-Arctic Individual PDFs” section at the bottom of this webpage. We should have another interesting season this year; stay tuned for next month’s Outlook in July!

Egan (public contribution); 5.6; Heuristic

Reason: eyeballing current shape in 2011 – looks like 2005.

WattsUpWithThat.com (public contribution-poll); 5.5; Heuristic

Website devoted to climate and weather polled its readers for estimates of the 2011 sea ice extent minimum by choosing bracketed values from a web poll, which can be seen at: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/19/sea-ice-news-call-for-arctic-sea-i…

Kauker et al. (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research); 5.4 ± 0.6; Model

For the present outlook the coupled ice-ocean model NAOSIM has been forced with atmospheric surface data from January 1948 to 18 May 2011. This atmospheric forcing has been taken from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (Kalnay et al., 1996). We used atmospheric data from the years 1991 to 2010 for the ensemble prediction. The model experiments all start from the same initial conditions on 18 May 2011. We thus obtain 20 different realizations of sea ice development in summer 2011. Since the forward simulation underestimates the September extent compared with the observed extent minima in 2007, 2008, and 2009 by about 0.49 million km2 (in the mean), we added this bias to the results of the ensemble. It is not clear whether the bias is caused by an imperfect sea ice-ocean model or by imperfect initial or boundary conditions.

Wang et al. (NOAA/NWS/NCEP); 5.0 ± 0.5; Model

The outlook is based on a CFSv2 ensemble of 40 members initialized from 17-26 May 2011. The model’s systematic bias has been removed based on its retrospective forecasts for 1982-2010.

Canadian Ice Service; 5.0; Statistical

As with Canadian Ice Service (CIS) contributions in June 2009 and June 2010, the 2011 forecast was derived using a combination of three methods: 1) a qualitative heuristic method based on observed end-of-winter Arctic Multi-Year Ice (MYI) extents, as well as an examination of Surface Air Temperature (SAT), Sea Level Pressure (SLP) and vector wind anomaly patterns and trends; 2) an experimental Optimal Filtering Based (OFB) Model which uses an optimal linear data filter to extrapolate NSIDC’s September Arctic Ice Extent time series into the future; and 3) an experimental Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) prediction system that tests ocean, atmosphere, and sea ice predictors.

Lindsay and Zhang (Applied Physics Laboratory, U. of Washington); 4.9 ± 0.4; Statistical

Our statistical prediction is made with PIOMAS model data from the average of May 2011. We are using May data for the 23 years 1988 through 2010 to fit the regression model and then the ice conditions for 2011 to make the predictions. The best single predictor is the fraction of the area with open water or ice less than 1.0 m thick, G1.0. This predictor explains 77% of the variance.

Beitsch et al. (University of Hamburg); 4.8 ± 1.7; Statistical

The KlimaCampus’s outlook is based on statistical analysis of satellite derived sea ice area. We introduced following improvements: high resolution (AMSR-E) sea ice concentration data, a time-domain filter that reduces observational noise, and a space-domain selection that neglects the outer seasonal ice zones. Thus, small scale sea ice openings like coastal polynyas that might inhere some predictive capability for the sea ice minimum can be better utilized. The daily estimate of the September extent, the anomaly of the current day and the time series of daily estimates since May 2011 can be found on our ftp server: ftp://ftp-projects.zmaw.de/seaice/prediction/

Morison and Untersteiner (Polar Science Center, APL-UW); 4.8; Heuristic

So far this year, ice conditions seem to be similar to last year, and indeed considering the Northern Sea Ice Anomaly plot from David Chapman’s Cryosphere today Website, the annual cycles of extent since 2008 have been similar. The ice in the central Arctic Ocean in April during this years North Pole Environmental Survey (NPEO) deployment was again dominantly first year ice, but seemed more deformed than usual suggesting greater average thickness, a positive factor in extent. The winter 2010-2011 Arctic Oscillation was negative at least initially, a positive factor for ice extent in September, but over the whole winter not as negative as 2010.

Folkerts (Barton Community College); 4.7 ± 0.2; Statistical

Estimates are based on multiple regression of a wide variety of publicly available monthly arctic data (e.g., extent, area, sea surface temperature, North Atlantic Oscillation, and so forth). Data from 5 to 18 months before September (i.e., from March of the previous year thru April of the given year, but not from May) were correlated with the September monthly average extent data during the period 1979-2010.

Stroeve et al. (National Snow and Ice Data Center); 4.7; Statistical

NSIDC is using the same approach as last year: survival of ice of different ages based on ice age fields provided by Chuck Fowler and Jim Maslanik (Univ. Colorado, Boulder). However, this year we are using a revised ice age product, one based on a 15% sea ice concentration threshold rather than the earlier version, which used a threshold of 40% (see Maslanik et al., in review for more details).

Lukovich et al. (Centre for Earth Observation Science, U. of Manitoba); 4.6; Heuristic-Dynamics

Investigation of dynamical atmospheric contributions in spring to sea ice conditions in fall, based on comparison of 2011 and 2007 stratospheric and surface winds and sea level pressure (SLP) in April and May suggests regional differences in sea ice extent in fall, in a manner consistent with recent studies highlighting the importance of coastal geometry in seasonal interpretations of sea ice cover (Eisenman, 2010). The absence of anomalous features evident in 2007 in SLP and stratospheric and surface winds in spring in 2011 indicates that accelerated decline associated with the former will not be an artifact of dynamical phenomena, although a thinner and more mobile ice cover may lower the wind forcing threshold required for increased ice export. Lower ice concentrations in 2011 relative to 2007 in late May indicate increased sensitivity of the arctic ice cover to atmospheric dynamical forcing, with implications for ice transport during summer.

Tivy (University of Alaska Fairbanks); 4.5 ± 0.6; Statistical

Statistical – canonical correlation analysis (CCA). A persistence forecast based on February ice concentration anomalies is generated using CCA. February is chosen over May because the correlation with September extent is higher. The model is trained on the 1980-2010 period using the passive microwave derived data set (nasateam).

Hamilton (University of New Hampshire); 4.4, range 3.5 to 5.3; Statistical

This is a naive, purely statistical model. It predicts September mean extent simply from a Gompertz curve representing the trend over previous years. Estimation data are

NSIDC monthly mean extent reports from September 1979 through September 2010.

Grumbine et al. (NOAA/NWS/NCEP); 4.4 ± 0.5; Statistical

The physical basis of the statistical method is to model the growth of open water as a feedback process analogous to population growth under constraint. This produces a logistic curve. The statistics are used to estimate the three parameters for such curves.

Arbetter et al. (National Ice Center); 4.4; Statistical

The system determines the relationships between sea ice and atmospheric conditions over the past ten years to determine the likelihood of ice being present this year. The model uses SSM/I sea ice concentration, NCEP 2m Air Temperature, and NCEP Sea Level Pressure, and correlates each point with every other point in the domain, in a brute force multiple linear regression.

Wadhams (University of Cambridge); 4.1; Heuristic

Based on recent EM measurements of first year ice thickness merged into probability density functions of ice thickness from recent submarine voyage and subtracting an assumed summer melt of up to 2 m.

Anderson (Norwegian Space Centre); 4.1; Statistical

We have looked into the yearly change of the sea ice area. This would be a first order indication of the fraction of ice that melts. Since it is the area that is measured this does not account the variation of sea ice thickness, which is needed to understand the total melt. All the data used are taken from http://arctic-roos.org/. The simplest way to look at this is to take the difference between the maximum winter sea ice area (Aw) and compare it with the minimum area (As) the following summer season. Fig. 1 [see PDF of contribution in section below] shows the value (Aw –As) /Aw from 1979-2010.

Zhang (Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington); 4.1 ± 0.6; Model

This is based on numerical ensemble predictions starting on 6/1/2011 using the Pan-arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS). The ensemble consists of seven members each of which uses a unique set of NCEP/NCAR atmospheric forcing fields from recent years, representing recent climate, such that ensemble member 1 uses 2004 NCEP/NCAR forcing, member 2 uses 2005 forcing, and member 7 uses 2010 forcing.

Peterson et al. (UK Met Office); 4.0 ± 1.2; Model

This projection is an experimental prediction from the UK Met Office seasonal forecast system, GloSea4 (Arribas et al., 2011). GloSea4 is an ensemble prediction system using the HadGEM3 coupled climate model (Hewitt et al., 2011). A further bias toward lower ice thicknesses in the actual forecast as compared to the hindcast initialization is also suspected. Therefore, we suspect that our forecast may be biased towards a smaller ice extent from the ultimate reality. Furthermore, this bias appears to become even more exaggerated with later start dates, hindering our ability to update the forecast at a later time.

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CRS, Dr.P.H.

Excellent, comprehensive article! I voted 5.0 million Km, which puts me right with the Canadians. I can handle that.
Is the ice cover of Hudson’s Bay included in the ice extent? I watch it freeze & completely thaw every year. It’s well on its way to open water as of today:
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png

jorgekafkazar

Got my popcorn, sitting on the edge of my seat, following the curve and waiting for the reports to come in. Oh, the excitement of watching ice melt! I can hardly stand it!

golf charley

Interesting caveats by the UK Met Office

Douglas DC

It will be interesting to see if the increase in volcanic activity has any bearing on the sea ice- Kamchatka and Iceland in particular…

Andrew30

We expect to get the RC forecast sometime next year, maybe.

R. de Haan
Ulrich Elkmann

jorgekafkazar: Yes, it’s as exciting as watching the ups & downs in your bank account by the minute…but at the end of the day, these may actually tell you something (like not investing into crooked pyramid schemes for fear of imminent bankruptcy).

Steve Oregon

What does expanding the years of 1979–2007 do to the September climatological mean of 6.7 million square kilometers?
I’m sure many people have been annoyed at the focus on that time period as if it represents “Normality”.
I’m also sure someone has already graphed what an expanded time period would do to the mean.
No doubt the ice extent was far in excess of the 1979-2007 mean during the cold years from 1945-1975.
What is the arctic sea ice extent mean for 1945 – 2010?

e. c. cowan

Could you ‘bottom-line it’ for idiots like me? Does the data support the claims of the global warmists or not?

Moderate Republican

R. de Haan says @ June 18, 2011 at 11:06 am “Arctic looks fine to me judging this space view:”
Sorry if I am missing this, but a single picture is proof of what exactly?

Those dour folks at UK Met are among the pessimists with their 4.0 ± 1.2 estimate, though they do point out it’s an experimental forecast (and not a product) and that:

However, a further bias toward lower ice thicknesses in the actual forecast as compared to the hindcast initialization is also suspected. Therefore we suspect that our forecast may be biased towards a smaller ice extent from the ultimate reality.

I’m not so much interested in how much the ice extent has varied but rather why it has varied.
What is the main factor behind the reduced sea ice extent? Has the Arctic temperature since 1978 increased and if so by how much? Is any known increase enough to explain the ice loss?
Has precipitation in the form of snow fallen over the past 30 years after sea ice has begun to form? Have ocean currents changed to increase the flow of warm water from the Atlantic and/or the Pacific?

rbateman

I took something around 5M km2. My guess was simply based on the behavior of the ebb & flow about the seasonal meltlines of the last 5 years.
I don’t think anything is going to change in the Arctic until
1.) the jet streams return north to buffer the area
2.) the added area of sub-Arctic waters reach equilibrium with the Arctic waters, which seem to be mixing with each other and making the Arctic relatively warmer. Many very cold winters will conspire to form a ‘step-up’ function to Arctic Sea Ice Extent, and it will come about abruptly.

e.c.c.
No, the more open water there is, the faster the Arctic radiates IR into space, and the faster the planet cools.
🙂

Theo Goodwin

This is all very interesting, but no one has an explanation for sea ice extent. That is all that we can learn from the study of Arctic Sea Ice. With the humility of good scientists, we should say that we do not know and leave it at that.

JohnH

MET Office translation
Our models are biased to support AGW so we know they are wrong, we are going to hedge our bets and include a large variation of 2.8 to 5.2 so no-one will find us out.
£170M a year investment (Nulabor speak for waste) gets you this rubbish.

CRS, Dr.P.H. says: June 18, 2011 at 10:40 am
Is the ice cover of Hudson’s Bay included in the ice extent?
NSIDC appears to include Hudson Bay in their Sea Ice Extent data set;
ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r10_Hudson_Bay_ts.png
(Source: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/)
as does Cryosphere Today in their Sea Ice Area data set:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.13.html

Steve Oregon says: June 18, 2011 at 11:25 am
What is the arctic sea ice extent mean for 1945 – 2010?
We have no idea. If you look through the WUWT Sea Ice Page;
http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/
you’ll note that there there is no measurement data prior to 1979, i.e. when passive microwave satellites became available. Prior to that, e.g. “For January 1953 through December 1979,;
http://nsidc.org/sotc/images/mean_anomaly_1953-2010.png
relies upon data “obtained from the UK Hadley Centre and are based on operational ice charts and other sources.”
http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html
I have no confidence in the UK Hadley Centre due to their know biases, and even without these biases, I have no confidence in humans ability to accurately estimate sea ice extent using “operational ice charts and other sources” whatever they may be…

R. Gates

26south says:
June 18, 2011 at 11:48 am
Have ocean currents changed to increase the flow of warm water from the Atlantic and/or the Pacific?
_____
It would appear that oceans temperatures of currents flowing into the Arctic are at their highest in 2,000 years:
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/arctic-waters-warmer-than-in-2000-years/
And to those who say it’s “all the wind” or “all the currents”, and the Arctic is not warming, these ideas would seem to be negated by the melting of permafrost:
http://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/arctic/permafrost_melting.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane
http://www.theworld.org/2011/02/melting-permafrost/
So I think a reasonable person would come to the conclusion that the Arctic is warmer than it has been in at least several hundred and perhaps several thousand years. As to the cause…indeed, there’s the rub. Is it natural variability? Solar influences? Anthropogenic? A combination thereof? Indeed, there’s the rub…

R. Gates

Brian Hall says:
June 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm
e.c.c.
No, the more open water there is, the faster the Arctic radiates IR into space, and the faster the planet cools.
🙂
______
Wow, that’s some kind of interesting physics going on. A warming arctic leads to more ice melt leads to more rapidly cooling planet. So during the past few decades, as the sea ice extent has slowly declined year-to-year, we’ve not seen a rapidly cooling planet, but according to your strange view of physics, we should have. Might want to check your assumptions and pick up a basic climatology textbook.
e.c.c. – the truth is, the year-to-year arctic sea ice has been declining very steadily for many decades, and is consistent with, (but of course does not prove) the general trends predicted by every global climate model when factoring in the increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases over the past few hundred years. Some recent data would seem to indicate that in fact, the Arctic is warming even faster than models predicted:
http://www.adn.com/2011/06/16/1921104/arctic-ice-melting-faster-than.html
So, does the arctic sea ice data support the “warmists”? Well, it sure doesn’t contradict the notion that AGW could be occurring.

geo

Well, Zhang is going to have another miserable year, calling into question yet again how much confidence anyone should have in PIOMAS when it does so lousy at this prediction game.
But then, IMO, the WUWT Collective is probably too high at 5.5M. I don’t see right now that anything above 5.2M looks too likely.

wermet

R. de Haan says: June 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

Arctic looks fine to me judging this space view:
http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/screenhunter_48-jun-18-09-24.gif

———————————————–
Where did you get the image?

wermet

I meant to say, where did you find the *original* image?

Steve Oregon

This is all getting to be cartoon like.
IPCC/AGW Consensus says:
1+1=5
So taxation and regulation must be imposed to prevent the 5.
The proof of accuracy and effectivenes may not come for decades (or the end of the century) but we’re certain the taxation and regulations will be good regardless of the outcome.

Radun

Our friend Vuk, just posted this on Tamino’s.
Predicting cold Europe, cold and snowy US east coast and wormer Canada with less Arctic ice.
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/open-thread-4/#comment-51632

Andrew30

R. Gates
“melting of permafrost”
If it melts then it is not permafrost and never was. (That what the ‘perma’ part means)
Just seasonal freeze and thaw of the ground, it happens a lot in Canada.
Once All of Canada was frozen for years, it mostly thaws in the summer now.
Tree lines move, growing season move, season change, climate changes, always has, always will.

John F. Hultquist

Moderate Republican says:
June 18, 2011 at 11:35 am
“ . . . a single picture is proof of what exactly?
http://www.laprogressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/gary_hart.gif
On the other hand, I’d like to see a picture of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Gary Hladik

R. Gates says (June 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm): “So, does the arctic sea ice data support the ‘warmists’? Well, it sure doesn’t contradict the notion that AGW could be occurring.”
Strangely enough, it also doesn’t contradict the notion that we’re in a period of natural warming.

John F. Hultquist

Regarding what is included in “arctic” ice extent, see:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/sea-ice-news-36-arctic-maximum-ice-extent-reached-nansen-data-disagrees-with-nsidcs-on-the-claim-of-a-tie-with-2007/
If there was a follow-on to this, I missed it.

Moderate Republican

John F. Hultquist says @ June 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm “http://www.laprogressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/gary_hart.gif”
Now THAT was funny!

OK, I’m not a scientist, certainly not a “climate scientist”, I’m just a mechanical engineer, and I remember vague little snippets from my Heat Transfer class. From what I remember the primary drivers of decreasing ice would be 1) water temperatures and 2) currents carrying the ice into even warmer water temperatures. The data most readily available, and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the data available, is air temperatures. But from a heat transfer standpoint, we take the block of ice as a system, with inputs (in the form of heat) from the water beneath it, which isn’t frozen so obviously is warmer and therefore inputting heat to the chunk of ice at all times, and the loss (or gain in summer) of heat to the air above it. We get ice only when the rate of heat loss to the atmosphere exceeds the rate of heat gain from the unfrozen water beneath. We lose ice when the rate of heat gain from the unfrozen water beneath exceeds the rate of heat loss to the atmosphere. And heat transfer also taught me that the rate of heat transfer, at any given temperature difference, is far more efficient from my subject system to water than it is to air. This tells me that I can suffer LOSS of ice mass even when (if) the air temperature above it is below freezing. So obviously the real driver of ice mass is the water temperature and currents. But I don’t know how to get ahold of that data to do any kind of analysis. What I’m driving at, though, is we should be paying far more attention to the PDO and the Atlantic thermohaline. One commenter on WUWT has frequently tried to focus our attention to the SST if we want to know the heat content of our Earth, and I think he’s right. But now, I’ve laid out the extent of my knowledge, and I don’t know where to go from here, either in the exact calculations I should do, or even where to obtain the data to do them. On to better heads?

Gerald Machnee

R. Gates says:
June 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm
**It would appear that oceans temperatures of currents flowing into the Arctic are at their highest in 2,000 years:**
You are looking at one small patch of ocean and making one of your belief conclusions.
**So I think a reasonable person would come to the conclusion that the Arctic is warmer than it has been in at least several hundred and perhaps several thousand years. As to the cause…indeed, there’s the rub. Is it natural variability? Solar influences? Anthropogenic? A combination thereof? Indeed, there’s the rub…**
A “reasonable person” would look at all the data.
Obviously you have not checked the temperatures and news headlines from the 1930’s and 1940’s when they were also worried about the ice melting. What were the Arctic temperatures during the MWP?
You have provided no data.

truth

Why is there never any mention of the research by Drew Shindell of NASA, that concludes that at least 50% of the Arctic warming is caused by black carbon [soot] from the burning of biomass, mainly in China, India, Indonesia, Brazil?
Shindell’s advice —
[ “We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we’re just looking at carbon dioxide,” Shindell said. “If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone.”]
[‘ Increasing levels of black carbon combined with decreasing levels of sulfates may account for more than half of the accelerated warming in the last few decades, Shindell’s research suggests.’—– Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team]
Other researchers have similar findings, and they have spoken to a committee of Congress to call for more urgent mitigation action on this.
[ “Soot deposition increases surface melt on ice masses, and the meltwater spurs multiple radiative and dynamical feedback processes that accelerate ice disintegration,” according to NASA scientists Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Larissa Nazarenko.[48] As a result of this feedback process, “BC on snow warms the planet about three times more than an equal forcing of CO2.” ]
http://www.igsd.org/documents/PR_JacobsonBCstudy_29July2010_000.pdf
[ ‘Jacobson was able to conclude that black carbon may be the second largest contributor to warming after CO2, echoing the conclusion by several other scientists, including Dr. V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution at the University of California, San Diego and Dr. Drew Shindell at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.’]
[ “The Arctic is a critical defense shield for the Earth’s climate system. Its vast expanse of ice and snow is reflecting significant incoming heat back into space. We cannot afford to lose the Arctic,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Targeting black carbon with aggressive, fast action today is the most important strategy for saving the Arctic.”
“We have the technology to solve this problem, and now we need to make it a priority,” said Zaelke.]
This seems eminently sensible, from lawmaker Inslee—
[.”If I was scientist and I knew what was going on out there, I’d be in somebody’s grill, telling them we need action,” he said. “And yet you just don’t see that from the scientific community….Why doesn’t that happen? Should it happen?” ]
Shouldn’t scientists be calling for this to be done as a matter of urgency—so that we can see just how much of the warming and melt of the Arctic, Greenland, glaciers and the permafrost is due to black carbon, and how much to other forcings like CO2?
In Australia, our economy is about to be thrown into turmoil —revolutionised—with a permanent and progressively- escalating economy-wide carbon tax followed by an ETS , and there’s never a mention of this much more easily-mitigated aspect of the warming and melt from our tax-hungry scientists .
Can anyone tell me—has something changed —-are the researchers wrong ?
If so, can you please provide a link?

R. Gates says: June 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm
And to those who say it’s “all the wind” or “all the currents”, and the Arctic is not warming, these ideas would seem to be negated by the melting of permafrost:
http://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/arctic/permafrost_melting.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane
http://www.theworld.org/2011/02/melting-permafrost/

Your logic escapes me. I’ve read the three articles about permafrost that you posted above. The only one with some cogent data is the Guardian article;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane
which is based on this paper;
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/327/5963/322.abstract
and the abstract states that, “Our work suggests that tropical wetlands contribute 52 to 58% of global emissions, with the remainder coming from the extra-tropics, 2% of which is from Arctic latitudes. We estimate a 7% rise in wetland CH4 emissions over 2003–2007, due to warming of mid-latitude and Arctic wetland regions, which we find is consistent with recent changes in atmospheric CH4.”
So the Arctic is a minor contributor to Earth’s total methane emissions, and they rose an estimated 7% between 2003–2007. This does not seem noteworthy, much less negating the very real effects of wind and currents on sea ice.
So I think a reasonable person would come to the conclusion that the Arctic is warmer than it has been in at least several hundred and perhaps several thousand years.
As best I can determine, this statement relies upon this study;
http://dirwww.colorado.edu/news/r/9059018f4606597f20dc4965fa9c9104.html
cited in Revkin’s article;
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/arctic-waters-warmer-than-in-2000-years/
The study states that, “Since continuous meteorological and oceanographic data for the Fram Strait reach back only 150 years, the team drilled ocean sediment cores dating back 2,000 years to determine past water temperatures. The researchers used microscopic, shelled protozoan organisms called foraminifera — which prefer specific water temperatures at depths of roughly 150 to 650 feet — as tiny thermometers.
In addition, the team used a second, independent method that involved analyzing the chemical composition of the foraminifera shells to reconstruct past water temperatures in the Fram Strait, said Marchitto.”
So based on some foraminifera shells from the Fram Strait, and a 7% estimated increase in methane emissions, reasonable people are supposed to conclude that “the Arctic is warmer than it has been in at least several hundred and perhaps several thousand years.”? Am I missing something? Can you elaborate? Why do you have so much confidence in forminIfera shells in the Fram Strait as being an accurate proxy for Arctic temperatures over the last “several hundred and perhaps several thousand years”?

rbateman

Brian Hall says:
June 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm
In such a scenario, a melting Arctic is indicative of massive heat loss to space.
It would explain the increasingly colder winters. The returning flow of seawater would take the ocean heat content down rather quickly.
A good test of this would be increased melt of sea ice and the sea levels stop rising due to thermal contraction.

R. Gates

Andrew30 says:
June 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm
R. Gates
“melting of permafrost”
If it melts then it is not permafrost and never was. (That what the ‘perma’ part means)
_____
Try again. Might want to really do a bit of research before making such a ignorant statement.

Werner Brozek

According to UAH, the northern hemisphere is warming at a faster rate than the southern hemisphere over the last 30 years. And the main reason seems to be that the northern Arctic is heating faster than the southern Antarctic. I believe “truth says:June 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm” hit the nail on the head with the reference to black soot from China and elsewhere. For further confirmation of the fault of black soot , see: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warming_aerosols.html
P.S. to Cyrus P Stell says: June 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm: “So obviously the real driver of ice mass is the water temperature and currents.” That may well be part of it since that is one difference between the Arctic and Antarctic. But do not forget that even on land that is covered with ice, the ice melts fast when the sun is at an angle of 23 degrees at the North Pole on June 21 and at a higher angle away from the north pole for at least part of the day. Then the soot factor mentioned above hugely magnifies the effect of the sun. If CO2 had a large role, I would think the Antarctic would melt as fast as the Arctic.

Cassie King

R. Gates says:
June 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm
“e.c.c. – the truth is, the year-to-year arctic sea ice has been declining very steadily for many decades,”
How many decades? It isnt “many” is it? There have been reported declines in polar sea ice in the 1800s/1900s and the fifties. The satellite record goes back 30yrs and that started on a high point funnily enough, so the current small decline could be natural.
“So, does the arctic sea ice data support the “warmists”? Well, it sure doesn’t contradict the notion that AGW could be occurring.”
But it also does not preclude natural cyclic variation, in fact natural cyclic variation is far more likely to be the primary cause.

Legatus

I don’t actually care what the sea ice EXTENT is, only the total amount of ice. That would be ice extant AND thickness. Are there any charts showing or predicting this actual amount of ice?

DR

When can we expect a newly discovered required “adjustment” in sea ice calculations making it worse than we thought? It’s happened before, and as the death spiral isn’t going as planned, an ‘October Surprise’ may be necessarily forthcoming.
sarc/off

Kevin O'Neill

Just The Facts asks:

Why do you have so much confidence in forminIfera shells in the Fram Strait as being an accurate proxy for Arctic temperatures over the last “several hundred and perhaps several thousand years”?

It’s called <b.science.
If you don’t believe in science, then the isotopic ratios found in fossilized or mineralized flora and fauna won’t mean anything to you. Biology, chemistry, and physics dictate that the composition of these fossils is determined by the conditions in which they lived. Analysis can reveal what some of those conditions were. It’s not magic, it needn’t be taken on faith, it’s science. The specific details are available to anyone who wants to spend some time reading. The Google is your friend.

R. Gates says: June 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm
Might want to really do a bit of research before making such a ignorant statement.
That seems like some sound advice. Perhaps you can tell us more about the Fram Strait foraminifera shells that all reasonable people must heed?

nc

R. Gates here is a history lesson for you. I am sure you are aware of it and await your response.
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice-tony-b/

Kevin O'Neill

Werner Brozek says

If CO2 had a large role, I would think the Antarctic would melt as fast as the Arctic.

If you think about it for a moment, this intuitive thought is not necessarily true. The earth’s oceans and landmasses are not laid out symmetrically. The arctic is an ocean with a thin layer of ice on top. The antarctic is a landmass with a much thicker layer of ice on it. As a result of these asymmetries (and how they effect oceanic and atmospheric circulation) the same latitude in the arctic is generally warmer than it’s counterpart in the antarctic.
Compare the climate data for Qaanaaq, Greenland (formerly Thule) vs MacMurdo Station.
The insolation and clearness data would indicate that MacMurdo should be warmer than Qaanaaq, but iMacMurdo is significantly colder.
As to the ice itself, gravimetric data indicates Greenland and Antarctica are each losing about 150 cubic km of ice each year – with the rate accelerating. Sea ice is a different story. The arctic appears to be close to an irreversible (on human timescales) loss of sea ice. Antarctic sea ice is growing in extent.

E.A.

The Arctic Sea Ice Extent plot is updated nearly daily. So why did you include one from June 4th on an article from June 18th? Are you trying to ‘hide the decline’ that occured since then, LOL? :
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png
REPLY: The article is verbatim from ARCUS, it is not for me to change it. People know where to find the updated graphs, as you so aptly demonstrate – Anthony

Kevin O’Neill says: June 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm
It’s called <b.science.
If you don’t believe in science, then the isotopic ratios found in fossilized or mineralized flora and fauna won’t mean anything to you. Biology, chemistry, and physics dictate that the composition of these fossils is determined by the conditions in which they lived. Analysis can reveal what some of those conditions were. It’s not magic, it needn’t be taken on faith, it’s science. The specific details are available to anyone who wants to spend some time reading. The Google is your friend.

Per this 2010 paper;
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009254110001439
“Values of δ11B reported in the literature for Holocene samples of the same foraminiferal species show large variability (6‰) relative to cited precision (< 1‰). This is indicative of significant inter-laboratory biases and raises concerns about the accuracy of foraminiferal proxy pH records."
"Despite these problems, careful analysis of similar samples by NTIMS may permit data to be obtained with consistent relative differences that still yield valuable proxy records, but there is clearly considerable potential for inaccuracies to result in such an approach from hard to detect changes in matrix."
and this 2008 article;
http://instaar.colorado.edu/~marchitt/reprints/bryanpaleo08.pdf
"Over the past decade, the ratio of Mg to Ca in foraminiferal tests has emerged as a valuable paleotemperature proxy. However, large uncertainties remain in the relationships between benthic foraminiferal Mg/Ca and temperature."
"LGM temperatures reconstructed from Mg/Ca and Mg/Li are generally more scattered than core top measurements and may be contaminated by high-Mg overgrowths. The potential for Mg/Ca and Mg/Li as temperature proxies warrants further testing."
the science indicates that foraminifera are a nascent and still suspect proxy for temperature.
Since when does extrapolating an inaccurate proxy from a small geographic area to the entire Arctic constitute "science"…?

R. Gates

I’ve reviewed Tony’s writing many times and highly respect his work. However, I must go with what the hard data and facts are showing. The falling year to year sea ice in the arctic is just one of the measures. The melting permafrost is also saying the same thing…things in the arctic are warming up more than they’ve been since perhaps the Roman warm period…certainly warmer then they were during the MWP and far warmer then they were any time in the past century. There is just too much data telling us this. Having said that, however. It is a different thing altogether to attribute this to anthropogenic factors only. My current thinking is that a warming arctic likely is from rising CO2 levels and related feedbacks, but I would rule out other factors as well, both human and natural.

R. Gates

Mods-
In my last post last sentence should have said:
…but I would not rule put other factors as well, both human and natural.
Please correct if you would be so kind…
Thanks.

Kevin O'Neill

nc says:

…here is a history lesson for you …

I’m not sure what anyone was supposed to take away from that ‘history’ …. for an actual scientific history of the arctic the most comprehensive look, taking into account virtually every scientific paper on the subject, can be found here History of sea ice in the Arctic.
Ice cores, benthic foraminifera, bowhead whale fossils, beach ridges – every paleoclimate proxy is examined, explained, and placed into context. I learned more in this one document than all the others I’ve read combined. The citations alone are 5 double column-width pages 🙂

R. Gates says: June 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm
However, I must go with what the hard data and facts are showing. The falling year to year sea ice in the arctic is just one of the measures.
Finally, something that we agree on. Other measures include increasing year to year sea ice in Antarctica;
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png
and a slight decrease in Global Sea Ice Area:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg
Add to that Arctic Temperatures slightly below average;
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
Global Troposphere Temperatures slightly above average;
ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/graphics/tlt/plots/rss_ts_channel_tlt_global_land_and_sea_v03_3.png
Ocean Heat Content being flat for almost a decade and;
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/heat_content55-07.png
Sea Level trending below its not very steep trendline;
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/current/sl_ib_global.jpg
and I don’t see any indications of runaway global warming. Do you?
The melting permafrost is also saying the same thing…
Are you really that worried about the estimated 7% increase in methane emissions between 2003–2007…?