Warming Island / Greenland Sea Regional Climate and Arctic Sea Ice Reconstruction

Guest post by David Middleton

The recent return of the Warming Island AGW myth inspired me to build a climate reconstruction for the Greenland Sea region.

Temperature Reconstruction

I performed a GISS station search centered on 71.4 N latitude, 23.5 W longitude and downloaded the 12 GISS/GHCN instrumental records with at least 60 years of continuous data up to 2011.

Fig. 1) Station Location Map

Next I calculated a temperature anomaly relative to 1961-1990 for each of the 12 stations and then averaged them together to create a temperature reconstruction. The climate in the Warming Island area is statistically indistinguishable from that of the 1930’s.

Fig. 2) Warming Island Area: Instrumental temperature reconstruction.

Then I took that reconstruction back to 1000 AD with the GISP2 ice core Ar-N2 data (Kobashi et al., 2010)…

Fig. 3) Warming Island Area: Instrumental reconstruction combined with GISP2 ice core reconstruction.

The Modern Warming is also statistically indistinguishable from the Medieval Warm Period in the Warming Island / Greenland Sea region.

Arctic Sea Ice Reconstruction

It occurred to me that there might just be a relationship between the temperature anomaly and the Arctic sea ice extent. So I went to Wood for Trees and downloaded the historical NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice Index. Then I cross plotted an annual 13-month running average of the sea ice index against the average of the station anomalies and the GISP2 reconstruction (Kobashi et al., 2010) and found a pretty good correlation (R-squared = 0.67)…

Fig. 4) Warming Island Temperature Anomaly vs. NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice Index.

Using the equation “Sea Ice Index = (-0.5976 * Temp. Anom.)+12.374” I calculated a Model Sea Ice Index.

The “Model Sea Ice Index” (white curve) is very similar to the measured sea ice index (cyan curve)…

Fig. 5) Arctic Sea Ice Extent Model: 1880 AD to present.

Using the same equation, I extrapolated the Model Sea Ice Index back to 1000 AD using the GISP2 temperature data from Kobashi et al., 2010…

Fig. 6) Arctic Sea Ice Extent Model: 1000 AD to present.

The model suggests that Arctic sea ice had been steadily expanding from ca. 1150 AD up until ca. 1800 AD and has been declining since ca. 1800 AD.

Next, I carried the model back to the Early Holocene using the Alley, 2000 GISP2 reconstruction…

Fig. 7) Arctic Sea Ice Extent Model: Holocene

This suggests that the sea ice contraction during the instrumental era (1979-2011) is not particularly remarkable.

Calibrating the Model

Realizing that my model has been extrapolated about 8,000 years away from real data, I decided to compare it to some real data. McKay et al., 2008 demonstrated that the modern Arctic sea ice cover is anomalously high and the Arctic summer sea surface temperature is anomalously low relative to the rest of the Holocene…

Modern sea-ice cover in the study area, expressed here as the number of months/year with >50% coverage, averages 10.6 ±1.2 months/year… Present day SST and SSS in August are 1.1 ± 2.4 8C and 28.5 ±1.3, respectively… In the Holocene record of core HLY0501-05, sea-ice cover has ranged between 5.5 and 9 months/year, summer SSS has varied between 22 and 30, and summer SST has ranged from 3 to 7.5 8C (Fig. 7).

McKay et al., 2008

Fig. 8) Chukchi Sea Ice Extent: Holocene.

My GISP2 (Alley, 2000) sea ice model is generally consistent with McKay et al., 2008…

Fig. 9) Comparison of Arctic sea ice extent model to Chukchi Sea ice cover.

Conclusion

“Move along, there’s nothing to see here.” The Arctic sea ice has “been there and done that” many times over the last 10,000 years without any anthropogenic assistance.

References

Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

Kobashi, T., J.P. Severinghaus, J.-M. Barnola, K. Kawamura, T. Carter, and T. Nakaegawa. 2010. Persistent multi-decadal Greenland temperature fluctuation through the last millennium. Climatic Change, Vol. 100, pp. 733-756.

McKay, J.L., A. de Vernal, C. Hillaire-Marcel, C. Not, L. Polyak, and D. Darby. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea. Can. J. Earth Sci. 45: 1377–1397

Michaels, P. 2008. “Warming Island”—Another Global Warming Myth Exposed.World Climate Report.

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Günther Kirschbaum
September 29, 2011 12:39 am

You do realize that McKay et al 2008 was about the Chukchi Sea and not the entire Arctic?
Could you also do a temperature reconstruction for the North coast of Ellesmere Island where apparently ice shelves that have been there for 3000-5500 years are rapidly disappearing?
Cheers!

Editor
September 29, 2011 12:44 am

David Middleton
Nice work-well done!
My own study showed considerable arctic ice melting around 1800 to 1860 which fits in nicely with your own paper. At that time the Royal Society mounted an expedition to investigate the causes.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688
There then seems to have been a partial recovery, with a further notable down turn from 1919-1939 which my colleague Dr Arnd Bernaerts wrote about here
http://www.arctic-heats-up.com/chapter_1.html
There then seems to have been another partial recovery until the advent of the satellite era which marked a relative high point in the amount of arctic ice, which has declined ever since..
Arctic ice melt is a regular occurrence with a downwards trend probably from around 1750 or so, which Hubert Lamb and others mark as being the start of the glacier retreat we can witness today. As well as the Vikings a thousand years ago we also have the evidence of Arctic civilisation in the form of the Ipiatuk some 3000 years ago, so we really should stop thinking about the current episode as being unique.
tonyb

Ibrahim
September 29, 2011 12:48 am

“the warmest year in the extended Greenland temperature
record is 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades”
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/greenland/vintheretal2006.pdf
http://www.dmi.dk/dmi/index/klima/klimaet_indtil_nu/temperaturen_i_groenland.htm

September 29, 2011 1:05 am

That’s worth a paper. I will look for it in around 3-4 years after (if) it gets through the buddy peer review.

Girma
September 29, 2011 1:19 am

David Middleton
Excellent work.
Thank you.
Yes, global mean temperature is cyclic as shown by the following data
http://bit.ly/ocY95R

September 29, 2011 1:25 am

Beautifully and comprehensively presented in a way that even this non-scientist can understand. Thank you David.

Dreadnought
September 29, 2011 1:26 am

Nice work!
This rightly makes a mockery of this latest AGW myth, which seems to have duped a lot of people into thinking it’s both unprecedented and a new name for Warming Island – both of which are wrong.
The well-known fact that the Vikings settled there and called it Greenland at a time when they could grow crops, raise livestock, and bury their dead in ground which is now permafrost, rarely seems to see the light of day amidst the MSM AGW hysteria.
Sadly, as I say, lots of people have been duped – just as they were by the Row To Pole jokers. Most Hanoi-ing, as they say in Vietnam. }:o(

John Marshall
September 29, 2011 1:29 am

The alarmist method of choosing summer to measure ice loss and scream ‘AGW’ but ignore the winter freeze, regardless of the depth of that freeze, shows a complete one sided cherry picked system of argument which proves nothing.
The cyclicity of climate would dictate ice area changing to follow the cycles.
Thanks for making the seemingly obvious more obvious for the alarmists who might change the habits of a lifetime and actually read this.

wayne Job
September 29, 2011 1:30 am

A very good analysis of available information that within itself cuts most of the legs out from under AGW.

Chuck Nolan
September 29, 2011 3:18 am

Scottish Sceptic says:
September 29, 2011 at 1:05 am
That’s worth a paper. I will look for it in around 3-4 years after (if) it gets through the buddy peer review.
————————
Why so long? I would expect a pal/peer reviewed paper by Friday.
By today’s standards. /sarc off

RR Kampen
September 29, 2011 3:45 am

Same empty fruitbowl with some picked cherries. BTDT.

Michael D Smith
September 29, 2011 4:42 am

A textbook example of loss of high frequency information in ice data. Nice work Willis. It seems this sort of analysis is out of the reach of anyone with the term “climatologist” in their CV. Perhaps that’s the issue that will be the most challenging scientific investigation.

Pascvaks
September 29, 2011 5:21 am

Ergo: The actual intent of Mann, Gore, Jones, et al, is to make the next natural cooling event much stronger and thereby initiate the next glacial cycle ASAP. The overall impact will be a tremendous reduction in human population, the destruction of modern civilization, a significant reduction in sealevels, a fantastic expansion in the population of ‘desireable’ species, and an absolutely phenominal expansion in new beachfront property for the rich-n-famous worldwide.
Who said these guys were flakes? I really can’t get it out of my head that Soros is behind all this somewhere, and I just can’t imagine how he himself expects to profit from it all. When ‘Fat Albert’ starts talking about everyone chipping in to build a pyrimid for ‘Big George’ you’ll know the cat’s out of the bag.
I just don’t get it! WHY?

September 29, 2011 5:23 am

If YOU can do it, then THEY should be able to do it too, but, as we all know, that would be VERY inconvenient, indeed.
They’re really not interested in testable science, or historical fact (or likelihood), only the religion and pandering to their funders.

Brian Johnson uk
September 29, 2011 6:01 am

Not much grant money on the horizon for your efforts. However if you could do a Jones/Mann obfuscation and show a potential but untrue 21st Century Arctic AGW meltdown you could gather squillions of dollar/pound/euros to continue the lie!
Inconvenience notwithstanding.

Dr Mo
September 29, 2011 6:07 am

Michael D Smith says:
September 29, 2011 at 4:42 am
“A textbook example of loss of high frequency information in ice data. Nice work Willis.”
err… I know Willis E. does great work around here, but give credit to David Middleton where credit is due… 🙂

September 29, 2011 6:26 am

I am not sure to mix instrumental record with GISP2 data. More, GISP2 ends in 1905 (but not on your graph) so not easy to calibrate them against each other.
There is a nice relation between Arctic SST and ice extent. In the past I did the ice extent reconstruction back to 1900 based on Arctic SST as well. Add the albedo amplifying effect and it might be not far off.

Bill Illis
September 29, 2011 6:36 am

Really good article David.

Gail Combs
September 29, 2011 8:19 am

Pascvaks says: @ September 29, 2011 at 5:21 am
“…….Who said these guys were flakes? I really can’t get it out of my head that Soros is behind all this somewhere, and I just can’t imagine how he himself expects to profit from it all. When ‘Fat Albert’ starts talking about everyone chipping in to build a pyrimid for ‘Big George’ you’ll know the cat’s out of the bag.
I just don’t get it! WHY?…”

_________________________________________________________________________
First David, Great article, I hope you can expand and publish. Given all the Viking artifacts the melting is uncovering you would think the CAGW types would get a clue.
About WHY
MONEY and POWER of course with the added benefit of wiping out the excess “Useless Eaters” (you and me) cluttering up the landscape they want to “Rewild”
Big Al , Monsanto, and the World Bank will clean-up big bucks with planting eucalyptus forests for carbon credits as I just explained in this comment It is an invasive allelopathic monoculture tree, uneatable to most animals so it also wipes out the food supply of the wildlive while sucking up water and nutrients and leaving the land unfit for crops. Eucalyptus globulus Is also classified as the worst fire hazard tree to top it off.
I explain the push for power and control of the world food supply with comments starting http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/26/ipcc-resistance-is-futile/#comment-752960“>here.
All you have to do is a search on Soros, Rothschild and farmland to see what is considered the next big money maker. The plan has been in the works for decades and scares the {selfsnip} out of me because they are now beginning to “cash in ” on their plans as the big corporations buy up more and more farmland worldwide.
Making BIG money from starvation:
http://www.bread.org/hunger/global/
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-goldman-gambled-on-starvation-2016088.html
http://www.globalissues.org/article/758/global-food-crisis-2008

TomRude
September 29, 2011 8:28 am

OT Anthony check this Bull coming from Canada:
http://nrtee-trnee.ca/
The report is fearmongering BS, economic alarmism… check page 143-145 for the advisors of this garbage!

September 29, 2011 8:33 am

Thanks for the good work. The role of time in all geoscience endeavors must never be underestimated. The geosciences are simply one huge set of models that are continually being recalibrated to new empirical data. Many it seems are so focused on their own navels they completely forget about geo-time.

Michael D Smith
September 29, 2011 10:59 am

Dr Mo says:
September 29, 2011 at 6:07 am
Michael D Smith says:
September 29, 2011 at 4:42 am
“A textbook example of loss of high frequency information in ice data. Nice work Willis.”
err… I know Willis E. does great work around here, but give credit to David Middleton where credit is due… 🙂

Duly noted… Sorry about that David! I read it and it was so well done and easy to follow I guess I just assumed it was Willis. I too would take that as a huge compliment! Nicely done, I look forward to your next article… Mike S.

September 29, 2011 11:33 am

Thanks for the Kobashi et al. David. So the whole catastrophic warming occurred up there before 1950, then cooled a bit, then warmed a bit to previous level. Here are all Greenland stations via the KNMI Climate Explorer:
Monthly: http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icrutem3_300-340E_55-85N_n_sua.png
Annual means: http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icrutem3_300-340E_55-85N_n_su_mean1a.png
Here is the CMIP3+ model average for the same area:
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/itas_cmip3_ave_mean_sresa1b_300-340E_55-85N_n_su_mean1a.png
Those cutting-edge-coupled-state-of-the-art models can not replicate recent history, because they are purely based on hypothetical “greenhouse forcings” and dismiss any natural changes. Unbelievable, that someone is still ready to argument with them.

jakers
September 29, 2011 11:40 am

I don’t see the obvious and predictable 60-70 year ice cycles discussed by Joe D’Aleo on here a couple of weeks ago. What’s up with that?

jakers
September 29, 2011 11:49 am

Did you look up Walsh & Chapman 2001, Annals of Glaciology, 33, 444-448 and compare their reconstruction of arctic ice to yours?

Edim
September 29, 2011 11:59 am

Well done David! I am in agreement. The most important/dominant time scale for humans is the last ~8000 years (since the interglacial maximum peak to the LIA minimum and present). The linear trend is COOLING. I don’t see the trend reversing in the future.

Gail Combs
September 29, 2011 1:00 pm

Edim says: @ September 29, 2011 at 11:59 am
“Well done David! I am in agreement. The most important/dominant time scale for humans is the last ~8000 years (since the interglacial maximum peak to the LIA minimum and present). The linear trend is COOLING. I don’t see the trend reversing in the future.”
__________________________________________________________________________
All you have to do is LOOK at the long term Geo scale record of temp. and you can see the earth is in the best shape it has been for an extended period of time. I am talking about the nice FLAT Holocene instead of a spike and crash back to an Ice age of the previous couple of interglacials. The believers of CAGW are so busy looking at the temp vs CO2 data they never notice that we don’t even have a problem.
http://climatechangedownunder.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ice-core-data.jpg

Edim
September 29, 2011 1:13 pm

Gail Combs,
Yes, it’s much flatter cooling than the previous couple of interglacial, but I take these ice core records with a grain of salt. There may be unknown artifacts, or maybe not. What I find interesting is that on those timescales warming seems to be steeper than cooling.

September 29, 2011 2:19 pm

Looks like you are tossing away loads of information by not using shorter records. As JeffId and Romanm and Tamino and Nick Stoke and Richard Muller’s team shows there is no need to
throw away this information as they can be combined effectively.
Also, it looks like you are averaging over 90 degrees of longitude and if you are simply averaging them that will tend to give you a spatial bias.
Finally, you’ve got a geographically inhomogenous group WRT ( many island stations for example. )
In any case, there is more data that might tighten up you analysis and of course.. code and data posted or it doesnt count as science. Same rules for everybody

phlogiston
September 29, 2011 3:03 pm

RR Kampen
What happened to the monster el Nino that you were predicting back in May?

Alan_F
September 29, 2011 3:56 pm

TomRude,
The funding for these fellows has been drying up now since the Conservatives took a majority and naturally gravity has reasserted its tugging on the sky.

Billy Liar
September 29, 2011 4:43 pm

Günther Kirschbaum says:
September 29, 2011 at 12:39 am
Take a look at your link. Then go to the Ward Hunt ice shelf pictures at:
http://http-server.carleton.ca/~dmueller/iceshelves/WHIS2011.html
Now tell me whether you can see any difference between the 2011-8-26 an 2011-09-22 state of the ice shelf. They have failed to indicate (by red outline) that the ice joining the two parts of the shelf is still there in the September picture. They are showing a decrease when there is none!
Sloppy work.

tokyoboy
September 29, 2011 5:04 pm

Somewhat OT, but I notice the temperature trend graph of Reno, Nevada, as posted at surfacestations.org in January 2008:
(1) http://gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php?g2_itemId=33587
has apparently been morphed into this one (at the GISS site):
(2) http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425724880000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
On the current GISS site I’m unable to find any trend graph that is similar to (1), and the direction of “manipulation”, if any, appears to be “past years drastically upward”, as opposed to their “traditional manner”.
Anyone in the know please tell me about the background of this enigmatic change of the graph.
When the story becomes clear, I’m incorporationg it into a book (titled “The Global Warming Myth”, in Japanese) to be published in February or March 2012.
Thank you in advance for your help.

MFKBoulder
September 29, 2011 7:20 pm

Billy Liar says:
September 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm
“Now tell me whether you can see any difference between the 2011-8-26 an 2011-09-22 state of the ice shelf”
Look at the high resolution picture. What was joined in August is broken up in September.
Just look at the orientation of the “texture” of the shelf.
==> NO sloppy work. Sloppy comment only.

savethesharks
September 29, 2011 8:49 pm

Oh god the scaremongering continues. The AP continues with its groupthink establishmentarian approach. What’s new?
http://news.yahoo.com/canadian-arctic-nearly-loses-entire-ice-shelf-214311365.html
911. What’s your emergency?
Another prank call, it seems.
[I know this is a little OT, but still Arctic, and I figured Dave Middleton could shoot some holes through it].
Go for it, Dave.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

TomRude
September 29, 2011 9:35 pm
Robert
September 30, 2011 4:24 pm

You do realize that running correlations between running means is literally asking for a spurious one right?

bill the frog
October 3, 2011 4:23 am

RE: John Marshall observed that…
“The alarmist method of choosing summer to measure ice loss and scream ‘AGW’ but ignore the winter freeze, regardless of the depth of that freeze, shows a complete one sided cherry picked system of argument which proves nothing.”
I do tend to concur that the figures pertaining to Arctic Sea Ice Extent at the end of melt season (i.e. September) may take undue pride of place in the publicity stakes. (Although a variety of Naval forces and shipping companies may beg to differ.)
If it is indeed the case that there exists somewhere a dataset which paints a completely different picture during the winter months, then I’m sure may people would love to see said data. However, if this conjecture is merely predicated upon a personal view of how the world ought to behave, then a measure of “steeling ones’s self for disappointment” may well be in order.
A variety of sources for the relevant Sea Ice data exist, and, for example, it is straightforward to download monthly figures from the National Snow & Ice Data Centre stretching back to November 1978. Calculating the annual linear trends in Sea Ice Extent (with the equivalent Antarctic figures shown alongside for comparison) yields the following results…
(numeric values in thousands of square kilometres per annum, Arctic figures precede Antarctic)
Jan -49 8
Feb -46 5
Mar -43 12
Apr -39 16
May -33 23
Jun -44 17
Jul -68 13
Aug -72 10
Sep -81* 14
Oct -57 15
Nov -53 10
Dec -47 15
Ave -51 16
*The September 2011 figures should become available in the next couple of days, and as a consequence, the mean rate of ice loss for the month will change to approximately -84,000 sq km/annum.
Graphical representations showing trends across the entire year (as opposed to the supposedly cherry-picked summer months) are easily available from sites such as the NSIDC itself (using the average of the 1979-2000 figures as its baseline), Nansen Environmental (baseline 1979 – 2006) or the University of Bremen (baseline 1972 – 2008 for the Arctic, 1973 – 2008 for the Antarctic.)
Obviously, if the above datasets from NSIDC and the others have been falsified, then the original assertion may indeed be valid. Otherwise, it would appear to be somewhat lacking in merit.

bill the frog
October 3, 2011 6:15 am

Edim wrote…
“The most important/dominant time scale for humans is the last ~8000 years (since the interglacial maximum peak to the LIA minimum and present). The linear trend is COOLING. I don’t see the trend reversing in the future.”
Aha, good old “lies, damned lies and Statistics”.
The above assertion is, strictly speaking, correct. Unfortunately, it is also complete nonsense.
Edim, I’m quite happy to assume that you are making a genuine mistake here: however it is well past time for you to reassess your understanding of Statistics. Your starting figure of 8,000 years suggests pretty unambiguously that you are talking about the length of time from the Holocene Thermal Optimum up until today. Now, that represents a rather extended X-axis on a graph, and that is at the heart of your misunderstanding.
Can we, for the sake of simplicity, assume that the LIA petered out around 1850? The reason for choosing this figure is to allow the scale to be brought down to more manageable proportions. If we can agree that the LIA ended about 160 years ago, this gives us a rather obvious cancellation factor.
Instead of talking 8,000 years ago, we can divide this by 160, thus giving us a mere 50 or so “time units” to work with. (Each of these being a somewhat non-standard 160 years long.)
Now try out the following steps on Excel. (NOTE you can either do this on a chart, and ask for a linear trend line and formula, or, even easier, just use the SLOPE function.)
STEP 1: Along Row 1, enter the numbers 1 – 54. (This represents each of the 160-year units, and will simply provide a base for the X-axis in the chart and/or the SLOPE calculation.)
STEP 2: Starting in the same column as above, but along Row 2, enter the sequence 50, 49, 48, ….. 3,2,1 (This is a gross simplification, but is meant to be representative of declining temperatures from the Thermal Optimum. This will be the Y-axis time-series data values. The actual scale of the Y-axis is unimportant here if one is merely looking at the sign of the trend.)
STEP 3: Using either a chart and trend line, or the SLOPE function, calculate the trend. With the above figures, this will, unsurprisingly, produce a trend of -1/unit time.
STEP 4: Insert an additional entry of value 50 at the end of the Row 2 values, such that it now reads “…3,2,1,50”. Recalculate the trend, and it will now read -0.89
STEP 5: Add further values of 100,150, 200 into the next three cells of Row 2, such that it now has 54 entries and ends with “…3,2,1,50,100,150,200”. Recalculate the trend and it will STILL be negative!
Let’s try a put that into some physical perspective shall we? If you think that the difference in global average temperature between the Holocene Thermal Optimum and the Little Ice Age was (say) 3 degrees, then, if the temperatures over the next 5 centuries rose steadily to 9 degrees ABOVE the Holocene Thermal Optimum, then the trend over the 85 centuries would STILL be negative!
The problem with your reasoning, if you haven’t worked it out for yourself, is that the data from the end of the LIA till today only represents about 2% of the time series. When fitting a linear trend to the time series, this small proportion becomes utterly swamped by the other 98%. Even when we extrapolate out another 500 years, this only takes us up to about 7.5% of the whole series.
I obviously do not know what age you are, but I would be prepared to bet vast sums of money that you will not live to “see the trend reversing in the future”. For the trend to reverse sign during your lifetime, the Sun would need to go nova, and you would need to have found some method of surviving this cataclysm. (If you didn’t survive, it wouldn’t be happening within your lifetime.)
Under such extreme circumstances, I would certainly be prepared to admit that CO2 was just an unimportant trace gas.

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