Sea Ice Page Upgrades, Observations and Questions

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

In making a couple upgrades to the Sea Ice Page, I made a few observations, and a few questions arose.

Firstly, several weeks ago the following exchange occurred on a Sea Ice News thread:

Rod Everson says: August 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

Just a suggestion for a site improvement, Anthony. Could you put a map of the Arctic on the Sea Ice Page that indicates the various seas that make up the Arctic Ocean? I think that would be useful given the volume of traffic you get and the many times that various seas are referred to by name in the comments. I just spent several minutes Googling the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and never did get to a map that had the full layout of both seas. Thanks for considering this. (And if it’s already on the site somewhere, could someone will post its location?–If it is on the site already, moving it to the Sea Ice Page, or duplicating it there would seem logical, by the way.)

[REPLY: I find this one helpful, myself. -REP]

As many of you know, WUWT moderator Robert Phelan, aka REP, passed away less than a week later. It is with honor and appreciation that I’ve added the map Bob suggested to the WUWT Sea Ice Page at the head of the Northern Regional Sea Ice section and tagged it accordingly. Thank you for your many contributions REP.

Secondly, I’ve added the following Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly map;

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) – Click the pic to view at source

to the Sea Ice Page and noted that there are some quite large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Arctic at present. They appear to centered in four primary areas, the coasts of the Beaufort, Laptev and Kara Seas, as well as the middle of Baffin Bay. There are a multitude of potential explanations these anomalies, let’s take them individually.

1. There’s Less Sea Ice in these areas at present. Both Arctic Sea Ice Extent:

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

and Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area;

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois – Click the pic to view at source

are currently at their lowest points on the 34 year satellite record. Any areas that were partially or completely were covered with sea ice in prior years, and have now become ice free, would be more likely to have positive Sea Surface Temperature anomalies. It is not clear from the NOAA/ National Weather Service National Centers for Environmental Prediction Sea Surface Temperature website what the base period for the Real-Time Global (RTG) Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies show above is. Bob Tisdale notes that, “NOAA uses the base period of 1971-2000 for sea surface temperature anomalies for its ERSST.v3b and Reynolds OI.v2 data.” If you know what base period is used for the Real-Time Global (RTG) temperature anomalies, please post a link to it in comments below. Base period aside, viewing this Arctic Sea Ice animation;

it appears that most of the areas with large anomalies, were reasonably ice free during this time-frame in the majority of years of the 34 year satellite record, however there are places like the Kara Sea;

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source

which appears bereft of Sea Ice this year. Per the animation above, sea ice clearly encroached much more into many of these areas in prior years, and thus the decrease in Arctic Sea Ice is likely a factor in the current large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies.

2.An “Unusually Strong Storm” that;

“formed off the coast of Alaska on August 5 and tracked into the center of the Arctic Ocean, where it slowly dissipated over the next several days.”

“Arctic storms such as this one can have a large impact on the sea ice, causing it to melt rapidly through many mechanisms, such as tearing off large swaths of ice and pushing them to warmer sites, churning the ice and making it slushier, or lifting warmer waters from the depths of the Arctic Ocean.

“‘It seems that this storm has detached a large chunk of ice from the main sea ice pack. This could lead to a more serious decay of the summertime ice cover than would have been the case otherwise, even perhaps leading to a new Arctic sea ice minimum,” said Claire Parkinson, a climate scientist with NASA Goddard. “Decades ago, a storm of the same magnitude would have been less likely to have as large an impact on the sea ice, because at that time the ice cover was thicker and more expansive.'” NASA

Interestingly, Beaufort Sea Ice Extent;

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source

appears to have dropped precipitously between August 14th and 19th, and Chukchi Sea Ice Extent;

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source

appears to have dropped precipitously between August 25th and 28th, both drops being the steepest in the very brief 5 year record. This lends some support to the potential influence of the storm. However, Beaufort Sea Ice Area;

Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois’ Cryosphere Today – Click the pic to view at source

and Chukchi Sea Ice Area;

Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois’ Cryosphere Today – Click the pic to view at source

appear to have experienced a reasonably precipitous summer decline each year of the prior decade, casting doubt on the degree influence of the 2012 storm on the precipitous declines it the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Regardless an “unusually strong storm” that was “tearing off large swaths of ice and pushing them to warmer sites, churning the ice and making it slushier, or lifting warmer waters from the depths of the Arctic Ocean” is likely a factor in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies we currently see.

3. Albedo Feedback is another possible factor in the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Arctic:

“Viewed in its simplest sense, initial warming will melt some of the Arctic’s highly reflective (high albedo) snow and ice cover, exposing darker underlying surfaces that readily absorb solar energy, leading to further warming and further retreat of snow and ice cover. This feedback can work in reverse whereby initial cooling leads to expansion of the Arctic’s snow and ice cover, leading to further whereby the loss of high albedo/solar energy reflective sea ice exposes low albedo/solar energy absorbing sea water.”

“However, as developed below, Arctic amplification as is presently understood has a suite of causes, operating on different temporal and spatial scales. Prominent among these are expansion or retreat of the Arctic sea ice cover altering vertical heat fluxes between the Arctic Ocean and the overlying atmosphere (Serreze et al., 2009; Screen and Simmonds, 2010a,b), changes in atmospheric and oceanic heat flux convergence (Hurrell, 1996; Graversen et al., 2008; Chylek et al., 2009; Yang et al., 2010), and changes in cloud cover and water vapor content that affect the downward longwave radiation flux (Francis and Hunter, 2006) arising from processes either within the Arctic or in response to alterations in atmospheric energy flux

convergence (Abbot et al., 2009; Graversen and Wang, 2009). Other studies point to impacts of soot on snow (Hansen and Nazarenko, 2004) and of heat absorbing black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere (Shindell and Faluvegi, 2009). Different processes can work together. For example, a change in atmospheric heat flux convergence that leads to warming may result in reduced sea ice extent that furthers the warming.” Processes and impacts of Arctic amplification: A research synthesis – Mark C. Serreze and Roger G. Barry

Regardless of the other factors involved in Arctic Amplification, Albedo Feedback is likely a factor in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Arctic.

4. Anthropogenically Warmed River Discharge is another potential factor in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Arctic. For example, a portion of the Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly in the Beaufort Sea;

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) – Click the pic to view at source

appears to be coincident with the Mackenzie River delta. A satellite image from June 13th, 2012;

shows tendrils of runoff from the Mackenzie River reaching out into the Beaufort Sea. It is possible that River Discharge from the Mackenzie River has been warmed by anthropogenic influences, e.g.;

“As of 2001, approximately 397,000 people lived in the Mackenzie River basin”

“the heaviest use of the watershed is in resource extraction – oil and gas in central Alberta, lumber in the Peace River headwaters, uranium in Saskatchewan, gold in the Great Slave Lake area and tungsten in the Yukon.”

“Although the entire main stem of the Mackenzie River is undammed, many of its tributaries and headwaters have been developed for hydroelectricity production, flood control and agricultural purposes.”

“The river discharges more than 325 cubic kilometres (78 cu mi) of water each year, accounting for roughly 11% of the total river flow into the Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie’s outflow holds a major role in the local climate above the Arctic Ocean with large amounts of warmer fresh water mixing with the cold seawater.” Wikipedia – Mackenzie River

“Oil and gas development is already extensive in the basin, primarily in the Alberta and BC portions, and much more is expected in the future. For example, a proposal to develop the vast natural gas reserves that are found in the Mackenzie Delta is currently being evaluated. This will require the development of a pipeline along the Mackenzie, which will also facilitate development of gas resources in NWT (GNWT 2007). Perhaps the most significant current fossil energy development at this time is the oil sands (also known as the “tar sands”) in Alberta, near the City of Fort McMurray (Figure 1). An estimated 300 billion barrels of recoverable fossil energy is found in these deposits (MRBB 2003). Development is proceeding rapidly. At the end of 2009, four mines were in operation, with three additional mines approved or under development. In 2008, these projects were producing 1.3 million barrels/day. Production of 3 million barrels/day is expected by 2018, with 2030 production levels reaching 5 million barrels/day by 2030 (Holroyd and Simieritsch 2009; Government of Alberta 2010).”TRANSBOUNDARY WATER GOVERNANCE IN THE MACKENZIE RIVER BASIN, CANADA – Rob C. de Loë

It is also of note that;

“The Beaufort Sea contains major gas and petroleum reserves beneath the seabed, a continuation of proven reserves in the nearby Mackenzie River and North Slope.[12] The Beaufort Sea was first explored for sub-shelf hydrocarbons in the 1950s and estimated to contain about 250 km3 (60 cu mi) of oil and 300,000 km3 (72,000 cu mi) of natural gas under its coastal shelf. Offshore drilling began in 1972; about 70 wells were set up by 1980s[28] and 200 wells by 2000.[29]” Wikipedia – Beaufort Sea

In terms of the Laptev Sea

“The mighty Lena River, with its great delta, is the biggest river flowing into the Laptev Sea, and is the second largest river in the Russian Arctic after Yenisei. Other important rivers include the Khatanga, the Anabar, the Olenyok or Olenek, the Omoloy and the Yana.”

“The Laptev Sea is a major source of arctic sea ice. With an average outflow of 483,000 km2 per year over the period 1979–1995, it contributes more sea ice than the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea combined. Over this period, the annual outflow fluctuated between 251,000 km2 in 1984–85 and 732,000 km2 in 1988–89. The sea exports substantial amounts of sea ice in all months but July, August and September.”

“Most of the river runoff (about 70% or 515 km3/year) is contributed by the Lena River. Other major contributions are from Khatanga (more than 100 km3), Olenyok (35 km3), Yana (>30 km3) and Anabar (20 km3), with other rivers contributing about 20 km3. Owing to the ice melting seasoning, About 90% of the annual runoff occurs between June and September with 35–40% in August alone, whereas January contributes only 5%.”

“The sea is characterized by the low water temperatures, which ranges from −1.8 °C (28.8 °F) in the north to −0.8 °C (30.6 °F) in the south-eastern parts. The medium water layer is warmer, up to 1.5 °С because it is fed by the warm Atlantic waters. It takes them 2.5–3 years to reach the Laptev Sea from their formation near Spitsbergen.[3] The deeper layer is colder at about −0.8 °С. In summer, the surface layer in the ice-free zones warms up by the sun up to 8–10 °С in the bays and 2–3 °С in the open sea, and remains close to 0 °С under ice. The water salinity is significantly affected by the thawing of ice and river runoff. The latter amounts to about 730 km3 and would form a 135 cm freshwater layer over the entire sea; it is the second largest in the world after the Kara sea. The salinity values vary in winter from 20–25‰ (parts per thousand) in the south-east to 34‰ in the northern parts of the sea; it decreases in summer to 5–10‰ and 30–32‰ respectively.”

“Sea currents form a cyclone consisting of the southward stream near Severnaya Zemlya which reaches the continental coast and flows along it from west to east. It is then amplified by the Lena River flow and diverts to the north and north-west toward the Arctic Ocean. A small part of the cyclone leaks through the Sannikov Strait to the East Siberian Sea. The cyclone has a speed of 2 cm/s which is decreasing toward the center. The center of the cyclone drifts with time that slightly alters the flow character.” Wikipedia – Laptev Sea

“Ye et al. (2003) and Yang et al. (2004) recently studied the effect of reservoir regulations in the Lena and Yenisei basins. They found that, for instance, because of a large dam in the Lena River basin, summer peak discharge in the Vului valley (a tributary in the west Lena basin) has been reduced by 10%–80%, and winter low flow has been increased by 7–120 times during the cold months. They also reported that, because of influences of large reservoirs, discharge records collected at the Lena and Yenisei basin outlets do not always represent natural changes and variations; they tend to underestimate the natural runoff trends in summer and overestimate the trends in both winter and fall seasons. Operations of large reservoirs may also affect annual flow regime particularly during and immediately after the dam construction (Ye et al. 2003; Yang et al. 2004).Discharge Characteristics and Changes over the Ob River Watershed in Siberia

In terms of the Kara Sea;

“The Ob and Yenisei Rivers in north-central Russia are among the larger rivers that drain into the Arctic Ocean, though past research suggested that they do not necessarily carry as much organic matter and sediment as other rivers. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite acquired this image of the rivers as they dumped tan sediments and dark brown dissolved organic material (DOM) into the Kara Sea on June 29, 2012.” River Outflow to the Kara Sea

The Yenisei;

“is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob River and the Lena River).”

“The upper reaches, subject to rapids and flooding, pass through sparsely populated areas. The middle section is controlled by a series of massive hydroelectric dams fueling significant Russian primary industry. Partly built by gulag labor in Soviet times, industrial contamination remains a serious problem in an area hard to police. Moving on through sparsely-populated taiga, the Yenisei swells with numerous tributaries and finally reaches the Kara Sea in desolate tundra where it is icebound for more than half the year.”

Wikipedia – Yenisei River

“The Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam is located on the Yenisei River, near Sayanogorsk in Khakassia, Russia. It is the largest power plant in Russia and the sixth-largest hydroelectric plant in the world, by average power generation.”

Wikipedia – Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam

Another tributary, the Tuul passes through the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator while the Egiin Gol drains Lake Khövsgöl (500 km) downstream, where the 124 m (407 ft) dam built in the 1960s produces 4500 MW. The resultant reservoir is nicknamed Dragon Lake because of its outline. The tributary Oka and Iya rivers, which rise on the north slopes of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, form the ‘jaws’ and 400 km (250 mi) of the Angara forms the ‘tail’. There are newer dams almost as large at Ust-Ilimsk 250 km (155 mi) downstream (also damming the tributary Ilim river) and Boguchany a further 400 km (250 mi) downstream (not operational). Further dams are planned but the environmental consequences of completely taming the Angara are leading to protests which may prevent funding.

Angarsk, the center of the expanding Eastern Siberian oil industry and site of a huge Yukos-owned refinery, lies 50 km (31 mi) downstream of Irkutsk. A major pipeline takes oil west, and a new one is being built to carry oil east for supply to Japan from the Sea of Japan port of Nakhodka. The exact potential of Eastern Siberia is unknown, but two new major fields are the Kovyktinskoye field near Zhigalovo 200 km (125 mi) north of Irkutsk and the extremely remote Verkhnechonskoye field 500 km (310 mi) north of Irkutsk on the Central Siberian Plateau.Wikipedia – Yenisei River

The Ob is used mostly for irrigation, drinking water, hydroelectric energy, and fishing (the river hosts more than 50 species of fish).

The navigable waters within the Ob basin reach a total length of 9,300 miles (15,000 km). The importance of the Ob basin navigation for transportation was particularly great before the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway, since, despite the general south-to-north direction of the flow of Ob and most of its tributaries, the width of the Ob basin provided for (somewhat indirect) transportation in the east-west direction as well. Until the early 20th century, a particularly important western river port was Tyumen, located on the Tura River, a tributary of the Tobol.”

“The Trans-Siberian Railway, once completed, provided for more direct, year-round transportation in the east-west direction. But the Ob river system still remained important for connecting the huge expanses of Tyumen Oblast and Tomsk Oblast with the major cities along the Trans-Siberian route, such as Novosibirsk or Omsk. In the second half of the 20th century, construction of rail links to Labytnangi, Tobolsk, and the oil and gas cities of Surgut, and Nizhnevartovsk provided more railheads, but did not diminish the importance of the waterways for reaching places still not served by the rail.

A dam was built near Novosibirsk in 1956, which created the then-largest artificial lake in Siberia, called Novosibirsk Reservoir.”Wikipedia – Ob River

Lastly, in terms of Baffin Bay , it is an;

“arm of the North Atlantic Ocean with an area of 266,000 square miles (689,000 square km), extending southward from the Arctic for 900 miles (1,450 km) between the Greenland coast (east) and Baffin Island (west). The bay has a width varying between 70 and 400 miles (110 and 650 km). Davis Strait (south) leads from the bay to the Atlantic, whereas Nares Strait (north) leads to the Arctic Ocean. A pit at the bay’s centre, the Baffin Hollow, plunges to a depth of 7,000 feet (2,100 m), and the bay, although little exploited by humans because of its hostile environment, is of considerable interest to geologists studying the evolution of the North American continent.” Wikipedia – Ob River

The lack of apparent River Discharge and human influence on Baffin Bay Sea Surface Temperature aside, Anthropogenically Warmed River Runoff is likely a factor in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies seen along the coasts of the Beaufort, Laptev and Kara Seas.

5. Northern Polar Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies;

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

have increased by .343K/C per decade, and Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies appear to have been more than a degree K/C warmer than average for much of this year’s melt season. However, heat exchange between cold dense ocean water and a warmer much less dense atmosphere, would occur at slow pace, and it is inconceivable that a degree C or so anomaly in Atmospheric Temperatures could result in 6, 7 and 8 degree C Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies. With this said, increased Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies are likely a factor in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies.

6. Tundra Vegetation Feedback. Bhatt et al. “Circumpolar Arctic Tundra Vegetation Change Is Linked to Sea Ice Decline (2010)”;

“show that pronounced warming has occurred along Arctic coasts between 1982 and 2008. The terrestrial warming, argued as a response to removing the regional chilling effect of sea ice and expressed in terms of a summer warmth index, has had an impact on tundra vegetation as demonstrated by increasing values of the satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI represents the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by the plant canopy. There has been a 10–15% increase in maximum NDVI along the Beaufort Sea coast of northern Alaska where sea ice concentrations have strongly declined during 1982– 2008 (Fig. 10). Note that altered vegetation may itself contribute to Arctic warming through impacts on surface albedo and the sensible heat flux (Foley et al., 1994; Levis et al., 2000). Processes and impacts of Arctic amplification: A research synthesis – Mark C. Serreze and Roger G. Barry

Tundra Vegetation Feedback, is likely a minor factor, if one at all, in the large Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies, though interesting to think about.


Beyond the conjectures above, can anyone offer further factors that might explain the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies currently seen in the Arctic, as well as the precipitous declines in Sea Ice Extent that occurred the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas during August? Also, if you can offer any evidence that supports or refutes the possible factors posed above, please present them in comments below, preferably with links/data in support.

For more information visit the WUWT Sea Ice Page and other WUWT Reference Pages. If you have have any suggested additions or improvements to any of the WUWT Reference Pages, please let us know in comments below.

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September 2, 2012 12:48 pm

As I am posting from a new tablet, I don’t have my other links.
I believe you will get the point 🙂

Julian Flood
September 2, 2012 12:51 pm

OIl spill spreading out from rivers will lead to anomalous warming. Does Arctic drilling match the big red spots?

Ed Caryl
September 2, 2012 1:36 pm
Ulric Lyons
September 2, 2012 1:51 pm

1) Negative NAO and AO will allow more exchange of Arctic air with mid/upper latitude air.
2) Lower troposphere N. Pole Ocean temperatures go highest when the monthly mid/upper latitude land surface temperatures are much lower than normal:

September 2, 2012 1:51 pm

Another two storms are on their way. rain and wind coming.
You realize there is a feedback between more open water and more intense storms leading to more open water and more intense storms, leading to… well the sun thankfully sets eventually.
And Goddard can talk about ‘recovery’.

September 2, 2012 2:12 pm

Steven Mosher says:
September 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm
This summer rapid melt of the Arctic sea ice.
Arctic explorers have noticed long time ago that storms by breaking and churning the sea ice turn it into slush, and at same time lift warmer waters from the depths of the Arctic Ocean, the sea ice will melt rapidly.
Now we only need to know why there was so unusually strong Arctic storm in the first 10 days of August, one of only half a dozen or so in the last 30 summers.
I assume some could say it is sign of global warming, CO2 etc, etc, etc.
Arctic gets another kind of storms, namely geomagnetic storms.
Take a look at top graph here
it shows that in March-August period this year cumulative strength of geomagnetic storms was about 30-40% stronger than in 2011. Single storm of a medium strength packs as much energy as M6 earthquake, but that is not all.
Another look at the graph shows that in 2011 geomagnetic storms energy was dissipated in the gentle shift of the Earth’s magnetic field, but from the mid March 2012 shift was minimal despite the stronger gm storms. Only a conducting substance could absorb the energy in form of heat and for some reason I suspect it was absorbed by the Arctic most saline section. Notably in addition to it the SST of the Arctic inflow is at peak (higher than in the previous years). We can only speculate if and why the additional energy may cause the ‘energy eruption’ to the surface and in doing so power the August Arctic storm, or if it was just a proverbial ‘flap of butterfly wings’
You may find copy in the RealClimate ‘Bore Hole’

September 2, 2012 2:19 pm

can anyone offer further factors that might explain the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies currently seen in the Arctic….
Yes but will be in part two of something in the pipeline, but here is a preview:
Scroll down to the ‘polar amplification, but initial impressions may be misleading.

September 2, 2012 2:29 pm

Beyond the conjectures above, can anyone offer further factors that might explain the large Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies currently seen in the Arctic, as well as the precipitous declines in Sea Ice Extent that occurred the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas during August?

Well certainly. There’s the increased release of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, such as CO2.

September 2, 2012 2:32 pm

Increased use of icebreakers and even tourist boats.

September 2, 2012 2:35 pm

Simple question; does anyone here think we might be in for a repeat of winter 2008?

September 2, 2012 2:49 pm

If you look at the Danish sea-temperature map on the “Sea Ice Page,”
You see what appears to be a lot more “ice” between the Pole and the Bering Straights. Whether it is truly ice or not I can’t say, but it is sea water at minus two. Is that not the freezing point?
Perhaps it is slush, that was made by the storm pounding the heck out of those ice floes. Slushy water might appear like open water to one sort of sensor, yet like ice to another.
In any case, with the Danish graph of temperatures above 80 north now taking a dive, below the freezing point of salt water, the record-setting ice melt will give way to a record-setting refreeze. It also will likely start earlier, because it is starting further north.
So here is the headline: “Record-setting refreeze starts earlier than ever before!” Pretty good, eh? I’ll just have to remember I wrote that headline, when I see it, so I don’t panic and rush out and buy three times too much firewood.

R Taylor
September 2, 2012 2:54 pm

A moment’s thought about hydroelectric development on arctic rivers leads one to recognize that discharge has changed from a springtime torrent of frigid meltwater to a steady stream of water from reservoirs where summer can be hot.
With the exception of the Yukon, all major rivers that drain into the arctic have substantial hydroelectric development in their basins, mostly from the 1950s to 1990s. A cynic, however, would not expect government scientists to let go of the CO2 voodoo, since government tends to be the dominant sponsor of hydroelectric development.

September 2, 2012 3:00 pm

Quoting > justthefactswuwt says:
September 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm
The speculation that is made with respect to any understanding of how underwater volcanic activity impacts the arctic is purely that and only that. We don’t know how that energy works on currents or the stratification, let alone the low level frequency of smaller less visible (or invisible) incidents of such.
Thanks for you well done and researched blog and hard work too 🙂

September 2, 2012 3:31 pm

My two cents:
Watching the “Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature” picture from the Danish Meteorological Institute, as well as the “Arctic Sea Surface Temperature” as given by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) – HYCOM Consortium for Data-Assimilative Ocean Modeling – as shown on the actual “Sea Ice reference Page” – make me think that the severe arctic storm in mid-August may have crushed the sea-surface ice for sure – but that this crushing MAY HAVE NOT LED TO ADDITIONAL MELTING, as is suggested by the NSIDC and others, but only HAS DISPERSED the Ice below the “Arctic Sea Ice Extent – 15% or Greater”-threshold, which by definition is the lower limit to call the Arctic Sea covered with ice at all.
Therefore, I believe that once re-freezing will set in we will, in fact, witness an “unprecedented” rate of growth in sea ice extend, because the arctic waters are still covered with gazillions of little rocks of ice, which only don’t show up on any picture or scan taken, because actually they are too dispersed for showing up under the current definition (and, probably, for plain technical reasons, too, because these rocks of ice are simply too small to show up on any visual picture or radar scan taken).
But I am convinced that that will change soon – and very rapidly. too.

September 2, 2012 3:33 pm

Socratic says:
“Well certainly. There’s the increased release of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, such as CO2.”
OK, you made a conjecture. Now, show a direct connection between Arctic ice melt and anthropogenic CO2, per the scientific method: testable, and using raw data.
Otherwise, you have just expressed an opinion, nothing more.

September 2, 2012 3:36 pm

@ Caleb
September 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm
I didn’d mean to infringe your copyrights, friend.
Yet, I read your comment only after I finished mine (see above).
Great minds etc.
Cheers from Germany!

September 2, 2012 3:41 pm

The last time I looked, an ice-free Arctic served as the prelude for the next Ice Age.
Perhaps we should be less afraid of what’s now and be more afraid of what’s next…

September 2, 2012 3:42 pm

Anthony that map is a brlliant addition. I’ve always had the same problem as Bob did.
Even though the Arctic ocean and the ice that floats on it is the number one subject for those interested in climate change, I’ve never seen such an informative map of that Ocean before. Well done you and well done Bob for leaving us a great legacy,
I would wager that most people in the world do not realse that the Arctic is an Ocean and it’s opposite number the Antarctic is a continent.

September 2, 2012 3:58 pm

Those trying to make a connection between CO2 and Arctic ice melt have failed. Looking at a chart like this, either there was more ice melt in the 1940’s, or the current ice decline is due to factors such as wind, storms, and ocean currents.

September 2, 2012 4:00 pm

Well that’s a lot of possibilities. Have you considered a wild theory in which ice melts when the temperature rises? And this rise in temperature is caused by increased heat transport from the large area of the tropics into the small area of the arctic. And that increased heat comes from subtle changes in the rate of heat transfer to space.
Otherwise certain mischief makers will continue to make elf jokes.

September 2, 2012 4:06 pm

Volcanoes can produce thermal plumes more than 10000m high in air, perhaps 1000m in water is not impossible. A thermal map would be interesting.

September 2, 2012 4:15 pm

Steven Mosher: “You realize there is a feedback between more open water and more intense storms leading to more open water and more intense storms, leading to… well the sun thankfully sets eventually.”
Ceteris paribus, natch. Out of curiosity I punked some values through Stefan-Boltzmann on the back of an envelope. The values used were the latitude of the arctic circle, axial tilt of the earth, the two solstices and the equinox condition. The albedos were taken only for water and sea ice as given on . By closest eyeball for the average reflectivity of water at incident angle and the midpoint (0,6) for sea ice.
Everything works out generally as one would expect; save the winter solstice on the arctic circle. Where with open water one gets an SB temp of ~30K, while for sea ice one gets a temp of ~50K. The difference owing wholly to the angle of incidence to water. As the albedo for ice remains 0.6, but water goes to ~0.95 due the angle of incidence (solar effective latitude) going to 89.9622 degrees.
This reversal of fortune is, of course, completely absent at 80 degrees Earth latitude. So we can state that there is a band of latitudes in which a lack of sea ice should have a demonstrable cooling effect due albedo differences alone. (And, of course, at certain points in the year). I haven’t bothered chasing the range of latitudes that matter in this respect of the duration of the year that such issues would be in effect. Nonetheless it is an interesting and confounding consequence of the axial tilt of the Earth.

September 2, 2012 4:18 pm

LazyTeenager says:
September 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Well that’s a lot of possibilities. Have you considered a wild theory in which ice melts when the temperature rises? And this rise in temperature is caused by increased heat transport from the large area of the tropics into the small area of the arctic. And that increased heat comes from subtle changes in the rate of heat transfer to space.
Otherwise certain mischief makers will continue to make elf jokes.

Wouldn’t that second possibility require there to be 1) warming in the tropics…
2) Something getting warmer or AKA some method which heat is getting transported. (HINT > I realize you probably are referencing “things that do not exist” such as a tropospheric hot spot and/or warming oceans, but remember that these things do not exist.)
As for the first “Ice melts when temperature rises”…well yes duh!! But you haven’t told us how AGW is causing the arctic to get warmer. You have to explain how its doing this “Through AGW” and not natural mechanisms. In other words, its up to YOU to prove that what is happening is not natural. And that is the scientific method for ya.

September 2, 2012 4:20 pm

The tilt of the earth has changed slightly from major earthquakes (Japan, New Zealand, etc). Has that tilt changed the jet stream enough to bring this storm in August?

September 2, 2012 4:20 pm

I guess effect can precede cause, as I see I have pre-debunked your post @4:00 pm with my chart above.☺
Also, here is another nice Arctic map. Click on the yellow dots for current weather reports.

September 2, 2012 4:23 pm

Also. the Alarmosphere is alight with talk that man has changed the thickness of ice in the Arctic which made is possible for this storm to break up the ice. I wonder if they got that idea studied, put into a paper, and peer reviewed before they started spreading it on the internet?

September 2, 2012 4:49 pm

Steven Mosher [September 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm] says:
And Goddard can talk about ‘recovery’.

Strange concept that word, ‘recovery’. Especially if we have already ‘recovered’.
The AGW hoaxsters seem to desire a ‘recovery’ to the climate of the 1970’s (and failing that we should throw a few trillion dollars their way to help them facilitate it). That is a comforting thought, unless you actually remember the climate of the 1970’s.
But what if the 1970’s were in fact the anomaly (with respect to the long term mild warming since the LIA, and with the even longer term warming since the Holocene began)? Specifically, what if the cooler period of the 1960’s to 1970’s was a temporary ‘setback’ in mother nature’s grand plan of a warming interglacial? This is a perfectly logical hypothesis given our current knowledge of our position in time. And it allows for another inevitable cyclic but temporary setback in the next few years. We might even call this natural variation.
Fleshing it out further, it would logically follow that by the 1990’s we had already ‘recovered’ from the 1970’s, back to the slight warming trajectory we were on all along.
Clearly this would entirely screw up the sea-ice agenda by reminding everyone that the satellites began taking continuous measurements at the peak of this cool anomaly, and talk of a ‘recovery’ to 1979 sea-ice levels is really a complete inversion of reality.
Of course this would also mean that all of the fears spread by AGW hoaxsters are inverted, and that sea-ice minimums in the 4 to 5 mkm^2 might be the perfectly normal extent for the periods between the cool-downs.
All this speculation would be un-necessary of course if Mosher, Julienne, Serreze and Joe Romm would just tell us whether we are supposed to still be in the LIA today? Or are we supposed to still be in the 1970’s today? Or are we supposed to be exiting the Holocene today? So how about y’all just stop making us guess, and please, just cut to the chase.
P.S. all of the above is not my particular theory, it is only a rational fit for the few available facts we have. It is only a quick, imperfect description of natural variation. The AGW fanatics have the burden of proof the disprove natural variation. Before they can do that however, they need to know what the limits of our natural variation are. Hence the final questions. Also note that CO2 did not need to be mentioned at all.

September 2, 2012 4:50 pm

Amino Acids in Meteorites;
I wonder if they got that idea studied, put into a paper, and peer reviewed before they started spreading it on the internet?
I hope they try and get a paper published pronto. It ought to come out just in time for them to have to explain the record fast recovery that I am betting we are going to see. All that open water isn’t going to warm much from insolation. It is September already, and the angle of the sun will increasingly ensure that, as Maus alluded to upthread, an albedo change that will favour cooling, not warming. But more importantly in my view, snow and ice are very good insulators. All that water exposed to the air is now going to radiate considerably more energy to space than it otherwise would have. Given the dynamics of open salt water, which requires that it be at freezing point from top to bottom before ice begins to form, that’s an awful lot of heat to give up that otherwise would have remained trapped under the ice. Once that process is done, I would expect very quick recovery.

John Brookes
September 2, 2012 5:55 pm

LazyTeenager has pretty well nailed it. The rest of you are clutching at straws, and walking on thin ice, and don’t have a snowflakes chance in hell of being right.
But strangely, only LazyTeenager and Socratic are put under any pressure to justify him/herself. All other theories, such as more ice breakers, and an extension of the urban heat island effect to include rivers flowing into the arctic etc are allowed to pass unquestioned.
Actually, I’m being unfair, aren’t I? Someone did knock the undersea volcano theory on the head. But it is ony stunned, and will rise again for another try…

September 2, 2012 6:11 pm

Well Blade.
“The AGW fanatics have the burden of proof the disprove natural variation”
Well, actually not. There is of course “variation”. The scientific question is how do you explain the variation. You dont explain it by calling it “natural”. That just names what needs to be explained. In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at the north pole, not more.
The world is warming, and well go figure we see less sea ice at the north pole.
The loss of ice is not proof of AGW. That is proved by basic physics. The interesting questions are:
1. How much of the warming we see is due to GHS?
2. What gross predictions can we make for the future.
To repeat. AGW as a theory is not “proved” by any one piece of evidence. It’s simple physics. If you add more GHGS the temperature will trend upwards over time, not downwards.
WRT to ICE. take a look at the siberian side of the arctic that melts out. In fact the russians thought they could open this passage in the 1950s. here is the data back to earlier times
Here is the russian data

September 2, 2012 6:40 pm

Seven Mosher: “It’s simple physics. If you add more GHGS the temperature will trend upwards over time, not downwards. ”
That depends largely on how simple your physics are. For example there exist industrial heat pipe applications that use CO2 as the working fluid. If we analyzed such a heat pipe too simply then we would state that it is utterly retarded to expect a 100% GHG fluid to have any manner of cooling characteristic involved. But if we acknowledge currents in the fluid then we find that GHGs makes quite the handy agent for cooling a surface.
I would like to expect that someone, somewhere, has done the basic work on such trivial matters. But if they have I am certainly unaware of it.

September 2, 2012 6:59 pm

John Brookes says:
“…strangely, only LazyTeenager and Socratic are put under any pressure to justify him/herself.”
See, John, it’s called “the scientific method.” Your side has made a conjecture [CO2=CAGW]. Therefore, the onus is on you to defend it.
But you have failed to provide verifiable, testable scientific evidence showing any connection between human emitted CO2 and Arctic ice loss. That failure very likely means that your conjecture is wrong. That’s how it works, and all the opinions in the world make no difference. Without any scientific evidence, your opinion stops at the conjecture stage. That’s where you are at. That’s where you have always been at.
• • •
Steven Mosher,
AGW is not a “theory”. It is not even a hypothesis, which must be testable. AGW is a simple conjecture. It may be true, or maybe not. And if true, it may be something that concerns us, or it may be such a minuscule effect that it should be disregarded, and the money spent on real problems. But with no scientific evidence to support it, you’re just speculating.
The one thing that warmists always ignore is the need for a cost/benefit analysis. Bandying about amounts like $trillions is pointless, without showing the exact damage that is being remedied. Where, exactly, is the damage or harm from anthropogenic CO2? I don’t see any. None at all.

John Brookes
September 2, 2012 7:03 pm

No Maus. You can’t just label something a GHG and expect all its behaviour to flow from that label. You actually do have to do the physics, including all the effects that are substantial (like radiative absorption, thermodynamics, convection etc). And people have done. And they get results like, “If we double CO2 in the atmosphere average temperatures will rise by 2 – 4.5 degrees”.
And, rather unsurprisingly, in a warming world ice that is not permantly well below 0C melts. What has surprised just about everyone is how fast the melt is happening.

Kari Konkola
September 2, 2012 7:09 pm

Tuning a satellite radar in such a way that it accurately detects ice is notoriously difficult, because the signal difference caused by a small amount of ice floating between clouds, possible rain and seawater is so small that separating it from background noise inevitably gets closer to art than science. This raises possibly serious questions about the accuracy of the radar-based data. To highlight this potential problem, you might add to the ice page a link — or even possibly a picture — of the ice map provided by the National Weather Service’s Alaska office: The Alaskan coastal map is based on satellite pictures and for years it has consistently reported significantly more ice than the radar-based maps.

September 2, 2012 7:20 pm

RE: mogamboguru says:
September 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm
Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed that. The fact we thought the same thing at the same time may be an example of what Mark Twain called “mental telegraphy.” (The word “telepathy” hadn’t been invented.) (Off topic, but read his two works, “mental telegraphy” and “mental telegraphy revisited,” if you want to see a pragmatic mind dealing with baffling coincidences.)
To get back on topic, the observation by “Just The Facts” about the ice-melt off shore from the MacKenzie River Delta was excellent. That ice melt really baffled me when it happened last June. Now it suddenly makes sense, especially when you realize the headwaters of that river were tucked south of the odd jet stream which ruled Canada last winter, and temperatures there were above normal. If warmer-than-normal water from a warmer-than-normal winter are flooding down a river in the spring, one would expect faster-than-normal ice melt at the river’s mouth.
That jet stream was exotic, for it had a split personality. Usually the jetstream is either zonal, and forms a tight circle around the pole that locks the cold up there, or it is very loopy due to blocking, and allows arctic outbreaks to pour south. However last winter it was zonal across northern Canada, but blocking formed a big loop over Eurasia.
The zonal flow explains why the cold stayed up over Alaska and didn’t come south, but the blocking over Eurasia allowed cold to freeze Europe right down to the Mediterranean coast.
Asia was very cold as well, which resulted in extra heating and extra soot, but guess what that loopy jet stream was doing to the west of Asia? It was looping back up to the north, transporting the soot right up to the arctic. Any soot that wasn’t dropped over the pristine snows immediately was then transported across the far north of Canada. There was no southward loop to bring the soot south into southern Canada or the United States. It headed straight east to Greenland. It would be interesting to see if Greenland got more soot than usual, in its snowcover, (which might partially explain it’s four-day-midsummer-meltdown, which such a hoop-la was made of, last July.)
I thought it might be interesting to compare the Mackenzie River with some Eurasian river that had it headwaters colder than normal, due to the exotic jet stream. So I looked at the Ob River, which drains into a long, thin estuary on the arctic coast. Sure enough, that estuary now has ice even in places where it is usually ice free. (The entire estuary was ice free in 2007.) Check out the Siberian coast on this map:
You will notice there are other estuaries along the Siberian coast which have above normal ice, even as the rest of the Arctic has below normal ice.
I rest my case.
Now, or course, some will state the exotic jet stream (and exotic ice-melt and exotic midsummer arctic storm) are all due to Global Warming. However I will point out the most exotic thing of all is the behavior of our sun, which is quieter than it has ever been since cycle five, roughly three hundred years ago.
Hold onto your hats.

September 2, 2012 7:39 pm

One must remember that “the ice” was once land and sea ice, no?
I wonder how many millions of square miles of such existed in the near past on this planet?
Pictures can be worth a couple hundred million square miles of ice/words sometimes 🙂

September 2, 2012 8:10 pm

justthefactswuwt: “What about Mosher? He’s clearly receiving and applying pressure. And in terms, LazyTeenager and Socratic, they put forth unsupported assertions, so yes, they were put under pressure to justify him/herself. This is how logical debate progresses.”
Yes, well. If they choose to shore up their argument then they also increase their social status. This, in turn, causes an increase in their sexual temperature and increases access to willing partners. It may simply be the case that any if their Anthropogenic Sexual Temperature becomes any hotter that it may cause a disruption of their domestic ecology. The monetary damage that follows from such a disruption may be significant enough to justify taking preventive measures by sequestering argumentation for an indeterminate period of time. Though, if this is the case, perhaps they will advocate for a cap and trade mechanism instead.

September 2, 2012 8:30 pm

For the life of me I can’t see how open water in the arctic can make the planet warmer. As mentioned by others above, when the sun gets low on the horizon, water reflects better than ice does. Especially sooty ice.
Imagine if you will that you are on a beach, up to your knees in water, as the sun goes down. When the sun was high (higher than it ever gets in the arctic) you could see those beautiful golden wavers of light on the sand by your feet, but as the sun sinks you see those wavers get dimmer and dimmer, until they vanish, and your feet are in shade, even as the part of you above your knees is in sunlight. Furthermore, as you look towards the glittering sea under the setting sun you can feel the extra heat being bounced from the water, as if the sea was a reflector oven. You can see and feel that, as the sun goes down, water increasingly is a bad “absorber” and increasingly is a good “reflector” of solar energy. It becomes a negative feedback.
Then, once the sun is down, open water is much better at radiating heat to outer space than ice-covered water. In fact, if you want Global Warming, you want an igloo of ice holding the heat on our planet. Think of your own body. Would you stay warmer under an igloo of ice, or sleeping out under the starry arctic night?
Also, if you want the world warmer, the last thing you want is warm water transported to the poles, where six months of darkness can rob that water of its heat. However that is exactly what thermohaline circulation does, and thermohaline circulation is partially fueled by open water freezing over.
Somewhere above someone stated the Arctic Ocean is stratified. Wrong. A lot of water sinks. If it didn’t sink, the thermohaline circulation would have no place to start.
The same person suggested fresh water always floats above saltier water. Wrong again. The Gulf Stream’s water is so warm that, even though it is saltier due to evaporation in hot tropics, it floats above fresher water, because that fresher water is so much colder.
The northernmost memories of the Gulf Stream have a huge effect in the arctic. Old reports from fishermen describe having to seek the fish, who have vanished from the old fishing grounds, (along with the seals,) and pursued a shift in the currents. These reports go clear back to the 1800’s. The end of the Gulf Stream meanders, and when it meanders north you can bet the ice will melt faster.
However when that warmer and saltier water is exposed to sub-zero winds it gets colder, and then even saltier. It gets even saltier because when salt water freezes it rejects salt. (It sounds very biggotted and politically incorrect to me,) but freezing excludes salt from the floating ice, creating a cold brine under the ice which, (perhaps due to hurt feelings,) sinks to the depths, and isn’t seen for around a thousand years, when the other end of the thermohaline circulations appears as an upwelling at some distant place on the planet.
Now, as this water sinks it must be replaced at the surface. Where do the replacements come from? Often they come from the very end of the Gulf Stream.
In other words, the more open water you have freezing, the more created brine you have sinking, and the more water is drawn north to replace the water that sunk.
Talk about a negative feedback! It must be stopped, or it might become a vicious cycle. Rather than staying south, where it could warm Europe and do some good, more and more of the Gulf Stream will be sucked north and wasted melting the icecap and then radiating our planet’s precious supply of warmth into outer space.
Fortunately I can stop this vicious cycle and save the planet. However it will require money. Small bills, in a brown paper bag, if you please.

Keith G
September 2, 2012 8:36 pm

Much has been said in this thread, but I say this: I hold these truths to be self-evident, that science is our best hope for freeing us from dogma, that the final arbiter of truth is experiment, and that all men have an inalienable right to investigate matters for themselves. If this is an ideology, then I choose to be wrong with Socrates rather than to be right with Plato.

September 2, 2012 8:43 pm

I’m rather skeptical that heating up the Mackenzie in Alberta makes any measurable difference to the water temperature after it crosses the entire Northwest Territories from south to north. It’s a long way, across a cold landscape.

george e smith
September 2, 2012 9:04 pm

“””””…..Maus says:
September 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm
Steven Mosher: “You realize there is a feedback between more open water and more intense storms leading to more open water and more intense storms, leading to… well the sun thankfully sets eventually.”……”””””
Well when you calculated that very high 0.95 “albedo” for that 89.9622 degrees incidence angle and water, I hope you used the same high incidence angle, when you calculated the surface irradiance.
For that incidence angle, the irradiance attenuation factor (cos (incidence angle)) is 0.0006597 so the effective albedo for that situation is 95% of that which is 0.0006267.
So let’s not crow about high albedos in the arctic. Nearly 100% of nearly zero irradiance, is still nearly zero reflected energy.

Brian H
September 2, 2012 9:51 pm

Glad OLR finally entered the discussion. Open water is a near-perfect heat dump (into Space, forevah). It cools itself and the globe very efficiently.

September 2, 2012 9:53 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
September 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm
Good golly, that is just like the blob thing, but in real life!
Those poor starfish never had a chance. I wonder if they thought they did something wrong so as to incur the wrath of the Brinicile ?
The horror!

September 2, 2012 10:45 pm

Steve Mosher said: In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at the north pole, not more.
Actually, in a warming world I would expect there to be less sea ice at BOTH poles. Thats the thing about AGW, the G is suposed to stand for Global. As in all over the world. Funny how a global effect seems to be happen mostly in just a few places.

September 2, 2012 11:49 pm

I miss Anthony’s explenation of soot from the Chinese industry. It gained credibility with me when i saw the winter Ice (compared to 2007 winter ice looked better). I am curious if we will see a change in the coming years as they modernize their industry and clean up their city’s more (in the process).

September 3, 2012 12:12 am

Another drive-by from Mosher.
Please tell us, recovery to where? What should Arctic sea ice be looking like at normal? Was 1979 normal for example?

September 3, 2012 12:27 am

Apparently arctic tmeperatures are below average this year and mostly well below freezing.
How would a 2C AGW warming cause major ice reduction? Water freezes easily at -28C. Other factors must be involved.

Gregory Beasley (Prospect, NSW)
September 3, 2012 12:47 am

Hi Anthony,
Your observation that “… an unusually strong storm formed off the coast of Alaska on August 5 and tracked into the center of the Arctic Ocean” is the catalyst for my response.
Over the past couple of years I have been monitoring daily temperature variations across Canada (including the Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and Alaska. With respect to the month of August the following observations were made in relation to the Arctic Ocean coastal towns of Barrow and Deadhorse in Alaska and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada – at their respective airports:
(1) Barrow yielded a monthly anomaly of +3.8 degrees C;
(2) Deadhorse yielded an even higher figure of +5.1 degrees C, and
(3) Tuktoyaktuk yielded a figure of +4.0 degrees C.
These significant deviations from the long-term monthly means for each site would dovetail well with your observation of a precipitous drop in sea ice extent in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas during August and, possibly, in response to the aforementioned Arctic storm. Indeed, warm temperatures in northern Alaska may well have been the trigger for the storm. However, they do not explain why, when northern Alaska was experiencing an Arctic “heatwave” of sorts, southern, western and central Alaska were experiencing temperatures barely above the norm!
Furthermore, if one looks at the anomalies for the previous month, they too were abnormally high: Barrow (+2.1-degrees C); Deadhorse (+4.3-degrees C) and Tuktoyaktuk (+5.6-degrees C).
It is also noteworthy that the weather station at Fort Yukon – to the NE of Fairbanks – was also experiencing high to moderately-high temperatures throughout June, July and August of this year; +4.1, 2.1 and 2.7-degrees C respectively.
Could it be that these generally warmer land temperatures were the trigger for the Arctic storm that led to the break-up and subsequent melting of the sections of the Arctic ice sheet in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas? And if so, why was the heating confined to a relatively small section of the Alaskan mainland?
Greg Beasley
Prospect, NSW

September 3, 2012 12:54 am

Does the large open area extent mean more evaporation and a higher atmospheric water concentration? If it does, then I wouldn’t expect a record for the speed of the freeze up, because H2O is such a powerful greenhouse gas. Note also that open water has a high albedo, and suspended H2O blocks the summer long wave flux, trapping the extra heat near the surface, and possibly contributing somewhat to the melt.

September 3, 2012 2:09 am

Interesting question. During the 34 year satellite record, Global Temperatures have increased by .133 degree K/C per decade; and not all of the .133 K/C per decade increase is likely associated with Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Northern Polar Temperatures have increased by .343 degree K/C per decade, nearly three times the global rate. Thus my first inclination would be to say that less than a third of the warming in the Arctic is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas influences. How much of the warming we see do you think is due to GHS?
I thought the ‘conventional wisdom’ was that the climate would have cooled over the last 50 years without human influences – the wiki page references quite a few studies
So the ‘mainstream’ argument would be >100%.
Also I don’t think you can subtract the global rate from the Northern Polar rate and say the remaining is not due to human influence, because all the predictions are that Northern Polar regions would warm at a much faster rate than the global mean. e.g.
… The simulated annual mean arctic warming exceeds the global mean warming by roughly a factor of two in the MMD models, while the winter warming in the central arctic is a factor of four larger than the global annual mean when averaged over the models. …

September 3, 2012 2:25 am

John Brookes: “And people have done. And they get results like, …”
And I would like to expect that. Perhaps you could provide the relevant argument or a citation to (accessible) papers that do. Apologies for missing your post earlier.
george e smith: “So let’s not crow about high albedos in the arctic. Nearly 100% of nearly zero irradiance, is still nearly zero reflected energy.”
And yet this interesting and counterintuitive result of ‘nearly zeroes’ still accounts for a 20K noon-time difference in a field in which we regularly speak of 0.000055K daily trends. Do I correctly understand your position to be that since 20K is an utter nonsense for smallness than 0.000055K is 363,636 times more utter nonsense?

Disko Troop
September 3, 2012 2:46 am

Pardon my ignorance but this is a genuine question. The DMI publishes a chart of Arctic Air temps above 80N starting in 1958 .
When I look at this the temp starts in the same place every year, rises to the same level every year and falls back to the same level every year from 1958 to 2012. Am I reading this graph incorrectly or are the arctic air temperatures above 80 north the same now as they have always been since 1958?
When I look at the winter of 2012 the temps were unusually warm (Still way below freezing obviously) yet the ice extent was as great as the 1979 2000 anomaly. Does this not seem to indicate that ice extent is nothing whatever to do with average air temp and thus nothing to do with any perceived global warming ?
Ivor Ward

September 3, 2012 3:03 am

Mosher again comes out with sins of omission. He said
” If you add more GHGS the temperature will trend upwards over time, not downwards ”
He forgot the qualification needed here that ” provided all other feedback mechanisms in a chaotic system like earth stay the same”. he also forgot to state that ” all feedback mechanisms the affect temperatures are not well understood and do not stay the same “.
Stating part of the truth because it supports your gospel is lying by omission, something which Mosher has consistently been doing.
Mosher also states
” In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at the north pole, not more.”
He should actually been stating that “In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at both the poles ” which is the truth.
So again, another selective statement highlighting his gospel but omitting contrary information.

September 3, 2012 3:11 am

Thank you for that wonderful map. It’s the best I’ve ever seen let alone hoped for.

Bloke down the pub
September 3, 2012 3:24 am

justthefactswuwt says:
September 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm
Caleb says:September 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm
For the life of me I can’t see how open water in the arctic can make the planet warmer.
I tend to agree. The warming influence of increased isolation(insolation?) absorbed by the ocean surface would be out weighed by the heat escape from the ocean into the atmosphere
Haven’t you just answered your own question? The initial ice loss, whatever it’s cause, leads to more open water. A storm of any strength will lead to heavier seas when there is a longer fetch than when the sea is ice locked.(This may have been Mosher’s point about stronger storms?) This causes more mixing of the ocean layers bringing the warmer waters to the surface which shows up as increased surface temperature. However, once the warmer water has been brought to the surface it will radiate heat to space at a much greater rate, which will lead to global cooling.

September 3, 2012 3:30 am

RE: “Billy says:
September 3, 2012 at 12:27 am
Apparently arctic temperatures are below average this year and mostly well below freezing…”
You can update that graph by clicking to Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” and then go to the Danish site by clicking that graph.
The graph does show the high latitudes were slightly below normal for most of the summer. However some (including Hansen) will say changing ice to water takes a lot of available heat and turns it into latent heat. (Sigh.)
The graph also shows temperatures at high latitudes are now a bit above normal, perhaps due to open water north of 80 degrees. I wonder if any will speak of latent heat being released, as water changes back to ice. (Double Sigh.)

September 3, 2012 3:36 am

This is an excellent thread mostly because of your article and – especially – your interactions in the thread. The result has been interesting and instructive information and interactions of ideas which have been almost completely on topic.
I write to encourage similar inputs from you on WUWT in future.

Steve Thatcher
September 3, 2012 4:58 am

ghl says:
September 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm
Volcanoes can produce thermal plumes more than 10000m high in air, perhaps 1000m in water is not impossible. A thermal map would be interesting.
Yes, I was thinking along these lines just before I read your comment. If molten lava was released at the sea floor it would lead to steam formation and then condensation leading to relatively “warm” freshwater pockets of water which would have nowhere to go but upwards.
Although they would cool quite quickly, if this was an ongoing process for even relatively short periods it would create a definite upward current of relatively warmer, less salty water.
This is only conjecture but is entirely feasible and, if volumes were sufficient, could easily break through the stratification layers of the ocean carrying warmth up to cause melting above.
Steve T

September 3, 2012 5:18 am

Frozen slush is completely covering the lense of the “Floating North Pole Cam” on the Sea Ice Page for several days in a row now, actually.
This didn’t happen in the past years, AFAIK.
More open water = more evaporation = more snow?
And what will happen if the additional snow falls on the surrounding continental land mass?
Will any additional snow cover there add to glaciers and let them advance?
Thus, are we perhaps witnessing the last days of the Holocene-Interglacial without even noticing?

September 3, 2012 5:49 am

Steven Mosher [September 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm]

Steve, just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things I read your comment several times and amazingly find nothing major to disagree with for the first time in ages. I do not however believe you answered any question.
UNANSWERED QUESTION #1 – referred to your quote: “And Goddard can talk about ‘recovery’. … What if we have already recovered to ‘normal’? What if the 1970’s were in fact the anomaly with respect to the long term mild warming since the LIA, and, moreso with the longer term warming since the Holocene began? Specifically, what if the cooler period of the 1960’s to 1970’s was a temporary ‘setback’ in mother nature’s grand plan of a warming interglacial? This is a perfectly logical hypothesis given our current knowledge of our position in time. And it allows for another inevitable cyclic but temporary setback in the next few years. It would logically follow that by the 1990’s we had already ‘recovered’ from the 1970’s, back to the slight warming trajectory we were on all along. But by starting continuous satellite measurement at the peak of the cool anomaly, observers missed the forest for the trees and their talk of a ‘recovery’ to 1979 sea-ice levels becomes a complete inversion of reality because sea-ice minimums in the 4 to 5 mkm^2 might be perfectly normal for the warmer periods. If we have already ‘recovered’, it would mean that the AGW alarmists are actually describing a PNA – Post Normal Arctic, wouldn’t it? 😉
UNANSWERED QUESTION #2 – We need to know where we are, and Where we have been, in order to know Where we are going. … All this wild speculation would be unnecessary if you would just tell us whether we are supposed to still be in the LIA today? Or are we supposed to still be in the 1970’s today? Or are we supposed to be exiting the Holocene today? Stop making us guess, and cut to the chase. NOTE: this is not my particular theory, just a rational fit for the few available facts we have, a quick, imperfect description of natural variation. The burden of proof is on AGW fanatics to prove that their hypothesis is *not* a part of natural variation. Before they can do that however, they need to know what the boundaries of our natural variation really are. This sounds pretty self-evident to me.
Returning to what you did say …
In your reply you first questioned my original statement that: “The AGW fanatics have the burden of proof the disprove natural variation”. Yes, that should have been phrased better and without the typo (and I did so above): ‘The AGW fanatics have the burden of proof on *them*, it is they who must prove their AGW hypothesis is NOT part of natural variation’. The reason I even mentioned it in the first place is because of so many of the AGW cult are reversing the scientific method by telling us it’s warming due to human emissions and accept it or prove them wrong. This is like saying the universe ends in a brick wall, accept it or disprove it. Right after that I pointed out that before you can even consider proving that your hypothesis is not part of natural variation, you must first be able to define the boundaries of it. So rather than immediately producing papers, lectures and TV programs about catastrophe and leaping straight to draconian expenditures of taxpayer monies, the alarmist community FIRST should have been exploring the historical records and other methods to define the wide range of variation experienced just within the current Holocene. This is contrasted with the efforts of Mann and his sycophants to sandpaper down these variations (RWP, MWP, LIA etc) into a smooth and straight hockey stick to make the ‘blade’ stand out like a sore thumb. IIRC it wasn’t too long ago that you were doing the same thing here regarding the LIA and a lack of evidence. Or you were playing devil’s advocate.

“There is of course “variation”. The scientific question is how do you explain the variation. You dont explain it by calling it “natural”. That just names what needs to be explained.”

With all due respect I think you are missing the point here. While it may be interesting to try to explain the cause of all natural variation, there is no reason to do this in our current discussion. Knowing the *bounds* of natural variation is the entire point and it is obviously prerequisite in order to see if current conditions are at all unusual (and even those bounds might not be rigid because even if we learned of +/- 10° limit, we cannot rule out that mother nature was about to naturally increase the boundaries by cranking the dial to eleven). You may not like the word ‘natural’, and I don’t blame you. If I were obsessed with hanging CO2 around man’s neck I would try to duck it as well. But we have variation which is in fact natural by any definition of the word. Even the 65 mya asteroid strike is natural (but for some very miniscule chance it was launched at us by aliens I suppose), but we should stay on topic for now. Simply stated, if we see warm-cool, alternating cycles of 30 to 60 years and someone tells us of a crisis whose sole symptom falls well right within the bounds of those warm-cool cycles, we’re not buying it no matter how exotic the theory. YMMV.

“In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at the north pole, not more. The world is warming, and well go figure we see less sea ice at the north pole. The loss of ice is not proof of AGW.”

Those are some very safe statements, not sure why you made them unless they are just to fill space. But each of them also has wiggle room. For example a “warming world” might be warming everywhere *but* the Arctic. Or it may have warmed one degree in the Arctic winter from -10 to -9 which would affect the total temp but not the ice. And why only one pole anyway? Numbers, statistics, averages, you gotta love ’em. The ‘world’ as you say probably is warming, perhaps by that huge 0.7 degrees that y’all fret over *since* the Little Ice Age (but again, what should it be doing?). The “we see less sea ice at the north pole” statement once again is ambiguous, is it ‘less’ volume or extent? Sea-Ice is hard enough to measure, volume must be nearly impossible to get correct. For example, there is no way we can tell if 2012 has more or less ice volume than 2007 or 2011. What if we are only noticing different annual distributions but with nearly equal volumes? This is why I am completely dumbfounded by the way you drop into the Sea-Ice Olympics. I thought perhaps you were playing devil’s advocate to tweak Steve Goddard but lately you actually sound like you believe there is actual significance to the ups *and* downs of minimum extent.

“1. How much of the warming we see is due to GHS?
2. What gross predictions can we make for the future.”

(Assuming GHS is GHG) Question 1 is the big one and unfortunately for the alarmists you just do not have enough heat to go around. From the AGW cult the answer is unanimous: all of it, every single bit of alleged temp increase is from GHG, and all of that is from GHG that humans added. The entire 0.7 degrees (well what else can they say) since the LIA is AGW, which leaves them with nothing left over for natural warming. So please, when will one of you complete the logic of your argument and finally state: ‘The LIA never naturally ended, we are supposed to still be in there, the entire 0.7 degrees is entirely from Humans, and thanks to that we are warm instead of cold.‘ There is wiggle room in that question as well: “due to GHS” covers water vapor of course and that naturally would be natural, so I assume you must mean CO2, but then again human contribution obviously cannot really be 100% of that and is no doubt far less. Question 2 has been determined already, and the answer is: absolutely boundless chicken little alarmism, whatever it takes to nab a grant, grab a headline, and ram through legislation. When a movie like “The Day After Tomorrow” comes out and is not even considered science fiction, and perfectly matches the hysteria from AGW doomsayers (which is most of them), we have crossed into new territory. This is crazy land.

“AGW as a theory is not “proved” by any one piece of evidence. It’s simple physics. If you add more GHGS the temperature will trend upwards over time, not downwards.”

Fun Fact: Every pebble you throw into the sea raises sea level. No argument on the first part of your comment, just the last which is obviously true in most cases, except for when it’s not. It sounds too much like you are certain of a constantly predictable linear trend which must be impossible eventually due to diminishing returns from the logarithmic nature of CO2 saturation. More importantly, it implies experimental isolation rather than system wide actions and reactions. Other events will likely slow or completely defeat the rigid temperature rise, such as thunderstorms from increased evaporation due to the Willis’ Thermostat Hypothesis, naturally with differing mechanisms depending on ‘system’ location. This is the nature of ‘systems’. The AGW cult seems to want to consider CO2 separate from the bigger picture leaving no room for a system to return to its own level. Lots of agenda driven leftists and eco-nuts want to consider man as separate from the rest of nature. It is a mental illness, masochistic self-flagellation.

Julian Flood
September 3, 2012 6:00 am

A cursory glance at Wikipedia shows a surface current running east along the coast just north of Prudoe Bay and the North Slope drilling areas. Tiny spills are enough to pollute huge areas of the sea surface; 5ml will smooth a hectare.
Smoothed water produces less cloud, has lower albedo, reduced evaporation and its emissivity falls. It warms.
The heating in the Beaufort Sea is anomalous — nothing I’ve seen about CO2 can explain 8 deg C — so some explanation is needed. My suggestion is oil pollution.

September 3, 2012 6:19 am

From May to late August wind was blowing from Northern Canada to the Beaufort Sea.
There was high pressure over Greenland forcing that. Because of that there was large polynya
in June. Sun and wind caused the high sea temperatures in the Beaufort Sea.

Laurie Bowen
September 3, 2012 6:37 am

ghl says: September 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm
You’ve got that right? (in my opinion) and I would be most interested in seeing the geo-themals over time that cause those volcano’s to go boom . . . so high!

September 3, 2012 7:16 am

Wow, there’s talk here that man is the cause of warming just because some trends roughly agree. A “fools paradise”.
This 4 minute video with Steve McIntyre reading a ClimateGate email shows that even some ClimateGate scientists have doubts about man changing climate.

September 3, 2012 7:18 am

While the MacKenzie River outflow could reasonably be a bit warmer than average, a close look at the Beaufort temperature maps suggest the high temps in that area are more likely from an outlier bouy temp that is being worked into temp map. Note that the inland temps for the MacKenzie river are much less than Hot spot. Further, the hot spot is well west of the Delta.
USGS water temps for the nearby rivers in Alaska were recently in the 50 to 53 F range; a fair match to the color coded temps for the MacKenzie (10 to 12 C). No where near the color code’s 18 C temp at the Hot Spot. There is no similar spot anywhere near the arctic.
I’d say the Beaufort temp is being biased by a bad reading that hasn’t been screened out as an outlier.The tight temperature gradient near the hot spot should be a red flag for an outlier. It’s been displaying the same error for weeks.

September 3, 2012 7:25 am

I think this map of reported temperatures is a clearer reference for my observations than the anomoly map.

September 3, 2012 7:28 am

If what is happening to Arctic ice was from “global” warming it would also affect Antarctic ice in the same way. But it is not. The circumference of Antarctic ice is in a growing trend. So the opposite is happening to Antarctic ice.
What is happening in the Beaufort Sea is peculiar to that area. It is not global.

Laurie Bowen
September 3, 2012 7:46 am
Steve: makes me think of the discussions of the past called “where’s the missing heat”?

Ian W
September 3, 2012 7:50 am

Are supposed scientists and statisticians really arguing about the amount of Arctic ice being non-normal for the Holocene after having observed the ice by satellite for such an extremely brief period? If the sea tides were being looked these observations would be of less than 5 minutes yet this is deemed statistically significant enough to forecast high and low tide levels and whether these levels are normal? This seems to be the approach with climate ‘science’ one tree core and they will tell you global temperature; 30 years observation of Arctic ice in several thousand and they will tell you the ‘normal’ level of ice. In any other field of science this would be laughed at.
Other evidence is of course ignored such as Viking farms being uncovered by melting ice on Greenland that were functioning arable farms for over a century. We also know that the Holocene ‘Optimum’ was considerably warmer than current temperatures. ‘Normal’ is a meaningless word as it is being used in this discussion.

An Inquirer
September 3, 2012 8:04 am

I thought there was a NASA study about two years ago that concluded that a good share of the melt was due to soot (likely from industrializing Asian countries). I am also under the impression that mainstream science has ruled out undersea volcanoes as signficant cause of melt.
By the way, increased CO2 causing increased temperatures causing Arctic melt has several weak spots — not the least of which is the huge divergence between observed Arctic ice and the projections of CO2 based models.

September 3, 2012 8:06 am

I would like to see a chart/graphic/metric of the result of calculations of the following concept:
Sea ice location is also an important piece of information in climate science when coupled with solar insolation information (which is derived simply from the date and time). For example, given an equal area of sea ice, but located at different latitudes, the amount of reflected sun light will be different. Within the arctic circle there is the additional complexity of the 24 hour constant daylight or constant night depending on the time of year.
The calculations to be made would combine the location of sea ice with the insolation for a given moment in time. You could have a few different graphs of this type of calculation, for example one for the arctic circle only, and one for Northern Hemisphere total, for example. I do not know what the calculated numbers would be but one idea for the arctic circle calculations is to “normalize” the number so that it falls between 0 and 1, where at the moment winter starts and the entire arctic is dark your number is 1 and should all the ice disappear by the moment summer starts, that would produce a number of 0 (or vice versa). All other possible conditions in the arctic circle in this example should produce a number between these two extremes, such as say 0.8, or 0.734 🙂 (I don’t know actual numbers yet as oddly no one has ever presented this kind of data to the general public. It’s hard to believe that I am the only one who has ever thought of doing this seemingly important piece of science, especially when I keep hearing the term “Polar Amplification”, and hear of dark waters absorbing the sunlight with nary any hint to the amount of sunlight).
I have tried to explain this concept once before on WUWT in a comment one or two years ago, but I got no replies. I hope I have explained it better this time. I also have come to understand that I will probably have to be the one to write all the software to carry out these calculations if I ever want to see such scientific data.
Well it just so happens that I have spent many, many years on peripheral and relevant studies that should enable me to carry out this software development task in a somewhat timely manner… hopefully.
I would like to have some input from the WUWT community on my idea and whether or not I have explained it sufficiently.

Robert of Ottawa
September 3, 2012 8:08 am

Greenland and Alaska are part of Canada! 🙂

September 3, 2012 8:22 am

Alternate sources of Sea Surface Temperature data do NOT show any Hot Spot on the coast west of the MacKenzie Deta. And therefore, no region of aggressive gradient to smooth it into the map.

September 3, 2012 8:32 am

justthefactwuwt: In the article you posted, you mused about the direct effect of industrial activity and population on the temperature of the river. Of course in a warming world, the river will also warm; what I doubt is that the industrial activities you mentioned have any noticeable effect on their own. The extractive industries, along with almost all of the population (which is tiny — a small city), are hundreds of kilometers from the river mouth. Any heat they impart to the waters would have long since dissipated by the time it gets to the delta.

September 3, 2012 9:38 am

Steven Mosher wrote “It’s [AGW is] simple physics.”
Is this simple physics explained anywhere? Seems unlikely to me that “simple physics” can directly account for global temperature increase from an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere of a chaotic open system. I wonder how this “simple physics” accounts for any biological response to increased CO2.

September 3, 2012 10:03 am

Climate Beagle, not for the first time, Mosher will only make grand cryptic pronouncements and run away. He never answers awkward questions. He’ll then re-appear in another thread and adopt the same tactics. That’s his modus operandi.

September 3, 2012 10:09 am

Great Discussion !
So, if ……
Chinese-burnt coal is contributing significantly to the increased ice melt in the Arctic.
And Obama is doing his utmost to stop coal-fired electical generation in the US-where coal is more “cleanly burnt”.
Then more US coal will be shipped to China-where coal is burnt in the “dietiest” way imagineable
And Obama ends up contributing to greater Arctic Ice-Melt.
Romney/Rand should have a field day with this !

September 3, 2012 10:44 am

@ Mosher
Nobody denies summer Arctic sea ice extent is smaller than last year. Indeed this measurement is a fact. However, what is debatable and debated is the climatological meaning of this fact. In their paper Kinnard et al. 2011 claimed that Arctic sea ice extend has not been that small for 1450 y a claim that can be argued. However in their demonstration they also showed that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrinked during the LIA, hardly a warming period…
The finding that Arctic sea ice extent and/or area was shrinking during this global episode of cooling such as the LIA confirms evidence from research on the last glaciation. It was shown that during the onset of glaciation, a period of relative warmer conditions affected the Svalbard islands before glacial conditions finally were established. Leroux easily explained that relief channelized warm air advection increased as a consequence of colder, higher pressure more powerful air masses descending from the Arctic, displacing more warm air at its periphery.
BTW, during the Dust Bowl 1930s during which atmospheric circulation was in an accelerated mode, DMI nautical charts showed a similar -because of the atmospheric dynamic involved- pattern of summer Arctic sea ice reduction, even accounting for the uncertainty of mapping.
Since the climatic shift of the 1970s, well expressed by pressure measurements around the globe -way more robust than temperature- we have also entered a phase of rapid mode of circulation, hence increased remobilization of the pack seen in satellite animations. I wish also to add that “multiyear ice” is referring to 7 y and older ice. If the claimed stability was indeed a feature, how come we cannot map 100 y, 50y old sea ice? The intensity of atmospheric circulation explains the periods of quiescence and periods of mobilization of the pack. It also explains the shape a melting pack takes during a mobilization period. And these periods do not correspond to warming phases but on the contrary to cooling phases and increased gradient between polar and equatorial regions. And please do not quote the temperature reanalysis at the 500hPa level as proof of the opposite since it has been well demonstrated that cold air masses are lenticular shaped and their thickness is 1.5km, which is well below the 500 hPa level. In fact this is the “trick” of all these studies…
So before attributing one factual consequence to one cause, one needs to look beyond temperatures series.

September 3, 2012 12:41 pm

“Blade [September 3, 2012 at 5:49 am]”

ARRRGGHH! Because the WordPress text box was three lines tall I misplaced a sentence in there. This text …

“NOTE: this is not my particular theory, just a rational fit for the few available facts we have, a quick, imperfect description of natural variation. The burden of proof is on AGW fanatics to prove that their hypothesis is *not* a part of natural variation. Before they can do that however, they need to know what the boundaries of our natural variation really are. This sounds pretty self-evident to me.”

… should have followed “UNANSWERED QUESTION #1” obviously. The point being that the hypothesis that we might have already returned to ‘normal’ is not my particular theory, just a plausible hypothesis given the available information. There is not enough information to know the answer IMHO. However common sense (and KISS theory) tells me that it is far more likely than AGW doomsday scenarios.

Jeff Alberts
September 3, 2012 2:37 pm

I’m still not sure why we care if North Polar sea ice is gone during a brief time in the summer. Polar Bears don’t seem to care.
If it’s due to albedo concerns, I really don’t see albedo as a huge player. A winter or two ago much of the northern hemisphere was covered with snow and ice, yet this didn’t lead to a drastic drop in temperatures, nor plummet us into another glacial period. Can anyone show definitively that albedo is that much of an issue? Or why we care about sea ice?

Jeff Alberts
September 3, 2012 2:39 pm

Blade says:
September 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm
“Blade [September 3, 2012 at 5:49 am]“
ARRRGGHH! Because the WordPress text box was three lines tall I misplaced a sentence in there. This text …

Simple solution. Type up your replies offline in your favorite text editor. Spellcheck, proofread, etc (or ect, if you have something stuck in your throat), then copy and paste. et voila!

September 3, 2012 2:43 pm

jorgekafkazar on September 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm said:

Like, maybe that stuff, uh, whatsit? Dihydrogen monoxide? A rare substance, evidently, hardly ever found in Warmist GHG studies.

Ah, yes. The insidius Dihydrogen Monoxide. Nasty stuff, that. Kills millions every year. I’ve been patitioning the government to ban it for years. Did you know it can even corrode steel? And while it’s not as strong a GHG as Carbon Dioxide on a molicule per molicule bases, it can easily get up to even higher concintrations in the atmosphere. Best to outlaw it completely.

September 3, 2012 2:56 pm

Dang it, post that last comment on the wrong thread. Laptops busted and I’m trying to do this on my phone.

Reply to  justthefactswuwt
September 5, 2012 8:02 am

Your discussion on”currents” is a distraction, red herring argument. Currents do not increase the temperature of the water. They may redistribute the relatively warmer water to different areas and cause bumps in an anomaly map as the relatively warm water is transported to a region of typically colder water, but the currents do not increase the the measured temperature by 8 to 10 C.
You asked for “evidence” and I presented it. The Hot Spot is an anomalously high temperature, substantially greater than the typical river outflow temperature and the recently measured river water temperatures. USGS now shows the nearby Alaskan rivers at 40 to 43 F. It is greater than the indicated temperature for the MacKenzie on the same map and offset geographically well away from the Delta. There is no similar temperature level along the coast of the entire Arctic perimeter nor along the west coast of North America as far south as San Fransisco.
If you cannot present a natural cause for a 20F spike in water temperature in a small local area without known volcanic activity than any logical assessment would lead you to suspect bogus data from a failed sensor or a software masking fault. Yes, it would be nice to be able to point to a specific sensor data record; but the mapping software and data is a black box that only NOAA knows for sure.
I sent an inquiry to Mr. Grumbine, but have not gotten a reply to date. I’m likely relegated to a spam folder. Someone at NOAA has likely seen the blog post, maybe they’ll mention it to him.
It’s just an example of the sloppy science that pervades this topic. The mapping software processing has not properly screened the data for outliers and the chaperones are happy to churn out bogus high biased results because it fits the meme.
NSIDC can see in the Mosaic images and the IMS methods that the vaunted satellite measurements of the ice area have large bias errors this year, grossly under reporting the actual size of the ice field. A scientist would take this unique opportunity to adjust the software parameters to more accurately measure the ice area and reprocess all historical data with the revised method to report a more accurate tend. But, the word out of the organization responsible for the measurement is;: yeah, we know there’s a bias error; sure, its greatest at the key point in the season that we claim is most critical; no, we ignore the premise that a bias level that increases with lower absolute area measurements can influence the reported trend–we like our method best (because it pays our bills at home). Besides, it’s probably going to melt in another week or two. Yeah, we know our data is wrong today and it’s plotted per day, so yeah the local trend is admittedly wrong; we expect that the actual data will catchup to our erroneous levels later.???
Wow Look!! A new record low! Just like we hoped!
Sloppy science.

September 3, 2012 6:04 pm

Well, this is “on topic” – seems that Tamino is also going through his “Arctic Sea Ice: Turning Points” post this week (Posted on September 1, 2012 | 37 Comments so far):
His lead in:
“…Perhaps the most obvious “turning point” in Arctic sea ice is the stunning decline at the summer minimum of 2007. The annual minimum extent for every year since then has been less than for every year before then. To many, it marks a new era for the ice pack covering the Arctic ocean. The post-2007 era has been makedly [sic] different from what happened before…”
Along the way, he posts charts (all starting in 1980) trying to prove a point:
“…But if you look at the annual minimum of Arctic sea ice volume rather than extent, the decline has been more consistent. There was indeed a large decrease in 2007 with no year post-2007 as high as any year pre-2007 — but there was also a dramatic decline in 2010 with no year post-2010 reaching pre-2010 levels.
Was there a qualitative change in the ice pack in 2010, one which might rival the qualitative change in 2007?
An interesting quantity to study is the ratio of the volume of Arctic sea ice to its area (volume data from PIOMAS, area data from Cryosphere Today). In a sense this is a measure of average thickness, but it doesn’t include areas of open sea so it’s the average thickness only for areas which have at least some ice. Still, it shows a consistent decline over the years.
We can use windowed Fourier analysis to study many quantities, including the annual-mean ratio of volume to area. This too shows the decline, revealing just how dramatic it has been. It also shows that the change in 2010 was greater than in previous years, so when it comes to thinning of the ice pack 2010 seems to be the “turning point” year.
We can also look at the timing of the seasonal cycle of volume/area ratio. One way is to examine the phase (time of year) of the maximum point of the fundamental Fourier component of the seasonal cycle. Although there’s a steady decline prior to 2010, with the peak coming earlier in the season, it isn’t until 2010 that we see a truly dramatic change.
It’s not just the timing of the seasonal cycle which has changed, its very shape has been transformed. And, the change during 2010 was stunning, with no year post-2010 matching any year pre-2010.
The Arctic is changing dramatically, right before our eyes. Not only did the extent and area “fall through the floor” in 2007, the volume did so in both 2007 and 2010. And the very shape of the seasons has changed, in ways that may not be reversed for a very long time, if ever. In those terms, 2010 far exceeds 2007 in its stunning impact…”
And, there’s the usual choir agreeing with every aspect.
And, like almost every Tamino post, there’s the mandatory WUWT tirade:
Poster michel said on September 3, 2012 at 7:28 am:
“…Watts gets much attacked here, but actually if you go to his sea ice pages you find loads of stuff from the authoritative sources showing exactly the things pointed out here. The decline and rate of decline and context are clearly shown…”
Tamino’s response “…And if you read his posts you’ll see constant denial of what’s happening to Arctic sea ice, like blaming it all on the storm, calling it a “natural cycle,” repeated claims that it was just like this in the 1930s, changing the subject to Antarctica or to 8,000 years ago, etc. Perhaps the worst, which shows his blatant and immovable denial, is the idiotic refusal to believe Walt Meier about MASIE/IMS not being appropriate for trend/year-to-year comparisons — for no other reason than that he didn’t want to face the fact that the record was smashed this year and we didn’t even have to wait for September for that to happen. The guy is doing everything he can to deny the truth — and that is why he gets “much attacked here.”…”
I’m still waiting for his post concerning a paper published in Science that found summer Arctic Sea Ice extent during the Holocene Thermal Maximum 8,000 years ago was “less than half of the record low 2007 level.” The paper finds a “general buildup of sea ice from ~ 6,000 years before the present” which reached a maximum during the Little Ice Age and “attained its present (year 2000) extent at 4,000 years before the present” – this paper being the basis behind the “8,000 years ago” statement.
To help them out (since they do read here), here’s the link:
the title:
A 10,000-Year Record of Arctic Ocean Sea-Ice Variability – View from the Beach
the authors:
Svend Funder, Hugues Goosse, Hans Jepsen, Eigil Kaas, Kurt H. Kjær, Niels J. Korsgaard, Nicolaj K. Larsen, Hans Linderson, Astrid Lyså, Per Möller, Jesper Olsen and Eske Willerslev
finally the abstract:
“…We present a sea-ice record from northern Greenland covering the past 10,000 years. Multiyear sea ice reached a minimum between ~8500 and 6000 years ago, when the limit of year-round sea ice at the coast of Greenland was located ~1000 kilometers to the north of its present position. The subsequent increase in multiyear sea ice culminated during the past 2500 years and is linked to an increase in ice export from the western Arctic and higher variability of ice-drift routes. When the ice was at its minimum in northern Greenland, it greatly increased at Ellesmere Island to the west. The lack of uniformity in past sea-ice changes, which is probably related to large-scale atmospheric anomalies such as the Arctic Oscillation, is not well reproduced in models. This needs to be further explored, as it is likely to have an impact on predictions of future sea-ice distribution…”
So it seems that Tamino isn’t up-to-date on all the latest peer-reviewed papers (and this one was only published on 5 August 2011). Maybe he missed it – it didn’t tie anthropogenic causes to those “record” lows, so he wouldn’t have paid any attention to it.
Then again, maybe he has. There’s no search feature to see if he’s commented on the paper. Maybe now that it’s been mentioned on WUWT, he will.

Jack G. Hanks
September 3, 2012 6:15 pm

MASIE for 9/2 shows 3.9 million km^2 sea ice extent.

September 3, 2012 6:22 pm

I commented on the Sea Ice page in response to barry. Some of my thoughts apply to tamina and his alarmist crowd.

R Taylor
September 3, 2012 8:35 pm

Justthefacts, thanks for the note. Whatever questions there may be about the effect of changes in river discharge, I feel answering them would give us much more insight into arctic ice conditions than, say, musing about the influence a trace gas might have by absorbing a few more 15-micron photons in the brighter tropics, given that nothing much seems to be happening in the tropical troposphere.

September 3, 2012 8:36 pm

“Schitzree says:
September 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm
Steve Mosher said: In a warming world we expect there to be less sea ice at the north pole, not more.
Actually, in a warming world I would expect there to be less sea ice at BOTH poles. Thats the thing about AGW, the G is suposed to stand for Global.”
You are aware, I’m sure, that there is no sea at all within about 12 degrees of latitude of the south pole? And only the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea within 20 degrees latitude??
The arctic is landbound open sea, surrounded by land at about 10-15 degrees altitude.
The Antarctic is land, much of it high elevation, surrounded by seas starting at 10-20 degrees latitude, which are not landbound at lower latitudes.
There is nearly no overlap in the latitude of the sea ice at the two poles. To a rough approximation, antarctic sea ice begins at the latitude where arctic sea ice runs into land and ends.
Why one would expect sea ice at the two to be subject to the same mechanisms, or to respond the same ways, entirely escapes me.

September 3, 2012 9:59 pm

To clarify – when I say ’10-20 degrees latitude’ I’m referencing degrees latitude FROM the pole – ie, 90 minus actual latitude. Makes it easier to understand that these are distances from the poles.

Henry Clark
September 3, 2012 10:40 pm

I apologize for the bluntness, but unfortunately all the selected graphs in this article combined are just extremely misleading compared to the following, giving the illusion of sophisticated knowledge while missing the big picture:
As an annual average without cherry-picking a particular moment (month) in weather oscillations, the last couple of years have had just as much sea ice as the mid-1990s.
And, in the mid-1990s, the arctic had less warm temperatures than in the late 1930s.
Aside from any deviations away from ice being proportional to temperatures, there was less arctic ice in the late 1930s than now.
In other words, the whole special hype about declining arctic ice is ludicrous compared to the 1930s, without cherry-picking a single month instead of an annual average, without cherry-picking the past 3 decades, without cherry-picking only half of a 60-year ocean cycle. (I don’t think the author of the article personally intended to cherry-pick, but, when you just use the sources most publicized by CAGW proponents precisely because they are the most misleading, that’s what you get).
And the preceding can be proven very simply. Just look at (for the late 1930s versus the mid 1990s), and then look at which is a verifiable archive of before the inconvenient latter had to get deleted (for recent years compared to the mid 1990s). Combined, one can see the big picture of how recent years compare to the 1930s.

September 4, 2012 2:14 am

I’d like again to point to this highly interesting article about the Yamal peninsula and its surroundings:
Their figure 5 is from Polyakov et al 2003 ( and clearly shows that Kara sea ice has been low before – in the 1940s.

September 4, 2012 2:47 am

Venter says:
September 3, 2012 at 3:03 am
Mosher again comes out with sins of omission. He said
If you add more GHGS the temperature will trend upwards over time, not downwards ”
He forgot the qualification needed here that ” provided all other feedback mechanisms in a chaotic system like earth stay the same”. he also forgot to state that ” all feedback mechanisms the affect temperatures are not well understood and do not stay the same “
Venter, there are also some unquantified direct cooling affects.of CO2, before feedbacks.
How else does heat get radiated to space from the atmosphere to cool the planet?
Curious question indeed.
A radiating GHG molecule, receiving its vibrational energy from CONDUCTED energy, accelerates the loss of that energy from the earth’s system.
I am simply observing energy content of any system as a function of time, i.e. how long that delivered energy stays within a defined area. In regard to our planet the defined area is broadly the land surface, the oceans, and the atmosphere. How long the solar insolation, entering or leaving a defined area, stays before exiting determines T. and or heat content. This leads to a law. “At its most basic only two things can effect the heat content of any system in a radiative balance. Either a change in the input, or a change in the “residence time” of some aspect of those energies within the system.”
When I heard of AGW theory I was rather surprised to learn that the only molecules (GHGs) which allow energy to escape into space, (cooling) somehow net heat the system above non radiationg (at common T) atmospheric gases.
Supposedly a non GHG atmosphere, mostly transparent to incoming insolation, allows the bulk of the insolation to reach the surface, where it the radiates back to space, again for the most part, bypassing the non GHG molecules. Of course this ignores conduction, convection and evaporation. In such a world the non GHG molecules would warm by collision, or conduction from the surface, which would then conduct to more non GHG above them, which would allow the surface atmospheric molecules to then receive more energy from the surface, etc, until convection, further conduction etc basically caused an expanding thermal dynamic equilibrium with a gravity induced lapse rate.
Now, as I understand it, if we add a so named GHG molecule to such an atmosphere, according to climate scientist, it will redirect some of that surface LWIR energy back to the surface, thereby increasing the residence time and heat content of the atmosphere, as solar insolation continues unabated and the system will gain heat while energy escaping is delayed. My point is very simple. Assuming (for now) the climate scientist are correct That single GHG molecule is also receiving conducted energy from the surface, which now has the opportunity to accelerate the loss to space of said conducted energy, which formerly, in the non-ghg molecule, could not radiate to space, thereby GHG molecules accelerate the loss of conducted energy, and delay the loss of LWIR radiated energy
I leave it to physics to determine what percentage of the energy in the atmosphere from the surface is conducted and how much is radiated, and to determine how often newly excited surface molecules , both atmosphere and ground, lose their energy via radiation, or via conduction. But the fact remains, a radiating GHG molecule, receiving its vibrational energy from conducted energy, accelerates the loss of that energy from the earth’s system

Henry Clark
September 4, 2012 12:21 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
“No need to apologize for bluntness, but I disagree about the “extremely misleading” part. The data is what it is, if one is mislead by it, it’s not the data’s fault.”
If someone assumes a source would present a non-misleading picture (as many readers would in this case), they can be misled by only some data being presented.
As a little thought experiment example, if I was trying to be misleading, I could give a hypothetical individual with absolutely no prior background knowledge (an imaginary space alien, for instance) the false perception that the Allies were the bad side killing innocents enmasse in World War II, making the Axis regimes falsely seem like relatively the more moral faction, without a single direct lie, just with extreme enough uneven selection of some data plus omission of vast amounts of other info.
If you would like to not heavily mislead readers, post the two graphs mentioned in my prior comment within the article itself:
via the image from
Else, for every rare reader who scrolls down through a hundred comments and clicks on the links in my comment (with generally at most 1% to several percent of viewers clicking on a text link to a graph, almost never seen compared to graphs displayed visibly), there will be dozens, hundreds, or more simply falsely misled in practice.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
“If you want to see the “big picture” read this:
The only plots in that article link which depict temperatures at the century level are two versions of a CRU plot of land temperatures which has been adjusted to eliminate the bulk of the inconvenient decline after the late 1930s. CRU and GISS are not trustworthy sources; the former is infamous for Climategate, and the latter is headed by Hansen who is an extremist activist barely bothering to even pretend to be an objective scientist (repeatedly arrested for actions at protests). One simple smoking gun example with temperatures is versus where the former shows shows the 5-year mean of U.S. temperature in the high point of the 1980s was 0.4 degrees Celsius cooler than such in the 1930s but the latter is fudged to make the same less than 0.1 degrees Celsius apart. Overall Northern Hemisphere data and global data is fudged too by such sources, like illustrates.
Anyway, for a specific example on the CRU plot, it depicts temperatures around 1940 as being colder than those around 1980. (Such is labeled as land temperatures, but, with your article giving it is as the only plot over that period, readers will interpret it as representative of global temperature trends; besides, the fudged CRU data on global temperatures is a similar idea too). In utter contrast, an example of data published before enviro-activists reached a level of dominance where they could get away with almost anything shows global mean temperatures around 1940 were warmer than those around 1980.
The plot in your articles makes a 1940->1980 temperature decline look like a 1940->1980 temperature rise.
To make that extra blatant and also show the real picture of far less warming post-1980 too, I quickly drew a few lines on some respective plots:
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
“The claim that “the last couple of years have had just as much sea ice as the mid-1990s” seems erroneous, i.e.;
both Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly
and Global Sea Ice Area Anomaly”

When two data sources are contradictory, as in this case, where one has to be in error, past experience finds that errors are by far most often in the CAGW-convenient direction, and, sure enough, the graphs you are posting are from Cyrosphere Today. How Cyrosphere Today presents untrustworthy fudged data was illustrated in (particularly the notes on figures 17 and onwards to the end of article summary).
The Met Office isn’t really trustworthy either, but at least they are extremely unlikely to intentionally error greatly in a CAGW *inconvenient* direction, so when they posted (which was up for months at least until deleted within the past several days since my usage of webcitation) showing there was as much arctic ice in the past couple of years as an annual average (the red line) as in the mid-1990s as seen at , that is vastly more likely to be true than your Cryosphere Today plots.
As an analogy in other context, even if unintentionally, you’re doing the equivalent of responding to me posting a temperature graph properly showing the MWP and LIA in the past thousand years by posting a graph of Mann’s hockey stick and automatically assuming the latter disproves the former. Sources are contradictory, and typically the largest contradictions are because some are dishonestly fudged.
So far I don’t think you are an undercover CAGW supporter mole, but one of the unfortunate aspects of discussions which can border on argument is that usually people get mentally increasingly tied to supporting what feels like their original position, so trying to argue and convince usually simply backfires. But, if we are both true fellow skeptics, we are just aiming to educate people. If you wouldn’t want to post the graph alone, that would be no problem. I’m not even arguing for posting that alone — just it in addition to the other plots. What you could best do is post both it and, if you want, the Cyrosphere Today graphs too. Let people see the blatant contradiction. That’s the real world. Sources don’t remotely match. The CAGW side likes to pretend they all do (down to the 97% consensus BS based on two trick questions with one really being if temperatures warmed at all since the LIA), but they don’t. Mainly it depends who is collecting the data, their biases, and, if pro-CAGW, what they feel they can get away with at the moment.
Learning just how much contradictions exist is one of the most useful things anyone can learn, as it is the start of true critical thought and proper skepticism.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
I am not sure of the source of their data, as NSIDC maximum for 2012;
was nowhere near as high as the one shown in the MET graph.

Look closely at the data markings on the graphs: The NSIDC plot starts in 1979, but the plot starts a few years earlier.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
Now here is where we agree, i.e. claiming that the declining minimum is somehow an accurate proxy for runaway global warming, when global temperatures show nothing of the sort, i.e.:
RSS Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present
However, I believe the way to dispute this is not to claim that the current data has been “cherry-picked” but rather to study why the Arctic Sea Ice minimum may not be a good proxy for global temperatures and understand what other factors may be influencing the decrease in Arctic Sea Ice, especially during minimum. If you look at the following comparison Sea Ice Extent – Change in Maximum, Mean and Minimum;
it is apparent that minimum is declining at a much more rapid pace than the maximum or mean. If one could demonstrate that the more rapid decrease in Arctic Sea Ice minimum is occurring for reasons disassociated with global temperatures, e.g. Wind, Atmospheric Oscillations, an Unusually Strong Storm, other Local Anthropogenic influences, etc., then it might help to undermine the perception that Arctic Sea Ice minimum is an accurate proxy for changes in “global temperature”.

I must disagree. That is of little real threat to the CAGW movement. Presenting their fudged graphs alone without questioning them plays utterly into their hands. Sooner or later, they will fudge their favorite graphs still more, and, unless my attempt at suggesting otherwise here is surprisingly successful, you’ll keep presenting them alone without showing others that contrast…
Ice is not just proportional to temperatures; wind and storms do affect it too. However, in multi-year averages (more so than such as a single month figure after a storm), it is greatly influenced by them on average over the years. Look at for the true history of arctic ice distributions (unlike the fudged Cyrosphere Today “data”) and compare to . One can see, for instance, “the Sea ice decline documented year after year in DMI maps after 1921” fits when arctic temperatures were warming greatly in the 1920s through and until the late 1930s.

george e smith
September 4, 2012 12:23 pm

“””””…..Maus says:
September 3, 2012 at 2:25 am
John Brookes: “And people have done. And they get results like, …”
And I would like to expect that. Perhaps you could provide the relevant argument or a citation to (accessible) papers that do. Apologies for missing your post earlier.
george e smith: “So let’s not crow about high albedos in the arctic. Nearly 100% of nearly zero irradiance, is still nearly zero reflected energy.”
And yet this interesting and counterintuitive result of ‘nearly zeroes’ still accounts for a 20K noon-time difference in a field in which we regularly speak of 0.000055K daily trends. Do I correctly understand your position to be that since 20K is an utter nonsense for smallness than 0.000055K is 363,636 times more utter nonsense?……”””””
Well Maus I would like to address your query (assuming it WAS directed to me), but you did not include enough information for me to comment.
Is your 20K (or izzat 20 deg C) the difference in surface Temperature, with a sun incidence angle of 89.9622 deg; or is that the air Temperature differential; and incidently what ARE the two different conditions for which this 20 deg difference is observed.
I don’t recall using the term “utter nonsense” or anything which could reasonably be considered synonymous with that term.
When you say you “regularly speak of 0.000055K daily trends”, are you suggesting that you can measure a “daily” Temperature to that sort of precision, or are you simply citing the result of some statistical calculation. Given that over reasonably short times, Temperatures change from clearly upward trends (say pre 1995 for example) to clearly downward trends (post 1998), then one could easily do a computation for some similar time interval, near the peak, where the daily trend might calculate as 5.5 E-12, or even 5.5 E-43. Surely, no one would offer such statistical results as “significant.” so what is the error bar spread for your 0.000055K daily trend example ?
I do wish people would reserve the use of “K” for ABSOLUTE thermodynamic scale Temperatures, and use “deg C” when they mean differences in Temperature. NO information is added by using “K” instead of “deg C”, since the difference; 97 K – 96 K is EXACTLY one deg C, as is;
97 deg C – 96 deg C.
The term “albedo” is used to represent the fraction of solar spectrum EM energy that is returned to space SPECTRALLY UNCHANGED. It is a single number for the entire planet; it is not a local variable. Reflection coefficient IS a local variable, but albedo is not.

Henry Clark
September 4, 2012 1:23 pm

Some quick additional notes on my prior comment:
1) In reply to the NSIDC graph, I mentioned the start while forgetting to add that yes it is contradictory to the U.K. government data for recent years — but see the prior discussion regarding contradictions.
2) Part of the evidence supporting how temperature data showing early 20th century rise followed by major decline 1940s->1970s is more plausibly correct (as in, for instance, graphs in ) than the CRU/GISS graphs is the pattern in sea level rise rates. Such supports 1980s -> late 1990s warming not being very special:
Sea level rise was slower in the latter half of the 20th century than the first half: “1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954–2003″ versus “2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904–1953″ as notes.
Other evidence includes that the 1970s global cooling scare did not occur for such a next to nil cause as recent fudged data would pretend (much like one of the problems with the hockey stick is it makes MWP and LIA historical events seem to have occurred without cause).
There is even a pattern in tree rings, the famous “hide the decline.” They diverged heavily from the *fudged* instrumental temperature record. Tree rings are not perfect by any means as a temperature proxy, but they do fit non-fudged instrumental temperature data more.
Groups can fudge some data readily but not everything at once, and that is why the secret is cross-checking against other data.

September 4, 2012 5:05 pm
September 4, 2012 10:10 pm

Looks like 2 of the 3 images didn’t come out in this comment …

justthefactswuwt [September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm]

Here is what I see …
1st … no good. The URL is a webpage address ( The image URL in the caption shown below it is also wrong as it returns a white rectangle (
2nd … okay
3rd … no good. The image at the URL is not found (

Henry Clark
September 5, 2012 5:13 am

justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
There are 6 different sources of Sea Ice data on the WUWT Sea Ice Page and all of them contradict the MET chart that was removed for some reason.
Let’s go through the graphs on the page quickly:
Graph #1 = Cryosphere Today. Known dishonest source; see discussion and link in my prior comment.
Graph #2 = Let’s draw some lines on it to make it easier to read in part exactly:
As seen zooming to full size and looking at the lines, peak arctic ice in 2012 was essentially identical to in 1996.* Such is not the type of graph which allows reading overall annual averages as readily as , but that’s of interest. I don’t really trust the NSIDC necessarily, but that plot’s not too bad there.
* And shows average arctic temperatures in the 1990s were cooler than in the 1930s.
Graph #3 = not a time series at all
Graph #4 = One could discuss it more, but it is a different type of graph anyway, just showing their particular favorite several months of two years plus a claimed average.
Graph #5 = Again, it is a different type of graph than although it does at least show 2012 was above most recent years in March ice extent, less in August especially with the storm, but there is no reason to consider the latter month alone while ignoring the former month.
Graph #6 = Claims the 2000s average was less than the 1990s average. One could aim to compare the exact numbers with enough work (complicated by them being different types of graphs), but, short of any exact numerical difference, that is not contrary to which also implies so. The latter also shows trends within the decades, though.
Graph #7, graph #8, and beyond:
To speed up this writing, I’m going to stop talking about every graph individually. Most show different topics, such as just depicting a few years at a time in a different manner. Finally one comes to a graph (other than those of Cryosphere Today) blatantly claiming otherwise than the plot: The NORSEX graph.
Continuing looking, one other graph later is also clearly in contradiction to “mine”: But that one is just another Cryosphere Today chart.
The preceding is a quick glance at apparently all the arctic sea ice plots of relatively related type in
In summary, it looks like there are several graphs from the same single source of Cryosphere Today (a known-dishonest source as my prior comment discussed) in substantial contradiction, and there is also one from NORSEX in substantial contradiction. If NORSEX is the one and only big overall contradiction of within the graphs on your page other than Cryosphere Today, perhaps I could dig around for proof NORSEX is dishonest. There may be other graphs on the page less obvious on first glance, but if so you would need to point them out directly and specifically. As illustrated, I’m not sure if the NSIDC plot should count as more opposing than supporting it in much of the overall picture (as in when the lines are drawn to highlight at ).
Besides, truth and validity is not determined by whether a majority of enviroactivist-dominated institutions claim something. If someone believes it is, they can’t really be a skeptic at all, for most promote CAGW in general.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
Furthermore, when data is altered, as in the case of University of Colorado Sea Level, I note the change on the charts on the reference pages, i.e.:

Well, you could post in a historical data section the ( ) plot with a note too, as in a note that Cryosphere Today and NORSEX depict such differently, and the Met Office is removing / adjusting it until it will not countradict the others.
There is nothing wrong with showing multiple sources and teaching someone one of the most important facts of all: Not all sources do or have matched.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
I’ve inlined the images below, however, I wouldn’t post them unless I had more background on them.
I see by now the Sea Ice News Volume 3 number 12 thread has been updated on that by other posters posting such as
I appreciate that you inlined the graphs here.
As Blade’s comment noted, a couple did not appear right here, but that is no big deal, as I see you displayed the two official ones within the more recent Sea Ice News Volume 3 number 12 thread.
I’m not sure what you did differently there versus here on but perhaps you noticed something I did not mention before: While webcitation may not work for image inlining directly, the UK Met Office graph is also at
As for my large composite graph at I was not expecting you to inline it. That one was just something I made real quickly with casual comments. I think it is too wide in pixels for inlining here anyway.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
If any aliens have swung by this thread, my apologies to them if they were misled.
Long ago, for years, I once myself assumed the warmist side was mostly correct, as a naive default assumption, falling for the superficial appeal to authority. That was even after visiting some skeptic sites briefly, including, IIRC, some of the WUWT reference pages at some time (which were not particularly convincing otherwise, having predominately such as a whole redundant bunch of post-1979-only graphs in a row, mixed with an occasional rare graph going further back but from fudged sources like the CRU data).
Of course reading enough assorted WUWT articles over time would be quite a different matter, more educational. But just seeing such as post-1979-only ice graphs like mainly the same ones which alarmist sites favor would do little good. And, aside from such as the core of regular visitors here, of people already skeptics, most people in the general public, a state I originally was in for years, do not spend more than minutes to a few hours or less reading up on the particular topic of global warming.
Why I so love the graph is that such is something which, if I had seen earlier, would have raised gigantic red flags instantly compared to the warmist narrative, even down to fighting authority with authority as in being (which would have mattered back when I was naively trusting such as government sites most). It would have immediately sparked me to plan on doing further investigation.
It is far from the only such graph. Another quick example is the following (the CO2 part not extending up to the most recent century but showing a lot):
which is plotting data from
Anyway, eventually I did do further investigation on climate topics, but sparking such came from a particularly roundabout approach. After seeing how dishonest most hardcore environmental activists are on nuclear power, I started to wonder why on earth was I auto-trusting those people and their allies on other topics, when they flock to and dominate environmental studies institutions. For instance, the foundation of great harm imagined from long-lived isotopes in nuclear waste, which has guided the policies of multiple nations, is a mixture of lies and breathtaking ignorance plus careful lack of reporting of the most basic true quantitative aspects of the matter. Such includes how there are around 120 trillion tons of thorium and 40 trillion tons of uranium (plus other natural radioisotopes) and associated decay chains in the crust’s 3E19 ton mass. (Over a timeframe of thousands of years, after the most active short half-life radioisotopes decayed, burying U.S. nuclear waste, which does not contain more than thousands of tons or less of actual radioisotopes themselves, would increase the radioactivity in the top couple thousand feet of rock and soil in the United States by only about 1 part in 10 million over the cumulative amount of natural radioisotopes in such a volume; ).
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
Yes, my dastardly plan exposed. Devote time to the most effective skeptic blog, and write articles like this;
in order to further my Warmist goals…

I didn’t say you were, but, as implied, I consider possibilities. Frankly, what has most counted in your favor from my perspective is that you inline-displayed those two graphs. What would be about utterly convincing is if you posted one in the reference page, as they are seriously CAGW-movement inconvenient, since the reference page is seen by vastly more people than the comments in a transient thread. Still, like I say, I appreciate that you inlined them in comments at least.
Meanwhile, though, I apologize for the bluntness again, but, in contrast, the article you link above prominently once again displays only a graph of warming since 1979 (not showing much before 1979 which would break the CO2-consistent warming illusion, like ). Almost everyone knows that, if temperatures actually rose enough, sooner or later far more ice would melt overall on average, even with other influences like winds and storms. Text making small points about that or not does not determine someone’s overall picture. A far bigger matter is temperatures will not actually so rise and are cooler now than they have been in prior history (like, for example, the Holocene Climate Optimum).
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
“In terms of what’s a “real threat to the CAGW movement”, I am not going to argue tactics with you, but I’ll note that at minimum our CAGW friends seem to take notice:

The “taking notice” is the following comment?:
Seriously – “it’s the wind”?! Well, at least the Skeptical Science crew will have a new canard for their list.
That’s not a major threat to them. If I were on the CAGW side and the best counterargument presented was that, frankly I’d be laughing too because it is a small detail compared to the big picture. Does almost anybody really doubt that if arctic temperatures rose by an imaginary huge X degrees there wouldn’t tend to be less ice, even with wind fluctuations impacting it too? In contrast, more powerful is to show that the arctic temperature pattern is not continuous temperature rise, to avoid just showing solely 1979-start cherrypicked temperature graphs.
You inlining the two better graphs in the comments of seems to already be having a major effect on most warmists tending to flee or avoid the thread afterwards; I doubt you will find warmist sites tending to link to *that* thread now because it shows major info nobody is supposed to ever see. Seeing that the region trumpeted as of greatest warming on Earth (the arctic, more so than nearer the equator or Antarctica by far) had greater and faster temperature rise in the 1920s-1930s than in the late 20th century, despite human emission rates being >= 5+ times less in the former case, almost by itself blows CAGW alarmism out of the water. About the closest counterargument the Skeptical Science site tries on something related is blaming the mid-century temperature decline on aerosols (since they can’t admit the importance of the 60-year ocean cycle and solar/GCR change), but that graph shows far greater decline than any of the fudged data they ever show; plus such is an exceptionally weak tactic in the falsehoods used (even down to the side effects, like if someone believed slight fluctuation in aerosol to CO2 emission ratios were that powerful at cooling, even under non-deliberate trospospheric dispersion of aerosols orders of magnitude less effective per ton than stratospheric dispersion in residence times, then they could favor geoengineering instead of orders-of-magnitude more crippling CO2 cutbacks, defeating the anti-industrial real goal of the core of the movement).
justthefactswuwt says:
September 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm
“That’s interesting stuff, inlined below for reference, but it’s also confusing in layout and delivery. Have you considering starting a website, or submitting an article, that lays out your thoughts in a more coherent manner?”
That was just a quickly made casual illustration. I know the layout is low quality.
In principle, I would be happy to do more of higher quality, totally unlike that in terms of a professional nominally objective style in utter contrast. But, of course, spending the time depends on how much it really matters or not.
I appreciate you responded to my comments. At this point, there are probably two paths:
1) If you post, for instance, any one of the , ( ), or plots on one of the reference pages, such as by creating a subcategory for historical reference data separate from continuously-updating plots, I’d be happy to subsequently work on submitting a list of references for some other exceptionally educational plots in case some more could be considered.
For instance, the NASA century-level arctic graph matches one by a Russian source, starting with P-something, to which I have a reference saved somewhere to find more specifically and exactly down to web links and all.
That does, of course, require different than a policy of only publishing continuously-updated graphs alone as the only category. Else such a policy makes the real past gone unfortunately, for then almost only the most highly-funded public education (propaganda) sources can be shown, for such as scientific papers and their results are not individually constantly updated.
For example, there are a number of 20th-century temperature reconstructions (especially of the Northern Hemisphere although some of the Southern Hemisphere or global too), but the two that are so funded as to nominally cover the whole century globally while being updated continuously are the unworthy CRU and GISS plots.
As JoNova remarked on the funding slant:
“# The US government has provided over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, foreign aid, and tax breaks.
# Despite the billions: “audits” of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. [For example, only such found the huge blatant errors in Mann’s hockey stick, not peer review]. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of the theory and compete with a well funded highly organized climate monopoly. They have exposed major errors.
# Meanwhile in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for [long ago] paying a grand total of $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government has put in, and less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the single year of 2008.”
2) If no to showing any of those graphs there, then tapering this discussion down would be best to save time.

Henry Clark
September 5, 2012 10:59 am

Edit to my prior comment:
Actually, checking out records from such as 2008, the “IIRC” (“if I recall correctly”) was not entirely accurate here:
Where I said: “including, IIRC, some of the WUWT reference pages at some time (which were not” … such should be rather “including some resource or reference pages”, and, in comment on WUWT, the “were not” should be “are not.”
That is since actually the WUWT reference pages in anything much like their current form did not exist back then after all.
The rest of the point is the same, though.
One way or another, though, whatever websites I had glanced at initially then, they were not prominently showing arctic graphs with data before the past 3 decades or so. I had to do more work to find that myself, only done later. If there had been prominent presentation of such as , that would have been vastly more useful.

Reply to  justthefactswuwt
September 11, 2012 7:38 am

To Justthefactswuwt,
I received a polite, professional response from Mr. Grumbine today. He agrees that it’s a data error and traced it back to July. He’s working to resolve the problem and thanked me for the feedback.

Henry Clark
September 5, 2012 7:05 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm
None of the graphs indicate or previously indicated a large positive anomaly in 2012, like the MET chart does.
The biggest point is suggesting showing both:
(a) The NSIDC plots … where I was just noting in the other thread how shows arctic peak ice in 1996, 2000, 2008, and 2012 was equal within 1 pixel on its scale, which would be within 0.1 million square kilometers — where such is an absolute extent plot like the MET plot and different from an anomaly plot
(b) The repeated collection of Cyrosphere Today plots (not that such are good but with me not minding even false data being shown as long as true data is shown too beside it — since only the CAGW side must utterly prevent certain types of data from being ever seen by large numbers of public viewers; nothing told me more the CAGW side was not the side of light than seeing how absolutely fanatically they would fight at all costs to prevent having some info appear in Wikipedia pages anywhere where many viewers would see it for long, even just as a mere quote of what some skeptic scientists believe)
(c) the misc other plots mostly not of multi-decade ice trends
(d) the MET plot.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm
I am thus still highly skeptical of the MET chart, per this comment:
You can show the MET plot and by it quote their stated reason it is no longer valid according to them. That would be fair enough to them and just showing history.
Every single time data is revised for political or ideological or financial purposes, the responsible party always makes up a creative excuse of another reason officially. That is so in cases of revisionism of temperatures, sea level, solar activity, ice extent, or anything else. A scenario otherwise is simply inconceivable with about any organization of any kind; it would be like a corporation or politician advertising to customers or voters by literally saying “we are trying to rip you off.” The day, for instance, that Mann or Hansen would stop saying their adjustments were for scientifically justified reasons is the day pigs fly. I already know the MET Office fudges temperature data, but ideological polarization and confidence tends to increase over time, so chances are they didn’t originally fudge ice data as much or like they will be doing in the future later after seeing other groups (i.e. Cryosphere Today) were daring, unquestioned, unpunished, and successful in first taking it to the next level.
Anyway, though, I just posted in that thread a moment ago, so we can discuss there the implication that Cryosphere Today charts are more trustworthy. As always, I’m not even arguing for presenting the MET chart instead of the Cyrosphere Today charts but just showing both.
justthefactswuwt says:
September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Replaced the webcitation image above with the iceage one and understood on the composite image.
However, if necessary, let’s for the sake of discussion for the moment skip over the MET graph entirely:
justthefactswuwt says:
September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm
I am open to building historical climatic reference page, post whatever references you’d like in this thread, and I will review and build the page in the coming weeks when I’ve got time.
Well, how about posting in such a the reference page the plot and/or ?
If any one of those was posted, I would know then that you do post really CAGW-inconvenient plots. At that point, I would greatly thank you and would be happy to then invest substantial time over subsequent days or weeks assembling quite a list of graphs and references where you might choose some of them (not all of them, of course, as I realize, especially considering practical limits for conciseness — but potentially some).
Regarding the latter plot, the data at and could be linked for it. The title could clarify it is of 200 to 11000 years ago (not up to the present day in CO2 — even though really everyone knows what recent CO2 is anyway).

Henry Clark
September 5, 2012 7:16 pm

Tiny correction: I referred to the MET plot as an absolute extent plot in the last comment. It is rather an anomaly plot.

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