Arctic sea ice dispersed by storm – not hot air

Arctic sea ice

NASA admission

Arctic cyclone in August ‘wreaked havoc’ on sea ice

via NASA finally admits Arctic cyclone in August ‘broke up’ and ‘wreaked havoc’ on sea ice — Reuters reports Arctic storm played ‘key role’ in ice reduction | Climate Depot.

NASA has announced that an Arctic storm played a ‘key role’ in a dramatic new summer minimum ice extent recorded in August.

Reuters news service filed a September 21 report based on NASA’s video admission titled: “NASA says Arctic cyclone played ‘key role’ in record ice melt.” The news segment details how the Arctic sea ice was reduced due to “a powerful cyclone that scientists say ‘wreaked havoc’ on ice cover during the month of August.” (Reuters on “Arctic Cyclone” — 0:47 second long segment — Rob Muir reporting.)

Video: Arctic storm breaks up sea ice

Why does everyone feel guilty about the disappearance of the Arctic ice? All it proves is a bit of warming; it most certainly does not prove a human cause for that warming.

If people only stopped for a moment and thought clearly, they would see no evidence in the mere melting ice of a human hand warming it.

For if such evidence was detectable at the North Pole, it would be equally detectable at the South. But in Antarctica, evidence of human warming is so completely absent that the place is cooling.

Finally, what possible harm could it cause? Since it’s happened naturally before, there’s no cause for concern.

87 Thoughts on “Arctic sea ice dispersed by storm – not hot air

  1. The magnitude of the melt will change global weather patterns. The record would have been broken even without the August storm. Something has changed. What is the cause if it’s not anthropogenic? The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents, the Antarctic is a continent surrounded by temperature moderating oceans.

  2. Bob Tisdale has a guest post at WUWT on te impact of the AMO on Arctic Sea Ice

    He concludes

    Since there is no evidence of a manmade component in the warming of the global oceans over the past 30 years, the natural additional warming of the sea surface temperature anomalies of the North Atlantic—above the natural warming of the sea surface temperatures for the rest of the global oceans—has been a major contributor to the natural loss of Arctic sea ice over the satellite era. Add to that the weather events that happen every couple of years and we can pretty much dismiss the hubbub over this year’s record low sea ice in the Arctic basin. Personally, I’d find it comical—if the desperation on the parts of AGW proponents wasn’t so evident. That makes it sad.

  3. The magnitude of the melt will change global weather patterns.

    Faulty logic. It wasn’t due to warming, rather a storm. Speaking of the “magnitude of the melt” that caused the storm is incorrect. The storm caused the break-up. There was no melt.

    The record would have been broken even without the August storm. Something has changed.

    Evidence please?

    The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents, the Antarctic is a continent surrounded by temperature moderating oceans.

    Makes no difference. The warmists claim the ocean is heating up, this should increase the melting, not decrease it.

    Also, the greenhouse effect is an atmospheric effect. Polar amplification is predicted in all the models because the air is low in water vapour, and CO2 has a larger effect as a result. Nothing to do with the oceans.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 8:12 am said:

    “Something has changed”

    Yes, the AMO is in a warm rising phase and since land stations unaffected by UHI simply track the AMO then Arctic-wide ocean and atmosphere temperatures reflect that. The cyclone breakup aided the sea ice melt as it did in 2007.

    “What is the cause…?”

    See above.

    “….if it’s not anthropogenic?”

    It’s not anthropogenic because there’s no GHG emission correlation and therefore no attribution. There are far better Arctic sunspot and irradiance correlations than there are CO2 but the immediate driver is the AMO.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 8:16 am said:

    The AMO-temperature Arctic correlation is also evident in the global HadCRUT3 series:-

    ‘External forcing as a metronome for Atlantic multidecadal variability’

    # Odd Helge Otterå,
    # Mats Bentsen,
    # Helge Drange
    # & Lingling Suo

    Figure 1: Observed and simulated northern hemisphere temperature and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.

    Figure 1c, AMO correlation with HadCrut3v (global) R = 0.90.

  6. This paper seems to argue that AMO is forced by external factors. There has been no volcanic or external solar forcing factors that I am aware of so it must be something else….

  7. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 9:21 am said:

    ‘Tracking the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation through the last 8,000 years’

    Mads Faurschou Knudsen, Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Bo Holm Jacobsen, and Antoon Kuijpers

    Understanding the internal ocean variability and its influence on climate is imperative for society. A key aspect concerns the enigmatic Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a feature defined by a 60- to 90-year variability in North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures. The nature and origin of the AMO is uncertain, and it remains unknown whether it represents a persistent periodic driver in the climate system, or merely a transient feature. Here, we show that distinct, ∼55- to 70-year oscillations characterized the North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere variability over the past 8,000 years. We test and reject the hypothesis that this climate oscillation was directly forced by periodic changes in solar activity. We therefore conjecture that a quasi-persistent ∼55- to 70-year AMO, linked to internal ocean-atmosphere variability, existed during large parts of the Holocene. Our analyses further suggest that the coupling from the AMO to regional climate conditions was modulated by orbitally induced shifts in large-scale ocean-atmosphere circulation.


    “A quasi-persistent 55- to 70-year oscillation thus appears to have influenced climate in the North Atlantic region during both warmer and colder intervals. Underpinned by comparative studies of instrumental and proxy climate records, we infer that these Holocene climate variations correspond to the AMO recognized in instrumental data.”

    I challenge you Simon, to produce a GHG/temperature correlation equal to or better than the AMO/HadCRUT3 correlation of R = 0.90.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 9:38 am said:

    Tisdale: How Much of an Impact Does the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation Have on Arctic Sea Ice Extent?


    As noted earlier, the best wiggle match presented in this post occurs between the high latitude (60N-90N) sea surface temperature anomalies and the Arctic sea ice extent, Figure 4. The correlation coefficient is -0.85. That’s pretty good for two climate-related variables.

    Plot: NH sea ice extent anomalies vs inverted high latitude NH SST anomalies:-

  9. Alexander K on September 26, 2012 at 9:47 am said:

    Simon is expressing an article of his faith, not an opinion based on evidence. It always surprises me that well-meaning and rational people here bother to attempt to set Simon and his ilk on the scientific path as that is always seen as a challenge to the faith.

  10. It is amazing how peoples’ perceptions of reality are affected by their personal biases.

  11. Simon,

    The magnitude of the melt will change global weather patterns.

    As Bob D said, the melt was not causal but followed the dispersal, but you’re right to imagine a possible influence on climate, because for one reason or another much ice has gone. Your difficulty is providing evidence that so much exposed ocean or missing ice will have this much effect on those climatic factors, as the case may be. And then you’d still be fluffing around studying a natural phenomenon as though it mattered to human policy. The storm must be produced by our warming, or the whole chain of events is a storm, Simon, in the proverbial beverage drinking apparatus.

  12. The wailing from Peter Sinclair that I reported on earlier is interesting because they present all these changes (thinning ice, reducing volume, the storm) in a factual way. They make no direct attribution, from what I can see. They say “we might be entering a new climate state”, whatever that means.
    Then they have serious looking scientists making political pronouncements, yet they have made no claim that these changes are in any way unusual or caused by human activities

    You have to hand it to Sinclair, he is a master of his craft

  13. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 10:31 am said:

    “we might be entering a new climate state”

    He’s a bit late to the party. In Arctic terms there was “a new climate state” c. 1920, then “a new climate state” c. 1940, then “a new climate state” c. 1980 to present.

    We can expect the next “new climate state” in the Arctic c. 2020, maybe earlier given the the previous short interval 1920-1940. maybe later.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 10:34 am said:

    “It is amazing how peoples’ perceptions of reality are affected by their personal biases”

    Self epithet Simon?

  15. All we need right now is for Katla to pop and then we’ll really know about changes to the NH climate.

  16. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am said:

    ‘The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature’

    Ole Humlum, Kjell Stordahl and Jan-Erik Solheim


    “The strongest positive correlation coefficient (0.45) between CO2 and temperature is found towards the HadSST2 sea surface temperature. However, the difference to surface air temperatures is relatively small, and the maximum positive correlation coefficient is 0.40 for HadCRUT3 and 0.43 for GISS”

  17. Attention Evil Deniers, we interrupt this broadcast for an importance announcement from Lord President Gore

  18. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm said:

    Rob Taylor’s positive feedback: “ocean albedo -> increased heating -> warming permafrost -> methane emission -> increased heating -> warming permafrost -> methane emission -> increased heating -> warming permafrost -> methane emission -> increased heating -> warming permafrost -> methane emission -> increased heating and so on”

    Seems to have been going on for a while:-

    Gas Outlets off Spitsbergen Are No New Phenomenon

    Expedition to the Greenland Sea with Surprising Results

    Marine scientists from Kiel, together with colleagues from Bremen, Great Britain, Switzerland and Norway, spent four and a half weeks examining methane emanation from the sea bed off the coast of Spitsbergen with the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN. There they gained a very differentiated picture: Several of the gas outlets have been active for hundreds of years.


    The reason for the expedition was the supposition that ice-like methane hydrates stored in the sea bed were dissolving due to rising water temperatures. “Methane hydrate is only stable at very low temperatures and under very high pressure. The gas outlets off Spitsbergen lie approximately at a depth which marks the border between stability and dissolution. Therefore we presumed that a measurable rise in water temperature in the Arctic could dissolve the hydrates from the top downwards” explained Professor Berndt. Methane could then be released into the water or even into the atmosphere, where it would act as a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

    In fact, what the researchers found in the area offers a much more differentiated picture. Above all the fear that the gas emanation is a consequence of the current rising sea temperature does not seem to apply.


  19. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm said:

    Evidence solar radiation dominates climate change, not greenhouse gases

    The data also show an excellent correlation between solar radiation at the surface and diurnal temperature range (R² of = 0.87), which far exceeds the correlation between CO2 and temperature (R² = 0.44). Thus, changes in solar radiation at the Earth surface dominate climate change, not greenhouse gases.

    ‘Evidence for increasing solar radiation during the early 20th century’

    Knut Makowski, Marc Chiacchio, Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo & Martin Wild

    In Figure 2 we show an anomaly timeseries of solar radiation
    and DTR. The solar radiation data (see in Figure1) was obtained
    from GEBA and updated recently with WRDC data. Only
    stations showing a complete record between 1970 and 2005
    were used (max. 5 missing years).

    The DTR data ( in Figure 1) originates from Makowski et al.
    2006 & 2008. We selected only stations within maximum 200km
    distance from the available solar radiation measurement sites.

    DTR and solar radiation show a good correlation for the investigated
    stations and region with R: 0.87

  20. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm said:

    Climate Modeling: Ocean Oscillations + Solar Activity R²=.96

    Expanding upon the last post, the “sunspot integral” (accumulated departure in sunspots v. the monthly mean of 41.2 for the observational period of sunspots 1610-2009) shows good correlation with the temperature record. Excellent correlation (R²=.96!) with temperature is obtained by adding to the sunspot integral the most significant ocean oscillations (the PDO-Pacific Decadal Oscillation + AMO- Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation*3). Various other combinations and permutations of these factors compared to the temperature record have been posted at: 1 2 3 4 5 6, although I have not located others with a correlation coefficient of this magnitude. Contrast the R² of .96 from this simple model (near a perfect correlation coefficient (R²) of 1) vs. the poor correlation (R²=.44) of CO2 levels vs. temperature.

    Temperature v. PDO+AMO+Sunspot Integral:-

  21. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm said:

    PDO And Solar Correlate Better Than CO2

    If CO2 is the main driver of climate change this last century, it stands to reason that the trend of surface temperatures would follow the trend of CO2, and thus the R2 correlation between the two trends would be high. Since NCDC has recently released the new USHCN2 data set for surface temperatures, which promises improved detection and removal of false trends introduced by change points in the data, such as station moves, it seemed like an opportune time to test the correlation.

    At the same time, R2 correlation tests were run on other possible drivers of climate; Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).


    Understanding R2 correlation

    R2 Coefficient Match between data trends
    1.0 Perfect
    .90 Good
    .50 Fair
    .25 Poor
    0 or negative no match at all

    CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center – Oak Ridge National Lab) also has a data set for this that includes CO2 data back to the last century (1895) extracted from ice core samples. That CO2 data set was plotted against the new USHCN2 surface temperature data as shown below:-

    The results were striking to say the least. An R2 correlation of only 0.44 was determined, placing it between fair and poor in the fit between the two data sets.

    Now lets look at other potential drivers of climate, TSI and PDO.

    Scafetta and West (2007) have suggested that the total solar irradiance (TSI) is a good proxy for the total solar effect which may be responsible for at least 50% of the warming since 1900. To test it, again the same R2 correlation was run on the two data sets:-

    In this case, the correlation of TSI to the surface temperature record is better than with CO2, producing an R2 correlation of 0.57 which is between fair and good.

    Finally. … the R2 correlation test on PDO, the Pacfic Decadal Oscillation. Sum of PDO and AMO correlated with the USHCN:-

    This was the jackpot correlation with the highest value of r-squared (0.83!!!).

    An R2 correlation of 0.83 would be considered “good”. This indicates that PDO and our surface temperature is more closely tied together than Co2 to surface temperature by almost a factor of 2.

    Since temperatures have stabilized in the last decade, we looked at the correlation of the CO2 with HCSN data. Greenhouse theory and models predict an accelerated warming with the increasing carbon dioxide.

    Instead, a negative correlation between USHCN and CO2 was found in the last decade with an R or Pearson Coefficient of -0.14, yielding an r-squared of 0.02.

    According to CO2 theory, we should see long term rise of mean temperatures, and while there may be yearly patterns of weather that diminish the effect of the short term, one would expect to see some sort of correlation over a decade. But it appears that with an R2 correlation of only 0.02, there isn’t any match over the past ten years.

    As another test, this analysis was also done on Britain’s Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU) data and MSU’s (John Christy) satellite temperature data:

    To ensure that was not just an artifact of the United States data, we did a similar correlation of the CO2 with the CRU global and MSU lower tropospheric monthlies over the same period.

    We found a similar non existent correlation of just 0.02 for CRU and 0.01 for the MSU over troposphere.

    So with R2 correlations of .01 and .02 what this shows is that the rising CO2 trend does not match the satellite data either.

    Here are the different test correlations in a summary table:-


    Clearly the US annual temperatures over the last century have correlated far better with cycles in the sun and oceans than carbon dioxide. The correlation with carbon dioxide seems to have vanished or even reversed in the last decade.

    Given the recent cooling of the Pacific and Atlantic and rapid decline in solar activity, we might anticipate given these correlations, temperatures to accelerate downwards shortly.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on September 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm said:

    Just realized that John Christy has included an ‘Arctic Sea Ice Loss’ section (page 19) in his EPS testimony that wasn’t in his EPW testimony.

    Written Statement of John R. Christy
    The University of Alabama in Huntsville
    Subcommittee Energy and Power, U.S. House of Representatives
    20 Sep 2012

    Arctic Sea Ice Loss

    At present, the sea ice extent in the Arctic is at the lowest areal coverage since satellites began monitoring the extent over 30 years ago. In an area with extremely large natural variations, the question is: How much of the loss might be due to extra greenhouse gas warming relative to other causes? We know that there has been warming in the Arctic since the 1960s from all data sets. To explain this observation, Wallace et al. 2012 examined the different patterns of atmospheric circulation that can contribute to a warmer Arctic versus what might be expected from the extra warming due to the additional greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere. They report:

    These results support the notion that the enhanced wintertime warming over high northern latitudes from 1965 to 2000 was mainly a reflection of unforced variability of the coupled climate system. Some of the simulations exhibit an enhancement of the warming along the Arctic coast, suggestive of exaggerated feedbacks.

    In other words, natural variations of the circulation patterns that create warmer
    Arctic temperatures explain most of the warming that is detected according to this study (see also Liu and Curry 2004 and Curry’s analysis using the notion of “climate shifts” in which combinations of natural modes of variability can lead to large changes in ice coverage:


    Wallace, J.R., Q Fu, B.V. Smoliak, P. Lin and C.M. Johanson, 2012: Simulated versus observed patterns of warming over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere continents during the cold season. Proc. Nat. Aca. Sci. doi:101.1073/pnas.1204875109.

    Liu, J. and J.A. Curry, 2004: Recent Arctic sea ice variability: Connections to the Arctic Oscillation and ENSO. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, doi:10.1029/2004GL019858.

  23. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 9:50 am said:

    Strange how the preponderance of correlation statistics is presented from non-consensus objectivity.

    For example, I cannot find anything (an R2 value) in IPCC AR4 using these search terms together: correlation, temperature, CO2, carbon dioxide.

    Strange too that the trolls scarper when correlation values are collated and compared.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 10:01 am said:

    “Simon is expressing an article of his faith”

    So is this guy (although he appears to have conflated a couple):-

    Ashamnu: Our Souls Have Transgressed With Climate Silence

    by A. Siegel, via Get Energy Smart!

    Arev Yom Kippur … The eve of the Day of Atonement. After the period of reflection and engagement with others between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, this is a moment to turn to internal considerations and the relationship between the individual and G-d.

    As part of the prayers for the Day of Atonement, the Vidui, the Al Cheyt or recital of sins, is perhaps the most important. (Modern Judaism being what it is, there are a myriad of translations and modern variations on the Vidui/Al Chet.) A key word: Ashamnu … “we have sinned” is a recognition of individual and communal failures. The Al Cheyt is a recognition and statement about sins by ourselves (and our community) against others, against oneself, against G-d through action … and inaction.

    It is clear: one can do wrong through action and words … and one can do wrong through inaction and silence.

    And, there is a silence that bears heavily on the heart at this time: the silence in our political leadership and among too many of us on the damage we are doing to the planetary system, the risks of climate change, and the urgent necessity for meaningful change to change our path toward something that enables sustainable prosperity for humanity.


  25. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 10:24 am said:

    From ‘Pondering the Arctic Ocean. Part I: Climate Dynamics':-

    Impact of teleconnection and flow regimes

    To what extent can we relate these change points to known climate shifts or changes in teleconnection regimes?

    * 1989: shift to strong positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation. This resulted in the transport of multiyear ice out of the Arctic Ocean, setting the stage for reduced ice extent (Rigor et al. 2004)
    * 1995/1996: shift to warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO); shift to near neutral or negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation
    * 2003: vicinity of shift to cool phase of the PDO

    The period of strongly positive Arctic Oscillation during 1989-1995 and the loss of multi-year ice set the stage for the large decline in sea ice extent in the past decade.

    [JC avoids specific correlation in speculation bottom of post, opts for vacillation]

    The overall decline of sea ice with global warming has been predicted by climate model simulations since the past several decades. However, the observed decline does not follow in a simple way the increase in CO2 or variability in global or local Arctic surface air temperatures.

    If natural variability is dominant, the sea ice extent could increase if the AO stays predominanly negative, the PDO stays cool, and the AMO switches to the cool phase (a scenario that might occur sometime in the next 2-3 decades).

    A complex interplay between natural internal variability and CO2 forcing is the most like explanation. Further research is needed particularly on role of natural internal variability in influencing sea ice thickness and extent.

  26. Notz and Marotzke (2012) in Geophysical Research Letters find

    “For the externally forced trend, we find a physically plausible strong correlation only with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Our results hence show that the observed evolution of Arctic sea-ice extent is consistent with the claim that virtually certainly the impact of an anthropogenic climate change is observable in Arctic sea ice already today.”

  27. They seem to discount the AO and PDO as drivers yet I see no mention of AMO – the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillaton, whch Tisdale seems to think correlates well with the ice melt

  28. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm said:

    The natural drivers Notz and Marotzke considered in isolation were:-

    Temporal evolution of solar irradiance

    However, up-thread we’ve seen Temperature v. PDO+AMO+Sunspot Integral i.e. a composite natural driver (yes, of temperature – see below) not considered by Notz and Marotzke, R2 0.96 vs CO2/sea ice extent 0.85.

    Then there’s high latitude (60N-90N) SST anomalies and the Arctic sea ice extent, The correlation coefficient is -0.85 vs CO2/sea ice extent 0.84.

    Neither have they considered the AMO in isolation. Arctic temperatures (unaffected by UHI) merely track the AMO.

    And if it’s not temperature but “the incoming long-wave radiation dominates the annual mean surface heat balance of sea ice in the Arctic” according to N&M then the same 0.85 correlation should be evident in the Antarctic but not so according to Notz and Marotzke:-

    [31] Note that the same reasoning allows us to conclude that changes in CO2 concentration are not the main driver for the observed sea-ice evolution in the Antarctic. With no clear trend in the sea-ice extent there, there is virtually no correlation with the increasing CO2 concentration. This underpins the fact that in the Antarctic, sea-ice extent is at the moment primarily governed by sea-ice dynamics. In contrast, in the Arctic the sea-ice movement is constrained by the surrounding land masses and the thermodynamic forcing becomes more relevant there.

    “sea-ice movement is constrained by the surrounding land masses”? I don’t think so. Nasa:-

    “The storm cut off a large section of sea ice north of the Chukchi Sea and pushed it south to warmer waters that made it melt entirely”

    No constraint there boys.

  29. Day et al. (2012) in Environmental Research Letters find that although there is correlation between Arctic sea ice extent and AMO it can only account for between 5 and 30% of the downward trend over the last 30 years.

  30. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm said:

    N&M looked at 2 periods in isolation from each other (from what I can gather): pre-satellite 1953–1978, and satellite 1979–2010.

    The contiguous AMO correlations go back to 1920 (isolated stns) and 1905 (composite). N&M completely missed the critical 1920s, 1930s and 1940s as for Isolated Stations here:-

    High Lat NH SST vs NH sea ice extent 1981 – 2012:-

  31. Nick – where is the 5-30% figure in that paper?

    I see that they state

    We find little evidence for a relationship between the
    AO and September SIE in either the observations or the
    five models. Further, from modelling we find that over short
    periods (58 years) there will be apparently significant
    correlations between the AO and SIE purely by chance,
    indicating the need for long term observations. However,
    missing physical processes in the GCMs may cause a lack of
    sensitivity to changes in atmospheric circulation.

    Seems faiirly vague to me. Also,I am not sure how some correlations are “purely by chance” and some not.

  32. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm said:

    “Our results are clearly dependent on the models used for this study” – Day et al.

    Day et al do not use all the available data for their correlation test between sea ice/AMO observations. They use September sea ice extent (SIE) getting a correlation of -0.42 (Table 1). Tisdale using monthly gets -0.85.

    But neither AMO nor CO2 vs sea ice extent (NH only) matches the composite PDO+AMO+Sunspot Integral vs Temperature (HadCRUT3) of 0.96 (CO2 0.40 – 0.44).

  33. Andrew W on September 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm said:

    In the abstract:

    Using sensitivity statistics
    derived from the models, assuming a linear relationship, we attribute 0.5–3.1%=decade of the
    10.1%=decade decline in September SIE (1979–2010) to AMO driven variability.

  34. Australis on September 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm said:

    “All it [disappearance of the Arctic ice] proves is a bit of warming”.

    Why do you think that, Richard?

    Sea ice forms clusters during polar winters, then breaks up and floats away in summer. The obvious causes are sea and air temperatures, winds, storms, and ocean currents. Despite the hectares of newsprint devoted to these phenomena, I’ve seen no references to studies showing the breakdown of the causal factors during the 2012 summer.

    One thing is fairly certain – the cause is not “global warming”. An increase in globally-averaged air temperatures would trigger a reduction in the globally-averaged volume (or area) of sea ice. This hasn’t happened. We know that the Antarctic is setting satellite-era records for its sea ice area and calculated global volumes have increased over the past year.

    It is truly remarkable that the NZ Herald could run a half-page article about sparse sea ice in the Arctic without once mentioning the Antarctic.

  35. OK, cheers.
    Day et al seems to have a little more meat on it than the N&M paper which seems very lightweight in comparison. For example, why didn’t they mention AMO when peer-reviewed literature acknowledges this as an influence (minor or otherwise) on Arctic sea ice extent?

  36. Andrew W on September 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm said:

    Australis: “calculated global volumes have increased over the past year.”

    Utterly Wrong.

    [AW: Look, it’s ok, but just give reasons, or the correct figures, don’t just head-butt people. – RT]

  37. Another content-free post, thanks Andrew W

  38. Andrew W on September 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm said:

    Just avoiding prolix Andy, no doubt you’d use a lot more words to say far less.

  39. The Antarctic sea ice minimum this year was 3.4 million km2, against a 1979-2000 average of approximately 6.75 million km2.

  40. If you say “utterly wrong”, it is basically a worthless throwaway line

    Sorry if that took too many words

  41. Another completely pointless comment Simon. Unless you can put this in the context of the papers and data shown on this thread, this kind of stuff is basically propaganda.

  42. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm said:

    Unless I’m reading the following paper incorrectly, the idea of GHG DLR being the driver of sea ice extent hits a snag:-

    ‘Arctic Climate Variability and Trends from Satellite Observations’

    Xuanji Wang, Jeffrey Key, Yinghui Liu, Charles Fowler, James Maslanik, and Mark Tschudi

    The GHG parameter is:-

    LW↓srf, Downwelling longwave radiation at the surface (W/m2).

    In the table on page 4, all the Arctic ocean and polar cap LW↓srf trends are negative i.e. no increasing DLR from CO2.

    The Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) data (if anyone who wants to signs up for a user account at PANGAEA) for Barrow is here:-

    Given Gero and Turner 2011 didn’t find a year round positive increase in LW↓srf (DLR) at U.S. Southern Great Plains using surface AERI, I doubt there’s any difference at Barrow say.

    ‘Long-Term Trends in Downwelling Spectral Infrared Radiance over the U.S. Southern Great Plains’

    “The AERI data record demonstrates that the downwelling infrared radiance is decreasing over this 14-yr period in the winter, summer, and autumn seasons but it is increasing in the spring; these trends are statistically significant and are primarily due to long-term change in the cloudiness above the site.”

    P. Jonathan Gero
    David D. Turner

    (I can dig out a pdf link if required)

  43. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm said:

    Day et al don’t actually extract an anthropogenic component (what would it be – DLR?), even model based. In the conclusions they state:-

    “The effect of the AMO over the extended observational period 1953–2010 is much smaller since the record both begins and ends in a negative AMO state. This suggests that despite increased observational uncertainty in the pre-satellite era, the trend in SIE over this longer period is more likely to be representative of the anthropogenically forced component.”

    Only “more likely” anthro component but what is it – DLR? And just one cycle of the AMO, so as with Notz and Marotzke, they miss the 1920s – 1950s cycle. That’s not all that’s missing, they’ve stated earlier in the conclusions:-

    “However, missing physical processes in the GCMs may cause a lack of sensitivity to changes in atmospheric circulation”

    Ya think?

  44. Not pointless at all Andy. The Antarctic is losing more ice than it has historically over the summer period just as the Arctic is. The thing is that the Arctic loss is much much higher. WUWT and others point at winter extent and land ice to suggest that all is well but the Antarctic is changing too.

  45. Andrew W on September 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm said:

    That’s in your world, where making a definitive statement is a throwaway line, and waffling endlessly is seen to be the mark of intelligent debate.

    You weren’t helping out in the case against NIWA were you?

  46. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm said:

    “The Antarctic is losing more ice than it has historically over the summer period…”

    By what process and therefore attribution? Radiation? Atmospheric heat? SST? What?

  47. Australis,

    “All it [disappearance of the Arctic ice] proves is a bit of warming”.
    Why do you think that, Richard?

    Because I assume that the Arctic warming, said variously to be from 4 to 8 °C over the last 50 years or something, could have had some effect. Perhaps not measurable, but some. It might have made the ice a little easier for the wind to shift.

  48. RC, this is way off topic. What’s it doing here? Shall I delete it now?

  49. Andrew W on September 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm said:

    Arctic sea ice dispersed by storm – not hot air

    Can we agree on the basics.

    The ice was thinner than in most other recent years and thinner ice is more fragile.

  50. Yes we can probably agree on that

  51. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm said:

    “RC, this is way off topic”

    As is the thread above it

    “What’s it doing here?”

    Responding to the thread above it.

    “Shall I delete it now?”

    Yes sure, but why not delete the entire thread?

  52. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm said:

    “The ice was thinner than in most other recent years”

    No I don’t agree with that. My understanding is that the ice was as thin as in recent years (e.g. 2007) but thinner than earlier decades of the satellite era.

    But we don’t know what the relative thickness was pre-satellite over say 1920s – 1950s, neither do we know the extent for that era.

  53. I guess it depends on what you mean by recent. I was assuming the last few years

  54. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm said:

    Arctic Sea Ice: area, thickness, and volume trends 1979 – 2003

    Definite thickness inflexion 1997/98. What happened in 1997/98?

    The 2003 volume minimum (about 7,500 km3) corresponds to 2007 (about 6,000 km3) approximately here:-

    But that’s way below the 1979 – 1997 range (about 18,000 – 22,000 km3).

  55. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm said:

    Provenance of the Wikipedia area/thickness/volume graphs is:-

    Causes of Changes in Arctic Sea Ice
    Wieslaw Maslowski
    Naval Postgraduate School

    AMS ESSS Seminar, Washington, D.C., 3 May, 2006

    1. Observed summer sea ice extent change is most extreme in the western Arctic

    2. Combined atmospheric forcing (winds, advected heat, radiative flux) can explain only ~50% of sea ice extent variability (Francis et al., 2005)

    3. Summer sea ice extent variability in the 2000s does not correlate well with atmospheric forcing

    Since atmospheric forcing can explain only ~50% of the recent sea ice melt the remaining forcing must originate from the ocean

    Pacific Water forcing of sea ice in the western Arctic Ocean

    > Increased northward heat flux off the Chukchi Shelf coincides with the sea ice retreat in the 2000s
    > Oceanic forcing can explain ~60% of sea ice melt (both extent and thickness) in the western Arctic Ocean


    Up to 60% of recent decrease of sea ice in the Western Arctic can be due to oceanic forcing:

    > northward inflow of Pacific Water increased inflow of warmer water
    > Less ice allows more solar absorption, which leads to warmer ocean,
    which in turn will melt more sea ice (the so-called ice-albedo feedback)

    The increased heat fluxes via Pacific/Atlantic Water explain the lack of correlation between sea ice and atmospheric forcing in the 2000s

  56. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm said:

    “I was assuming the last few years”

    As it turns out you’re closer than me Andy going by Andrew’s plot here:-

    2010,11 and 12 coincide.

  57. Australis on September 28, 2012 at 12:44 am said:

    Ah! So it is the alleged air temperatures that prove a bit of warming – not the disappearance of ice acreage. That I can accept.

    But did those temperatures come from GISS? Nobody else pretends to post polar region temps, do they?

  58. Why the entire thread?

  59. Richard C (NZ) on September 28, 2012 at 9:10 am said:

    “Why the entire thread?”

    Because it’s off-topic (I’m referring to the sub-thread headed by Alexander’s comment)

  60. Richard C (NZ) on September 28, 2012 at 9:21 am said:

    Notz and Marotzke:-

    “…the incoming long-wave radiation dominates the annual mean surface heat balance of sea ice in the Arctic”

    Xuanji Wang, Jeffrey Key, Yinghui Liu, Charles Fowler, James Maslanik, and Mark Tschudi 2012 ‘Arctic Climate Variability and Trends from Satellite Observations’ (page 12):-

    “In general, the net shortwave radiative flux overwhelms the longwave radiative flux in the net all-wave radiative flux as shown in Figure 10″

  61. I’m surprised the 97/98 inflection is so clear in Richard C’s Wikipedia link.

    Does anyone have any idea what would have caused such a dramatic and sustained change? 98 was the year the global temperatures took a significant step up and they have remained high ever since so that would be my guess but I would be interested to hear any other suggestions.

  62. It’s a net loss if you combine the Arctic and Antarctic together:

  63. Richard C (NZ) on September 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm said:

    “Does anyone have any idea what would have caused such a dramatic and sustained change?”

    97/98 El Nino. Infusion of warm Pacific water into West Arctic Ocean followed by ice-albedo feedback. See ‘Causes of Changes in Arctic Sea Ice’, Wieslaw Maslowski (the provenance of the Wikipedia graphs) at this comment:-

    Link to Maslowski AMS seminar presentation:-

  64. Meanwhile Anthony Watts is reporting that Antarctica sea ice is near the record high of 2007

    As he says, this bipolar behaviour is interesting.

  65. Richard C (NZ) on September 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm said:

    Bipolar solar maximums may have something to do with it:-

    “Based on the movements of this cycle’s prominences, Altrock says that an especially weak solar maximum took place in the sun’s northern hemisphere around July last year (”

    “According to Altrock, the southern prominences are still on the move, but slowly. If they continue at the current rate, he says, the south will not reach its maximum until February 2014.”

  66. Richard C (NZ) on September 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm said:

    Looks like I’m not the only “Richard C” cooling doomsayer. This comment caught my eye under the post ‘Record snow in Brazil’ at Ice Age Now:-

    Richard C says:
    September 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    The Southern Ocean sea surface temps are close to a thirty year low along with a record high SAM index. What this means is that the Antarctic circumpacific current is being driven by record westerly winds that is resulting in record upwelling of deep cold antarctic basin water that through Ekman pumping is headed north to cool the entire Southern Hemisphere.

    La Nina domination will result and send the cold waters into the northern hemisphere.


    And Jo Nova speculates:-

    I expect that our non-hemispherist unbiased and diligent newspapers will be running with matching ones very soon. Based on news stories like this:

    * Arctic ice may completely collapse within 4 years: scientist
    * ‘Staggering’ Arctic ice loss smashes melt records
    * Record Loss Of Arctic Ice May Trigger Extreme Weather
    * Vanishing Arctic Ice Is the Planet’s White Flag of Surrender

    I can see ones like this:

    * Shock Antarctic sea ice growth shrinks Southern Ocean by 1 m Sq kilometers

    * Staggering explosion of sea ice scares penguin

    * The next ice-age approaches? Ominous warnings from Antarctica

    * Sea ice strangles ice-bound continent

    * Record Antarctic Sea Ice threatens whales: Mammals need to breathe says scientist.

    * Antarctic current survives 25m years of climate change. Wiped out by man in 20 years.

    * Antarctic ice will reach Argentina. Round-the-world Yacht Race “abandoned by 2050″

  67. I agree, his bipolar behaviour is interesting.

  68. Pingback: Prat watch #7: the unbearable rightness of being wrong

  69. You’re joking right?

  70. It’s really great to have this contribution from NZ science blogs who will no doubt enlighten us with their superior knowledge of sea ice dynamics

  71. Richard C (NZ) on September 29, 2012 at 8:51 am said:

    No, just raising the concurrent earth-sun bipolar situations. I don’t know what’s causing the earth situation but something must be. The sun being the major climate driver it seems sensible to look there.

  72. Richard C (NZ) on September 29, 2012 at 9:00 am said:


    “…there is clear evidence of rapid warming in the Arctic region, accompanied by a strong decline in the surface area, extent and volume of the sea ice, at a time when the planet as a whole is warming because of a rapid build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”

    He really should read this comment thread, especially as he then trots out Notz and Marotzke.

    Begs the question why these lightweight papers are still being churned out when the attribution was clear back in 2006.

  73. Richard C (NZ) on September 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm said:

    The sheer ignorance of the Hot Topic commenters so far has to be read to be believed.

  74. Richard C (NZ) on September 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm said:

    “Begs the question why these lightweight papers are still being churned out when the attribution was clear back in 2006″

    JC comment: I like the Wallace et al. paper, and Jerry North did a nice job with his commentary. However, none of this is news to me, since I have published two papers previously that came to same conclusions:

    * Recent Arctic sea ice variability: connections to the Arctic Oscillation and the ENSO
    * Causes of the northern high-latitude land surface winter climate change

    While there is a trend in the Arctic, the amplification is associated with natural internal variability. As per google scholar, the sea ice paper has 7 citations (miniscule) and the land paper has 41 citations (moderate). Neither paper was cited by Wallace et al., presumably they are unfamiliar with these papers.

    This brings to my mind the issue of ‘unknown knowns’, to expand upon Donald Rumsfeld’s vernacular. An ‘unknown known’ is something that somebody knows, but isn’t generally known (in this case it was known by myself and my coauthors and a handful of people that read the papers, but not sufficiently known to make into say an IPCC assessment or to be referred to in more than a few scientific papers).

    So how to make the knowns actually known? Sign up to be an IPCC author, so you can cite your own papers. Or issue a press release. Hmmm . . . There oughta be a better way.

    I’m not being critical of colleagues like Wallace et al.; in fact I wouldn’t have known about the Wallace et al. and North articles if Ronald Hirsch hadn’t sent me an email. How to really mine the published literature for knowledge remains a challenge, although the internet is an enormous boon.

  75. Australis on October 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm said:

    The believers have finally come up with a rebuttal to the self-evident suggestion that record increases in Antarctic sea ice offset the record decreases in Arctic sea ice:

    Just a coincidence they say. Anyhow, they knew long ago that this would happen. But the models say this see-sawing will stop sometime in the future.

    When you don’t have an argument, it’s often better not to enter the fray.

  76. Great article. I see that Mark Dearh Spiral Sereze is claiming that the Antartica is being kept cool by the man made ozone hole caused by evil CFCs

    Talk about doubling down. These guys have no cards left to play

  77. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 7:26 am said:

    Where have all the comments gone? There was about 98 yesterday, there’s only 78 today.

    Looks like everything between about Sept 29 and Oct 2 is missing.

  78. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 7:31 am said:

    The missing comments are still in the Comment Feed and Google Reader still has everything loaded.

  79. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 am said:

    Weird. There’s 94 comments when the post is accessed via Home. My comments are there from last night but those by Australis, Andy and myself this morning don’t appear (last comment October 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm). Nothing changes when the page is refreshed.

    But if I access via Andy’s last comment this morning in the comment feed, there’s 80 comments. My comments from last night and others back to about Sept 29 are not there but those by Australis, Andy and myself this morning do appear. Those from last night back to Sept 29 don’t appear when the page is refreshed however.

  80. Try Control + F5 to do a hard refresh on your browser. Those comments appear OK for me

  81. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 9:19 am said:

    No joy Andy. I cleared cache, cookies, history, everything, then did Control + F5.

    Doesn’t matter if everyone else sees it OK.

  82. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 9:41 am said:

    bill October 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm (my emphasis)


    Exactly. And to see truly moonumental (i.e. both lunar and highly significant!) ignorance, go to RT’s ‘Riposte’ discussion. That these people with their easily-refuted-by-a-high-school-text-book level howlers;; feel they may claim superior knowledge to the actually-qualified and extensively trained is truly astonishing! But less so if you’ve been following the debate…

    Of course bill doesn’t actually quote any “howlers” which absolves him from having to “easily” refute them with a “high-school-level-text-book”.

    Given that I’ve used observed Arctic DLR data from Francis and Hunter 2007 and the IPCC’s own CO2 forcing expression to negate the possibility of any anthropogenic CO2 attribution (or any CO2 for that matter) to Arctic SIE, I’d REALLY like to read his high-school-level-text-book.

  83. It might be a server-side caching problem then

  84. Rob Taylor October 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Yes, the intellectual dwarfism and cowardice of Treadgold and his ilk is vividly demonstrated by their need to ban knowledgeable posters who pop their bubble of delusion.

  85. Richard C (NZ) on October 3, 2012 at 10:23 am said:

    The only offering from Rob Taylor is Yackel’s view so he’s a vicariously “knowledgeable poster” at best.

    Since Yackel doesn’t make an anthropogenic attribution to Arctic SIE, all that Rob popped was any notion that he knows what he’s on about.

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