USGS projects large loss of Alaska permafrost by 2100



Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios. Permafrost declines are more likely in central Alaska than northern Alaska.

Northern latitude tundra and boreal forests are experiencing an accelerated warming trend that is greater than in other parts of the world. This warming trend degrades permafrost, defined as ground that stays below freezing for at least two consecutive years. Some of the adverse impacts of melting permafrost are changing pathways of ground and surface water, interruptions of regional transportation, and the release to the atmosphere of previously stored carbon.

“A warming climate is affecting the Arctic in the most complex ways,” said Virginia Burkett, USGS Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change. “Understanding the current distribution of permafrost and estimating where it is likely to disappear are key factors in predicting the future responses of northern ecosystems to climate change.”

In addition to developing maps of near-surface permafrost distributions, the researchers developed maps of maximum thaw depth, or active-layer depth, and provided uncertainty estimates. Future permafrost distribution probabilities, based on future climate scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were also estimated by the USGS scientists. Widely used IPCC climate scenarios anticipate varied levels of climate mitigation action by the global community.

These future projections of permafrost distribution, however, did not include other possible future disturbances in the future, such as wildland fires. In general, the results support concerns about permafrost carbon becoming available to decomposition and greenhouse gas emission.

The research has been published in Remote Sensing of Environment. The current near-surface permafrost map is available via ScienceBase.


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December 1, 2015 11:02 am

It’s the electronic version of straight edge forecasting.

Reply to  Resourceguy
December 1, 2015 11:47 am

under widely accepted climate scenarios.
Meanwhile in the real world….

Reply to  Latitude
December 1, 2015 12:01 pm

In the real world there are cycles of different length and magnitude and then there are irregular long cycles lacking enough turning points to model. Modelers are always looking for ways to step around the data shortcomings of these cycles without an honest admission of the data issues and implications.

Reply to  Latitude
December 1, 2015 1:30 pm


Reply to  Latitude
December 1, 2015 2:12 pm

I wonder how much weight the models give to the oceanic and solar influences we are close to seeing.

Reply to  Latitude
December 1, 2015 2:40 pm

“A warming climate is affecting the Arctic in the most complex ways,” said Virginia Burkett,

In fact it’s so complex that we’ll have to draw a straight line through our 20y of data and extrapolate it 80 years hence. Normally such outrageous extrapolation would be decried as irresponsible in any other science but , hey, this is climatology !!

Peter Miller
Reply to  Latitude
December 1, 2015 3:54 pm

This type of BS makes me so angry. As a geologist, I can tell you there are two types of geologists, those who work to try and tell you what is happening and those who work for government to tell you whatever its political agenda might be on that day.
Obama’s legacy demands a promise of imminent Thermageddon from the geological Establishment in government and he gets it, likewise the same applies for the GISS temperature statistics. Government ‘science’ has become so corrupted by political agendas that it has become worthless, crying “Unicorn, Unicorn!” continuously is only a convincing argument to the gullible and the serial greenies.

george e. smith
Reply to  Resourceguy
December 1, 2015 1:06 pm

Why is it that 2100 is when everything is going to happen; apparently all at once ??
I’d like to stick around till then just to watch; well so long as I can continue fishing in the meantime, so the time doesn’t count against me.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 1, 2015 2:01 pm

Doomsdayers just love to use the millenial years of the Christian calendar for their prophesies.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 1, 2015 3:13 pm

…they (the predictorates extraordinaire) get paid today, however; will be but a pile of dust in 2100. not likely will have to return their funding received for fraudulent work. We could make headstones for them today reflecting such. lol

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  george e. smith
December 1, 2015 3:19 pm

As if somehow our 10 based decimal system has any bearing on when doomsday will happen.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  george e. smith
December 1, 2015 3:48 pm

I hit the ‘Donate’ button at least once a year in the hopes that WUWT will still be hosted (on whatever they’ve got then) as a record of this shame.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 2, 2015 10:23 am

All those guys making those “predictions” will be long gone and therefore not accountable.
People like James Hanson were warning and making dire predictions about global warming this and climate that back in the 1980’s. None of these dire predictions has occurred and none of it appears to be in mankind’s near future. I recall that one scientist predicted that we would be experiencing winters without snow and NY winters would resemble Atlanta normal winter. Well since the year 2000, most of the northern parts of the US have experienced severe winters. Last year NOAA or NASA had a map of January showing areas that were 5 degrees below normal as depicted as “near normal”. Can you image that!
In 10 years this scam will be exposed for with it is. I just wish I could speed up the clock.

Steve R
December 1, 2015 11:05 am

Is loss of permafrost bad?

Reply to  Steve R
December 1, 2015 11:43 am

Actually, yes, it would be bad if it were happening. On the north slope permafrost is critical to many biological processes and modern technological efforts. If it melts under a pipeline resting on it, the line is suddenly resting in a marsh. That could lead some really ugly spills of the line were broken by movement of footings as they settle or sink.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 12:35 pm

If only there were time to adapt. Oh, wait…

Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 2:02 pm

Duster seems to me that resetting footings and rerouting pipelines would fall into the category of shovel ready jobs that the President is so fond of.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 3:00 pm

Sounds to me like the USGS, sad to say, has been infiltrated and captured by radical leftists warmistas just as other federal agencies have, e.g. National Park Service, NOAA, EPA, DOE, NAS, etc. and we are now seeing the results. This is especially sad to me as I used to work with USGS databases and they were national treasures.

Reply to  Leonard Lane
December 1, 2015 3:36 pm

It’s basic Mathematics. They are all funded by the GovMINT. If they don’t tow the line, carry the water of CAGW, they get defunded. Carry the water, spread the religion and money remains available for pay raises across the board.
Anyone with half a brain realizes that the greatest source of funding in the world is the U.S. Government with unlimited borrowing power. 18Trillion in debt and still growing. We have the best Global Warming Mythology money can buy.

Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 4:38 pm

I hope this is not too peripherally related, but when I visited the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities in Juneau in August 2011, I was not yet paying attention to Climate Science, but I remember fondly an entire week exchanging DOT-to-DOT ideas on monitoring vs. repair (on a $few budget), etc., and the discussions of permafrost, a really interesting problem for bridge maintenance way up north (I live way down south in Oregon, at 45 deg N, only half-way to the North Pole), never had a single hint of anything other than natural and cyclical variation. In fact, the regular, cyclical nature of ‘living’ permafrost is what makes coping with it in Alaska both possible to contemplate (the fact that it is natural gives us at least the hope of some practical understanding) and to accommodate (in the form of extreme-cold-adapted maintenance practices, plus plenty of innovations when permafrost cycles affect specific bridges particularly violently). The “permafrost” in question is obviously not particularly permanent, and its annual cycling causes a lot of problems to built infrastructure. But its annual disappearance in the places where it cycles was never a topic of independent concern.
My impression looking back is that the actual climate in the US’s largest state has been given the practical role as the natural substrate on which the highway system plays, and that the “game” is well understood. Alaska plays rough, but fairly, and puts huge demands on the human-side players, but through intelligent, highly practical work, ADOT keeps on doing what it has been perfecting for many decades.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Duster
December 2, 2015 1:53 am

I would have thought an good engineer would desing a footing/foundation for the pipeline on a once in 50/100 year melt of the permafrost, which clearly could happen! In the Uk we design for wind-loads in the once in 50/100year storm that could, & does, & has, happened, albeit with Human safety in mind!

Reply to  Duster
December 2, 2015 12:49 pm

Looks to a Brit that the ADOT has been adapting – doing a jolly tough job jolly well!

Reply to  Steve R
December 1, 2015 12:07 pm

No and yes. Yes, for the reason stated by Duster. And no, because the release of carbon is a natural and necessary process. There’s not enough information in this article. But one thing is absolutely certain – global warming is not a catastrophe and does not need more taxes to lower what’s already at 0.8% and self-correcting. Make it two things – CO2 is good for Earth and the environment and has its own automatic process of eliminating emissions through ITS OWN pathways. The fanatic claims again both climate change and CO2 are merely schemes to raise taxes and double the return on investment of the wealthy elite who are heavily invested in “green” energy. One has to be very rich to afford the apparatus and equipment to produce solar and wind energy. Their gain is that after their initial investment, the cost of the energy decreases because the rest of us are paying two and three times for natural energy – coal, gas and fossil energy – the natural energy required to run their alternative energy sources is greater than the output. No change in this Earth or environment will be from people. We’re just the ones paying the scam artists for their phony alternatives.

Reply to  marlene
December 1, 2015 4:40 pm

I sometimes see climate skeptics complaining that mainstream climate scientists attribute magical powers to CO2.
Cuts both ways:
“CO2 is good for Earth and the environment and has its own automatic process of eliminating emissions through ITS OWN pathways.”
Looks magical to me.

Reply to  marlene
December 1, 2015 4:59 pm

Multidecadal increase in North Atlantic coccolithophores and the potential role of rising CO2

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  marlene
December 1, 2015 5:09 pm

Ads the rate 9of release of CO2 from the oceans is proportional to the difference in partial pressure of CO2 in the ocean surface and the atmosphere (Henry’s law) then if more CO2 is put into the atmosphere by man, won’t less enter the atmosphere from the ocean?

Reply to  marlene
December 2, 2015 10:55 am

David, CO2 is good for plants. That’s been proven.
What’s magical about pointing that out?
That warmer weather is good for plants, animals and people has also been proven.
What’s magical about pointing that out?
Plants absorb CO2 when they grow.
What’s magical about pointing that out?

Reply to  Steve R
December 1, 2015 1:41 pm

iirc in some spots its 2000 feet deep near coast so the movement of it melting could be bad.
its a surface structure issue collapsing issue.

Richard G.
Reply to  Steve R
December 1, 2015 3:23 pm

The dead zone of the arctic would burst forth as a biotic zone. That pesky life is so opportunistic!!!

Reply to  Steve R
December 1, 2015 7:04 pm

Yes, besides the issues of pipeline, road and utility pole problems, a lot of methane is sequestered under the permafrost. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so it getting released is not a good thing.

Reply to  Chris
December 1, 2015 11:03 pm

perhaps we should shut down all the “wet” rice paddies.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Chris
December 2, 2015 5:13 am

Who told you it’s not a good thing? You parrot nonsense.

Reply to  Chris
December 2, 2015 10:57 am

Actual science has shown that microbes eat the released CO2 before it can reach the atmosphere.
Even if it does reach the atmosphere, methane is very quickly broken down.
Please go peddle your myths someplace else.

Reply to  Chris
December 2, 2015 12:55 pm

If methane is released, and helps with the ‘greenhouse effect’, and average temperatures rise [mostly in Arctic and temperate areas, and mostly at night], will that be wholly disadvantageous?
I can see it won’t be wholly advantageous, as certain pests, not frost-resistant, will manage to stagger through some slightly warmer winters, then will wreak slightly more damage in the subsequent spring/summer.
But ‘not a good thing’ – what are the undisputed pros and cons, and what are the disputed ones, please?
Auto – looking for knowledge.

December 1, 2015 11:06 am

Projections based on model outputs.
Guesses based upon fantasy.

Reply to  MarkW
December 1, 2015 12:38 pm

Therefore, surely, the sky is falling?

Reply to  Hazel
December 1, 2015 3:21 pm

We already know that. And now we know the ground is falling. With any luck it will be net neutral.

December 1, 2015 11:08 am

If the surface permafrost were to melt, then plants and shrubs would grow.
The plants and shrubs would then shade the ground, slowing if not eliminating the loss of any more permafrost.

Reply to  MarkW
December 1, 2015 12:21 pm

and absorbing CO2!

Reply to  MarkW
December 1, 2015 5:31 pm

You are spot on. There was an earlier WUWT post about permafrost thawing due to peat fires blackening the surface. I thought it might be interesting to see if I could find studies about the natural succession that occurs after fires in the arctic. It turned out there were a number of variables (including beavers) but sooner or later the progression worked it way through willow, alder, poplar, black spruce until a climax forest of mostly white spruce was achieved, even if it was dwarfed and scrubby. One interesting thing was that in the earlier stages the sun hit the forest floor and permafrost retreated, but in the later stages the evergreens so shaded the forest floor that the permafrost came back.
On other words, global temperatures didn’t matter as much as whether it was locally shady or not.

Reply to  Caleb
December 1, 2015 6:32 pm

Yeah, ground cover is important. I used to do a lot of utilities work in mid to northern Canada. I was continually surprised at how far south we would run into permafrost in shaded areas and areas with lots of moss build up. Dig under a foot of moss, and there would be ice lenses everywhere.
Look how far south discontinuous permafrost goes in Canada – 50N. In Asia it goes even farther south.
(See figure 2 in the article referenced below.)
This is a good article with soil temperature profiles for anyone interested:

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
December 1, 2015 6:37 pm

Figure 2 is an eye-opening map. Thanks.

Reply to  Caleb
December 1, 2015 6:44 pm

Just for interest from the report I mentioned, I don’t think there is much to worry about:
“Permafrost temperatures measured across northern North America have almost all increased over the past two to three decades. The magnitude of the change varies, being less in warmer permafrost (>−2°C) than in colder permafrost. Based on these trends, it will take decades to centuries for colder permafrost to reach the thawing point while warmer permafrost is already undergoing internal thaw at temperatures below 0°C.” (my bold)

December 1, 2015 11:11 am

I wonder what the “masked areas” are?

Reply to  Paul Drahn
December 1, 2015 11:26 am

Looks like the masked areas are mountainous areas and ice fields which could be colored blue ie. permafrost areas.

Owen in GA
December 1, 2015 11:15 am

I am surprised they didn’t shout “Beware! the Methane Bomb”. The problem I have with that is some 800 years ago, most of that permafrost thawed, so any methane would be just that formed from the plant decay over that 800 years. (note: warmer in medieval warm period, Roman warm period, Minoan Warm period…etc.) There really shouldn’t be that much methane in that surface permafrost.
Also, wouldn’t that open up interior land in Alaska to agriculture? (At least for fast growing crops.)

Reply to  Owen in GA
December 1, 2015 11:30 am

Recent studies have shown that very little methane is produced when the permafrost melts. Bacteria eat up the organics before methane can be formed.

December 1, 2015 11:16 am

More fantasy-land model forecasts. You’ve seen how accurate government models have been so far.

Phillip Bratby
December 1, 2015 11:19 am

“widely accepted climate scenarios”. Widely accepted by whom?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
December 1, 2015 11:46 am

I always read that as ‘wildly accepted’, so take from that what you will.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
December 1, 2015 11:46 am

By those who widely accept them of course, but you’re right. Who ARE “they?”

Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 11:54 am

“They” are “THE AUTHORITIES”, of course.

george e. smith
Reply to  Duster
December 1, 2015 12:49 pm

Well they are of course 97% of all scientists.
What’s not to like about permafrost or its loss. I have driven on a concrete Alaskan freeway (1967) that you couldn’t drive more than 25 mph on, because of permafrost buckling of the roadway.
Well you could go faster that 25, but not ON the freeway; in the air for most of the time.

Richard Keen
December 1, 2015 11:19 am

Good riddance to it. Getting rid of permafrost is like getting rid of desert, both of which should occur in a warmer world (with more humidity, more active tropical rain belt, etc.).
But methinks none of the above will happen.

December 1, 2015 11:24 am

What is a “widely-accepted climate scenario,” anyway? Has there ever been such a thing?

Reply to  DickF
December 1, 2015 11:53 am

It’s like teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages. Faith based belief buoyed with fear of gong to hell for eating meat on Fridays and guilt for feeding your impoverished family instead of feeding the collection basket on Sunday.
CAGW is Religious Doctrine as widely accepted climate scenarios.

Bruce Cobb
December 1, 2015 11:25 am

Of course they do. The warming goodness is already baked in. All they have to do is twiddle a dial here, twist a knob there, and voila! Climate change: so easy a caveman could do it (apologies to cavemen).

Mark Gilbert
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 1, 2015 12:30 pm

and Geico commercials LOL

Gerry, England
December 1, 2015 11:27 am

All very interesting if the ‘widely accepted climate scenarios’ weren’t the output from unvalidated and inaccurate models.

December 1, 2015 11:27 am

Perhaps WUWT could publish the temperature station data (both actual and “adjusted”) for Fairbanks and other stations in that area, if any.

Reply to  E.Martin
December 1, 2015 11:47 am

I think an even better idea would be to crowd source a new weather station for Barrow, located well away from any artificial sources of heat.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
December 1, 2015 6:17 pm

Yeah, I wanted to look at the existing station data for Barrow except they charge $150 to get access to the Barrow historical data. (I wanted to plot it up to compare to similar latitude stations in Canada but I didn’t want to pay the 150 bucks so I didn’t do it.) However, being on the ocean, the marine temperatures are likely the controlling factors for Barrow like other stations along coastal areas.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
December 3, 2015 6:00 am

Maritime or not, there’s no way that the ocean is causing the ~5 degree mean temperature increase over the last few years. They’re right off an ocean that typically experiences an annual freeze and thaw cycle – there’s no way that ocean’s mean temperature has deviated more than a fraction of a degree from its previous nominal value, or you’d not see ice at all in winter.

December 1, 2015 11:28 am

After thousands of years of permafrost “loss,” suddenly this is a crisis?

December 1, 2015 11:30 am

2 degrees of increase = more abundant and cheaper crops to feed the world’s poor, less Humans dying from cold due to lack of electricity for heating AND less Humans dying from burning cow shit to cook food ! How do these people wake up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror ?? Do they really have no shame ?? pathetic….And that is only IF there is warming….

Reply to  Marcus
December 1, 2015 11:43 am

Yes, Marcus. But the mosquitoes…

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
December 1, 2015 11:50 am

. . .I , personally, have never taken the time to eat ” Chocolate covered mosquito’s “, BUT I am told they are a much needed delicacy in Africa where people are actually starving because there is a Chocolate shortage due to lack of energy !!!!

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
December 1, 2015 11:53 am

And yes , I believe you are ” TheLastDemocrat “..JFK was my hero at one time !!!

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
December 1, 2015 12:13 pm

You mean the mosquitoes that self aggrandizing liberals hold telethons to combat with nets while 10’s of thousands die because they outlawed DDT? The exact same kind of pseudo-science that drives the Global Warming Catastrophe and ignores real science and real solutions to real problems in place of the make believe kind? Just want to make sure we are talking about the same mosquitoes TLD..

george e. smith
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
December 1, 2015 2:01 pm

Well mosquitos have been eating humans for thousands of years. Now it’s time for us to eat them.
And you don’t need the chocolate. just deep fry them.
Taste just like chicken.
Africa is also good for carmellized locusts. Delicious.

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
December 1, 2015 5:12 pm

Hey George, come on, I’m trying to eat dinner here ….

December 1, 2015 11:32 am

If frost need only be 2 years old to be called permafrost then how old is the permafrost that is projected to be lost?

Reply to  Jimmyy
December 1, 2015 11:46 am

Jimmyyy , totally irrelevant question ~ They are talking about Liberal permafrost, which requires daily doses of ” reinforcement ” from their masters !! Unlike Conservative Permafrost , which allows themselves to admit that Mother Nature is the boss !! Sad, sad story….snarc…..

Reply to  Jimmyy
December 1, 2015 2:29 pm

You got me, how old was the perma-drought that used to be in Texas?

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
December 1, 2015 2:41 pm

Wait! wrong buzzword…

December 1, 2015 11:34 am

And since this will be caused by the 520,000 Megawatts of new COAL plants in India and the 560,000 Megawatts of new COAL plants in China adding all of that CO2 to the atmosphere how much will they pay the USA for the problems they caused?

December 1, 2015 11:44 am

Maybe life in Alaska would be a little more comfortable if that were to happen. Has anybody asked them whether they would mind.

Reply to  Vincent
December 1, 2015 2:59 pm

If they wanted to be more comfortable they could move. They like it that way. That’s why they are there!

Stephen Richards
December 1, 2015 11:45 am

What should happen with all these predictions/projections is that the pensions of everyone involved be halved until their prediction timescale has passed. If they are correct +-10% gie them their full pension. if they are wrong give them no pension.
Having trouble with my language tonight. I must be tired

December 1, 2015 11:46 am

What happens when your models only include ruler-based projections without the subsequent negative feedbacks (like the formation of bogs over once frozen areas with all the plant life and carbon sequestration that goes along with them)? Behold, the USGS has those answers.

December 1, 2015 11:46 am

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

Proud Skeptic
December 1, 2015 11:54 am

1. It’s just a prediction and, as usual, one at a safe distance so nobody will ever know if they were right (or even remember this).
2. There is no permafrost in the Amazon rain forest and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Why should I get worked up?
Translation…we think that in the future everything isn’t going to be the same as it is now! Run! Run! Hair on fire!

December 1, 2015 11:57 am

I read somewhere that Alaska had around 5x the usual amount of wild fires/ forest fires this year. I wonder how much melted permafrost and how much more arctic sea ice melt there has been due to fire and black carbon from the fires. I haven’t seen anything about it, besides the usual arctic doomsday articles.

bruce ryan
December 1, 2015 12:00 pm

I wonder if the permafrost melted, would that allow the water to seep into the ground instead of pooling?

Russell Johnson
December 1, 2015 12:04 pm

I do not accept the so called “widely-accepted climate scenario,” known as Alaskan permafrost “loss.” If this prediction doesn’t come true, someone will have to be stoned. Based on this prediction, most in the USGS are “stoned” already.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Russell Johnson
December 1, 2015 12:44 pm

Especially the interns, or “terns”, the motto being “no tern shall be left unstoned”.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 2, 2015 11:01 am

“no tern shall be left unstoned”
The Audubon society might object.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 4, 2015 7:56 am

The Audobon Society might object, but NORML strongly endorses this position.

Robert Ballard
December 1, 2015 12:05 pm

I’ll hazard a guess that “widely accepted” means that RCP 8.5 was used to prime the scaremongering as that would produce the most buzz during COP21.

December 1, 2015 12:11 pm

“Remote Sensing of the Enviroment” reminds me of an otherwise highly intelligent friend who bought into remote sensing of events to make stock picks. Result -200k.

December 1, 2015 12:13 pm

Permafrost melting… and refreezing, is a natural process that has gone on in the Arctic for millennia. One might call it normal climate variation.
Increased organic litter causes more insulation, causes rise in permafrost, causes the drunken forest, causes permafrost to melt, causes bogs, causes increased plant growth, causes increased organic litter, causes more insulation, causes permafrost rise. It’s part of the dynamic equilibrium of the boreal forest.

Richard deSousa
December 1, 2015 12:14 pm

The knuckle heads @ the USGS don’t even know what the climate will be by 2100!!

December 1, 2015 12:20 pm

“A warming climate is affecting the Arctic in the most complex ways,” said Virginia Burkett, USGS Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change. “Understanding the current distribution of permafrost and estimating where it is likely to disappear are key factors in predicting the future responses of northern ecosystems to climate change.”
I read that paragraph 5 times. You could pick up any written page, randomly select any paragraph, and read it backwards and it would make as much sense as this gibberish spoken by Virginia Burkett and quoted in the above article.
This is unadulterated Globalwarmese it is structured and sounds like English but it makes no sense.

Reply to  powersbe
December 1, 2015 3:01 pm

I just get a kick out her “trendy” title. Our taxes at work.

December 1, 2015 12:40 pm

What caused the delay such that Obama had wrapped up his Climat Paris 2015 comments before this was available?

December 1, 2015 12:40 pm

I predict between 6 and 20 civil and regional wars by 2100.

December 1, 2015 12:46 pm

“USGS projects large loss of Alaska permafrost by 2100”
They are being ridiculously optimistic. It would be fantastic if the flat-ish parts of Alaska lost their permafrost so we could plant a few million more acres of wheat. Wheat that gets 18+ hrs a day of sunlight no less!
But it’s a pipe-dream. The best you’ll ever be able to hope for up there is a small garden that you have to work the crap out of to unfreeze every Spring.

Sun Spot
December 1, 2015 1:03 pm

How much modeled permafrost loss
Would modeled permafrost loss cost
If modeled permafrost loss costs
Caused lost costs

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Sun Spot
December 1, 2015 3:40 pm

hard to say !

Reply to  Sun Spot
December 1, 2015 5:19 pm

OOH, I think I broke my tongue !!!!

December 1, 2015 1:04 pm

Once again let’s us congratulate climate ‘science’ for its ability to learn some lessons. In this case the lesson that by making your predicted for 85 years ahead. You will never be in a position where you can be asked why you got it so very, very wrong. You therefore can get away with virtual anything, with no scientific skill nor honesty required.

average joe
December 1, 2015 1:25 pm

“Projection” is a weasel word used by weasels to imply prediction but leaving them an out if it doesn’t happen. There is a place for this word in science, but climate science frequently abuses it. They imply their projections are predictions when they use them for policy guidance, they are quite happy letting politicians mistakenly use them as predictions. If the projections later don’t pan out, THEN they remind everyone that they were not predictions but only projections. Downright shameful.

Reply to  average joe
December 2, 2015 12:18 am

average joe:
A failed climate projection is a failed climate prediction.
You rightly say this is often misrepresented when you write

“Projection” is a weasel word used by weasels to imply prediction but leaving them an out if it doesn’t happen. There is a place for this word in science, but climate science frequently abuses it. They imply their projections are predictions when they use them for policy guidance, they are quite happy letting politicians mistakenly use them as predictions. If the projections later don’t pan out, THEN they remind everyone that they were not predictions but only projections. Downright shameful.

Yes, there are people who behave like that and even worse are the members of the warmunist fifth column who pretend that climate modellers don’t make predictions. In all such cases, refer them to the IPCC AR5 Glossary which provides these definitions of climate ‘prediction’ and ‘projection’ .

Climate prediction
A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce (starting from a particular state of the climate system) an estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, for example, at seasonal, interannual or decadal time scales. Because the future evolution of the climate system may be highly sensitive to initial conditions, such predictions are usually probabilistic in nature. See also Climate projection, Climate scenario, Model initialization and Predictability.
Climate projection
A climate projection is the simulated response of the climate system to a scenario of future emission or concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols, generally derived using climate models. Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions by their dependence on the emission/concentration/radiative forcing scenario used, which is in turn based on assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may not be realized. See also Climate scenario.

n.b. “Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions by their dependence on the emission/concentration/radiative forcing scenario used, which is in turn based on assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may not be realized”.
A “climate projection” is a “climate prediction” that is “probabilistic in nature”. In principle, this is the same as predicting that about half of future coin tosses will fall ‘heads’. A failed climate projection is a failed climate prediction.

December 1, 2015 1:39 pm

The USGS press release is here, containing some useful links:
The paper is here (gated):
Here is the money sentence from the press release (emphasis added): “Future permafrost distribution probabilities, based on future climate scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were also estimated by the USGS scientists.” They don’t say which scenarios. I’ll bet that the horrific headline results resulted from RCP8.5 — a 21st century of slow tech growth, rapid population growth, and the 2nd half powered (like the 19thC) by coal.
Details about RCP8.5 here:

December 1, 2015 1:44 pm

This article is a useless read. Very vague and projected well into the future. Even if it occurred I would have to ask “so what?” I live in Fairbanks and a 24% reduction in near surface permafrost would have zero detrimental impact and in fact would improve maintenance costs on those very small sections of highway that cross near surface permafrost areas. I swear all you southerners seem to think we can’t dig a foot down in the ground without hitting solid ice.

Reply to  JD
December 1, 2015 1:54 pm

It does count in the quota system for all agencies to contribute to the climate alarm mission.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Resourceguy
December 1, 2015 3:16 pm

Meet their quota and draw their big fat salaries which average twice for comparable education, training, etc in the private sector.
These added costs for government workers are significant. Are they justified costs or loss costs, or is it time to take a meat axe to big government.

James at 48
December 1, 2015 2:12 pm

How come no one ever sticks their neck and and writes in plain English “permafrost throughout region A has declined by X% since 1880?”

December 1, 2015 2:23 pm

>>Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected…<<
You may quit reading at this statement, because the rest will just be bull sh-T. When are people going to start refusing to accept this kind of thing as "science?"

Reply to  jbird
December 2, 2015 12:59 am

straight after funding for such ‘science’ stops

Password protected
December 1, 2015 2:28 pm

Ice age maps show most of Alaska was ice free during the last glaciation.
What that looked like at the beginning of the glaciation is anybody’s guess.

December 1, 2015 2:34 pm

If the map had been drawn from satellite data, there’d be no worries. Since they use “other sources”, i.e. Invalidated, IPCC computer model output, then they can create all the scare stories they want.

December 1, 2015 2:41 pm

How did that organic carbon, carbon that will be released if the ground thaws, get there in the first place?
During an interglacial of course. Maybe during the HTO ~8 Ka to 6 Ka.
But since none of us will be here in 2100 to call them out, such a distant forecast is “safe”.

December 1, 2015 2:49 pm

Wonder where all that peat, methane, and plant material came from?,

John Robertson
December 1, 2015 3:29 pm

“Northern latitude tundra and boreal forests are experiencing an accelerated warming trend that is greater than in other parts of the world”
As a northern resident I am always intrigued by this claim.
How is it measured?
Is it measured?
And is it reasonable.?
My inquiries into the unmanned remote weather stations installed by Environment Canada turned up a couple of bizarre notes, these power dependent(airport) stations were not calibrated to measure below -40 Celcius, hence any such cold readings plateau, they reported heat haze as light rain and have all been replaced under a contract to Navv Canada with a new and apparently improved modules, for which I failed to find the sensor data.
I fully expect Yellowknife Northwest Territories to show a quite pronounced warming as of last year, in their infinite wisdom the airport authority has moved the weather station into the wind envelope of the new terminal building and surrounded it with black dirt .Right across from the parking lot.
Now we are enjoying a mild start to our winter, that blob is my friend, as long as the jet stream jogs south, we are blessed with milder cold spells and milder fuel bills.
But when the next cold front oozes down from the pole, then we will see how much the Arctic has warmed.
I expect when we get a solid week of -50C temperatures these will find many of our citizens unprepared, especially those dependent on propane.

December 1, 2015 3:49 pm

Reminds me of a story I heard on NPR a month ago. “Rising Temperatures Kick-Start Subarctic Farming In Alaska”, about Meyer’s Farm in Bethel. One is left with the impression that the permafrost is melting all over Alaska to the extent that farming is now possible. Wow! A real miracle. As a former Alaskan c. 1957 – 1980 I smelled a rat and did a little research online. I found this in Modern Farmer: “Permafrost Farming: It’s Possible!” which gives the true story. Yes, they are farming out there, but it takes two years to thaw the permafrost small sections at a time. NPR…News Probably (not) Right.

December 1, 2015 3:50 pm

Why would thawed permafrost be a bad thing? And it’s not as if “not frozen ALL the time” means the same as “not frozen MOST of the time.” Prediction: a substantial proportion of the carbon released by (partly) thawed permafrost will be taken up by living creatures. Attitude: more living creatures is not a bad thing.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 4:18 pm

There is a shovel ready job if ever I saw one. Or should I say pick ready. This ghost town needs to go.
Moral of the story don’t build on permafrost.
Tried to ask ALGORE, why you building that Multi-million dollar beach home so close to that rising ocean?

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 6:00 pm

Nice try 1oldliar.
I have family in Dawson City.comment image
Figure 3. This damaged building in Dawson City, Canada, shows what can happen when the warm interior of a building causes the permafrost underneath to thaw.
—Credit: Andrew Slater

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 7:46 pm

old liar answers the question “why would?” with “when the stuff”.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 8:10 pm

Actually, I’m showing what a liar you are with your bogus “reference”.

Reply to  clipe
December 1, 2015 8:30 pm

After reading all his comments that contradict what President Reagan would agree with, it’s easy to see that this guy is faking it by using Reagan’s name. If he’s used Trotsky it would be believable. But Reagan? Nope. That’s what a chameleon does.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 8:20 pm

You certainly didn’t tell the truth when you asserted that over the past 18 years, CO2 does not follow temperature.
I posted 2 charts, showing empirical observations. I’ve posted those charts several times before, so you could hardly have missed them. The one showing 18 years flatly contradicts your false assertion.
I would say it’s time for you to start apologizing to folks here, but in my experience, prevaricators never do. Especially old ones.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 8:43 pm

Keep cherry-pickin’, it does you no good.
What is it about “CO2 follows temperature” that’s so hard for you to understand?
Here’s another chart showing that temperature leads CO2:comment image
Here’s another one:
Ferdinand Engelbeen posted this chart showing that temperature leads CO2:
Here’s another paper, showing that T leads CO2:
More evidence that T leads CO2:comment image
And another peer reviewed paper stating that T leads CO2:
More proof, graphed:
More direct evidence that T leads CO2:
Yet another view: CO2 lags temperature:
And this has been thoroughly hashed out here:
Either 1oldy is completely deluded, or he’s just not honest. Which?

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 8:54 pm

I think you’re right. 1oldy reminds me of the deluded person who argued throughout a couple hundred comments here recently that H2O cannot exist as a single molecule in the air (!?!).
They both have the same weird quality: neither one of them can ever admit they’re wrong, no matter how many commenters point it out. The link I posted to the WUWT article makes it clear that 1oldy simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about (or worse: you’re right about him).

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 1, 2015 9:22 pm
Now, please explain to me what the “lie” was?
It is referred to as a “Lie of Omission”

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
December 2, 2015 12:12 am

on December 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm, wrote: “What was “omitted?””
The implied causation of increasing CO2 as a result of warming was omitted. As you note, CO2 has risen over the past 18+ years and temperature has not; this may well be due to the fact that anthropogenic production of CO2 isn’t driven by temperature, it’s driven by cars (that’s a joke BTW). It is independent of temperature.
There’s an assumption implicit in the AGW theory that CO2 leads temperature. For the past 18+ years we’ve seen CO2 rise with no concomitant rise in temperature, suggesting that CO2 increases of the order observed during that time has no measurable effect on temperature.
This can’t be used as evidence CO2 causes a temperature increase, or that a temperature increase doesn’t cause an increase in CO2. CO2 may increase independent of temperature due to the release of CO2 by human activity, such release having no measurable effect on temperature.
I hope that’s clear. I know it’s complicated, but it should be fairly obvious?

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 2, 2015 10:13 am

1oldndum says:
“Blah, blah, &etc…”
For example: “Doesn’t show the past years clearly.” <–repeated, as if that makes it true. But it doesn't.
To you, nothing is ‘clear’ when reality is involved. That's why you're so confused. I posted a list of empirical observations that thoroughly debunks what you claimed. So, who should we believe? You? Or Planet Earth? The answer is obvious: you are flat wrong, as always.
All your posts are simply baseless assertions. They are your opinions, but no one else’s. No one agrees with your kookie pseudo-science. All you ever post are assertions based on your scatterbrained view of reality. I posted a slew of real world observations, all proving that changes in CO2 directly result from changes in temperature. I posted peer reviewed papers stating the same thing. But all you can do is make baseless assertions, based on nitpicking that no one else does, or has any need to do. You reject reality, not because it’s wrong, but because you are wrong. If you admitted that all those real world observations are based on empirical evidence, you would have no choice but to fold. Your ideas are bankrupt.
I challenged you to produce similar charts showing the opposite: that ∆CO2 is the cause of ∆temperature. As usual, you failed.
You are no different from the guy here who posted numerous arguments recently, insisting that there is not a single H2O molecule anywhere in the atmosphere. He posted hundreds of comments, and his arguments were *exactly* the same as yours: baseless assertions that gave his opinion, just like you’re doing. And if you will notice, no one agrees with you, either. Other readers have pointed out that you’re getting “pummeled” here, and others have commented that your arguments are pure carp. You’re a loser who argues with everyone. Spot the consensus.
People can post their opinions here, even when those opinions are baseless assertions like yours are. But your irrational arguments are getting thoroughly destroyed. You’re claiming that the ‘dangerous AGW’ scare isn’t called “dangerous” by your ilk. And you are getting demolished here by real world, empirical observations. But your only response is a series of persona opinions. So you lose those arguments, because all you’ve got is lame assertions. But they’re trumped by reality.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have got nothing on you. You are blindly fixated on your “dangerous man-made global warming” belief, and like any deceptive chameleon/fellow traveler you pretend that you’re an admirer of Reagan. But you’re fooling no one here, which is what a fool tries to do. Trot on back to Hotwhopper where you belong. Really, they’re your birds of a feather there. Here, we discuss science-based reality; something you don’t understand.
To repeat my challenges to you (which you always ignore): post the names of just one-tenth of one percent of scientists and engineers who contradicted the OISM petition (co-signed by more than 31,000 professionals with degrees in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s). A tenth of a percent should be easy-peasy… if you’re right. But I suspect that rather than finding a couple dozen names who say the petition is wrong, you will just post more baseless assertions.
Next, I challenged you to post charts showing that changes in temperature are caused by changes in CO2. That’s the central alarmist argument: that a rise in CO2 will trigger runaway global warming. So, show us.
But so far, you haven’t been able to meet either challenge. Your failure to step up to the plate proves that you’ve got nothin’ but your alarmist propaganda. That doesn’t work here. We know when someone is trying to wing it when they don’t have the necessary knowledge or education. You’re just a chihuahua trying to run with the big dogs here.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 2, 2015 5:11 pm

1oldliar asks: Now, please explain to me what the “lie” was?
Per your “reference”

Drunken houses: buildings slump together as the permafrost beneath them thaws in Yukon, Canada. Photo: Bryan and Cherry Alexander Photography
4 Permafrost
The permafrost (frozen soil) that covers much of the Arctic contains large amounts of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. As Arctic soils and waters grow warmer these gases are being released. If the permafrost were to thaw completely it would release twice the amount of greenhouse gases that humanity has already released into

Pretending you weren’t making a connection between “drunken houses” and “greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane” is lying.

December 1, 2015 4:21 pm

Have any of you posters read, or watched the building of
the Alaskan highway back in the 40’s?? Bulldozers had
a problem sinking into “melting permafrost”;over 70 years
ago, melting permafrost was a problem. Some people seem
to think the world began the day THEY were born, and
anything that happens now is ,” unprecedented”. They ignore

Reply to  richard
December 1, 2015 4:43 pm

in philosophy the call it the egocentric predicament.
I was discussing Marxism with a college student 2 years ago who seem to think that it was only just discovered as an ideology since he began learning about it in school. He suggested that an old man like me, who went to college in the 70″s couldn’t possibly know anything about it. Of course, they are teaching it today as a good thing that could save humanity if only we would acquiesce to the principles.

December 1, 2015 4:22 pm

Heck with permafrost…we need Greenland to thaw out and Antarctica to thaw out and Siberia to thaw out with lots of links to play! Gee, the tropics expand…oh no!!!

December 1, 2015 4:37 pm

More taurine digestive residue for USGS.
Here are some of the grain growing boondoggles of past years:

Robert of Ottawa
December 1, 2015 4:57 pm

Using statistically modeled
under widely accepted climate scenarios

It’s worse than we thought when we projected our projections

Robert of Ottawa
December 1, 2015 4:58 pm

As President Obomber said today ” the seas will erode the coasts”. When I heard that I thought “well, duh. It’s called erosion for a reason”.

December 1, 2015 5:30 pm

…. Our new models are the best models available ! They are based on the old models that never worked using even older models that couldn’t even predict the temperature of tomorrow ! Progress !

Ken L
December 1, 2015 6:07 pm

If they killed most of the the funding for all this “go along to get along” BS research and put that money into efforts to perfect practical and economically feasible new energy, we could solve any possible CO2 issues, and, more importantly, conserve our carbon resources as chemical building blocks for the products of tomorrow.

Gary H
December 1, 2015 7:11 pm

We understand quite well that at several junctures during the past couple thousand years, that much of Alaska was either warmer than at present, or as warm and remained so for hundreds of years. Witness is the relatively young tree stumps being found under currently receding glaciers, like the Exit and Mendenhall glaciers.
Is there not a good understanding of how the permafrost has responded during the past 2,000 years or so?

December 2, 2015 12:17 am

I’d say that if these new USGS models are any good they should be able to accurately predict the permafrost state five years from now. If they’re successful, we should consider funding a 30 year study. If that works, we should consider taking them seriously.

Patrick MJD
December 2, 2015 4:24 am

From the article
“…statistical modelled maps…”
Right! I think I will focus on finishing assembling my friends daughters trampoline instead.

December 2, 2015 7:14 am

So us tax paper funded scientists publish something and we get to pay $37 to read the darned paper?

December 2, 2015 8:00 am

If you read the words of the scientists in their entirety, you begin to realize it is the media who causes the technical writing to bleed like a stuck squealing pig.

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