Arctic Albedo Variations

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Anthony has just posted the results from a “Press Session” at the AGU conference. In it the authors make two claims of interest. The first is that there has been a five percent decrease in the summer Arctic albedo since the year 2000:

A decline in the region’s albedo – its reflectivity, in effect – has been a key concern among scientists since the summer Arctic sea ice cover began shrinking in recent decades. As more of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the climate system, it enhances ongoing warming in the region, which is more pronounced than anywhere else on the planet.

Since the year 2000, the rate of absorbed solar radiation in the Arctic in June, July and August has increased by five percent, said Norman Loeb, of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. The measurement is made by NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments, which fly on multiple satellites.

The second related claim is as follows:

Kay and colleagues have also analyzed satellite observations of Arctic clouds during this same 15-year period. Kay’s research shows summer cloud amounts and vertical structure are not being affected by summer sea ice loss. While surprising, the observations show that the bright sea ice surface is not automatically replaced by bright clouds. Indeed, sea ice loss, not clouds, explain the increases in absorbed solar radiation measured by CERES.

Since I have the latest CERES data on my computer, I figured I’d see what they were talking about.

Now, it’s not entirely clear from the presentation which dataset they’ve used. Bear in mind that there are two CERES datasets: top-of-atmosphere radiation observations, and surface radiation calculations. Albedo is calculated from the observations, it’s reflected sunlight divided by incoming solar.

On the other hand, they also talk about “absorbed solar radiation” which is only available in the calculated datasets.

So let’s start with the claim that the Arctic albedo has decreased since the year 2000. I assume that they are using the normal definition of “Arctic”, which is above the Arctic Circle at about 66.5° north.

There are several difficulties with albedo near the poles. First, when the total solar input is quite small, the numbers get inaccurate, since it is a ratio and the denominator, the solar input, is near zero. In addition, the numbers are also inaccurate because there’s so little reflected sunlight, which makes both the top and bottom of the ratio quite variable. Finally, it’s difficult to convert the changes in albedo into watts per square metre (W/m2), which is a much more meaningful number.

So let me look at a simpler measurement—how much sunlight is reflected, measured in W/m2. We have three top-of-atmosphere (TOA) observational datasets for that, which are the reflection regardless of the state of cloudiness (called “toa_sw_all”), the reflection from the ground when the sky is clear (called “toa_sw_clr”), and the reflection just from the clouds (called “cre_sw”). Figure 1 shows the first of these, the total sunlight reflected in all conditions:

CERES Arctic Reflections All SkyFigure 1. Total reflection from the Arctic. This includes both cloud and ground reflections. The top panel shows the raw data, with a dotted line showing the average value. The middle panel shows the seasonal component, which is also called the “climatology”. The bottom panel shows the “residual”, which is the difference between the top and middle panels.

I note that indeed the reflections have gotten smaller over the period, meaning that the amount absorbed is larger as the press release stated. The next graph, Figure 2, shows the ground reflections only. Note that as you’d expect, these are less than the total reflections:

CERES Arctic Reflections Ground OnlyFigure 2. “Clear sky” (ground only) reflections from the Arctic. This shows only ground reflections. The top panel shows the raw data, with a dotted line showing the average value. The middle panel shows the seasonal component, which is also called the “climatology”. The bottom panel shows the “residual”, which is the difference between the top and middle panels.

Finally, Figure 3 shows the results from just cloud reflections. Note that rather than decreasing, the cloud reflections are increasing. They are also smaller than the ground reflections.

CERES Arctic Reflections Clouds OnlyFigure 3. Cloud reflections from the Arctic. This shows only the effect of the clouds. The top panel shows the raw data, with a dotted line showing the average value. The middle panel shows the seasonal component, which is also called the “climatology”. The bottom panel shows the “residual”, which is the difference between the top and middle panels.

So … there are the three graphs: total reflections, ground reflections, and cloud reflections. So how well does this agree with the claims of the press release?

Now, to start with they’ve done something strange. Rather than look at the changes over the whole year, they’ve only looked at three months of the year, June, July, and August. I disagree strongly with this kind of analysis, for a couple of reasons. The first is because it allows for nearly invisible cherry picking, by simply choosing the months with a particular desired effect. The second is that it makes it hard to determine statistical significance, since there are 12 possible 3-month contiguous chunks that they could choose from … which means that you need to find a much greater effect to claim significance.

So I’m not going to follow that plan. I’m looking at what happens over the whole year, since that’s what really matters. The first point of interest is that the total amount reflected from the Arctic (Figure 1) has indeed decreased over the period at a rate of a quarter of a watt per square metre (-0.25 W/m2) per decade … for a total drop in reflected solar of

 -0.025 W/m2/year * 14 years = 0.35 W/m2

A third of a watt per square metre? All of this hype in the press release is to announce that there’s been a change in Arctic reflections of a third of a watt per square metre in fourteen years??? Be still, my beating heart … that’s a whacking great 1% change in the already small Arctic solar absorption in fourteen years. This is their big news? Now please note, their claim about the change in June, July, and August of a 5% change may indeed be true … but that just emphasizes why that kind of analysis is just cherry picking.

Not much else to say about it once I’ve said that … well, except to say that their claim that “the bright sea ice surface is not automatically replaced by bright clouds” also doesn’t seem to be true. Note that the blue line in the bottom panel of Figure 3, which shows the smoothed changes of cloud reflections, is pretty much a mirror image of the corresponding line in Figure 2 showing the smoothed changes in ground reflections. In fact, the correlation between the unsmoothed cloud and ground residuals is -0.71, with a p-value less than .001. In other words … they’re wrong. The cloud changes do not entirely offset the ground changes, but the bright clouds assuredly move in total opposition to the bright sea ice surface.

Finally, I would note that from 2000 to 2010, the total reflection from the Arctic drops by about one W/m2 (blue line, bottom panel, Figure 1). Then in two years it drops another one W/m2 … and in the next two years it rises by one W/m2. As a result, I’d have to conclude that while these changes may have statistical significance, they may not mean a whole lot …

Regards to all,

w.

PS—If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to QUOTE THEIR EXACT WORDS so that we can all understand the nature of your objections.

CODE AND DATA: The R code and functions are here in a 14 Kb zipped folder . The CERES TOA data is here and the surface data is here. WARNING: BIG data files, 200 Mb plus.

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161 thoughts on “Arctic Albedo Variations

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ‘the top of the atmosphere’, given the wildly different conditions that prevail in different parts of the world.
    For instance is the TOA over the Sahara the same as over the Poles?
    Is the top of the atmosphere over the Himalayas or Rockies the same as over the Great Plains?
    Is the top of the atmosphere over Equatorial Ocean or Forest the same as the top of the atmosphere over the Great Lakes?
    Given that Water Vapour, the cardinal greenhouse gas acts differently in all of these locations (in terms of its vertical extent.) Just exactly where do they measure it?

  2. “Now, to start with they’ve done something strange. Rather than look at the changes over the whole year, they’ve only looked at three months of the year, June, July, and August.”
    Its dark in the Arctic in winter time. Good luck looking for changes in reflected light in perpetual darkness.

    • Hmmm. If you are focusing on solar input, then you’d use a period symmetric around the Summer Solstice in late June? e.g. Apparently they’ve selected a period when there is sunlight but less sea ice? Justifiable? Damned if I know

      • If nothing else, the sea ice extent plots tell us 1 April through 30 September are the relevant months. If the data is available on a daily basis, then the relevant period is equinox to equinox.

      • Similar to my thoughts except I was willing to accept that it is justified.
        They are trying to investigate two signals – sea ice and sunlight. So they picked the time when the “sum” of both signals was strongest.
        Yes, that can lead to an increased chance of a false positive but, as a first step, it seems to be perfectly justifiable.
        If nothing turns up here then you know nothing has been lost in the noise.

    • Depends on how far north in the
      artic. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore not visible at noon). Only no sunshine for one day at the southern parts of the artic like at the artic circle itself.

    • The quantification of 0.35 W/m2 for the year, if correct, is still the valid and key point. The net warming force is 1/10th the alleged doubling force of CO2, which has been difficult to show conclusively. The impact of the reduced albedo per se would be impossible to demonstrate. For those who want observations, not just modeling, this work wouldn’t do.

    • “Perpetual darkness”? In fact there is almost perpetual light in the Arctic in May and more than 12 hours daylight in April and most of September. However, snow melt doesn’t really start until late in May, so there is a lot of sunlight and very high reflection in both April and May, which is undoubtedly why these months aren’t included.
      In fact many arctic and subarctic languages have a special word for this season, which has a lot of light but when there is still snow cover. The Swedish word for example translates as “springwinter”.

    • Agree.
      The albedo is difficult to measure during winter since there is little sunlight available at >66N, and the albedo matters only a little during winter. I guess sooty muddy snow cools faster in darkness under a clear sky, but does it matter much?

    • So there’s no sunlight in the Arctic in April, May, September, or October? Here’s a clue, there is. The spring time sea ice extent hasn’t changed much in the satellite era but the summer and fall sea ice extents have changed. I think this would skew their results.

      • Robert W Turner
        So there’s no sunlight in the Arctic in April, May, September, or October? Here’s a clue, there is.

        Not really. At the edge of the Arctic sea ice – which is ALWAYS above the Arctic circle, there is very little solar radiation through most hours of the day during most of March and September and all of October, and obviously none at all when the sun is below the horizon, and when the sun is above the horizon, it is not very high – many days even at noon, the sun looks like the hour before sunset in the mid-latitudes.
        I can’t figure why the writer and these “scientists” exclude May though. It’s pretty high up for many hours of the day even by mid-April, and obviously even higher through the whole month of May.

    • They have certainly done something strange : they have only looked at the Arctic, and ignored the somewhat larger Antarctic.

      • Looking at the Antarctic they might have to mention the much larger area of increasing albedo caused by increasing sea ice at much lower latitudes. That could lead to the conclusion that global albedo is increasing on balance, as well as net energy reflected, so why would they go there?

  3. Willis, is that meant to be a fortieth of a watt per sq. metre? (0.025 W/sq.m)?
    Stay feisty mate, you’re great!

  4. I think you have to look at when Arctic receive sunlight and when it does not. The Northpole only have a Sun between 21 st of March and and 21 st of September. And a lot of radiation from Arctic is originally from Equator. Polar regions radiate more energy than they receive from the sun.

    • Thanks, Santa … but why would you want to throw away three quarters of your data? How does that help you? Heck, even at the North Pole, with six months of light, you’re throwing away half the data if you only use three months. That only hurts your accuracy.
      w.

      • As I see it, both points of view are relevant.
        There is no incoming direct solar energy in the winter months, so the albedo and how much solar is absorbed/reflected during these months is wholly irrelevant. There is nothing to absorb, nothing to reflect.
        In the Spring and Autumn, even if solar is absorbed (not reflected) it is weak. It carries little energy due to the low grazing angle and the fact that it has to pass through so much atmosphere, in addition the day is relatively short (particularly at the beginning of spring, and the end of autumn).
        It is only in the summer period where there is some power in the sun, and of course the day is 24 hours, so this is the critical period on all acounts; the sun at its highest with greatest energy, the day at its longest, it is the period when the difference in the reflective index between ice and open water becomes most critical since at low grazing angles (spring and autumn especially early in the day and late in the day) open water reflects a great deal of solar and therefore has a more similar reflective index to that of ice in any event.
        But of course, as far as global warming is concerned, it is the net effect of 24/7 365 days a year that is important. But that said, dealling only with average conditions loses important and insightful information as to what processes are going on, and how nature works. One needs to examine very carefully what is happening during the day, what is happening during the night, and what is happening on a weekly basis as cycle procession continues and impacts upon the processes that are going on and the rate at which they impart and distribute energy.
        . .

      • Because in the winter the reflected sunlight will be ZERO from both the surface and clouds. Winter is the best time to study the effects on OLR when there is no sunlight. In fall and spring, reflectivity will depend on the changing sun angle. Thin ice crystals in clouds tend to be parallel to the surface and will reflect most of low angle sunlight. This effect is expected for the ice covered surface as well but less sunlight reaches the surface because the clouds have reflected it. All of this complicates trying to do an energy balance. At what angles are they measuring reflectivity? Vertical reflectivity measurements at the poles may be rather meaningless.

      • -0.025 W/m2/year * 14 years = 0.35 W/m2
        ========
        How accurate is the data? Isn’t there a real risk that such a small change is simply due to noise or instrument drift?
        Increasing the size of the sample would reduce the noise, thus by only using 3 months out of 12, the researchers increased the risk that their results are spurious.

      • fhhaynie December 18, 2014 at 6:10 am

        Because in the winter the reflected sunlight will be ZERO from both the surface and clouds. Winter is the best time to study the effects on OLR when there is no sunlight.

        fhhaynie, as I pointed out above even at the north pole you get six months of sunlight, and at the Arctic circle you get sunlight every day but one.
        Which makes your justification of using a three month window invalid.
        w.

      • richard verney December 18, 2014 at 2:11 am
        As I see it, both points of view are relevant.
        There is no incoming direct solar energy in the winter months, so the albedo and how much solar is absorbed/reflected during these months is wholly irrelevant. There is nothing to absorb, nothing to reflect.
        No incoming only if you ignore the Auroral mechanism. Auroras are now known to be caused by the collision of charged particles (e.g. electrons), found in the magnetosphere, with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km). These charged particles are typically energized to levels between 1 thousand and 15 thousand electronvolts and, as they collide with atoms of gases in the atmosphere, the atoms become energized. Shortly afterwards, the atoms emit their gained energy as light (see Fluorescence). Light emitted by the Aurora tends to be dominated by emissions from atomic oxygen, resulting in a greenish glow (at a wavelength of 557.7 nm) and – especially at lower energy levels and at higher altitudes – the dark-red glow (at 630.0 nm of wavelength). Both of these represent forbidden transitions of electrons of atomic oxygen that, in absence of newer collisions, persist for a long time and account for the slow brightening and fading (0.5-1 s) of auroral rays. Many other colors – especially those emitted by atomic and molecular nitrogen (blue and purple, respectively)[1] – can also be observed. These, however, vary much faster and reveal the true dynamic nature of auroras.
        As well as visible light, auroras emit infrared (NIR and IR) and ultraviolet (UV) rays as well as X-rays (e.g. as observed by the Polar spacecraft). While the visible light emissions of auroras can easily be seen on Earth, the UV and X-ray emissions are best seen from space, as the Earth’s atmosphere tends to absorb and attenuate these emissions.
        http://www.plasma-universe.com/Aurora
        How much are we talking about in the all sky incoming / outgoing? The 12/9/14 values were bouncing between 33 and 40 GW according to http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/ovation_prime/data/2014/12/09/20141209_0800_north_forecast_aacgm.png & http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/ovation_prime/data/2014/12/09/20141209_1135_north_forecast_aacgm.pdf

      • “in addition the day is relatively short (particularly at the beginning of spring, and the end of autumn”
        Definitely wrong. All of the Arctic, from the Polar Circle to the Pole has more than 12 hours of daylight from March 21 to September 21. By late May it is literally never dark anywhere in the Arctic, not even close to the Arctic Circle since the sun is only just under the horizon even at midnight.

    • If you are looking at an energy system, trying to determine if there is a net gain in the system, you don’t only look at the times when the system is taking in energy, do you? Don’t you have to look at the times when the energy is being lost as well? If I was looking to see that the Arctic was gaining total energy, which I would guess the basic purpose of a study like this would be, then I would have to look at the total package to actually see if there is a net energy change. I agree with Willis because without looking at the times you are losing energy, you can’t determine if you are gaining total energy, thus creating “warming.,” If you only look at the warmest months, when energy uptake is the highest, you are only trying to enhance the “warming appearance,” not trying to determine id the system is gaining energy. This study seems to be intended to find a way to show that there is “warming” ongoing, when, in fact, it can’t be found.

  5. Willis, isn’t the thinking likely to be that the big concern or signal is for the arctic summer ice extent? And therefore that’s the period of interest wrt albedo? I wonder if you could clarify or extend your attack on the justification for using just the summer months, since that is the period where albedo is significant compared to the winter which surely isn’t?
    It would be interesting to see the same analysis but over the period they used. It may not matter, in fact I can’t see why it should, since you could incorporate all months for ease calculation because the dark months shouldn’t make any difference anyway. But then you can’t be accused (incorrectly) of making apples/oranges comparison.

    • The arctic receives sunlight throughout the year, every single day, with the possible exception of a moment in time, the winter solstice when the entire arctic above the arctic circle is cast in earths shadow. The three months proceeding summer receive the same amount of sunlight as the summer days. Certainly the days surrounding the winter solstice do not have much sunlight in the arctic, but those 3 months of spring have the same amount of sunlight as the 3 months of summer, so why aren’t those months important ?

      • ” those 3 months of spring have the same amount of sunlight as the 3 months of summer”
        Really??? well, there is some new discovery no one has claimed yet. Are you up for writing a paper on this? Nobel Price awaits you.

      • In Barrow Alaska the sun is below the horizon from November 19 to January 22. I’m not sure what you are saying about Arctic receiving sunlight every day.

      • there are other places in the Arctic that will see the sun on some days between November 19 to January 22. They would have a lower latitude than Barlow, but still be within the Arctic circle.

  6. Agnostic December 18, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Willis, isn’t the thinking likely to be that the big concern or signal is for the arctic summer ice extent?

    Well, you kind of answered it yourself:

    It may not matter, in fact I can’t see why it should, since you could incorporate all months for ease calculation because the dark months shouldn’t make any difference anyway. But then you can’t be accused (incorrectly) of making apples/oranges comparison.

    In fact, I’m not comparing anything. I’ve done a very different and encompassing analysis. They’ve improperly made an analysis of a partial dataset. I’ve shown the entire dataset. However, the other months are not “dark months” by any means. Even at the north pole itself you get six months of light, and there’s more further south.
    In fact, the use of June, July, and August doesn’t even capture the months of greatest reflection. Those would be May, June, and July … and even April, May, and June have greater solar reflection than June, July, and August. All of which emphasizes the fact that it’s just cherry picking to use JJA.
    In any case, I get a number close to theirs for the changes in those three months of JJA, a reduction of 4% in reflection… but so what? Obviously, thats being countered by increases in some of the other months. And at the end of the day, it’s the total effect that we’re interested in, not the effect in one month or a few months.
    Finally, this is all a tempest in a teapot because the Arctic is only 4% of the planet. As a result, the change in W/m2 is trivially small by global standards whether its a 5% or a 1% change …
    All the best,
    w.

    • Willis, the question was not if it’s a tempest in a teapot if one looks at global scale! The question is the influence of the smaller albedo to seaice-extent in the arctic. In my eyes it’s not very clever to REDUCE the effect in unsing all month, also these with the reflection near zero due to the darkness. Anyway, you are right in one direction: also May is important, not only JJA. The albedo- difference of the open water to seaice for 70-80 degN is May: 37%; June: 48%; July: 47%; Aug.:34% (see: http://sun.iwu.edu/~gpouch/Climate/RawData/WaterAlbedo001.pdf ) and seaice albedo 0.5. In the end: I would mean the cherry picking was with you because the albedo effect is limited by nature to the month with solar input in a angle witch leads to biger differences between open water and seaice.

      • Frank December 18, 2014 at 1:53 am Edit

        Willis, the question was not if it’s a tempest in a teapot if one looks at global scale! The question is the influence of the smaller albedo to seaice-extent in the arctic.

        Huh? The scientists are claiming that this is an important phenomenon for the globe, that it’s a big factor contributing to global warming.
        But it’s not. In fact it is a trivially small change in a minor part of the global energy balance.
        w.

    • Willis,

      I’ve done a very different and encompassing analysis. They’ve improperly made an analysis of a partial dataset. I’ve shown the entire dataset.

      A rarity in these parts. Given that the summer months are when the ice melts, and summer ice melt being the focus of the study, it stands to reason looking at net solar absorption during the summer months would yield up the most relevant trends.

      Finally, this is all a tempest in a teapot because the Arctic is only 4% of the planet.

      May I quote you on that next time someone writes, “It’s really darn cold in Detroit this winter”?

      As a result, the change in W/m2 is trivially small by global standards whether its a 5% or a 1% change …

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Milanković theory work best when correlating summer insolation round about 65°N? Some land ice thereabouts has also got some folks wondering about implications for sea level rise. Just sayin’.

      • Much of the ice melts from underneath. Furthermore as far as extent is concerned, the ice begins its melt in mid March and ends 3rd week in September. Obviously, if we are considering the southernmost ice in the picture – it is reflecting sunlight in winter, too. Question, does it hurt to include it? If not, at least you marginalize criticism.

      • Gary Pearse,
        Sure ice melts from below as well as above. In complex systems I think it’s entirely appropriate start off thinking in terms of all else being equal, what if we change x? Then go test that. Or in this case, what if x is changing? Let’s go see. Fundamental concept in empirical research.
        The main thrust of my critique is directed at Willis’ implied charge that all else not being necessarily equal (and evidently not equal) is being ignored due to ulterior motives. These are additive/subtractive effects part of a complex dynamic system and nobody doing the actual research doesn’t know that.
        In short, there’s a big difference between isolating an effect, controlling for other factors, picking out signal from noise — whichever metaphor suits — and visiting the cherry orchard.
        It absolutely does NOT hurt to look at all the data. I see a lot of very good comments and questions in this thread on what else is happening year-round across the entire regional system. That’s brilliant stuff; needs to be done and quite interesting. My intent is not to marginalize criticism, but counter and rebut marginal criticism.
        By all means, do the comprehensive analysis first, but then slice and dice — take a look at MAM and compare it to JJA … that’s a fantastic exercise. Now that I think on it, the first should be to take a look at JJA and attempt to duplicate the findings. At the very least that tells you that you’re at least looking at the same way the authors did. If you can show that, then going on to say, “now when I do this, something different from the story you’re selling happens” has a bit more meat on it.

    • “Even at the north pole itself you get six months of light, and there’s more further south.”
      Doesn’t every point on Earth receive 6 months of sunlight (excluding shadow effects)? Just the distribution changes.

    • I have taken several statistics courses in the last few months — beginning with the one mentioned here previously. Some professors teach you how to eliminate all the data without the proper signal. Others refer to this as “cherry picking” or “data dredging”. I gather there are lots of ways to work the data over till you find the proper analysis. Perhaps your training is lacking these “advanced techniques”.
      Just sayin’

      • there is a read danger in trying different analysis techniques until you find “the signal”. the danger is that what you find is simply an artifact of the technique.
        Sort of like playing a recording backwards. It often will sound to the ear like the recording has actual words being spoken, when there cannot be. Charles Manson is a famous example. In this case, the signal is a spurious artifact of the technique.
        you should always specify your analysis technique BEFORE looking at the data, to avoid the sort of bias the human mind unconsciously creates all the time.

    • All of which emphasizes the fact that it’s just cherry picking to use JJA.
      =================
      Why did the authors use JJA? The summer solstice is June 21 (approx) so if anything they should have used May, June and July. The 3 months when the sun is closest to the zenith.
      Using June, July, and August means they used a data-set when the sun was not at zenith. So what is the justification?

  7. Quick question regarding the lower panels of the top two graphs. The spikes – any idea what they indicate? Especially in the top two graphs, the spikes seem to be opposite to the slope of the blue line. When the slop is downward, the spikes are upward, vice-versa and are either upward or downward when the slope is about zero?
    Is this simply a manifestiation of mis-alignments in the data of the upper panels? Or is there something else at work?

    • Well you do notice the dips in 2007 and 2012 when during the summer sea ice minimums,but seems to recover during the rebuild in 2013 and 2014.
      .

  8. Willis,
    I’m curious about what is the W/m2 in your plots. Is it the daily average or daily max?
    The numbers seem too high to be the average. But I presume you want the overall average to reflect changes in total energy for the year. So the max (if that’s what it is) would need to be weighted by the number of daylight hours in averaging.

    • Nick, while you’re here, I was wondering if you had any thoughts on area weighting as a factor especially at such high latitudes. It also occurs to me that masking iced areas vs. open water throughout the season is a necessary comparison … I wouldn’t think soot will make an impact on ocean regions.

      • “I wouldn’t think soot will make an impact on ocean regions.”
        It has, Soot, dust or any other dark material has a very marked effect on the melting of sea and lake ice (and snow and glacial ice for that matter).

      • tty, agreed. Snippets I’ve read are that those things are stuff like plankton, silt, kelp forests which tend to keep sunlight from penetrating to depth, keeping the absorbed energy closer to the surface where it can more easily evaporate back out. My supposition here is that soot wouldn’t be much a contribution relative to other things, and any contribution it had wouldn’t be warming. My hope is Nick has a hint to toss into the mix, otherwise I’ll get around to chasing it down myself later.

    • Nick Stokes December 18, 2014 at 2:12 am Edit

      Willis,
      I’m curious about what is the W/m2 in your plots. Is it the daily average or daily max?
      The numbers seem too high to be the average. But I presume you want the overall average to reflect changes in total energy for the year. So the max (if that’s what it is) would need to be weighted by the number of daylight hours in averaging.

      Nick, like almost all such figures, they are 24/7 averages. These reflect the total amount of energy reflected over the month.
      w.

  9. Willis
    Personally, I consider even a monthly analysis too course a resolution. Conditions in the Arctic can change quite rapidly in a week, I would suggest that one has to perform an analysis of what is going on on a weekly basis. Thereafter, one may in some manner wish to integreate the results in to seasons.
    In winter, albedo is an irrelevance since there is no direct solar to reflect, there is no direct solar to absorb.
    In the Spring and Autumn, given the relatively low grazing angle of the sun, the reflective index of ice and open water is not so different, especially early in the day, late in the day, and especially early in the spring season, and late in the autumn season.
    The difference in the reflective index between open water and ice is at its greatest in summer due to the greater grazing angle; the sun being higher in the sun. Further, it is during this period, that the sun shines 24/7 (subject to clouds). It is here where the albedo differences will result in the greatest changes in the amount of solar energy absorbed.
    Of course, there is the balance whilst the ocean having less ice may mean that more solar is absorbed, it also means that more energy is lost from the ocean. The ice acts like a lid hindering the oceans giving up their energy to the atmosphere and thence out to space. When the ice melts and open water appears, the oceans can give up more of their energy.

  10. Please correct me if I’ve got my figures wrong, but I’m wondering whether 0.35 W/m2 is really such a small figure as you suggest.
    If an extra 0.35 watts of energy were delivered to the surface over every square meter north of the Arctic Circle (that’s about 20 million square kilometers) each year, that’s a total of 0.35 W/m2 x 31,563,000 (seconds in a year) x 2×10^13 (square meters) = 2.2 x 10^20 Joules of energy.
    And if all that energy went into melting ice with a latent heat of fusion of 330.4 J/g, it would be enough energy to melt about 6.6×10^17 grams of ice, which I reckon is roughly 700 million cubic km of ice, which is about 10% of the ice has that remained in the Arctic at recent summer minima.
    I’m not saying the extra 0.35 W/m2 would all go into melting ice. But the point is that 0.35 w/m2 is not a trivially small amount of energy as you claim. It is enough energy, delivered constantly over a year, to melt a very noticeable fraction of the Arctic’s sea ice.
    Perhaps your heart is right to beat a little faster in this case?

    • As he stated, though, that’s a fluctuation of roughly 1% of the base-line incoming energy. If the water wasn’t freezing before, why would it suddenly become a glacial boondoggle?
      Yes, it’s a lot of energy, as you mathed out, in aggregate. But then you apply that aggregate energy directly to grams of ice and consume them one after another to make a point of how much energy that is.
      But, let’s scale this up: If you put a giant mirror around the sun and focused all of it’s outgoing energy, you’d destroy the earth. Perhaps your heart should beat faster because the end is near in this completely impossible and misused scenario? 🙂

      • I agree entirely that my scenario in which all the additional energy that results from a change in albedo is channelled into melting sea ice is impossible. I said as much in my original comment.
        My point is, however, that 0.35 Watts per square meter, even if it does only represent a 1% increase, is not a quantity of energy to be easily brushed off with a “be still my beating heart” comment.
        Willis made the point in a recent WUWT post about plastic in the ocean that just because you can express an issue in terms of a very large number, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a very big issue. But equally, just because you can express an issue in terms of an apparently rather small number, that doesn’t mean you can dismiss it.
        What a scientifically skeptical person might reasonably want to know is: how much difference might an increase of 0.35 W/m2 make to something that matters in the Arctic like, for example, melting sea ice? My calculations suggest that there is enough energy here to melt up to 700 million km3 of ice, which is a heck of a lot of ice. Dismissing that kind of long-term energy input with a snide comment seems inappropriate to me.

      • I agree entirely that it’s a lot of energy /in aggregate/. But as I attempted to point out, /in aggregate/ is an extremely useless figure in this case – and you are not focusing that energy to be able to melt the ice. (Also, note, it’s a DROP of .35w/sq m not an increase).
        Take your own equation backwards: 330.4 j/g is what it takes to melt ice. Convert that to watts. It’s easy because Joules is watts per second. So that would become 330.4 watts per second per gram. Now, how many grams are in a square meter? Assuming that we are only talking about the planar surface (that would absorb heat directly from solar radiation) and assuming 100% absorption of the energy change (because easy mafs), and throwing in a wild guesstimate of how many grams that is (weight of 1 cubic cm is .92 grams and if we assume that the sunlight penetrates to 1cm, we can say that we have 10,000 cubic cm in a square meter – thus we can estimate we have 10,000 grams) – we have each gram having the incoming energy change by roughly 0.000035 watts per second per gram.
        330.4 watts/second/gram >>> 0.000035 watts/second/gram
        Nothing is going to freeze (Because this is energy dropped) and even if it were an increase, nothing is going to melt. It is simply too little of an energy adjustment to make a significant difference. And then you get into the actual amount of energy being retained by the ice (nowhere near 100%) and it becomes even smaller.
        The energy fluctuation that this entails is too small to mean anything unless you extrapolate to a scale that doesn’t matter, which is why doing the energy change in aggregate isn’t worthwhile. As I said above – you created an impossible scenario: applying all of that aggregate energy to one gram of ice after another in serial instead of looking at how that energy is transferred to the earth. To apply a rule from biology: The dose makes the poison. Low levels of background radiation is fine (and some research suggests beneficial). Kissing the reactors at Chernobyl shortly after meltdown would have killed you. (I….probably still wouldn’t kiss them today. You know, in case you were in the neighborhood and decided to try.)
        I do agree that a reference to what 0.35w/sq m would look like in the physical world would be handy. But it’s also something that would change based on where you are in the world (length of day being a chief driver of what it does to/for you).

    • The last time I checked, the Arctic is well below the ice generating temperature and conditions for most of the year. Try this, light a match in a walk in meat freezer for a few hours while monitoring the temperature recorded 10 feet from your match. Let me know how much the thermometer moves.
      It’s good to remember that wind conditions in the Arctic have demonstrably greater influence on Sea Ice Extent than any of the satellite thermometer readings thus far…

    • If an extra 0.35 watts of energy were delivered to the surface over every square meter north of the Arctic Circle (that’s about 20 million square kilometers) each year,

      The 0,35 W/m2 is for a period of 14 years not each year

      • Yes, so applied continuously over a period of 14 years, that’s enough energy to melt 9,800 km3 of ice which is more than the quantity that remains at the September minimum these years.

    • Nigel Harris-
      6.6 x 10^17 gms of ice is 6.6 x 10^14 kg, or 6.6 x 10^11 tonnes of ice. Ice has a density of about 0.92 tonne/m^3, so that is about 7.3 x 10^11 m^3 of ice, or 730 cubic km of ice.
      You were off by about a factor of a million, which can raise eyebrows, even in climate science.
      However, it does work out to about 10% of the estimated Arctic sea ice volume at the September minimum, and about 3% of the estimated maximum Arctic sea ice volume in April.
      Now the real question is- what is the net energy imbalance caused by uncovering Arctic ocean surface, allowing increased radiative, evaporative and convective cooling of the Arctic ocean? This change dwarfs the piddly 0.35 W/m^2 purported increase in absorbed solar insolation.

      • Ah yes, good catch! Sorry about the slip-up. Glad to see, however, that the rogue “million” inserted there doesn’t change my basic premise.
        Naturally, there are many other, and possibly far more important, factors at play. But I’d repeat my basic point that 0.35 W/m2 should not automatically be dismissed as “piddly”.

      • Arsten’s comment of 7.38am (to which I seem unable to reply) seems very confused to me.
        A watt is a joule per second. Not the other way round!
        If an energy source of 0.35 W/m3 was applied as suggested in Arsten’s post entirely to the melting of the top centimeter of ice with 100% efficiency, it would take 110 days to melt it all.

      • Nigel Harris – This forum only allows nesting to 3 levels or so. Go up to the last “reply” you see and it’ll add it under that last one. 🙂
        You were right, though, I confused the multiplication vs division in the description, though not in the calculations. w = J / s; J = w*s. Describing it gets confused. I should have just posted the math.

    • Actually a cubic kilometer of ice weighs about 0.92 x 10^15 grams, so it comes out as 700 cubic kilometers, not 700 million cubic kilometers. The latter figure is enough to cover the entire land surface of the Earth to a depth of about 4 kilometers. That’s what I call an Ice Age!
      700 km^3 on the other hand equals a thickness of 3,5 cm over the entire surface of the Arctic. Not enough to increase my heartbeat.

  11. Whoops
    Should have read:
    The difference in the reflective index between open water and ice is at its greatest in summer due to the greater grazing angle; the sun being higher in the SKY.

  12. “So let’s start with the claim that the Arctic albedo has increased since the year 2000.”
    Is that a typo? I thought they claimed decreased albedo? “The first is that there has been a five percent decrease in the summer Arctic albedo”
    Just asking. Wouldn’t affect your analysis I think
    And while I’m here, what’s with the large spikes in total reflection in the Spring? of 2001 (upward) and Spring of 2012 (downward)? Just noise?
    And IIRC didn’t the sea ice cover crash rather abruptly in the Summer of 2007 then stay low for a number of years? I think this is the right chart http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/detection-images/climate-ice-seaice-extent-trend-sep14.png Should I be able to see a correlation between that chart and the Ceres data because I’m having trouble doing so?

    • Don K December 18, 2014 at 2:39 am Edit

      “So let’s start with the claim that the Arctic albedo has increased since the year 2000.”

      Is that a typo? I thought they claimed decreased albedo? “The first is that there has been a five percent decrease in the summer Arctic albedo”

      Thanks, Don. Fixed.
      w.

  13. The plotted time series data encompass cycle 23 peak to cycle 24 peak, with several months either side, is far too short. The upward spikes of 2000-2007, and mostly downward spikes of 2008 – 2014. Is this following the solar cycle or is it just a one-off correlation in this period? If they are correlated over multiple cycles, the question becomes, why? Mechanism?
    With this short period, any attempt at conclusion is likely just spurious one way or the other. 10. or more cycles are likely needed for definitive conclusion but 3 or 4 would set clear boundaries on an answer. As these smoothed residuals plots look like random noise.
    What this data does allow for is hypothesis generation to test predictions with future data. (model outputs are not data).

  14. I am sure it is already done, but do these calculations take into account the shallow angle of the Sun & the extra thickness of atmosphere travelled through by the energy? I would have thought the additional energy passed on would be very small indeed.

    • I’m with Alan in that wonderation, how does the selective reflection of polarised light come into this. Its the glare (total reflection at very low angles?) we all know from visits to the seaside, swimming pools and driving on wet roads – also how rainbows work?
      A satellite looking straight down won’t see the huge amount of light (glare) that bounces right off the surface of water at low angles and right under its nose. It’d be like measuring the albedo of a mirror, you’d get massively varied results depending where your light source is relative to your observation position.
      Its all about Brewster’s angles, they gave me brain-ache during school physics classes.

  15. The first point of interest is that the total amount reflected from the Arctic (Figure 1) has indeed decreased over the period at a rate of a quarter of a watt per square metre (-0.25 W/m2) per decade … for a total drop in absorbed (reflected?) solar of
    -0.025 W/m2/year * 14 years = 0.35 W/m2

  16. @ Willis Eschenbach
    Albedo is calculated from the observations, it’s reflected sunlight divided by incoming solar.
    ————
    I’m curious as to how they do that with a polar (arctic) satellite given the constantly changing “equinox-to-equinox” angle of incidence (incoming) verses the angle of reflection (outgoing) … off of a highly irregular surface, to wit:
    http://www.edu.pe.ca/gray/class_pages/krcutcliffe/physics521/17reflection/definitions/angle%20of%20incidence%202.bmp

  17. Thanks Willis. This is an important question and it is good to have a complete set of actual data now. I’m tired of seeing cherry-picked timelines/seasons and made-up model data. We have expensive systems in space recording actual data and we should use them. I think the question on Arctic Albedo changes is answered now.

  18. “Bright ice surface is not automatically replaced by bright clouds” also doesn’t seem to be true.
    I thought I’d bring up something I’ve noticed about the interplay of reflective surfaces and clouds. It’s been my observation that large reflective surfaces tend to “burn off” thin cloud cover on partially sunny calm days. You can see this in satellite images over large lakes at times where there is a open cloudless hole right over the lake and thin cloud cover everywhere else. I attribute this to the lake reflections “burning off” the thin clouds. The clouds can’t keep their integrity when they are getting direct sun from the top and reflected sun from the bottom.
    So under some Arctic conditions, I would think as bright ice drops it automatically burns off less thin clouds, or in other words, it APPEARS to be automatically replaced by bright clouds. But there is no actual replacement of clouds, just less clouds being burned off.

  19. Arctic sea ice is holding up to global warming better than expected, according to the latest data from the CryoSat-2 satellite, a team from University College London will tell the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
    Arctic sea ice volumes in the autumn of 2014 are above the average set over the last five years and sharply up on the lows seen in 2011 and 2012, according to the latest satellite data.
    Data from the European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite to be presented to the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco later today (Monday 15 December, 2014) will show Arctic sea ice volumes in October and November 2014 averaging 10,200km3 – slightly down on the 10,900km3 reported in 2013 but sharply up on the lows seen in 2011 and 2012.

  20. How many of the 12 3-month intervals have no sunlight to reflect from the clouds?. I know for a fact that in late December the sun doesn’t even shine at the north pole. Hard to call that a “cherry pick” as there is a good reason to exclude the months without sun shine.

    • The region under discussion isn’t just the North pole but the Arctic. And the Arctic Circle is defined as “southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours.” So some places in the Arctic Circle have no sunlight for only one day per year—on the December solstice—not months.

    • Ice goes along way south of the pole if its extent that is the subliminal subject of the study. You do get sunlight reflected off the ice in Hudson’s Bay, Labrador Sea, Bering/Alutians, Okotsk, North of Japan,

  21. I am not understanding the ‘seasonal component’ in figures 1,2, and 3. Is Willis just creating an anamoly here and showing the steps? It is too early, where is my coffee.

    • One could speculate and say that there has not been the soot- caused albedo change in the Antarctic because there is far less land mass with fewer inhabitants and less change in industrialization or human population in the Southern hemisphere.

  22. Is there any way to separate albedo changes from melting ice, vs albedo changes from increased soot deposits?

  23. Mark: Is there any way to separate albedo changes from melting ice, vs albedo changes from increased soot deposits?
    Good question. I would attempt to determine if there is a difference in gridcells over “sea ice” where melting is feasible, versus the albedo of ice over landmasses where average temperatures remain above the melting point year ’round. Presumably the former albedo change (more dark) is “water+soot” while the latter is “soot” only.
    This is NOT to say that such an attempt would yield any results worth relying on.

  24. oops: temperatures in the air ABOVE Arctic landmasses remain BELOW the melting point of water year ’round. Backwardsly phrased before

  25. The other issue is that the area above the Arctic Circle, above 66.33N, only gets about 2.3% of the total solar energy received by the Earth (after the average Albedo of the region calculated previously).
    If the average Albedo in this area declined by 5%, the Earth as a whole, would get about 0.22 W/m2 more solar insolation, which could raise the average Earth temperature by 0.06C. So it would have a non-zero although small impact.
    The big impacts from Albedo changes occur when one starts moving away from the poles towards lower latitudes, as in the ice ages, with 1 km thick ice-sheets down to Chicago.

  26. If they had wanted to avoid cherry-picking criticisms, they could have tried full year calculation (as suggested) or perhaps bracketed the summer solstice equally on either side. Willis’ graphs demonstrate annual peak/minimum arctic insolation at the summer and winter solstices, respectively. Selecting the more arbitrary “summer” months probably opens them to the confounding effects of wind and ocean circulation, particularly as these follow much longer cycles. Of course, picking June, July, August will allow the next researcher to add September and “prove” that the melting is even worse than we thought!

  27. I’m new to this site and discussion. Aren’t we dealing with half of the problem? This whole discussion is about absorbed/reflected energy, what about radiated energy? That component makes the “whole year” issue relevant since radiation goes on all the time and we have to look at the total energy budget to see what’s really going on.

  28. “Finally, I would note that from 2000 to 2010, the total reflection from the Arctic drops by about one W/m2 (blue line, bottom panel, Figure 1). Then in two years it drops another one W/m2 … and in the next two years it rises by one W/m2. As a result, I’d have to conclude that while these changes may have statistical significance, they may not mean a whole lot …”
    This is probably the major takeaway. Kay et al. probably rushed to get their analysis out before the northern ice cap grows any further.

  29. As always when I read discussions like those above I can’t help reflecting on the best quot I know:
    ”Die wichtigkeit oder Bedeutung eines Problems haengt immer auch von subjektiven, bewer tendens Elementen ab” Vollmer Gerhard, Wissenschaftstheorie in Einsatz, Stuttgart 1993
    Quick English Translation: “The importance or significance of a problem depends on subjective, evaluative elements of tendens”

  30. It’s the polar bears! After they all starved to death, the summer Arctic albedo declined. The solution, as one wag long ago suggested on these pages, is to dress “His Hugeness”, Al Gore, in a white suit and stake him out at the North Pole.

  31. Doing a similar analysis at the south pole was mentioned earlier, but no one seemed interested. As there is a greater sea ice there is it possible that the increase in southern albedo may be larger than the decrease in northern albedo? I say this because I speculate that when the low in arctic sea ice arrives, the sun’s rays are considerably diminished. However, when the high in the Antarctic sea ice is in place, then the sun’s rays are not far off their maximum. If the Arctic decrease is very small, could it be that the total albedo for the polar regions has actually increased over the past 30 years?

    • I would also like to see Stuart’s question addressed. Sea ice extends farther into lower latitudes in the Antarctic so albedo should have a greater effect. I’m wondering if sea ice continues to increase in the southern hemisphere, could the albedo increase be enough to significantly affect global temperatures?

    • I agree strongly. Such an analysis would be extremely interesting. However it could not be limited to the area inside the Arctic Circle. It would have to extend to about 55 degrees latitude South, to cover the maximum extent of the Antarctic sea-ice.

      • Yes, you are right. The Antarctic sea ice extent reaches much farther to the north than the Arctic sea ice extent reaches to the south. I have always wondered whether there is actually a mass gain of global land and sea ice because while mountain glaciers and Arctic ice have diminished, it would appear that the Eastern Antarctica has accumulated substantially more ice. Is the net sum positive or negative?

    • Actually, I said I was interested in the South Pole as well, and that time was a factor … take a breath, my friend, nothing happens instantly.
      In any case, here’s the analysis … no change over the time period.

      w.

  32. Fredberple: why choose those months?
    Maybe because the effects of insolatioon lag. Just as the hottest days of summer are after the solstice, so the annual retreat of the icecap is at maximum after solstice. Retreating icecap means lower albedo.
    We know that arctic ice was reducing over the past few years, so it’s hardly surprising that the albedo decreased.
    As the ice recovers, albedo will increase again. Maybe that is why this report came out now.

  33. Did you miss the punch line Willis, or did I just misread it.
    Arctic Albedo ( >66.5 N) is what percent of total global albedo, measured in W/m^2 ??
    Just asking; not trying to start a royal rumble.

  34. All of this hype in the press release is to announce that there’s been a change in Arctic reflections of a third of a watt per square metre in fourteen years??? Be still, my beating heart

    You are probably right about the quantity, but the question is; is a third of a watt per square meter in fourteen year a big number or a small number?
    Well, the radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2 is estimated to 3.7 W/m2. By the current growth rate of a doubling will take approximately 190 years. A growth of 0.35 watt per 14 years gives by comparison 4.75 W/m2 after 190 years.
    If your numbers are right the albedo effect is therefore larger than the CO2 effect.
    /Jan

    • Thanks for that, Jan. There are a couple problems with your calculation. First, you assume that the change in arctic reflections could continue for 190 years … seems extremely doubtful.
      The more important part that you are missing is that while CO2 changes affect the entire planet, only 1.3% of the total global absorbed solar radiation is absorbed in the Arctic. As a result, we’re talking about a 1% change in fourteen years in 1.3% of the absorbed solar radiation … I’m sorry, but that is a very small number.
      w.

      • Thanks for the comment Willis.
        As I see it, it is probably equally doubtful that the CO2 increase will go on for 190 years. The technologies will have developed beyond our imagination in less than half that time.
        So my calculation was not meant as a forecast of what I think will happen 190 years from now. I just compared the effect on climate forcing from CO2 to the forcing from the albedo and the latter seems to be stronger in the arctic on the current rate of change.
        Concerning what you call the more important part; that we are only talking of the arctic and not the entire planet, I totally agree. I am not missing it as you say; I am just sticking to the scope of discussion, which I thought was the arctic.
        However, I do not understand why you mention the fraction of solar radiation absorbed in the arctic. You have already calculated the effect of forcing, which is 0.35 W/m2 in fourteen years. That is the number of importance for calculating the effect of changed albedo. The fraction of solar radiation is then irrelevant because you have already used it to calculate the 0.35W/m2.
        /Jan

      • Thanks, Jan. I fear that you’re missing the larger context. For decades the argument has been that there is a large effect on GLOBAL warming because of the positive feedback from the loss of the sea ice. It’s a point that the alarmists have hammered over and over, that the purportedly large positive feedback of warmer –> less ice –> less albedo is part of the runaway feedback meme. It is that claim that I was addressing.
        w.

      • I agree to that Willis.
        But the argument of runaway feedback theory is not pushed by IPCC and the majority of scientists. The runaway meme is pushed by the real alarmists whom you find among quite many journalists and a few odd scientists.
        /Jan

      • Jan, you’ve got to start doing some research before making claims. From the IPCC, another typical alarmist claim:

        A number of feedbacks that significantly contribute to the global climate sensitivity are due to the cryosphere. A robust feature of the response of climate models to increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases is the poleward retreat of terrestrial snow and sea ice, and the polar amplification of increases in lower-tropospheric temperature.

        Note that they say the ice-albedo feedback “significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity”.
        Which has been my point, and the reason I called it a tempest in a teapot.
        w.

      • Jan Kjetil Andersen December 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        I agree to that Willis.
        But the argument of runaway feedback theory is not pushed by IPCC and the majority of scientists. The runaway meme is pushed by the real alarmists whom you find among quite many journalists and a few odd scientists.
        /Jan

        It’s funny, Jan. After I wrote that about “runaway” I drove to San Francisco and while driving, I thought “I bet Jan focuses on the ‘runaway’ part and ignores the ‘global’ part”, and I immediately regretted saying “runaway”.
        I was trying to discuss your argument that we should just focus on the Arctic by saying:

        The more important part that you are missing is that while CO2 changes affect the entire planet, only 1.3% of the total global absorbed solar radiation is absorbed in the Arctic. As a result, we’re talking about a 1% change in fourteen years in 1.3% of the absorbed solar radiation … I’m sorry, but that is a very small number.

        In response to that, you said:

        It would be a crazy system if a change in the albedo on 4% of the surface had a huge effect on the entire planet. I don’t think anyone expect that.

        But in fact, while the IPCC didn’t mention “runaway”, my point still stands—many, many scientists and organizations, INCLUDING THE IPCC, expect exactly that. They think that a small change in the albedo on 4% of the surface will have a large affect on the entire planet …. viz:

        A number of feedbacks that significantly contribute to the global climate sensitivity are due to the cryosphere. A robust feature of the response of climate models to increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases is the poleward retreat of terrestrial snow and sea ice, and the polar amplification of increases in lower-tropospheric temperature.

        The IPCC is clearly stating what you just said nobody expects—that the ice-albedo feedback “significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity” …
        Now you are right that in a rational world nobody would “expect that”, it would be a “crazy system” in your words … but this is not rationality. This is alarmism and the IPCC, who clearly do “expect that” …
        Thanks,
        w.

      • @ Willis Eschenbach: December 18, 2014 at 11:43 pm
        But in fact, while the IPCC didn’t mention “runaway”, my point still ……….
        —————-
        The IPCC didn’t specifically state a “runaway” scenario, …. but, it is quite obvious to me that the IPCC specifically implied such a scenario via their claim of ….. “A robust feature”, … to wit:
        ———
        Willis Eschenbach: December 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm
        [quoting the IPCC] “A robust feature of the response of climate models to increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases is the poleward retreat of terrestrial snow and sea ice, and the polar amplification of increases in lower-tropospheric temperature
        ——————
        A robust feature of “increases causing increases” is in fact a “runaway” scenario.

      • Samuel says:

        A robust feature of “increases causing increases” is in fact a “runaway” scenario.

        Thanks for the comment Samuel, but this is only a claim that there is a positive feedback which is quite uncontroversial.
        By runaway scenario it is usually meant that a tipping point can be reached and after that the feedback is not only positive, but that the loop gain is above 1. This gives an unstable system with exponential growth in temperatures.
        There will always be some “The end is nigh” people around, and the runaway climate scenario seems to be a favorite theme for those.
        /Jan

      • Willis says:

        They think that a small change in the albedo on 4% of the surface will have a large affect on the entire planet …. viz:

        Thank you Willis, but I think you now overstate their meaning a little. The IPCC do not specifically limit their discussion to the 4% area above the Arctic Circle. You have calculated the average effect north of the Arctic Circle to 0.35W/m2 in 14 years, but it does not shrink to zero one step south of the circle. I would guess that there will be a change in albedo in all areas which experience fewer days with snow cower.
        In a heating world I would expect that only the areas which have year-round snow or ice anyway, i.e. the glaciers, and the areas which never receive snow will have an unchanged albedo. This is a big fraction of the world, and I would not be surprised if this significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity.
        I also have to say that I have a quite positive impression if the IPCC. One can disagree with them, but they produce reports with high scientific quality and they never say that the science is settled.
        /Jan

        • Jan Kjetil Andersen

          Thanks for the comment Samuel, but this is only a claim that there is a positive feedback which is quite uncontroversial.
          From above:
          Thank you Willis, but I think you now overstate their meaning a little. The IPCC do not specifically limit their discussion to the 4% area above the Arctic Circle. You have calculated the average effect north of the Arctic Circle to 0.35W/m2 in 14 years, but it does not shrink to zero one step south of the circle. I would guess that there will be a change in albedo in all areas which experience fewer days with snow cower.
          In a heating world I would expect that only the areas which have year-round snow or ice anyway, i.e. the glaciers, and the areas which never receive snow will have an unchanged albedo. This is a big fraction of the world, and I would not be surprised if this significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity.

          Please. Show us the actual calculations for this supposed Arctic amplification (positive feedback) for the Arctic Ocean sea ice. For 24 hours on September 22 at its lowest extent, show us how much energy is absorbed by the assumed sea ice, how much is reflected by sea ice, how much energy would be absorbed by open water and how much is reflected by open water each hour.
          False. There is NO part of the Arctic Ocean south of 69-70 north. There is a very small area of the Bering Sea and the Hudson Bay that is south of the Arctic Circle – These areas melt every spring and freeze again every fall. There is NO evidence at all that either area is contributing to the earth’s albedo: There are no measured freeze/melt dates affecting anything more than these two. If they did melt a few days earlier, then that “heat” cannot heat anyother regioins because their size and location is too little to matter.
          Oh. Today’s “excess” Antarctic sea ice of 1.3 million square kilometers has lasted more than 2 years now, and is at the same location as the ENTIRE area of Hudson’s Bay. What is a greater impact? Two years of an area the size of Hudson Bay lasting the entire time in a band that encircles the entire globe at 60 south? Or one region that melts “early” for two days – heating up for a period of three hours each day?
          Land glaciers and permanent mountain top ice outside of Antarctic and Greenland – compromise less than 1/4 of 1 percent of the world’s surface. Show the math that difference between 1970 extents and today’s extents of these areas matter. By the way, land-based snow cover has set new record high recently. Your claim is false. Dead wrong.
          So, there is no ocean sea ice south of the Arctic Circle, and I would defy you to actually show very much of it is south of 70 north latitude even at maximum extents ANY DAY of the year.
          In contrast, ALL of the Antarctic sea ice is NORTH of the Antarctic Circle EVERY day of the day. ALL of the “excess” Antarctic sea ice that you are trying desperately to ignore DOES reflect ever higher and higher amounts of radiation back into space.

      • RACookPE1978 says:

        Please. Show us the actual calculations for this supposed Arctic amplification

        Thank you RAC,
        I have not calculated the arctic amplification, but Willis has in the original article.
        Please read that.
        /Jan

      • @ Jan Kjetil Andersen: December 19, 2014 at 11:38 am
        Thanks for the comment Samuel, but this is only a claim that there is a positive feedback which is quite uncontroversial.
        ————-
        HA, it is quite apparent to me that you didn’t/don’t have a “clue” as to what my comment was in reference too …… or you do know and your above cited post was just a CYA.

    • In other words, Jan, a 0.025 W/m2/year change in 4% of the surface area is equivalent to a global change of 0.001 W/m2/year ….
      w.

      • It would be a crazy system if a change in the albedo on 4% of the surface had a huge effect on the entire planet. I don’t think anyone expect that.
        This is the effect per square meter in the arctic and it seems to be larger than the CO2 effect.
        There may be changes in the albedo other places on the planet too, but that is another discussion.
        /Jan

        • Jan Kjetil Andersen
          This is the effect per square meter in the arctic and it seems to be larger than the CO2 effect.

          Please, show your math (day of year, latitude, and hour of day) to justify that claim.

      • Jan Kjetil Andersen December 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

        It would be a crazy system if a change in the albedo on 4% of the surface had a huge effect on the entire planet. I don’t think anyone expect that.

        Sadly, Jan, you misunderestimate the foolishness of modern alarmists. there are heaps of alarmists out there making that very claim. Here’s one from the American Meteorological Society:

        If the ice-albedo feedback becomes dominant in high latitudes at some point as the climate warms, a runaway feedback will ensue in which the climate transitions to a new state.

        A google search of “runaway ice-albedo feedback” yields over a million hits … take a look at some of them for a good laugh.
        w.

  35. The arctic and near-arctic has a tremendous amount of twilight year around. It certainly is not pitch black everywhere in the arctic even in winter. Any light is energy and needs to be accounted for. Another point is winter shadows are very long even in direct light including at the macro level. Grains of sand throw shadows, too, and certainly irregular frozen surfaces throw long shadows, so the entire square meter is not converting light to heat in these conditions. Finally, reflected light is predominantly sent right back to the source with a small percentage backlighting objects closer to the light source.

  36. I apologize for entering the conversation a few hours after the first comments and replies, but there are several technical “issues” that must be addressed, and, in several cases, corrected. It’s going to be easiest to use a different section for each item.
    MEASURED ARCTIC SEA ICE ALBEDO THROUGH THE SUMMER.
    Judith Curry measured Arctic sea ice albedo several different ways (from long-term ice camps, from aircraft, from her ship floating through the sea ice, and locally by hand): Arctic sea ice albedo drops significantly during the arctic summer, then only slowly recovers as the freezing season starts up again in September – October.
    The Arctic sea ice albedo is NOT the “one-number-fits-all” implied single point implied by this press release from the CAGW disciples above. It is NOT the simplified value from Wikipedia either.
    Rather, Curry’s measured value of Arctic sea ice albedo (Curry, 2001 and others) begins at 0.8228 on DOY 279 (6 Oct), and remains right at 0.823 through DOY =1 on January 1.
    It stays constant at 0.823 through the spring until day-of-year 133 (13 May).
    From DOY 13 May through Oct 6 (days 133 through 279) Arctic sea ice albedo drops to 0.46 in July due to dust, pollen, debris and soot and particles, second and third and fourth year “dirty” ice, and (most important) shallow surface melt water ponds, then rises in August, September and October back to its winter normal of 0.823
    This measured EXISTING and WELL-KNOWN drop in Arctic sea ice albedo in June, July, and August each year follows a close cosine curve down, to its minimum, then back up.
    Arctic sea ice albedo may “average” 0.6415 in the summer, but it is NOT constant through the summer. Arctic sea ice may “get as low as” 0.46 in July, but it does NOT “stay” that low during the summer either!
    The best curve fit through the entire May to September summer melt season is
    = 0.6415 + 0.1813 * cos (0.04321 * DOY – 5.76717)
    In Excel’s language using radians, if DOY is a declared variable for day-of-year
    =IF(LAT<0,0.8228,(IF(DOY<133,0.8228,(IF(DOY<279,(0.6415+0.1813*COS(0.04321*(DOY)-5.76717)),0.8228)))))
    So, what values did the Arctic “sea ice experts” use for their press release claims? We do not know.
    Note!
    For ALL days-of-year in the Antarctic, Antarctic sea ice albedo stays at its winter high of 0.823!
    This is because very, very little Antarctic sea ice remains solid from year-to-year, and all of that sea ice that does remain frozen stays in small coves and inlets very near the Antarctic coast. Unlike the multi-year Arctic sea ice, Antarctic's sea ice re-freezes every year as extends far from the Antarctic coast line. There is very, very little dust, no pollen, no pollution from ANY nearby countries or industries or deserts or forests, no soot, and no particles in the air: The Antarctic sea ice remains very, very clean through the entire year from freezing though final melting.

  37. I apologize for entering the conversation a few hours after the first comments and replies, but there are several technical “issues” that must be addressed, and, in several cases, corrected. It’s going to be easiest to use a different section for each item.
    MEASURED TOP-OF-ATMOSPHERE SOLAR RADIATION CHANGES THROUGH THE SUMMER MELT PERIOD.
    The actual TOA solar radiation is substantially LESS through the mid-summer melt season than it is when the Arctic sea ice lays shadowed hidden in near-total darkness during October, November, December, January, and February.
    TOA solar radiation peaks January 5 at 1408 Watts/m^2.
    TOA solar radiation hits its yearly minimum July 5 at 1316 Watts/m^2

    Date 	DofY 	TOA_Rad.
    05-Jan	 05	 1408
    22-Jan	 22	 1405
    22-Feb	 53	 1390
    22-Mar 	 81	 1371
    22-Apr  112	 1347
    22-May	142	 1328
    22-Jun	173	 1317
    05-Jul	186	 1316
    22-Jul  203	 1318
    22-Aug	234	 1330
    22-Sep 	265	 1351
    22-Oct	295	 1374
    22-Nov	326	 1395
    22-Dec	356	 1406
    

    Because the earth’s orbit is elliptical, it is again easiest to approximate the TOA solar radiation with a curve fit cosine function. This will be within 1/2 watt/m^2 of Leif’s 2000 – 2013 measured solar data for every day-of-year (DOY).
    TOA Radiation =1362.36+46.142*(COS(0.0167299*(DOY)+0.03150896))
    Note 1.
    Again, remember that while the north pole (Arctic ocean around the north pole) is exposed to many hours of sunshine during June, July, and August each year, those long hours of sunshine are at the earth’s LOWEST part of its annual energy budget by 90 watts/m^2.
    Note 2.
    While the two equinox days are near” the “average” days of the sun’s yearly cycle, they are NOT actually “equal” to the sun’s yearly cycle days. This is because the sun’s solar budget cycle depends ONLY on the average value of radiation (TSI is now declared to be 1362 watts/m^2 by Leif and company) and the obliquity of the earth’s orbit.
    The equinox point of the year depends instead on the earth’s current tilt (now 23.5 degrees) and that value changes very slowly due to precession about the earth’s axis of rotation. See Milanovich cycles for the very, very slow changes in each of these.
    Thus, on March 22, the TOA radiation = 1371 when the average TOA radiation is 1362.
    On Sept 22, the TOA radiation = 1351 when the average TOA radiation is 1362 watts/m^2
    On the other had, the TOA radiation follows a cosine wave, and thus changes onlty very gradually at its peaks and troughs:
    Dec 22 solstice TOA = 1406.
    15 days later on Jan 05 the solar radiation reaches it yearly peak at 1408 -only 2 watts more radiation/m^2.
    June 22 solstice, TOA = 1317.
    13 days later on July 05 the solar radiation reaches its yearly low at 1318 watts/m^2.

  38. On the other had, the TOA radiation follows a cosine wave…

    Does it?
    Or is that just curve fitting. You can fit anything to anything if you allow any amplitude and frequency.
    Is it a cosine wave?

    • It’s not a perfect cosine wave, as the earth’s orbit is elliptical, so the waveform is slightly distorted due to the difference in orbial velocities at perihelion and aphelion. However it does vary as the distance from sun to earth changes.

      • OK. That makes sense.
        It’s cyclical as it’s related to the Earth’s orbit. OK.
        I just wondered why anyone made a statement about the climate’s continuous behaviour without explaining it.

      • David Socrates (replying to MCourtney)
        It’s not a perfect cosine wave, as the earth’s orbit is elliptical, so the waveform is slightly distorted due to the difference in orbial velocities at perihelion and aphelion. However it does vary as the distance from sun to earth changes.

        Yeah, I know.
        But the better-fitting 8th order polynomial equation that really does beautifully squeeze right through the middle of all of Leif’s data points for evry day of his 10 years of measured TOA and TSI values just isn’t worth the effort for 1 watt difference in only a few days of the year.

    • MCourtney
      Does it?
      Or is that just curve fitting. You can fit anything to anything if you allow any amplitude and frequency.
      Is it a cosine wave?

      The cosine curve above fits through all of the measured TOA and TSI data available.

  39. For the Arctic above 70N, TOA insolation peaks at the summer solstice, but the maximum surface albedo from ice peaks about a month earlier (May) and the maximum surface albedo from open water peaks about a month later (July), assuming cloud albedo remains constant. This occurs because the Arctic Ocean transitions from ice to open water, with an albedo cross-over in June. Thus using data from the months of June-August biases the results toward open water albedo, and a lower albedo would be obtained by choosing, e.g., May-July, which incorporate maximum irradiation, but is a time of greater ice.

    • Donb
      For the Arctic above 70N, TOA insolation peaks at the summer solstice, but the maximum surface albedo from ice peaks about a month earlier (May) and the maximum surface albedo from open water peaks about a month later (July), assuming cloud albedo remains constant. This occurs because the Arctic Ocean transitions from ice to open water, with an albedo cross-over in June. Thus using data from the months of June-August biases the results toward open water albedo, and a lower albedo would be obtained by choosing, e.g., May-July, which incorporate maximum irradiation, but is a time of greater ice.

      No.
      I think you have started towards the right value – the changing total radiation received, absorbed, and reflected from the Arctic Ocean and Antarctic Ocean over time each year. But you are not incomplete in both detail and in the broad picture. Also, your description begins the right way, but it combined specific terms (values correct for a single square meter basis at a single day-of-year at a single latitude and a single hour-of-day) with the total energy over the broad area of many latitudes and many days of year.
      For example, TOA radiation is at its maximum Jan 05 at 1408 watts/m^2, and at its minimum on July 05 at 1315 watts/m^2.
      Ice albedo is at its minimum in July at only 0.46, and at its maximum during the fall, winter and spring season at 0.823.
      However, Arctic sea ice area is at its maximum down to latitude 70 – 71 in late March, and is at its minimum area in mid-September at around 3-4 Million sq kilometers up around latitude 79-80.
      Solar radiation each hour of each day varies on a completely different calendar: Each hour’s solar radiation on to a flat surface depends on day of year (which defines the polar axial tilt angle: 0.0 on March 22 and September 22 each year, maximum sun solar elevation angle difference on June 22, minimum solar elevation angle difference on Dec 22.
      Solar elevation angle and latitude defines air mass -> how much of the sun’s energy is lost in the atmosphere before reaching the surface.
      Air mass depends on hour of day: Minimum (least energy loss at noon, maximum energy lost at sunrise and sunset each day.
      From solar elevation angle and wind speed you calculate actual water albedo for every solar elevation angle for every hour of the day.
      Heat loss with and without sea ice can be calculated from 2 meter air temperature, wind speed, air pressure, and relative humidity -> which can be calculated if wet air temperature is known at each hour of the day.
      From wind speed and air temperature you can get the Reynolds number, Prandlt number, Nusselt number -> from those you calculate the convection heat loss and conductive heat transfer through the sea ice up to the air and then to the sky.
      From water temperature and ice temperature and air temperature and relative humidity you calculate LW radiation heat losses from each surface into the sky.
      From actual surface albedo for water at each hour-of-day and each solar elevation angle at that hour and the “surviving” solar radiation to a flat surface ot sea level you calculate actual SW heat absorbed into open water, refelcted from open water, absorbed into sea ice, and reflected from sea ice.
      THEN – after you know the heat gains and losses from every latitude band on every day-of-year for every hour-of-day, only THEN you can start multiplying heat gains and losses by area of sea ice and area of open water.
      Area of the sea ice each day-of-year is known from the satellite plots.

  40. Willis writes “The cloud changes do not entirely offset the ground changes, but the bright clouds assuredly move in total opposition to the bright sea ice surface.”
    Someone else has probably already noticed this but if cloud cover is increasing then its not surprising ice creation is decreasing. One has to wonder how much impact that has when compared to the supposed CO2 forcing doing the “warming” instead…

  41. Jan Kjetil Andersen December 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm Edit

    Willis says:

    They think that a small change in the albedo on 4% of the surface will have a large affect on the entire planet …. viz:

    Thank you Willis, but I think you now overstate their meaning a little. The IPCC do not specifically limit their discussion to the 4% area above the Arctic Circle.

    True … but they do limit it to “ice-albedo feedback”.

    You have calculated the average effect north of the Arctic Circle to 0.35W/m2 in 14 years, but it does not shrink to zero one step south of the circle. I would guess that there will be a change in albedo in all areas which experience fewer days with snow cower.

    1) There is very little ice south of the Arctic circle.
    2) They speak only of ice-albedo feedback, and say nothing about snow.
    3) AFAIK, there’s been no decrease in snow coverage in any case …
    You go on to say:

    In a heating world I would expect that only the areas which have year-round snow or ice anyway, i.e. the glaciers, and the areas which never receive snow will have an unchanged albedo. This is a big fraction of the world, and I would not be surprised if this significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity.

    Huh? I don’t understand that. How do unchanging glaciers and areas that never receive snow “significantly contribute” to climate sensitivity?

    I also have to say that I have a quite positive impression if the IPCC. One can disagree with them, but they produce reports with high scientific quality and they never say that the science is settled.

    I have to say that my respect for your judgement just went way down. The IPCC has been secretive, and refused to reveal its inner workings. It was up to its ears in the Jesus paper, and was the main force behind the acceptance of the “Hockeystick”. Remember Michael Mann advising his unindicted co-conspirators to illegally destroy their emails? They showed the inner workings of the IPCC.
    How you interpret the Hockeystick as being of “high scientific quality” is a mystery. Heck, the AR4 report famously passed off puff pieces from Greenpeace and from newspapers as high quality science … most of us saw through that, but it looks like they fooled at least one person. High quality? Don’t make me laugh.
    As to whether the IPCC say the science is settled, here’s the head of the organization himself, Railroad Engineer Pachauri, on the subject:

    “There is, even today, a Flat Earth Society that meets every year to say the Earth is flat. The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.”

    and

    “As the science in the IPCC Fourth Assessment report clearly demonstrates, there is no leeway for delay or denial any longer.”

    “No room for doubt”??? … Jan, is this truly your idea of “high quality science”? Really?
    Pachauri’s the fool who famously claimed that anyone who doubted the IPCC’s bogus claims about Himalayan glaciers was “voodoo science” … just before he had to eat his words when it was pointed out that the “voodoo science” was what the IPCC was pushing. See here and here for details … spoiler alert! It’s not “high quality science”.
    In other words, your claims about the IPCC are a joke. As I said above … please do your homework before uncapping your electronic pen, my friend. You are embarrassing yourself.
    w.

  42. Willis says:

    In a heating world I would expect that only the areas which have year-round snow or ice anyway, i.e. the glaciers, and the areas which never receive snow will have an unchanged albedo. This is a big fraction of the world, and I would not be surprised if this significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity.

    Huh? I don’t understand that. How do unchanging glaciers and areas that never receive snow “significantly contribute” to climate sensitivity?

    Sorry, a typo there. What I meant to say was that the areas outside those areas would contribute. I would expect that in a warming world all areas which have snow cover or ice cover parts of the year will have a change in the albedo which will contribute to a positive feedback.

    In other words, your claims about the IPCC are a joke.

    I said the reports they produce are of high quality. I think the fact that the error in the AR4 about the Himalayan glaciers has been such a big issue prove that the overall report is of good quality.
    The claim in AR4 about the Himalayan glaciers is not highlighted or mentioned in any summary. You need to really read the fine text in this huge report to spot the error that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear already in 2035, which is not the case. This error was not good, they cited a report that was not peer reviewed, and that is a bad practice, but it is by far not enough to discredit the whole IPCC report.
    There are a lot of “flat Earthers” around in the climate debate, Pachauri is right about that. He is also right that there is no room for doubting the fundamentals in climate science; that the Earth is warming, that there is a greenhouse effect, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that the increase in the CO2 level is caused by human activity. Slayers disagree, but they are very far from science.
    I think the climate debate would gain a lot if each party could listen to each other and respect each other a bit more than today.
    /Jan

    • Jan,
      I think you have an inaccurate impression of ‘skeptics’. While there are people who do not understand basic science and who refuse to accept that increasing GHG’s will cause some warming, those are not the people offering serious critiques of the IPCC and the climate science it summaries in its AR’s. It is people like Willis (and many others) who follow up on the claims made by climate science and find that the effects of increases in GHG are consistently exaggerated, just as Willis has shown here. Please ask yourself if the measured net decrease in reflection (0.35 watt/M^2 in 14 years) over the Arctic (a tiny fraction of Earth’s surface) could plausibly change Earth’s average temperature very much, even if that trend were to continue for a century. It seems to me most implausible. If you want to focus on local (Arctic) impacts, which may be significant over a very long time, that is fine. But very few people live in the Arctic, and whatever modest local warming there may be due to lower albedo will, I suspect improve their existance, not make it worse. You are of course free to try to convince people that warming in the Arctic is an important issue, but absent exaggeration (like claims of large global impacts that the IPCC makes) I think you will find that is a difficult task.
      Skeptics mostly object to the exaggerated claims that are routinely used to promote costly public actions on energy production and use, actions which will likely be rejected by the public if future effects of GHG’s are not exaggerated. Argue for the policies you want without stooping to the dishonesty of the late Stephen (‘scary scenarios’) Schneider, and you will disarm the skeptics. But if you argue with scary stories and exaggeration (and this is very common!), you will ensure your desired policies will never be adopted.

      • I think you have an inaccurate impression of ‘skeptics’. While there are people who do not understand basic science and who refuse to accept that increasing GHG’s will cause some warming, those are not the people offering serious critiques of the IPCC and the climate science it summaries in its AR’s.

        Steve, of course it is a lot of very knowledgeable people on the skeptics side, Anthony’s blog is a proof of that. Others are Mosher and Curry’s blogs to just mention two I value high.
        But the problem in the climate debate is the deep mistrust between the parties. The skeptics think that the pro-AGW camp is just stupid, corrupt or both, and vice versa.
        I think Willy’s reaction to my statement that I have a positive view of the IPCC as a typical example of this. He seems to think that the IPCC is such a bad gang that I am embarrassing myself in respecting them.
        Well, the IPCC gather hundreds of experts with PhD’s in various fields to produce assessments of the status in the climate science.
        Do you really think that these people are so incredibly stupid or corrupt that it is an embarrassment to have a positive view of them?
        http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/authors.php?q=1&p=TS
        /Jan

        • Jan Kjetil Andersen
          Well, the IPCC gather hundreds of experts with PhD’s in various fields to produce assessments of the status in the climate science.
          Do you really think that these people are so incredibly stupid or corrupt that it is an embarrassment to have a positive view of them?

          Those “hundreds of experts” are self-declared, and self-promoting, and self-exclusionary only. They do not tolerate dissent, disagreement, nor even open discussion of ANY scientific points nor contradictory evidence and facts. They – and the politicians and governments and government-paid “non-government-agencies” that pay their current and their salaries and pre-filter their desired research money. Yes, there are PhD’s in this international government-funded program . If 25,000.00 in “oil-money” is going to so thoroughly an entire Washington think tank for all future research for all time, how corrupt is a government-funded PhD being paid to generate 1.3 trillion dollars a year in tax revenue for her government?
          Tell me why I should respect ANY of them.

      • Those “hundreds of experts” are self-declared,

        RAC, click on the link please. You can then see that these people are university professors or researchers at scientific institutes. You don’t get a position there as self-declared expert.
        /Jan

        • You can then see that these people are university professors or researchers at scientific institutes. You don’t get a position there as self-declared expert.

          No.
          Look at Cook. At Lewendowsky. At Mann. At Hansen. At Gore. At Holdren. Look at Orestes’ results, her prejudices, her – frankly speaking – nonsense. But BECAUSE she follows the CAGW line, BECAUSE she is as Stalin put it a “useful idiot” and “fellow traveler” on the CAGW propaganda train, her research is QUOTED and used and repeated by her “peers” in the CAGW community. She is honored and quoted and cited, not condemned and fired. As are the others.
          Who are the government-paid “peers” who promote and approve the false and exaggerated government-paid papers that promote these government agencies you admire and trust so greatly?

      • @ Jan Kjetil Andersen: December 20, 2014 at 10:44 am
        Well, the IPCC gather hundreds of experts with PhD’s in various fields to produce assessments of the status in the climate science.
        Do you really think that these people are so incredibly stupid or corrupt that it is an embarrassment to have a positive view of them?

        ————-
        Iffen you had included “or with a funded interest” along with “incredibly stupid or corrupt” …. then most every learned skeptic and/or denier of CAGW would surely answer “YES” to your question.

      • Jan,
        “Do you really think that these people are so incredibly stupid or corrupt that it is an embarrassment to have a positive view of them?”
        There are for certain some perfectly honest and reasonable people involved in creating the ARs. And there are for certain others who are very much the opposite. I note that several well known ‘skeptics’ like Richard Lindzen were initially IPCC authors, but distanced themselves from the IPCC when they found that the IPCC’s AR efforts were more about politics and advancing a specific policy agenda, and less about science.
        My personal view is that climate science as a whole is practiced mainly by people who sincerely hold strong green/left personal views, and that the field is unfriendly to those who do not share those views. People who hold strong green views are (of course!) attracted to climate science; how could it be otherwise? This leads to an overall bias in world view that pervades the field and restrains technical progress. Worse, most people who work as climate scientists are unwilling to condemn others in the field who say and do perfectly horrible things (for examples, see the Peter Gleick/Heartland fiasco and the UEA emails). Those few in the field who have been willing to speak out against plainly terrible (and even illegal) behavior, like Judith Curry, are broadly attacked and ostracized. IOW, climate scientists are either unwilling to insist on good behavior within the field, or think that perfectly horrible behavior is OK. whichever it is, it speaks poorly of those in the field.
        The field is not well. It needs to reform itself, eliminate the clear bias toward projecting extreme warming, and stop the strident policy advocacy. I don’t think those things will ever happen unless the field is broadly defunded by the public, which is the only means the public has to ‘focus minds’ in the field on what they should actually be doing…. which is science, not policy advocacy. In the mean time, lots of people will continue to point out the obvious problems in climate science and criticize the worst offenders in the field. As well they should.

  43. Jan Kjetil Andersen December 20, 2014 at 11:20 am Edit

    Those “hundreds of experts” are self-declared,

    RAC, click on the link please. You can then see that these people are university professors or researchers at scientific institutes. You don’t get a position there as self-declared expert.
    /Jan

    Jan, if you think that simply because someone is a university professor that their opinion represents what you call “high quality” climate science, I fear you haven’t been following the story.
    Michael Mann is a perfect example. He is a university professor, who used his position as IPCC Lead Author to promote and hype his laughable “Hockeystick” … and that was not only bogus, shabby science, it was deliberately deceptive.
    So I’m afraid that your plaint that “these people are university professors” means nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nicht. Rien.
    All of the Climategate unindicted co-conspirators “are university professors or researchers at scientific institutes” … and they are also lying, cheating, rule-subverting, and in some cases lawbreaking miscreants. And you call their work high quality science?
    Kevin Trenberth is a major force at the IPCC. He’s a Contributing Author, a Review Editor, and a Coordinating Lead Author ….and he’s famous for trying to reverse the null hypothesis, as unscientific and underhanded an act as I can imagine. High quality science? Don’t make me laugh.
    Then I looked at the site you mentioned, and on the first page I selected at random, WGI, Chapter 9, the very first person I find is:

    FLATO, Gregory
    Environment Canada
    Canada

    A government pet science bureaucrat … color me unimpressed. And we have

    TESKE, Sven
    Greenpeace International

    As I said above, the IPCC uncritically swallows the puff pieces from the pseudo-green organizations like Greenpeace and the WWF, and Teske is one of the reasons why. See Donna Laframboise on the subject.
    Your faith in credentials is … well … let me call it “touchingly naive”. Wake up and smell the coffee, my friend. Around here we judge people by their actions and the quality of their science, not by their jobs or the parchments on their walls … and the IPCC simply doesn’t pass that test.
    w.

    • Ok, thanks for the clarification. Then we know that most of the climate scientists in the world, who happen to be for the most part university professors or scientific researches, are either incredibly stupid, corrupt or both.
      On the other hand, most, if not all of the skeptics in the world, who happen to be for the most part self-taught laymen, are geniuses.
      No nuances or middle way exists
      /Jan

      • Oh, please, Jan. I never said one word about “most of the climate scientists in the world”. That’s your bizarre fantasy. We were discussing the quality of the IPCC science, which is highly politicized.
        And I didn’t say a damn thing about skeptics, again that’s your fantasy. You are just making things up, and trying to pretend that I either said or implied them. I said nothing of the sort and I strongly protest your unpleasant attempt to stuff words in my mouth. You are losing my respect at a rate of knots here, I actually had thought you were interested in discussing facts … foolish me. You prefer your fantasies.
        Here’s a fact. The people making up the IPCC are appointed by governments, not picked for their scientific ability. They are also expected to toe the party line. As a result, many ethical scientists, even those who were a part of the early IPCC reports, have either bailed out or been forced out. Why?
        Because the IPCC was formed with an agenda far in advance of the science. It was tasked, not with finding out what rules the climate, but with determining how much CO2 was dangerous. When you start with that host of preconceptions, what do you expect to happen? High quality science? Don’t make me laugh.
        The IPCC is NOT a panel of scientists, Jan. It is an inter-GOVERNMENTAL panel, that is to say, the participants are hand-picked by the governments. And every government gets to send some … do you truly believe that there are top-quality climate scientists in e.g. the DRC? It’s a panel of folks with a pre-determined conclusion, and not a scientific body in any sense of the word.
        Perhaps the IPCC reports impress you, Jan, but if so you should get out more. Did you read about the Jesus paper? Are you aware of how the IPCC squelches any contrary views? Have you done any research on this at all?
        w.

      • Jan take a look at their process… “He seems to think that the IPCC is such a bad gang that I am embarrassing myself in respecting them.”
        The IPCC “experts” take papers that display varying degrees of uncertainty, some having a great deal of uncertainty and summarise those results up to conclusions that are increasingly certain. The IPCC experts ignore papers that support opposing theories and hence further increase that uncertainty.
        The IPCC has an agenda. And it shows.

  44. Oh, please, Jan. I never said one word about “most of the climate scientists in the world”. That’s your bizarre fantasy.

    Oh, come on Willis, I just helped you to go all the way.
    I mean, from my first simple statement that I have a positive view of the IPCC, you declared that Pachauri is a fool, my claim was a joke and that I was embarrassing myself just for saying that I respected IPCC.
    When I, as a response to RAC who claimed that the people in IPCC are self-declared experts, said that the people are university professors or scientists with Phd, you take it to that I have “touchingly naive” faith in credentials.
    Very few informed people think that Pachauri is a fool, and very few informed people think that IPCC make such bad reports that they think they are a joke. If those people think I embarrass myself I can live with that.
    I do not have any extended faith in credentials; that is your bizarre fantasy. So since you have gone so far from my modest praise to IPCC; calling IPCC a joke, Pachauri a fool, me touchingly naïve, I just helped you going all the way.
    /Jan

    • Jan Kjetil Andersen December 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Oh, please, Jan. I never said one word about “most of the climate scientists in the world”. That’s your bizarre fantasy.

      Oh, come on Willis, I just helped you to go all the way.

      No, you didn’t. You tried to put words in my mouth. I won’t put up with that. If you want to “go all the way”, that’s your business.
      But pretending that I said it, or claiming that you are helping me, is just your failed attempt at nasty innuendo.

      When I, as a response to RAC who claimed that the people in IPCC are self-declared experts, said that the people are university professors or scientists with Phd, you take it to that I have “touchingly naive” faith in credentials.

      I’m sorry, but the fact that people are “university professors or scientists” means nothing. I gave you a host of examples, including Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth. I see you don’t like dealing with facts so you are back to accusations.

      Very few informed people think that Pachauri is a fool, and very few informed people think that IPCC make such bad reports that they think they are a joke. If those people think I embarrass myself I can live with that.

      Perhaps on your planet very few informed people think that Pachauri is a fool. On my planet, someone who calls what his opponents do “voodoo science” one week, and then has to eat his words a week or so later, is indeed a fool.

      I do not have any extended faith in credentials; that is your bizarre fantasy.

      Dude, you’re the one who claimed that people can’t be “self-declared experts” because they are university professors. How is that not a touching faith in credentials? That’s not my fantasy, those are your words.

      So since you have gone so far from my modest praise to IPCC; calling IPCC a joke, Pachauri a fool, me touchingly naïve, I just helped you going all the way.

      Your so-called “help” is nothing but unpleasant, underhanded, unwanted, and untrue passive-aggressive nastiness. It has absolutely nothing to do with me or what I said. Perhaps your friends put up with that kind of venom. I say what I want to say, and I don’t allow anyone to put words in my mouth. You can eat them yourself.
      Finally I stand by my claims that the IPCC is a joke and Pachauri is a fool. I’ve provided a host of evidence and links for both of those claims, from the Jesus paper to Pachauri’s statements that the climate is settled to the Hockeystick to Kevin Trenberth to the defections of experts to the revelations about the IPCC in the Climategate emails to the use of Greenpeace puff pieces to Pachauri’s claim that what his opponents do is “voodoo science”.
      You’ve provided little more than your big mouth and your charming naivete.
      Easy choice …
      w.

  45. Jan Kjetil Andersen December 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm said:

    Willis says:

    In a heating world I would expect that only the areas which have year-round snow or ice anyway, i.e. the glaciers, and the areas which never receive snow will have an unchanged albedo. This is a big fraction of the world, and I would not be surprised if this significantly contributes to the global climate sensitivity.

    Huh? I don’t understand that. How do unchanging glaciers and areas that never receive snow “significantly contribute” to climate sensitivity?

    Sorry, a typo there. What I meant to say was that the areas outside those areas would contribute. I would expect that in a warming world all areas which have snow cover or ice cover parts of the year will have a change in the albedo which will contribute to a positive feedback.

    There is only a trivial amount of annually variable snow cover in the southern hemisphere, because of the small land area down south subject to variable snow cover. It’s only a bit of South America, a bit of Africa, and a bit of Australia. Antarctica never changes, and changes in Antarctic sea ice are shown above.
    Here’s the change in snow area in the northern hemisphere since 1972:

    As you can see, while there is a statistically significant trend, it is only on the order of 1% per decade. In addition, on average the area of the snow cover is only about 5% of the earth’s surface. As a result, a 1% change in 5% of the surface is only a change of five hundredths of a percent (0.05%) on a global basis.
    All of which means that the changes in snow area have NOT made a significant change in the albedo over the last forty years.
    My best to you,
    w.

    • This is a very good work Willis, I really mean it.
      A decline of only 1% per decade was smaller than I expected.
      When you say “on average the area of the snow cover is only about 5% of the earth’s surface.”, I am not sure if I understand. Do you mean that only 5% of the globe has seasonal snow cover, or do you mean that on average 5% of the Earth is covered with snow?
      I think only the former is relevant.
      /Jan

      • Thanks for the kind words, Jan. I meant the latter. If you want the former, look at the graph above. The max is about twice the average, meaning that 10% has seasonal cover.
        However, either one gives the same answer. Remember that I said:

        As you can see, while there is a statistically significant trend, it is only on the order of 1% per decade.

        As you can see from the graph, the 1% is one percent of the average area, which is 5% of the earth’s surface. (The 1% is calculated 0.27 M-km^2 / 25 M-km^2).
        Or, looked at another way, the trend is half a percent of the maximum area ( 0.27 M-km^2 / 50 M-km^2), and 50 M-km2 is 10% of the earth’s surface.
        As a result, the product of the two works out the same either way, five hundredths of a percent on a global basis.
        w.

  46. Willis said:

    you’re the one who claimed that people can’t be “self-declared experts” because they are university professors

    Yes, and I mean that. When people hold a PhD from a recognized university in a specific field it is just silly to call them self-declared experts. I do not say that all they produce or say is of good quality, but a PhD is universally accepted as a proof of having an expertise in a specific field. That is the opposite of being a self-declared expert.

    Perhaps on your planet very few informed people think that Pachauri is a fool.

    If all people who have made a small error once should be called fools there would be many fools around. I think almost everyone would be fools, perhaps except people that never say or accomplish anything.
    Pachauri heads an organization which engages most of the world’s climate scientists. More than 200 lead authors and 600 contributing authors worked on AR5 working group 1 alone. More than 9000 scientific
    publications were cited and more than 50 000 comments reviewed.
    I do not know about any climate scientist who has published peer reviewed articles in recognized and relevant scientific journals have being neglected by the IPCC. If you know about anyone I would like to hear.
    This means that by saying that the IPCC reports are a joke and a fool’s work it is pretty close to saying that most of the climate scientists in the world do a fools work. Do you really believe that?
    In the AR4 there was one infamous error which has been repeated over and over by the critics. If you study the fine text you can spot the error saying that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear in 2035, which is far too early. It is an error, but it is very small compared to the size of the entire, otherwise correct, report.
    As the climate gate, and the so-called Jesus paper show, there are also some bad practice among some climate scientist. They are not saints all of them, they are just engaged people who sometimes do bad thing like the rest of us. If you study many people close enough you will find something similar inn all organizations and fields.
    To repeat and focus on these episodes of the past is in my opinion a fluctuation from the main topic. The IPCC does a tremendous and overall good job in assessing the state of climate science.
    /Jan

    • @ Jan Kjetil Andersen: December 20, 2014 at 11:55 pm
      Pachauri heads an organization which engages most of the world’s climate scientists. More than 200 lead authors and 600 contributing authors worked on AR5 working group 1 alone.
      —————–
      Don’t be ridiculous.
      US federal government agencies directly employs far more climate scientists than the 800 that you mention above, …. and which of course does not include all the climate scientists that are employed by US colleges and universities ……. or all the climate scientists that are employed by the governments and the institutions of learning of all the other countries around the world.
      To wit, educate yourself:
      —————
      The following was excerpted from: http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/federal-climate-scientists.html
      Survey: Federal Climate Scientists (2006)
      In the summer of 2006, the Union of Concerned Scientists distributed surveys to more than 1,600 climate scientists working at seven federal agencies and the independent National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), asking for information about the state of climate research at federal agencies.
      (snip)
      Survey Demographics
      Surveys were sent to 1,630 scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the independent (non-federal) National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
      Responses came from 279 federal scientists and 29 NCAR scientists. One hundred forty-four scientists provided narrative responses. The response rate (19 percent) was fairly consistent across agencies
      ”.

      • Well, in addition to the authors there are the reviewers and commenters, and in addition to AR5 there are other reports like the special reports and methodology reports.
        I would guess that many of the authors being cited in the 9000 publications are among the commenters.
        But anyway, I admit that I was a bit imprecise. I should have said that the organization either engage, or are assessing the publications from most of the climate scientists in the world.
        But that does not change my main point; one cannot disregard the IPCC in the climate science today.
        /Jan

      • Jan, since you seem to be impressed by academics, here are the opinions of some of them:

        “The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” – Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.
        “I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors. And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol,” Christy told CNN on May 2, 2007. – Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, served as a UN IPCC lead author in 2001 for the 3rd assessment report and detailed how he personally witnessed UN scientists attempting to distort the science for political purposes.

        You see that part about corrupting the science for political purposes? Remember that I also said it above, and you roundly ignored it? But I digress …

        “The claims of the IPCC are dangerous unscientific nonsense” – declared IPCC reviewer and climate researcher Dr Vincent Gray, of New Zealand in 2007. Gray was an expert reviewer on every single draft of the IPCC reports going back to 1990, author of more than 100 scientific publications.
        “After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri’s asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it’s hard to remain quiet.” – Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

        Unscientific nonsense, Railroad Engineer Pachauri comparing skeptics to flat earthers … and you think this is high quality science? If it were actually high quality science, the head of the organization wouldn’t be so defensive. Like I said, he called the output of the skeptics “voodoo science” … until he had to eat crow three weeks later when it was revealed that the IPCC claims were actually the voodoo science.

        One former UN IPCC scientist bluntly told the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee how the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers “distorted” the scientists work. “I have found examples of a Summary saying precisely the opposite of what the scientists said,” explained South African Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

        Science compromised and rewritten by politicians … charming.

        Paul Reiter, a malaria expert formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participated in a past UN IPCC process and now calls the concept of consensus on global warming a “sham.” Reiter, a professor of entomology and tropical disease with the Pasteur Institute in Paris, had to threaten legal action to have his name removed from the IPCC. “That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed,” he said on March 5, 2007. “It’s not true,” he added.

        Having exposed one of their underhanded methods of achieving “consensus”, Dr. Reiter, of course, was not invited back to participate further …

        Hurricane expert Christopher W. Landsea of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, was both an author a reviewer for the IPCC’s 2nd Assessment Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, but resigned from the 4th Assessment Report after charging the UN with playing politics with Hurricane science. Landsea wrote a January 17, 2005 public letter detailing his experience with the UN: “I am withdrawing [from the UN] because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.” “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound,” Landsea added.

        The people involved call it “motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound” … but nooo, Jan says it’s high quality science.

        Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, one of the individuals responsible for debunking the infamous “Hockey Stick” temperature graph, slammed the IPCC Summary for Policymaker’s process on January 24, 2007.
        McIntyre wrote: “So the purpose of the three-month delay between the publication of the (IPCC) Summary for Policy-Makers and the release of the actual WG1 (Working Group 1) is to enable them to make any ‘necessary’ adjustments to the technical report to match the policy summary. Unbelievable. Can you imagine what securities commissions would say if business promoters issued a big promotion and then the promoters made the ‘necessary’ adjustments to the qualifying reports and financial statements so that they matched the promotion. Words fail me.”

        This is an important point. They first agree on and release the summary, which fits their politics. Then they adjust the science to fit …
        Then we have the estimable non-Dr. Klein:

        Since 1994 Dr Klein has contributed as lead author to five reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which twice as coordinating lead author. He remains the youngest ever coordinating lead author in the history of the IPCC, a mark he set when first appointed coordinating lead author in 1997. [bold added]
        There are three classes of IPCC author – contributing, lead, and coordinating lead. The coordinating lead authors (usually there are two of them) are a chapter’s most senior personnel. The above excerpt tells us Klein was promoted to the most senior IPCC authorial role when he just 28.
        What the excerpt doesn’t mention is that he didn’t earn his PhD until six years after that – in 2003. So Klein served as an IPPC author three times while he was still a graduate student.

        However, he’s far from the only, what did you call them, “self-appointed experts” to be an IPCC author:

        One lead author of the 2001 edition was a trainee at the Munich Reinsurance Company in 2000 and did not have a master’s when he was on the panel. He did not get a doctorate for another ten years.
        A lead author in 1994 earned his master’s only two years before and did not have his first paper published until 1995.
        Another Australian academic was an assistant author in 2001 and a lead author in 2007, although she did not earn her doctorate until 2009.

        Working Group III is rife with representatives of the pseudo-green NGOs …

        They include three Greenpeace employees, two Friends of the Earth representatives, two Climate Action Network reps, and a person each from activist organizations WWF International, Environmental Defense, and the David Suzuki Foundation.

        Here’s the deal, Jan. They only include the science that agrees with their preconceptions, and they don’t allow in anything else. This “proves” that there is a consensus … and if anything escapes that process, it is “adjusted” to fit the perceived needs of the politicians. It is NOT a scientific organization, my friend. It is a political organization.
        So while you are correct that unfortunately we cannot disregard the IPCC because it’s spreading its bogus “science” everywhere, you’re a fool if you trust politicians … and that’s what the IPCC is, an inter-GOVERNMENTAL organization and not a scientific organization in any sense.
        w.

  47. Jan Kjetil Andersen
    Willis Eschenbach
    But look at the simple geometry of the arctic.
    Minimum Arctic sea ice extent = 3.0 to 4.0 Million km^2. Call it 4.0 Mkm^2 as a baseline.
    This entire sea ice extent (in September, at its minimum, only represents the area from the North Pole to latitude 79-80 south.
    The maximum Arctic sea ice extents in late march-early April each year is 14.0 Mkm^2.
    This MAXIMUM Arctic sea ice area only represents the area from the pole to latide 70-71 north!
    Does this much area matter?
    At a radius of 6371 km, the earth’s total area = 510.1 Mkm^2.
    The energy absorbed (or reflected) from any area is obviously proportional to the area and the amount of sunlight on that area.
    So, how much area is the “Arctic sea ice” cover? Does it matter in the total energy budget of the earth each year?
    Let’s look at simple latitude bands first.
    Radius = 6371 km
    Total area of the earth = 510.1 Mkm^2

    Maximum	  Minimum	Area to  Area to Area in 1/2 Area of Pct Earth	Lat at
    Latitude  Latitude	High Lat Low Lat Band	 Band	     in Band	 Avg
    90.0	  80.0	        0.0 	  3.9	  3.9	  1.9	      0.8	83
    80.0	  70.0	        3.9	 15.4	 11.5	  5.8	      2.3	74
    70.0	  60.0	       15.4	 34.2	 18.8	  9.4	      3.7	65
    60.0	  50.0	       34.2	 59.7	 25.5	 12.7	      5.0	55
    50.0	  40.0	       59.7	 91.1	 31.4	 15.7	      6.2	45
    40.0	  30.0	       91.1	127.5	 36.4	 18.2	      7.1	35
    30.0	  20.0	      127.5	167.8	 40.3	 20.1	      7.9	25
    20.0	  10.0	      167.8	210.7	 42.9	 21.5	      8.4	15
    10.0	  0.0	      210.7	255.0	 44.3	 22.1	      8.7	5
    

    At its Arctic sea ice minimum in September 22 of 3-4 Mkm^2, the Arctic sea ice only covers 0.8 percent of the world.
    At its Arctic sea ice maximum in late March of 14 Mkm^2, the Arctic sea cie only extends down to latitude 70-71. No further. From that point, it begins receding ever further and further north through the summer melt season.
    In the meantime, the rest of the world continues to be exposed to sunlight, although at ever smaller and smaller TOA amounts.
    So let us look at the rest of the world, compared to the little bit exposed to the mid-summer Arctic sunlight.

    Maximum	 Minimum	Area to  Area to    Area in     1/2 Area  Pct    Avg Lat
    Latitude Latitude       High Lat Low Lat    Band	Band	 Earth   of Band
    90.0	  80.0	         0.0	   3.9	      3.9	1.9	  0.8	  83
    80.0	  70.9	         3.9	  14.0	     10.2	5.1	  2.0	  75
    70.9	  45.0	        14.0	  74.7	     60.7	30.3	 11.9	  56
    45.0	  23.5	        74.7	 153.3	     78.6	39.3	 15.4	  34
    23.5	 -23.5	       153.3	 356.7	    203.4	101.7	 39.9	   0
    45.0	 -45.0	        74.7	 435.4	    360.7	180.3	 70.7 	   0
    

    So,
    70.7 percent of the earth is between latitudes 45 north and 45 south.
    39.9 percent of the earth is between latitudes 23.5 north and 23.5 south.
    Call it 40 percent between the Tropics of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
    Exposed to sunlight every day of the year under an air mass of only 1.0 to 1.3.
    And that pesky little 0.8 percent of the earth’s surface at Arctic sea ice minimum at September 22 represents ALL of Sereze’s salary and research grant, but only a tiny bit of the earth’s energy budget.
    Exposed to sunlight May-June-July-Aug each year year.
    During the sun’s lowest annual TOA radiation levels.
    During the Arctic ice’s LOWEST albedo levels
    With a minimum Arctic sea ice extent at the sun’s LOWEST’s elevation and the open water’s HIGHEST albedo level all year.
    With ever-increasing heat losses due to convection, LE radiation, evaporation, and lowest conduction insulation.
    During the Arctic

  48. Willis said:

    Jan, since you seem to be impressed by academics, here are the opinions of some of them

    Thank you Willis for some interesting examples showing that the people in the IPCC are far from perfect.
    The question is how high you shall set the standard, and unfortunately you cannot set it too high because then no one would reach up.
    IPCC have often been criticized for being too conservative. Se one example here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/16/1334921/leaked-ipcc-draft-report-recent-warming-is-manmade-cloud-feedback-is-positive-inaction-is-suicidal/
    The media are full of such more extreme claims such as several meter sea level rise, extreme weather of all sorts and runaway effects. The typical claim is that it is not including the latest and much more alarming results. See more examples from Bjorn Lomborg here: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/realism-in-the-latest-ipcc-climate-report-by-bj-rn-lomborg
    On the other hand they are also claims from the other side that they are not including the latest and less alarming results.
    In addition to the sensation oriented media, there exist a cacophony of bizarre reports and blogs which are either plainly ignoring fundamental physical facts or are being extremely selective. The conclusion is that it is not easy for anyone to orient oneself about the current status of the climate science.
    I will challenge you to show me a place or report which gives a better assessment of the current status of the climate science. Please do not say NIPCC, that report is really an embarrassment.
    My main motivation in this topic is that I think the climate debate is less interesting than it could be because it has become so polarized. With less hostility and more open-mindedness one could perhaps hope to attract scientists to the blogosphere, which would be a huge gain.
    /Jan

    • Jan Kjetil Andersen December 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Thank you Willis for some interesting examples showing that the people in the IPCC are far from perfect. The question is how high you shall set the standard, and unfortunately you cannot set it too high because then no one would reach up.

      Dear heavens, I show with lots of evidence that it’s not science, it’s politics, and crooked politics at that … and that’s your response?
      How about we start with getting it out of the UN, getting rid of the politicians, and forcing them to follow their own rules? The idea that doing that would make it so that people wouldn’t shut up doesn’t even begin to apply.

      I will challenge you to show me a place or report which gives a better assessment of the current status of the climate science. Please do not say NIPCC, that report is really an embarrassment.

      Easy money. The place you’re looking for is Watts Up With That. Seriously. I know of no place else that even comes close to providing the news about climate science. Which is why it is read by everyone in the field, from both sides of the aisle. Second place would have to go to Judith Curry’s blog.
      My other main location for an “assessment of the current status of the climate science” is Google. See, I never believe anyone’s claims, including my own. So I go and I read the actual papers, without the intercession of the IPCC or anyone.

      My main motivation in this topic is that I think the climate debate is less interesting than it could be because it has become so polarized. With less hostility and more open-mindedness one could perhaps hope to attract scientists to the blogosphere, which would be a huge gain.

      I take more sh*t here than just about any guest author, ad hominem attacks of all kinds. So what? If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
      When we’ve had mainstream scientists posting here, Walt Meier comes to mind, they’ve been treated reasonably. But that’s not the point.
      Me, I don’t buy the idea that the reason that mainstream scientists don’t show up to defend and discuss their ideas at WUWT is because of the rough-and-tumble nature of the place. You seem to have forgotten the fact that these same mainstream scientists don’t discuss or defend their ideas in any debate setting of any kind.
      Heck, even at something as innocent as a presentation at a science conference, you’ll never see Michael Mann or his amigos answering even the simplest of questions. Often they won’t take questions at all.
      The problem is that they are running scared. They know that their underlying theory, that changes in surface temperatures slavishly follow changes in forcing, hasn’t turned out to be true. But since their jobs, livelihood, self-respect, and careers have been stapled quite firmly to the crashing and burning CO2 hypothesis … the last thing that they want to do is to talk about it here or anywhere.
      Me, I love it here for the same reason they hate it—because mistakes and incorrect theories don’t last long here. Which means that when I make a scientific error of some kind, the multi-eyed Argus of the intarwebs will point it out in very short order.
      And that means that I don’t ever get stuck going down a scientifically impossible alley. I don’t know how much time and wasted effort that has saved me. But wait, as they say on TV, there’s more. Not only do people keep me from taking wrong turns, some of them take my ideas and move them forwards, again to my great benefit.
      So no, Jan, you will never find those folks either here, or at Judith Curry’s, or anywhere that they have to answer the hard questions. One of the saddest and truest observations about science I ever heard is
      “Science progresses … one death at a time.”
      Don’t mistake this for the advocation of violence, it is nothing of the sort. Instead, it merely points out that Michael Mann and James Hansen will never change their minds about the CO2 hypothesis. I wish them long and happy lives … but I have no illusions of the timing of when their minds will change. And in the meantime, don’t bother them with facts.
      Now, I see it differently. As the saying goes, if the facts change, I change my mind … but I am in an extremely fortunate position. I have nothing to lose. I don’t have a job doing climate science, or even reporting about climate science. My life’s work is not at risk. I am free to research whatever I want, whenever I want. I haven’t convinced a bunch of people about things that I now suspect might not be true. Opposition to my ideas is no issue, I’ve been abused for my views so much that it’s become almost humorous. I haven’t spent forty years in a futile quest for the mysterious climate sensitivity. Which leaves me pretty much weightless, I’m free to do science as I want to do it, curiously, joyfully, and with awe.
      And although it’s never easy, when people publicly point out my mistakes, I’m even free to publicly admit them and learn from them. What more could a scientist want?
      However, sadly, most scientists these days don’t have those luxuries.
      As a result, although I don’t approve of their marked aversion to discussing the science here, there, or anywhere, I can certainly understand that unwillingness.
      All the best,
      w.

  49. Easy money. The place you’re looking for is Watts Up With That. Seriously. I know of no place else that even comes close to providing the news about climate science.

    I agree that this place provides very good debates and information and your articles are usually very good. I don’t always agree with them of course, but I think you provide interesting information.
    However, people have different preferences and blogs or Google is not suitable for all. The thing is that when one will orient oneself in a specific topic there are two different strategies to choose. One is to try to study the topic itself and when you gather knowledge you can after a while try to sort it out and make up your own mind about it.
    The second strategy is to try to find out whom to trust in this topic and then to listen to them.
    You and I will choose the first strategy, but, like it or not, most people will choose the second strategy. It will always be like that, because most people don’t have a passion for highly technical topics.
    Blogs with open discussions and Google are not very good sources when one chooses the second strategy because there is a risk for being very misinformed there.
    There is therefore a need for edited and quality controlled information, and that is a huge challenge to provide in a science that is by far not settled. However, I still think IPCC is the best place for this, at least they have the physics and the fundamentals right.
    As we saw with the Himalayan glacier episode in AR4, the IPCC reports are critically examined and direct errors are spotted and get much media coverage. There is therefore not much directly misleading information to find in the IPCC reports.
    That’s my humble opinion.
    /Jan

    • Correction:
      “There is therefore not much directly misleading information to find in the IPCC reports.”
      Should have been:
      “There are therefore not many factual errors to find in the IPCC reports.”
      (Hopefully there is not much directly misleading information either.)

    • However, I still think IPCC is the best place for this, at least they have the physics and the fundamentals right.
      ——————–
      “None are as blind as those who refuse to see”.

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