Claim: New Antarctic sea-ice extent due to wind and 'atmospheric warming' – what warming?

Ah ya gotta love the ABC of Australia, they’ll find a way to keep the meme alive no matter what, as reported in WUWT two days ago,  they found this guy to give a “the warming is wot dun it” quote with their story about the record level of Antarctic sea ice:

ABC_antarctic sea ice

CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.

“The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone,” he said.

Warming doesn’t seem to be a problem when you look at the satellite data for the Antarctic continent, in fact, there is a slight cooling:

rss_ts_channel_tlt_southern polar_land_and_sea_v03_3 Source: Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU)

UAH_antarctic(UAH data added to original story) Source: University of Alabama, Huntsville

There is some warming along the Antarctic peninsula, but that seems to be related to wind and ocean patterns there, along with possible waste heat from the little warm pockets of humanity where the temperatures are measured. The Antarctic peninsula has the highest concentration of people on the continent, mainly because conditions are much less harsh there.

antarcticatemps1957200611That doesn’t stop some people from trying to claim (Steig et al. 2009, using Mannian math) that the entire continent is warming though. Fortunately, there are climate skeptics that have done published science to decisively refute such claims:


109 thoughts on “Claim: New Antarctic sea-ice extent due to wind and 'atmospheric warming' – what warming?

    • The trouble is John that these English Literature or School of Journalism graduates have been thoroughly inculcated with pseudo-scientific crap and don’t even realise that they are peddling falsehoods to the public. Fortunately, the general public here have come to realise how biased these “journalists” are and filter out the most egregious reporting anyway.

      • Hey Peter is that the same ABC Catalyst program that did the highly irresponsible scare story about Statins in cholesterol control which was widely condemned by the medical specialists. Science trained indeed!

      • Peter,
        As far as the Catalyst program is concerned, I’m inclined to believe the southern jet stream is moving more poleward and the surface winds are increasing in velocity. Here’s a plot I did a couple of years ago using the 20th Century Reanalysis v2 zonal wind speed data:
        If that’s the case, then I’m also inclined to believe that there is increased Ekman drift of sea-ice northward. There were other claims in the program that I’d quibble with, but that’s another comment.

    • Thanks, but I like it the way it stands. Do you have an answer for me or would you like to play word games ? I have time.

    • Hmm… 24 hours of silence. That’s very unusual for you Peter. I wonder what shall we make of this “pause” in your activity trend ?
      Perhaps there is a legitimate Cause for the Pause.
      I have my own theories, you probably have one, I’ll bet others here have theories as well to explain the cause for your pause.
      I wonder if it’s natural or Man made ? Does it even exist ? Perhaps you HAVE answered my question and I am in “denial”. Maybe your answer has been diverted to the deep oceans, I suppose there are a number of reasonable explainations…..
      Perhaps a new grant could get to the bottom of it …

  1. Anthony, since Tony Worby is claiming a change in wind patterns, is there any historical data on wind patterns for the continent? Can Tony Worby produce his data to show the wind patterns have changed to facilitate the added accumulation of Ice?

    • Don’t know. There may be some radiosonde data that can give us maybe 50 years, sat data is even less.

      • Anthony, any chance you could highlight your posts? Your responses (and responses of guest authors too) are of special interest to many and highlighting them would make them a little easier to spot. The new format looks good, btw.

  2. “…warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns… [wind is] increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone”.
    So warming atmosphere changes wind patterns and increases the strength of the wind. And on top of that, ozone depletion increases the strength of the wind.
    This provides three easily falsified data points, though we would have to choose a point from which to compare:
    1. the atmosphere is warming in the antarctic
    2. the strength of the wind is increasing and/or changing its patterns
    3. ozone is depleted
    This post refutes point 1. The recent post on ozone ( quotes a paper indicating the hole is closing, which would refute point 3; even though the post indicates that the hole hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years so, it certainly cannot be claimed to be “depleting”. That leaves point 2. Who has data on the strength of the wind in the Antarctic or its patterns? Or are they conveniently unmeasured/unmeasurable like deep-ocean temperatures?

  3. I wonder if reading too much of this nonsense causes brain damage, which might explain its persistence.

  4. “The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone,” he said.
    The depletion of ozone (the ozone hole) was first discovered during IGY 1957. Sure took a long time to see the effect on the wind!

  5. The astute warmist will pick this one up to explain as to why the Arctic sea ice has been in recovery mode for the last two years. Warming causes less sea ice coverage, and warming cause more sea ice coverage. It is quite brilliant, really.

    • JimS — That apparent recovery of Arctic sea ice is interesting because it may point to possible existence of cyclical Arctic temperature variation. The history of Arctic warming began with the twentieth century, prior to which there was nothing there but two thousand years of slow, linear cooling. But after the warming started it was interrupted by a thirty year cold spell in mid-century. Warming returned after 1970 and has kept going ever since, except for the apparent cool spell for the last two years. The original warming was caused by a re-arrangement of the North Atlantic current system that started carrying warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean. Greenhouse warming was ruled out by lack of parallel increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, required by the laws of physics. The mid-century cold spell most likely was due to a temporary return of the previous flow pattern of currents. Greenhouse warming is incapable of performing such maneuvers. If the last two years are a harbinger of another cold spell on the way we could be in for another interruption of warming like the one that happened in mid-twentieth century. It will not be good for Arctic transportation or resource development that is being planned. For more information read my paper in E&E 22(8):1069-1083 (2011). You can probably download it from Judith Curry’s blog.

  6. They employ a simpletons philosophy, “heads I win, tails you lose” – If anyone buys this foolishness, so be it..

  7. If only he’d told Professor Chris Turney, because Chris was clearly operating on the assumption that the non-existent warming was melting ice while we now know that non-existent warming creates ice.
    I’m glad that’s clear.

  8. This at least solves the problem of why there are ice ages. The great ice sheets must have been caused by heat!

  9. If one looks at the AAO (ANTRACTIC OSCIILLATION) it shows no significant deviations that would suggest or translate into atmospheric temperature/wind pattern changes. So their argument as usual is falsified through the use of data.

  10. Warming in the Western Arctic Peninsula: it is also a volcanically active area under the ice, on the coast and under the sea.
    And hows this for a fit for volcanics and the “red” heat of west antarctica!
    Scroll down to see the two maps side by side.
    And a new discovery in antarctic waters. Its warming the water and supporting a diverse ecology

    • No, like most peninsula, the climate is caused by the surrounding seas.
      Froehm storms on the leeward side of a coastal mountain range cause warming of the air, the heat actually originating in the surrounding sea.
      That is why the Antarctic peninsula is the excpetion on the continent.

      • summary of heat transfer
        moist air of ocean rises up mountains , adiabatic cooling forms cloud, dumps rain. Condensation of cloud formation realses latent heat, reheating the cooler air. Air decends leeward side, adiabatic cooling warms the air but since it was also warmed by the latent heat it ends up considerably warmer that when it left the ocean.
        The peninsula as a whole ends up warmer than the continent and warmer than the surround oceans which are the source of the heat.
        Stronger winds, more warming. Stronger circum polar winds: increased temperature anomaly on the peninsula. This does not even require the surrounding oceans to warm. In fact they will likely be cooled by increased evaporation.

    • As someone said to Michael Mann ‘if you keep falling on your feet like this, it will be permanent brain damage’

  11. I guarantee that if anywhere that has media gets a harsh winter, someone, somewhere will claim Global warming is causing a possible new ice age.

  12. The AGW attempts to tie all their lies together is starting to resemble Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers in full swing.
    Just the other day we congratulated ourselves that the Montreal protocol banning CFCs has now “repaired” the ozone hole.
    But today, down under – hey presto! – the hole is back, just in time to explain why expanding Antarctic ice is due to warming.
    Warming would decrease, not increase, the catabatic winds blowing off Antarctica since it is the coldness of Antarctica that gives energy to those offshore winds.
    Its Occam’s razor again folks.
    If it feels colder, it is colder.
    The whole Antarctic region and the seas around it are cooling. The global climate will follow.
    Just live with it. If you cant – get help.

  13. I have said this many times before: In the world of acedemia, you are a nobody if you can’t write and publish a paper and get a research grant. These people have to get their 5 minutes of fame unless you get published in some journal for your groundbreaking research. This guy, Tony Worby, now is the headline of the day on the Google new climate change page, that’s all. Yawn.

  14. Upon further examination(always admit when data shows otherwise) I did find that the AAO has been trending more positive post 1940 which would suggest perhaps stronger winds in the Antarctic but definitely not warming of Antarctica.
    I will send a graph showing this. The question is this ,is the more positive trend in the AAO leading to more Antarctic Sea Ice and if so why?

  15. At the other end – it looks like we must now be at or very close to minimum Arctic sea ice extent.
    This year’s minimum is higher than 2013.
    Too early to talk of recovery I guess?
    We could do with some reliable numbers on multi-year ice.

  16. CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.
    “The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone,” he said.

    May god, listen to breeze coming off all that handwaving.
    They “believe” the winds are increasing in speed. They don’t have any data to show, they don’t even come out the ‘model simulations show that’ crap. How much stronger? Dunno. Over what period of time? Err, dunno. In what directions? err….. They just “believe” . Um mighty wind spirit , he big strong. Heap big strong.
    And what does “around” mean precisely? Are they trying to suggest, wind is causing ozone , ozone causing winds, ozone is geographically close to winds……
    This is actually saying nothing at all that anyone can challenge or verify because it does not mean anything. It just like : winds blah, blah, ozone depletion blah erm , around. Yes.

    • Oddly I can’t find any mention of a Tony Worby on thier web site and the lastest annual report says the CEO is Tony Press.
      Whoever Worby is he should stop waffling climate about which he can’t not construct a meaningful sentence, and stick to telling us how much profit his little business venture made last year, and how much public money it attracted.

    • When the Arctic warms in Spring do the winds get stronger or do they become less stormy with more calm days? But we are expected to believe that undetectable imaginary atmospheric warming will lead to stronger circum-Antarctic winds in the middle of winter as the attack of the ever naughty CO2 molecule which makes record sea ice just to further confuse the terminally desperate climate-doomer dummkopf brigade.

  17. Any decent meteorology book will reveal the true historical situation re. Antarctic pack ice.
    ‘Climate Change’ by William James Burroughs (2001 ed., Cambridge University Press – see p55)) tells us that ‘the annual cycle has an amplitude of some fifteen million square kilometres, from a maximum extent of about eighteen million square kilometres to around three million kilometres in late summer. From year to year the extent of the ice cover can fluctuate by several million square kilometres.’
    So why the fuss about the current area of twenty million square kilometres given fluctuations of the magnitude described?

  18. But you gotta separate correlation and causation.
    Maybe all of that Antarctic ice is causing global warming?

  19. What everyone is missing is that it is the ANTI arctic. So, if warming causes loss of sea ice in the Arctic, then warming causes more ice in the ANTI arctic. Simple really.

  20. Thank you for posting on this Andrew. When I first saw the report yesterday I didn’t know who I was more disgusted in, the excuse makers pretending to be researchers, or the fawning excuse purveyors pretending to be interviewers who encouraged and enabled it at tax payers expense. I settled on being slightly more disgusted with the ABC and not just because of the abysmal hack anti-journalism that was going on, but also at the disgraceful producer in the studio and the edit down and the airing those people gave it. It’s unfortunately just another miserable example of the dysfunctional anti-think and shabby ethics which they don’t even try to disguise any more.
    Which is fine, the more blatant their behavior the sooner a large portion of the community are going to demand it be cut off from all public funding and be broken up for scrap.

  21. Last year Worby said changes in ice caused changes in ocean currents. Maybe it’s a cyclical thing having nothing to do with temperature at all: Wind patterns control ice formation which controls ocean currents which control wind patterns that ….. rinse, repeat…

  22. OK, so we have record levels of ice, but it isn’t caused by warming temperatures.
    And it isn’t caused by cooling temperatures.
    And it isn’t caused by changes in the Ozone hole.
    So what is causing the increase in ice?
    I could imaging possibly changes in ocean currents. Or perhaps we should look up, at Mr. Sun?

  23. So if the Antarctic ice expands, that’s due to global warming. And if the Arctic Ice depletes, that’s also due to Global Warming. Heads I win, tails you lose ??

  24. I am reaching the point of skimming the content and savouring the desperation.
    Just imagine, enough handwaving like this and the winds MIGHT reach hurricane force.
    The flood gates are open but the cause cannot be saved, all those years of lies and public relations spin, selfhatred and fear, all busting to get loose.
    Conceptually it will be like being down stream of a sewage retention dam after the dam breach.
    Climatology, will it be a future art course or a lesson in pseudo-science?
    John Daly’s direct comments to the Team members still stand,such pathetic little popinjays impersonating scientists.

  25. Couldn’t it be argued even if this nonsense was true, that an expansion of the ice would mean an increase in albedo? In which case, things will begin cooling through natural processes. Why weren’t the models smart enough to predict this?

  26. urederra
    September 13, 2014 at 1:34 am
    Exactly, It is not a hole, it is a concentration gradient. Calling it a hole gives the impression that there is no ozone in the blue spot seen in the video above. But that is not true, The ozone concentration in the blue zone it is not zero, it is just lower than in the green zone. Sadly, there is no info in the video about what the colors mean. It might be around 140 dobson units for the blue zone and 250 for the green, but I am just guessing.
    I learned this from the ozone hole post from a couple of days ago.
    There is no ozone “hole”
    It’s an area of lower ozone levels.

  27. urederra
    September 13, 2014 at 1:34 am
    Exactly, It is not a hole, it is a concentration gradient. Calling it a hole gives the impression that there is no ozone in the blue spot seen in the video above. But that is not true, The ozone concentration in the blue zone it is not zero, it is just lower than in the green zone. Sadly, there is no info in the video about what the colors mean. It might be around 140 dobson units for the blue zone and 250 for the green, but I am just guessing.

    This bit was a quote.

  28. Now all you norty skeptics know for sure that the polar bear was really threatened by global warming. It got too cold for them in Antarctica, so they all died out. There’s not a single one of them left there now. A tragedy.
    Hang your heads in shame.

  29. “The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone,” he said.
    Didn’t they just finish telling us that ozone is recovering?

  30. What mechanism does he think is causing the changing of molecules high in the atmosphere, in the ozone area, to affect sea-level winds? Does he think there’s an ozone butterfly batting its 2000-mile-wide wings?

  31. I’m so sad that I live in a country where climate change/global warming is still debated in public as well as our nation’s governing body. It’s wholly pathetic. Droughts, floods, ever increasing super storms, wild fluctuations in weather, but no, no, one area got colder one year and suddenly the Earth is Cooling! Right. Unfortunately we have to pay for the mistakes and the denial of these frustratingly ignorant people. Yikes.

    • theboltonskydiaries,
      This is more than just ‘one area got colder’:
      That is an entire continent — and it deconstructs the endless predictions that polar ice would disappear [until it didn’t]. So now it’s morphed into ‘Arctic’ ice. But that’s not disappearing, either.
      Finally, your Belief that “Droughts, floods, ever increasing super storms, wild fluctuations in weather…” are all increasing is also based on misinformation. In reality [there’s that pesky ‘reality’ again], extreme weather events have been decreasing for many years.
      In fact, none of the scary climate alarmist predictions have happened. They were all wrong. So why would you keep believing what they tell you? They’re never right. Ever.

      • You claim extreme weather events are decreasing but you link to a plot of weather-related deaths. Surely you realize this is a reflection of weather forecasting improving greatly over the past 100 years. Do you have a link to a trend in extreme weather events?

    • The SSTs around Antarctica have cooled a bit over the last few decades. Antarctica loses most of its ice every SH summer. There is no evidence of decreasing thickness.
      The Arctic sea ice is much thicker this year then the last two years. (More third – fifth year ice.)

  32. As the albedo of the Antarctic continent is slightly higher than low level clouds (unlike the Greenland Ice sheet, the high speed Antarctic winds break down the snow crystals to form an ice like substance) a decrease in low level clouds in the high latitude South Pole causes the warming of the surrounding ocean and slight cooling of the Antarctic ice sheet.
    In the Northern Hemisphere as the albedo of the Greenland Ice sheet is roughly the same as the low level clouds and the Greenland Ice sheet temperature is not isolated from by a polar vortex from the surrounding ocean a reduction in low level clouds in the high latitude Northern regions causes the Greenland Ice sheet to warm.
    High resolution proxy data shows the Greenland Ice sheet repeatedly warmed when the Antarctic ice sheet cooled and vice versa. This observational fact is called the polar see-saw.
    This paper by Svensmark explains the polar see-saw and how changes in the solar magnetic cycle cause it.

    The Antarctic climate anomaly and galactic cosmic rays The Antarctic climate anomaly and galactic cosmic rays by Henrik Svensmark
    Borehole temperatures in the ice sheets spanning the past 6000 years show Antarctica repeatedly warming when Greenland cooled, and vice versa (Fig. 1) [13, 14]. North-south oscillations of greater amplitude associated with Dansgaard-Oeschger events are evident in oxygenisotope data from the Wurm-Wisconsin glaciation[15]. The phenomenon has been called the polar see-saw[15, 16], but that implies a north-south symmetry that is absent. Greenland is better coupled to global temperatures than Antarctica is, and the fulcrum of the temperature swings is near the Antarctic Circle. A more apt term for the effect is the Antarctic climate anomaly.
    Attempts to account for it have included the hypothesis of a south-flowing warm ocean current crossing the Equator[17] with a built-in time lag supposedly intended to match paleoclimatic data. That there is no significant delay in the Antarctic climate anomaly is already apparent at the high-frequency end of Fig. (1). While mechanisms involving ocean currents might help to intensify or reverse the effects of climate changes, they are too slow to explain the almost instantaneous operation of the Antarctic climate anomaly.
    Figure (2a) also shows that the polar warming effect of clouds is not symmetrical, being most pronounced beyond 75◦S. In the Arctic it does no more than offset the cooling effect, despite the fact that the Arctic is much cloudier than the Antarctic (Fig. (2b)). The main reason for the difference seems to be the exceptionally high albedo of Antarctica in the absence of clouds.

  33. Benson – it’s because the alarmists created that graph out of thin air to look, well, alarming.
    Any similarity between that alarming graphic (which was on the cover of a highly visible magazine) and reality is purely coincidental. We (skeptics) occasionally use that graphic as a way to hammer home the fact that the alarmists are dishonest.

    • Also:
      The “most of the continent” that is “warming” is “warming by LESS THAN 1/4 of ONE degree (0.25 degree C).
      This in a region who average temperature is -35 to -50 degrees C.
      When “ice melts” at 0 degrees – And, actually, it only starts melting at 0.0 and requires a long time at 0.0 to lose all of its heat.
      Thus, even IF that 2 and 3 degree rise in temperatures up on the limited area of the West Peninsula were “real” … they could NOT “melt ice” across the even the Peninsula itself, much less have ANY effect on the rest of the continent!

  34. In the same way as Josh cartooned on the 52 excuses for the lack of warming or “the pause”, “hiatus” or plateau, it would be good to compile a list of excuses for record Antarctic sea ice.

  35. At least on Mythbusters when they say “I reject your reality and substitute my own” they are being funny on purpose….

  36. The ABC is partisan to the point of hilarity (Given that it’s a government funded organisation which opposes totally and wholeheartedly the personalities and policies of the present government.) it should be defunded immediately.

  37. There have been few surface recording stations at Antarctica since 1957.
    I assume the pretty image of the Near-Surface Air Temperature Reconstruction is a figment of someone’s imagination at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre Scientific Visualisation Studio employing ‘artist’s license’.

  38. Dr Tony Worby discusses the importance of sea ice in global climate:

    The good doctor warbles on about the effects of a reduction in sea ice, saying that If warming is happening we would expect to see a reduction in the amount of sea ice formed and more heat being absorbed by the ocean. And as sea ice is an Important driver of ocean circulation we would expect to see changes in ocean currents.
    Thus, according to the warbling logic of the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, we can now look forward to cooling ocean currents and a cooling atmosphere as a result of increased Antarctic sea ice. Q.E.D.

  39. dbstealey (September 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm): “In reality [there’s that pesky ‘reality’ again], extreme weather events have been decreasing for many years.”
    I think it would be more accurate to say that there’s no discernible trend:
    From the article: ‘There’s simply no connection between droughts, hurricanes, thunderstorms, flash floods, tornadoes and “climate change”’

    • Hurricanes and tornadoes are down over the past 9 years. Droughts in the US are down compared to the highs in the 1930s and early 40s, and not high relative to any annual period. (Not certain about global drought, but NH snow cover is flat , trending up a bit.) US fires are down in the last two years; but globally, ???
      So not certain of your time frame for determining up or down.

  40. For decades now the overfed, obese, self perpetuating, gargantuan monster called the Australian Broadcasting Commission has been spreading “the message” from the prophets of the global warming faith and demonising the “evil pollutant” carbon dioxide. And in their eyes, the minuscule few who dare to question are characterised as non believers, simply denying the bible of scientific truth when in fact it is the ABC who continually deny any alternative point of view.
    Almost every day of the week on their vast over funded, overstaffed, excessive network of radio and TV stations and online networks you will find a new sermon from their expanding CAGW library from an “ABC expert” especially selected from the thousands of academics sucking greedily from the public teat to alarm and vilify in the name of scientific research.
    Not only is the ABC’s practice blatantly biased and a complete disregard to their tax payer funded charter, it is a shameful disgrace to the profession of journalism bordering on criminal negligence of their public responsibility.
    Something needs to be done. I hope it is my lifetime because I do not have time for another 17 years of global warming pause, increasing sea ice or some other way for Mother Nature to prove them wrong.

  41. Gary Hladik,
    From what I’ve been reading, extreme weather events are moderating. Aside from the link I posted above, these sources indicate that extreme weather events have been declining:
    Looks like a trend to me, but your mileage may vary…
    [And of course, I was only responding when I pointed out to theboltonskydiaries that his belief that “Droughts, floods, ever increasing super storms, wild fluctuations in weather…” are all increasing, was based on misinformation. As the links above show, extreme weather events are not increasing. They are generally declining.]

  42. Correction – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
    But I can think of many more apt names to fit those initials.

  43. So in effect thy are claiming that there is a natural negative feedback due to warming. Warming increases ice extent when then increases albedo. This is great news. no more need to run around like Chicken Little. 🙂

  44. Al Gore describes his visit to Antarctica on p139 in his book ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.
    He says “….although I knew it would be cold in Antarctica, I really had no idea how cold. The forecast said ’58 below zero’, but nothing in my experience equipped me to understand what that would mean.”
    Maybe his visit should have told him something about the real world? Clearly it didn’t.

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