Antarctic ice expands “against odds”Richard Treadgold | October 6, 2012
From a scientist friend, who comments:
About two weeks after it was noised on various blogs and electronic news sources, and is old “news”, The Australian finally deigns to notice the record Antarctic sea-ice (I wonder whether the SMH and The Age will now me-too the story as well?). Leaving aside the wonderful headline, the article itself is a classic attempt to weasel out of accepting the obvious conclusion. The scientists involved really ARE shameless.
I entirely agree with him. This story presents a deplorable mish-mash of propaganda from a scientist who should be a lot better behaved. Be nice to see this covered in the Herald – or has it been – anyone know?
PAYWALLED AT: The Australian.
* by: Graham Lloyd
* From: The Australian
* October 06, 2012 12:00AM
ANTARCTIC sea ice has expanded to cover the largest area recorded since satellite mapping began more than three decades ago, in stark contrast to this year’s record melt on the northern pole.
The expansion continues a trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice cover of about 1 per cent a decade and is at odds with predictions of climate change models that continue to forecast a long-term decline.
Rob Massom from the Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre in Hobart said this week: “The message is there is a lot of work to better understand what processes are occurring around Antarctica and the role of these processes in affecting sea ice.” Dr Massom said the most authoritative climate change models forecast a loss of up to 30 per cent of Antarctic sea ice by the end of the century, and did not indicate the present expansion.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, Antarctic sea ice reached a maximum extent of 19.44 million square kilometres on September 26.
The September 2012 monthly average was also a record high at 19.39 million square kilometres, slightly higher than the previous record in 2006.
The record sea ice accumulation in Antarctica was in stark contrast to this year’s record melt in the Arctic, where sea ice fell to the lowest extent in the satellite record.
The Arctic melt, to a low of 3.41 million square kilometres on September 16, occurred without the unusual weather conditions that contributed to the extreme melt of 2007, the previous record low, but the extent of this year’s ice loss was affected by a severe storm.
The retreat of Arctic ice is happening faster than climate models have predicted.
Climate scientists have said the behaviour of ice cover at the two poles is not connected.
Dr Massom said despite the fact Antarctic sea ice was not melting as had been predicted by climate models, there was still cause for concern.
He is midway through a two-month voyage to the Antarctic pack ice aboard the Australian research vessel Aurora Australis.
Speaking from the ship at about 64 degrees south in the sea ice zone this week, Dr Massom said the Antarctic sea ice was shifting as well as expanding, giving a possible clue as to what was taking place.
“Although the extent of sea ice overall is increasing in the Antarctic, there are strong regional contrasts,” Dr Massom said.
“In certain regions the extent and duration of sea ice is much less on the Antarctic peninsula than it used to be. Some of the changes in Antarctica are strongly negative, as they are in the Arctic.”
Dr Massom said some people would seize upon this year’s Antarctic sea ice record to question climate change predictions, but he said it was a “very complex system . . . In general there are signs that things are changing”.
“The break up of the Larson Ice Shelf in 2002 was a very timely reminder that there is rapid change occurring in certain regions of Antarctica,” Dr Massom said.
One possible explanation for the increase in sea ice was changing patterns of large-scale atmospheric circulation.
This included an increasing intensity of the westerly wind field around Antarctica, which could be leading to a greater extent of sea ice overall.
“Again, this masks the fact that in certain areas there has been quite a significant decrease where in other areas there has been an increase,” he said.
“One of the reasons we are down on this ship doing experiments is we are still struggling to understand what are the processes affecting Antarctic sea ice the role of sea ice in the global climate system, how it affects the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere.
“And we are still at a stage where the models are in slight disagreement with what we are observing. A lot of our work is aiming at picking that gap between what we are observing and what the models are telling us.”
There’s a continuing effort to improve the GCMs. That’s necessary and applaudable. But, while the models so conspicuously contradict observations, warmists should stop pretending that they are skillful enough to inform policy.