The Economist Provides Readers With Erroneous Information About Arctic Sea Ice

http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicespddrf_nowcast_anim30d.gif

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) – HYCOM Consortium for Data-Assimilative Ocean Modeling – Click the pic to view at source

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

A June 16th article in the Economist “The vanishing north” states that;

“Between now and early September, when the polar pack ice shrivels to its summer minimum, they will pore over the daily sea ice reports of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre. Its satellite data will show that the ice has shrunk far below the long-term average. This is no anomaly: since the 1970s the sea ice has retreated by around 12% each decade. Last year the summer minimum was 4.33m square km (1.67m square miles)—almost half the average for the 1960s.

The Arctic’s glaciers, including those of Greenland’s vast ice cap, are retreating. The land is thawing: the area covered by snow in June is roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s. The permafrost is shrinking. Alien plants, birds, fish and animals are creeping north: Atlantic mackerel, haddock and cod are coming up in Arctic nets. Some Arctic species will probably die out.

Perhaps not since the 19th-century clearance of America’s forests has the world seen such a spectacular environmental change. It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.”

However, the Economist’s assertion that “global warming” is “the cause of the melt” is demonstrably false.

There is ample evidence that the Arctic has warmed over the last several decades, e.g.; the RSS Northern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere(TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

shows a .337 K/C per decade increase.

However, atmospheric temperatures are just one of numerous variables that are the “cause of the melt”. In fact, the largest influences on Arctic Sea Ice appear to be wind and Atmospheric Oscillations, i.e.:

In this 2007 NASA article “NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007“;

“Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that “the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.”

“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.”

This 2007 paper “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice” by Nghiem, Rigor, Perovich, Clemente-Colo, Weatherly and Neumann, found that;

“Perennial-ice extent loss in March within the DM domain was noticeable after the 1960s, and the loss became more rapid in the 2000s when QSCAT observations were available to verify the model results. QSCAT data also revealed mechanisms contributing to the perennial-ice extent loss: ice compression toward the western Arctic, ice loading into the Transpolar Drift (TD) together with an acceleration of the TD carrying excessive ice out of Fram Strait, and ice export to Baffin Bay.”

This 2010 Guardian article “Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds” states that;

“Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region’s swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals.”

This 2011 paper “Recent wind driven high sea ice export in the Fram Strait contributes to Arctic sea ice decline”  by L. H. Smedsrud, et al.;

“used “geostrophic winds derived from reanalysis data to calculate the Fram Strait ice area export back to 1957, finding that the sea ice area export recently is about 25% larger than during the 1960’s.”

This 2004 Science Daily article, ”Winds, Ice Motion Root Cause Of Decline In Sea Ice, Not Warmer Temperatures” states that,

“extreme changes in the Arctic Oscillation in the early 1990s — and not warmer temperatures of recent years — are largely responsible for declines in how much sea ice covers the Arctic Ocean, with near record lows having been observed during the last three years, University of Washington researchers say.”

“It may have happened more than a decade ago, but the sea ice appears to still “remember” those Arctic Oscillation conditions, according to Ignatius Rigor, a mathematician with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.”

This 2004 paper “Variations in the Age of Arctic Sea-ice and Summer Sea-ice Extent” by Ignatius G. Rigor & John M. Wallace, found that;

“The winter AO-index explains as much as 64% of the variance in summer sea-ice extent in the Eurasian sector, but the winter and summer AO-indices combined explain less than 20% of the variance along the Alaskan coast, where the age of sea-ice explains over 50% of the year-to year variability. If this interpretation is correct, low summer sea-ice extents are likely to persist for at least a few years. However, it is conceivable that, given an extended interval of low-index AO conditions, ice thickness and summertime sea-ice extent could gradually return to the levels characteristic of the 1980′s.”

This 2010 paper, “Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent” by Masayo Ogi, Koji Yamazaki and John M. Wallace, published in Geophysical Research Letters states that;

“We have shown results indicating that wind‐induced, year‐to‐year differences in the rate of flow of ice toward and through Fram Strait play an important role in modulating September SIE on a year‐to‐year basis and that a trend toward an increased wind‐induced rate of flow has contributed to the decline in the areal coverage of Arctic summer sea ice.”

This 2001 paper, “Fram Strait Ice Fluxes and Atmospheric Circulation: 1950–2000” by Torgny Vinje found that:

“Observations reveal a strong correlation between the ice fluxes through the Fram Strait and the cross-strait air pressure difference.”

“Although the 1950s and 1990s stand out as the two decades with maximum flux variability, significant variations seem more to be the rule than the exception over the whole period considered.”

“A noticeable fall in the winter air pressure of 7 hPa is observed in the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea during the last five decades.”

“The corresponding decadal maximum change in the Arctic Ocean ice thickness is of the order of 0.8 m. These temporal wind-induced variations may help explain observed changes in portions of the Arctic Ocean ice cover over the last decades. Due to an increasing rate in the ice drainage through the Fram Strait during the 1990s, this decade is characterized by a state of decreasing ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean.”

This 2003 paper “Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea-ice variability“, by By OLA M. JOHANNESSEN, LENNART BENGTSSON, MARTIN W. MILES, SVETLANA I . KUZMINA, VLADIMIR A. SEMENOV, GENRIKH V. ALEKSEEV, ANDREI P. NAGURNYI, VICTOR F. ZAKHAROV, LEONID P. BOBYLEV, LASSE H. PETTERSSON, KLAUS HASSELMANN and HOWARD P. CATTLE states that;

“The decreases in recent decades, which are also partially due to circulation-driven ice export through the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard (Vinje, 2001), have coincided with a positive trend in the NAO, with unusually high index values in the late 1980s and 1990s. During this period, the variability of ice motion and ice export through the Fram Strait was correlated strongly with the NAO; r∼ 0.86 for the ice area flux (Kwok and Rothrock, 1999) and r∼ 0.7 for the ice volume flux (Hilmer and Jung, 2000), although the relationship was insignificant (r∼ 0.1) before the mid 1970s (Hilmer and Jung, 2000). Deser et al. (2000) analysed a 40-yr gridded data set (1958–97) to determine the association between arctic sea ice, SAT and SLP, concluding that the multidecadal trends in the NAO/AO in the past three decades have been ‘imprinted upon the distribution of Arctic sea ice’, with the first principal component of sea-ice concentration significantly correlated (r∼−0.63) with the NAO index, recently cause-and-effect modelled by Hu et al. (2002). None the less, our calculations and those of Deser et al. (2000) indicate that, even in recent decades, only about one third of the variability in arctic total ice extent and MY ice area (Johannessen et al., 1999) is explained by the NAO index,”

This 2002 paper “Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation” by IGNATIUS G. RIGOR, JOHN M. WALLACE and ROGER L. COLONY found that

“Hilmer and Jung (2000) note a secular change in the relationship between the Fram Strait ice flux and the NAO; the high correlation noted by Kwok and Rothrock (1999) from 1978 to 1996 was not found in data prior to 1978. We expect our overall results to be more robust given the strong relationship between the AO and SIM over the Arctic, as compared to the weaker relationship between the north–south flow through Fram Strait and the AO. Even if one ignored the effect of the AO on the flux of ice through Fram Strait, the divergence of ice in the eastern Arctic would be still be ;50% greater under high-index conditions than under low-index conditions, and the heat flux would be ;25% greater.”

”We have shown that sea ice provides memory for the Arctic climate system so that changes in SIM driven by the AO during winter can be felt during the ensuing seasons; that is, the AO drives dynamic thinning of the sea ice in the eastern Arctic during winter, allowing more heat to be released from the ocean through the thinner ice during spring, and resulting in lower SIC during summer and the liberation of more heat by the freezing of the ice in autumn. The correlations between the wintertime AO and SIC and SAT during the subsequent seasons offers the hope of some predictability, which may be useful for navigation along the Northern Sea route.”

This 2000 paper, “Arctic decadal and interdecadal variability” by Igor V. Polyakov and Mark A. Johnson, found that;

”The decadal-scale mode associated with the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and a low-frequency oscillation (LFO) with an approximate time scale of 60-80 years, dominate. Both modes were positive in the 1990s, signifying a prolonged phase of anomalously low atmospheric sea level pressure and above normal surface air temperature in the central Arctic. Consistent with an enhanced cyclonic component, the arctic anticyclone was weakened and vorticity of winds became positive. The rapid reduction of arctic ice thickness in the 1990s may be one manifestation of the intense atmosphere and ice cyclonic circulation regime due to the synchronous actions of the AO and LFO. Our results suggest that the decadal AO and multidecadal LFO drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult.

And lastly, in this June 16th, 2012 Economist article “Uncovering an ocean“, which is part of their “Cold comfort” Arctic Special Report, it states that;

“A simultaneous thinning of the sea ice is also speeding up the shrinkage, because thinner ice is more liable to melt. According to Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, the average thickness of the pack ice has fallen by roughly half since the 1970s, probably for two main reasons. One is a rise in sea temperatures: in the summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable. The other was a prolonged eastward shift in the early 1990s in the Arctic’s prevailing winds, known as the Arctic Oscillation. This moved a lot of ice from the Beaufort Gyre, a revolving current in the western Arctic, to the ocean’s other main current, the Transpolar Drift Stream, which runs down the side of Siberia. A lot of thick, multi-year ice was flushed into the Atlantic and has not been replaced.”

As such, there is ample evidence that “global warming” is not “the cause of the melt” as the Economist erroneously infers in its article “The vanishing north”. The Economist’s over simplifications, poor reporting and overt alarmism are indicative of the sad state of formerly respected information source.

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blogagog

If it’s not too much trouble, could you use the blockquote tag when you are quoting another article?

That way it’s much easier to understand if the comments are yours or if they belong to the author you are quoting

.
Thanks in advance!

pat

As a subscriber, I am mystified by The Economists undying belief in Catastrophic AGW. They do not fail to include a reference in everything from book reviews to discussions on the middle east. The writers usually have absolutely no knowledge on the subject and often blithely offer platitudes on global warming in the most unusual context. They never retract their silly assertions, even when events prove them wrong. They simply move on with further alarmism. issue after issue, topic after topic.

Jeff (of Colorado)

’twas summer and the slithly bergs did gyre and gimble in the waves
all mimsy was the occelation, and the moan warmers outraged

Every AGW claim has a half-life, the average time for it to be debunked. I was expecting two or three weeks, but now it’s gone down to a day, and rapidly approaching homeopathy territory.
I’m sure there’s a hockey stick in there somewhere.

Changes are small (order of several tenths of a degree)
Changes are not causal but rather the residue of regional changes.
Changes of the order of several tenths of a degree are always present at virtually all time scales.

Obsessing on the details of this record is more akin to a spectator sport (or tea leaf reading) than a serious contributor to scientific efforts – at least so far. [Richard S. Lindzen (rlindzen@mit.edu) at the House of Commons, Westminster, London, 22-February-2012]

beesaman

It is a great pity but they all seem to be salivating at the prosepect of less ice over at Neven’s blog as well. A great pity as it used to be a really good science driven blog, now it just seems to be home to warmist alarmists that can’t see which way the wind blows, even in the Arctic..
I supspect there will be a few more warm is bad ‘but we haven’t really thought it through as cold is worse’ bandwagon type folk along soon, crowing about the rapid decline in peripheral Arctic ice and completey ignoring the growth in Anatarctic ice. Well global warming like cherry picking only happens in ‘certain’ places after all, we all know that!

Phil Clarke

The Economist was merely stating the conclusions of the most recent study into this phenomenon,
Observations reveal external driver for Arctic sea-ice retreat (GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L08502, 6 PP., 2012)
Lead author, Dirk Notz, stated “The whole study was based on ruling out one possible cause after the other.” The team looked at each possible cause of ice loss, using statistical analyses to determine whether a particular cause could explain the ice decline. The scientists first considered natural variability, or the effect of short-term and seasonal weather conditions and winds. While variable winds and weather clearly play a role in how much ice melts each summer, they found that the amount of variability was far too low to explain the intensity of the decline. […] “In the end, only the increase in CO2 remained on our list of possible drivers,” Notz said, “We find a clear, physically plausible correlation of increasing CO2 and decreasing sea-ice cover.” While other research has previously shown a connection between sea ice decline and global warming, most of those studies focused on climate models. The new study provides an independent confirmation that sea ice is in fact declining because of human-caused climate change.
http://nsidc.org/icelights/2012/05/16/what-is-causing-arctic-sea-ice-decline/
The Economist has it right, in other words.
PS Not so ‘average’ now …
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

Randolph Resor

I was confused and annoyed by the “Economist” lead article on “the vanishing Arctic”. I’ve been a reader of The Economist since the 1980s and I tend to trust its information. But I am NOT a believer in global warming; I’ve seen too much contrary evidence. So I wonder, and so must many others, that with all that’s going on in the world, from the collapse of the Euro to the rise of Chinese military power, why The Economist chose to lead its June 16 issue with a poorly researched and poorly written article about the Arctic.

otsar

It would not surprise me if their economic reporting were just as accurate and factual.

Thanks JTF.

JPeden

“The Economist’s over simplifications, poor reporting and overt alarmism are indicative of the sad state of formerly respected information source.”
From what I can gather, the Economist has become a “go to” source for elite Liberals-Leftists “in the know”. One close Liberal acquaintance of mine – who once tried to chide me for not being seen reading the New York Times, and also therefore being manifestly uninformed – has been handing down his old Economist editions to me as though I should read them just like he does, which I do while noting the stunning CAGW nonsense perpetrated there, some of which has been previously noted by WUWT. But the Libs apparently think I will be swayed “because the Economist says it.” Some of its other stuff seems pretty rational to me, although my rule is that once a person or entity starts getting PC, its overall credibility is extremely suspect, a tipping point has been reached, and…listen up Libs… The End Is Near!

timetochooseagain

Given that the annual air temperature maximum of the region from 80 N to the pole is basically constant, direct contribution of temperature change to the trend in annual minimum ice extent can’t be too great.
Still, it is possible that changes in temperatures-especially those during winter, and of the water itself (which may be different from the air temps) are causing changes in wind conditions and indirectly causing changes in the ice extent.
Of course, at that point we are starting to get into highly speculative territory.

Kelvin Vaughan

since the 1970s the sea ice has retreated by around 12% each decade.
roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s
One fith = 20%. Divide by 5 decades = 4% per decade?????

geoprof

I have read The Economist for many years. The CAGW meme has become an endemic thing with them. It drives me nuts. They mouth every alarmist meme put out there, and just as Pat said earlier, in every article. There are weeks when I just want to cancel, but I use the information regularly on economics and geography. It is disheartening, to say the least, to see a former great publication lose itself to these cultists.

Gary Pearse

Listening to a CBC radio broadcast in the car a few days ago. Biodiversity specialists – butterflies, etc. all talked mainly about habitat loss as the main threat – and most would agree. However at the question period, a reply was made that over and above regular habitat loss, we now have the coming affect of a 6-9 metre increase in sea level by 2050!! My main concern is that nice well meaning people believe in all this and it is being taught in already traditonally socialistic schooling in North America. Nevermind the charlatans like the team who, from the climategate emails, show that even they don’t really believe in all this alarmism – it is their bread and butter. They know they have cooked the studies and thrown out non-supportive data.

Rob Potter

The Economist lost the plot about five or six years ago. They had been pretty good previously and supported the inital Copenhagen Consensus conferences run by Bjorn Lomborg (bottom line from these is that AGW is happening, but there are more important issues to tackle) since that work was based on solid economics, but there has most definitely been a shift lately which has affected its entire editorial policy.
The Economist actually supported Obama in the last US presidential election in complete betrayal of its free market (and free trade) history. Walter Bagehot is spinning in his grave.

pat

geoprof says:
As a whole, it is an excellent publication, even though wildly leftist when it comes to America in particular. The international and economic statistic reporting is unparallelled.

Reblogged this on thewordpressghost and commented:
Everyone,
I am not a weather scientist, although, my waitress last week was.
But, I think Mr. Watt is an entertaining read.
And I think he points out a lot of interesting facts about global warming.
Hope you enjoy.
Ghost.

Richard Keen

I used to subscribe to and read The Economist for many years. Back in the 1970’s, some Brits on the faculty would leave copies in the reading room at the Institue of Arctic and Alpine Research in good ol’ Boulder, Colorado. I found the magazine’s free market perspective back then quite refreshing.
Fast forward to 2008…. The Economist endorses Barack Obama for president, saying “America, it’s about time”, but offering no reasons why we should prefer him over the other guy, and providing no investigation into Obama’s background or any ideas on what his real political and economic philosophies could be. The reporting, if I dare call it such, was most shallow and un-insightful. The same applies to their coverage of “climate change”, where they buy the IPCC line uncritically.
I calibrate sources by how they cover subjects I know something about – perhaps more than the source does, at times – and The Economist fails this calibration test miserably. I have no reason to think their coverage of diamond mining or Kazakhstan is any more profound than their coverage of Global Warming or Barack Obama, so there’s no point in sinking the big bucks for this magazine. Sadly, the E-communist has lost its free market roots and has sunk to the shallow and slanted reporting of the rest of the media.

davidmhoffer

I dropped the economist a long time ago. Their pragmatic and factual reporting has become increasingly biased by political agenda. I dropped them before they bought into the CAGW meme, and they have done nothing since then to improve my opinion of them. They are going from bad to worse, and not just on the CAGW front.

ShrNfr

As usual I endured the normal amount of abuse making comments on that article. There are fruitcakes over there that are supported by Jeremy Grantham’s Grantham Institute like Lord Stern at the LSE that have taken what few neurons are left there in the folks besides TallBloke and washed and bleached them. I put Dr. Watt’s sea ice page up as a link. I doubt many people made the journey.

Gary

Is The Economist owned by The Guardian by any chance. Would explain a lot…

1- In this 2007 NASA article “NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007“;
“Son V. Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that “the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. . .”
2- This 2010 Guardian article “Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds” states that;
“Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region’s swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals.”
3- This 2004 Science Daily article, ”Winds, Ice Motion Root Cause Of Decline In Sea Ice, Not Warmer Temperatures” states that,
“extreme changes in the Arctic Oscillation in the early 1990s — and not warmer temperatures of recent years-. . ”
4- And lastly, in this June 16th, 2012 Economist article “Uncovering an ocean“, which is part of their “Cold comfort” Arctic Special Report, it states that;
“….. probably for two main reasons. One is a rise in sea temperatures: in the summer of 2007 coastal parts of the Arctic Ocean measured 7°C—bracingly swimmable. The other was a prolonged eastward shift in the early 1990s in the Arctic’s prevailing winds, known as the Arctic Oscillation. ”
_________________
The main stream is the “WIND”.
Questions:
What is the CAUSE of this “WIND” ?
Is this Global Warming behind the curtain of the “WIND”?

Sean Peake

Just wondering… is there some kind of climate change conference coming up?

Looks like Arctic sea ice will nearly disappear by Sept 2012:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html
(sarcasm)

AlexS

The Economist is transforming itself into a Newsweek…

Stephen Wilde

“Notz and colleagues then looked at other possible drivers for ice decline, ranging from solar radiation and cosmic rays, to volcanic eruptions, wind patterns, and oceanic heat transport. For all of these potential causes, their analysis showed that none of these were correlated with ice extent.”
The long run of strong El Ninos during the late 20th century correlates with the ice loss well enough.That would result in warmer water entering the Arctic Ocean.
The Arctic ice has recovered a little since 2007 which correlates with the shift to negative Pacific Ocean Oscillations around 2003 or thereabouts.
How do they justify excluding that cause ?

Jim D

I think this article was designed to comfort those who may be looking at the current state of the Arctic sea ice. You are supposed to go over to the sea ice extent graphs and repeat to yourself “it’s only the wind”. I might recommend taking a stiff drink too.

Rob Z

“There is ample evidence that the Arctic has warmed over the last several decades”
It would appear that there is now ample evidence that the TLT and the sea ice extent minimum are not related. If 2007 TLT measurements looks like 2005 and 2010, it’s just a bunch of tree ring data. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should or that it will be meaningful.
Along those lines:
Psychology has recognized the problems of their field, it would be seem to be time for climatologists to do the same. This is an amazing article. Not pay walled.
http://www.nature.com/news/replication-studies-bad-copy-1.10634
We’ve all heard the term psychobabble due to the known issues of the “science” and the stupidity employed (both people and methods). Patients, mentally challenged due to numerous issues go to the “experts” only to learn that they need to change their ways. The payments keep flowing in from desperate clients seeking self confirmation that they’re saving themselves and the planet. Passing recommendations on to others to give their Doctors a try. More money to the doctors who become anxious to find something else wrong but only a bit different so the money wheel keeps turning. We now live in the age of “climatobabble”.

BillyV

What is happening to the Economist is consistent with O’Sullivan’s Law and the following snippet I think is relevent:
“O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time. The law is named after British journalist John O’Sullivan.
One of the reasons for this is leftist intolerance versus right-wing tolerance. Right wingers are willing to hire openly left-wing employees in the interest of fairness. Left-wingers, utterly intolerant, will not allow a non-Liberal near them, and will harass them at every opportunity. The result over time is that conservative enterprises are infiltrated by leftists but leftist enterprises remain the same or get worse.”

Chuck L

The Economist used to be my go-to source of news; I appreciated the international viewpoint and high calibre of the reporting. Not any more, they are yet another leftist mouthpiece, joining Time and Newsweek in pushing the social democratic agenda.

Vince Causey

Phil Clarke,
“The Economist has it right, in other words.”
Your reference is to an article that purports to link the current warming trend to CO2 emissions. Whether or not this is the case, that is not the contentious part of the economist article. The “vanishing north” is drawing conclusions about the future state of the arctic, beyond even that in the last IPCC report.
For example, they state: “If the warming continues, it could eventually disintegrate, raising the sea level by seven metres. Many of the world’s biggest cities would be inundated long before that happened.” The IPCC AR4 expect a maximum of 59cm increase. This is pure unsubstantiated scaremongering.
They then add: “Some scientists argue that the perils are so immediate that mankind should consider geoengineering the atmosphere to avert them (see article). They may turn out to be right, but there could be enormous risks involved. A slower but safer approach would be to price greenhouse-gas emissions, preferably through a carbon tax, which would encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies (see article). That shift would be costly, but the costs of inaction are likely to be larger.”
In other words, they have cherry picked the most extreme scientific opinions (eg Hansen) and decided what the future state of the climate will be, how much it will cost to adapt, how much it will cost to mitigate, and concluded that we should price CO2. There is nothing here that is even remotely factual, and only a fool would give it any credence.
So, I would not agree with your assertion that the Economist “has it right”.

Jimbo

Last year the summer minimum was 4.33m square km (1.67m square miles)—almost half the average for the 1960s.

Seeing as they are aware of the minimum in the 1960s they might want to contact the IPCC and ask them for their graph showing the minimum extent in the early 1970s. Funny how they skipped the early 1970s eh. 😉 Did I mention soot or was that Hansen? Heh, heh.
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/polar-meltdown/
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice-tony-b/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/01/nasa-and-multi-year-arctic-ice-and-historical-context/

Jim

I’m not even convinced the ice is melting! Look at Antarctica… ice is at all-time record highs! Wonder how these alarmists at the Economist explain that away.

Werner Brozek

It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt.
Just to reinforce points made above, 2012 so far is colder than 2011 on all data sets. And 2011 was either 9th or 12th warmest on all data sets. And we are far from the warmest on any data set. And all sets show long periods with no warming. Here are the details:
2012 in perspective so far
With the UAH anomaly for May at 0.289, the average for the first five months of the year is (-0.089 -0.111 + 0.111 + 0.299 + 0.289)/5 = 0.0998. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 12th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.153 to rank it 9th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.428.)
With the RSS anomaly for May at 0.233, the average for the first five months of the year is (-0.058 -0.121 + 0.074 + 0.333 + 0.233)/5 = 0.0922. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 16th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.147 to rank it 12th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.55.)
With the GISS anomaly for May at 0.65, the average for the first five months of the year is (0.34 + 0.41 + 0.47 + 0.55 + 0.65)/5 = 0.484. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 10th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.514 to rank it 9th for that year. (2010 was the warmest at 0.63.)
With the Hadcrut3 anomaly for April at 0.482, the average for the first four months of the year is (0.217 + 0.194 + 0.305 + 0.482)/4 = 0.2995. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 14th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.34 to rank it 12th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.548.)
With the sea surface anomaly for April at 0.292, the average for the first four months of the year is (0.203 + 0.230 + 0.242 + 0.292)/4 0.242. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 14th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.273 to rank it 12th for that year. (1998 was the warmest at 0.451.)
So on all five of the above data sets, for their latest anomaly average, the 2012 average is colder than their 2011 average value.
On all data sets, the different times for a slope that is flat for all practical purposes range from 10 years and 8 months to 15 years and 7 months. Following is the longest period of time (above 10 years) where each of the data sets is more or less flat. (For any positive slope, the exponent is no larger than 10^-5, except UAH which was 0.00103655 per year or 0.10/century, so while it is not significant, it could be questioned whether it can be considered to be flat.)
1. RSS: since November 1996 or 15 years, 7 months (goes to May)
2. HadCrut3: since January 1997 or 15 years, 3 months (goes to March)
3. GISS: since May 2001 or 11 years, 1 month (goes to May)
4. UAH: since October 2001 or 10 years, 8 months (goes to May)
5. Combination of the above 4: since October 2000 or 11 years, 6 months (goes to March)
6. Sea surface temperatures: since January 1997 or 15 years, 4 months (goes to April)
7. Hadcrut4: since December 2000 or 11 years, 6 months (goes to May using GISS. See below.)
See the graph below to show it all for #1 to #6.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/trend/plot/rss/from:1996.83/trend/plot/wti/from:2000.75/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/trend/plot/uah/from:2001.75/trend
For #7: Hadcrut4 only goes to December 2010 so what I did was get the slope of GISS from December 2000 to the end of December 2010. Then I got the slope of GISS from December 2000 to the present. The DIFFERENCE in slope was that the slope was 0.0046 lower for the total period. The positive slope for Hadcrut4 was 0.0041 from December 2000. So IF Hadcrut4 were totally up to date, and IF it then were to trend like GISS, I conclude it would show no slope for at least 11 years and 6 months going back to December 2000. (By the way, doing the same thing with Hadcrut3 gives the same end result, but GISS comes out much sooner each month.) See:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000/to/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.9/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2000/plot/gistemp/from:2000.9/to:2011/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2000.9/trend

TomTurner in SF

The photo Al Gore and the global warming wackos don’t want you to see
http://www.ihatethemedia.com/photo-north-pole-submarine
Canada’s new leader takes on U.S. over Arctic
North pole ice free in 1958: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/26/ice-at-the-north-pole-in-1958-not-so-thick/
Are the ice caps melting? Climate science’s bipolar disorder
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/03/goddard_polar_ice/print.html
NASA, Not Man, Behind Arctic Sea Ice Decline:
http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/2009/05/nasa-not-man-is-causing-arctic-sea-ice.html

Robert of Ottawa

Gary Pearse says June 16, 2012 at 11:40 am
Listening to a CBC radio broadcast in the car a few days ago.

Are you crazy?

ferdberple

The magnetic north pole is rapidly changing location. We know that major climate shifts have taken place in the past co-incidentally with shifts in the earth’s magnetic field. Is it perhaps just possible this is what is going on in the Arctic? Global warming cannot be the cause, or we would see melting in the Antarctic.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center – NSIDC shows that for the last two weeks the Arctic Sea Ice Extent has gone lower than the 2007 curve. Now climate is judged by two weeks at FT!
See http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

Jimbo

Phil Clarke says:
June 16, 2012 at 10:57 am
The Economist was merely stating the conclusions of the most recent study into this phenomenon,……………….
The Economist has it right, in other words.

How do you know they have it “right”? By the way I didn’t see anything about soot but maybe they looked. Here is soot’s contribution which may or may not be “right”.
http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2004/2004_Hansen_Nazarenko.pdf
http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ko06100c.html
http://www2.gi.alaska.edu/~bhatt/Teaching/ATM656.fall2007/reading_11_20_2007/Strack_etal2007.pdf
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231005002165
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231007009752
Here are some images of patchy, black Arctic ice among other images.
http://tinyurl.com/7t866nv

mfo

The Economist is 50% ownwed by the Financial Times, which is part of Pearson plc. Pearson have made a commitment to be a carbon neutral company and is a founding signatory to the United Nations Global Compact. Their environmental policy states: “We have a responsibility as a company to take proper care of the environment. This forms an essential part of how we run our business and reflects our support for the principle of sustainable development.”
The Pearson Foundation focuses its efforts, resources, and alliances on the key approaches inside and outside the classroom that can most shape a child’s success. One of their initiatives was an environmental filmmaking competition that provides young people with the chance to share their views on the earth’s future and the importance of combating climate change.
The prize was technology and support worth up to $25,000, including digital arts technology and a workshop for up to 60 students in their school. The winners also received a copy of An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.
http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/090122-edc.html

Isn’t 2012 when Al Gore said all North Pole ice would be gone? Or was it 2013?

NZ Willy

The issue boils down to: will the Arctic ice recover in the short term, or will it continue to decrease. My own expectation for this year is that the Atlantic-side melt will not go beyond the New Siberian Islands, because it’s simply too cold up there.

People that advocate “global warming” make it a habit of not bringing up the past. There has been less ice in the Arctic for most of the last 9000 years than there is now. They want only to talk about the last 30 years when Arctic ice had been in a small decline. They also don’t want to say there has been increase in Arctic ice since 2007. The decline that had been happening is over. There is now an increase in ice happening. It is normal for Arctic ice to go through these fluctuations.

Eli Rabett

It’s chewing gum and walking again. You need both higher temperatures and unfavorable circulation patterns to empty out the ice in the Arctic basin. Given higher temperatures (and there is a warming since 1980 of about .8 K/decade since 1980 from multiple sources and reanalyses, that means that the weaker ice is simply waiting for a favorable wind.
NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

Travis

“In fact, the largest influences on Arctic Sea Ice appear to be wind and Atmospheric Oscillations”
I do not understand why people are so ready to treat winds, climate patterns, and temperature as three completely unrelated variables when it comes to changes in the Arctic. Are weather and climate not dictated by the uneven heating of earth’s surface and interactions with regional topography? Why are we acting like none of these variables affect any of the others?

Scott

The Economist has ceased being a news source of relevance long ago.

charles nelson

They don’t seem to have much of a handle on Economics either.