Sea Ice News Volume 3 #1 – The "Arctic Institute" pwns itself

UPDATE: 3/5 8:30PM PST There’s a hilarious backstory on the sockpuppetry that went on yesterday from the founder of The Arctic Institute – read my comment on it here

It is that time again where attention turns to Arctic Sea Ice because it is approaching maximum extent. There’s really only two periods each year that garner intense interest, and that is the times of maximum and minimum extent. We are fast approaching maximum.

First, let’s start off with a tiff that has developed between Cleveland’s NewsNet5 meteorologist Mark Johnson and an outfit I’ve never heard of called the “Arctic Institute” which called him out a couple of days ago over his report “Ice, ice, baby: Arctic sea ice on the rebound“. They opined on his report:

Only two problems, when I queried him, Johnson stated he was referencing NORSEX SSM/I from the WUWT Sea Ice page, not NSIDC. And, since the Arctic Institute apparently doesn’t know how NSIDC graphs work, they’ve pwned themselves in the process of making their put-down counter claims. Have a look:

The NSIDC 3/3/12 chart looks well within ±2STD and pretty close to the ±1STD boundary to me. Source: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

NORSEX SSM/I extent for 3/4/12 is in fact within ±1STD:

Source: http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_ext.png

Mark Johnson was right. You’d think an outfit that bills themselves as

The Arctic Institute seeks to establish itself as an authoritative, interdisciplinary, and independent source for information and in-depth analysis about the developments in the High North. The Institute was founded in 2011 and currently aims to bring together scholars and researchers to build a growing stock of knowledge and expertise on the Arctic region. In contrast to existing platforms for Arctic affairs, The Arctic Institute is not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the Arctic states.

…would know that NSDIC graphs are on a five day average (and thus don’t reflect recent updates right away), and that daily graphs such as the NORSEX SSMI showed that there had been a dramatic surge in the last couple of days. I guess we know now that “authoritative” is just really their own self serving world view, and not based in actual evidence.

By itself, this peak doesn’t mean all that much. We saw a similar jump near the max in 2009 and 2010, and in 2010 the extent hugged the normal center line for several weeks. In the end though, most people are interested in the minimum in September, and since that event is so dependent on the short term vagaries of wind and weather, having a normal extent at maximum doesn’t guarantee a higher or even normal minimum in September.

One other thing I noted about the Arctic Institute is that they really didn’t show the current extent mapped out, so here it is:

I note that folks like the Arctic Institute just don’t like showing picture of reality, especially at maximum, since their entire existence is predicated on the Serreze “arctic death spiral” mentality and picture like this tend to make people wonder why there’s still ice in the Arctic when they have been told repeatedly it is disappearing at “unprecedented rates”.

So as to prevent the on cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from folks of that ilk, here is their favored presentation:

It sure would be nice if University of Illinois could learn to time stamp their images like I finally convinced NSIDC to do. That would be the scientific thing to do.

The offset right now is minus 726,000 square kilometers, an area slightly bigger than the state of Texas (695,621 sqkm). Most of that missing ice extent is in the Barentz and Greenland seas, as noted in this image from NSIDC I have annotated below:

Source: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_bm_extent.png

And according the the Naval Research Lab, the extent loss in those areas appears to be entirely the result of wind patterns compacting the ice northward. There are strong northward drift vectors in the Barentz:

Source: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicespddrfnowcast.gif

And the air temperature in the Arctic is well below freezing, so air temperature induced melt is likely not a factor…

…but wind driven warmer sea water incursions into the Barentz sea from more southern latitudes seems to be happening in that area and may be contributing to some edge melt:

In other news.

The Antarctic continues along happy as a clam, above normal, with a positive 30+ year trend.

I await the usual condemnations from the excitable folks that are terrified that the world will lose the ice caps soon.

UPDATE: Now the Arctic Institute has added a caveat:

*** [edit: Even the latest available ice extent chart from the NSIDC released on March 3, 2012, one day after Mr. Johnson’s article was published, shows ice extent well outside the one standard deviation area.]

I wonder what they will say tomorrow when NSIDC updates again?

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trbixler

I hope that the ice caps do to recover too much as glaciation could be the next result.

DirkH

trbixler says:
March 4, 2012 at 10:13 am
“I hope that the ice caps do to recover too much as glaciation could be the next result.”
Wouldn’t glaciation be the best remedy against peak water?

Victor Barney

[snip – wildly off topic and full of biblical memes – don’t publish anything like this here again – Anthony]

“The Arctic Institute seeks to establish itself …”
It appears the key word is “seeks” and they have a great deal of looking to do.

John F. Hultquist

. . . independent source for information and in-depth analysis about the developments in the High North.
When (ice) facts get in the way of being a champion for “developments” one, then, has to deny the facts. They are inconvenient!

Latitude

Measuring sometime around June and Dec, makes the most sense…
Trying to get a measurement at the extremes, when the most unstable, is silly
Julienne Stroeve told me she would consider anything less than the size of Egypt – “ice free”
I’m sure the Egyptians would appreciate being told they are so inconsequential
Wouldn’t wind driven compaction be the main contributor to thick multi-year ice?
Since the wind is given so much credit for thinning the ice, it has to work both ways…………

Andrew30

“Now, one sobering forecast is that the Arctic Ocean will be seasonally ice free by the summer of 2013.”
David Suzuki
http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2009/arcticmeltdown/
David;
If you though that you missed the CBC article about the Northwest Passage being open or Ice Free last summer, you didn’t, it wasn’t.

DJ

Sure would be nice to see a corresponding graph of the 1922 sea ice extent along with the terribly limited (in full sea ice context) 1979-2000 extents.
REPLY: One doesn’t exist AFAIK – Anthony

Pawns? Do you mean pwns? As in pwned?
I mean seriously, this is a classic case of old guys tryin’ to be hep cats or sumthun.
REPLY: I tried the “hep cat” spelling in the title, and I figured I’d be criticized for a spelling mistake. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I’ll change it to “pwns” and see what happens. – Anthony

Günther Kirschbaum

[snip – Günther please do take your predictable snark and [self snip], if you have something factual to add to the discussion, please say it, otherwise it’s back to the Neven cave for you. Post Gleick, I have less tolerance for people using methods like yours, so I’m not going to allow you to threadjack anymore with snark. – Anthony]

trbixler

trbixler says:
March 4, 2012 at 10:13 am
I hope that the ice caps do to recover too much as glaciation could be the next result.
oops
not
I hope that the ice caps do not recover too much as glaciation could be the next result.
General old age and feebleness.

nutso fasst

Well, if they pawned themselves, who’s the broker? How much did they borrow, and what good will it do them so long as they remain in hock?
Straining too hard too be clever is a form of self abuse.

Pamela Gray

As we all get older we no longer give our age in months. And as we get much older we manage to remember what decade we are in because the years don’t matter. But we appear intolerant of descrepancies smaller than a gnat’s ass in climate science. This odd behavior is true of CO2 and solar forcing camps to the same degree. Ice alarmists seem to have the same mindset. Proper sceptical research looks for robust results and ignores the hair on the gnat’s ass.

The sun’s almost up around Novaja Zemlija …is there any satellite picture actually showing open sea on its western shores?

Andrew30

nutso fasst says: March 4, 2012 at 11:00 am
[Well, if they pawned themselves, who’s the broker?] – The government, by proxy, on your behalf.
[How much did they borrow] – Check your pockets.
[ and what good will it do them so long as they remain in hock?] – It does not matter, they can always borrow more next year, unless November goes poorly for socialism in which case they will move to Europe and soak you through the UN. This is assuming that you are not already a comrade of BEST (Bankrupt European Socialist Team); if you are then you have my condolences.

R. Shearer

It’s too bad our satellite records don’t go back to the days when hurricanes were ravishing wind-powered Spanish galleons full of plundered Central American gold. Oh the irony.

Bob Young

Good article as far as it goes. Would have possibly helped to point out AO shifted in November so more ice was near enough certain. Only concern I have is seems to be a reduction of multi year ice according to multiple reports and as you properly caveated this is no guarantee of return to mean in September.
By the way I’m a convinced warmista but not a scientist.

Edim

Was the Denmark Strait ever completely frozen (between Greenland and Iceland)? Is there any historical evidence? Of course I mean during this interglacial.

Günther Kirschbaum

Maurizio: LANCE-MODIS

[snip – Günther please do take your predictable snark and [self snip], if you have something factual to add to the discussion, please say it, otherwise it’s back to the Neven cave for you. Post Gleick, I have less tolerance for people using methods like you, so I’m not going to allow you to threadjack anymore with snark. – Anthony]
That’s fine, Anthony. You just snip and ban. As long as you read it. We both know the truth.
REPLY: Except that your version of truth always comes with some personal derision while ignoring everything else in this post, and that’s the issue. I get it, I got it from your very first few comments ever made here; you don’t like me or this website, take it elsewhere then – Anthony

Joe Prins

Andrew30: LOL. It is amazing what all sort of “buggy” bright treehugger types will do to scare folks. I am still waiting for at least one history professor in the world to tell me that there was no MWP or LIA. Seems to me they are awfully quiet in this slowly fading debate. Perhaps history professors have not figured out on how to jump on the gravy train?

Frank Kotler

“Hep cat”? That goes way back to when “hot” was “cool”… Daddy-o!
Off topic: I see the “widget” finally updated to January CO2 – Thanks to whoever does that!
Back on topic: Not being a statistician, I rely on naive observations. Every year, about “this much” (holds fingers apart) ice melts and re-freezes. Since the beginning of time (1979) about “this much” extra ice has melted. It would take about “this much” more ice to melt before the Arctic becomes ice-free. I don’t see it happening!
If the Arctic became ice-free, and I didn’t “read about it in the papers” (figuratively speaking), how would I know? According to the recent Liu/Curry et al. paper, it would get really cold in the winter. I’ll watch for that… (perhaps “hot” has become “cool” again!)
Thanks to Julienne Stroeve and Walt Meier for being willing to talk to us and answer our questions!
Best,
Frank

DirkH

jeez says:
March 4, 2012 at 10:41 am
“Pawns? Do you mean pwns? As in pwned?”
Check definition #4 on the page you linked to.

DJ

I’d asked about the sea ice extent for 1922 as a curiosity, not believing one actually existed…..
Anthony responded that it did not, to his knowledge exist.
Looks like it might!
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2010.png
The 1922 satellites were no doubt crude, but apparently functional.

Green Sand

Barrow Sea Ice Mass Balance Site 2012
The latest measurements available are of Day 61 – Mar 04, 2012, 10:00 AM AKST:
Air temperature:
-33 °C, -27 °F
Ice thickness:
1.38 m, 4 ft 6″
Last year it was Day 91 before the ice thickness was 1.38m.
http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_sealevel
http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/data/barrow_massbalance/BRW_MBS_2011.txt

Stephen Singer

Just reviewed their staff listing and it appears there is not a single legit scientist of any type in the group. They’re all government or management trained.

1DandyTroll

It seems too terribly easy to set up these “institutes”. If these experts so readily stubbles on their own expertise and instead of correction to create a good name of integrity instead are fast on their kness digging like crazy to widen and deepen their own dung hole.
It’s like their’s a website out there with a one-click solution to your own institute. :p

rabbit

I’ve been watching the open water north of Finland and western Russia all winter. That area froze up early in the season and then opened up in December, an unusual patten given that it’s well above the arctic circle and thus was in constant night. In other words, it could not be blamed on warm air.
I was guessing that it opened up due to a strong or wandering Gulf stream, but now you tell me that it’s wind patterns. Interesting.

philincalifornia

Edim says:
March 4, 2012 at 11:27 am
Was the Denmark Strait ever completely frozen
———————————————
Yes:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Has_the_Denmark_strait_ever_frozen_completely
I found the book by Brian Fagan to be a really good, albeit sobering read.

Blondini

Anthony your article was thorough and precise like usual, with third party references so I can form my own opinions. Malte, on the other hand, has studied poly sci and Euro studies and has zero to four years post grad experience, so is more in tune with the consensus. Who to believe?

DJ says:
“The 1922 satellites were no doubt crude, but apparently functional.”
As a matter of fact, eye witness reports showed more open water at the North Pole in the past than now. It’s just natural variability due to ocean currents. CO2 has nothing to do with it.

Brian H

“I await the usual condemnations from the excitable folks that are terrified thrilled that the world will lose the ice caps soon.”
FIFY
🙂

Disko Troop

I don’t think we need to look much further than the top three names on the Arctic Institute website (publicly available data)
Malte Humpert
Founder and Executive Director
M.A. European Studies (2011), Georgetown University
B.A. Political Science (2007), California State University Northridge.
Kathrin Keil
Research Associate – Arctic Security, Cooperation, and Institutions
M.S. European Affairs (2009), Lunds Universitet, Sweden
B.A. International Relations (2007), Technical University Dresden, Germany.
ndreas Østhagen
Research Associate – Norway/EU Arctic Policy
MSc. Politics and Government in the European Union: The International Relations of Europe (2010), London School of Economics (LSE)
B.A. Political Economy (2009), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Political Science! European Studies! International Relations! Politics and Government in the EU!
Yup! These are real heavy weights in the Geophysical science sphere. Look out for a lot more fact free BS from this source. Rocket Scientists they are not!
(add extra commas ,…, -‘s and parenthesis to your taste)
(mods: this may have posted already as my internet threw a wobbly.. Apologies if I am creating work.)
[Periods and parenthesis found. Additional comma’s, however, are still needed. Robt]

Anything is possible

So to summarise :
A 1m km^2 gain in sea ice extent over a 3-week period in February is completely and utterly meaningless, while a 1m km^2 loss in sea ice extent over a 3-week period in September means the world is coming to end.

Steve from Rockwood

The NORSEX graph is interesting as it shows that 2007 ice extent was lower all year round compared to the other years shown. You can’t just have a quick summer melt to be ice free, you need to keep the ice back in the previous winter as well. 2012 is looking a lot like 2009-2010. Ice-free in 2013? It will be interesting to hear Suzuki explain why it wasn’t. Look forward to the “minimum” poll.

@Pamela Gray says: March 4, 2012 at 11:03 am
“As we all get older we no longer give our age in months. And as we get much older we manage to remember what decade we are in because the years don’t matter. But we appear intolerant of descrepancies smaller than a gnat’s ass in climate science.”
If you don’t get grumpy as you get older, you aren’t paying attention…

@philincalifornia says: March 4, 2012 at 11:50 am
“I found the book by Brian Fagan to be a really good, albeit sobering read.”
The Little Ice Age is excellent, and a … chilling… warning that a colder world is not a hospitable place. Though I wouldn’t object top watching the EcoFanatics shivering…

Anything is possible

Green Sand says:
March 4, 2012 at 11:39 am
Barrow Sea Ice Mass Balance Site 2012
The latest measurements available are of Day 61 – Mar 04, 2012, 10:00 AM AKST:
Air temperature:
-33 °C, -27 °F
Ice thickness:
1.38 m, 4 ft 6″
Last year it was Day 91 before the ice thickness was 1.38m.
___________________________________________________________________________
According to the 2011 data, ice thickness was 1.13m on day 61, and reached a maximum of 1.56m on day 145.
Well worth keeping an eye on……

Typo,
There’s really only two periods”

Question. Why is the 1979-2000 (twenty hundred) average better than any other average? Is it a matter of “It’s all we have so we call it good”?

This study by Ribeiro et al suggests :-
Presently, the Baffin Bay southern sea-ice boundary extends from Disko Island to the southwest, towards Canada. This would imply that prior to AD 1250 this boundary was more northerly and gradually moved towards the vicinity of the core site until after AD 1500 (Little Ice Age), when it was positioned south of the core site.
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/little-ice-age-coldest-period-in-the-last-7000-years-in-greenland/

Davy12

Been watching this little uptick. I am hoping it hits the average line so I can blast the guardian environment section and anywhere else with this news. I am also smart enough to know that mother nature will decide what happens.
The sheer intelligence of all these warmist fools. So clever they have fooled themselves. They really think PR and bullying can change mother nature, total tools. I’ll keep on checking the artic ice pages.

John West

Not that I’m one for making arguments from authority, but the Artic Institute doesn’t seem to have any scientists on its staff: (unless you consider poli-sci science)
http://www.thearcticinstitute.org/p/staff.html
They do have a couple historians that should make the connections that inescapably conclude CAGW skepticism is not only warranted but absolutely necessary.
1. Historical evidence of worldwide LIA, MWP.
2. Actions by the CAGW crowd that parallel historical fanatics.
3. Historically claims of “scientific consensus” to a conclusion have been consistently made for supporting a conclusion with insufficient data for the conclusion stand on the evidence alone.
FWIW: SNIP on VB absolutely proper. (I unfortunately read it before snippage.)

Gary D.

Very pretty staff in the institute. They do seem to have the most important thing, a UN liason. Gotta get them salaries paid somehow.

afizzyfist

You have to be quite wary of CT, Im pretty sure they fiddle with the borders of each ice section to get the desired result. They also love to delay as much as possible showing any big rebound. Also be on guard for the Downward “adjustments” at times like these. DMI is pretty thruthful methinks

afizzyfist

BTW ice max is usually totally unrelated to ice min, however this time it may due to solar ewtc may be kicking in slowly but surely my bet is for a very much increased ice minimum (More ice)

Tim

Is there any ‘mileage’ in the fact that to the West of Svalbard where the ice seems to have an objection to forming, there is a divergent plate boundary with the possibility of thermal vents? The Gulf Stream, I believe, has an effect. (I notice Wiki refers to it as The ‘Golf’ Stream; is that to do with it warming the West coast of Scotland?)

RACookPE1978

Latitude says:
March 4, 2012 at 10:29 am
Measuring sometime around June and Dec, makes the most sense…
Trying to get a measurement at the extremes, when the most unstable, is silly

Going to politely disagree with you there. While the sea maximum and sea ice minimum occur over a long period of time (as do “most” climatic/geologic sinusoidal/cosine wave type periodic functions!) the minimum or maximum is readily apparent. It is also a visual number, and for better or worse, we are stuck with it.
Sea measurements at the mid-point are going to vary significantly from year to year. Using a single arbitrary date would be valid perhaps, but only if you determined which date was a valid “average”. If you would insist on date-based trends, then you should use fall equinox (sea maximum Antarctic/southern hemisphere + sea ice minimum Arctic/north hemisphere) December solstice (near mid-point both hemispheres), spring equinox (Arctic maximum, Antarctic minimum) , and summer solstice (near Antarctic mid-point rising, near arctic midpoint falling). But you need to go back to ALL of the available ice histories and also determine “what” number you are averaging. What “smoothing” you will use. Why you made your choices.

Call me a warmista, but, I believe the Earth will burn! But that will occur in the end times when Jesus returns. So until then I look for severe cold to envelop the world!

EW-3

Something very narcissistic about their mission statement;
“The Arctic Institute seeks to establish itself as an authoritative, interdisciplinary, and independent source for information”
Sounds like they are not doing any actual work, just want to establish itself as a big shot.

Replicant

This “Institute” is just a web site put together with a couple of students and some others with low level degrees in “Political Science”, “European Studies”, “International Relations” etc. A web site, not much more. No science involved so I would not get too excited about their silliness.