In Feburary 2018, the temperature in the Arctic region went up considerably, prompting the usual caterwauling from climate alarmists worldwide. It looked like this at Vox, they saw red, and the caption is theirs:
The temperature plot from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing the spiking temperatures about 80°North:
Predictably, excitable pundits went nuts over this, adding to the “climate change” conversation. For example, Zack Labe at Vox went with this language:
I particularly enjoyed this bit of alarmism int he caption for the first graphic above:
“The Arctic was 5.1 degrees Celsius warmer than normal on February 27, following several days of unusually hot weather.”
Well it was more like 10 degrees Celsius, if you look at the DMI temperature graph, but what really grabbed me was the “hot weather” definition. The DMI graph is in Kelvins, and if you convert that peak temp of ~ 245K to Celsius, you get: -28.15°C or -18.67°F. I challenge any sensible person to call that “hot weather”.
But more importantly, there’s this claim by Zack Labe:
We’ve seen an unprecedented pattern of high temperatures in the Arctic in recent years
Um, no. Once again, these climate noisemakers don’t pay attention to climate and weather history, probably because it ruins their narrative, like this graph does:
We have only a short record of the Arctic temperature, going back to 1958, just 60 years. Yet somehow, back in 1972 and 1976, when CO2 was at approximately 315-320 PPM, virtually the same event happened in the Arctic. Twice.
So much for “unprecedented”. And what about those claims that we need to get back to 350 PPM, the “safe level” of CO2 in our atmosphere, the number that 350.org was founded on.
Dr. James Hansen, the top climate scientist in the US has just announced his retirement from NASA. He’s been one of the best advocates a planet could ask for — he even gave us our name when he wrote that 350 parts per million is the safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
How could such tragic “unprecedented” temperature events in the Arctic happen at 315 to 320 PPM? Inquiring minds want to know.
Could it just be that it’s just weather, and CO2 has nothing to do with it? Nah, there’s no grant money in that.
But wait, there’s more.
Alarmists like to point to the recent low sea ice years of 2007 and 2012 and being “proof” of carbon dioxide’s effect on the north polar region. They see it as a consequence of “polar amplification“.
Yet, the temperature spikes for those years don’t seem to be inline with that narrative, and aren’t nearly as large:
Note that during the summer melt season, when those “historic unprecedented low sea ice” conditions occurred in 2007 and 2012, but the summer melt seasons had near normal temperature, the mean temperature was near climatic normal (the green line) both times.
What I do see though, is that during the springs of 2007 and 2012, there was a lot of fluctuations in temperature that were above the climatic norm. This suggests, like we saw in February 2018, that weather events changed the temperature, perhaps setting the stage for more flushing of ice out of the Fram strait.
Arctic sea ice occupies an ocean basin mostly enclosed by land. Because there is no landmass at the North Pole, sea ice extends all the way to the pole, making the ice subject to the most extreme oscillations between wintertime darkness and summertime sunlight.
During the “positive” phase of the Arctic Oscillation, winds intensify, which increases the size of leads in the ice pack. The thin, young ice that forms in these leads is more likely to melt in the summer. The strong winds also tend to flush ice out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait. During “negative” phases of the oscillation, winds are weaker. Multiyear ice is less likely to be swept out of the Arctic basin into the warmer waters of the Atlantic. Source: NASA
Nature surely is inconvenient when she doesn’t conform to alarmist expectations, isn’t she?