John Cook's claim of a 'warmer southern ocean' is proven wrong

Paul Homewood notes: According to John Cook, Antarctic sea ice has been expanding because the Southern Ocean is getting warmer. He also claims that anyone thinking more ice is due to colder conditions is “ignorant”.

He forgets that some of us know how to check the data.

Bob Tisdale produces analyses of sea surface temperatures each month, and these have shown that the Southern Ocean has been getting considerable colder since 1981, and particularly in the last 8 years.


All of Bob’s data is sourced from the KNMI website here.

Now who looks “ignorant” Mr. Cook?


128 thoughts on “John Cook's claim of a 'warmer southern ocean' is proven wrong

  1. This is a *majorly* important fact. Climate scientists have been scratching their heads trying to figure out why sea ice is increasing around Antarctica while the southern ocean temperatures are “warming”. Well, the answer is they have not been warming.
    Somehow AGW supporters have been so focused on supporting their theory they forgot to follow what the data was actually saying.
    Bob Clark

    • You can use the GISS global maps and easily see the cooling trend, where it is happening. Much easier than climexp, and it has pretty colors.

    • More likely most “climate scientists” don’t say anything or chalk it up as a mystery. Ocean warming sounds more like a climate activist “explanation”.

    • Maybe they need to jump in a boat and sail on down there to check it out.
      Oh, wait a minute…
      They already tried that and damn near got killed.

      • Exactly Chip. CAGWists never check the data, they just parrot popular opinion from others that do the same. The blind leading the blind.
        They deserve to look stupid and repay their rescue costs as they barely make a tenth into their “awareness” treks. Well, if anything they deserve to take themselves out of the gene pool for the good of Man – and the planet. Why does anyone bother rescuing them anymore?

    • AGW supporters have been so focused on supporting their theory, they forgot to adjust the data upwards. There, fixed it for you.

  2. I used that exact chart to debunk a moron on another forum who claimed the increase southern ocean temp was what was melting Antarctic glaciers at a record pace.
    What increased ocean temperature???

  3. So John Cook thinks more sea ice is due to warming conditions – but only at the south pole, right? At the north pole, less sea ice is due to warming conditions. So warming means less, or more, sea ice, depending upon which pole one finds themself? I think that cognative dissonance is a problem though, even for a self-proclaimed climate scientist.

  4. “Faith” and “fact” aren’t necessarily the same thing. It bothers me that the media will spew the faith but ignore the fact when presented.

    • It’s not about faith or fact, it’s about an agenda. And that agenda is to eliminate as much of the current world population as possible, and to insure that population can and will be controlled in the future. By pushing the climate change issue, their continuous telling of the big lie makes more people believe it, and will willingly do what is needed “to save humanity and Earth.” It is better to have us willingly die of hypothermia than to eliminate us otherwise. Costs less, and then they can even use the bodies for fuel. This is not about money, this is not about “faith,” this is about population being reduced to their believed ideal number, around 7 to 800 million, and “AGW” is the tool they are trying to use.

      • I think Tom is right. Google Agenda 21 and you will find the reasons behind the AGW scare. Also Google Maurice Strong and John Holdren. I was surprised when I read about Agenda 21 and its tie in to the AGW strategy.

  5. More to rebut Mr. Cook.
    According to peer reviewed published studies looking at Antarctic sea ice trends in the context of Southern Ocean surface climate variations since 1950:
    …”Apart from the Antarctic Peninsula and adjacent regions, sea surface temperatures and surface air temperatures decreased during 1979–2011, consistent with the expansion of Antarctic sea ice.”..
    Geophysical Research Letters
    April 2014

    • Thanks for that. Perhaps NASA should be apprised of this fact since they are under the impression southern oceans temps are warming, so increased Antarctic sea ice remains a “puzzle”.
      Bob Clark

    • Where did Cook get the data thT he used on the SS website to try to counter Steve Gorham? Was it cooked up?

  6. Warming water leading to more ice is quite possible the most ignorant statement I can think of in this situation.

  7. But… But… Bob you don’t understand…
    But… But… Bob you are not comprehending our adjustments in the correct light….
    But… But… Bob the real facts are… uh,,, uh
    /sarc off
    Thanks for all you do, especially for those of us who are educationally challenged.

  8. My wife and went on a Lindblad/National Geographic cruise to Antarctica’s West Peninsula, and on the cruise was James Balog of “Chasing Ice” fame and a very personable scientist who had returned to Antarctica for seventeen summers, primarily researching Pine Island Glacier movement. James Balog, with the assistance of National Geographic, was placing time-lapse cameras near several glaciers, and spoke to us (the paying passengers) in evening presentations that often featured “Chasing Ice.” Neither he nor the knowledgable scientist ever mentioned that the Jokobshavn glacier he featured in his alarmist movie was one of the fastest moving in the world, and had done over 90% of its retreat 1850-1964 and had changed only slightly and sporadically since. When I questioned them publicly, they invited me to discuss it over dinner privately, then avoided the issues, the same thing the scientist did when I brought up that the Pine Island Glacier had retreated in similar fashion during the Holocene Climate Optimum 8,000 to 6,000 years ago. I also showed them the map of Glacier Bay glacier retreat 1790 to present, showing almost all the retreat occurred prior to 1903, and the scientist answered, “That was different,” but did not elaborate the difference. The impression they gave was that they knew something we didn’t that made what we said obviously wrong, but let their posit\ion stand in place of an explanation.
    The bottom line is that they feel no shame because the ignorant public will believe the prominent presenter rather than a presentation of facts. That’s how Al Gore continues to convince audiences of CAWG with stories of the retreating snows of Kilimanjaro, and scientists listening nod and admit: “he’s got the science right” even when they know differently.

    • majormike1,
      I trust that will be your last NatGeo sponsored trip — or if you do take another one, that you come very well prepared with charts & graphs. Enough to pass out, too.
      Don’t let ’em off the hook! You’re a paying passenger, and you demand respect! [that’s hard to argue with in public].
      Anyway, good job. The alarmist cult never has the facts to support their arguments. Holding their feet to the fire in public is beneficial — and fun!

    • I also took a cruise there, tho not a NatGeo cruise.
      On mine, as I’m sure was the case on yours, 9.99999 out of every 10 passengers was there to “tsk-tsk” at all of the misinformation the “naturalists” were delivering in their daily spiels regarding how we were destroying the planet, as anyone could plainly see.
      While gazing out on the wonderous beauty of all that Antarctica has to offer…I said to a fellow passenger “If we discovered tomorrow that Ice was bad, do you think we posses ANY technology that would enable us to melt all of this ice if we NEEDED to?”

      • Nice! I had seen a map like that when I was on a sabbatical at UNSW in 1991. That upsidedowness really struck home one day when I was walking down a street one evening and looked up at the moon. The lunar surface was recognizably inverted from what I could see in the Northern Hemisphere.

      • DBStealey!
        I’m shocked! Truly shocked that you did NOT properly trim and align that map.
        See, if it were Aussie-inverted (that is, with the bottom of the bottle (er, map) held by the top, and the open top at the bottom) then you would need to ALSO do the following:
        Cut off ALL Arctic and Canadian and the Siberia land north of 63 degrees.
        You get to keep the south tip of Greenland, but kill Iceland.
        Leave 1/2 of Norway, 1/2 of Sweden, 1/4 of Finland, and 1/2 of Russia – cut off all of Siberia over past the Kamchatka Peninsula.
        Kill 1/2 of Alaska, and keep cutting off north Canada.
        THEN, you have to expand Antarctica to show all of it up to the 82 latitude! (After all, all “northo-centric “proper” maps” include that part of Greenland, don’t they?
        Antarctica, by itself, has more than half the entire land mass that is south of the equator. And 98% of it is ice-covered.
        And, just to keep the Aussies in perspective, just the “EXCESS” Antarctic sea ice in June this year covered an area equal to the size of Greenland. At the same latitude as the middle of Greenland. And that was just the “anomaly” – the regular Antarctic sea ice covered much more than that!

      • DBS, a map for the ages. I had to go to a real computer to download and save. God knows why, but I feel certain he will enlighten me soon. Regards from an ‘upside down’ counterclockwise Coreolis force fellow traveller.

      • No Bob.
        It’s because the AC current in Australia runs backwards half the time, but it’s OK. They use a cosine wave instead of the more conventional sine wave, and so the British TV’s still pick up the BBC improperly the other half of the time that it is going forward back towards the power plant ….

  9. No, no, no!!
    John Cook is right, the southern oceans have been warming for the last eight months – it’s clear on the chart. It’s just not been warming over the past 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years.
    Cook’s comment: “The most common misconception regarding Antarctic sea ice is that sea ice is increasing because it’s cooling around Antarctica”, is climatespeak at its very best.

  10. But what does research say?

    Abstract July 2011
    Qi Shu et. al
    Sea ice trends in the Antarctic and their relationship to surface air temperature during 1979–2009
    “Surface air temperature (SAT) from four reanalysis/analysis datasets are analyzed and compared with the observed SAT from 11 stations in the Antarctic……Antarctic SIC trends agree well with the local SAT trends in the most Antarctic regions. That is, Antarctic SIC and SAT show an inverse relationship: a cooling (warming) SAT trend is associated with an upward (downward) SIC trend.”

  11. But once Cook has got his message out there and reported by the msm, he will have achieved his aim. For sure the msm , having pushed the lie, won’t be making any effort to correct the record.

  12. A global change can have different regional expressions, obviously. But a global change should be seen globally BEFORE it is said to be global.
    Except for the atmosphere all is regional. If the warming atmosphere is the “problem”, i.e. CO2, you want to make sure the warming is not regional but made to appear global mathematically.
    I’m seeing mathematic simplifications confusing regional energy redistribition with adfitional global energy retention. The change outside of normal variability is only visible with sophisticated statistics. The strongest evidence to this is that the signal of AGW grows greater with the more work on the subject. I’ve seen this many times before. The higher something goes up the corporate or bureaucrstic ladder, the more certain it becomes.
    CAGW is a construct directly resulting from an obsession with the abacus at this point. The lack of advance in predictability since 1988 should tell all that the premise is not based on science or engineering but on an unproved hypothesis or unprovable theory.

  13. I think what John means is that warming anywhere leads to more Antarctic ice. I as sure that it is all related somehow…naturally…

  14. And let’s not forget the recent post about the ARGO-era subsurface temperatures to depths of 2000 meters…
    ….which also showed cooling at high latitudes of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica…
    …and a flat trend for the entire Southern Ocean (90S-60S):

  15. This year and next are going to be brutal for the Warmists because of all their erroneous prognostications coming due.
    You, Anthony, get to reap the “I told ya so rewards” for all your hard work over the past few years.

    • They have had erroneous prognostications that have come and gone ever since this nonsense began – no one holds them accountable – I doubt they will start now. They will simply fudge their new numbers and the cycle will continue. Hopefully one day it will mean something to be completely wrong… all the time.

      • I am in correspondence with Prof Wadhams of the UK who said the Arctic would be ice-free by 2015. I asked him if he stood by his prediction in light of the data that is showing this prediction to be nonsense. Here was his response to me; “Dear Mr Skinner, I think you should wait until September 2015 before you assert that I’m wrong, since that remains my prediction. Yours sincerely, Peter Wadhams”
        I am anxiously awaiting next year…this’ll be fun!!

      • tom s,
        Please note that Wadhams is confused. He DID predict the Arctic to be ‘ice-free’ in 2015. He also DID predict the Arctic to be ‘ice-free’ in 2016.
        See the Wadham’s predictions in quotes HERE.
        AtTheRealNews transcript dated 29 May 2014, Wadhams reasserts 2015 for an ‘ice-free’ Arctic.
        Keep an image capture of his email to you. Please note that he can and will fall back on the 2016 prediction. Then as 2016 draws near he is likely to make a new prediction while not admitting he was wrong. I hope in 2016 we can do a joint post with your email image and my list of quotes. It will be a fun time indeed.

  16. Warming water leading to more ice is quite possible the most ignorant statement I can think of in this situation.
    What you guys need to understand is that it does not matter how ignorant the statement is. If it is uttered by people that they trust, they will believe it, and ridicule you for laughing at them. I went through this for five years on a certain far left website that I was a contributor to.
    AGW has nothing to do with science anymore, it is a faith proposition, the secular apocalypse, that they in their beneficent wisdom are the only one that can save us from it, even if they have to imprison us, torture us, and kill us, for our own good of course.

    • AGW has nothing to do with science anymore,…
      In truth, Dennis, I don’t think it ever did. To my eye, it always was a politically driven agenda, veiled and masquerading as climate science.

  17. “RELIGION has nothing to do with science anymore, it is a faith proposition, the secular apocalypse, that they in their beneficent wisdom are the only one that can save us from it, even if they have to imprison us, torture us, and kill us, for our own good of course.”
    Fixed it for ya.

      • Arthur, it all depends on the choice of baseline. Usually the anti-religion crowd pick an Inquisition as a ‘norm’ and never pick 1100-1350 AD Alexandria surrounded by the most advanced civilisation the Western world had ever seen, so advanced it even provoked the Renaissance in Europe.
        Modern secular humanism is akin to a teenager depart home declaring (and convinced) he raised himself since he was a child.

  18. Magic ice that forms as things get warmer. It is almost as if the rent seekers are testing to see how far they can play their faithful believers for fools.
    sort of like that team of tailors who found themselves a gullible Emperor in need of some clothes.

  19. …KNMI website here
    That link to the KNMI website doesn’t work. Perhaps this ass the link intended:
    For those not familiar with KNMI:
    Established in 1854, its first director was Prof. Buys Ballot, known to all meteorologists for his famous rule: If the wind is on your back, in the Northern Hemisphere a low pressure area will be to your left.

  20. John Cook’s claim is proven wrong, in more none-news bears find woods a [good] place to get rid of personal waste .
    Cook and his SS gang are the typical little men made big by spouting nonsense, they care nothing for facts nor reality all that matters is how something works for them. The good news is they will go back to being little men once the cause falls , and if we are lucky bitter ones who spend their lives knocking out anger messages on blogs the total readership for which could hold a meeting in match box.

  21. No, more ice and more extreme cold is due to warming. It should be obvious. Anyone who disagrees with that needs tutoring from the enlightened John Kerry, Al Gore, and a little Bill Nye the ideology guy thrown in for good measure.

  22. The words “ignorant” and “stupid” have become official replacements for words like science and model prediction errors according to observed behavior of AGW trolls.

  23. It’s obvious Cook doesn’t live in the Southern Hemisphere.
    There is significantly less land area in the SH, much more ocean. The ocean drives the climate, and consequently the weather. Behind all that, as the ultimate force is Antarctica.
    There is no continental amelioration.

  24. Fortunately, John Cook looks so much like a clown a) he doesn’t need the usual face paint, hat and big shoes, b) I instinctively just laugh when I see his name let alone his picture and c) I never have to take anything he says with even a single grain of salt cos 97% it will be utter crap. (The other 3% covers him knowing the date, time of day, his own birthday, Lewandowsky’s email address and how to button his shirt.)

  25. You all don’t understand. You are looking at the chart from the northern hemisphere perspective. Antarctica is at the bottom of the world so you must turn the chart upside down.

  26. Anthony,
    the article by John Cook in your link was posted in 2010 so he has had 4 years of being wrong. Alternatively he has had four years to think up a new excuse.
    The article title and reader comments make interesting reading in the light of subsequent events
    Watts Up With That’s ignorance regarding Antarctic sea ice
    Posted on 9 March 2010 by John Cook

  27. Gents; I hate to pick nits but just wondering…….did any notice that the Cook article is from 2010? Also his charts show surface air temp.
    Also his charts end @ 2004.

  28. Maybe its time to stop proving them wrong and start doing something about shutting up their lies before we are all standing in line to get some bread.

    • Hmm. It looks like cook is looking at air temperature. So that is one difference. I don’t know what data set he pulled that from, because I think I remember other posts on WUUT that showed southern polar air temperature being pretty flat. Maybe someone could find that chart.
      Am I also right in thinking that the ocean would be being warmed by creating all that ice, so the fact that it isn’t is somehow significant too?

    • More questions..
      Why would air temperature matter other than it’s trend is convenient for cook to say the south is warming. The water has a much higher specific heat, so the air temperature literally doesn’t matter..right? Could some of the extra heat in the southern air cook sees be explained by the heat released when water freezes?
      What is the absolute water temperature? I assume its colder than the air in summer and warmer in winter but I have no idea really. What is the relationship between air and water temps at the poles anyway?
      Why would trends explain melting when temps are below freezing throughout the trend? Is this information lost in the annual temperature #? Are summer and winter temperatures both cooling?
      I am asking all this since I want to know what games are being played by cherry picking air temperature.

    • Below that image you got from John Cooks page there is this text:
      Figure 3: Surface air temperature over the ice-covered areas of the Southern Ocean (top). Sea ice extent, observed by satellite (bottom). (Zhang 2007)
      So it is clear that the charts came from (Zhang 2007)
      Increasing Antarctic Sea Ice under Warming Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions
      Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington,
      Estimates of sea ice extent based on satellite observations show an increasing Antarctic sea ice cover from
      1979 to 2004 even though in situ observations show a prevailing warming trend in both the atmosphere and
      the ocean.

      • The main purpose of the Zhang 2007 paper was to explain the “riddle”, or “paradox” (author’s words) of waxing ice extent, which would imply waning temperatures, contradicting the so-called global warming models.
        This apparently vexed the Big Government patron NASA and also NSF who funded the paper.
        Satellite imagery prove that ice extent is increasing, so the science is “settled” on that fact.
        But where is the ‘paradoxical’ warming in the region? To show that, the author relied on Eugenia Kalnay’s 1996 “reanalysis” project, using Data Assimilation (which Kalnay pioneered) to “blend” all available historical climate records into one “seamless” stream.
        Data Assimilation (DA) can be thought of as (in effect) a huge Bayes net, which processes historical time series a step at a time, starting with some initial a priori estimates and treating each point as new evidence for inferring forecasts as posterior probababilities. DA is used in many modern weather modeling systems (e.g. WRF) and tends to produce useful short range forecasts. But, as in any model, may “adjust” local conditions to produce the most accurate global forecast.
        So author used a later incarnation of Reanalyis to establish the needed “warming trend”.
        So why didn’t the author use the actual temperature record (which showed no warming trend) instead of this modeled output? Well, I think it is clear that he needed a warming trend for his experimental model, for trying to predict increasing ice extend under this constraining context.
        In fact he states that this modeled trend is ‘ideal’ for his experimental study:

        There are many uncertainties associated with the reanalysis forcing, but the forcing represents an atmospheric warming scenario, which, when used to drive the model, leads to a simulation of an increased Antarctic sea ice cover. Therefore, the forcing is ideal for this study.

        So there’s a lot of handwaving going on here, which the author properly caveated:

        There are many uncertainties with both the model and hereanalysis data, and the results must be viewed with caution.

        Was he successful? Well, yes and no.
        Yes, by twiddling some parameters he did produce a model using a ‘hypothetical’ warming trend which generated some increased ice extent.
        But, no, it didn’t predict as much ice as needed to match observed extents.
        So why didn’t he twiddle the parameters some more and and generate a model that fully matched the observed ice extents?
        I’m guessing that he tried that, but it probably needed a ‘cooling trend’ to do that. So obviously his Big Gov patron wouldn’t be interested in paying for that kind of ‘real science’. They only want results that match their politically motivated goals.

      • Thanks for that discussion Johanus on the “Reanalysis project”. So there are no actual *measured* temperatures that show a warming southern ocean, only models? Actual measurements show a cooling trend? That is a quite jarring result. Frankly it does not speak well of “climate science”.
        Bob Clark

      • Bob Clark:
        re: “… actual *measured* temperatures…”
        Technically speaking, there are no devices that “measure” temperature directly. So ‘thermometers’ must always rely on some kind of model to impute temperatures from other proxies. [It’s the ‘engineering fallacy’ which makes us believe that the readings from the instruments we build allow us to view Nature directly.]
        So, to paraphrase George Box, “all measurements are wrong”. Except perhaps in some small regions of time, space and scale, where they might reliably provide useful estimates of ‘temperature’, ‘distance’, ‘time’ etc. For example, a micrometer might provide useful measurements of hair thickness, but would be useless for measuring the distance from New York to London.
        I’ll partially defend the Reanalysis data by saying that it can be ‘useful’ for climate studies of the past 60 years or so, in the sense that it provides a continuous stream of hindcasted “forecasts” using the same technology as “real” forecasts are using. So Zhang’s use of this data makes sense as the basis for his modeling experiments. (Especially since he apparently could find no ‘real-world’ data to support his hypotheses)
        But, like most government-developed data projects, Reanalysis data is riddled with errors which tend not to be corrected. Here’s a list (as of 2012) of some of the known problems:
        In particular, some of the polar temps Zhang used are known to be uncertain (and won’t be fixed):

        Polar temperatures shift 1998-2004.
        Different sea ice analyses were used in that period, and it appears in some cases those analyses disagreed with the R1 model as to whether a given point was land or ocean, especially in the Arctic. New analyses used starting in 2004 corrected the problem. So, skin temperatures and 2 meter air temperatures (at least) were significantly higher at some polar region points for the period. NCEP plans no data replacement.

  29. Freedom…..
    the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
    At what point does consistent, persistent, relentless pushing of untruths infringe upon freedom?,

  30. But don’t you see? The Southern Ocean is getting colder because of global warming — the warming glaciers are melting and falling into it, like ice cubes in a drink.
    Now get out of my way, I have a billion-dollar grant to collect!

  31. John knows the difference between sea surface temperatures and temperatures at a depth- which apparently you do not. Why don’t you post a graph of these in the interest of fairness rather than cherry picking your data?
    Meanwhile back in the real world, warmest month on record *again* and without an El Nino. Sheez you’d think that with all those volanic eruptions, that soot from China, and those natural cycles you’re all so fond of, that the planet would be cooling. Except it’s not.

  32. If you look at a relatively recent report (pdf) that goes back to the early satellite data you can see that while the Arctic ice cap has lost roughly 3 million square miles of ice, the Antarctic cap has gained about the same amount. The slopes look different, but if you set the Y axis increments of the two graphs to be the same then the slopes are pretty much equal.
    Why is one pole gaining ice and the other loosing at seemingly similar rates? It could be just part of the chaos theory of the universe, stuff happens. Sure seems to be a balance though. Interesting!
    The re-discovery of the old Nimbus and other satellite’s historical (1960s through 1979) images of both poles will aid a lot in learning about what exactly is going on. This new (well, old actually) information could explain the warmists seeming panic these days – they know the jig is up, that their models don’t work, and that the Arctic and Antarctic are doing their own thing for unknown reasons, but they need to keep the grant money flowing so their jobs will be secure.

  33. A well established oceanography lliterature provides fully adequate explanation for climate change on all time scales. Tim cook is not am oceanographer but a cartoonist and media drama queen. For the media to get its oceanography from the cook, not established oceanography, is nothing short of criminal fraud and propaganda of the worst kind.

  34. :”He forgets that some of us know how to check the data” He also forgets that some of us have studied physics.

  35. The data shows us that the past 12 months—October 2013–September 2014—was the warmest 12-month period among all months since records began in 1880, at 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average.
    This breaks the previous record of +0.68°C (+1.22°F) set for the periods September 1998–August 1998, August 2009–July 2010; and September 2013–August 2014.

    • Even if that were true in reality (versus adjusted reality), there is no proof that man is the cause of much, if any, of it, nor is there proof or evidence that it’s bad. The 1930’s were the warmest years on record at the time, but I doubt that it caused the kind of alarmist reaction that we see today.

  36. “The 1930’s were the warmest years on record at the time” In the US it was, but not globally. Right now globally it’s the hottest 12 month period on record since 1880. Cool hey!

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