New paper links Arctic sea ice extent to absorption of sunlight by clouds

The Hockeyschtick writes: A new paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres finds Arctic sea ice concentrations at the low of each summer are related to absorption of sunlight by cloud cover at the top of the atmosphere in early summer, a phenomenon “not represented in most of current climate models.”

According to the authors,

“absorbed solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in early summer (May–July) plays a precursory role in determining the Arctic sea ice concentration in late summer (August–October)”

“this intimate delayed…relationship is not represented in most of current climate models. Rather, the models tend to over-emphasize internal sea ice processes in summer.”

Alarmists focus on Arctic sea ice as the supposed canary in the coal mine for CAGW, but many papers have demonstrated natural variability is more likely responsible for the trends in Arctic sea ice than man-made CO2, including the natural Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, wind and storm activity. This new paper suggests another way that natural variability controls Arctic sea ice extent via cloud cover, another possible solar amplification mechanism  via the cosmic ray theory of climate.

Alarmists ignore the unspeakable all-time record highs in Antarctic sea ice extent broken over each of the past three years, as do climate models, which laughably predicted the opposite of a decrease in Antarctic sea ice extent more so than Arctic sea ice. 

Alarmists also claim current Arctic sea ice changes are “unprecedented” while ignoring proxy data indicating Arctic sea ice was much less than present-day during the Holocene Climate Optimum ~6,000 years ago, Arctic temperatures were warmer than the present multiple times over past 1357 years, the Medieval Warming Period in the Arctic was warmer than the present, Alaskan glaciers are about the same size as during the Medieval Warm Period, etc., etc.

The paper:

Connecting early summer cloud-controlled sunlight and late summer sea ice in the Arctic

Yong-Sang Choi, Baek-Min Kim, Sun-Kyong Hur, Seong-Joong Kim, Joo-Hong Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho

This study demonstrates that absorbed solar radiation (ASR) at the top of the atmosphere in early summer (May–July) plays a precursory role in determining the Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) in late summer (August–October). The monthly ASR anomalies are obtained over the Arctic Ocean (65°N–90°N) from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System during 2000–2013. The ASR [absorbed solar radiation] changes primarily with cloud variation. We found that the ASR [absorbed solar radiation] anomaly in early summer is significantly correlated with the SIC [Arctic sea ice concentration] anomaly in late summer (correlation coefficient, r ≈ −0.8 with a lag of 1 to 4 months). The region exhibiting high (low) ASR anomalies and low (high) SIC anomalies varies yearly. The possible reason is that the solar heat input to ice is most effectively affected by the cloud shielding effect under the maximum TOA solar radiation in June and amplified by the ice-albedo feedback. This intimate delayed ASR-SIC relationship is not represented in most of current climate models. Rather, the models tend to over-emphasize internal sea ice processes in summer.

43 thoughts on “New paper links Arctic sea ice extent to absorption of sunlight by clouds

  1. You won’t find a lot of people on the beach on a cloudy day. If you have a lot of those days you have a bad summer.

  2. “a phenomenon “not represented in most of current climate models.””…Now just wait a frig’n minute here. The inclusion of such a variable somehow ‘superiorizes’ that model that includes it? Oh. So that makes this model better because it explains the sea ice behaviour as viewed by the modeller. Bash away at it, boys, sooner or later you’ll find something to make your ‘data’ equal reality. What shabby hubris lurks among those who put the climate cart before the donkey of reason.

    • Speaking of models, the other day, I read one of Pointman’s absolutely brilliant pieces about models (THE SEDUCTIVENESS OF MODELS), and perhaps how futile it is to use them to predict ANYTHING. Even though this was written a few years ago, it is an excellent article. I’m sorry if this has been referenced by other WUWT readers. See:

  3. A bit of a lag is unsurprising: Most people even can see analogous in their local weather (some of the month of August being a comparable time distance and length-of-day variation from the ~ June-21 solar solstice as some of May but typically hotter), let alone what is possible in the oceans.
    A paywalled paper isn’t readily evaluated. Generally, though, at least with regard to a broader timeframe, overall arctic ice extent trends over the past hundred years, there is a stronger (relatively less indirect) relationship of the sun/GCRs/clouds to temperature, yet not nearly as much to arctic ice in the data I’ve seen, e.g. . With that said, perhaps their focus on particular timeslices, on comparisons of May-July versus August-October, makes apparent a relationship otherwise more masked by other factors.

  4. In another article on the record extent of the antarctic sea ice, towards the end of the article:
    “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.”
    So Warming leads to greater ice, did they predict that too? I thought the warming atmosphere leads to melting ice.
    Can someone make up my mind?!?!

    • Ah, you’ve found the dopey ABC video I was looking for last night (I lampooned it in the sea ice thread). These guys are a joke, I’m ashamed to have been educated in the same country but it’s only possible to get away with being that dimwitted and unchallenged on the basic observational facts if the ABC are doing the ‘interviews’, and making sure reality will never be encountered, as they massage their ludicrous turgid infotainment new segment from the rear quarters of the AGW swine. Good one ABC, you’re hitting new lows in ignorant vacuousness irrational twaddle once more.

      • There was a longer version of the video which first went to air with a few other dopey comments saying how they were convinced that the Antarctic icesheet is really “melting rapidly”, despite the record ice this year, and near record ice last year. I can understand why they cut that part out of it as I looked at the temps on the continent yesterday and it was -65C. But melting nonetheless, according to the ABC.

    • The CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems is at loggerheads with the IPCC. The IPCC has said in the SPM 2013 that most models predict a decrease in Antarctic sea ice extent and notes the increase. They say they don’t know what is causing the increase.
      They can’t make up their minds because their incomes depends on them not making up their minds, therefore avoiding falsification and a cutting off of funding. It’s about money and not science.

  5. “Alarmists focus on Arctic sea ice as the supposed canary in the coal mine for CAGW”
    Since this particular “canary” has got back on it’s perch and is merrily chirping away for the last two years, they have been desparatly trying to wave their hands and direct attention to the other end of the planet, where, with suitably blinkered vision they manage to find some glaciers going through at millennial scale “collapse”.
    Nobody want to talk a singing canary. Let’s go and look in a different coal mine.

    • Greg, the funny thing is that the Arctic Oscillation is also strongly linked to the currently more “wavy” shape of the jet stream. So they win no matter what. Either we have a configuration in which the ice shrinks but the climate is more stable, or we have a configuration in which ice is gained but unusual weather events are more frequent. They will always have something that allows them to claim that we are destroying the climate. This game wil never end.

      • They don’t “win” either way, they bullshit either way.
        They have now got to a degree of lunacy where whatever happens is “a result of climate change”. That means thier whole idea is non-falsifiable and thus non-scientific before you even need to look at the data.
        The current Met Office outlook for this winter in the UK says it will either extremely snowy of extremely mild., ie extremely unextreme.
        Well they’ve go all bets covered with that one. Even unextreme weather now falls under the description “extremely”.
        This does not mean they “win” either way , it just means they are beyond help. They have given up any pretence at logical scientific argument because they know the game’s up.
        They are now moving to a desparate stage of deception where they no longer even agree with the IPCC reports.
        Holdren’s lie about “growing body of evidence” done under the logo of the White House.
        Head of WMO’s false claims about extreme wether, contrary to SREX AND AR5.
        Head of NSF same thing.
        All lies and spin in the build-up to NY meeting.

  6. Check Arctic temperatures for “Daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel, plotted with daily climate values calculated from the period 1958-2002”. Look at the 1960s and early 1970s and compare it to 2007 and 2012.
    It looks like we are very near the bottom now for Arctic sea ice extent. It is slightly above 2013.

  7. Alarmists also claim current Arctic sea ice changes are “unprecedented” while ignoring proxy data indicating Arctic sea ice was much less than present-day during the Holocene Climate Optimum ~6,000 years ago,…..

    Rather than re-post the peer reviewed references showing evidence of an ‘ice-free’ Arctic ocean during the Holocene Climate Optimum, I thought I would show other references for other times outside the HCO.

    H.H. Lamb1965
    The early medieval warm epoch and its sequel
    The Arctic pack ice was so much less extensive than in recent times that appearances of drift ice near Iceland and Greenland south of 70[deg] N, were apparently rare in the 10th century and unknown between 1020 and 1194, when a rapid increase of frequency caused a permanent change of shipping routes. Brooks suggested that the Arctic Ocean became ice-free in the summers of this epoch, as in the Climatic Optimum; but it seems more probable that there was some ‘permanent’ ice, limited to areas north of 80[deg] N….”
    Elsevier Publishing Company
    Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 1:1965, p. 15-16
    Variations In Climate
    Press, Volume XLIV, Issue 6903, 8 November 1887, Page 6
    By Alexander Beck, M.E.
    “…The reverse of that state of things is found by calculations for the year 1122 A.D., and it is precisely at that time that we find the Danes and several Scandinavian nations going through the Arctic open seas. Colonies are established by them in the highest north latitude of Greenland, and upper part of North America, a long time before Christoper Columbus had reached a more southern part of the same continent….”——-100–101—-0glaciers+melting
    Michael E. Mann et al
    The 15th century Arctic warming in coupled model simulations with data assimilation
    … Available observational data, proxy-based reconstructions and our model results suggest that the Arctic climate is characterized by substantial variations in surface temperature over the past millennium. Though the most recent decades are likely to be the warmest of the past millennium, we find evidence for substantial past warming episodes in the Arctic. In particular, our model reconstructions show a prominent warm event during the period 1470–1520. This warm period is likely related to the internal variability of the climate system,….

  8. The paper is garbage, for example if the clouds are absorbing the reflected sunlight (solar panels are placed upside down for better efficiency there) that simply increases the atmospheric radiation.
    Of course the paper also has a point, maybe unintentionally, that atmospheric radiation doesn’t warm the surface.
    Either increased atmospheric radiation warms the surface or it doesn’t. They can’t have it both ways.

  9. I could sometimes notice an odd phenomenon happening upon a glacier in the french Alps. This glacier (“Marinet glacier”) is probably the farthest south of the Alps. It is lying at an average altitude of 3000 meters on a steep slope oriented towards North-East, under a peak summit 3450 meters high. Like many other glaciers in that situation it protects itself aigainst melting in its lowest parts under a mass of boulders (“rocky glacier”).
    But it has another way of protecting itself thanks to the dominant summer South-East winds which produces a permanent wide cloudy canopy in the depression created by the overhanging summit, thus keeping it safely from the sunbeams for a great part of the day.

  10. “… a phenomenon “not represented in most of current climate models.””
    Shouldn’t that be “yet another phenomenon “not represented in most of the current climate models””?
    Is it any wonder that the “current climate models” don’t represent the current climate?

    • By saying “most” and not giving the number of GCM’s that do factor in this phenomenon, begs the question “do any”. Is it 1? My guess is 0. Which would make their statement a lie,so I must be wrong because they wouldn’t do that?

  11. Could that Solar energy be UV and the clouds high enough to be the Ozone layer??
    Solar Cycle 24 did an uptick for the last 6 months while the Sun was in the Northern Hemisphere, could that have an effect??

  12. I’ve been wondering if the cloud cover persists at significantly higher millibars than before especially during the autumn / beginning of the winter season in Finland. It seems to do so althrough I haven’t collected any weather data despite being stormchaser for years (because that isn’t important regarding to the hobby).

  13. “””””…..“absorbed solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in early summer (May–July) plays a precursory role in determining the Arctic sea ice concentration in late summer (August–October)”……””””””
    So translating that into English, just what are these authors saying (if anything) ??
    Solar radiation gets absorbed at the top of the atmosphere 24 hours a day, 365 1/4 days a year, so just what is special about May-June and August-October.
    What does “plays a precursory role” mean.
    And it would seem that this pattern has repeated over millions of years of playing a precursory role.
    So they don’t mention any other factors, besides playing a precursory role, so just what are they reporting on ??

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