Arctic Ocean ice retreating at 30-year record pace

Arctic Ocean ice retreating at 30-year record pace“. Steven Mosher is suddenly sniffing that short-term Arctic Sea Ice trends don’t mean anything. I guess short-term climate trends are only legitimate if they can be used to ‘prove’ that Global Warming is either non-existent or natural. They’re definitely not legitimate evidence that Global Warming is real or man-made. Ah, the hypocrisy.

His understandable indignation was triggered by an article about declining Arctic Sea Ice in The Montreal Gazette that was based on such wild sources as… the measurements of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the research of University of Manitoba polar scientist David Barber.

Actually, short-term trends aren’t very meaningful for climate prediction. But you can be sure the denialists will swing back to touting them as soon as they can find one that suits them.

17 thoughts on “Arctic Ocean ice retreating at 30-year record pace

  1. The “point and laugh” element of this blog is what brings me back.

    I suppose the Watts fans have no explanation for the long term decline of the arctic sea ice, but must settle for either denying the decline or waving their hands and saying it must be part of some unknown long term cycle.

  2. The upside of using a secondary source is that they reduce the credibility of the information. And, there is some additional meat on the bones for the commenters.

    The downside is that an interesting anecdote is worth repeating, so a corroborating title from a (landmark?) paper gets mentioned:
    “Arctic Ice at Low Point Compared to Recent Geologic History” Polyak et al,2010

    “included data from two Canadian co-authors, who interpreted historic levels of ice cover from ancient whale bones found throughout the polar region” Montreal Gazette

  3. “I suppose the Watts fans have no explanation for the long term decline of the arctic sea ice”

    They think it’s all wind. Apparently wind increases in summer each year and has also increased over the past few decades. Definitely no link with temperature though. Definitely not.

    [But they sure know about wind! :-) – Ben]

  4. Hi Ben, yet another six months of below average temperatures over here, where is this runaway warming to?

    [Bolivia eh? How ’bout you give me some evidence of that claim. or are you just trying to pass off winter temperatures as the average? – Ben]

  5. The comment threads on Watts’ blog are quite noisy and full of fluff, but I did just now take a look at some of the earlier comments. The reference to “hot” temperatures in the original news article drew some derision, describing as hype a reference to surface temperatures having been ‘2-5 degrees above average for a few weeks’. From the original article it’s clear that these are in the Celsius scale.

    For average surface temperatures to be that much above normal for the time of year, there must have been a considerable amount of excess energy at the surface, and that is what would be required to speed the process of melting, so if the naysayers on that blog have a serious point it isn’t a very obvious one.

    I would definitely be inclined to view an excess temperature of 5 K as “hot” though I may be biased by the fact that such a temperature difference in the temperate climate of my country would turn a pleasant summer day into a sticky heatwave. Maybe such differences are common in the arctic?

    [The denialists are either too dumb to understand that “hotter” is more significant than “hot”. Or else they know the difference but hope their followers don’t. – Ben]

  6. I wonder how long before Watts ‘disappears’ his AMSR-E sea ice extent widget, just as Roy Spencer has quietly ‘disappeared’ inconvenient elements of the ch5 display of UAH-AMSU temps.

  7. I see the need for this blog will soon disappear. Anthony is expecting the midnight knock on the door, the cattle truck to the camps ….

  8. “Whale Poop Fights Global Warming,” (WUWT, June16)

    “Iron defecation by sperm whales stimulates carbon export in the Southern Ocean,” (Lavery et al 2010)

    “The iron-limited Southern Ocean plays an important part in regulating atmospheric CO2 levels… Here, we show that by consuming prey at depth and defecating iron-rich liquid faeces into the photic zone sperm whales instead stimulate new primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean.” From the abstract, here. Full Text Free.

    For relevance there is a link in the bibliography to an actual geo-engineering experiment, “The Effects of Iron Fertilization on Carbon Sequestration in the Southern Ocean.” (Full Text Free)

    A little adolescent from-the-back-of-the-classroom Tee-Heeing (Whale ….) is warranted. But most of this narrow-mindedness is serious.

    Biology bashing is becoming a WUWTian routine. Maybe its because more people took biology in high school, so they feel they understand it. Chemistry and physics were harder courses, so they get more respect.

  9. “An Aggie Joke” (WUWT Jun 17, 2010)……….

    Amidst the too obvious journalistic wreckage, Steve leaves us something memorable.

    He declares that Texas, and Texas summers, and Brenham (TX) will all escape future global warming, because it had been warmer there 100 years ago.

    On all 3 graphs there is an obvious post-1975 upslope. But…

  10. “Americans Not Inclined to Pay More to Fight Global Warming,” (WUWT Jun 17, 2010)

    The original Rasmussen Poll (August 31, 2009) qualifies itself: “Given the limited coverage of the climate change legislation and the dominance of the health care debate over the summer, these numbers could change significantly as the legislative debate unfolds.”

    A reminder on why pollster Krosnick thinks that recent polls underestimate global warming concerns, here.

  11. “Scan of Arctic ice dispells melting gloom: Researcher” (WUWT, Jun 16, 2010)

    “Thickness of Arctic’s old sea ice steady since 2007”

    “…Sea ice thinning is expected to continue with climate change, although there is significant variability in ice extent and thickness… although the areal extent of ice may have declined the thickness of old ice has not changed much since 2007…” AGU Journal Highlights, 14 Jun 2010

    Title: “Synoptic airborne thickness surveys reveal state of sea ice cover” Haas, et al (2010)

    (Lesson… The shortcut google was ‘grl Haas 2010’)

    There’s not much here for the skeptics. Haas said, rather than a rapid melt/tipping point. “…the ice will continue a decline that has been underway for at least 30 years,” he said. …with ups and downs along the way.

    The multi-year ice is not getting thicker – its just not thinning. The study didn’t measure the area of the thick ice.

    Shorter flights with this same probe have been made before, behind an icebreaker-based helicopter. This is the first longer range fixed wing study.

    The most interesting account for those on this side of the paywall, was written before the actual flights. It has the best map.

    Click to access PANARCMIP-V2-20090219.pdf

  12. Climate of Belief

    WUWT for some reason recycles a 2-year old article from Skeptic magazine. Even the Skeptics were erm… sceptical:

    Had the author, Pat Franks been on to something, he would have been awarded the Nobel by now. Sadly his career as a wannabe climate expert was brought to a sudden end by a real climate expert.

    …. The fact remains, your toy model is not a good match to any aspect of the GCMs other than the linear temperature trend to which is seems to have been fitted, and has zero information content regarding the actual models. – gavin

    As I write the fanboys are praising this debunked two year old ferrago for its wisdom and insight ….

  13. “Sea Ice News #10” (WUWT, Jun 23, 2010)

    THE SOUTHERN STRATEGY………. When the Arctic news is turning bad, ‘enlarge’ the title to bring in Antarctica.

    It has been a while since Antarctic sea ice extent has been high enough to be brought into Arctic sea ice discussions. So I have forgotten how it is handled, under the Big Tent. Will authors explicitly add them together, to hide the Northern decline? Or will they simply place them side by side (as was done here), for a reader’s option?

    NSIDC’s ARCTIC SEA ICE NEWS & ANALYSIS (Jun 8)………. Brings into question the usefulness of most of Steve’s discussion.

    “What do current ice conditions mean for the minimum ice extent this fall? It is still too soon to say, although ice extent at present is relatively low, the amount of ice that survives the summer melt season will be largely determined by the wind and weather conditions over the next few months.”

    LITERAL TRUTH DECEPTION………. While comparing two ice concentration maps: “Arctic Basin ice generally looks healthier than 20 years ago.”

    This is a mortician’s dream, suggesting that higher ice concentration might provide cover that could hide declining ice thickness and volume.

    Note that the UIUC ice concentration map for June 23, 2010 alone (not the comparison) shows much more apparent variability, here.

    A PIPS COMMENT………. over there provides the quote that is useful over here. The NSIDC response in its original English, is in the middle of the French text, here.

    “The PIPS model is an operational model, and is designed to forecast the ice a few days into the future (for navy submarine use, etc). It is not proper to use it to study year to year changes. PIPS is known to be not terribly useful for sea ice other than perhaps motion; DEFINITELY NOT THICKNESS.” (emphasis in original)

    “THE ACCELERATING DECLINE OF ARCTIC SEA ICE”………. Presented at the recent IGS 2010 Sea Ice Symposium.

    “The sequence of extreme September sea-ice extent minima observed since 2002 suggests acceleration in the response of the Arctic sea-ice cover to external forcing, hastening the transition towards a seasonally open Arctic Ocean…” (Talk abstract) Stroeve, et al, 2010

  14. “The Trend” (WUWT, Jun 25, 2010)

    SONNY LISTON (re MUHAMMUD ALI)………. comes to mind. With my fingers poised above the keyboard, being afraid of what I don’t understand.

    Tamino does better, here.

    [Yes, an excellent take-down. – Ben]

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