Finding: Arctic clouds highly sensitive to air pollution

From the UNIVERSITY OF UTAH and the “other factors besides CO2” department.

In 1870, explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, trekking across the barren and remote ice cap of Greenland, saw something most people wouldn’t expect in such an empty, inhospitable landscape: haze.

Nordenskiöld’s record of the haze was among the first evidence that air pollution around the northern hemisphere can travel toward the pole and degrade air quality in the Arctic. Now, a study from University of Utah atmospheric scientist Tim Garrett and colleagues finds that the air in the Arctic is extraordinarily sensitive to air pollution, and that particulate matter may spur Arctic cloud formation. These clouds, Garrett writes, can act as a blanket, further warming an already-changing Arctic.

“The Arctic climate is delicate, just as the ecosystems present there,” Garrett says. “The clouds are right at the edge of their existence and they have a big impact on local climate. It looks like clouds there are especially sensitive to air pollution.”

The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Pollution heading north

Garrett says that early Arctic explorers’ notes show that air pollution has been traveling northward for nearly 150 years or more. “This pollution would naturally get blown northward because that’s the dominant circulation pattern to move from lower latitudes toward the poles,” he says. Once in the Arctic, the pollution becomes trapped under a temperature inversion, much like the inversions that Salt Lake City experiences every winter. In an inversion, a cap of warm air sits over a pool of cold air, preventing the accumulated bad air from escaping.

Others have studied which regions contribute to Arctic pollution. Northeast Asia is a significant contributor. So are sources in the far north of Europe. “They have far more direct access to the Arctic,” Garrett says. “Pollution sources there don’t get diluted throughout the atmosphere.”

Scientists have been interested in the effects of pollution on Arctic clouds because of their potential warming effect. In other parts of the world, clouds can cool the surface because their white color reflects solar energy back out into space. “In the Arctic, the cooling effect isn’t as large because the sea-ice at the surface is already bright,” Garrett says. “Just as clouds reflect radiation efficiently, they also absorb radiation efficiently and re-emit that energy back to warm the surface.” Droplets of water can form around particulate matter in the air. More particles make for more droplets, which makes for a cloud that warms the surface more.

Seeing through the clouds

But quantifying the relationship between air pollution and clouds has been difficult. Scientists can only sample air pollution in clouds by flying through them, a method that can’t cover much ground or a long time period. Satellite images can detect aerosol pollution in the air – but not through clouds. “We’ll look at the clouds at one place and hope that the aerosols nearby are representative of the aerosols where the cloud is,” says Garrett. “They’re not going to be. The cloud is there because it’s in a different meteorological air mass than where the clear sky is.”

A rare case of forest fire smoke interacting with clouds in the Arctic in July 2012. Contour lines indicate carbon monoxide concentrations in the atmosphere. CREDIT MODIS/NASA

So Garrett and his colleagues, including U graduate Quentin Coopman, needed a different approach. Atmospheric models, it turns out, do a good job of tracking the movements of air pollution around the Earth. Using global inventories of pollution sources, they simulate air pollution plumes so that satellites can observe what happens when these modeled plumes interact with Arctic clouds. The model allowed the researchers to study air pollution and clouds at the same time and place and also take into account the meteorological conditions. They could be sure the effects they were seeing weren’t just natural meteorological variations in normal cloud-forming conditions.

Highly sensitive clouds

The research team found that clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to air pollution than clouds at other latitudes. They don’t know for sure why yet, but hypothesize it may have to do with the stillness of the Arctic air mass. Without the air turbulence seen at mid-latitudes, the Arctic air can be easily perturbed by airborne particulates.

One factor the clouds were not sensitive to, however, was smoke from forest fires. “It’s not that forest fires don’t have the potential,” Garrett says, “it’s just that the plumes from these fires didn’t end up in the same place as clouds.” Air pollution attributable to human activities outpaced the influence of forest fires on Arctic clouds by a factor of around 100:1.

This gives Garrett hope. Particulate matter is an airborne pollutant that can be controlled relatively easily, compared to pollutants like carbon dioxide. Controlling current particulate matter sources could ease pollution in the Arctic, decrease cloud cover, and slow down warming. All of those gains could be offset, other researchers have suggested, if the Arctic becomes a shipping route and sees industrialization and development. Emissions from those activities could have a disproportionate effect on Arctic clouds compared to emissions from other parts of the world, Garrett says.

“The Arctic is changing incredibly rapidly,” he says. “Much more rapidly than the rest of the world, which is changing rapidly enough.”

###

This release can be found here.

The full study can be found here. Quentin Coopman of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology was the first author. D. P. Finch and Jérôme Riedi were additional co-authors. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, a NERC studentship, the Pollution in the ARCtic System (PARCS) project and Universite de Lille.

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54 thoughts on “Finding: Arctic clouds highly sensitive to air pollution

  1. They almost had me until this:
    “Particulate matter is an airborne pollutant that can be controlled relatively easily, compared to pollutants like carbon dioxide.”

    • I defy any kind of pollution to have any effect on Arctic air in the winter. Condensation probably does not do much in the frigid winter air but it would serve to remove the particles from the air anyhow as snow and then we are back to the winter Arctic constant-night radiation of IR out to space. It’s pretty cold up there, even in the summer, and having the pollution up there is a temporary thing anyhow; it flows in, it flows out.

      Yawn, how is this any different from volcanic emissions. China is probably the main source and they are working to clean up their particulate emissions. Again, this is a temporary thing.

      “One factor the clouds were not sensitive to, however, was smoke from forest fires. “It’s not that forest fires don’t have the potential,” Garrett says, “it’s just that the plumes from these fires didn’t end up in the same place as clouds.” Air pollution attributable to human activities outpaced the influence of forest fires on Arctic clouds by a factor of around 100:1.”

      Wow, so Arctic air can tell the different between forest fire smoke and human emissions. It’s smarter than I thought. The 100 to 1 claim here is pure poppycock, there is no cogent science to even begin to estimate this factor. The new scientific method: just making stuff up as needed.

      • Read the full study. The article this post is based on appears to be an opinion piece which doesn’t do any justice to the actual study.

        Full Study conclusions excerpt
        “Regardless of the precise mechanisms, the implication of the measurements is that arctic climate may be particularly sensitive to any future changes in anthropogenic pollution concentrations. Determining the effect of aerosol-cloud interactions on surface temperatures is complicated by the unique physics of the region: increasing τ not only brightens clouds but can also lead to a higher longwave cloud emissivity (Garrett & Zhao, 2006); either a significant net warming or cooling occurs depending on τ, the season, and the coverage of sea ice (Zhao & Garrett, 2015). In the future, a combination of reductions in emissions of midlatitude pollutants and increased wet scavenging in a warmer climate is anticipated to reduce the arctic aerosol burden by 61.0% by the end of the century (Klimont et al., 2013). Based on the ACI values found here, this can be expected to correspond to an 18% decrease in τ but with a possible compensating increase due to increasing arctic maritime transportation and industrialization (Peters et al., 2011). A further consideration is that the dynamic response of cloud amount to aerosols is itself a function of aerosols and meteorological conditions (Chen et al., 2014; Garrett et al., 2009). The ultimate climate impact remains to be determined.”

      • Well I can’t count the number of times I have posted the explanation for Mr. Garret’s observation on WUWT threads; which is pretty much the same number of times that explanation has been erased.

        Water droplets cannot start to form at zero radius, because that requires an infinite internal pressure differential over ambient.

        So water requires a finite radius substrate to condense onto, and it will do that immediately at any location where the Temperature is at the dew point (100% relative humidity)

        So yes Mr Garrett. more particulates means more water droplets, and in the cold arctic the dew point can occur at lower altitudes.

        And stop claiming that cloud formation causes the Temperature underneath those clouds to go up.

        It was higher temperatures at surface level that created all the water vapor to form those clouds later when that warm air rises to a colder altitude.

        Telling us that dust causes cloud formation is almost as informative as telling us that s-e-x causes children.

        G

        Hopefully this will post and perhaps last long enough for even just one open mind to learn from it.

      • George e. Smith,
        One of many fascinating statements in the full Study, aerosols change in the atmosphere over time, increase in size making them easier to be leached by water vapor

      • George Smith: You could also note that about 80% of cloud condensation nuclei are believed to be of natural origin. And once condensation has started, smaller droplets evaporate and condense onto thermodynamically more stable large droplets. The aerosol indirect effect is certainly real, but also certainly transient.

      • “just making stuff up as needed.”

        At some risk of swimming against the current; in what way is any of your comment based on actual research or experience with the arctic? I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Arctic and much of it is essentially a desert with very little precipitation to remove particulates. There’s also very little convection since the surface can be *colder* than the air above it which is opposite the usual situation at low and mid latitudes.

        So I am willing to take the research at face value; recognizing that some of it is a conclusion and some of it is observation and some of it is modeled.

        There’s a bit more to it. Air at the equator rises, moving then north and south in Hadley Cells, coming down to earth around 30 degrees north and south. This air is very dry where it comes down and forms the great deserts of the world. Conversely, the next rising bands are around 50 to 60 degrees latitude and tend to have a lot of precipitation if the trade winds push this rising air against a mountain; the US Pacific Northwest and British Columbia experience it. Not much pollution gets north of this natural atmospheric barrier.

        But such polition as is created north of 50 degrees will flow to the polar low which is likely to concentrate whatever pollution there is at these latitudes. Not a lot, but more than none.

        Because clouds radiate in both directions, I suspect that polar clouds probably cool the atmosphere, overall, through upward radiation more effectively than surface water and ice whose radiation does not get very far in denser atmosphere. But at the surface there’s hardly any question that a cloud cover makes the surface considerably less freezing. At night in a semi-arid location at relatively high altitude you can see this phenomenon with an infrared remote reading thermometer. The night sky will read as low as the device can go; -60 F in my instrument, but under a cloud it is +21 F. Still freezing but there’s a big difference not only in measurement but in perception.

      • Michael,

        “Because clouds radiate in both directions, I suspect that polar clouds probably cool the atmosphere, overall, through upward radiation more effectively than surface water and ice whose radiation does not get very far in denser atmosphere.”

        “The night sky will read as low as the device can go; -60 F in my instrument, but under a cloud it is +21 F. Still freezing but there’s a big difference not only in measurement but in perception.”

        Those two things seem almost contradictory to me, in that whatever is below the clouds would be faced with a warmer up, so to speak ; ) and would tend to lose heat less quickly I would think . . slightly warming the clouds perhaps, but I’m not seeing how this would make the atmosphere, overall cooler?

        • JohnKnight asks “Those two things seem almost contradictory to me, in that whatever is below the clouds would be faced with a warmer up, so to speak ; ) and would tend to lose heat less quickly I would think . . slightly warming the clouds perhaps, but I’m not seeing how this would make the atmosphere, overall cooler?”

          The short version is that the *net* effect of clouds is somewhat unpredictable and depends largely on where they are. In the arctic they don’t get much sunlight to reflect especially in winter (get zero sunlight). But they still emit energy into space quite effectively and, depending on their altitude, also faces less resistance from global warming gases, notably water vapor which is almost nonexistent at that temperature. Sure, there’s clouds, but the absolute volume of water is much less.

          The longer version is that all surfaces radiate energy (and convect, where possible). Convection doesn’t do much at arctic temperatures especiallly surfaces exposed to the sky which can be colder than ambient; this is why I have frost on my automobile windows in the morning.

          If you take a parabolic reflector and point it at the night sky, an item placed at the focal point will get very cold, much colder than ambient air temperature. This is the mechanism of a remote reading thermometer. What happens is the sensor element in the thermometer is radiating same as everything else. But everything else “sees” the radiation of the environment, it’s everywhere! So a parabolic reflector can see in only one direction, and does not see the environment. The reflector is of course also radiating, but a polished reflector has an emissivity of 0.1 or so, compared to water which is a nearly perfect emitter.

          So if a cloud comes over, the cloud is sending down some energy, not a lot, but certainly more than the night sky which is sending down essentially nothing in the band measured by the infrared thermometer. Now, if it was tuned to the carbon dioxide freqency then it would see some environmental energy from the CO2, but not a lot because it is dwarfed by water vapor’s ability to absorb and radiate infrared.

          A cloud is condensed water. When the vapor condenses to liquid water it gives up a LOT of heat, a phenomenon known as heat of enthalpy. “the molecules in liquid water are held together by relatively strong hydrogen bonds, and its enthalpy of vaporization, 40.65 kJ/mol, is more than five times the energy required to heat the same quantity of water from 0 °C to 100 °C”

          So that enormous amount of energy that produced the vapor in the first place, down in a lower latitude lets say, is now released into the atmosphere at the location and moment of cloud formation. Hence, clouds will be warmer than either above or below, and they radiate in all directions with water’s emissivity of nearly 1.

          Since the radiation upward is of heat removed from vapor, the net effect of clouds in the arctic is to cool the atmosphere elsewhere. it is a transport mechanism; heat moves to the poles and is radiated. It is radiated everywhere there’s clouds but the net effect in the arctic is to send out more energy than comes in. So, clouds cool the atmosphere BUT warm the surface relative to not having clouds at all. In fact, if the surface was -50 C and a cloud comes along that because of the heat of fusion warms up above -50, then in fact the cloud transmits some energy down and the surface may well warm up to -30 C. Not that such a thing is warm but at least your spit won’t freeze before it hits the ground.

          Deep underground is very hot, and this heat slowly leaks to the surface; so anything that insulates the surface will gradually get warmer. This is why the “ice road truckers” drive on ice roads that have been plowed free of snow so that the ice can see the night sky as otherwise the snow insulates the ice and it doesn’t freeze nearly as hard.

          Freezing water is also an enthalpy point; it takes a lot of energy out of water to form ice; so if the ice is under snow there’s no place for that heat to go and the ice doesn’t form.

    • Why did they lose you there? Outside of the fact that particulates can be natural, for artificial ones, they are far easier to scrub than CO2 is…

    • The statement is true. The keyword in the statement is “relatively”. There are already particulate controls in place at many sources and new technologies are being added to the sources that have been difficult to deal with, in the past (diesel engines for rail and road transport).

      Reducing the amount of particulates is a matter of improving what is already in place. Controlling CO2 emissions requires carbon capture technologies, which are not yet deployable.

  2. “The Arctic is changing incredibly rapidly,” he says. “Much more rapidly than the rest of the world, which is changing rapidly enough.” Gaining ice as the Holocene languishes, probably isn’t their meaning. Albedo of clouds/sea ice in the Arctic is negligible WRT sunlight due to the oblique angle of incidence. More clouds might retain more ocean heat, but that has to be less warming than the displacement of cold due to the Polar Express (now dubbed ‘Vortex’).

    • “Is it called “pollution” if it came from a volcano?”

      It’s only called pollution if you can place a tax on it, else it’s Nature.

  3. So, they’ve found that most of the tiny amount of warming seen in the Arctic is due to something other than CO2.
    Can we stop worrying about CO2 then?

  4. No mention of naturally occurring fires and “pollution” by inference laid at the door of humans.

    I’m not saying that the provenance of particulates up there isn’t predominantly from human activity – but I do see the absolute presumption that the entirety of PM up there is down to humans – and that is where my cynicism kicks in….

  5. There have always been natural particulate hazes over the poles. Most is from dust picked up by winds and the by products of organic life other than humans.
    There is no evidence as to what portion is attributable specifically to human activity

  6. “In 1870, ….. inhospitable landscape: haze.”

    between 1868-1870 over 1 million acres burned in north America

  7. Referring to the last article. Throughout the “little ice-age” and to the 1970s we saw growing industrial pollution – and a lower temperature.

    But in the 1970s governments worldwide decided to clean up the pollution. That was complete by roughly 2000. And from 1970-2000 we go warming. Then we got the pause.

    And where did that 1970-2000 warming occur? If it was due to CO2, there would have been uniform warming throughout the globe. But in contrast, we got warming hotspots around 3days downwind from the areas where pollution had been greatest. That seems to suggest, these areas had been most cooled by previous pollution that was cleaned up from 1970-2000.

    In other words, it was the greens that caused global warming.

    http://scottishsceptic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/@RegionalWarming.gif

    • You said “In other words, it was the greens that caused global warming”

      Well put, and ABSOLUTELY correct. And this understanding needs to somehow be main-streamed!

      Everyone should digest your slide show, since it visually shows what has happened.

      I also have an on line post “Climate Change Deciphered” (“Google” it) which proves that all of the anomalous warming that has occurred since circa 1975 has been solely due to the reduction in the amount of anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions.

      .

    • Once they’ll get this properly added in their models, the amount warming increases per doubling. 🙂

      ‘These clouds, Garrett writes, can act as a blanket, further warming an already-changing Arctic.’

      So we got some warming, and now the pollution is going to (not increasing now) increase that. So, we have a new reason to tax pollution => more money can be spent to social injustice => redgreens support this finding (‘can act as a blanket’).

      • They just discovered the “pollution”, so they assume that prior to this study, pollution was having no impact.
        In reality, the pollution has maxed and is falling now that China is cleaning up particulate emissions.

  8. “Just as clouds reflect radiation efficiently, they also absorb radiation efficiently and re-emit that energy back to warm the surface.”

    Bit of a fake greenhouse explanation there, radiation absorption has zilch to do with it, clouds are bodies of matter, all bodies radiate, end of.

  9. “In an inversion, a cap of warm air sits over a pool of cold air, preventing the accumulated bad air from escaping.”
    In Montana an inversion is warm air trapped under cold without enough wind to allow normal convection.

  10. I live in the salt lake valley, and the air pollution during winter inversions can be quite extreme.

    If you get up into the mountains above the inversion and look back down into the valley, it can look like a bowl of soup.

    At the museum of natural history they have photos from the mid-1800s showing what the valley looked like when white folks were first settling the area. One stark difference is that there are many, many more trees now than back then. One surprising similarity is that they had very obvious inversions with haze filling the valley, much like today.

    It’s a natural phenomenon, and although I’m sure that there are more total particulate emissions now than before, the haze is mostly unrelated to human pollution as far as I’m concerned.

    • I imagine it was pretty nasty here when grandma and grandpa were kids and home coal burning was big along the Wasatch. Minor inversion this week. You mention trees. Those can also be a source of emissions leading to haze. They used to have a statue downtown commemorating one of the few trees in the valley when the early pioneers arrived. Now there are tens of millions of the things.

  11. “compared to pollutants like carbon dioxide.”

    Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant in anyone’s books.

    Without PM2.5, which refers to all particles down to zero diameter, there would be no rain, at all.

    The claim that PM from forest fires doesn’t reach the places where there are clouds, intimates that there is no PM at ground level because that is where the haze is. Well, PM does get to ground level because it is deposited on the ice and snow, as per reports from the ICCI. They worry about that a lot.

    Ice particles in the air (ice fog) is also PM2.5. PM2.5 is not a ‘type of pollution’ it is an aerodynamic diameter. I am not convinced they guys are playing with a full deck.

    • Crispin,

      “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant in anyone’s books.”

      I think the problem is that there are too many people in whose books CO2 IS a pollutant…most especially (at least for those of us here) the U.S. EPA.

      rip

      • ripshin – “I think the problem is that there are too many people in whose books CO2 IS a pollutant”

        I concur … I consider pollution to be harmful to life, and I know that all life as we know it is comprised of Carbon based life forms, so the term “Carbon Pollution” is equivalent to saying:

        Carbon is harmful to Carbon Based Life Forms

  12. “So Garrett and his colleagues…needed a different approach. Atmospheric models….”

    Buyer beware!

  13. “Others have studied which regions contribute to Arctic pollution. Northeast Asia is a significant contributor. So are sources in the far north of Europe.”
    ——————–
    i.e. The ChiComs and the Russkies.
    Commie nations have always been the Biggest polluters on the planet.
    What else ya got?

  14. So the majority of particulates aerosols comes from Europe to China and not the America’s… Interesting. Yet very little is from fire’s or volcanic activities making humans the problem. Nothing new there…

    • Human particulates are a special kind of particulate that only comes from humans burning things…
      …..when things burn naturally, like forest fires, they do nothing

  15. Wow, With all this super CO2 warming , and warming from pollution etc etc, its amazing that the level of Arctic sea is still MUCH higher than during all but the LIA. Still well above the MWP, RWP, and the often zero summer ice of the first 7000 or so years of the Holocene

    And the poor sensitive clouds..

    No wonder there have been so many snowflakes over Greenland this last year. !!!

    Is there a “safe space” for them anywhere?

  16. So we have a balmy Arctic but somehow when the the air from there hits NE USA, frozen sharks litter MA beaches! My experience as a student eons ago was what I was taught had to be upgraded substantially by employers in the mining and O&G companies. Bless their hearts, these profs taught from antedeluvion notes and had no idea their stuff was 20y out of date.

    Today it’s worse. They are addicted to thirty year old debunked models. Heaven forbid that you would have to take a flight and sample the air and see if satellite imagery showed anything of a discernible pattern matching the data. How can climate research cost all these hundreds of billions? 5hr traverses across the arctic @ 2000/hr -you could fly a hundred lines for a million and have real data.

    Now let a mining engineer correct this for them. Assuming their model is actually correct, it would only work in the Arctic summer of a couple of months. The rest of the year, the polar bound air would be intercepted by the jet around 60 or so lat. In Ottawa Canada #~ 45 lat, i can assure you that right now the air very clean. Maybe clean a lot further south than that and if Artic ice is being lost, they could find some of it in the Ottawa and St Lawrence Rs., Great Lakes and in frozen sharks off Massachusets.

  17. The research team found that clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to air pollution than clouds at other latitudes. They don’t know for sure why yet, but hypothesize it may have to do with the stillness of the Arctic air mass.

    Well considering they “found” this in the output of atmospheric models, it may have something to do with the assumptions in those models. The above should really read:

    The research team found that modelled clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to modelled air pollution than modelled clouds at other latitudes.

    Does that help clear up the mystery?

  18. Probably… few people remember the comment(s), but several times I’ve posted about just this – and from 3 different climate-influence directions.

    [3] Cloud nucleation
    [2] Stratification Modification
    [1] Radiative Blanketing

    They are in reverse order because they affect the one(s) following.

    Cloud nucleation is the most obvious: more particles, of aerosol size, are more sites for cloud nucleation. This might lead to more:sooner nucleation, wherein moving air masses nominally changing their adiabatic heat equation of state may well nucleate sooner while on the move. (For example, some jetliner contrails are very persistent – for hours – in otherwise clear skies. Clearly the top of the troposphere is saturated; just not enough nucleating particles to induce good cloud formation. Once nucleated, not only do they stay put, but they also seem to expand, multiply.)

    The other effect is more:lower since the preponderance of aerosol particles naturally stratifies towards higher concentrations at lower altitudes. Just physics. But again, when so, and when air masses cool (either in motion or relatively not), the lower clouds will find a higher population of nucleation sites onto which droplets and ice particle might begin growing. Hence, “more:lower”.

    Stratification Modification is implied by the prior paragraph. “Nominal stratification” (in the absence of trace aerosols, if such a condition might exist) could easily favor an abundance of high cirro-stratus clouds, overlaying another layer or three of lower deck layers. Modified tho’, the cirrus layer may well end up thinner, or even absent. And the stratus layers thicker, fewer, more reflective. There’s no free thermodynamic lunch.

    Radiative blanketing again is in this context rather obvious. Change the infrared and optical albedo of the atmospheric column, and you’ve changed the “blanketing” afforded by the column. An increased albedo as a whole might be thought of as anisotropic, but it is not. It may well exhibit (because of wavelength stretching re-radiation in IR) a very strong incoming insolation reflectivity across the spectrum, but only a weak reflectivity, “back reflectivity” keeping IR emitting from the ground escaping back to Space.

    _______

    I posted this in the context of Arctic Ice Loss. And I noted anecdotally the pattern of vernal pond ice thickness growth in New England as any woodsman may have easily observed. Ice thickness growth almost doesn’t depend on temperature. (It does, of course, but only weakly and pretty linearly so in the second derivative equation) … It depends rather strongly with the clarity of the atmospheric column above the lake; you can imagine that a small pond, in a string of cold, but quite hazy and overcast days … will develop ice, but not very quickly: there’s little IR emission because of cloud reflectivity. However, in the same ground temperatures, when the air is crystal clear all night long, it is easy to accumulate 1 inch or more of new ice thickness per day at –15°C. Provided the vernal pond is basically “at 0°” in its bulk, even at 0° ice thickness increases, albeit more slowly. Escaping IR – because there’s no thermodynamic free lunch – has to be accounted for. Ice growth.

    I maintain that China’s (in particular, but not to exclusion) profoundly large and extraordinarily unmitigated aerosol emissions, along with the North Pacific’s airflows, along with their last–30-years of extraordinary growth (economic and pollutive), that they are nearly probably responsible for the thinning Arctic ice sheet. Its those aerosols. The nucleation that it provides thickens cloud cover. Hindering escaping IR. Slowing the development of ice.

    Note I didn’t say “stopping” the development of ice. Just a rate change. A significant enough rate change that come Spring, the melting ice cap doesn’t have as much ice to melt. From there, alarmed climate advocates, concerned ecologists, outraged politicians and romping Polar Bears spawn.

    Just saying.
    GoatGuy

  19. Pollution is a local, and to some extent, national problem. Whatever effect it has on the Arctic, much less the planet is a moot point. Wealthy societies have the resources to clean up their air and water, and generally will do just that. No one likes dirty air and water. Oh, but what do Warmunists do? They attack wealth, making it even less likely that pollution will get cleaned up. Irony squared.

  20. Rapidly changing Arctic—except it really isn’t on multidecadal time scales. Essay Northwest Pasage discussed this using lots of fun qualitative evidence. Larsen made the first ever single season NWP transit in 1944, using the northern route. Qualitative evidence for low ice then. The northern route was closed by ice last year. Only the southernmost route was passable.

  21. Reducing pollution that results in increased temperature is good as all life likes a bit of extra warmth. The fact that increased warmth results in a bit more CO2 from the oceans is also good as the plants are calling for more CO2 and helps them green up the Earth. If the Arctic is warmer that must be good too as the ice just keeps on getting thicker and thicker and the Poley Bears get more numerous

  22. “The research team found that clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to air pollution than clouds at other latitudes.”

    What does that even mean? What are the SI units of “cloud sensitivity”?

  23. The poles are two places where radiation could definitely influence cloud formation, since they collect it due to their magnetic field strength. It strikes me that it would be mostly solar wind, rather than galactic cosmic rays, though I really don’t have any data to support this. Does anyone have any insights?

  24. So much for an alleged study that utterly fails to advance science.

    “Atmospheric models, it turns out, do a good job of tracking the movements of air pollution around the Earth. Using global inventories of pollution sources, they simulate air pollution plumes so that satellites can observe what happens when these modeled plumes interact with Arctic clouds. The model allowed the researchers to study air pollution and clouds at the same time and place and also take into account the meteorological conditions. They could be sure the effects they were seeing weren’t just natural meteorological variations in normal cloud-forming conditions.

    Highly sensitive clouds
    The research team found that clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to air pollution than clouds at other latitudes.”

    Why bother with years of direct observations, thousands of comprehensive and detailed quantitative and qualitative nuclei analysis measurements coupled with tedious grunt work of collecting worldwide source samples, including alleged pollution sites.

    Instead, it’s fire up the models, enter in parameters and assume assume assume.

    “The Arctic climate is delicate, just as the ecosystems present there,” Garrett says. “The clouds are right at the edge of their existence and they have a big impact on local climate. It looks like clouds there are especially sensitive to air pollution.”

    What an opening!
    What a remarkable statement of confirmation bias. What better way to prejudice findings?
    The Arctic is delicate! Man must be the offender!

    “In 1870, explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, trekking across the barren and remote ice cap of Greenland, saw something most people wouldn’t expect in such an empty, inhospitable landscape: haze”

    Pudding proof!
    A foot bound explorer, trekking across Greenland.
    Likely during the summer.
    Through protective smoked goggles, or risk snowblindness; Adolf mentions haze.
    No source identified.
    Apparently no samples.

    Yet the alleged Utah researchers utterly fail to mention that “haze” is a natural phenomena, not necessarily man caused pollution;
    e.g. “The Great Smokey Mountains”
    Or the rather famous phrase “for Purple Mountains Majesty”.

    From Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (1832-1901)

    “By 1869 Nordenskiold had begun plans to attempt a dash across the polar icecap from Spitzbergen to the North Pole and back. Again Dickson financed much of this expedition, spurring government aid as well. To determine whether the domesticated reindeer or the Greenland dog would be most suitable in the dash to the Pole, in 1870 Nordenskiold sailed for Greenland to study the availability and fitness of dogs, while others on the expedition looked at vegetation, fossil plants and examples of marine life. Plans were also made to explore inland, something attempted by Edward Whymper in 1867. With two Greenlanders, Nordenskiold and a companion set off, reaching 675 m altitude and 50 km inland.
    The scientists noted dust and brown algae on the cap. “

    One shouldn’t overlook:

    “Whalers had occasionally tried to enter the Kara Sea but failed, because of either thick floating ice or bad weather. But Nordenskiöld figured most of the ice would melt during the summer, when rivers such as the Ob and Yenisei would bring in masses of warm water, rendering the sea navigable during the autumn. Upon his successful journeys into the Kara Sea, Nordenskiöld found it full of life—e.g., huge isopods and serpent stars, masses of starfishes, and fish lice—proving scientific circles, who had previously believed the sea to be lacking in fauna, wrong.”

    Or

    “Nils Adolf Erik, Baron Nordenskiöld, (born November 18, 1832, Helsinki, Finland—died August 12, 1901, Dalbyö, Sweden), Swedish geologist, mineralogist, geographer, and explorer who sailed from Norway to the Pacific across the Asiatic Arctic, completing the first successful navigation of the Northeast Passage.”

    Imagine that!
    Adolf sailed into and through the Arctic ocean, circa 140 years ago!?

    So much for giffiepooed’s endless Arctic drama.

    Utah’s research claims are modeled nonsense based on gross assumptions with extremely tenuous attributions.

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