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  1. Thank you. This was most timely.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Feb 2008 @ 5:41 PM

  2. yes, thanks for that, well written.

    Comment by David Wilson — 12 Feb 2008 @ 6:00 PM

  3. Thanks for the article, all useful ammunition to argue against the sceptics, though to be honest, it doesn’t seem to matter what arguments you employ, they are rigidly committed to their point of view “that’s exactly what you would say about the Antarctic, very convenient, but it doesn’t convince me” . It’s interesting that the Arctic ice area at the moment is more nearly back to normal after its alarming summer loss last year. Of course, the ice being only one winter ice, it might melt back very quickly this spring, it will be very interesting indeed to see what transpires. But basically, if the summer ice does go quickly, which is what a number of scientists are predicting, and I thought was likely, we are going to see a very different world shortly, a planet of two halves, a quickly warming north, and a much colder south. Are there any predictions as to how quickly the North Pole area will heat up once the summer ice as gone and what sort of maximum temperature we could reach, say, 20 to 50 years after this event? Have the latest climate models taken into account a possible early loss of Arctic ice, by say 2013, and if they have, how do they differ from the previous ones?

    Comment by John Monro — 12 Feb 2008 @ 6:12 PM

  4. So as the ice melts and there is more water in the oceans, there will be more water to heat up slowly and it will take even longer for people to realise what’s going on?

    Comment by WR Western — 12 Feb 2008 @ 6:44 PM

  5. It looks like the conditions that lead to the record sea ice melt last year are continuing. If you’ve got a bet on the sea ice you may want to check out this article:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/02/12/national/a150504S64.DTL&type=science

    Comment by Ken Feldman — 12 Feb 2008 @ 6:47 PM

  6. This is off topic, but I am curious.

    What do you consider to be the 3 most compelling arguments commonly used to support anthropogenic climate change? How about the 3 most common arguments used by “climate deniers?”

    Comment by M. Ken — 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:03 PM

  7. The stratosphere is colder now, and if the polar vortex brings that colder air down to the South Pole, wouldn’t it be colder at least when the polar vortex is happening?

    Comment by Bob Maginnis — 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:06 PM

  8. Thanks for that explanation. Could you add a few words explaining why, in contrast, the Antarctic Peninsular is warming rapidly?

    Comment by Slioch — 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:09 PM

  9. I need to get this straight. Are you saying that the latest models predict that the Antartic will actually cool as opposed to simply warm more slowy? If so, what is the mechanism for the predicted Antartic cooling? Intuitively you would think that the oceans would simply slow the warming.

    Comment by Svet — 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:56 PM

  10. And it looks like the conditions that led to the record sea ice melt in 2007
    are continuing and 2008 summer stats will be interesting. If you’ve got a bet on the sea ice you may also want to check out this article from
    the New York Times:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/arctic-melt-yields-hints-of-bigger-us-seabed-claim/

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:59 PM

  11. [Svet at #9] – I think the ozone hole, and atmospheric circulation changes that occur as a result, is implicated with this, but I have not read enough about it to be sure.

    Consequent to this, I did hear that Antarctica would experience a catch-up when the ozone hole recovered, but that the current generation of climate models could not predict that because they do not model the stratosphere properly.

    Perhaps the mechanisms that cause the predicted Antarctic cooling in the models are not well understood? A job for an intercomparison using the AR4 database I suppose…

    Comment by Timothy — 12 Feb 2008 @ 8:18 PM

  12. M. Ken (6) — Click on the Start Here link at the top of the main page. If that is not enough, read The Discovery of Global Warming, the pages being linked first in the Science Links section of the side-bar.

    Slioch (8) — I’m but an amateur here. I’ll opine that inside (south) of the south polar vortex it is quite cold, but that the Antarctic Pennisula is now outside (north) of it due to global warming.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Feb 2008 @ 8:22 PM

  13. By the way, this link is to a cartoon caption contest, about climate change and global warming, two blokes are standing in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter gives one of them or both of them the thumbs down sign, implying they or one of them was not admitted. You can add your humorous or serious or pithy comments, on a rainy or snowy day, there:

    http://northwardho.blogspot.com/2008/02/global-warming-cartoon-caption-contest.html

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 12 Feb 2008 @ 8:50 PM

  14. It may be worth emphasizing how important this prediction of slow warming of the Southern Oceans is for the evolution of the ice sheet. Warming of the waters underneath the ice shelves and the melting of those shelves is a central concern of glaciologists worried about the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Could models be underestimating the amount of heat that will be mixed by ocean eddies across the Circumpolar Current from warming waters to the north? I hope not, but it’s something to monitor very carefully. Our understanding of those mixing processes is far from fully satisfactory.

    Comment by isaac held — 12 Feb 2008 @ 10:01 PM

  15. “While the water was warming up, the world’s perception of climate change would be delayed … how the world’s temperature would look in equilibrium. But in the real world, when the rising level of gas reached that point the system would still be a long way from equilibrium. “We may not be given a warning until the CO2 loading is such that an appreciable climate change is inevitable,” a National Academy of Sciences panel warned in 1979.(1)”

    This is fabulous. Now we can deny falsifications of the models at least 50 years on. Good for us!

    Let’s see. The heating of the oceans from warmth in the atmosphere will be stored in the deep oceans (where you can’t measure it?) so the warmth of the atmosphere will not occur. That’s logical. But which warmth will then go to the deep blue? Don’t care!

    Probably the models can be adjusted for a little ice age according to the statement of the scientist 1979. Well! We’ll need it. The new GISS data is really horrible. It can’t be the sun!

    Good luck with the new model. Create an exception state for frozen northern and southern hemisphere. It’s a few more ppm CO2, remember.

    “For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    Absolutely, the models have predicted the pattern the last 50 years. Great work!

    Comment by Magnus — 12 Feb 2008 @ 11:03 PM

  16. How can you change your models after one statement from a scientist due to a delay in heating? The models will allways be with you, but a little afterward, or? What does the model (models?) say about the 0.75 degrees C drop of the GISS temperature between january 2007 and january 2008?

    Comment by Magnus — 12 Feb 2008 @ 11:12 PM

  17. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20080116/
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20080116/208422main_global_temp_change.jpg

    Dr. Weart, many thanks. I’ve been noticing new pages at the AIP History site (unless I’d just missed them) and really continue to appreciate your work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:06 AM

  18. The models probably say something like, “When you compare the hottest month in the GISTEMP analysis to the coldest month in 13 years, you get a large difference.” I see from various posting around the blogosphere that we are witnessing the birth of a new skeptical talking point . . . “Global Warming stopped in January of 2007!”

    Comment by cce — 13 Feb 2008 @ 2:47 AM

  19. I simply don’t understand the title of this blog “We Knew That”. I just looked at the IPCC AR4WG1 Summary. On Page 15 it shows Projections of Surface Temperatures. 2020-2029 show the Antarctic Warming by up to +1.0C. 2090-2099 shows a Warming in the Antarctic of around +3.0C to +4.0C.

    Nowhere in this latest projection map from the IPCC, which I assume are from model precictions, is any cooling shown?

    (Changes are relative to the period 1980-1999)

    I’ll have to check what the 2001 and 1995 reports say regarding this.

    Comment by Pete — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:25 AM

  20. This is true, …, but, current IPCC-models (AR4) do predict a decrease in sea ice even for the late 20th century, which obviously did not happen. Even more, I have the impression that the sea-ice simulations for the period 1979-2007 are as much of in the Southern Ocean as in the Arctic Ocean, but in a different direction of course. More information can be found in Lefebvre and Goosse (2008) (sorry for the selfpromotion).

    Complete reference: Lefebvre W. and H. Goosse, 2008b: Analysis of the projected regional sea ice changes in the Southern Ocean during the 21st century, Climate Dynamics, 30, 59-76, DOI 10.1007/s00382-007-0273-6.

    Comment by Wouter Lefebvre — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:35 AM

  21. Ref 6 M.Ken writes “How about the 3 most common arguments used by “climate deniers?”
    We only need one argument, though there are, of course, many more. If you do the right sort of analysis of world temperature anomaly against time over the last 30 years or so, it is clear that temperatures have gone through a shallow maximum, and the temperature/time graph, as of now, is negative. This despite an unprecedented rise in the concentration of CO2. The effect, to me, is clearly not due to random changes in weather. This means that either CO2 has no effect on temperature, or some other climate effect is over-riding the effect of CO2. In which case, what is this other climate effect?

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:36 AM

  22. The review article by Manabe and Stouffer (2007) is available online from the Journal’s web page at
    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jmsj/85B/0/_contents/-char/en/ .

    Comment by Kooiti Masuda — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:45 AM

  23. Magnus

    the models say nothing about the strong La Niña episode that we know this time.
    We get the same situation in 2000.

    If you read a little french look at this blog :www.climat-evolution.com

    and particularly this article:

    http://www.climat-evolution.com/article-15081674.html

    Comment by Pascal — 13 Feb 2008 @ 5:28 AM

  24. #9 Svet,

    The temperature of the Antarctic Continental interior is likely to be dominated by the behaviour of the Southern Annular Mode.
    e.g. from a quick google…
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2004/2004100617707.html
    “Since the late 1960s, the SAM has more and more favored its positive phase, leading to stronger westerly winds. These stronger westerly winds act as a kind of wall that isolates cold Antarctic air from warmer air in the lower latitudes, which leads to cooler temperatures.”
    and
    “Half-century seasonal relationships between the Southern Annular Mode and Antarctic temperatures” Marshall.
    http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/1066/1/Marshall.pdf

    #16 Magnus,

    Climate models say nothing about January 2007-January 2008, because they’re climate models.

    Climate is not weather.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:02 AM

  25. Explain this projection from Hansen please: http://www.climateaudit.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/southe3.jpg

    See all that red in Antarctica? That’s not projected cooling….

    Comment by MattN — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:30 AM

  26. Chapter 11 on Regional Projections in the IPCC AR4 has a section on the observed and projected changes in the polar regions. Observations since 1936 (p.904) show a warming in Antarctica of about 2 degrees, projected to rise to 3-4 degrees by 2100. Page 857 shows projections from 21 models for the A1B scenraio – 1.4 to 5 degrees of warming from 1980-1999 to 2080-2099.

    I think this is different to your implication that models predict Antarctica will get colder. They dont.

    A better way to refute the skeptic’s argument might be to show that the Antarcic is not in fact getting colder, just warming slowly. As predicted by models.

    Comment by Edward Tredger — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:31 AM

  27. M. Ken writes:

    [[What do you consider to be the 3 most compelling arguments commonly used to support anthropogenic climate change?]]

    The known properties of greenhouse gases.
    The known increase in greenhouse gases.
    The observed warming and associated climate effects.

    [[ How about the 3 most common arguments used by “climate deniers?”]]

    There’s no warming; the surface temperature stations are wrong.
    The sun is causing the warming.
    Global warming stopped in 1998.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:06 AM

  28. Magnus writes:

    [[What does the model (models?) say about the 0.75 degrees C drop of the GISS temperature between january 2007 and january 2008?]]

    Not a damn thing, since a sample size of two years is too short to be meaningful. There will be little jogs up and down; the trend is still up.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:09 AM

  29. The January 2008 GISS temp is an anomaly of 0.12C from the 1951 to 1980 average baseline. Considering 1951 to 1980 was a cool period, that means the 2007 cool-down (La Nina induced) was a major event.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Antarctica is very cold right now as is the northern half of North America and Southern Asia (7-day temp anomaly map from the NOAA.)

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html

    Comment by John Wegner — 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:54 AM

  30. Magnus, #15 and #16, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not a native English speaker, because your take on this article is totally a product of your own fevered imagination. There is plenty of evidence for warming–and it is mostly from the Northern Hemisphere, as predicted by the models. So since the models are being verified by the evidence, explain exactly how there should be any talk of falsification?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2008 @ 9:09 AM

  31. It’s interesting to note how slightly colder than average temperatures (such as currently observed in most of the northern hemisphere) seem to have much more immediate and significant negative impacts on human, animal, and plant populations than do warmer than average temperatures (it was minus 36C with a 20KM wind blowing straight into my parka hood this morning on my walk to work – bring on some of that warming or give me my money back!!).

    Comment by Rando — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:24 AM

  32. In addition to the aborbtion capacity of the ocean, there is a paper by Gavin and Drew Shindell on a study of which explores the decrease in atmospheric ozone levels and its impacts on Antarctic surface temperatures,which corroborates the reasons for the present cooling.
    http://www.uib.no/People/ngfsh/GRL2004.html
    Scroll down a little more than halfway down the page for and an abstract of this article and access to the full article. The title of the report is “Southern Hemisphere climate response to ozone changes and greenhouse gas increases.” by Drew T. Shindell and Gavin A. Schmidt.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:31 AM

  33. And the Arctic is ever less cold:


    Polar ice pack loss may break 2007 record

    TREND: Ocean currents, global warming and wind combine to leave the Arctic ice fragile.

    By TOM KIZZIA
    tkizzia@adn.com | tkizzia@adn.com

    Published: February 12th, 2008 12:02 AM
    Last Modified: February 12th, 2008 10:06 AM

    New data this winter on Arctic winds and currents indicate that next summer’s ice loss at the North Pole may be even greater than 2007′s record-setting shrinkage.

    The last remnants of thick, old sea ice are dispersing, and the unusual weather cycles that contributed to last year’s loss of ice are continuing, a climatologist told an Anchorage conference Monday.

    “The buoys are streaming out,” said University of Washington climatologist Ignatius Rigor, referring to the satellite-tracked markers used to monitor the flushing of ice into the North Atlantic. Such a pattern preceded last summer’s record ice loss but was not expected to continue so strongly.

    Scientists are watching the polar ice closely, trying to sort out the effects of global warming and natural cyclical changes.

    Formal projections of next summer’s expected ice loss won’t be made for another month or so. But all indications to date are that ice loss will equal or exceed last year’s, “unless the winds turn around,” Rigor said at an environmental science conference at the Egan Center. …

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:31 AM

  34. Why is nobody catching this key point, it has been termed “Global Warming” for a reason– because the models predict warming across the globe.
    Now, because the data doesn’t support the “best guess”, the term should be changed to reflect the current state of knowledge, rather than the past state of “best guess.”

    Comment by Gaelan Clark — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:33 AM

  35. It’s interesting to note how slightly colder than average temperatures (such as currently observed in most of the northern hemisphere) seem to have much more immediate and significant negative impacts on human, animal, and plant populations than do warmer than average temperatures

    Interesting how one of the favorite “we hate the French” stories making its way through the blogosphere a few years ago highlighted the fact that tens of thousands of people died during an intense heat wave in France about a decade ago.

    But perhaps the new meme is that death isn’t an “immediate and significant negative impacts on human populations” …

    Comment by dhogaza — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  36. Re #25: It is a fallacy to presume that all GCM runs have the same purpose. You need to provide more context than “Hansen”.

    That said, the map is pretty much neutral in the Antarctic interior, in agreement rather than disagreement with the historical prognoses Weart mentions.

    One gets the sense that MattN is trying to jump from a perceived modest disagreement between Weart’s summary and a GISS model run to a conclusion that there is no greenhouse effect to worry about.

    For anyone thinking like that, it is necessary to back off discussion of Antarctica to point out that while the agreement between theory, model and observation is not perfect, it is quite substantial. Following up to Barton’s summary in #27, dismissing the consensus of essentially every major scientific body on this question requires

    1) explanation of why the natural greenhouse effect fails with artificial greenhouse gases

    2) explanation of what bizarre coincidence is causing substantial warming of the amplitude, vertical distribution and latitudinal distribution broadly consistent with model and theory of greenhous3e forcing

    For context, it is fairly clear that the output referred to is obtained from http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2665 , context therein makes it clear that these are model predictions from the 1980′s, and that the purpose of bringing them up is to nitpick about Hansen’s testimony to congress at that time, and not to discuss Antarctic dynamics.

    Politics aside, one shouldn’t stress the results of coupled climate models from 1988 too much, though. Although I am concerned that progress in climate modeling has slowed down, the decade from 1988 to 1998 was a period of enormous progress in climate modeling.

    Whether Hansen’s 1988 testimony was impeccable or not might affect your opinion of him, but it will not change the dynamics of the climate system a bit. It’s the climate system, not Hansen, we need to think about.

    Please take note of what Dr. Held says above in #14. We don’t know the dynamics of the ice shelf very well. Rapid ocean warming in the vicinity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (notably Thwaite and Pine Island glaciers) could have very serious global consequences. Further investigation of this matter is important. Twenty year old projections about it are not.

    The uncertainty about the Antarctic coastal area is very important both scientifically and from an impacts point of view, but it’s a small part of the whole picture. What Weart’s article says is that it is not a great surprise that the temperature signal from Antarctica is ambiguous, no more and no less.

    Satisfactory models of the coupling between the Antarctic ice sheet and the rest of the climate system do not yet exist. As it becomes sadly and perhaps tragically clear that we are not going to avoid a large perturbation to the system, this becomes much less of a purely academic question than one might hope.

    Comment by Michael Tobis — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:47 AM

  37. I believe the position is that much of Antarctica is not expected to warm any faster than any other parts of the globe. Certainly, parts of it have cooled, while the Antarctic Peninsula is the fastest warming area on Earth.

    Comment by cce — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:53 AM

  38. There are a vast number of behaviors of the climate system that are consistent with climate model predictions, along the lines of your conclusion: “A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming.”

    I have asked many times and never received an answer here: What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales? This should be a simple question to answer.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Roger Pielke. Jr. — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:00 AM

  39. Re: Hansen’s 1988 scenarios

    Go to http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

    Choose the Hadl/Reyn_v2 Ocean
    Choose the Summer mean period (winter in Antarctica)
    Time Interval 1990 to 1999

    Compare it to scenario B (bottom)

    They are not substantially different. In particular, note the reddest parts on earth.

    Comment by cce — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:05 AM

  40. Global warming is a fact of life. What may be still in dispute is if human activity has caused this, or is adding to it. I read an interest article, cannot remember where, that NASA scientists had spotted evidence of similar warming on the planet Mars by comparing some of the earlier photographs of its surface with some of the latest photographs. It has been suggested that this may be caused by the Sun warming up, and also the cycles of Sunspots.

    The logic then dictates that if Mars shows certain evidence of the Global warming phenomena, then surely the same effect could apply to our own planet Earth — ie: the Sun warming up which may be part of the equation as well.

    Comment by B Carke — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:12 AM

  41. Re Roger’s question in 38, it’s clear that climate models have badly underestimated the rate of ice melt in the Arctic. These observations certainly “contradict models of global warming.”

    With the new observations in hand, model improvements are underway. Science at work!

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:25 AM

  42. Re #6 M. Ken

    What do you consider to be the 3 most compelling arguments commonly used to support anthropogenic climate change?

    I assume you mean: compelling to the general public, not scientists.

    In that case there is one compelling argument, no science required: the well-documented dishonesty and character flaws / attitude problems of its detractors. Fake credentials, being on the take, using deceptive letterheads, deceptive names-dropping, foul language, continuing to repeat long-debunked falsehoods, and inability to apply basic statistical methodology (is stupidity a character flaw?). And with some denialist scientists who should know better, the use of populist “arguments” like “they cannot even predict the weather one week from now…” are a dead giveaway.

    The problem with scientific arguments, even strong ones, is that people without a science background don’t find those compelling ever — they just yawn. And by the time there are compelling arguments of a more practical nature — as there will be! — it will be late in the game.

    (BTW why do you ask for three? Einstein reportedly commented on the pamphlet One hundred authors against Einstein: “If I were wrong, one would have been enough”.)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  43. “I have asked many times and never received an answer here: What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales? This should be a simple question to answer.”

    How about average global temperature records over the past century? If the graph descended at the same rate that it actually increases, that would be compelling evidence that the models are wrong. Similarly, if greenhouse gas concentrations rise in a business as usual scenario and the average global temperature over the next 30 years or so shows a consistent decline, when suitably smoothed and there is no obvious explanation such as a series of major volcanic eruptions on a global scale, then we could conclude that the models were not sufficiently reliable to base policy on. Of course, after 30 years, Pielke could ask the same question again.

    More important, it is not a simple question to answer. The climate system is very complex. So there can’t be a simple way to establish the validity of any model of that system. That is why the IPCC Reports devote entire chapters to questions of evaluations and validation.

    It is interesting that the same argument is often made against evolution, i.e., that it is a theory which is not falsifiable. Of course there are many observations which could falsify it, but such observations don’t exist. In fact, any scientific theory is not falsifiable in the strict sense. Scientists will always try to rescue a theory which has been very successful when presented with seemingly contradictory evidence, and that may require some incremental modifications of the theory. Usually they succeed, but on occasion they don’t, and we have a scientific revolution.

    And of course, often observational data which seems to contradict a well supported theory is wrong. Steven Weinberg has described how he once wasted a summer trying to reconcile his theoretical predictions with the latest experimental results in high energy physics only to discover at the end that the observations were faulty.

    A scientific theory will be abandoned if in balance it is inconsistent with observations. In the long run we will know how reliable climate models are. If, in fact, there are some fundamental reasons why climate models can never be sufficiently accurate to act as a guide, we should discover it. but it won’t be through a simple test. If Pielke wants to contribute constructively to this area of science, he should become a climate modeler himself and discuss such questions in the scientific literature. Otherwise, unless he can present some strong reason for doubting the competence or objectivity of people who do such work, he should listen to people who do work in the area.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:30 PM

  44. Jim Cripwell writes:

    [[ If you do the right sort of analysis of world temperature anomaly against time over the last 30 years or so, it is clear that temperatures have gone through a shallow maximum, and the temperature/time graph, as of now, is negative.]]

    By “the right kind” of analysis do you mean a statistically invalid one? Because the only meaningful fit to that data is a linear one going up.

    [[ This despite an unprecedented rise in the concentration of CO2. The effect, to me, is clearly not due to random changes in weather. This means that either CO2 has no effect on temperature,]]

    And a great deal of what we thought we knew about radiation physics and even quantum mechanics is wrong…

    [[ or some other climate effect is over-riding the effect of CO2.]]

    Or that your analysis is wrong.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:31 PM

  45. #23 Pascal:
    The temperature have plunged down 0.75 C the last year. This is not shown in that post with data to mid 2007. Actually it has plunged down since October, on the northern hemisphere where there is snow record since 1966 and in Asia lots of 50- and 100 years record low temperatures. The temperature is now close to the late 1070th and if this is a trend the AGW has problem, don’t you see?

    GISS-data januari 2008:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/giss-jan08.png

    #24 Cobblyworlds: “Climate is not weather.”

    That’s a standard phrase indeed. Didn’t heard about it in the alarmism of El Nino year 1998…

    Weather is one building block of the climate and the annual temperature is of the same unit as climate (degrees F/C/K/…). If the global temperature now plunge down we need an explanation for this. (El Nina, yes; but it’s weak compared to El Nino, and these phenomenon partly redistribute temperature.) Carbon dioxide isn’t one, but the sun activity is one which also has co-varianced well with decadal temperature in the past (with about a delay of about an 11 year suncycle). We can also compare the temperature the years near 2008 with those 30 years ago, and the difference isn’t large anough to be according to the models.

    Also models are used to, and the construction of the climate models really includes weather! But the knowlwdge of what is driving climate is very weak. I think they are sure about only 3 out of 9 factors and no long term predicting model can be accurate, since the instability and uncertainty of a model incrase exponentially in time. This uncertainty even with very good knowledge about driving forces! Certainty in the IPCC models is based upon lots of axiomatic assumptions in the rules of the model in order to give a “certain” result. And you can also check the temperature limits for certain periods of times in the models 2010-2019 or 2090-2099, and this decade we are well below the models.

    #28 Barton Paul Levenson:
    First I don’t talk about the stagnation of 2002 and 2003 which they think has been prolonged, but a plunge into colder temperatures the last monthes. La Nina is strong but no “ElNino-98″. It also shal partly redistribute temperature, not cool it like this. Still cosmic ray and clouds covariance (with 99 or acove 99.5 % significance according to Palle/Butler/O’Brian). We’ll see wha happens, but we are not within the predictions of the models as long as the temperature of the latest month continues or even drop. You have to admit this, and you have to show strong evidence for that La Nina cooling as well as disprove Palle/Butler/O’Brian. Good luck!

    (BTW: The 0.1 degrees C trend since 1980 isn’t historically exceptional, all proxies shows without any doubt. The reason for this upward trend can be the same as previously in history.)

    Realclimate.org:
    BTW it’s smart to focus on the Antarctica now, bvecause of the climate oscillation between the northern hemisphere and southern pole. Great work!

    Comment by Magnus — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:35 PM

  46. Roger Pielke Jr. writes:

    [[I have asked many times and never received an answer here: What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales? This should be a simple question to answer.]]

    Sustained global cooling would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that.

    Greater warming at the equator than at the poles would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Greater warming during the day than at night would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Greater rainfall in continental interiors would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Milder weather along coastlines would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Treelines moving toward the equator would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Increasing arctic ice coverage would contradict it. But we’re not seeing that either.

    Does that help?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:38 PM

  47. B Carke writes:

    [[ I read an interest article, cannot remember where, that NASA scientists had spotted evidence of similar warming on the planet Mars by comparing some of the earlier photographs of its surface with some of the latest photographs. It has been suggested that this may be caused by the Sun warming up, and also the cycles of Sunspots.
    The logic then dictates that if Mars shows certain evidence of the Global warming phenomena, then surely the same effect could apply to our own planet Earth — ie: the Sun warming up which may be part of the equation as well.
    ]]

    Except that the Martian warming is due to albedo changes, not increased sunlight. Sunlight hasn’t increased. We’ve been measuring it from satellites for decades:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/LeanTSI.html

    If the sun were brightening, all the planets would be expected to warm by the same amount, all else being equal. But Earth, Mars, Triton and Pluto are warming by unequal amounts, and Uranus is cooling, and Venus may be cooling, and Luna and Mercury are unchanged. That would be kind of hard to achieve with increased sunlight.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:41 PM

  48. It would really be nice to have a threaded blog, especially now that this site is popular enough to sometimes get hundredst of responses to blog entries.

    Science is a process of perfecting your models, and denying your mistakes like this blog entry does does little to lend your arguments credibility. Early GCMs got the temperature change in the interior of Antarctica badly wrong, prediciting large temperature increases by the present time. They also got the temperature change in the Antarctic Peninusla badly wrong, seriously underestimating the temperature increase there. Both of these problems were due to a failure to account for the ozone hole, which was not understood when the early GCMs were made, and continued to be poorly represented in many models for a long time. With the ozone hole added, the annular mode of Antarctic circulation strengthens and locks cold air in the interior of the continent. Models with the ozone hole added do a good job of prediciting the recent temperature trends of Antarctica in recent decades.

    Even taking this into account, however, the Southern Hemisphere as a whole has been anomalously cold for the past few years, and the Arctic has been anomalyously warm. The response from this site has been that this the models have it right, and this is only an extreme (for the Arctic at least) anomalous weather event and we shouldn’t read much to significance into it. It may be so, but a serious discussion of the anomaly should include looking at the probability of a similar event happening in the current GCMs, and looking at those model outliers which match the current ocean SST and sea ice, and looking at whether the Southern Hemisphere is anomalously cold with high sea ice during an extreme summer Arctic sea meltoff.

    “Yeah, we new that,” is not a serious discussion of the significance (or lack thereof) of this cold anomaly.

    Comment by Blaine — 13 Feb 2008 @ 12:55 PM

  49. #43 Leonard Evens tells us that it will take 30 years of declining temperatures before he would even begin to doubt the validity of the current climate models. He is certainly to be congratulated on demonstrating that he is indeed a true believer, but do the rest of us really expected to have to suffer all the negative consequences of carbon-reduction policies for 30 years before we are allowed to be sceptics?

    Comment by Patrick Hadley — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:03 PM

  50. B. Clarke says “The logic then dictates that if Mars shows certain evidence of the Global warming phenomena, then surely the same effect could apply to our own planet Earth — ie: the Sun warming up which may be part of the equation as well.”

    Well, except that Mars and Earth really aren’t all that similar, are they. Earth has oceans. Mars doesn’t. Earth has biology. Mars? Nope. Actually, the observations you are referring to showed some evaporation of CO2 ice at Mars’ southern pole, I think. The reason is because there have been a lot fewer dust storms on Mars of late, thus allowing more sunlight to sublimate the CO2. Nice try, but we can measure sunlight. It’s not increasing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:27 PM

  51. Roger, your question is rather broad and vague. What aspect of the science are you seeking to falsify? See, that is precisely the problem when you have a theory that draws support from such a broad range of phenomena and studies as does the current theory of climate. It is rather like saying, “How would we falsify the theory of evolution?” When a theory has made many predictions and explained many diverse phenomena, it is quite difficult to falsify as a whole. You may be able to look at pieces of it and add to the understanding. Climate science is quite a mature field; future revolutions are quite unlikely. Changes will come but will likely be incremental. It is very hard to envision a development that would significantly alter our understanding of greenhouse forcing unless our whole understanding of climate is radically wrong, and that seems unlikely.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:44 PM

  52. B Clarke in #40 says that GW on Mars casts doubt on a human cause for GW on Earth. This is a long-discredited argument that sometimes resurfaces – for starters, please enter “Global warming on Mars?” (with the question mark) into the search box at the top of this page.

    Comment by Ian — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  53. Here is some relevant news about the Antarctic:

    King Penguin Faces Extinction Due to Climate Change
    by Roger Highfield
    Tuesday, February 12, 2008
    The Telegraph/UK

    The prospect that the King penguin will go extinct as a result of climate warming is rising inexorably, scientists say today.

    Second only to Emperor penguins in size, King Penguins – distinguished by their ear patches of bright golden-orange feathers – thrive on the islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, with a total population of over two million breeding pairs.

    Because King penguins sit on the food chain in their region, they are sensitive indicators of alterations to the marine ecosystem and feel the effects of climate change more keenly as a result – in this case, the warming is reducing their food supply.

    Global warming is happening much more quickly in some parts of the frozen continent, particularly the north-west area known as the Antarctic Peninsula, where in the last 50 years temperatures have risen by about 2.5 degrees Centigrade – as much as five times the world average.

    But for these penguins, which do not live near the peninsula, the effects are caused by a warming of sub polar sea surface temperatures.

    A decade ago, Yvon Le Maho of the CNRS Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Strasbourg, and an engineer began a study of the breeding and survival of penguins on Possession Island in the Crozet Archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean that continued over the course of nine years, marking the birds with electronic tags under the skin as the penguins migrated.

    With Céline Le Bohec and colleagues, Dr Le Maho shows today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that high sea surface temperatures in the penguins wintering range, where two thirds of the world’s population of this species reside, diminished the amount of available marine prey, which decreased the survival of adult King penguins since they had to travel greater distances to find food.

    The birds feed on small fish and squid, relying less on krill and other small crustaceans than many other sea mammals, and the find suggests that these species are suffering as a result of warming of the Southern Ocean.

    Using a mathematical model, the scientists calculate that there will be a nine per cent decline in the adult penguin population for every 0.26 degrees Centigrade of sea surface warming, suggesting that this population is at high risk under current global warming conditions, which predict an average increase of 0.2 degrees Centigrade per decade for the next two decades.

    They conclude that there is a “heavy extinction risk” given current global warming predictions of a 0.4 degrees Centigrade rise over two decades, which cuts the chance of survival from 95 per cent to 80 per cent.

    King penguins breed on seven sub-Antarctic island groups with large populations on the Falkland Islands, Macquarie Islands, Heard Island, Iles Crozet and Marion island and other sea birds will face similar problems.

    A recent report by the environmental conservation group WWF is warning that rising temperatures and the resulting loss of sea ice is robbing other species of the emblematic birds of the nesting grounds they need to breed successfully while lading a reduction in the availability of krill which they rely on for food.

    The most vulnerable is the biggest, the Emperor, but the Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Adélie have also suffered dramatic drops in population, according to the Antarctic Penguins and Climate Change report.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Feb 2008 @ 1:58 PM

  54. Patrick Hadley complains about the need to observe climate over long times. Isn’t it ironic that for the past 20 years, skeptics have been telling us that we don’t have enough data to establish a trend, and now that the trend is finally obvious to all but the most myopic, they complain about climate observations taking too long.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2008 @ 2:28 PM

  55. Magnus (45) — (BTW: The 0.1 degrees C trend since 1980 isn’t historically exceptional, all proxies shows without any doubt. The reason for this upward trend can be the same as previously in history.)

    I’ll not take your word for it. Cite peer-reviewed literature, please.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:02 PM

  56. #21 Jim Cripwell said, “If you do the right sort of analysis of world temperature anomaly against time over the last 30 years or so, it is clear that temperatures have gone through a shallow maximum, and the temperature/time graph, as of now, is negative.”

    Really? Take a look at the following article by Tamino, based on NASA GRISS compilations, Jim. I think you will agree that your statement cannot be substantiated. Unless by “now” you are referring to some short term cherry-picked part of the temperature graph that is presently going down. But then there are numerous occasions over the last 30 years or so when that has been the case – that is why it is necessary to look at longer term trends, and rather than short term variations.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/dead-heat/

    Comment by Slioch — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:08 PM

  57. OK, see the problem I have is this:

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/early-warning-signs-of-global-warming-arctic-and-antarctic-warming.html

    First sentence: “Climate change is expected to be more rapid and severe in polar regions compared to other places on Earth.”

    One paragraph down: “Although there is some variability among models, most projections indicate that increased CO2 concentrations will lead to a polar warming that is greater than the global average, with more warming over land than sea and the maximum warming occurring in winter (Kattenberg et al., 1996). ”

    So, which is it? Do the models predict magnified polar (this includes Antarctica, all of it) warming or not? That article indicates warming should be GREATER over land. Antarctica has land, lots of it. It should be warming a ton. But it’s not. Can’t have it both ways, and claim all is hunky-dorey…

    Which. Is. It?

    [Response: Don't just pose rhetorical questions. Have a look and see: Polar amplification or here for some raw output. Try looking at the expected trends from 1970 to 2003. - gavin]

    Comment by MattN — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  58. #21 Jim Cripwell said, “If you do the right sort of analysis of world temperature anomaly against time over the last 30 years or so, it is clear that temperatures have gone through a shallow maximum, and the temperature/time graph, as of now, is negative.”

    Really? Take a look at the following article by Tamino, based on NASA GRISS compilations, Jim. I think you will agree that your statement cannot be substantiated. Indeed, there is no support for it from the data.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/dead-heat/

    Comment by Slioch — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  59. Patrick:

    We should have statistically significant results in about 7 years, though it may be as long as 22 years if variation suddenly becomes lower than it has been in the past. See Tamino’s recent post on the subject here: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    You simply can’t determine anything significant about a long-term trend from a single new year of observations unless it differs quite a bit from the trend. If 2008 turns out to be the same temperature as 1908, something might be fishy with the whole warming trend. If its the same temperature as 2003 or 1993, its not that meaningful.

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:23 PM

  60. Regarding Dr. Pielke’s question:
    “What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales? This should be a simple question to answer.”

    I don’t think this so simple, because there are degrees of contradiction. I agree with the following poster, that most of the evidence that would contradict the models, can only be discovered by thoroughly understanding the models. The contradiction might only affect one attribute of the climate system, and thus only a part of the model.

    However, there are some purely statistical tests on data compared to a system forecast, that don’t depend on the model behind the forecast. Businesses and manufacturers have used SPC (Statistical Process Control) for years to test data and identify statistically meaningful data excursions that indicate the system is changing. Usually, they don’t have a mathematical model that describes their system, just the stream of data from the system output. Typically, the most common statistical test used, is to construct control limits three standard deviations above and below the mean.

    So for example, if the global temperature anomaly suddenly dropped about three standard deviations below the long term running mean, this event would be less than 0.3% likelihood in a normal distribution. Based on the posts here, it appears the 15 year running means, seem to align pretty well;
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/giss-15yr.jpg
    so we might use that.

    The last 35 years of data show a yearly standard deviation of about 0.1 deg, so about a 0.3 deg C drop below the 15 year mean, for a single year data point, should trigger a search for a “special cause”. Currently the 15 year anomaly is approximately positive 0.35 deg C, so we need to see a drop in the anomaly down to around 0.0 deg C to get concerned that the models might be contradicted by the data.

    Of course, if it is a known forcing from an unpredictable event, such as a volcanic eruption, then the forecast output should be adjusted for the known forcing, before comparing with the actual data.

    (Curious question- Did you adjust forecasts made prior to Pinatubo in 1991, for the estimated effect of that event, before comparing to actual results, in the work that you have done?)

    Another statistical test often used, is a 7 point sequence of steadily rising (or falling) data. This apparently has about the same likelihood as a three sigma event, in an normal distribution. So, if we see seven years in a row, where the temperature anomaly is falling lower and lower each and every year, while GHG concentrations are rising, this would trigger the search for a special cause.

    There are other statistical tests that don’t require a review of the model behind the forecast, to trigger special cause searches.

    I see from your background, you have a degree in Mathematics, so you can probably get up to snuff on this fairly fast. Engineers who run into this kind of question, typically seek out a well qualified and experienced statistician to help with the effort. I have pretty much expended my knowledge level on this, but have worked with some statisticians in the past, who do this kind of work. There was even someone here on an earlier discussion board, who worked in the nuclear industry at one time, and who used statistical tools that adjusted for steadily rising trend data, like encountered here.

    But if you aren’t satisfied with purely statistical tests on the measured data, then I am afraid the previous poster is correct… You need to understand all the details of the models themselves, to know when, where, and to what extent the model has been contradicted by the data collected.

    So far, there doesn’t appear anything in the global temperature data that is statistically meaningful in questioning the models. On the contrary, the models appear to be predicting global temperatures almost as good as a perfect forecast would have (try regression analyses on the last 8,10,12,15 years of global temperature anomaly data, and compare these trend lines with the model trends).

    Of course the modelers here have the advantage on us, and can see inconsistencies, that we can’t, because they know the models. They recognize the models were too conservative regarding Arctic melting. Another example: They apparently don’t have the positive feedbacks from methane released from permafrost melt in their models yet, although I understand this might be coming in the next round of modeling. So like it or not, we need to hear their viewpoints, especially since their track record looks outstanding, so far. And the information that they are talking about seem to indicate that over time, as the positive feedbacks kick in, the current models are too conservative,

    Comment by Paul — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:38 PM

  61. [edit]

    [Response: There is no mystery as to why persistent off-topic questions don't make it through. If you are interested in radiative transfer read the relevant posts on that. - gavin]

    Comment by Natural GW Steve — 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:51 PM

  62. Just a couple of things:

    Regarding the ‘ice’, it’s important to remember to distinguish between volume and surface area. In this vein, Christopher Booker has been at it again in the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ (U.K.) just recently, pouring some scorn over the ‘alarmist’ comments made after the record reduction of sea ice in the Artic last year. Likewise, it might be possible to try to confound predictions for the Antarctic, or rubbish the models for that matter, by failing to make a distinction between these two attributes of the ice.

    Another point to bear in mind is the (probably) non-linear response to warming of the submarine ice, something I have tried to highlight before. The effects of melting of this relict ice, much of it likely to be composed of fresh rather than salt water, could lead to some really quite peculiar behaviour in the mixing zones, which again might be used as ‘evidence’ that the models, and ‘global warming’ warnings generally, are unreliable and unscientific.

    Thus, from the skeptics’ point of view, every model failure confirms their opinion that the science is highly suspect, and we have nothing to worry about; likewise, every model success is treated as a fluke, and simply further evidence that the scientists are covering up/fiddling the figures/etc. etc.

    Comment by Nick Odoni — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  63. In response to the query in #38:”I have asked many times and never received an answer here: What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales? This should be a simple question to answer.”

    Any one of the following partial list of variables and the resultant effects would contradict models of global warming.

    Temperature measurements that indicate that the troposphere is cooling and
    that the stratosphere is warming.

    The measurement of temperatures at ocean depths of about 1000 meters or more
    showing cooling.

    Measurements of sea level begin to lower due to temperature contraction.

    The lowering of the tropopause.

    A migration of species both botanical and zoological toward the equator

    A restoration of mountain glaciers to pre 1950 levels.

    A lowering of temperatures in the permafrost from the present temps to prior levels.

    This is just a partial list of factors. There would be different time scales for the different climate phenomena.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:28 PM

  64. Was wondering about that. My wife is in the Ross Sea right now with a small group and the previous cuise from last month reported the ice pack had not melted as much as prior summers, though the current voyage seems to have penetrated further than last month’s.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:44 PM

  65. This is the latest refutaion paper being passed around.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.1161v1

    Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics
    Authors: Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner
    (Submitted on 8 Jul 2007 (this version), latest version 11 Sep 2007 (v3))
    Abstract: The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861 and Arrhenius 1896 and is still supported in global climatology essentially describes a fictitious mechanism in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.
    Comments: 113 pages, 32 figures, 13 tables
    Subjects: Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics (physics.ao-ph)
    Cite as: arXiv:0707.1161v1 [physics.ao-ph]

    Not peer reviewed and not endorsed either.

    [Response: See here. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 13 Feb 2008 @ 4:47 PM

  66. Thanks for the great post Mr. Weart.

    This is my first reply here, your post made me think of something that I’ve been pondering on lately.

    This is similar to other topics I’ve read recently. On almost every website I’ve visited, there are so many “yah, but…” arguments. And after some reading, I find out that in fact these are sometimes expected results.

    I’m curious about something, but haven’t really been able to parse the information out of so many different opinions on the matter. It’s the counter arguments. Do they have the same predictive capabilities as the theory behind greenhouse gases? I’ve heard it could be the sun(like changes in TSI and sunspots, and GCR’s), but it appears that the smart folk here have some issues with various aspects, like statistical fudging, and even lack of basic stats like correlations.

    Things like the Antarctic issue you’ve raised, the stratospheric cooling, the trends in night time versus daytime temperatures, and so many other special topics. Is there any mechanism from these counter arguments that could be causing these changes? Or would it be more likely that many different mechanisms are taking place in tandem? It seems to me that it might be even more difficult to show the fingerprint of this tandem or additive effect. Or at least as hotly contested as other number crunching exercises on this subject.

    I’ve read some of the web resources which have collected all the arguments in one place, but I haven’t found an answer for this yet.

    I hope some of the smart folk here can help me find links or explanations, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Comment by Amateur thinker — 13 Feb 2008 @ 5:08 PM

  67. 1. What is the percentage of purple areas in Rignot study yow cited to the total ice mass of Antarctica?

    2. How close are the major melt areas to known or recently discovered volcanoes?

    3. Are the studies conclusions contradicted or mitigated by 2007 and early 2008 data?

    4. The study states: “Even in Est Antarctica, where we find ice mass to be in near balance, ice loss is detected in its potentially unstable marine sectors, warranting further study.” My recollection is that studies show a net increase in ice mass throughout the continent except for an area of about 5% of the land mass. Which analysis is correct?

    5. the study emphasizes ice flowing from drainage basins over 85% of the coastline. Is nto the coastline the only area where such observations can be made?

    6. What do studies show regarding accretion or loss of ice mass show for years prior to 1996? Is not the continental and sea ice accretion for 2007 record breaking?

    I presume that this comment will be deep sixed?

    Comment by P Lenihan — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:06 PM

  68. It would be worth putting up an temperature anomaly prediction map from one of the GCMs to help people get their heads around this. While you are at it, put in the plots of observed temperature for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:51 PM

  69. I wrote a long, carefully stated reply to Roger Pielke, Jr.’s latest opinion piece on his Prometheus blog. It was in regard to his question here and a very few of the replies. I found his piece to be most disappointing and I explained why in some detail.

    To no avail. His comment posting program is broken. Says something I suppose.

    But I want to thank those volunteers here, mostly amatuers, who so nicely and carefully responded to Pielke’s question. I found replys quite informative.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:53 PM

  70. I agree with the post on the oceanic heat uptake and its role in reducing or delaying Southern Hemisphere warming. However, it should be noted that over the Antarctic continent itself, one must consider the atmospheric circulation, and in coastal areas, the regional sea-ice extent, to explain recent temperature trends. The continental interior doesn’t really “see” the ocean. It does see the increasing GH gasses, but for the moment, atmospheric circulation is likely playing the larger role in temperature trends.

    The surface energy balance is strongly tied to the atmospheric circulation, and requires a large poleward heat transport by the atmosphere. Otherwise, the interior would be much, much colder than it already is. Small changes in the circulation can greatly impact temperature trends. As has already been discussed elsewhere on RealClimate, cooling in the middle of Antarctica has been explained by an increasingly strong polar vortex, which isolates the continental interior.

    In current IPCC models, Antarctica doesn’t warm up any more than any other Southern Hemisphere continent. There is no polar amplification like in the Arctic. There is warming – the cooling that the post discusses pertains to parts of the Southern Ocean. The models may somewhat underestimate the role of circulation, and overestimate other feedbacks, and there are some papers coming out on this.

    Comment by DSchneider — 13 Feb 2008 @ 7:57 PM

  71. Gerlich & Tscheuschner

    Learn slow.

    These guys have been publishing the same crap for years now. They get shot down and six months later they’re back with more. A cautionary tale: Don’t try to refute what you don’t understand.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:13 PM

  72. OK, good to have rebuttals to simplistic objections about climate change. The skeptics also talk about cold temperatures this winter, which means N. hemisphere of course! So for comparison, how hot is summer in S. hemisphere this year?

    Comment by Neil B. — 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:15 PM

  73. A couple of belated questions that don’t add up in my mind (or I just missed it/forgot it).

    1) Is the mechanism for atmosphere transporting heat to the ocean all back IR radiation? Or doe conduction or convection (???) play any part?

    2) Why does the heat added to the surface of the ocean transport itself deeper. Conduction and radiation seem poor transporters (are they here?). Convection is going the wrong way unless it is gettting mixed through upwelling. And if so, why do you get upwelling just because the surface is warmer.

    3) The logic of the Southern oceans heating at the surface slower than the northern hemisphere seems understandable (assuming the above), which one could then go the next step that Antarctica would warm (much) slower than the Arctic. But why would it get colder??

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Feb 2008 @ 9:10 PM

  74. Apologies to those who asked questions directly of me: I have been on jury duty and am also trying to carry on my regular job by email etc., so I haven’t had time to respond here. My article is intended only to explain that HISTORICALLY, even models very primitive by modern standards showed no strong Antarctic warming. In science, as Dr. Pielke surely knows, actual prediction trumps just about anything else, and it’s striking that for decades models have been roughly right about ice retreat in the Arctic and non-retreat in the Antarctic.

    A quick take on CURRENT models may be found in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report – Scientific Basis, at http://www.ipcc.ch, see especially fig. 8.10. They point out that modeling Southern Ocean sea ice cover is tricky and uncertain, with a wide spread among different models, but the observed ice extent is smack on the median of the ensemble of models.

    Comment by Spencer Weart — 13 Feb 2008 @ 9:38 PM

  75. This may be just slightly off-topic, but I’d like to observe that Dr. Weart’s command of the historical perspective is absolutely dynamite. He writes so clearly and accessibly, it makes me mad that I don’t find stuff like this in more popular venues. Thank you.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 13 Feb 2008 @ 10:41 PM

  76. Ray Ladbury (30): “Magnus, #15 and #16, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not a native English speaker, because your take on this article is totally a product of your own fevered imagination. There is plenty of evidence for warming–and it is mostly from the Northern Hemisphere, as predicted by the models.”

    I don’t deny any warming anytime! (Speak of imagination…) If you read my comment again carefully you may see (I don’t know if you do, but mayde…) that I try to be logical where it’s hard to find any logic, and you may also recognize it ends up in some irony.

    Ray Ladbury: “So since the models are being verified by the evidence, explain exactly how there should be any talk of falsification?”

    The model has not been verified by evidence. The warm is too weak for even the lowest warming scenario. Watch this graph:
    http://bp1.blogger.com/_xTUB8vsmURU/Rx4kTT7YNKI/AAAAAAAAACA/vWY_0H1iXOA/s1600-h/gse_multipart51047.png

    Also the heat distribution of heat in the models on latitude and altitude differs so much that there is no correlation. This graph with prediction on the upper left picture you can compare with satellite data and radio sond data ;) :
    http://bp1.blogger.com/_xTUB8vsmURU/Rx4kTT7YNKI/AAAAAAAAACA/vWY_0H1iXOA/s1600-h/gse_multipart51047.png

    Or the predictions of the distribution of warming in the atmosphere in four climate models:
    http://bp3.blogger.com/_xTUB8vsmURU/Rx4iIz7YNII/AAAAAAAAABw/j_7KWIRBfxg/s1600-h/whatgreenhouse_5.jpg

    …and the actual result due to radio sond data HadAT2:
    http://bp1.blogger.com/_xTUB8vsmURU/Rx4jsT7YNJI/AAAAAAAAAB4/35xMFFP2nHE/s1600-h/whatgreenhouse_6.jpg

    No model has lasted for more than 1 or 2 years until it’s been totally wrecked. This post is typical ad hoc, which is typical in “climate science”.

    [Response: First off, the ensemble mean or long time scale is not the field to compare to the single realisation of the real world (as discussed previously). Secondly, all of the radiosonde data set are being reassessed to deal with known biases. If those revisions end up looking more like the model means, will you then accept that the models have some validity? I don't think we will have that long to wait... - gavin]

    Comment by Magnus — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:12 PM

  77. Rod, how warmth gets into the deep ocean — same way oxygen does, there are areas where surface water sinks from the top to the middle and bottom.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=100&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&scoring=r&q=ocean+circulation+climate&as_ylo=2007

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:50 PM

  78. Re #73:

    1) Is the mechanism for atmosphere transporting heat to the ocean all
    back IR radiation? Or doe conduction or convection (???) play any part?

    What happens is that the Sun heats the ocean surface. It has become more difficult to get rid of this heat by long wave radiation, so yes, you could say that it is back IR radiation from the atmosphere. I suspect this is dominant just due to the huge amount of solar energy impacting the Earth all the time. How big (or small!) the contributions of the other two are, no idea.

    2) Why does the heat added to the surface of the ocean transport itself
    deeper. Conduction and radiation seem poor transporters (are they
    here?). Convection is going the wrong way unless it is gettting mixed
    through upwelling. And if so, why do you get upwelling just because the
    surface is warmer.

    Yes, convection doesn’t work here as the surface is warmer (but contrary to air, the density differences are very small). I understand that it is the slow overturning due to global circulation (wind driven?) that carries the warm surface water to depth (and brings up cold deep water in other places). But this is a very slow process as is always stressed in the literature.

    I’ll leave question 3 to the experts :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 12:13 AM

  79. According to Manabe and Stouffer (2007; see the link in my comment above, now #22), the model used in the study of Hansen et al. (1988, J. Geophys. Res. 93, 9341 – 9364) did not include the ocean circulation. The penetration of heat into the deep ocean was approximated as diffusion. Though I do not know details, perhaps they had no reason to assume the diffusion in the Circum-Antarctic Ocean more effective than in other parts of the world ocean. So it is no surprise that the Circum-Antarctic Ocean warmed up in their projection. Now we regard that that version of their model could not reproduce the actual spatial feature of time-dependent warming, even though their projection was not bad in the global average sense.
    On the other hand, the model of Bryan et al. (1988, ref (4) of the original posting) included the full ocean circulation, and, even though the land-sea configuration was idealized, it had the counterpart of the Circum-Antarctic Ocean, and they observed deep penetration of heat there in their model.
    A little later, experiments with models which had full ocean circulation with realistic land-sea configuration were conducted (e.g. Stouffer, Manabe and Bryan, 1989, Nature, 342, 660 – 662; Manabe, Stouffer, Spelman and Bryan, 1991, J. Climate, 4, 785 – 818; Washington and Meehl, 1989, Climate Dynamics 4, 1 – 38), and scientists had more confidence in delay of warming in the Circum-Antarctic Ocean.

    Comment by Kooiti Masuda — 14 Feb 2008 @ 12:38 AM

  80. Somewhere above was some discussion about snow and cold in US, I think…

    Here in southern Finland the passed January was 4…5 degrees C warmer than average, snow came and went and now we are near the February 15th and there is still no snow. Usually there are bouts of cold around 15..20 degrees, 10..20 cm of snow etc; there haven’t been a single so cold day so far. Sea ice in Baltic is very low compared to average etc.

    So if somebody thinks that exceptional snow in China or some similar occurrence is some kind of evidence against warming, well…

    Comment by Seppo S — 14 Feb 2008 @ 1:10 AM

  81. I just would like to take this opportunity to thank Ray Ladbury, Timothy Chase, Tamino, Barton Paul Levenson, and many, many others, as well as the scientists at RealClimate, for volunteering so much time and effort to this website. Although I have been concerned about global warming for around two decades, I have learned so much checking in on this site each day.

    As an aside, after Jim Galasyn posted the article in Anchorage Daily News, “Polar ice pack loss may break 2007 record” by Tom Kizzia [#33], I emailed my old friend Tom to let him know about the posting. I told him that after my wife retires in 3 1/2 years, we would be returning to Alaska for an extended visit, and that I hoped Alaska wouldn’t be changed too much by then. Tom replied, “I’m sure Alaska will still be here – you can bask on the sunny beaches and shade yourself under the palms.”

    Pardon this bit on humor, but Tom Kizzia has written a number of articles about the amazing changes Alaska has seen in the past few years. Models aside, those living in the far north are experiencing a major warming. While we may quibble about how accurate models are, or if there is some recent cold weather, those who live in a climate dependent upon permafrost are seeing their infrastructure collapse. As Bob Dylan wrote, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

    Thanks for all the effort put into RealClimate. This website is important. It will make a difference. Thank you.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 14 Feb 2008 @ 1:26 AM

  82. Just about twelve months ago, Al Gore, appearing before a Congressional
    subcommittee said “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever,
    you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here,
    you don’t say, well I read a science fiction novel that tells me it’s
    not a problem. If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby
    is flame-retardant. You take action.” In view of the GISS + SST data from January 2008 coming in at 0.12C, the coldest month since something like 1996, and half a degree cooler than January 2007, I wonder if anyone has any comments.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:10 AM

  83. In 58 Slioch writes “Really? Take a look at the following article by Tamino, based on NASA GRISS compilations, Jim. I think you will agree that your statement cannot be substantiated. Indeed, there is no support for it from the data.” We have been round this mulberry bush many times. The reference you gave uses ONLY the NASA/GISS data. I use all five data sets (URLs on request). Up to about two years ago, the trends from all the data sets were in rough agreement. In the last two years or so, the NASA/GISS data gives a different trend from the others. It is true that NASA/GISS shows that temperatures are still rising, but the other four sets show temperatures are falling. One wonders what effect the January 2008 data from NASA/GISS presages. I would note, as I have done several times, that there is no study which compares and contrasts the different data sets, so we dont know which one is “best”. It may well be that NASA/GISS has got it right, but I suggest the preponderence of evidence is that it is the outlier. Time will tell. I do wish people on RC would desist from ONLY quoting NASA/GISS temperatures, as if they were some sort of Bible. There are five data sets, not one.

    [Response: We have regularly used all 3 surface temperature data sets when it makes sense to do so. And there have been a number of papers on the differences (Vose et al, for instance). The satellite data sets are not the same quantity even though they are highly correlated. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:23 AM

  84. Re #73 Rod B, question 2: read Carl Wunsch, ocean circulation guru (where my vague recollections came from):

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/298/5596/1179

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:47 AM

  85. Re #38: the dichotomy valid/invalid is false for testing climate models. Just like everybody is a believer, and atheists just hold the belief that God does not exist, so everybody is a climate modeller too. The “models” of the modelling sceptics just are 1) simple, 2) implicit, 3) logically inconsistent and/or 4) not (easily) falsifiable.

    An example of the last is the “model”: “nah, it’s just natural variation”. You can throw any data at it and it will happily munch it up.

    Before asking what kind of observed behaviour would falsify an existing climate model, one should state an alternative hypothesis (i.e., model) that would be verified by such a rejection. And it better be logically consistent (i.e., not explain temperature increases by an increased forcing that didn’t actually increase, like the Sun), have predictive power (i.e., be falsifiable), and do a better job at explaining all observed behaviour. Validation is intercomparison.

    Here is again the old, and coming from a scientist intentional, rhetoric falsehood of equating uncertainty in a model with that model being worthless. It is precisely the realistic assessment of uncertainties that makes scientific work scientific.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:15 AM

  86. Correction to URL in 74: that’s http://www.ipcc.ch without a comma. The specific reference is to chapter 8 of the “Physical Science Basis,” pdf online here

    Comment by Spencer Weart — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:30 AM

  87. #45 Magnus

    “#24 Cobblyworlds: “Climate is not weather.”

    That’s a standard phrase indeed. Didn’t heard about it in the alarmism of El Nino year 1998…”

    I don’t know about that, GW wasn’t on my radar then, I was a sceptic until around 4 years ago. Currently (as per usual) it’s the denialists who’re trying to use one outlier to state a false case – GW stopped in 1998 a la Monckton et al.

    The reason you can’t consider weather is that weather will not be the same even between different runs of the same model. If we had multiple earths then you’d find the same effect.

    Needless to say I don’t accept that on the relevant timescales the projections are overshooting, that’s because I see no evidence for that, IMHO it’s too close to call right now. However the situation in the Arctic alone implies current projections will be more likely to undershoot for the northern hemisphere.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 14 Feb 2008 @ 5:57 AM

  88. Re #76 where Gavin responds “… all of the radiosonde data set are being reassessed to deal with known biases. If those revisions end up looking more like the model means, will you then accept that the models have some validity?”

    Gavin,

    Why should we accept those revisions when they have not yet been published, yet you reject the current data which has?

    The MSU data has already been revised to make it more like the models, here but the radiosonde data still did not agree, so a proposal to alter that was also made Sherwood et al. 2005 . But this correction to the radiosonde data was based on a circular argument, of which the authors were probably unaware, but it makes me very reluctant to give a “blank cheque” for any other corrections by scientists who were unable to spot such a weakness.

    The logic of the Sherwood et al. paper goes like this: Following the “correction” to the MSU data it is only the radiosonde data that disagrees with the models. Therefore there must be errors in the radiosonde data. We know that no correction is being applied for solar heating of the instruments during the day, so we should apply a correction for that but we do not know how much. So we correct it to fit the decadal trend, and eureka it fits with the models.

    But the whole problem with the models is that they are equating solar (diurnal) heating with greenhouse gas (decadal) heating. So when the scientists “correct” the radiosonde data so that diurnal and decadal trends are the same, they are making it match the models because both now include the same error.

    Of course I am arguing that solar heating and greenhouse heating act via different mechanisms. That is so very obvious that it is very difficult to counter the nonsensical argument that it is untrue.

    [Response: You miss my point - it was a hypothetical. In the case that the revisions come in and end up more closely agreeing with the models (note the 'if'), would Magnus be prepared to accept that the models have validity? If the answer is yes, then that would demonstrate an open mind and a commendable willingness to accept new evidence. If the answer is no, then there is no point in further discussion. But since these revisions are indeed underway, this won't remain hypothetical for much longer. - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 14 Feb 2008 @ 7:15 AM

  89. Re #82

    …I wonder if anyone has any comments.

    Jim, no. This is a climatology site. Most people try to hide their ignorance, it would become you to do the same.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 9:40 AM

  90. Niel B:

    Can’t tell you for the entire southern hemisphere, but in south-east Australia it seems like it’s been a relatively mild summer. Few really scorchingly hot days here in Victoria, and none of the horrendous fires that we have been hit with in recent years. However according to this page at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, January 2008 was our hottest on record.

    Being a La Nina year, we have had some reasonable rainfall in some areas of the east and north east for a change. Sadly though, the Murray Darling Basin is in a worse state than ever. It appears that Australia’s largest river system, is in a state of ecological collapse.

    The outlook for Feb-April is here
    The forecast is for near to historically average daytime temperatures throughout the continent, and for significantly warmer than average nighttime temperatures in the south-west and north-east.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 14 Feb 2008 @ 9:40 AM

  91. Jim Cripwell asks: “In view of the GISS + SST data from January 2008 coming in at 0.12C, the coldest month since something like 1996, and half a degree cooler than January 2007, I wonder if anyone has any comments.”

    Might I suggest tuning in the weather channel for even more up-to-the-minute data?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2008 @ 9:57 AM

  92. Actually, Martin Vermeer brings up an excellent point. Since predictions of most models are statistical, most tools of verification are comparative. That is, you have to compare a model to some alternative. In that sense anthropogenic causation is very much like the theory of evolution, where any putative alternative has been pretty thoroughly bitchslapped by the evidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2008 @ 10:29 AM

  93. Bah! Here in Denver, the alarmists claim that we’re in a warming trend which began during the final week of January and project that within four months we’ll be swimming in our shorts. And yet, today is nearly 40F colder than yesterday. So much for your vaunted “science”!

    Comment by spilgard — 14 Feb 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  94. Re Gavin’s response to #88

    Au contraire Gavin, I think it you who has missed my point :-)

    Your question was more of the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Answer Yes or No” category, than a reasonable request for information.

    Perhaps you could answer this question. If the revisions do not find agreement with the models will you accept that “that different physical mechanisms control amplification processes on monthly and decadal time scales, and models fail to capture such behavior?” Quote from Santer, B.D. et al. & Schmidt, G.A. 2005 .

    In other words will you accept that the models are wrong?

    [Response: Wrong question. The models are always wrong, the issue is whether they are useful. At any one time there are multiple model-data discrepancies. Take the double ITCZ issue. There is no question that the models are wrong in showing that. That makes statements about tropical rainfall variations in future open to significant uncertainty. However, the tropical tropospheric trends issue is different - first off the observed time-series are short and the data suspect. If this is taken into account there actually isn't much of a discrepancy (since any signal is very indistinct). Secondly, the theoretical basis for expecting close to moist-adiabatic behaviour is very strong. I therefore predict that the data revisions will bring models and data closer into line. If however, the signal strength increases and a real discrepancy remains, then of course that will prompt a re-evaluation of the model physics. My question to Magnus was not a trick. There is one perfectly good answer (unlike your analogy). - gavin]

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 14 Feb 2008 @ 10:50 AM

  95. #84 Re Carl Wunsch,

    Prof. Carl Wunsch’s publications page is here: http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/
    It has the 2002 paper “What is the Thermohaline Circulation” downloadable without charge. And loads more interesting stuff besides.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 14 Feb 2008 @ 11:46 AM

  96. “Leonard Evens tells us that it will take 30 years of declining temperatures before he would even begin to doubt the validity of the current climate models. He is certainly to be congratulated on demonstrating that he is indeed a true believer, but do the rest of us really expected to have to suffer all the negative consequences of carbon-reduction policies for 30 years before we are allowed to be sceptics?”

    No I mentioned other tests, and Barton mentioned many more. Also, the IPCC Reports have chapters devoted to evaluation and validation, which you are free to look at. But if you insist on a predictive test which is based on future observations, it is an unfortunate fact that it will take a while. For some skeptics, no amount of evidence will suffice, so it will take forever. The climate system has various time lags built into it, so it takes time for any effects to be completely clear beyond any possible doubt. There have been some short term predictive examples, such as Hansen’s use of his model to predict the effect of Mt. Pinatubo in advance, but skeptics find reasons for rejecting that.

    In thirty years, I think the effects of global warming will be so clear, few will pay attention to skeptics. But at some point, and I hope it is well before that, we must decide what to do on the basis of the evidence we have. Taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions may entail costs, but doing nothing may also entail costs. If I am right and we wait to decide to limit emissions, than I think the costs of adaptation will be truly enormous, much greater than the costs of more modest measures adopted now. But suppose I am wrong and you are right. Most of what we should do to limit global warming in the US and much of the rest of the world should also be done for other cogent reasons. In the US we should reduce our reliance on oil for reasons of national security. Moreover, the costs of limiting greenhouse gas emissions are also unknown. You take it as axiomatic that they will be ruinous, but on what well established predictive models do you base such a conclusion? While it is not completely analogous, the same claims were made about the costs of phasing out CFCs (and by some of the same people), but we did it anyway in order to limit loss of stratospheric ozone, and no economic disaster ensued.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 14 Feb 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  97. Jim Cripwell asks: “In view of the GISS + SST data from January 2008 coming in at 0.12C, the coldest month since something like 1996, and half a degree cooler than January 2007, I wonder if anyone has any comments.”

    You appear to be sweet on a La Nina. You’d better send her a Valentine today because next year she will be long gone, and I don’t imagine you’ll like her alternate.

    Comment by JCH — 14 Feb 2008 @ 12:07 PM

  98. As posted previously, the GISS is reporting a -.75 degree (C) drop in global temps from Jan 07 to Jan 08.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    And a steady decline during the entire year.

    This is the sharpest single year temp drop in the entire GISS temps records.

    More severe winter weather has been experienced first in the Southern Hemisphere last Jun & Jul during the SH winter, and currently in the Northern Hemisphere winter from North America, Europe, Russia, China Middle East, etc.

    Many are starting to claim that this has to do with the current solar minimum and delayed start of Solar Cycle 24.

    http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=10630
    http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=287279412587175
    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080103/94768732.html
    http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=287279412587175
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4248062.html
    http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article3223603.ece
    http://www.britsattheirbest.com/001645.php

    The “Skeptics” claim that the Maunder Minimum, and decreased solar activity, was the cause of the Little Ice Age.

    And according to their theories, it is this current prolonged solar minimum that is causing the current significant global cooling trend.

    Sounds to me like what is going on with temps and the Sun is more than just a “coincidence” and is the best evidence yet that the Sun is driving Earth’s temps more than CO2 levels.

    Any comments?

    [Response: Yes. These claims are ridiculous. There is so far nothing exceptional about this solar minimum. Depending on the composite TSI you look at it is either slightly below, slightly above or the same as the last solar minimum. No other index shows anything extraordinary. Plus the idea that there is some instant response of the whole planet to a tiny change in irradiance is silly (some of the same people were claiming that a fifty year lag was required not six months ago). And frankly, anyone who makes a climate trend statement based on the presence of a single large La Nina pattern is going to look rather foolish in 12 months time. - gavin ]

    Comment by Dell — 14 Feb 2008 @ 1:53 PM

  99. #83 Jim Cripwell

    So Jim, you apparently agree:

    1. That the NASA GISS series does not support your claim “that temperatures have gone through a shallow maximum, and the temperature/time graph, as of now, is negative.”

    2. That the HadCRU and NCDC series also did not show that effect until two years ago, since you agree that “Up to about two years ago, the trends from all the data sets were in rough agreement.” You don’t mention your other two series – is that the “satellite data sets” Gavin refers to?

    So, you entire case is based on just two years worth of selected data? As I pointed out in my first draft (#56 that was unintentionally published): “you are referring to some short term cherry-picked part of the temperature graph that is presently going down. But then there are numerous occasions over the last 30 years or so when that has been the case.”

    Tamino discusses this matter further here:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    and helpfully provides the following graph of all three series plotted together:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/trend2.jpg

    which shows just how unsubstantiated your case is.

    Why not take the “bet” Tamino suggests. Then you can come back in several years time when you will have more than a couple of years data. Until such time, you are just talking about noise on a graph.

    Comment by Slioch — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:06 PM

  100. Re #97
    According to the Oceanic Niño Index as published by the NOAA it has been 6 years since the last La Nina event and 25 months out of the last 5 years have qualified as La Nino. Still, the SST are on a 7 year downward trend. There may or may not be a snap-back coming but either way your smart aleck remarks are misplaced.

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:12 PM

  101. Regarding Roger Pielkes request for “What behavior of the climate system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what behavior of what variables over what time scales?”

    The proffered lists do not distingish between AGW models and natural warming and include “evidences” that are more likely due to non-warming causes(e.g., tropical diseases and their vectors moving into temperate zones is more due to global air travel than global warming).

    Will the proffers please pare their lists down to just those items that are clearly pertient (e.g., stratsopheric vs tropospheric warming trends divergence)?

    Comment by Leon Palmer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:21 PM

  102. Cobblyworlds (87): “I don’t know about that, GW wasn’t on my radar then, I was a sceptic until around 4 years ago. Currently (as per usual) it’s the denialists who’re trying to use one outlier to state a false case – GW stopped in 1998 a la Monckton et al.”

    My impression is that everything in the news papers can be described as a catastrophe due to GW. E.g. yesterday in the largest Swedish paper a new spieces of an insect in the southern of Sweden was extrapolated to mass extinction of “native” insects. I suggest we skip these childish accusations and discuss facts instead.

    Cobblyworlds: “The reason you can’t consider weather is that weather will not be the same even between different runs of the same model. If we had multiple earths then you’d find the same effect.”

    Okay, but I still say that in the weather has implications on the climate. Is it correct to describe your definition of climate as a statistical range for a “final state” (the model has a target, e.g. 2020-2029 or 2090-2099) of the global mean temperature? So if one target is totally fails in reality, we have to abandon the model. Right? There also has to be ways to check if the model is within *some* limits. Especially since the climate system is supposed to be kid of an unstable system.

    Back to “weather”:
    Rules in the models do count on weather phenomenon. E.g. you can’t deny that the present record snow layer on the northern hemisphere since 1966 change the aldebo which makes the earth cooler. This phenomenon interconnects with other phenomenon, and actually it also do that in the model. If the climate system is an unstable this is actually an NP problem of such a comlexity that it will not be able to solve; not at least since there is huge uncertainties on the temperature- or climate effects for many of the most important factors. In this respect — and in other respects due to the definition of a model — the reality can be seen as a large scale instance of a model and its set of rules.

    Any far-in-the-future-model with uncertainties about important factors is weak and useless, and here we have “big-time-uncertainties” for a great majority of the important factors:
    http://www.planetforlife.com/images/climateforcing.gif

    It’s well worth to mention, also, that IPCC and the models don’t include the cosmic ray cloud connection in the models despite Palle, Butler and O’Brian 2004 secured they are obvious on a 99.5 significance level (pdf):
    http://www.arm.ac.uk/preprints/433.pdf

    A powerful argument against the climate models is also that no one has yet succeeded in staying within the limits of the model, but totally failed on the development of the temperature in different areas (both for latitude and altitude). See comment 76.

    Cobblyworlds: “Needless to say I don’t accept that on the relevant timescales the projections are overshooting, that’s because I see no evidence for that, IMHO it’s too close to call right now. However the situation in the Arctic alone implies current projections will be more likely to undershoot for the northern hemisphere.”

    Okay. But I don’t agree with you, mostly because of the climate history. I posted an amswer for David B. Benson (#55) with the latest graph on climate history, but Real Climate seems to sensor it. It clearly shows that the global mean temperature in the last 1000 years has changed with higher speed than today as well as it has been warmer than today. Also the history for the Arctic region prove that people in the Medieval times lived in areas now covered by glaciers. The graph is Loehle’s (but I better not link it now; it might cause Real Climate to censor this comment).

    Comment by Magnus — 14 Feb 2008 @ 2:50 PM

  103. The map provided within

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7241428.stm

    shows that even the Southern Ocean has been impacted by human activities.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:17 PM

  104. Re #101

    Regarding Roger Pielkes request for “What behavior of the climate
    system would contradict models of global warming? Specifically what
    behavior of what variables over what time scales?”

    Well, that’s easy: the past, current and future observed behaviour :-) . Always will, for any model constructed by mere mortals. But, you only reject a model for a better model, one that does a better modelling job. Do you have one on offer?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:18 PM

  105. Gavin: “Yes. These claims are ridiculous. There is so far nothing exceptional about this solar minimum.”

    Other than it is a year overdue, and some strange things going on with the solar magnetic fields as well as other factors. We are in uncharted territory, as far as this type of event happening with the current technology to monitor it.

    Gavin: “Depending on the composite TSI you look at it is either slightly below, slightly above or the same as the last solar minimum. No other index shows anything extraordinary. Plus the idea that there is some instant response of the whole planet to a tiny change in irradiance is silly.”

    While TSI fluctuates only slightly with solar cycles, it is particle radiation from solar flares, coronal holes, solar winds, Coronal Mass Ejections, etc, that fluctuates many fold with the solar cycle. These forms of radiation are what cause the Aurora, and many significant documented changes occur in Earth’s Ionosphere and Magnetosphere during periods of high solar actitivity compared to low solar activity. What effect this has on climate, has really not been studied much. We know that temps dropped significantly, at least in the northern high lattitudes, during the Maunder and Dalton Minimums. The fact that this particle radiation from the Sun is magnetically charged, and drawn towards the poles (as evidenced by the Aurora and other documented changes in the Ionosphere, might signify that whatever effect it were to have on Earth, would be more concentrated closer to the poles.

    Gavin: “And frankly, anyone who makes a climate trend statement based on the presence of a single large La Nina pattern is going to look rather foolish in 12 months time.”

    I’m glad to see that you agree that in 12 months time, we will better understand what is going on. However never in the past has a single La Nina event had such a huge sudden dramatic affect on entire global temps. While there might be a temperature redistribution, with some places warming, and others cooling, the net effect has never been so dramatic.

    It will be interesting as time will tell.

    Comment by Dell — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:30 PM

  106. Re #98
    Right on, Gavin.
    …and who the hell is saying the Winter in N America has been unusually cold??? I live in upstate NY, and most of Jan. 08 was way above normal, especially the overnight lows!

    Comment by rick — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:36 PM

  107. Martin,

    Actually you reject models if they’re wrong, period. You don’t need a better model to reject a bad one, you just say “I don’t know”. Take Hansen’s scenarios A & B, for example. They predict the greatest warming in the anarctic, the exact opposite of what actually happened. You don’t a better model to throw out that garbage, you just toss it.
    Spencer, you aren’t ncluding Hansen in we, are you?

    [Response: That's exactly Spencer's point. Models did improve once they had dynamic oceans (which the Hansen 1988 runs did not). And the predictions for the Antarctic dropped. But that happened a while back. - gavin]

    Comment by Peter Thompson — 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:46 PM

  108. Re #104 “You only reject a model for a better model.” Really? Who made that rule?

    There have been various attempts to predict the future of the stock market based on computer models. If a model proves to be an unreliable guide for investors it is rejected based on its own failures, whether or not an alternative has been produced. In fact after losing money by following a poor model one is unlikely to use any model in future.

    It does not seem to be an unreasonable position to be sceptical of the whole idea of predicting the climate for 30 to 80 years into the future by climate modelling – or at any rate to ask for good evidence that the models work. Simply to ask for criteria by which to judge whether or not the models are working seems more than reasonable.

    Comment by Patrick Hadley — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:16 PM

  109. Models did improve once they had dynamic oceans (which the Hansen 1988 runs did not).
    Gavin, Could you clarify the definition of ‘dynamic ocean model’? Hansen 1988 et al (JGR vol 93, no D8) has a multilayer layer ocean model described in appendix A. It’s either 9 or 10 layers; diffusivity is discussed. (The paper point s to ‘paper 2′ for more details, but I haven’t read that.)

    But basically, what makes an ocean model ‘dynamic’?

    Is a dynamic ocean model different from an ocean model?

    [Response: The original Hansen model had a diffusive ocean. That is one step above a simple mixed layer (where you just have a heat capacity essentially), by including some vertical diffusion of heat into the deeper ocean. A dynamic ocean is one in which there are prognostic ocean currents, and the mixed layer depth is calculated as a function of the winds, stratification etc. You get a lot more physics with a dynamic ocean - changes in the stratification alter the mixing and therefore the heat uptake, You get changes in the thermohaline circulaltion, the possibility of ENSO-like variability, advective changes in sea ice etc. - gavin]

    Comment by lucia — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:30 PM

  110. Gavin

    I think that you might insist with, if possible, an article, concerning the correlation between this temporary “coldness” and the current strong La Niña.
    We had the same situation in 1999-2000-2001 (maybe 2006 but less).
    From an other side, what do you think about the slight negative trend of ENSO (nino3-4 SST anomaly) since three decades?
    Is it possible that global warming involves more ocean mixing (afterall La Niña is the consequence of more water upwelling from trade winds) or is it, for you, only the manifestation of the famous climate variability?

    [Response: Well, we did one on El Nino a year or so back - the content would be identical after a sign change. However, your question is interesting - is there an impact of radiative forcing on ENSO? There are some hints that for instance, big volcanic eruptions might lead to an increased incidence of El Nino the year after the eruption (Adams et al, 2003), and Mark Cane and others have suggested a La Nina-like response (in the long term mean) for increased GHGs. That isn't particularly relevant for one exceptional event like this one though. It is still very much an open question what impacts (if any) there will be on ENSO frequency and/or intensity. - gavin]

    Comment by Pascal — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:49 PM

  111. Re: #100 Tom Mckissic: “Re #97 According to the Oceanic Niño Index as published by the NOAA it has been 6 years since the last La Nina event . . .”

    NOAA February 11, 2008:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    Summary
    • Strong La Niña conditions are now present across the tropical Pacific Ocean.
    • Equatorial SSTs in the Pacific Ocean remain below average from west of the Date Line eastward to 100ºW.
    • Recent equatorial Pacific SST trends and model forecasts indicate La Niña will continue through the Northern Hemisphere Spring 2008.
    • Thereafter, there is considerable spread in the models, with approximately one-half indicating La Niña could continue well into the Northern Hemisphere summer.

    Or

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211132843.htm

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2008) — The current La Niña event, characterized by a cooling of the sea surface in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific, has strengthened slightly in recent months and is expected to continue through the first quarter of 2008, with a likelihood of persisting through to the middle of the year.
    The ongoing La Niña event started in the third quarter of 2007 and has already influenced climate patterns during the last six months across many parts of the globe . . .

    Comment by Rick Brown — 14 Feb 2008 @ 4:54 PM

  112. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about falsification/verification of theories and rejection/replacement of models. If you have a theory that gives a definitive prediction of an event, and that event does not occur, then that model is falsified. However, most models give statistical predictions, and statistical tools for model verification are mostly comparative–it’s a question of which model is more likely to have produced the result. In classical frequentist statistics this manifests in terms of comparison between a hypothesis and a null hypothesis. The likelihood ratio is another tool, as are comparisons between the Bayesian prior and posterior distribution.
    In the case of climate models, you really don’t have a credible rival to models that feature a significant CO2 sensitivity. This sensitivity is constrained by multiple, independent lines of evidence, so if the sensitivity in the models were to be wrong, ALL of these other data would cease to make sense and have to be reinterpreted. Much more likely would be a hard look at other forcers–especially aerosols, clouds, etc. So if the predictions of models started to be drastically different from reality over an extended period of time, the models would likely be modified slightly, with little change in CO2 forcing. In this sense the situation is very close to that of evolution.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2008 @ 6:29 PM

  113. Another little something to consider in future models:

    Ocean dead zones off Oregon coast “not normal,” scientists find
    By Sandi Doughton
    Seattle Times science reporter

    Dead zones off Oregon’s coast that have threatened sea life for the past six summers are unprecedented in the historical record, say scientists at Oregon State University (OSU).

    The researchers combed through more than 50 years of ocean data to see if the extremely low oxygen levels measured recently also occurred in the past.

    “The answer was no,” said OSU marine ecologist Francis Chan, lead author of a report published in today’s issue of the journal Science. “It’s not normal to have oxygen levels this low and this close to shore.”

    In 2006, the dead zone spread over 1,000 square miles. Oxygen levels plummeted to zero in some places. Using a remotely-operated submersible, Chan and his colleagues took pictures and video that showed a wasteland littered with dead crabs.

    When he revisited the areas the following year, some species had returned, but the diversity of invertebrates remained low.

    “We used to see seven species of starfish on the reefs,” Chan said. “Now we saw one or two.”

    While it’s impossible to link any one event to global climate change, the researchers say the dead zones are caused by wind shifts of the type expected as the planet’s temperature rises.

    “In this part of the marine environment, we may have crossed a tipping point,” said OSU marine biologist Jane Lubchenco.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 14 Feb 2008 @ 6:43 PM

  114. E.g. yesterday in the largest Swedish paper a new spieces of an insect in the southern of Sweden was extrapolated to mass extinction of “native” insects. I suggest we skip these childish accusations

    What is childish about this? The introduction of a single european species of bird – house sparrow – nearly wiped out western bluebirds throughout much of their range on the west coast of the US, with much of the remaining population being maintained through active intervention (artificial nest boxes patrolled by volunteers who kick out intruding house sparrows).

    Starlings have nearly wiped out Lewis’ woodpecker in much of its range in the western US.

    Introduced fish, many escapees from tropical fish farms that raise fish for hobbyists, have wreaked havoc on florida freshwater ecosystems.

    There’s nothing “childish” about concerns such as the one you’ve brought up. Though your making the claim does help one decide whether or not your posts about AGW are credible…

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Feb 2008 @ 6:53 PM

  115. Speaking of the ridiculous, it took me a few seconds to realize spilgard’s comment #93 is satire. With some of our more colorful commenters engaging in what appears to be self-parody, the bar for effective satire is being raised.

    Comment by S. Molnar — 14 Feb 2008 @ 6:58 PM

  116. Thanks Gavin– I thought that must be the distinction since I saw only turbulent diffusion discussed.

    @Rick
    and who the hell is saying the Winter in N America has been unusually cold???
    I am. Near Chicago. I hate La Nina in winter. I shovel snow the low-carbon foot-print way: manually. So, this weather makes me want to move back to El Salvador.

    Comment by lucia — 14 Feb 2008 @ 7:11 PM

  117. re 112:

    “There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about falsification/verification of theories and rejection/replacement of models. If you have a theory that gives a definitive prediction of an event, and that event does not occur, then that model is falsified”

    No its not. The observation data can always be tweaked.
    See gavin’s comments on adjusting or correcting data to fit models. This is SOP. If a Theory is useful, data can always be tweaked to match the theory. All data is theory laden anyways.

    The best thing to do is dozens and dozens of predictions. Then focus on those that come true.
    When people ask about the other predictions that are not so close, then say “we are refining our understanding”

    [Response: BS. The data are being adjusted because they were found to be flawed. The corrections will be made based on understandings of those flaws, not on some aspiration to match the models. When CLIMAP was redone to produce MARGO (look it up) - it was a better fit to the models, but the corrections were all made on the basis of flaws within the original methodology. When the UAH error was found, it improved the match to the models, but it was based on correcting their coding. I could go on, but what's the point? - gavin]

    Comment by steven mosher — 14 Feb 2008 @ 8:00 PM

  118. Re 111

    Why does not la nina forecasts mention anything about the cold currents that feed the La Nina phenomenon from below. Something like: Since global warming will put the global conveyor belt into overdrive and increase the supply of cold fresh antarctic water, La Nina is here to stay.

    Comment by per — 14 Feb 2008 @ 8:16 PM

  119. dhogaza (114): “What is childish about this? The introduction of a single european species of bird – house sparrow – nearly wiped out western bluebirds throughout much of their range on the west coast of the US, with much of the remaining population being maintained through active intervention (artificial nest boxes patrolled by volunteers who kick out intruding house sparrows).”

    I agree! The childish thing is not this in particular, but the discussion which side in the AGW-debate that uses different phenomenon in nature to defend their claims.

    Let me here say that an analysis of the sea bottom in southern Sweden (the baltic Sea) showed that in the last 1000 years it had been many tropical insects in southern Sweden which no one expect to be there now, not even if the temperature rise half a degere or something. The temperature hars varied so mmuch in history that the current climate change is not an extraordinary event. For instance check out the Loehle global mean temperature recoonstruction, here at World Climate Report:
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2008/02/11/a-2000-year-global-temperature-record/

    dhogaza: “Starlings have nearly wiped out Lewis’ woodpecker in much of its range in the western US.”

    But have they moved or falled down drop dead? We always have local (and global) climate changes and spieces that moves. (I dislike studies which use the definition “locally extinguished” spieces. These are not faire, but they has been input to studies on threaten animal spieces due to AGW. If there’s a local decrease and no one is sure where the animals has moved the number of moved animals is considered to be extinguished.)

    I know very well that new introduced spieces can cause a catastrophe for the native spieces. Tell the Swedish crayfish (outboosted by Yankee crayfish :-( ).

    dhogaza: “There’s nothing “childish” about concerns such as the one you’ve brought up. Though your making the claim does help one decide whether or not your posts about AGW are credible…”

    I didn’t make a claim that having these concerns are childish. Please, öearn to read! I said that it was no idea to be alarmistic about either El Nino or La Nina. I havn’t been that, but I suggested… well, it was a little war about who was most alarmistic, and then i mentioned that the news paper say all problems (or even all changes) is a catastrophe due to GW. But let us not discuss what pro- and anti-AGW claims about these phenomenon here, I said. That is only childish in this forum, I think.

    Got it?

    Comment by Magnus — 14 Feb 2008 @ 8:38 PM

  120. Steven Mosher, Wow, what color is the sky on your planet? Do you realize that you have just accused the entire scientific community of fraud? Have you ever even met a scientist? Has it really gotten to the point where denialists can only offer paranoia and delusion?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2008 @ 9:26 PM

  121. Is there any good reason to think that La nina conditions might become stronger as more heat is incorporated into Earth`s climate? Are the cool and warm phases related to a response towards climate equilibrium?

    I know wiki probably isn’t a very good resource, at least not for those in the field, but the article on El nino there states that a La nina or El nino is any time when the temperature anomaly is +/- 0.5°C. So I guess my question is, does the current departure from the temperature anomaly a year ago(-0.6 was it?) fall within natural variability?

    Comment by Amateur thinker — 14 Feb 2008 @ 10:08 PM

  122. RC staff: Are you saying that the ice on Antarctica will not postpone our doom? Will we have H2S bubbling out of the tropical ocean killing everybody while a glacier remains on Antarctica? I have already concluded that moving north is useless as a survival move, but would lower my air conditioning bill. I think you are saying that the earth is WAY out of equilibrium. Equilibrium thermodynamics does not come close to applying due to the speed of AGW, complicating the problem beyond human ability to cope.

    102 Magnus and others: 1. Don’t believe stuff posted by coal companies on “front” web sites. Get a degree in Physics so that you can tell who the fakes are, and so that you will be able to understand what this is all about.
    2. Live longer or study history better before you comment on the past. I have seen and experienced significant GW in my 61 years. I know of even more significant GW in the past 150 years. Again, any fool and liar can post nonsense on the Internet. RC is different because RC people are real scientists from whom you should be taking lessons. Science is about reality. Science is NOT a social construct.

    Ocean dead zone: That scares me. Read “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward. If the description of the End-Triassic on pages 138 – 140 doesn’t terrify you, WHAT are you? We don’t want to stop GW Global Warming for our amusement. We want to stop GW for the salvation of our species. We want to prevent the extinction of Homo Sap. This is not a joke. Our species’ survival is in serious jeopardy. Homo Sap is on the endangered list.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Feb 2008 @ 3:18 AM

  123. Re #170

    Peter, “tossing” means reverting to one of those primitive, implicit “models” I was referring to: “nah, the climate won’t change”. Whether you want to call it that or not, that’s a model. A very poor one at that, ignoring essential physics and incapable of producing credible uncertainty metrics, to just give two of the more obvious flaws. Not one you want to base policy on.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Feb 2008 @ 3:57 AM

  124. I dont know how many people on RC read Benny Peiser’s CCNet, but I hope to get some enlightenment from this latest effort. http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=61512&sid=17581089&con_type=1
    This is from The Standard in Hong Kong, and the headline is “Global warming blamed for unusual cold spell”. The article goes on “As Hong Kong shivers through its second-longest cold spell since 1885, scientists point to global warming to explain the abnormal cold weather phenomenon worldwide.” Unfortunately the reporter does not give the science behind this unusual phenomon. Can anyone explain to me how global warming made Hong KOng so unusually cold this winter?

    [Response: Unfortunately, there will always be people found to say silly things. That's why you shouldn't get your science from the back of cereal boxes or most of the mass media. Pop attributions of every last weather event have as much to do with science as a guy in bar watching the game has to do with professional sports. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 Feb 2008 @ 4:09 AM

  125. About falsification, there is this general misconception that any theory, including well-established ones, can be overthrown by just one observation that is in conflict with it. But that is not how it works.

    Falsifiability is an important property of a theory that calls itself scientific. Few people are aware that even Newton’s theory of gravitation once suffered the fate of being falsified! When Newton realized for the first time that the same force that makes apples fall in Cambridge, also curves the Moon’s orbit around the Earth, he tried to calculate this force using the assumption of inverse-square distance behaviour. The serious mismatch he found made him keep the results to himself for many years — until a new radius of the Earth became available that removed the discrepancy.

    The inverse-square law itself follows inevitably from the Keplerian laws of planetary motion if one tries to model these mechanically. The centrality of the force causes the “law of areas” (conservation of angular momentum) to hold; the ellipticity of the orbit, with the Sun in one of the foci, as well as the Third Law, the relationship between periods and semi-major axes, follow from the inverse-square property. (And the Third Law still asserts that all this holds in the same way for different planets, possibly made of different materials.)

    Now, in Newton’s days, people still preferred to model planetary motion by them being carried around the Sun by eddies in a world aether; “action at a distance” was considered weird. So it isn’t really surprising that Newton wasn’t comfortable about his discrepancy. This is how it works for theories that aren’t well established, for which the scientific debate is still ongoing. However, as a theory becomes established and backed by a vast body of observational evidence, this changes. Now falsification requires not only one contradictory observation, but somehow explaining away this whole pre-existing body (or meta-body of multiple, methodologically separate, interlinking bodies) of evidence. For “textbook science”, like Newton’s gravitation, but also Darwin’s theory of evolution, and in fact the theory of anthropogenic climate change through heat radiation trapping by atmospheric gases, that’s a tall order — but then, it wouldn’t have become textbook science if it were easy.

    What happens today, and has for quite some time, if an apparent discrepancy is found, is that some influence is hypothesised that we are not aware of, the attraction of an invisible companion body, or “dark star”; and then its orbit and mass are computed. Sometimes, as in the case of Neptune or Sirius B, such a body is actually found. But even if it is not, Newton’s theory is not seriously in question. This has worked very well — with one famous exception.

    There is a way to look at gravitation which differs from the “action at a distance” viewpoint: it is the notion of a “field”, a property of empty space propagating from point to point. This is the way it is done in electromagnetism, Maxwell’s equations. In 1915, Einstein proposed an alternative field theory in which the field consists of the curvature tensor of a four-dimensional, intrinsically curved space-time continuum. As the responsible scientist he was, Einstein’s first exercise was to derive the weak-field approximation of his theory, to verify that it corresponded to Newton’s theory, and to derive the proper value for his field constant, inevitably containing Newton’s G. Thus, Einstein’s field theory remained backward compatible with the vast body of pre-existing material — but in addition managed to explain naturally the anomalous motion of Mercury, that had had astronomers head-scratching for quite a while by then.

    This is how scientific revolutions are made: you don’t throw the old away, you build on it. And you only falsify a theory in favour of a better theory, not in favour of “nothing” — usually designating the prejudices of the day.

    Having looked again at Dr Weart’s historical material I am impressed in the same melancholic fashion that one listens to Mozart: vaguely sad at not ever personally being capable of matching performance, yet immensely proud, in spite of everything, of belonging to the self-same human species and tree of life. Great stuff.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Feb 2008 @ 4:21 AM

  126. Re #108

    Patrick, “not using a model” means for you “not using a computer model”, right? Your intuition plus informal analysis skills form a model too, you know… just not a very explicit one. On the stock market it may well be the better model, as there is no physics involved, just learning from past experience in a messy reality. The human brain is pretty good at that.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Feb 2008 @ 4:38 AM

  127. #102 Magnus,

    As was the case with the supposed Ice Age claims in the 1970s, the issue is whether the issue is represented in the primary peer reviewed scientific literature, not whether journalists create an issue.

    The fact remains Weather is NOT Climate.

    Of course weather processes create climate. But weather is connected with short term variance. Climate is the emergent order on long-term scales (according to the WMO – 30 years). This may help you understand: http://pass.maths.org.uk/issue9/features/lyapunov/index.html notably the part entitled “Order and Chaos in the same system”, although the whole page bears studying (ideally with a spreadsheet to hand – lots of ideas to play with). A good example of the weather/climate issue was last year’s Arctic Melt, as explained on the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News Fall 2007. Here a weather event lead to the reduction of the ice, it’s only because the ice-cap has a “memory” by virtue of it’s physical nature that such a weather event can have long term consequences. Normally a spell of hot dry weather, such as in Europe 2003 does not have long-term climatological consequence by itself.

    Strictly speaking I suppose we’d need to wait until 2030 to see if any post 2000 weather trends actually become climate trends. However when I look at the droughts in the Mediterranean and Australia with regards IPCC projections, I am forced to accept that these seem to be the start of the projected changes. There are numerous other such examples, and my working assumption is that we are seeing the start of key projected changes. As with the media it must be kept clear, what the science shows and what an individual’s opinion is.

    As for model usefulness in projecting change: Last night I was playing around comparing the GISS dataset mapping page with the Model E transient simulation page.
    Model E page http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelE/transient/Rc_ij.1.11.html
    GISS dataset page: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/
    Impressive agreement in temperature even over short periods like 2000-2007 – watch out for the differnces in scale.

    I use models in electronics. For a DC signal I can use a very simple model, with AC I use more complex models, as the frequency components of an AC signal go up into the GHz region I even have to treat my printed circuit board tracks as waveguides. This does not mean I have 3 model regimes that are wrong. It means I have 3 model regimes that demand I understand them enough to apply the appropriate caveats. Where information is not available I sometimes must do my best to model with what I have, that does not mean I cannot say things with some confidence about the future, it means what I can say is qualified by caveats, they are a crucial part of the message. Likewise when a climate model projects to 2100 it has to be born in mind that the projection is based on the assumed forcings provided, it is not a map of the territory, more like a set of directions. If people do not bear that in mind it is their fault, not the fault of the modelling community!

    Loehle’s paper was printed in Energy and Environment (a publication which has a very poor track record), there’s a copy here…
    http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/AGW/Loehle/Loehle_E&E_2007%5B1%5D.pdf
    As I am not a professional climatologist I tend to discount E&E publications as a matter of course, unless I see that they are used favourably by scientists who are not in the tiny clique of denialist favourites (don’t think I’ve seen that yet). Furthermore “Loehle” is an outlier when compared to the numerous other studies, and Realclimate examines that study here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/past-reconstructions/

    Was the MWP warmer than now? I suspect not from the paper’s I’ve read (including the RC post above), but in truth I don’t really care. We’ve only gone through around 1/10 of the available fossil fuels. It’s a bit like someone saying “I’ve drunk a bottle of Vodka a day for the last week and I’m not dead yet – the doctors are wrong”. All they need to do is carry on in that manner and they’ll see that the doctors are correct.

    Either way, with the current situation in the Arctic we’ll soon see – do you have evidence of a seasonally ice free arctic in the middle ages? ;)

    By the way, as is repeatedly stated here: Cosmic Rays – no trend, so how could they be involved in the warming since the 1970s???

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 15 Feb 2008 @ 8:30 AM

  128. Re #111 Rick – Pages 25 and 26 of your first link contain the data to which I was referring. The SST data I referenced from:

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/monthly.ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat

    The point being there has been a 7 year downward trend in SST even during a period when the conditions should be supporting warming. I don’t propose to understand the reasons or have any prediction for the future. I simply pointed out there are conditions outside of the recent La Nina which merit questioning without ridicule.

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 15 Feb 2008 @ 8:38 AM

  129. re 120 ray I think you read too much into my comment. Just for the record, it is getting warmer, and AGW is the best explaination of that.

    Comment by steven mosher — 15 Feb 2008 @ 9:09 AM

  130. Re 129 where steven mosher Says:

    “ray I think you read too much into my comment. Just for the record, it is getting warmer, and AGW is the best explaination of that.”

    Yes, I agree with steven but, ray, that does not mean that the models are correct. The are using the wrong paradigm. The problems is that the scientsts will fight tooth and nail to preserve an old paradigm rather than accept a new one.

    Gavin admitted yet another failure by the models where they have a double ITCZ. (I had already noticed that the Hadley model used in the ClimatePrediciton.net project had no ITCZ!) Add that to the tropical lapse rate problem, the energy balance closure problem, problems with modeling the atmospheres of Venus and Mars, the “low gradient” problem, the length and amount of PETM warmth, the impossibly high levels of CO2 needed for the exit from Snowball Earth and for early protozoic life.

    The sceptics have explained away each succeeding weather catastrophe, and argue that AGW is not happening. Katrina and New Orleans or the French heat wave are good examples. The scientists do the same when their models are attacked, treating each problem as a small inconsistency rather than seeing them together as due to a fundamental flaw.

    But I am wasting my time preaching to the unconvertable. :-(
    To paraphrase Max Planck “Old theories never die, only the professors who teach them.” :-)

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 15 Feb 2008 @ 9:59 AM

  131. re: 128. According to that data set, there has not been a negative anomaly since 1976.

    Comment by Dan — 15 Feb 2008 @ 10:22 AM

  132. Re 129. Steve, given the amount of hysteria that precipitates from the denialosphere, satire is redundant.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2008 @ 10:35 AM

  133. After watching “Dimming the Sun”, in which Dr. James Hansen revealed the amazing information that aerosols and particulate pollution are blocking significant amounts of incoming sunlight, I wonder if the figures he quoted are incorporated into the climate models discussed here?

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 15 Feb 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  134. “One swallow does not make a summer.” said Aristotle. His Earth-centric theory of astronomy was wrong but he’s on the mark with this comment both regarding seasonal change and certainly as far as climate is concerned. One very cold winter in China or one cold January throughout our planet doesn’t make for climate change.
    As has been stated many times before in this site, the key is to look at trends over decades and even centuries.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 15 Feb 2008 @ 10:54 AM

  135. Thanks to CobblyWorlds for the thoughtful post in 127. One quibble: it’s more likely that we’ve gone through about half of the world’s cheap fossil fuels. See, for example, today’s post at The Oil Drum:

    World Oil Forecasts Including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE – Update Feb 2008

    World total liquids production (Fig 1) remains on a peak plateau since 2006 and is forecast to fall off this peak plateau in 2009. Increasing numbers of oil experts are forecasting impending peak production plateaus. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the current peak production of 87.2 mbd occurred on January 2008. As long as demand continues increasing then prices will continue increasing.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 15 Feb 2008 @ 11:17 AM

  136. re 120 ray I think you read too much into my comment. Just for the record, it is getting warmer, and AGW is the best explaination of that.

    [edited]

    Your statement about data being tweaked to fit models is, as Gavin said, BS. For a self-proclaimed expert climate auditor, you should know htis. If true, the implication would be just as Ray read it … scientific misconduct.

    Given your frequent accusations of this sort, I think people can be forgiven for assuming you meant exactly what you said in your comment.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Feb 2008 @ 11:53 AM

  137. RE # 128 Tom

    Unbelievable. How many times does this type of comment have to be responded to? The point being is that there has NOT been a 7 year downward trend in SST. You cannot cherry-pick a starting point or short term period and say anything meaningful about GW. GW is a long-term event. From that same data, you could say that it warmed from ’99/’00 thru ’05/’06. In fact, ’03,’05 and ’06, next to 1998, have the three highest temp anomalies in that entire record. Unbelievable. Do a regression analysis on the last 30 – 50 years.

    Comment by Kurt Cagle — 15 Feb 2008 @ 12:12 PM

  138. > 117
    Steven, you claimed fraud.
    Again.
    Why? This isn’t a trivial accusation you make.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2008 @ 12:14 PM

  139. “We want to stop GW for the salvation of our species. We want to prevent the extinction of Homo Sap. This is not a joke. Our species’ survival is in serious jeopardy. Homo Sap is on the endangered list.”

    FCOL, no we aren’t, and it never will be, from global warming. At the very worst, the extremely unlikely catastrophic scenarios would kill lareg amounts of people which would, ipso facto, mitigate carbon emissions.
    Nobody’s interests are served by such irrational, illogical statements.

    Comment by tom — 15 Feb 2008 @ 1:48 PM

  140. If I missed this point in the above 129 comments, please excuse me. I did my best to read them all.

    My question regards the step-down in SH oceanic anomaly as expressed in the NOAA data. Since the 1998 peak, there have been two distinct step-downs, including the current one. My eyes tell me that this means the surface layer is losing heat.

    Where has it gone? Was it dispersed back into the atmosphere? Was it circulated into deeper water?

    If the heat has been transferred to deeper layers, how well stored is it? Is it “permanently” removed from the climate cycle, or are there circumstances where it would re-heat the upper layer and eventually warm the atmosphere?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 15 Feb 2008 @ 2:05 PM

  141. Jim Cripwell at #124:

    Can anyone explain to me how global warming made Hong KOng so unusually cold this winter?

    With all due deference to Gavin, it is at least plausible to connect the weather patterns that have created the unusual Asian cold spell with the effects of global warming. Take a look at the NCDC’s climate summary for January, and then look at the plot of temperature anomalies in the global discussion here. Then look at the plot of 500mb height anomalies here.

    Basically, the cold pool of air over central Asia lies to the south east of a major warm anomaly over northwestern Eurasia. A warm Arctic is having its impacts on northern hemisphere weather patterns. In this case, it’s possible to argue that the climate signal is being seen in the synoptics. Stu Ostro at the Weather Channel has focussed on the 500mb anomalies as a signal of warming’s impact on weather patterns. His most recent post on the subject is here.

    Comment by Gareth — 15 Feb 2008 @ 3:50 PM

  142. RE 106
    A cold winter in North America? In my part of California, we did have many more “fruit chill hours” than in many previous years, but this was the first year since John Muir started keeping his diary, that a native daffodil could bloom through January. They tried in 2005, but suffered frost damage on several nights.

    Fruit tree bloom is a day or two behind what I expected from bud swell, but still 6 standard deviations ahead of my 1997-2000 baseline. As of today, the warm weather that integrates into global warming persists at a 6-sigma level of confidence.

    They grow fruit in Colorado. People should get out of the office, observe nature, and talk to their neighbors.

    I would bet that now, one can grow peaches in Boulder, Colorado. That was not possible when I was a kid in Boulder. The flip side of that wager is that I would also bet that some native species have disapeared from the NCAR campus.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 15 Feb 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  143. Why do you keep using the term “equilibrium” when what you are attempting to describe is a steady state?
    Do you actually know the difference between a steady state and an equilibrium, and why they are very different?

    Comment by Docmartyn — 15 Feb 2008 @ 5:14 PM

  144. Cobblyworlds (#127) is right. All science can be described as a set of nested models. On the outside are the simplest ones that are the most useful for learning and basic understanding but have the most exceptions. On the inside the models are complex, full of detail, offering insights to an expert who has worked through the subject over years. Those models have the fewest exceptions. OTOH, the complex models are a stupid trap for the naive and foolhardy especially the know it alls.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 16 Feb 2008 @ 10:26 AM

  145. Pursuant to my question above, while researching the source for the measured increase in ocean heat content from 1993 to 2003 (the supposed “smoking gun”, naturally buried behind a subscription), I came across a paper titled “Correction to “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean” which stated:

    [
    Most of the rapid decrease in globally integrated upper (0–750 m) ocean heat content anomalies (OHCA) between 2003 and 2005 reported by Lyman et al. [2006] appears to be an artifact resulting from the combination of two different instrument biases recently discovered in the in situ profile data. Although Lyman et al. [2006] carefully estimated sampling errors, they did not investigate potential biases among different instrument types. One such bias has been identified in a subset of Argo float profiles. This error will ultimately be corrected. However, until corrections have been made these data can be easily excluded from OHCA estimates (see http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/ for more details). Another bias was caused by eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) data that are systematically warm compared to other instruments [Gouretski and Koltermann, 2007]. Both biases appear to have contributed equally to the spurious cooling.
    ]

    This brings to light a question that I have: after recovering from the plunge following the 1998 spike, southern hemisphere ocean temperatures as reported by NOAA plunged again in 2003, before falling sharply again in 2005. My question is, are there any bias problems in that record? The Lyman correction seems to reveal such potential in the year to year record.

    Does anybody know if this has been addressed?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 16 Feb 2008 @ 10:31 AM

  146. Could someone please commment on the recent findings that infer that volcanic activity could also be a factor in the warming of the Southern Oceans:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080120160720.htm

    Comment by zualufg — 16 Feb 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  147. re Martin, Hank, et al (78, 84, 95 et al), thanks for your help. I’m trying to educate myself on ocean flow and such, but in the meantime I still have some follow-up questions about the whole process which relates to the cooling of the Antarctic and warming of the Arctic, as I gather.

    Solar radiation would seem not to be involved since that would not increase as a result from global/atmospheric warming. Solar incidence on the sea would be constant (other than insignificant changes due to changing cloud albedo maybe) no matter what global warming might or might not be doing. Am I correct here?

    It doesn’t seem that the dispersion of dissolved or chemically attached oxygen has the same mechanism as heat transport. Oxygen dissolved at the surface would, for the most part, simply migrate per standard chemical migration/diffusion. Heat is limited by its tendency to rise, not drop, and by the strange thermocline. Even if the heat/temp disperses downward (there would be a tendency to do this also, contrary to the heat rising thing, in the heat flow from higher temps to lower temps along with general stirring/mixing) there is this funny barrier around 100 meters that inhibits further heat/temp migration.

    The basic upwelling, downwelling and lateral currents are not a local phenomena but occur with close to ocean wide patterns. There does seem to be tendency for the thermohaline circulation to deliver warmer surface waters in the north and cooler surface waters in the south, at least with the Atlantic “pole-to-pole”-like meridonal loop. (Though there are significant warmer surface streams hitting Antarctica from the Pacific.) Is this the fundemental process behind this thread? A difficulty or two: Thermohaline circulation is still not well understood and modeled, with knowledge and modelling of northern/arctic waters better than southern oceans. All of this seems to make the conclusions described in this thread tentative if not tenuous. Any comments or insights?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Feb 2008 @ 1:42 PM

  148. Yes, this has been done before, and yes, it will be done again. But I’m trying to support this petition to Congress assuaging them to act now.

    We need effective legislation; we can’t do this on our own. Big business will never conform to what is right without laws telling them to do so.

    http://petitionearth.com/viewpetition.php?id=76

    So please, sign my petition. Cliche? Maybe. But it only takes a minute of your time. It’s not much. But it’s something.

    Comment by Jifferdale — 16 Feb 2008 @ 2:55 PM

  149. Re Tom Mckissic

    Tom, might I suggest you plot the data you link to in your favourite spreadsheet (say from 1970 to 2007 — a few years either way isn’t going to change anything much), calculate the overall trend for that 38-year period and then calculate how many complete 7-year periods in that that 38-year period have either negative or zero trends (never mind for now whether the latter are statistically significant or not).

    I make the trend over that 38-year period to be about +0.1°C per decade (r ~ 0.9). And I make it eight 7-year periods of negative or nominally zero trends (to 2 or 3 DP) in that 38-year period.

    Does this suggest anything to you about whether or not in this instance it’s a good idea to form an opinion on the basis of the latest 7-year period? It certainly doesn’t to me.

    It’s the first time for this 38-year period that the anomaly value has dropped below that calculated trend line in 6 years. And even if this current year’s value were to remain below the trend line (which indeed it might if La Nina persists through to late in the year), things would not change much.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 16 Feb 2008 @ 3:28 PM

  150. zualufg, Nowhere in the account do I see any indication that they posit that any significant amount of ice, continent wide, is or has been affected. Volcanos have huge effects locally, but they remain local unless they launch a lot of sulfates high into the atmosphere. So, while this is interesting geologically, it does not pertain to climate change.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2008 @ 4:21 PM

  151. zualufg (144) — Nothing worth even thinking about. Consider how small the volcano is and how very large the Southrn Ocean…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Feb 2008 @ 4:58 PM

  152. zualufug, did you read that abstract properly. The volcano in question erupted in 325BC. The researchers found evidence that the glacier under which it sits has speeded up recently and suggest that increased heat output from volcano may play a role by melting ice which then lubricates the glacier’s base. But they point out that this does not explain why all the other glaciers in the region are speeding up also. There is no mention of there being enough heat to affect the temperature of the southern ocean to any significant degree.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 16 Feb 2008 @ 6:58 PM

  153. #141 Gareth, Well written, the combo LaNina and thin polar ice has made identifiable patterns which were surprisingly steady, its a planetary wave phenom, not to be mistaken with a sudden cooling trend, to confirm one must wait a few months. A couple of other under the common radar simultaneous mysteries if you like, +200 knot stratospheric winds, along with a cold stratosphere with frequent bouts of explosive stratospheric warming, although far above, these events are tied with what is happening well below. Recent sun disk refraction readings in the Arctic were not abnormal compared with 2002-07, strongly suggesting that Jan 08 temperature anomaly will be short lived. Finally for those who think 1 degree C mean GT cooling (or warming) is insignificant, think China and snow balls…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 16 Feb 2008 @ 10:14 PM

  154. I see an explanation for why the Antarctic oceans should warm more slowly in the Weart article. I see no explanation for why it should cool.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 17 Feb 2008 @ 12:36 AM

  155. what affect will transpire in AGW assumptions, if we see a long-term trend develop denoting increases in global NH and SH sea ice with anomalies above the average recorded mean? For argument’s sake, lets say the trend began in Jan 08 and continues for 4 years, Jan ’12 and along with the trend, decreases in sea and global surface temperatures decrease as well. Thank you.

    Comment by floodguy — 17 Feb 2008 @ 1:42 AM

  156. #135
    Thanks Jim for the Oildrum reference. FYI what’s part of the office furniture where I’ve worked is the freebie magazine “Offshore Engineer”. (Which has a yellow border – just like National Geographic). I also get the other freebie “World Oil” which has more stats in it.

    But neither of those prepared me for an article I stumbled upon (no plug intended) via The Times on Friday I believe.

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

    Gloomy but it argues its case so well (to a non-economist like me) I’m thinking of building an eco home. And it looks like I’ll be in good company. (See what it says about President Bush’s Crawford ranch).

    Comment by Mike Donald — 17 Feb 2008 @ 7:08 AM

  157. Rod, actually while I highly appreciate your digging into the science — a manificent hobby! I am an amateur astronomer myself — don’t expect it to answer for you the problem you are trying to solve. Just like your attempt at micro-classifying the authoritativeness of various types of critics/sceptics is IMO useless.

    You see, non-scientists shouldn’t ever be expected to dig into the science in that way, just like you should’t have to question what your GP tells you. Sure, you may want to get a second opinion; but you don’t want to follow your own medical judgment over that of a trained professional.

    The fact that organizations like AGU found it necessary to make ‘position statements’ on this, and also on evolution denial, just tells a sad tale about a failure of communication between ‘science’ and society. The amusing thing is that this appears to happen exclusively with science outcomes that people — or vested interests, or religious nuts, or…. — have an emotional problem with. Not with the vast, immensely successful and hugely useful majority of science (and medicine) that people gratefully accept in their daily lives :-)

    The primary source is always the original research; The primary source is always the original
    research; everything else is derived. Why the
    non-atmospheric scientists in AGU support the
    position statement is because of their
    commitment to the scientific method, the rules
    of evidence, best practices, and the culture
    and traditions of the scientific community —
    this is a community in a way that
    climate change denial will never be.

    I too have only a very superficial understanding of climatology and its methods. Sure, my science (geodesy) and climatology have some physics in common, and some more math; but the essential commonality is the scientific method. I support AGU because I know the climatology community works by the same rules as apply in my discipline (as in many others), and are the only known successful rules by which valid, working science is produced. These rules are learned the hard way by every young scientist as he/she is taken up into the community. Similar to med school (for those that watch hospital series on the box): you come out a permanently different person. There are some things a doctor would never do, and never accept from a colleague.

    This is the kind of ‘groupthink’ there could be more of.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 17 Feb 2008 @ 9:56 AM

  158. Re: 156, well that is one gloomy article. For anyone looking for some optimism, read this:

    http://www.lanl.gov/news/index.php/fuseaction/home.story/story_id/12554

    It seems the folks at Los Alamos National Laboratory think they can take CO2 directly out of the atmosphere and make liquid fuels at a competitive cost. Who knows if this will work in the real world, but if so it would help to address two huge problems of global warming and our energy supply.

    Comment by B Buckner — 17 Feb 2008 @ 11:05 AM

  159. Mr Weart states,

    Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.

    Dr. Schmidt states in response to 94,

    The models are always wrong

    Pardon my naiveity, but shouldn’t the modelers goal be to recreate the Earth in a box, without any concern as to which hypothesis that supports, until such time that the modeler has confidence that they can fairly represent the world, and then, and only then, can the models can be used to prove or disprove any theory? When I see someone write “our models of global warming”, it makes me wonder whether the models are made to accurately portray the world or to accurately portray a theory, with all of the biases and assumptions contained within. So to answer you Gavin, is a model useful? Only if in good faith the modeler has tried to recreate the world and not the theory. Perhaps, you meant is the ensemble of models useful? To which I can only reply from the bias of my upbringing, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    [Response: The models are developed with the maximum flexibility possible. Global warming is only a small part of what they are used for and does not determine how they are developed. You appear to be a little confused as to how models are used in any case. The models don't prove anything one way or another. Instead, they quantify the implications of various assumptions about how the climate operates and allow us to quantify different hypotheses for how climate changes. If you get a match to the observations when given a plausible cause, that adds to the credibility of that cause causing the observed effects. Different hypotheses are tested and the ones that match the data best are taken as being most likely. There is never any absolute proof - only a series of increasing probabilities. Models are useful because they have, for over 30 years, been predicting things that were subsequently observed. In many cases where there was an apparent contradiction between models and observations, the models ended up vindicated due to a processing or other error in the observations. They have therefore earned a certain respect. - gavin]

    Comment by Ellis — 17 Feb 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  160. Rod, your 147 is perhaps a teachable moment. You wrote:

    > would seem not to be involved …
    > would not increase …
    > would be constant …
    > insignificant changes …
    > no matter what …
    > might or might not …

    Then you ask

    > Am I correct here?

    Until a few centuries ago, this method was the best available way to do science — relying on founders, original documents, and the building of logical structures based on the one original basic work. Find a flaw in the first paper and everything after collapsed.

    There’s a different way to approach science. Below I quote you one of the earliest statements of the method, as a fable. I commend it as worth thinking about:

    http://web.sbu.edu/history/tschaeper/Hist101/101wwwfbacon.html
    ————–Quoted below in full———-

    Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a prominent English politician and writer. He is most famous as a proponent of the new scientific ideas and methods that nowadays we call the Scientific Revolution. He himself was not a scientist, but he wrote several books defending the use of reason, experimentation, mathematics, and observation in science. These new tools replaced older methods of doing science: tradition, the acceptance of old authorities (like the Greeks and the Bible), and the basing of conclusions on “common sense” that was not backed up by experimentation.

    In one of his books published early in the 17th century he reprinted a passage that he had found in the records of a Franciscan friary.

    This passage from 1432 concerns how a group of friars tried to figure out how many teeth a horse had in its mouth. It is a good example of the “old” way of doing science.

    The passage goes as follows:

    In the year of our Lord 1432, there arose a grievous quarrel among the brethren over the number of teeth in the mouth of a horse. For 13 days the disputation raged without ceasing. All the ancient books and chronicles were fetched out, and wonderful and ponderous erudition, such as was never before heard of in this region, was made manifest. At the beginning of the 14th day, a youthful friar of goodly bearing asked his learned superiors for permission to add a word, and straightway, to the wonderment of the disputants, whose wisdom he sore vexed, he beseeched them to unbend in a manner coarse and unheard-of, and to look in the open mouth of a horse and find answer to their questionings. At this, their dignity being grievously hurt, they waxed exceedingly wroth; and, joining in a mighty uproar, they flew upon him and smote him hip and thigh, and cast him out forthwith. For, said they, surely Satan hath tempted this bold neophyte to declare unholy and unheard-of ways of finding the truth contrary to all the teachings of the fathers. After many days more of grievous strife the dove of peace sat on the assembly, and they as one man, declaring the problem to be an everlasting mystery because of a grievous dearth of historical and theological evidence thereof, so ordered the same writ down.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Feb 2008 @ 12:56 PM

  161. If I were to break up a global temperature change into spherical dynamics, I would expect that most important mode would be the constant temperature change mode. Another mode of interest to this discussion would be the one where one pole warms, and the other cools, with delta T being proportional to the sine of latitude. It doesn’t sound unreasonable to me that with greater NH arctic sensitivity, as well as the assymetries of land ocean area, that this second mode might be “excited” with considerable amplitude. Could the amplitude be strong enough cool Antarctica? Is there any evidence that the relative distribution of heat between the northern, and southern hemispheres is/can be affected?

    Comment by Thomas — 17 Feb 2008 @ 1:14 PM

  162. T. Reber writes:
    > I see no reason why …

    Did you see, read, and check the sources cited?
    That’s footnote 4. It’s easy to find. See? Look.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Feb 2008 @ 1:34 PM

  163. Tilo Reber (#154) wrote:

    I see an explanation for why the Antarctic oceans should warm more slowly in the Weart article. I see no explanation for why it should cool.

    Maybe because the Antarctic oceans aren’t cooling?

    Please see:

    Antarctic Temperature Trend, 1982-2004
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/antarctic_temp-AVH1982-2004.jpg

    from:

    Evidence for Global Warming:
    Degradation of Earth’s Atmosphere; Temperature Rise; Glacial Melting and Sealevel Rise; Ozone Holes; Vegetation Response
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/Sect16_2.html

    What is cooling is the interior of Antarctica — although the the actual sign of the trend may change depending upon the starting and ending date over which you are measuring the trend. However, both ozone depletion and increased precipitation in the continental interior have been thought to play a role in the cooling of the interior of the continent. Ozone depletion seems more likely nowadays, though since there really hasn’t been any significant increase in precipitation. The falling temperature of the stratosphere and rising temperature of the majority of the troposphere increases the strength of the downward polar vortex, cooling the surface nearest the southern pole.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Feb 2008 @ 2:02 PM

  164. Arctic sea ice winter break up: Does anyone know if this is typical or significant?

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/app/WsvPageDsp.cfm?id=11892&Lang=eng
    Sea ice breakup …winter ice in the Arctic..

    Then at the bottom of the page note a sequence of last JAN 4th images for the last 3 years of Arctic sea ice for that day. Noticeably diminishing winter pack.

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/content_contenu/SIE/Beaufort/ANIM-BE2007.gif
    (my Firefox browser does not like this.. but IE works fine )
    Notes from the web page:
    “Other interesting features are shown in the quikscat animation from Sept 7th, 2007 to January 29th, 2008 below.
    The progression of the old ice edge towards the pole from the eastern Siberian side of the arctic.
    An open water area from the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Sea persisted longer than surrounding areas. This open water area can be identified from the beginning of November (around day 305) and persisted until about mid-December (day 350)
    The amount of ice through Fram Strait with the southern edge near the southern tip of Greenland during the first week of January.
    The fracture of the ice pack off the western shore of Banks Island.
    The unusual extent of sea ice in the Eastern Labrador Sea. “

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 17 Feb 2008 @ 2:45 PM

  165. Slightly off topic but is there an answer ?

    In all of the paleoclimatic data does the rate of change matter? I mean we are told that th rate of warming is some 30x faster than anything the earth has experienced before it. Does this rapid climate change change the rules at all or are we just going to get the same warming as has happenned before only faster?

    Can animals and plants adapt to the fast warming climate? Glaciers and the Arctic react unpredictably?

    Comment by pete best — 17 Feb 2008 @ 4:41 PM

  166. pete best (154) — The biology cannot evolve/adapt fast enough. There is plenty of evidence for this.

    Very, very bad.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Feb 2008 @ 7:27 PM

  167. Re: #140 and #145,

    Does anybody have information for me?

    Also, Gavin I have a request for you. “The Global Warming Debate” is no longer active on the GISS site. (has it been updated/replaced?) There was a part which read as follows:

    [
    4. CO2 contribution to the ~33°C natural greenhouse effect

    Lindzen: "Even if all other greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) were to disappear, we would still be left with over 98 percent of the current greenhouse effect." Cato Review, Spring issue, 87-98, 1992; "If all CO2 were removed from the atmosphere, water vapor and clouds would still provide almost all of the present greenhouse effect." Res. Explor. 9, 191-200, 1993.

    Lacis and Hansen: removing CO2, with water vapor kept fixed, would cool the Earth 5-10°C; removing CO2 and trace gases with water vapor allowed to respond would remove most of the natural greenhouse effect.
    ]

    There does not seem to be any attribution in the article for the case made by Lacis/Hansen. Could you provide a relevant reference?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 17 Feb 2008 @ 7:44 PM

  168. Re Pete Best @ 164: “Can animals and plants adapt to the fast warming climate?”

    Some will be able to adapt, many won’t. Some will be able to migrate to find habitats similar to those they are already adapted to, many will simply not be able to migrate fast enough or at all.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 17 Feb 2008 @ 8:47 PM

  169. Re #161 Hank
    “Did you see, read, and check the sources cited?”

    No, when someone sets out to write an article to answer a question I assume that they will do so in the text of their article, not that they will give me a research project.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 17 Feb 2008 @ 10:27 PM

  170. Re #162 Timothy
    “Maybe because the Antarctic oceans aren’t cooling?”

    Okay, let’s say that the southern oceans are not cooling, even though we had record sea ice extent this past year. And let’s say that the explanation that you just gave for Antarctic cooling is correct. Then what does Mr. Weart’s article about slow ocean warming have to do with Antartic cooling, since his implication was obviously that the two are connected. Your explanation, on the other hand, is completely different from the approach that he took. He doesn’t go to ozone depletion or increased percipitation at all.

    I’m having a little bit of a problem with the increased percipitation angle as well. In order to get cooling from increased percipitation wouldn’t that percipitation need to be evaporating as it fell. And how much evaporation will we get from snow that is far below the freezing point? I suppose that snow could cause cooling through an albedo effect, but since it is already falling on a white continent, I don’t follow that either.

    Now, going back to the original question for a moment, Mr Weart says:

    “In their model, around Antarctica “there is no warming at the sea surface, and even a slight cooling over the 50-year duration of the experiment.” ”

    But I didn’t see any explanation of why such a model would produce “a slight cooling”.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 17 Feb 2008 @ 10:46 PM

  171. Martin (157), I appreciate your thought But I disagree with the premise and conclusion. First, as an aside, if I challenge some of the AGW theory it behooves me to reach a certain level of scientific understanding. More to the point, as said before, I most certainly do have a right, maybe even duty, to challenge aspects of AGW that I think might be faulty. Their using the scientific method raises their credulity, but they absolutely are not infallible. Neither are GPs or medical practioners. In fact the percentage of misdiagnosis and/or mistreatment, while small, is astounding. And I personally once rejected a GP’s diagnosis and treatment — and was correct.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Feb 2008 @ 10:59 PM

  172. Hank (159), I enjoyed your post, but I missed how it applies to my 147….

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Feb 2008 @ 11:13 PM

  173. Timothy (162), I don’t think you answered Tilo’s question. Also, frankly, you’re description of the process of cooling the interior of Antarctica sounds contrived, on the surface of it. This thread’s lead-in post said nothing of the sort….

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Feb 2008 @ 11:27 PM

  174. Rod writes
    > … using the scientific method raises their credulity

    What’s the difference between credulity and credibility?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Feb 2008 @ 11:39 PM

  175. re 170 “I most certainly do have a right, maybe even duty, to challenge aspects of AGW that I think might be faulty. ”

    Sorry, You do NOT have a right to keep crucial warnings away. You have no right to silence the warnings.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 18 Feb 2008 @ 1:14 AM

  176. If you guys have the time to do it, could you, at some point in the near future, comment on this paper?:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997″

    by Harries, et al., 2001.

    I have not been able to read the paper directly from Nature, although I have been able to read another paper by Harries and colleagues which, I think, touches on the same issue.

    I feel that it would help to settle some latent skepticism that can still be seen in some of the readers and commenters to this blog. It would also help settle some questions I have: how conclusive is this paper on its own? Would I be too reckless to quote it as clear and sufficient ( and maybe even simple) proof of anthropogenic global warming?

    Comment by Justin — 18 Feb 2008 @ 1:36 AM

  177. Re # 158.

    The removal of CO2 from the atmosphere to produce “high energy” fuels cannot succeed for the same reason harvesting uranium from sea water cannot succeed. It has to do with a concept called “chemical potential” or “activity” (dU = dln (a)). For the CO2 case, using CO2 at one atmosphere as the reference state, the activity is 0.0004 for CO2 in the atmosphere. Stated in lay terms, “there is a lot of entropy to overcome”. If they had a reaction that actually worked, why wouldn’t they start by using some of the thousands of tons of quite pure CO2 that is emitted currently by hydrogen plants at about 2 atmospheres that has 80000 times the “reaction potential” as atmospheric co2.

    Similarly, the if the concentration of U235 in seawater were say 10^-9 moles per liter and the diffusivity were 10^-8cm2/S (they multiply, you know) the diffusive “flux” of U235 to a collecting surface would be horrendously tiny, and the pumping cost to cause the huge volumes of seawater to flow past the surface (not to mention the area that would be required) would be far greater than the energy that could be obtained from the U235.

    In the case of trees, which do use low P co2, in a process that evolved over hundreds of millions of years, all we have to do is chop the trees down and burn them to recover the fuel energy.

    In effect, that’s what we’re doing when we burn fossil fuels–burning up “fossil trees” that grew hundreds of millions of years ago.

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 18 Feb 2008 @ 2:18 AM

  178. Tilo Reber (#169) wrote:

    Okay, let’s say that the southern oceans are not cooling, …

    It is probably best to say what is indeed the case.

    As I pointed out in what you are responding to (#162), the Southern Ocean has been warming, from 1982-2004, virtually throughout the entire ocean, but particularly along the Antarctic coast…

    Please see:

    Antarctic Temperature Trend, 1982-2004
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/antarctic_temp-AVH1982-2004.jpg

    from:

    Evidence for Global Warming:
    Degradation of Earth’s Atmosphere; Temperature Rise; Glacial Melting and Sealevel Rise; Ozone Holes; Vegetation Response
    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect16/Sect16_2.html

    *

    Tilo Reber (#169) wrote:

    … even though we had record sea ice extent this past year.

    I suppose it depends upon what you mean by “record.”

    Has sea ice actually increased in the southern hemisphere?

    Over the past couple decades, yes, but only slightly. And this is after dropping precipitiously in the earlier part of the Twentieth century. We still aren’t back to where we were during the early 1970s — and the decline prior to the 1970s appears to have been rather dramatic.

    Please see:

    Sea Ice, North and South, Then and Now
    October 8, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/sea-ice-north-and-south-then-and-now/

    *

    Of course, if sea ice has increased slightly over the past few years, it may in part be the result of increased fresh water due to all of the melting glaciers along the West Antarctic Peninsula and along the rest of the continental coasts. Fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water, and Antarctic ice loss has increased by 75% over the past decade. Then again, a season may have a somewhat different trend (cooling, perhaps, during the fall — at least in some places) from the annual trend that I was citing.

    Please see:

    Antarctic Trend Map: March-April-May Trend 1958-2002
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/ANTARCTIC/TRENDS/IMAGES/mam.trend.1958-2002.gif

    … from:

    Antarctic temperature trends
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/ANTARCTIC/TRENDS/

    The sea ice is seasonal, I believe.

    *

    Tilo Reber (#169) wrote:

    And let’s say that the explanation that you just gave for Antarctic cooling is correct. Then what does Mr. Weart’s article about slow ocean warming have to do with Antartic cooling, since his implication was obviously that the two are connected.

    Well, if you look at the article, Spencer Weart actually does provide an explanation for a possible cooling of the ocean surface in the form of water being brought up from the deep due to increased mixing:

    The pioneer climate modelers Kirk Bryan and Syukuro Manabe took up the question with a more detailed model that revealed an additional effect. In the Southern Ocean around Antarctica the mixing of water went deeper than in Northern waters, so more volumes of water were brought into play earlier. In their model, around Antarctica “there is no warming at the sea surface, and even a slight cooling over the 50-year duration of the experiment.”

    Deeper water is likely cooler water — so that could cool the surface, in places at least, at least in theory. But as I have said, we aren’t seeing that, at least in terms of the annual average temperature, from 1982-2004 — except in a couple of highly localized places (i.e., “tiny spots”).

    *

    Tilo Reber (#169) wrote:

    Your explanation, on the other hand, is completely different from the approach that he took.

    The world is a messy place.

    For example, a seven-year trend in the global average annual temperature is mostly noise. You should probably use at least fifteen years to get a good signal — and given the existence of climate oscillations (the NAO, ENSO, etc.), one would be demonstrating incredible naivety (at best) if one tried to identify the trend in global temperature using only a five year stretch….

    *

    Tilo Reber (#169) wrote:

    I’m having a little bit of a problem with the increased percipitation angle as well. In order to get cooling from increased percipitation wouldn’t that percipitation need to be evaporating as it fell. And how much evaporation will we get from snow that is far below the freezing point? I suppose that snow could cause cooling through an albedo effect, but since it is already falling on a white continent, I don’t follow that either.

    I don’t rightly know, but I suppose it might have something to do with the albedo effect — and the fact that old snow is typically dirtier than new snow, or the fact that new snow is likely to be brighter than snow which has melted, then refrozen, or perhaps even due to the difference in infrared absorption properties of the above. But as I have said, snow doesn’t seem to be a factor — so hope you’ll forgive me for not having followed up that question. The hole in the ozone layer, however, does.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Feb 2008 @ 2:34 AM

  179. Re #170 Rod,

    First, as an aside, if I challenge some of the AGW theory it behooves me to reach a certain level of scientific understanding.

    Correct. But that would be just you… it doesn’t scale. Only exceptional individuals can do this — and thus become climate scientists themselves — by the side of their daytime jobs. And you would still have to prove your newly acquired skills (no problem… start publishing!)

    … and I was once misdiagnosed too, and gave the correct diagnosis myself, later confirmed by surgery. Not unusual. You could have asked a second opinion. Not all doctors are good — and even the good ones make mistakes –, but the medical profession as a whole (the proper metaphor here) is a different story. And you don’t want to claim that self-diagnostication (Google diagnostication?) has an overall better record, do you?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Feb 2008 @ 5:16 AM

  180. Re #169

    But I didn’t see any explanation of why such a model would produce “a slight cooling”.

    Neither did I (I can only access the abstract), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. As the climate changes, also ocean circulation patterns will change, and some places may actually get cooler. In the models as well as in reality.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Feb 2008 @ 5:48 AM

  181. #163 Richard Pauli,

    Personally (as a non-professional) I don’t like the look of it one bit. I’ve posted my reasons here: http://www.sciencefile.org/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1188389838/141#141

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 18 Feb 2008 @ 7:35 AM

  182. Walt Bennett –

    Lindzen’s 98% figure was pulled directly out of his posterior. Studies with radiative-convective models of the Earth’s atmosphere say carbon dioxide accounts for 9-26% of the clear-sky greenhouse effect, not less than 2%. Here’s a reference:

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Feb 2008 @ 7:57 AM

  183. #167.
    “Some will be able to adapt, many won’t. Some will be able to migrate to find habitats similar to those they are already adapted to, many will simply not be able to migrate fast enough or at all.”

    Please cite proof of the statement. List the species that you believe will not be able to adapt fast enough and the proof that backs this assertion.

    Also, please quantify the ‘many’ in your statement.

    Comment by tom — 18 Feb 2008 @ 8:37 AM

  184. Rod B wrote in 172:

    Timothy (162), I don’t think you answered Tilo’s question. Also, frankly, you’re description of the process of cooling the interior of Antarctica sounds contrived, on the surface of it. This thread’s lead-in post said nothing of the sort…

    You might try this for ozone — and a more positive phase Southern Annualar Mode:

    Thompson and Solomon (2002) showed that the Southern Annular Mode (a pattern of variability that affects the westerly winds around Antarctica) had been in a more positive phase (stronger winds) in recent years, and that this acts as a barrier, preventing warmer air from reaching the continent. There are also some indications from models that this may have been caused by a combination of stratospheric ozone depletion and stratospheric cooling due to CO2 (Gillett and Thompson, 2002 ; Shindell and Schmidt, 2004). It is important to note, though, that there is evidence from tree-ring based climate reconstructions that the phase of the Southern Annular Mode has changed similarly in the past (Jones and Widman, 2004). We cannot, therefore, ascribe observed recent temperature changes to any one particular cause.

    3 December 2004
    Antarctic cooling, global warming?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/antarctic-cooling-global-warming/

    The possibility that increased precipitation might lower temperatures in Antarctica has been discussed elsewhere — but as I have said, doesn’t seem to be happening.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Feb 2008 @ 8:45 AM

  185. Re 137 & 149 – I plot the data, I run the running slope backwards from today, I see the long term trend. I’m not arguing these points. I’m not cherry picking a date – only observing the most recent short term trend in SST.

    My questions about this recent trend as compared to past trends relate the following.

    1) Cooling SST during an El Nino characterized period earlier this decade. It seems previous SST trends were heavily affected by ENSO.

    2) The downward trend in SST during an upward trend in land temps during the same period. Over the past century the two trends seem to march mainly in step.

    I would greatly appreciate any comments clarifying (or even refuting accurately) these points.

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 18 Feb 2008 @ 8:58 AM

  186. So we can conclude that there is little or no global warming because:

    a) Antarctica as a whole is still not melting, nearly three decades after NH ice started its decline.

    b) Southern ocean has seen no significant or widespread increase in SST, more than three decades after the northern counterpart seas started to warm.

    c) Snowfall has not increased anywhere but the Antarctic penninsula for the past 50 years, according to a new study by BAS

    Aside from this, climate models do indeed show polar amplification for the South pole. Here’s a GISS model screen dump from this very web site. The amplification is not as prononounced as for the North pole, partly because of the 1000-850 hPa pressure altitudes being masked out for whatever reasons (terrain?) but unmistakeably there. What models fail to show is a cooling, and a cooling is exactly what is observed.

    [Response: You are wrong on at least three counts. First off, global warming is defined as an increase in the global average, not that everywhere on the globe is warming. Three decade trends in the Southern Hemisphere are all positive - just not as positive as in the North. Finally, your use of a result for an equilibrium 2xCO2 model run is not the correct comparison to recent decades at all. All the quotes above are related to transient runs. To see that there is a difference, go to http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelE/transient/Rc_ij.1.11.html and plot the trend/ESD (the ensemble standard deviation) for the annual SAT for recent decades. You will note that the southern hemisphere high latitude trends are mostly blank - implying that any trend in the ensemble mean is smaller than the inter-member standard deviation - making it pretty insignificant. You might also be interested in reading Shindell and Schmidt (2004). - gavin]

    Comment by recon — 18 Feb 2008 @ 9:14 AM

  187. > Please cite proof…
    Tom, 182, 167
    > List the species …
    > and the proof that backs this assertion.

    Someone’s got a homework assignment due tomorrow?

    We can help. You need to ask smarter questions. Here:
    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    Let me get you started though, since you’re obviously just quoting from an assignment and in a hurry, and since this is such an active area of research that the list I gave you last month is not the same list you’ll be able to put together tonight and hand in tomorrow (science is like that, you have to do your own looking).

    http://www.google.com/search?q=+spring+timing+species+climate+change

    You will, in fact, find scientists doing this work online, and once you’ve understood the first link I suggest above, you’ll find people eager to help you understand. Just do the first basic work as suggested in the first link to show you want to learn how to learn.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2008 @ 12:12 PM

  188. Tom wrote
    > Re 137 & 149 – I plot the data, I run the running
    > slope backwards from today …

    I think you need to use the whole data set, not consider “today” as anything special. Remember error bars apply to each individual point, so you can’t decide that “today” is really a point to work from. It’s a range.

    Starting from today and working backward is the same as starting from any individual point years ago and working forward, innit?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2008 @ 12:19 PM

  189. Re: #181

    Barton,

    Thanks for attempting to answer my question in #166, but the part that interests me is the Lacis/Hansen assertion that removing all CO2 would cause most water vapor to leave (I suspect through a downward temperature/condensation spiral).

    There are some vigorous opponents of that assertion, and I cannot find independent attribution for it.

    Gavin, I asked you because, well, you work for the man who said it :-)

    So I figured you could just ask him. Was it based on models? I would suppose there must be some math or a paper somewhere which spells out the process?

    Thanks!

    [Response: The 5 to 10 deg C number comes from an assessment of radiative-convective modelling - what temperature drop is required to rebalance the TOA fluxes (Hansen et al, 1984 I think), while the eventual cooling takes into account the feedbacks. Actually doing the experiment is problematic because it gets so cold that many of the model assumptions are violated. On this count, it is indisputable that Lindzen is wrong. - gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 18 Feb 2008 @ 1:22 PM

  190. Gavin,

    Thanks for your lightning fast response. Unfortunately for this layman, you gave short shrift to some points which elude me. I beg that you perhaps assist me with some clarification of something which I am sure is simple to you, and perhaps not so simple to explain to non-scientists.

    While I agree that it makes common sense to deduce what Lacis/Hansen asserted, you know as well as I do that there is a heavy burden to “prove” assertions such as this in the context of the modern day debate.

    Again, the 5-10*C number is not so controversial; it’s the second part that raises hackles. Lacis/Hansen state “emoving CO2 and trace gases with water vapor allowed to respond would remove most of the natural greenhouse effect.”

    You say that actually doing the experiment is problematic because the models are basically not built for such an analysis (perhaps that’s why EdGCM didn’t seem to care that I zeroed out CO2). I would be grateful for a link to either a mathematical or theoretical explanation of the process.

    When I try to imagine it, I keep running into this: daytime temps would excite the ocean surface to produce vapor, and the oceans would also heat, giving back some of that at night. Would the planet maintain a baseline H2O-greenhouse effect in this scenario?

    Thanks for taking the time.

    [Response: If you take EdGCM with 0 CO2 and allow the ocean temperatures to change, the planet will freeze over and the model will crash as it uses up available ocean depth to make ice. Since there is no observational data to validate against, you are only talking about a hypothetical situation, in which case only models can be used for insight. And in all such cases, ocena temperatures cool dramatically, water vapour plummets and baseline greenhouse effects do so as well. - gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 18 Feb 2008 @ 1:38 PM

  191. 187.

    As I supected, it’s more speculative hyperbole than historical fact. Some species thrive when habitat changes and some don’t.

    Comment by tom — 18 Feb 2008 @ 2:03 PM

  192. Re 186 and 187 – First, doesn’t the CURRENT trend REQUIRE the use of TODAY as an end point for the RANGE?

    Researching AGW as a hobby I do have some questions which come to mind every once in a while. Often I can research these questions on my own or find article or reference which relate. At other times the information is not readily available or is too recent to have published information.

    I will try to find a way to post the graphed data I have so the areas in question can be highlighted. All I need is a nudge in the right direction, I can take over from there.

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 18 Feb 2008 @ 2:55 PM

  193. Re: #140, #145,

    Anybody? Am I really the only one who cares?

    :-)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 18 Feb 2008 @ 3:31 PM

  194. Re: #190

    Gavin,

    Gracias. I wish I had a link :-) but I do accept the baseline logic. My confusion was with regard to whether or not the oceans freeze, or if they net retain heat.

    Your answer is that they freeze, and then of course the feedbacks kick in.

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 18 Feb 2008 @ 4:24 PM

  195. Hank, credulity is more pedantic??

    Comment by Rod B — 18 Feb 2008 @ 6:16 PM

  196. Richard (175) I never said or implied anything about “silencing”.

    Comment by Rod B — 18 Feb 2008 @ 6:18 PM

  197. Tom, re detecting trends, nope, you can do the math yourself and see how much any individual year, for example the past year, changes the trend. Do the calculation with it and without it. Or use Stoat’s (link below) and do it with last year’s added in.

    We don’t have “today’s” number; we have one number each year, from each of several different data sets.

    You understand I hope that you need either a long time, or many observations, to detect a trend statistically.

    That’s not a choice, it falls out of the math. To be able to detect a trend as expected from CO2 increase takes a couple of decades.

    Eyeballs detect trends that don’t exist, reliably. Better to imagine a tiger in the bushes than miss a real one, we’re wired to see patterns in randomness. Those in the past who did not imagine tigers didn’t have descendants.

    see 56 above, the link to Tamino there,
    and http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#more
    and http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

    Statistics is a math tool — if you have Excel you can follow Stoat’s link to a public data set, add the past year or two to it, and see what difference a couple of years make.

    Statistics changes how you think. It really does. It’s a very new science, it’s not something amateur readers like me are going to be experts at. A college or graduate course in statistics is an experience that changes your faith in your own ability to know what’s going on in the world. I recommend it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2008 @ 7:15 PM

  198. #192 Walt,

    When the first Lyman results were doing the rounds various contrary(ish) types were claiming it was a problem for the AGW theory. I pointed out that in Levitus’ study they mention greater cooling episodes. That point was ignored.

    It’s interesting. But I am too busy with Arctic issues and am in no way qualified to start guessing what is going on – I leave such detail to the experts.

    PS I noted your complaint about papers being being pay-to-view barriers. Let me know what you need I’ll see if I have links (or try for yourself locating the names of the researchers and seeing if they have free pre-prints on their publications pages). I’ve only ever paid for one paper, but have hundreds from various sources. Not ideal but as I’m broke it has to do.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 19 Feb 2008 @ 6:43 AM

  199. Re #196: Rod, an excess of noise silences the soft-spoken. Everybody has a right to speak, but only the few deserve to be listened to. Don’t aspire to making the problem worse.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 19 Feb 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  200. Re #190 Gavin’s comment: “Since there is no observational data to validate against…”

    There’s Snowball Earth. Okay, not quite zero CO2, different continental geometry, weaker Sun (?) …

    [Response: That's a very different kettle of fish, but in a broader sense you are correct. If Snowball Earth (or something close) ever happened it makes it very hard to argue for a very small climate sensitivity. But on the other hand, all the differences in conditions (and very limited data) make the modelling tricky. - gavin]

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 19 Feb 2008 @ 8:33 AM

  201. Re Tom @ 183: “Please cite proof of the statement. List the species that you believe will not be able to adapt fast enough and the proof that backs this assertion. Also, please quantify the ‘many’ in your statement.”

    “Many” was sloppy writing on my part. Would you be more comfortable with “some species will be able to adapt, some won’t. Some will be able to migrate to find habitats similar to those they are already adapted to, some will simply not be able to migrate fast enough or at all?”

    Or, is it the very premise that climate change will result in the extinction of some species that you object to? If so, that horse is already out of the barn. Let me introduce you to Bufo periglenes:
    http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Bufo_periglenes.html

    This toad was highly adapted to the very narrow range of climate conditions of the cloud rain forest. When those conditions changed during the 1986-87 El Nino the entire known population of the toad was extirpated. Since no other populations are known to exist, it is now listed as extinct.

    Environmental change and habitat loss are both well established causes of extinction, and climate change will result in both on a global scale. The golden toad is but one example of a species that is so highly specialized to a very narrow range of habitat and climate variation that it will be unable to either adapt or migrate when those conditions change.

    Your request for a list the species that will not be able to adapt fast enough is a nice try, but no one can predict the future to that specific degree, and you know it, or should. That said, many species are risk, and as Hank Roberts demonstrated, it’s not very hard to research the subject if you’re interested in more than trying to score a point.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Feb 2008 @ 10:55 AM

  202. > 183, 187
    No, Tom, you’re seeing what you “suspected” because you’re replying to blog postings instead of reading the science. This is not an argument or a debate. This is an attempt by all of us amateurs to learn what’s known.

    If you don’t read the science and can’t cite your sources, you’re just opinionating. Recreational typing or homework help, either way, it wastes everyone’s time.

    Seriously — read at least the link on how to ask questions the smart way and consider trying it. As, you know, an experiment.

    Experiment. It’s good for you, if you want to learn something new. If not, don’t.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Feb 2008 @ 1:19 PM

  203. Re #197. Excel is a nifty little tool. Using the monthly ocean temperatures from the NCDC and plotting the trendline slope backward in time from the most recent month (close enough to today for me) provides a graph of the current trend in ever increasing ranges. The trend is currently negative going back 7 years before crossing over to positive for the long term.

    La Nina is the obvious explaination for average temperature anomoly drops recently. My simplified question is, what was driving the slight ocean surface temp drops prior to 2007?

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 19 Feb 2008 @ 2:29 PM

  204. #176 Justin

    Re: Harries et al and observed OLR.

    In IPCC AR4 Chapter 2 of the scientific basis report “Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing” you’ll find reference on page 153 which states:

    “The reduced brightness temperature observed [by Harries et al] in the spectral regions of many of the greenhouse gases is experimental evidence for an increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect. In particular, the spectral signatures were large for CO2 and CH4. The halocarbons, with their large change between 1970 and 1997, also had an impact on the brightness temperature.”

    So it is “experimental evidence for” the enhanced greenhouse effect. Not though global warming due to human activity, that’s a further line of reasoning.

    Sorry but I too can’t find a copy of Harries et al outside of Nature’s Golden Ramparts.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 19 Feb 2008 @ 3:45 PM

  205. Re: 204.

    I’m taking the enhanced greenhouse effect to be caused by humans as a well-founded given (re: isotopic analysis; oxygen usage; etc.)

    Comment by Justin — 19 Feb 2008 @ 7:17 PM

  206. > currently negative
    Statistical significance?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Feb 2008 @ 10:43 PM

  207. It has been published that 12,500 years ago the earth went through a warming of approx 20 degrees F in 50-80 years. (James White et al)

    If species survived this warming why would a vastly more gradual warming now be harder on them? Has the evidence of this warming been debunked that I’m not aware of?

    [Response: No way. Global warming out of the ice age as about 5 - 6 deg C (~10 deg F) and it took 10,000 years, not 50. You are most likely talking about local warmings in Greenland coming out of the Younger Dryas - but the global change associated with this was much smaller. - gavin]

    Comment by Ryan Patterson — 20 Feb 2008 @ 12:31 AM

  208. Re #204 Cobblyworlds, what you probably want is the article:

    Griggs, JA, Harries, JE, Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave radiation over the tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS, J CLIMATE, 2007, Vol: 20, Pages: 3982 – 4001, ISSN: 0894-8755

    not so much the letter to Nature.

    Look at: http://www.ggy.bris.ac.uk/staff/staff_griggs.html under “recent presentations” for two accessible PDF presentations on the subject.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Feb 2008 @ 3:23 AM

  209. Interesting information, a review of the icecore data shows the antarctic went through a fair amount of warming at the same period, a couple degrees C in 500 years or so. This debate has kept me quite interested for a few years now. I actually look forward to the release of monthly temperature anomaly data and the like. (although clearly for the purposes of climate change a single months data is fairly irrelevant)

    To say that humans are changing the climate is a given, to say the earth is so fragile it’ll likely hit some crazy tipping point and kill everyone and everything is a little absurd in my opinion.

    Comment by Ryan Patterson — 20 Feb 2008 @ 8:52 AM

  210. Re: #208: here’s a real article to read:

    http://hdl.handle.net/1983/999

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Feb 2008 @ 9:30 AM

  211. #209, Ryan Patterson says “To say that humans are changing the climate is a given, to say the earth is so fragile it’ll likely hit some crazy tipping point and kill everyone and everything is a little absurd in my opinion.”

    And you base your opinion on what exactly? Doesn’t it bother you just a little bit that the survival of the human species should be trusted to opinion? In any case, killing everyone and everything is not the threat most people are concerned about. Rather the concern is how we maintain a complicated global civilization with 9-12 billion people when the climate upon which our agriculture, transport, health and culture depend becomes unpredictable or hostile to maintenance of that civilization. The concern is that we will reach some tipping point where feedbacks make all of our efforts meaningless and strip away what little control we have over future climate. And that concern is anything but absurd.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Feb 2008 @ 9:59 AM

  212. Hank 206. The significance at the zero cross of the slope graph is expectedly low. Checking a few months forward the significance is much higher. At 6.75 years the current negative trend’s significance has a value less than 1%.

    Comment by Tom Mckissic — 20 Feb 2008 @ 10:02 AM

  213. Ryan (209), I have seen it estimated that between 99 – 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct. Still the earth teems with life. You are right the “earth” is very resistant. Humans and cockroaches (among others) have proven themselves to be very adaptable (cockroaches actually have much more impressive track record). The issue at stake here is not really “life” or “the earth”. I agree with you that “they” will both survive whatever we throw at them. The issue is “life as we know it” and the earth’s continued ability to support a (growing) population of humans who are at least partly dependent upon the level of species diversity that now exists.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 20 Feb 2008 @ 11:06 AM

  214. I haven’t done much reading on the various global warming controversies yet, but it’s great to see a site where people actually discuss the evidence.

    Comment by Richard Palm — 20 Feb 2008 @ 11:49 AM

  215. Antarctic ice record warns of greater warming than today’s climate …
    Climate Model Predicts Greater Melting, Submerged Cities …
    BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Unexpected warming in Antarctica
    Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

    Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century.

    Huh? What they call a posteriori reasoning, which does not mean talking out of your backside but means being wise after the event. The theory is not wrong. The model is. So if this model is wrong?????

    Comment by Wotan — 20 Feb 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  216. I understand this post to be saying that oceans absorb heat so the atmosphere over oceans heats more slowly than the atmosphere over land. So Antarctica heats up more slowly.

    I have also read somewhere that the poles are heating more quickly than the equator. Is this incorrect, then; is it just the Arctic that is heating up faster?

    Comment by Holly Stick — 20 Feb 2008 @ 12:39 PM

  217. Wotan,
    The models that predict cooling in Antarctica were not “fit” to the observations. Rather, the parameters are fit independently and then the results are the results, so there is nothing a posteriori about it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Feb 2008 @ 12:49 PM

  218. Thanks Martin(#208).

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 20 Feb 2008 @ 2:52 PM

  219. Holly Stick (216) — Yes, just the Arctic. The difference is that most the land is in the northern hemisphere and most of the ocean in the southern.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Feb 2008 @ 5:04 PM

  220. Latest French & CSIRO research reports some evidence that the Southern Ocean to be warming on the surface and at depth.

    The joint Australian-French-US program has produced a 15-year dataset based on readings taken by the volunteers and crew of the 65-metre French ship, L’Astrolabe, on regular voyages between Hobart, Tasmania and the French Antarctic base at Dumont D’Urville.

    Podcast here http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pisg.mp3

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/18/2165601.htm

    Comment by Luke — 20 Feb 2008 @ 6:36 PM

  221. Doesn’t this show a cooling trend for Antarctica?
    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    Comment by Tycho — 20 Feb 2008 @ 10:14 PM

  222. Gavin, do you know of Prof. Ross Garnaut? He’s just presented his interim report to our Prime minister Kevin Rudd and the contents of that report are chilling – so say those who read it. He says that climate change and AGW is happening much faster than anyone before had predicted. He said the Stern report missed the mark by a long shot and he has urged the australian government to now take ‘immediate’ action on all fronts to try to do our bit to mitigate climate change. He also said that a 60% reduction by 2050 was far too little and that we need an almost complete ban on CO2 emissions by that time if not sooner, but he also said that the economic cost will be enormous but it’s something we will have to face. Why Kevin Rudd was so non-comittal in Bali is because he was waiting for that report to formulate action. BTW the presidential candidates for the white house seem to give AGW very little mention, Obama seemsto be the most switched on but they all seem very uninspiring to me.

    [Response: We are not going to discuss presidential politics here - but I am not aware of Garnaut or his report. It sounds a little too strong, but I'd have to see it to judge. Post a link if you find one. - gavin]

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 21 Feb 2008 @ 3:21 AM

  223. Re: 222 Here is the link to that report http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/WebObj/GarnautClimateChangeReviewInterimReport-Feb08/$File/Garnaut%20Climate%20Change%20Review%20Interim%20Report%20-%20Feb%2008.pdf

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 21 Feb 2008 @ 3:33 AM

  224. Re #207 Ryan Patterson Says:
    20 February 2008 at 12:31 AM

    “It has been published that 12,500 years ago the earth went through a warming of approx 20 degrees F in 50-80 years. (James White et al.)”

    A rather fuller reference would help. That is not a paper I, or even Gavin, appears to be familiar with. Even with Google Scholar I cannot find the paper you are referring to.

    Ryan asks: “If species survived this warming why would a vastly more gradual warming now be harder on them?”

    Why would it be gradual? The main danger is from an abrupt climate change like the one White describes or that which ended the Younger Dryas to which Gavin referred.

    Ryan then asks: “Has the evidence of this warming been debunked that I’m not aware of?”

    No! There was a rapid warming in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the last glacial maximum, but everyone concentrates on the rapid cooling at the start of the Younger Dryas. We are in a period of global WARMING, and the main danger to those people living in the Northern Hemisphere today is not a cooling aka Hollywood’s “The Day After Tomorrow” but a rapid warming as recorded in the ice cores for 12,500 BP and 10,500 BP.

    Re #209 where Ryan says: “To say that humans are changing the climate is a given, to say the earth is so fragile it’ll likely hit some crazy tipping point and kill everyone and everything is a little absurd in my opinion.”

    It does seem a little absurd to most people that the climate is fragile, but the events that happened in 12,500 BP, 11,500 BP and 10,500 BP show that it is true. The climate can be either stable or unstable. When it is stable it sits there, until external factors change it into instability. When it is unstable it changes rapidly until it becomes stable in a new way. Stable periods are long. Unstable periods are short. The unstable end of the Younger Dryas lasted perhaps only 3 years. The subsequent stable Holocene has lasted ten thousand years.

    During this stable Holocene the human population has grown from around 600,000 to 600,000,000. A rapid change to a warmer climate will mean droughts, floods, hurricanes, and rising sea levels. On a crowded planet, it is not unconceivable to imagine more people dying from famine than the total population of the world 12,500 years ago!

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 21 Feb 2008 @ 8:45 AM

  225. Popular account of Greenland melting detection:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220175223.htm

    This is important because much of the southern coastal area of the ice sheet is already near the melting point (0 degrees Celsius) during the summer.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Feb 2008 @ 7:25 PM

  226. This is one that should interest the modelers — good find, David. Gavin, does this sort of correlation attract attention?

    —-excerpt follows——-

    The paired surface temperature and gravity data confirm a strong connection between melting on ice sheet surfaces in areas below 6,500 feet in elevation, and ice loss throughout the ice sheet’s giant mass. The result led Hall’s team to conclude that the start of surface melting triggers mass loss of ice over large areas of the ice sheet.

    The beginning of mass loss is highly sensitive to even minor amounts of surface melt. Hall and her colleagues showed that when less than two percent of the lower reaches of the ice sheet begins to melt at the surface, mass loss of ice can result. For example, in 2004 and 2005, the GRACE satellites recorded the onset of rapid subsurface ice loss less than 15 days after surface melting was captured by the Terra satellite.

    “We’re seeing a close correspondence between the date that surface melting begins, and the date that mass loss of ice begins beneath the surface,” Hall said. “This indicates that the meltwater from the surface must be traveling down to the base of the ice sheet — through over a mile of ice — very rapidly, where its presence allows the ice at the base to slide forward, speeding the flow of outlet glaciers that discharge icebergs and water into the surrounding ocean.”
    —–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Feb 2008 @ 11:43 PM

  227. Alastair McDonald #224, I think you missed a zero there; the human population increased from 600,000 to 6,000,000,000.

    And of course, the stable climate over the past 10,000 years or so allowed the invention of agriculture, which allowed that enormous population growth to take place. Now that the climate is going unstable, agriculture is going to be adversely affected. We need to figure out how to avoid crop failures in an unstable climate.

    Comment by Holly Stick — 22 Feb 2008 @ 12:54 PM

  228. re 211.

    This statement “Rather the concern is how we maintain a complicated global civilization with 9-12 billion people when the climate upon which our agriculture, transport, health and culture depend becomes unpredictable or hostile to maintenance of that civilization” presumes an optimal climate.
    Do we know what the optimal climate is for 9-12 million people on this planet?

    One of the faulty premises of AGW is that the optimal climate is NOW, and any change would be negative. ALmost every analysis I see about temperature increase is how BAD it would be, as if NO good would come of warmer temps. that , to me, is absurd.

    Comment by tom — 22 Feb 2008 @ 1:26 PM

  229. I’ve made what may be an original observation but I would like to have my logic checked by someone more knowledgeable in the field. The observation is that the conventional idea that greenhouse gases have more effect at the poles than the tropics is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. That is, there is not only no polar amplification, there is actually tropical amplification.

    Here’s why: The tropopause is higher and colder in the tropics than at high latitudes. This means that emission from CO2 is lower in the saturated region around 15 micrometers (667 cm-1) in the tropics. Hence, an increase in CO2 will cause a higher forcing in the tropics than at the poles so the delta T required to balance that forcing is lower at the poles than the tropics.

    I’ve checked this with the Archer MODTRAN calculator for doubling CO2 and methane. I have also looked at observed spectra from the tropics and high latitudes published in Grant W. Petty, A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation and the calculated and observed spectra show similar features.

    Comments would be appreciated.

    Comment by DeWitt Payne — 22 Feb 2008 @ 3:25 PM

  230. Tom, #228: Our infrastructure–especially our agricultural infrastructure evolved in the current climate. It will not produce as efficiently in a significantly warmer or significantly colder climate. Moreover, the past 10000 years has been a time of exceptional climatic stability–adding energy to that system will certainly make it less predictable. Predictability is a good thing when you have 12 billion mouths to feed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Feb 2008 @ 4:51 PM

  231. tom — The optimal climate is that which enabled the human population to grow from less than one million persons to 6,600 million persons (so far). This was the climate of the Holocene, a climate we no longer enjoy, having created the Anthropocene, primarily by burning fossil carbon.

    Climate is not just temperature, but also precipitation patterns. Changing those lowers agricultural yields, via droughts and floods.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Feb 2008 @ 4:54 PM

  232. Re: 225 andd 226

    The Greenland info is interesting, particularly that we now have remote sensing capabilities to better monitor what is going on up there. And indeed, the GISS data suggest fairly rapid warming since at least the mid-90s with some ups and downs from the lows in the early 80s. However, before we abandon all hope, it should be noted that the few long-term Greenland GISS stations, particularly Godthab Nuuk and Angmagsallik, suggest that this area was consistently at least as warm if not warmer than 2000-2007 from ca. 1930-1950 (as do data from Iceland). Doesn’t say anything one way or another about what to expect but it does indicate we are not exactly in uncharted territory.

    Regards,
    Bob North

    Comment by Bob North — 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:03 PM

  233. One of the faulty premises of AGW is that the optimal climate is NOW, and any change would be negative.

    That’s an untrue statement. The worry is about the RATE OF CHANGE, and the ability of ecosystems, agricultural systems, and infrastructure to adapt to such rapid change in a way that’s not exceedingly painful for the human species. There’s no claim that today’s climate is “optimum”, only that it’s the climate current ecosystems and human infrastructure are adapted to.

    Scientists aren’t as stupid as you apparently think they are.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  234. RRe # 228 Tom: “ALmost every analysis I see about temperature increase is how BAD it would be, as if NO good would come of warmer temps. that , to me, is absurd.”

    One of the peculiar features of science is that conclusions must be based on the evidence. As you have acknowledged, not ALL the predicted impacts are negative. But, if the data consistently point in one direction, then the conclusions have to reflect that trend. That is not absurd, it is science. Like it, or not.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:07 PM

  235. OK, these models predicted less warming at the South Pole. Were there models that predicted the opposite (surely, there were some) and, if so, what was the ratio of numbers that did to those that didn’t? Were the early conjectures broad enough that one can essentially pull up those which happened to, at least temporarily, fit the later observations and claim it was known all along?

    My question is related to the “Random Walk down Wall Street” exercise, in which 1,000 persons are gathered in a room and told to flip a coin. Those that get heads are segregated and asked to flip again. The process repeats until there is one person who has consistently flipped heads, at which point he is proclaimed an expert coin flipper. But, there is no predictive knowledge gained as to whether the individual will flip heads again on the next try. The odds are still 50/50.

    In the same way, if this is simply choosing those early studies which have played out more or less correctly so far, does this confer upon them any particular predictive power with which to gauge the future?

    Comment by Reid — 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:17 PM

  236. Re tom @ 228: “Do we know what the optimal climate is for 9-12 million people on this planet?”

    Perhaps the climate that allowed the population to grow to that size?

    Seriously, look back through time and you will see numerous examples of the kind of impacts that both warmer and cooler climates–and don’t forget, warmer vs cooler also means dryer vs wetter–had on human populations and their civilizations.

    Tom: “One of the faulty premises of AGW is that the optimal climate is NOW, and any change would be negative. ALmost every analysis I see about temperature increase is how BAD it would be, as if NO good would come of warmer temps. that , to me, is absurd.”

    So, tell us, then, what the good impact would be…
    … of a longer growing season if there is not enough rainfall at just the right time to water your crops?
    … of increased CO2 fertilization for plants if your food species can’t use it as well as weed species can, and that same CO2 increase also acidifies the oceans and leads to a collapse of the marine food chain?
    … of warmer average temperatures for rice, which is already at its upper limit of heat tolerance in much of the regions where it is grown?
    … of decreased river flows in the Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yangtse and other south and southeast Asian rivers as the glaciers that feed them shrink?
    … of a northward shift of the climate zone suitable for growing wheat if the new zone lies in what is now shield, boreal forest and muskeg, and all of our infrastructure is built to transport and process wheat grown in the midwest?
    … of a Northwest Passage open to shipping if the world’s port facilities and cities have been built for present sea level?

    Please, do tell us what good impacts of global warming will offset these negative impacts should they come to pass?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:44 PM

  237. Reid, Here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/antarctic-cooling-global-warming/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/catastrophic-sea-level-rise-more-evidence-from-the-ice-sheets/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/antarctica-snowfall/langswitch_lang/in

    Educate yourself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Feb 2008 @ 9:35 PM

  238. I recommend Brian Fagan’s “Floods, Famines, and Emperors – El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations”.

    Tom: you aren’t a farmer, are you? Farm kids learn Liebig’s Law of the Minimum (although not necessarily by the formal name) by the time they’re 10.

    In any case, developed-world ag is going to be stressed anyway, even without AGW to make it worse:
    - oil gets more expensive [tractors, combines, transport]
    - nitrogen fertilizer [natural gas] gets more expensive
    - water is under stress, just from aquifier draw-down

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Feb 2008 @ 11:40 PM

  239. I stongly believe that it is just because of the current stable global climate before AGW that made our human proliferation possible..population growth in artic climes is nowhere near as great as in the warmer climates..as it get hotter stress on the reproductive process rises as well. And it is within the relatively narrow framwork of our current climate that the great breadbaskets of the world were developed, not too cold, not too hot, reasonably predicable rainfall etc. If that was to change as is happening now, the breadbaskets will be under enormous pressure to adapt..and largely they ‘will not’..as the precipitation patterns move elsewhere and the earth bakes underfoot not even genetic engineering of crops will be sufficient..and all this time the world pop keeps rising and rising, Ok not at quite the same stupendous rate as decades ago but fast enough. We are and will be entering a prolonged period of unprecedented climatic change and thart means all bets are off. The world breadbaskets are going to have to move to cooler and/or wetter areas of the world..only trouble is the land has not been allocated to that type of intensive agriculture, so massive expenditure is required to build canals, dams, drainage, infrastructure etc in different areas of the world. I believe in our medium term future the global economic and monetory systems will have to radically change as countries will have to help neibouring countries to meet the challenge of a changing agricultural paradigm.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 23 Feb 2008 @ 3:39 AM

  240. Re #227 Where Holly Stick says:

    “Alastair McDonald #224, I think you missed a zero there; the human population increased from 600,000 to 6,000,000,000.”

    Yes, in fact David Benson #231 has it at 6,600,000,000!

    He continued “And of course, the stable climate over the past 10,000 years also allowed the invention of agriculture, which allowed that enormous population growth to take place. Now that the climate is going unstable, agriculture is going to be adversely affected. We need to figure out how to avoid crop failures in an unstable climate.”

    This morning problems with food were discussed on the BBC’s Radio 4 “Farming Today” programme. It can be heard again here.

    Although it is put from a British perspective, global warming affects the whole world including the United States.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 23 Feb 2008 @ 6:25 AM

  241. tom writes:

    [[One of the faulty premises of AGW is that the optimal climate is NOW, and any change would be negative.]]

    You miss the point. It may be that some other climate would be better. But our agriculture and economy are adjusted to the climate we have NOW. A transition, even to a better climate, is much more likely to be damaging than not. Especially since we know we are looking forward to increased drought in continental interiors, increased violent weather along coastlines, and rising sea levels.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Feb 2008 @ 8:23 AM

  242. Dewitt Payne writes:

    [[the conventional idea that greenhouse gases have more effect at the poles than the tropics is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. That is, there is not only no polar amplification, there is actually tropical amplification.]]

    Temperature records of the last fifty years falsify your hypothesis.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Feb 2008 @ 8:26 AM

  243. Re #229 DeWitt Payne:

    Did you consider that interlatitudinal advection of latent heat increases in a warmer atmosphere? In other words, a more uneven forcing (if true; haven’t checked) may still produce a more even temperature as a function of latitude. As appears to be observed.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Feb 2008 @ 9:28 AM

  244. Re #229 Barton’s claims that the temperature record falsifies DeWitt’s hypothesis that polar amplification does not occur. But the temperature record shows that there is no sign of a temperature rise at the South Pole, far less polar amplification in Antarctica. I think that this has been pointed out in this thread already.

    It is actually the paleo-temperature record for the Eemian inter-glacial and the Eocene Period that show polar amplification. However it is mainly confined to the Northern Hemisphere, because the North Pole is covered by an ocean whereas the South Pole is at the centre of a continent.

    The greenhouse effect is not a simple value which depends on the carbon dioxide level. It also depends on the water vapour concentration. At the frozen poles there is very little water vapour so the greenhouse effect is dominated by the CO2 concentration. In the tropics there is lots of water vapour and that is what controls the temperature there.

    When the CO2 level reaches a high enough level the sea ice in the Arctic melts, and water vapour then becomes available. This warms the sea surface causing more water vapour in a positive feedback loop. It is this positive feedback loop which causes the polar amplification. But it is only effective in the NH where the sea ice is melting. Except for a part of Antarctica that is surrounded by sea(which I cannot name because the spam filter thinks I have another part in mind :-) polar amplification does not have much effect on the South Pole region.

    Thus I would say to the skeptics, if you think global warming does not matter because Antarctica is not warming, then try living there!

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 23 Feb 2008 @ 11:29 AM

  245. Re # 228 Tom’s concern about a bias towards negative consequences of AGW:

    Here are a couple of examples of how global warming can have both positive and negative effects, with the net result being unclear:

    1. Insect development and population growth tend to be positively correlated with temperature:
    Frazier, M., R.B. Huey, and D. Berrigan. 2005. Thermodynamics constrains the evolution of insect population growth rates: “warmer is better.” American Naturalist 168:512-520.

    If that means more bees and other insects pollinating crops, that should be good for the insects and for humans. Unfortunately, many insects are human pests: they eat valuable crops and transmit various diseases – good for the insects, bad for humans.

    2. Tropical grasses that carry out C4 photosynthesis (sugar cane, maize, sorghum, switchgrass plus many non-commercial species) thrive in warm climates,and should do well with global warming. However, the leaves of C4 plants tend to be low in nitrogen, hence, they are a poor quality food for grazers: Good for the plants, not so good for cattle.

    Ehrlinger,J.R., T.E. Cerling, and M.D. Dearnign (2002)Atmospheric CO2 as a global change driver influencing animal-plant interactions. Integrative and Comparative Biology 42: 424-430. (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C4_carbon_fixation)

    On the other hand, C3 plants (99% of all plant species) tend to have more nutritional value for grazers, but they don’t do so well with warmer temperatures. To complicate this matter, the C3 plants tend to grow better with elevated levels of CO2, so they may be able to better complete against the C4 plants. One problem, though: Those C4 plants that will likely face new competition for space and nutrients presently comprise only 5% of plant biomass, yet they carry out an estimated 30% of terrestrial carbon fixation, i.e., they are important providers of atmospheric oxygen and consumers of CO2. So, who wins with global warming? Hard to tell, but this uncertainty doesn’t bode well for our agricultural systems. And then there is the not-so-minor problem of where those C4 and/or C3 plants will get the additional nitrogen and phosphorus need to sustain their elevated growth in a warmer, CO2-rich climate, or (as John Mashee pointed out) how they will deal with a very different soil conditions as their range migrates north into the exposed pre-Cambrian granite shield and tundra of the Boreal regions.

    3. It seems fairly clear that coral reefs don’t do well with rising temperatures, or the resulting rising sea levels, and will be further impacted by the elevated atmospheric CO2 levels:http://www.ucar.edu/communications/Final_acidification.pdf
    However, one possible saving grace for coral reefs is highlighted in a recent study suggesting that hurricanes might alleviate thermal stress to corals by mixing the water column,thereby bringing cooler water to the surface:
    Manzello, D.P, M. Brandt, T. B. Smith, D. Lirman, J. C. Hendee, and R. S. Nemeth (2007) Hurricanes benefit bleached corals. Proc. of the National Academies of Sciences, 104: 12035-12039
    So, more hurricanes, or stronger hurricanes, despite their destructive power, could possibly help coral reefs in the face of global warming. But, as the skeptics love to point out (and as Urs Neu has explained to us in his two RC threads), there is no clear evidence that global warming is increasing hurricane frequency or strength. Too bad for the coral reefs – guess they’ll have to go it alone.

    4. Finally, there is the shrinking Arctic ice that could open up new shipping lanes: AGW skeptics are fond of proclaiming this to be good for companies shipping products around the world. Unfortunately, the ice-free pathways through the Arctic are difficult to navigate because of shoals and rapidly shifting ice flows. Plus, there is currently no shipping infrastructure (ports, repair facilities, rescue services) in the Arctic, and the risk of significant environmental damage if a ship runs aground, or hits an ice flow, is great. So, the shipping companies are not exactly champing at the bit to send their ships through the famed Northwest Passage. At least not yet.

    Bottom line: Many of the predicted consequences of global warming would seem to depend on one’s perspective: Some ecosystmes, organisms, and people will likely thrive, others could well perish. I know next to nothing about risk assessment, but it seems prudent to give careful consideration to the negative impacts, which, at this point, do seem considerable from the human perspective.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 23 Feb 2008 @ 12:21 PM

  246. Re: my post about global warming effects

    Correction: It was Jim Eager (#236) who pointed out the problems faced by agricultural crops moving north to areas of exposed bedrock and tundra. Sorry for the misattribution. John Mashee did raise some very important concerns, as well.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 23 Feb 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  247. Re: #242

    I didn’t say there could be no polar amplification at all, I said there was no polar amplification of radiative forcing. There is a difference.

    Re: #243

    It is very likely that any increased heat in the tropics will increase the rate of advective heat transfer. There is already excess OLR at high latitudes and a deficit in OLR at low latitudes because of advective heat transfer. But that wasn’t my point. Here’s a quote from Judith Curry of Georgia Tech on February 21, 2008:

    Re the polar amplification, there is a straight radiative transfer explanation for this:
    1) The peak of the planck function (black body emission) is at longer wavelengths for colder temperatures, and hence the 16 micron CO2 band is more energetically relevant at cold temps than warm temps.
    2) the 16 micron CO2 band has less overlap with water vapor at cold temperatures, and hence the radiative fluxes in polar regions are more sensitive than tropical regions to an increase in CO2
    3) once warming starts and water vapor increases, the above two factors decrease slightly but another one kicks in: as water vapor increases in the dry polar region, the so called dirty window in the water vapor rotation band (around 20 microns) starts to fill in so you get extra warming relative to warmer regions (where the rotation band is already saturated).

    But when you actually do the calculations the effect of the higher and colder tropopause in the tropics appears to overwhelm the effects quoted by Professor Curry.

    The radiation transfer codes in the computer climate models almost certainly get this right. It’s possible that this effect may have been neglected when calculating the total forcing from doubling CO2. I don’t know because the details of this calculation are not readily available. It should be important to everybody, however, to explain (and teach) theoretical predictions correctly.

    Comment by DeWitt Payne — 23 Feb 2008 @ 2:04 PM

  248. Alastair McDonald (240) — For the record, I did not write “And of course, the stable climate over the past 10,000 years also allowed the invention of agriculture, which allowed that enormous population growth to take place. Now that the climate is going unstable, agriculture is going to be adversely affected. We need to figure out how to avoid crop failures in an unstable climate.”

    Although I agree with that quotation.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Feb 2008 @ 2:38 PM

  249. Martin Vermeer (#243) wrote:

    Re #229 DeWitt Payne:

    Did you consider that interlatitudinal advection of latent heat increases in a warmer atmosphere? In other words, a more uneven forcing (if true; haven’t checked) may still produce a more even temperature as a function of latitude. As appears to be observed.

    The models will take into account the lower tropopause in the tropics, higher tropopause in the higher latitudes, the warmer troposphere in the tropics, the cooler troposphere in the higher latitudes, interlatitudinal advection (both oceanic and atmospheric), the rising water vapor content of the atmosphere, the rising tropopause, the expansion of the Hadley cells, etc..

    The numbers won’t be exact. Some things will be overestimated, others underestimated due to parameterizations and numerical approximations. The relative strengths of competing effects will differ from model to model. But when they tell us that the temperature distribution will be more even, its not because they have somehow neglected to take into account something as basic as the variation in height and temperature of the troposphere according to latitude. And I believe all of the current models predict a more even distribution of temperature as the result of an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    *

    As for the actual warming trends according to latitude to present and interlatitudinal comparisons, I would strongly recommend checking out:

    Hit You Where You Live
    January 11, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/hit-you-where-you-live/

    Down Under
    January 17, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/down-under/

    *

    Not much warming in the southern hemisphere as of yet — except near the coasts of Antarctica, particularly the West Antarctic Peninsula. This is what has been predicted, given that there is more ocean and less land in the southern hemisphere, and given both ocean circulation and thermal inertia, ocean warms more slowly than land. But long-term, models are predicting roughly the same degree of polar amplification at both poles.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Feb 2008 @ 3:36 PM

  250. Re: #249

    I want to re-emphasize a point. I never said the full models are wrong, particularly on radiative heat transfer. I used a simple radiative transfer model to prove my point. My problem is with the hand waving explanations with no quantitative back up like that of Professor Curry quoted above. If they are incorrect, as appears to be the case, they damage the AGW case by giving talking points to skeptics.

    Saying that the models predict that high northern latitudes warm faster than high southern latitudes without much in the way of details on why is insufficient. If a model doesn’t include details on heat flow in its output, it should. Correcting the public record on radiative polar amplification actually makes this easier, IMO, because you can then concentrate on what is most likely the true reason, the MOC. That’s a one way (in the short term) heat pump from south to north.

    Comment by DeWitt Payne — 23 Feb 2008 @ 5:13 PM

  251. DeWitt Payne (#247) wrote:

    Re: #242

    I didn’t say there could be no polar amplification at all, I said there was no polar amplification of radiative forcing. There is a difference.

    Actually you wrote in 229:

    The observation is that the conventional idea that greenhouse gases have more effect at the poles than the tropics is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. That is, there is not only no polar amplification, there is actually tropical amplification.

    … and polar amplification generally refers to the amplification of trends in temperature anomaly due to forcing as it is amplified by a variety of feedbacks within the climate system:

    “Polar amplification” usually refers to greater climate change near the pole compared to the rest of the hemisphere or globe in response to a change in global climate forcing, such as the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) or solar output (see e.g. Moritz et al 2002). Polar amplification is thought to result primarily from positive feedbacks from the retreat of ice and snow. There are a host of other lesser reasons that are associated with the atmospheric temperature profile at the poles, temperature dependence of global feedbacks, moisture transport, etc.

    2 January 2006
    Polar Amplification
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=234

    DeWitt Payne (#247) continues:

    But when you actually do the calculations the effect of the higher and colder tropopause in the tropics appears to overwhelm the effects quoted by Professor Curry.

    Sounds like your argument is with Professor Curry rather than the “conventional idea.” As such it sounds much less “revolutionary” than a denial of the polar amplification of trends in temperature anomaly. But I would be mildly interested in the question of whether the forcing due to carbon dioxide plus the radiative feedback due to water vapor is greater in the tropics or the higher latitudes, that is, holding albedo constant and all.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Feb 2008 @ 6:46 PM

  252. Re: #249

    The height of the tropopause at the equator is about 11 miles at the equator and 5 miles at the poles. Did you you mean to say that the tropopause at the equator is lower than at poles?

    Comment by Harold Pierce Jr — 23 Feb 2008 @ 7:33 PM

  253. Off Topic:

    Still looking forward to an analysis of the different ways that Hadleu and GISS arrive at their average temperatures.

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 23 Feb 2008 @ 9:58 PM

  254. #237 Ray: How does this answer my question? If all you point to are other recent discussions which reference the earlier “correct” studies, that gives me no idea as to how many of those early studies were wrong. Are you claiming they were all right? I would tend to view the validity of such a claim as akin to those of third world dictators who claim they received 99% of the vote.

    I don’t think you really understand what I have written, and are immediately jumping to conclusions and engaging in ad hominem. The snark about “educate yourself” is perplexing. Do you consider annoying the person you are addressing to be the most effective means of persuasion, or do you just assume I am unable to be convinced, and you might get in some digs as much as you can to recover your alpha-male supremacy? Relax. Eat a banana.

    I am not saying AGW is wrong. I am saying the “yeah, we knew that” assertion in the title of this post is not supported by the evidence presented. It would have been more honest, and less swaggering, to say “yes, this is in agreement with many early and most current climate models.”

    I understand the impulse to overstate one’s case when one is fighting a battle for public perceptions but, it is unwise to back oneself into a corner when it is not necessary.

    Comment by Reid — 24 Feb 2008 @ 12:12 AM

  255. Harold Pierce Jr (#252) wrote:

    Re: #249

    The height of the tropopause at the equator is about 11 miles at the equator and 5 miles at the poles. Did you you mean to say that the tropopause at the equator is lower than at poles?

    Not sure what I meant — but I appreciate the correction. (Long week.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Feb 2008 @ 1:15 AM

  256. Re #251 Timothy: I am also mildly interested in 1) DeWitt Payne’s result (magnitude of the effect?) and in 2) a conceptual and quantitative accounting of the temperature polar/high latitude amplification effect — on both hemispheres. I’m pretty sure water vapour plays a role as it does for the altitude amplification — but seeing numbers would be nice.

    It may be true that the models handle this implicitly, but like DeWitt Payne points out, this implicitness is a PR handicap. It would be useful to see the contributions split out, something to refer to. Has anybody done this?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Feb 2008 @ 4:20 AM

  257. Re:244 Alastair, what you say seems to make sense, however I do not understand why a melting artic causes significantly higher water vapour, the air temp especially under 5000ft is still very cold, couple of degrees C, that would not produce much evaporation in my opinion, unles you refer to the rapid movement of melt water as it carves channels and moulins causing spray. Maybe more of the damage is being done from the bottom up due to a warmer artic ocean than forcing due to water vapour..please correct me if I’m wrong!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 24 Feb 2008 @ 11:01 AM

  258. Related to the topic of Antarctic cooling, Patrick Michaels reports on a 2008 paper by Chylek and Lohmann which calculates climate sensitivity using Vostok ice core data for the last 42,000 years. Here is the abstract:

    We use the temperature, carbon dioxide, methane, and dust concentration record from the Vostok ice core to deduce the aerosol radiative forcing during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to Holocene transition and the climate sensitivity. A novel feature of our analysis is the use of a cooling period between about 42 KYBP (thousand years before present) and LGM to provide a constraint on the aerosol radiative forcing. We find the change in aerosol radiative forcing during the LGM to Holocene transition to be 3.3 ± 0.8 W/m2 and the climate sensitivity between 0.36 and 0.68 K/Wm−2 with a mean value of 0.49 ± 0.07 K/Wm−2. This suggests a 95% likelihood of warming between 1.3 and 2.3 K due to doubling of atmospheric concentration of CO2. The ECHAM5 model simulation suggests that the aerosol optical depth during the LGM may have been almost twice the current value (increase from 0.17 to 0.32).

    Essentially they are saying that aerosols are relatively more important, so carbon dioxide has less effect than we thought. I have a hard time with a low end climate sensitivity of 1.3 K when the raw forcing is 1.2 K. That implies no water vapor feedback at all.

    Any comments?

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 24 Feb 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  259. Re:245 Chuck Booth. It is true that an elevated level of CO2 does promote more vigorous growth in most plants but only to an extent. CO2 uptake by plants depends on the level of availible nitrous compounds in the soil. In poor soils with very little nitrogen, plants do not benefit by an increase of CO2 of if they do..only negligibly.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 25 Feb 2008 @ 2:27 AM

  260. Back to #229 DeWitt Payne:

    I may be kicking in an open door here. In your calculations, did you just double CO2 (and CH4) for calculating the forcing of tropical and high-latitude atmospheric columns, respectively? Or did you also take into account that the surface temperature will increase, which will increase H20? And if so, in which way? (I assume you used http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/cgimodels/radiation.html … BTW the temperature/water vapour block of the interface looks a bit mysterious to me. Is there a help file somewhere?)

    I ask because Prof Curry’s reply quoted by you (in #247) in her third item appears to be based on doing this. So: did you?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Feb 2008 @ 3:03 AM

  261. Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean
    By Martin Redfern
    Rothera Research Station, Antarctica
    Sunday, 24 February 2008, 00:24 GMT

    UK scientists working in Antarctica have found some of the clearest evidence yet of instabilities in the ice of part of West Antarctica.

    If the trend continues, they say, it could lead to a significant rise in global sea level.

    The new evidence comes from a group of glaciers covering an area the size of Texas, in a remote and seldom visited part of West Antarctica.

    The “rivers of ice” have surged sharply in speed towards the ocean.

    David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey, explained: “It has been called the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the reason for that is that this is the area where the bed beneath the ice sheet dips down steepest towards the interior.

    “If there is a feedback mechanism to make the ice sheet unstable, it will be most unstable in this region.”

    There is good reason to be concerned.

    Satellite measurements have shown that three huge glaciers here have been speeding up for more than a decade.

    The biggest of the glaciers, the Pine Island Glacier, is causing the most concern.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 25 Feb 2008 @ 12:59 PM

  262. Reid, if you had taken the time to read the studies, or even tne posts about them, what you should have taken away is that if you get the physics right–in this case, a realistic ocean circulation model–then Antartica lags behind in warming and may even cool. This is not a case of a model getting lucky, but getting the physics right.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2008 @ 7:51 PM

  263. If the southern ocean is asborbing the added heat that is allowing Antarctica to cool over the past 20 odd years, wouldn’t that lead to less sea ice? But sea ice in Antarctica is a record levels. Can someone explain?

    Comment by gusbob — 25 Feb 2008 @ 10:55 PM

  264. Re # 259 Lawrence Coleman: “CO2 uptake by plants depends on the level of availible nitrous compounds in the soil…”

    An important point, which I alluded to when I wrote (#245):
    “And then there is the not-so-minor problem of where those C4 and/or C3 plants will get the additional nitrogen and phosphorus need to sustain their elevated growth in a warmer, CO2-rich climate,…”

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 26 Feb 2008 @ 12:10 AM

  265. Dr. Weart,

    You wrote,”As greenhouse gases increase, the heat seeps gradually deeper and deeper into the oceans. But when larger volumes of water are brought into play, they bring a larger heat capacity.”

    I am having trouble getting my head around this idea of “heat seeping lower.” I googled a few references and tried to read some articles mostly by an oeanographer named Wunch. A little to technical for me but from some of the introductory passages I got these general concepts.

    1. The tropics have high rain and high precipitation which would make less dense water. The tropical circulation transports Petawatts of heat to the poles. So I would think both polar oceans should warm with increased CO2. And because that warm water is less dense it should stay on the surface and warn Antarctica like it does the Arctic even if it is to a lesser degree.

    2. Light energy (in the tropics) penetrates to about 100 m but infrared cooling is limited to the surface due to the limited penetration if infrared rays in water. That suggests that you might get a gradient of warm below the surface and cooler at the surface and cause the warm water to rise. And again the cooling at the surface should contribute to warming of the south pole. But also the reflected infrared from the CO2 shouldn’t penetrate below the surface. So I don’t see a seeping mechanism.

    Your point also makes me ponder other questions, assuming that there is some general mechanism I don’t see or understand. If there is a way for warm water to seep or sink lower and be trapped there, allowing Antarctica to cool, then when does that heat get released into the atmosphere? It seems that this point is taken as a reason to be concerned for more added future warming. But if true, then couldn’t some of the warming experienced now be the result of heat released from the ocean that was stored at some earlier time in history?

    Does new acoustic measurements show pockets of “ancient ocean heat? I thank you for considering my lengthy questions.

    Comment by gusbob — 26 Feb 2008 @ 12:10 AM

  266. #259 Lawrence

    Yes, that’s an instance of Liebig’s Law of the Minimum that I mentioned before. {Soil/nutrients, water, sun, climate}.

    No amount of CO2 will let you grow corn in the Sahara.

    As it warms, you might think that Northern Canada would replace the US cornbelt, but the soil isn’t the same, and the solar insolation isn’t either.

    Some species need some cold … which is why sugar maples are moving North, much to Vermont/NH’s displeasure.

    Comment by John Mashey — 26 Feb 2008 @ 12:19 AM

  267. Re #257 Lawrence,

    I am not sure why you are mentioning the air temperature at 5000 feet. The Arctic sea ice is an altitude of approximately 0 feet, unlike the East Antarctic where much of the snow and ice is at a high elevation.

    We know that the Arctic summer sun is strong enough to melt about 3 feet of ice each summer (which reforms during the winter.) The heat needed to do that is enough to raise the temperature of open water 3 feet deep by nearly 10 C. Without the sea ice, typically covered with fresh snow and so with a high albedo reflecting the solar flux away, the dark open water will absorb that solar flux and float on the ocean surface because it is less dense. Thus the surface of the Arctic Ocean which produces the atmospheric water vapour will warm disproportionately.

    It is a little bit like Murphy’s Law where everything conspires to make it worse.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 26 Feb 2008 @ 5:27 AM

  268. Re: 267 Alastair, I had a think about that last night and you’re right. The higher concentrations of water vapour would then ultimately cause more snow especially during the artic summer which would be as useless as a solar powered torch if he water temp is hovering just above freezing. Where is the majority of that snow deposited- on the ice sheet or open ocean? Do you also have data what the vapour contentrations are during the artic winter. Logic says that the warmer seas would produce more steam and increase the snowfall during winter as well. That’s also what a recent antartic expedition found, studying a ‘canary in a coalmine’ glacier..that the annual snowfall was well above average for the past 30 years and yet the glacier is travelling much quicker than before. The increase in antartic ocean temps seems to promote more snowfall.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 26 Feb 2008 @ 9:48 AM

  269. In 266 John writes “Some species need some cold … which is why sugar maples are moving North, much to Vermont/NH’s displeasure”. One has to be careful. Sugar maple trees grow all over the place. However, they only produce maple syrup in a very limited area. It will not be the trees moving north, (if AGW is real), but the weather/climate that makes the trees produce maple syrup.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 26 Feb 2008 @ 11:33 AM

  270. Gusbob, what’s your source for believing what you write about sea ice being at record levels in Antarctica? Do you know how to look it up?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2008 @ 3:58 PM

  271. Hank,

    The record Antarctic sea ice levels came from a graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/s_plot.html

    I don’t remember if they called it a record or not but several titles from a google search mentioned record Antarctic sea ice level, so I assumed between those claims and the graph it was a valid observation.

    Why do you ask? Is there something wrong with their data?

    Comment by gusbob — 27 Feb 2008 @ 1:05 AM

  272. Re #260: so I did the calculations myself. Doubled CO2 and CH4, and tuned up the temperature offset until getting the same outgoing radiation back. Result:


    Rel. tropics __ subarctic
    hum. ________ summer winter
    ---------------------------------
    100% +1.85°C +1.32°C +0.94°C
    _50% +1.74°C +1.31°C +0.91°C
    __0% +1.45°C +1.11°C +0.78°C
    ---------------------------------

    All this under no cloud cover or rain.

    And the caveat by Dave Archer, the author of the web model, that it is outdated, though I don’t think that has any bearing on these results.

    But, it seems to be true: purely radiatively there is tropical, not polar amplification.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Feb 2008 @ 2:41 AM

  273. Re #265:

    I am having trouble getting my head around this idea of “heat seeping lower.” I googled a few references and tried to read some articles mostly by an oeanographer named Wunch. A little to technical for me but from some of the introductory passages I got these general concepts.

    Yes, Carl Wunsch. Knows more about ocean currents than all of us amongst ourselves have ever forgotten… The “seeping lower” is a reality. It is due to mixing of surface and deeper waters, and the global circulation is what is causing it.

    1. The tropics have high rain and high precipitation which would make less dense water. The tropical circulation transports Petawatts of heat to the poles. So I would think both polar oceans should warm with increased CO2. And because that warm water is less dense it should stay on the surface and warn Antarctica like it does the Arctic even if it is to a lesser degree.

    It is true that warm water wants to stay on top. That’s why in the tropics the surface waters are some 27°C, and at depth only 5°C. This is a robust situation and the basis of, e.g., OTEC power generation.

    However, as the water flows to higher latitudes (north or south), it cools down. Also, remember that the density contrast between warm and cold water isn’t all that big, contrary to the situation in air. That’s how the global circulation manages to push warm water to depth against the gradient. And elsewhere then the same amount of cold deep water has to come up. (I probably miss something here; see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/carl-wunsch-the-economist-and-the-gulf-stream/ for more.)

    2. Light energy (in the tropics) penetrates to about 100 m but infrared cooling is limited to the surface due to the limited penetration if infrared rays in water. That suggests that you might get a gradient of warm below the surface and cooler at the surface and cause the warm water to rise. And again the cooling at the surface should contribute to warming of the south pole. But also the reflected infrared from the CO2 shouldn’t penetrate below the surface. So I don’t see a seeping mechanism.

    The cooling of the surface water happens mostly well before the south pole. And then, the surface water is taken down by currents, in the southern ocean well away from Antarctica.

    Your point also makes me ponder other questions, assuming that there is some general mechanism I don’t see or understand. If there is a way for warm water to seep or sink lower and be trapped there, allowing Antarctica to cool, then when does that heat get released into the atmosphere? It seems that this point is taken as a reason to be concerned for more added future warming. But if true, then couldn’t some of the warming experienced now be the result of heat released from the ocean that was stored at some earlier time in history?

    The warm(ish) surface water that is taken down by currents, is mixed into the (huge!) volume of cold, deep ocean water, where it stays. It isn’t really “trapped”: rather, you could think of it as acting as a very large heat buffer, like the stone mass of an open hearth, the type they have in Scandinavia. Lighting a fire and heating the air in the fireplace goes quickly, but getting the body of the hearth heating takes hours or days. But then, the house will stay warm as the hearth slowly releases its stored heat also without a fire burning.

    What it means climatically is that atmospheric heating is slowed down, and it takes longer to reach the state of equilibrium corresponding to current CO2 concentration (often people will say that part of the heating is still “in the pipeline” or “committed, but not yet seen”). The heat added to the deep ocean will stay there until it has a reason to come out again. That would happen, e.g., if we would cut our CO2 emissions and the atmosphere would start cooling again. Then, the heat from the deep ocean will slowly, slowly seep out again, slowing down the process of atmospheric cooling. Precisely the reverse of what we see today.

    The idea that this heat is “trapped” somewhere in a secret place, waiting to jump on us suddenly when we least expect it :-) isn’t the way this works in reality.

    Does new acoustic measurements show pockets of “ancient ocean heat? I thank you for considering my lengthy questions.

    Hmmm… no comment… do you have a reference?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Feb 2008 @ 3:15 AM

  274. Knows more about ocean currents than all of us amongst ourselves have ever forgotten…

    …or the other way around :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Feb 2008 @ 3:25 AM

  275. Re: Jim Galasyn, read that article..phew! That about 210 billion cubic metres of ice/year going into our oceans from just one glacier. If that is old ice as it no doubt will be and wont contain much O2 that’s maybe 190-200 billion tonnes of water/year raising the sea level. However with increased ocean temps a lot of water is being sucked out of the oceans as well as steam (hydrologic cycle)..do scientists accurately know the nett gain in ocean volume from the output of all these glaciers? That is just one of many glaciers which are speeding towards the ocean so the figures are quite mind boggling..I’m thinking a few trillion tonnes of additional water/year maybe? Thanks for the link!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 27 Feb 2008 @ 3:57 AM

  276. I must be missing something. Maybe 2 somethings.

    The first paragraph seems to say that Antarctica is getting colder, and that’s what the models predicted. The models say southern hemispheric warming would lag northern hemispheric warming, if I understood that article. That’s different from the models predicting the southern hemisphere actually getting colder, isn’t it?

    Also, I read somewhere the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 were strongest near the poles, because there is less water vapor in the the air. So even if the southern hemisphere overall isn’t showing warming, shouldn’t we expect Antarctica to show warming? Or am I misremembering the part about the water vapor?

    I don’t remember reading predictions prior to this decade that Antarctica would get colder because of increased CO2, so I’m confused by this article.

    Comment by Duncan — 27 Feb 2008 @ 5:18 PM

  277. Re Lawrence’s comment in 275, this is indeed sobering news.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 27 Feb 2008 @ 6:12 PM

  278. You may be missing the word I’ve bolded below:

    Despite the recent announcement that the discharge from some Antarctic glaciers is accelerating, we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder

    “Parts of Antartica getting colder” does not mean “the southern hemisphere is getting colder”. It’s not. Nor does it mean all of Antarctica is getting colder. It’s not, either.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Feb 2008 @ 7:35 PM

  279. Martin, that was a very helpful post full of answers. I’d been hoping someone who really knew something would come along, before I tried!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2008 @ 7:49 PM

  280. Martin,

    Thanks for taking the time to provide your explanation about heat seeping into the ocean. However I find it odd that you would give such a fanciful twist to my comment of trapped heat. Perhaps I could have said the heat was “stored” or “mixed and unnoticed” as you did. This seems to be a merely a point of semantic preference. Likewise when I asked how and when that heat would be released in the future, that comment seems no different than your reference that “the heat is in the pipeline”. So your fanciful twist “The idea that this heat is “trapped” somewhere in a secret place, waiting to jump on us suddenly when we least expect it isn’t the way this works in reality.” feels very patronizing and uncalled for.

    Your suggested mechanism that “heat will be released when it has reason”, doesn’t add much clarity. However you then suggest the heat flows due to a mechanism controlled by being in equilibrium with the atmosphere. But this seems at odds with what I can glean from Wunsch on vertical mixing.

    Martin Vermeer said “The heat added to the deep ocean will stay there until it has a reason to come out again. That would happen, e.g., if we would cut our CO2 emissions and the atmosphere would start cooling again. Then, the heat from the deep ocean will slowly, slowly seep out again, slowing down the process of atmospheric cooling. Precisely the reverse of what we see today.”

    Wunsch states in his paper “VERTICALMIXING, ENERGY, AND
    THE GENERAL CIRCULATION OF THE OCEANS
    CarlWunsch and Raffaele Ferrari

    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/wunschferrari2004.pdf

    Wunsch states, “Heating/cooling/evaporation/precipitation directly affect the ability of the wind to create potential energy, but they are only slightly involved in the energy cycle, possibly even reducing the potential energy.”

    Wunsch is saying that heating of the surface makes mixing at lower levels less energetically favorable and that mixing must be driven by the wind and tides to create enough kinetic energy to overcome the potential energy barrier of warm upper layers. He mentions that his studies cast doubts on the mechanisms of the proposed thermohaline current.

    Which gets back to what I am asking. If the winds and tides drive the heat to lower depths then such mixing could happen during any season and all climatic conditions. It seems logical to conclude that any oceanic heat that is in the “pipeline” could have been placed in that pipeline 5, 10 or 100’s of years ago. And waves due to tidal forces or winds could bring it to the surface at unpredictable times.

    Looking for evidence of changes in ocean temperatures there is a paper by Lyman(it was discussed here), which is under some dispute due to profiling errors in the floats found in the mid Atlantic. See http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/lyman/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf

    However accepting that profiling error. If we look at the map of changes in ocean temperatures on page 11, the data shows large areas of the southern oceans (majority ?) are cooling or not warming. That is supported by the increased sea ice that is also being observed.

    So I have to question the suggestion that heat is seeping into the ocean and ask if it is truly being measured or is just conjecture to support our theory? With most of Antarctica cooling and evidence to the contrary that the southern oceans are absorbing all this missing heat, perhaps our warming theory is incomplete in this regard.

    [Response: The oceans are heating over the last few decades - there is no doubt about this. This is indicative of a large scale heat imbalance in the atmosphere, and that implies that there is further warming in the pipeline. However, the heat in the ocean is not going to 'come back out'. Any future equilibrium state with warmer temperatures will have an ocean with more heat content than before. To stabilise the atmosphere, the SST needs to warm enough to overcome the increased greenhouse effect. Since the deep ocean takes so long to warm it is effectively taking heat from the surface and preventing it reaching the new equilibrium value. Only when that falls to a negligible value can the equilibrium be achieved. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbob — 27 Feb 2008 @ 11:59 PM

  281. Re: 276 Duncan. I’m not sure the southern hemisphere is getting colder, here in Australia-Perth in western australia has had more days over 37-38C than ever, that’s the hottest they have had on record, quite a few time the temp was well over 40C. Us on the east coast have had the wettest summer for decades thanks to a very persistant monsoon trough, flash flooding has become common place all along the east and when we get the odd day of sunshine it’s up to 40C and humid. I for one would definately argue that the south is cooling off.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 28 Feb 2008 @ 1:20 AM

  282. Re #271: The Antarctic sea ice maximum has been increasing a little, but the trend is not statistically significant. That aside, I for one would be curious to know if there’s any connection to the increase in cooler, fresher water north of Antarctica discussed here (see Figure 1 and associated text).

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 28 Feb 2008 @ 2:59 AM

  283. Re #279 Hank:

    I’d been hoping someone who really knew something would come along, before I tried!

    He didn’t come along :-(

    About the thing that I was not quite getting, the “pump” that actually makes the warm surface waters go down, from what I read this is a tricky thing. But it appears to be part of the general circulation, largely wind-driven and Earth rotation modulated. Google for “Ekman pumping”.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Feb 2008 @ 4:32 AM

  284. There seem to be a question not of delayed warming, but no warming at all. Especially so when the interior is getting colder. An ocean delayed response would have been manifest near the coast but would have little effect in the interior. Clearly, a delayed warming is not what is at hand.

    It would be helpful to see SST anomalies broken down by latitude. Anyone who knows where to find such a dataset?

    Comment by Avfuktare Vind — 28 Feb 2008 @ 8:17 AM

  285. Re #284: I think you can do that with GISTEMP.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 28 Feb 2008 @ 11:36 PM

  286. Hank and Martin will want to read the article I linked in #282.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 28 Feb 2008 @ 11:40 PM

  287. Gavin wrote,”However, the heat in the ocean is not going to ‘come back out’. Any future equilibrium state with warmer temperatures will have an ocean with more heat content than before.”

    Gavin perhaps I am misunderstanding these papers when Wunsch discusses heat flux in the ocean and talks about changes in heat storage. Could you please square your statement with Wunsch’s statement below?

    Wunsch wrote,

    “An additional source of error, not explicitly accounted
    for here, is the interannual variability in ocean
    heat storage. Stammer et al. (2004) noted that there can
    be a decadal-average discrepancy in ocean heat flux on
    the order of 0.5 PW owing to heat storage changes.
    Much of this difference is presumably involved in the
    interannual ocean transport fluctuations discussed by
    Ganachaud (2003).”

    This is from a paper titled “The Total Meridional Heat Flux and Its Oceanic and Atmospheric Partition” 2005

    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/wunschjclim2005.pdf

    [Response: Wunsch is talking about variability - and ocean heat content will indeed change with that. But that is not the same as the equilibrium response to increased forcing. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbob — 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:03 AM

  288. Re #286: Steve, yes, fascinating reading. As is the reference in it to Munk & Wunsch (1998). So it seems that wind and tidal energies on the order of 1 TW each control an equator-to-poles heat flux of 2000 TW; and wind patterns changing with the climate…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:32 AM

  289. Steve,

    I read the link from #282 and was fascinated to see that it supports what I have been interpreting from Wunsch’s article. From their diagram

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7176/fig_tab/nature06590_F1.html

    from it says ” Westerly winds above the ACC (also blowing out of the page) push cold, fresh surface waters away from Antarctica across the ACC (towards the blue area) and draw slightly warmer and salty water that is low in oxygen up from the interior to the surface”

    That supports the idea that winds create conditions for warmth to be transported to the surface.

    It also suggests an answer to a conundrum regarding the Antarctica’s peninsula Larsen Ice Shelf collapse. The peninsula has been the major hot spot for Antarctica while most of the continent has cooled in recent years. Curiously I have noticed on a map of global cooling measured from 1937- 1975 that the peninsula was also warming during that time despite global atmospheric cooling.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Global_Cooling_Map.png

    This suggested to me that the ice shelf collapse was to some degree independent of atmospheric temperatures and likely due to ocean currents warming the peninsula which is is precisely what is shown in your Nature article.

    Comment by gusbob — 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:36 AM

  290. Re #280 gusbob:

    However I find it odd that you would give such a fanciful twist to my comment of trapped heat.

    So I read you wrong, sorry about that. BTW are you aware how widespread such misconceptions are? Some people even claim that heat put into the ocean by solar intensity variations in the early 20th century are coming out only now, suitably timed to fake a CO2 greenhouse effect. Therefore I felt this needed to be addressed up front.

    It seems logical to conclude that any oceanic heat that is in the “pipeline” could have been placed in that pipeline 5, 10 or 100’s of years ago. And waves due to tidal forces or winds could bring it to the surface at unpredictable times.

    But the heat rapidly loses its memory of when it was put in… it gets quickly mixed throughout the volume, at eventually a very small temperature increment. That makes your scenario sketched here rather improbable IMHO. There are no “blobs” down there to be brought up by any mechanism. Or did I again misread you?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Feb 2008 @ 2:03 AM

  291. Here in the UK the deniers mange to keep on upsetting the apple cart. In recent days they have managed to spell out how the NH is suffering its worst winter for many a year. USA/Canada, China and many others suffering very cold temperatures (especially in the Arctic apparantly which is causing large scale ice formation that is 10 to 20 cm thicker than in recent previous years.

    Here in the UK we are experiencing a bit of a very unusual february and it is warmer than usual for this time of year. The contrarians have seized upon this sea ice formation and colder than average temperatures in certain local regions to complain that AGW is once again a non event which surely cannot be happenning. How can climate science keep these people down, they have politically easy opinions that people want to hear and that the media like to express al the time.

    We know that it is all nonsense, a cold winter a climate change does not make but people seize upon these flaky results especially the arctic sea ice reforming to replace last years and Antarctic growing more sea ice even though glaciers are flowing faster to the sea. Some of climate change seems to be contradictory and this seems to put climate science at odds with common sense and the notion of it.

    Let us hope that the IPCC in the wake of James Hansens call for 350 ppmv limit, everyone else is working on 450/550 ppmv at the present time calls for even more far reaching CO2 limits and that the deniers are denied.

    I am quite worried about James Hansens recent work and talks, he speaks much like James Lovelock these days but not quite so bad I guess. Indeed I wonder why Lovelock is not listened to more. His scientific pedigree is very good, he has done good science and continues to do so ven though he speaks of the earth regulating itself in the GAIA way that scientists seem to hate (as it appears to speak of a designer or purpose that science hates – probably stems from the gallileo days) for some reason that makes no sense as Lovelock is as scientific as the rest of them but he just figures things slightly differently when it comes to the biosphere and he has not been shown to be wrong in any peer reviewed journals that I know of.

    I believe that RC did a peice on his latest book, revenge of GAIA and they were a little dismissive of his ideas but as Lovelock states, the science of systemic systems and complexity is not as yet fully accepted by the majority of scientists and is a minority view even now, even though complexity has been demonstrated empirically and GAIA to, many examples have been given.

    His recent royal society talk that is published on youtube makes sense in many ways and could well be as right as empirical reductionist climate science. James Hansen speaks of wet processes and rapid non linear responses much as Lovelock does regarding the GAIA system for non linearity is the language of nature and science but science has as yet failed to grasp its full impact for linear science still works in many regards.

    Comment by Pete Best — 29 Feb 2008 @ 6:29 AM

  292. Gavin, 280. You said the deeper colder water draws the surface heat down, wouldn’t that be more apparent in turbulent bodies of water as there is a lot of mixing going on. The converse should be an obvious thermocline in calmer waters where there is a definite temp gradient formed or where a large outflow of fresh eg. river water meets the saline ocean. As the greenhouse effect kicks in and more severe hurricanes or areas of intense low pressure are formed over the equatorial latitudes that logically will cause more heat to be drawn down to lower depths thus cooling the upper levels..this is what I do not understand?..surley that will create ‘less’ evaporation of the sea water into the atmosphere and thus regulate the size and severity of hurricanes.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 29 Feb 2008 @ 7:36 AM

  293. Re #289 gusbob:

    That supports the idea that winds create conditions for warmth to be transported to the surface [...] This suggested to me that the ice shelf collapse was to some degree independent of atmospheric temperatures and likely due to ocean currents warming the peninsula …

    OK, so that’s what you’re after! Yes… looks plausible. But please remember that this is “warm” water only by Antarctic standards :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Feb 2008 @ 9:14 AM

  294. RE # 291
    Pete, your observation of moods and reactions to headlines is similarly frustrating here in the States.

    As climate conditions are increasingly affected by continuing droughts, freakish and fierce storms, a likely early and extensive Arctic ice melt back and lower water tables in the SW US, those stories will be pushed off the front page by the worsening economic plight of the middle and lower middle class families struggling to stay in their homes, pay higher costs for everything and possibly see their taxes rise to accommodate huge new costs for higher health care, social security, rebuilding our military, etc. Grim future from that standpoint alone.

    I do not mean this to sound like our saving grace to keep AGW front and center, but it is a fact Chinese and Indian government officials realize their precarious futures are related to the pace of melting of the Himalayan glaciers. They do not have the internal wealth to sustain continuing climate and water availability impacts. They will eventually be pounding the table and demanding support for their de-carbonizing and survival.

    The deniers can laugh up their sleeves at this colder North American winter but the hand writing is on the wall and even smug libertarians will be caught in the web of a warming climate and drying surface.

    John L. McCormick

    Comment by John L. McCormick — 29 Feb 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  295. #291, Pete, as usual contrarians don’t know climate as much as tweaking information in their favour.
    look at the number of leads amongst the Arctic Ocean new ice, this is the stuff of Change:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg

    On my website I deal a little with a lingering zone of very cold air, I call it the Cold
    temperature North Pole, hanging out mainly where the old ice is, as per picture.
    There is also less clouds, hence the clarity of the entire Arctic, as the sun rises cold will turn to warm in a big way if this continues….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Feb 2008 @ 1:38 PM

  296. Re #289: gusbob, there’s a very recent paper on the ice shelf break-up (Ted Scambos was one of the authors, which should make it easy to find) that’s consistent with this. Bear in mind that atmospheric warming was still a significant factor in the break-up. This is obvious from the observed surface melt on the ice shelves just prior to the break-up. The Peninsula atmospheric warming itself has been linked to a shift in the Southern Annular Mode, which in turn looks like it has to be driven by the shift in the winds discussed in the Nature article. There was another paper in the last month that talked about the biological implications of the warming water, and (these may be referenced in the Nature article) a couple of papers in the last year that found evidence for the big pulse (actually two pulses IIRC) of CO2 out of the Southern Ocean during the last deglaciation.

    I don’t know what the confidence level is in all of these new results, but it does seem like a lot of the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together.

    A small question: Could the slight increase in Antarctic sea ice maximum extent be a result of the noted increase in cooler, fresher water north of Antarctica?

    A big question: If indeed winds and thus circulation will get stronger with continued warming, what are the implications for Kerry Emanuel’s idea (developed in a paper by Sriver and Huber in Nature about six months ago) that tropical cyclones will play a key role in cooling the tropics in a warmer world?

    [Response: "Winds" and "circulation" are not generic or monolithic things. Therefore you can't expect all winds or all circulations to increase or decrease together. You need to be very specific - for Antarctica, the SAM shift has increased westerly winds around the continent and this is likely due to a combination of ozone depletion and increasing CO2. But other circulations may well weaken (for instance the Hadley or Walker circulations) for completely different reasons. The link to tropical cyclones is tenuous at best. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 29 Feb 2008 @ 5:13 PM

  297. Re #295: Wayne, thanks so much for linking that. Speaking as someone who (when it comes to these sat photos) doesn’t know his ice from a hole in the clouds, I’d appreciate a little interpretation. Also, how do we know that the extent of leads and cloud cover is unusual for this time of year? Can that be documented somewhere?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 29 Feb 2008 @ 5:17 PM

  298. So the next couple of seasons are shaping up to be very interesting eh!
    • Arctic: With the old ice streaming out past Greenland over the winter, and the one-year ice full of leads in February the possibility of a prompt ice loss of all the one-year ice and further erosion of the older ice seems very real. We saw this northern-winter the impact of the sustained exposure of the Arctic ocean to sunlight for longer than usual. More will not be better!
    • Extreme weather: The global higher energy climate has had its wicked way with a swathe north of the equator, with unprecedented snow, ice and rate of change. This has been accompanied by / caused by swings in the routes of high level jet streams which in turn appear to have been influenced by the unusual temperatures in the arctic. If these extremes are mirrored in the dry season we could be in for a boomer of a northern summer.
    • Southern hemisphere: The thermal inertia of the southern oceans appears to be buffering us in the Antipodes from the extremes of change, however the stronger westerly circulation is impacting on more intense and out-of-season weather events. Some rains are providing a bit of relief in central Australia and in the dry areas of New Zealand. The impact on agriculture has been acute with some areas not previously known for dry being in dire straights. Some hope that this is a passing phase and normality will return. Others sensibly see this as a clear step on a progression to a climate regime that will not be sustainable for agriculture or in many cases habitation of the worst impacted areas.
    Interesting times indeed!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 29 Feb 2008 @ 7:05 PM

  299. Re: Gavins’s Response to #109

    As I understand it, a diffusive model is about the best approximation one can get without resort to large scale digital modelling.

    I should like to make some observations about diffusion of heat through ocean-like bodies of water.

    With regard to surface fluxes and diffusion in general perhaps the most import consideration is that the diffusion equation relates time to distance squared.

    With regard to penetration due to a linear surface Temperature/time increase; the depth increases with the square root of the time. Regarding surface flux it too increases with the square root of time since the onset of the linear increase.

    From this one can calculate an “effective depth” of coupled ocean provided one knows when the trend began and the effective diffusivity of the ocean below the surface layer, i.e. the layer that is so stirred by the elements to be considered to act as a slab with a homogenous temperature relationship.

    Now we have a steer from the oceanic temp/depth profile to likely values of the effective diffusivity and it is much (about 10^3) greater than the lab measurements due to local mixing.

    Plug this in and one gets about 3600m^2/yr which results in an apparent effective layer that increases according to the relation 18m/sqrt(yr). There is a 4*pi factor that applies between the two relations.

    This is considerable by most standards, after 36 years it would give a thickness of 108metres above and beyond any mixed surface layer. After 64 years 144metres.

    Now it is easy to compute the thermal capacity of 108 or 144 metres of water and combine this with a likely value of the climatic sensitivity and get a time constant and this could be rather misleading.

    The problem is that this “effective” depth may satisfy the flux equation for linear forcing but it does no imply that this layer obeys the basic Flux varies as dT/dt equation of a true capacitive body. As time goes by it more resembles the Flux varies as Temp-Temp(t=0) relation of a conductive body.

    In the (dT/dt) case a period of constant temperature implies zero flux even if proceeded by increasing temperatures. In the diffusive case a similar period of constant temperature or even a significant negative downturn can imply a continued but decreasing flux.

    This is handy as it means that a month, year or greater flat or negetive period does not necessarily imply that downward flux is not still positive.

    Another important difference between the totally homogenous well mixed layer and a diffusive system is that, given a linear increase in surface temperature, in the first case the flux will be constant (dT/dt is constant by definition) in the second diffusive case the flux will increase year on year.

    Now what might this mean? Well in a diffusive model one has to be very careful how one thinks about any time constants one might try to deduce from the behaviour of the model. One has to remember that it will react much more quickly to short term blips (volcanoes etc.) than a slab model but more slowly to multidecade events. Specifically the behaviour to a levelling off of a forcing (like CO2) would have a more sudden initial response than a slab model but followed by a very, very long tail.

    Best Wishes

    Alexander Harvey

    Comment by Alexander Harvey — 29 Feb 2008 @ 7:45 PM

  300. #297, Steve, save the best pictures has they change every 40 minutes. Leads appear missing in the cold zone North of Ellesmere, they are there, perhaps not so numerous but it is so cold that the ice surface appears polished (its -45 to -50 C around there). West of Banks Island you can see a mix of new and old ice easily by geometry and shades of grey. You need to go back and study multiple years of previous ice pictures at the same resolution to appreciate the number of extra leads particularly amongst the new ice.

    Nigel, there is more to temperature than can be found on the surface, despite what appears to be very cold ground temps, there is quite a warming just above:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/saa_100.gif

    from -45 to -50 to just -10 C at 850 mb…. Also over NE Russia equally warm, that has been
    in a nutshell what happened here this winter so far. February just ended data had Density Weighted Temperature similar to last year (almost identical) `but surface temps much colder, the heat didn’t vanish, in some parts it just rose.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Feb 2008 @ 9:50 PM

  301. Seems to me that there is a fair chance of an ice-free North Pole this coming summer. That’s another milestone.

    There was a 4 month long November in NW Europe (it still goes on). There was a constant flow of warm air from the Atlantic. Presumably it did not pile up at the North Pole. It got refrigerated crossing the dark zone (little cloudiness, lots of out-radiation) and moved then southwards. Perhaps the important feature was the stability of this flow feature.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 1 Mar 2008 @ 1:10 AM

  302. Re #294/295 Guys, thanks for the comments. I have no doubt that future summer Arctic sea ice melt will be as severe as 2007 but it still stands that the contrarians are using the current NH cold winter for some to refute the arguments put forward by last summers climate scientists who were relating the story of sea ice melt that was 100 years ahead of schedule. Is this a freak weather event of part of a larger trend ?

    If climate scientists want to state that summer 2007 thinnest sea ice was climate related and not weather then can they say that? James Hansen and James Lovelock are both talking about increased climatical +ve feedbacks that are not in the models or noticed in the paleoclimatic data (maybe). Remember the Earth has never had so much CO2 emitted in such a short space of time, there is not paleoclimatic equivilent to this speed of change although the systems responses will take time such as the oceans.

    James Hansen is claiming a 350 ppmv CO2 level is required otherwise the planet becomes a different one. The IPCC’s work is good but conservative as science works by being skeptical and hence it takes a long time to know that you are right. It probably explains why the skeptics are still in the game.

    The IPCC does not speak often enough on the subject, every 5 years is not frequent enough. James Hansen states that the data is out of date even before it is published.

    Comment by pete best — 1 Mar 2008 @ 5:36 AM

  303. #302, Pete, every cold snap, every snowflake triggers a contrarian attack, not to worry, the more they
    write the more they look like a political party running for the post of media Climate (arm) Chairman. I’d like to add that they have a singular vu of the world, hell bent on misrepresenting climate as much as the environmental movement, which is largely very peaceful, ie Crichton’s book portraying
    Environmentalists as crazed highjackers fits not the true recent image of Greenpeace activists placing a banner on top of a parked airplane at Heathrow airport. Climate is not simple, and requires some patience and a great zeal for exploration to understand it.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 1 Mar 2008 @ 2:37 PM

  304. I read this article and, I am no scientist, but I feel that there’s some specious reasoning here. First climate models are given to us as the evidence for MMGW. Since when is a model evidence for anything? Would a model of any process be itself evidence for what will happen in the future in this process? I don’t see it, given that the point of the model is only to try to illustrate how a process works. The prediction of future behavior is only that, a prediction, and not quantifiable as “evidence”.
    A model of,say, a satellite’s path is a good predictor of future movement when all factors are calculated in. But it seems strange to point to the model and say “Here is your evidence for the satellite’s future path”. So when one asks the MMGW people about evidence, it’s strange that they would simply use models.
    So I’m holding out for real evidence that GW is MM. And I see only one way you could really ever provide it.
    A model works as a good predictor only when the subject is no longer in dispute, and the model shows itself to always be accurate – the satellite is always right where you think it should be. As far as I can tell – despite consensus – this has not happened yet. If the models where complete then I could have an accurate forecast of the weather one year from today, could I not? Isn’t that the LEAST it should be able to provide before we go off saying we can forecast the temperature fifty years out? We can’t predict next March 2nd’s temperature with real accuracy because, as I understand it, the system is too complex to take what is happening today and extrapolate from it exactly what will happen next year.
    Finally, I have to say that a warming trend that predicts cooling anywhere is another abuse of terminology – in this case the word “warming”.
    I appreciate responses without ad hominem.

    Comment by floydo — 2 Mar 2008 @ 12:51 PM

  305. fflyod, you’re confusing weather and climate. Different models.

    Try this: http://climateprogress.org/2008/02/11/how-do-we-really-know-humans-are-causing-global-warming/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2008 @ 2:36 PM

  306. “So I’m holding out for real evidence that GW is MM. And I see only one way you could really ever provide it.”

    I agree that unnatural rates of GW (human induced or otherwise) is not yet proved, but given the predictions by scientist of what could happen were it to be true, and the sheer spread, volume and global dependency of our race, I think it’s incredibly irresponsible to take your chances.

    As someone who isn’t a scientist, I think it would be wise to put your faith in those who know what they’re talking about. And most are n agreement that MMGW is real.

    Comment by Ginny B — 2 Mar 2008 @ 3:07 PM

  307. As a non-scientist, after reading all this, there is one thing I can say for certain:

    Not one person on this blog KNOWS [sorry, no underlining] enough of all the variables to say what is going to happen.

    There is obviously much we don’t know about how the oceans, land, sun, gases all interact. And it seems, about a thousand other variables.

    “The wise man knows what he does not know.”

    A little humility about future predictions might be in order.

    Comment by Sgt. York — 2 Mar 2008 @ 3:10 PM

  308. Steve/Wayne Arctic,

    I’d initially not viewed the Beaufort ice pack fracture as too much of an issue, I was more interested in it’s displaying the Beaufort Gyre. However now I see what may be a dispersing effect in the Beaufort Gyre due to lack of buttressing from Chucki and Beaufort seas. I’ve been looking at the latest image on the link Wayne posted to Canada Met Office, but I can’t get a historical perspective.

    However Quikscat’s archive helps, http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/qscat_ice.pl and that seems to show a lot of poorly resolved detail which looks like heavy fracturing for day 60 of 2008 and 2006 in the area N of Greenland to Banks Island. That said the Beaufort sea is much, much worse in 2008, and the ice seems to be being dispersed: which will make it more prone to melt(I think).

    Zhang Rothrock and Steele’s pages at PSC are well worth checking out: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/IDAO/
    Their model appears surprisingly good when compared with both Submarine and QuikScat. And the movie on that page “A movie of PIOMAS simulated sea ice thickness and satellite observed ice extent for summer 2007 ” is worth comparing to Quickscat for the end of October, (31/10/07=day 303). I fear Maslowski could be right.
    But if I say any more I’ll spoil the post I’m working on for my usual haunt. ;)

    #304, Floydo.
    Models aren’t the clincher for me. What I see is stratospheric cooling, diurnal range trend behaviour and the mere fact of warming (substantial in terms of ocean heat content) when there’s no alternate explanation, then there’s the hundreds of primary peer reviewed papers I must have read. However the models are astonishingly powerful tools, and I take different results with different weightings to my conclusions.

    You will never be able to predict weather 5 years in the future.

    I’m afraid I view the matter of what is causing the warming as settled beyond all reasonable doubt – human activity, both land use change and emissions. You however are free to your opinion, I’m not here to persuade you: It’s a real physical process and frankly it matters not a jot what either of us think.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 2 Mar 2008 @ 3:37 PM

  309. Well, Sgt., that’s why radically altering the atmosphere seems like a bad idea, now that we’re aware how little we know.

    You wouldn’t have changed the filters on your gas mask, or the oil in your jeep, or the sights on your rifle, without knowing what difference it would make, now would you?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034167/

    Nor would your coal company be smart to change the planet’s atmosphere or ocean without knowing what would happen:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7059/abs/nature04095.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2008 @ 4:12 PM

  310. #308,Cobbly. would be good to see a later version of the same Quicksat, this will show ice fluidity, 2 well separated in time pictures gives a clue.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 2 Mar 2008 @ 5:05 PM

  311. Sgt. York, You are indeed thinking about this like a nonscientist. What a scientist does is look at the physical system and determine what the important contributors are. In this case, we always knew that the early models of the ocean were inadequate, but they were all that could be handled computationally in their day. Upon putting in a somewhat more realistic model, the behavior of the models began to mirror what happened in reality–that’s science. Scientists analyse real systems to figure out which factors are most important. They then model the systems with the best models they can construct–i.e. those with all the most important factors included–and compare them to reality.
    We need not know everything to make predictions with confidence. To abstract from recent headlines–if a person has been exposed to ricin, I do not need to know whether he has also been exposed to arsenic before I make a SWAG that he’s not having a good day.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2008 @ 7:12 PM

  312. I have been looking through the planetary temperature data sources. There does appear to be data which indicates global cooling. Is this significant?

    This is a plot of planetary temperature anomalies, land and ocean (2003 to 2005 average Vs current.) There appears to be wide spread cooling. Is this change in temperature note worthy due to its magnitude, its rapidity, and to the extent of the cooling? The cooling seems to be affecting both hemispheres.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gi…s=1200&pol=reg

    This is a plot of ocean temperature anomalies only. I am not sure what the base is for this data but it also shows wide spread cooling.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.2.28.2008.gif

    The following is a link to NASA’s land + ocean by month temperature anomaly, summary.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.C.txt

    Comments:
    Based on the NASA Land + Ocean (Above Normal)
    Average (2003 to Jan, 2008) = 0.55C (Above deemed normal.)
    Global, Land + Ocean Temperature Jan, 2008 = 0.12C

    The change in planetary temperature (ocean plus land) as compared to the five year average is = -0.43C (3.6 Sigma)

    The data sources appear to show global cooling, which is consistent with regional meteorological observations. (i.e. Record snow fall, record cold weather and so forth.) What is causing this global cooling?

    Comment by William Astley — 2 Mar 2008 @ 8:42 PM

  313. Re floydo @ 304: “I read this article and, I am no scientist, but I feel that there’s some specious reasoning here. First climate models are given to us as the evidence for MMGW.”

    No, they are not, and this faulty assumption at the outset undermines your very understanding of the issue. The evidence for anthropogenic global warming is empirical, such as the steady measured increase in atmospheric CO2, and the also steady drop in atmospheric CO2 containing the radioisotope carbon 14. This means that the CO2 had to come from oxidizing carbon sources that are low in 14C. Because of how log ago oil and coal were formed, they are very, very low in 14C. This is just one example of the empirical evidence supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Global circulation models, which are based on the known physics of greenhouse gases and the atmosphere, just help us understand what the possible and likely impacts of altering the atmosphere might be.

    floydo: “Finally, I have to say that a warming trend that predicts cooling anywhere is another abuse of terminology – in this case the word “warming.”

    Anyone who lives in the Great Lakes region understands very well how a warm winter results in more open water, which leads to higher snowfall, while a colder winter leads to more frozen over lake surface, which leads to lower snowfall. So it is with Antarctica. More snowfall does not mean it is colder, it means the opposite.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 2 Mar 2008 @ 9:13 PM

  314. “fflyod, you’re confusing weather and climate. Different models.

    Try this: http://climateprogress.org/2008/02/11/how-do-we-really-know-humans-are-causing-global-warming/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 March 2008 @ 2:36″

    Yes, different models. And to me what seems to distinguish the two is that weather predictions are verifyable while MMGW climate predictions are not. Which is only to say that climate science is taken on faith!!

    Comment by floydo — 2 Mar 2008 @ 10:36 PM

  315. Mr. Astley writes:
    > here does appear to be data which indicates global cooling.
    > Is this significant?

    Good question! No, it’s not significant (assuming you mean statistically significant). Look at the error bars.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2008 @ 1:05 AM

  316. A few questions to floydo, Sgt. York and all the people emphasizing uncertainties in our knowledge about climate change:

    If you find unknown mushrooms in the woods, and somebody tells you it might be poisonous, will you take it home and eat it if there is nobody who can prove to 100% that it’s really poisonous? Or would you, perhaps, be cautious and wait eating until you know it’s safe?

    If you wait in a train station and you see a lonely trunk near you and you hear something ticking inside, will you stay nearby, because there’s nobody who can really prove that it’s dangerous and it perhaps might be just harmless?

    Why do many people react so strangely and completely inverse to dealing with danger and risk in everyday life when dealing with climate change?

    Comment by Urs Neu — 3 Mar 2008 @ 3:24 AM

  317. 314. floydo:

    Yes, different models. And to me what seems to distinguish the two is that weather predictions are verifyable while MMGW climate predictions are not. Which is only to say that climate science is taken on faith!!

    Actually not as different as you seem to think. They have a lot in common, like atmospheric physics and the general spatiotemporal modelling approach.

    Have you noticed that numerical weather models are performing quite well nowadays? Even up to a week into the future. Each successful weather prediction over more than a couple of days validates the same code, physics, and math that’s also in the climate models. They contain largely the same ‘wisdom’ on how the atmosphere works, even if putting it to different use.

    BTW one exclamation mark is plenty.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Mar 2008 @ 5:39 AM

  318. Re #312 (William Astley)

    What is causing this global cooling?

    Seems La Niña sleeps around on this thread… remember the contraceptives, folks :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Mar 2008 @ 7:33 AM

  319. #310 Wayne,
    I’m gradually downloading them at 10 day intervals, we’re up to day 63 now. Makes an informative slide-show. You can see the flow down towards the Fram Strait very nicely. I’ve also extracted the March and September hindcasts from the PIOMAS model video I refered to, but I need to do some viewing of those with the years mixed up to see if my suspicion is arguable – that the March 2 metre thickness contour could be used to predict the maximum extent in September – I stress I’m not convinced that is the case.

    I’ve noted the brilliant presence of cities on the Quikscat plots, presuming this is due to radio reflectiveness. I’m wondering if Arctic ice movement could be tracked by using nets with reflectors (wires cut to the right length) pegged to the ice.

    #312 William Astley,

    At present there’s a La Nina which seems to be causing cooling (monthly anomalies took a down-turn in May June last year as the ENSO MEI index dropped). There’s also been a levelling of temperature increase before that for a few years (NOAA/CRU), which mainly seems to come from the Southern Hemisphere and that seems to broadly fit with Hadley’s DePreSys. There has now also been a notably cold winter in parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

    Now to the bit I’ve dithered about posting for a while…

    Due to the La Nina, I would strongly caution against concluding that the following effect is happening, however I have previously referred to a paper by Micheal Winton of GFDL, check out his homepage here: http://www.gfdl.gov/~mw/ The document is “Sea ice-albedo feedback and nonlinear Arctic climate change.”

    In that paper, the Winton argues that models show that atmopsheric heat fluxes will not stand by in the event of a transtion to a seasonally ice-free Arctic state i.e. as the Arctic warms heat fluxes reduce in the models. He says that ‘the elimination of Arctic ice would impact the local environment but the models studied don’t show it would have larger scale climatic changes’. Crucially the models do not show step jumps in the long term average ratio of polar/global temperature. Yet in his figure 5 (Atmospheric Heat Convergence) discussed page 15, the implication is that atmospheric heat transport will reduce in response to Arctic ice loss (assuming the models are correct of course). So I’m wondering if the absence of larger scale temperature changes purely relates to temperature as the index, because if one considers atmospheric circulation surely a reduction in heat transport would have circulation impacts outside of the immediate Arctic region? Other research such as that summarised by Serreze et al 2007 shows Arctic ice has a wider role in Northern Hemisphere climate.

    It’s been said before here and elsewhere that the current La Nina may be modified-by an atmospheric impact of the severe reduction of Arctic ice thickness and summer extent. I don’t know if we are seeing the result of reduced Arctic fluxes – I’d need access to a historical synoptic polar dataset to see if this could be argued. As I’ve not studied that region until recently, once again I lack the historical context in which to view current events.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 3 Mar 2008 @ 8:00 AM

  320. Floydo says: “Yes, different models. And to me what seems to distinguish the two is that weather predictions are verifyable while MMGW climate predictions are not. Which is only to say that climate science is taken on faith!!”

    They only need be taken on faith if you remain too ignorant to understand the science. Once you understand the science, the models are not only verifiable, but largely verified–as evidenced by the fact that every notable scientific body and professional society that has taken a position on the subject has backed the consensus science. Why not learn it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Mar 2008 @ 8:01 AM

  321. Studying the Hadcrut3v series from the Hadley Centre, it would appear that we have just experienced the coldest January in about 15 years. In fact it deviated by -0.42 from the average January temperature variance over the previous 5 years.

    I obviously know the arguments about extrapolating from such a tiny data point, but it does appear to fit into a trend of gradually declining global temperature variance seen since 2002. Even if we assume the rest of the year is at the average for the last 10 years, the unusually cold January will make 2008 the coldest year since 2001. It will also mark a decade since the earth’s hottest year, 1998, during which period the earth has cooled rather than warmed.

    Now if we are going to get the predicted 2.5 degrees celcius rise in global temperatures for the 21st Century that has been predicted by many models, surely we should start to see a more obvious decade on decade warming trend than we are currently seeing?

    Or is what we are seeing just “random variation” and that you cannot see global warming even over a decade of data. In which case, over what time period would the random “noise” be cancelled out and a general trend become more obvious?

    If you were to say 15 or 20 years our problem then becomes that we simply have not been measuring global temperature long enough to reliably discern any kind of long term trend.

    In which case we have to rely totally on the accuracy of the various climate prediction models when determining our climate change mitigation policies and ignore the actual measurements for about another 50 years or so until we have enough data to determine a real long-term trend.

    Am I the only one who finds this a bit alarming? In what other area of our lives do we rely totally on scientific prediction when determining such major areas of policy?

    Don’t get me wrong I am not a climate change denier. I went to the Hadley Centre site to find data to support the AGW case against a sceptical friend. However it would appear that the empirical record shows much more random variation over long timescales than I expected to see.

    How do we know that the global warming “spike” of around +0.8 (variance) seen since WW2 is not simply a random flicker of noise in a much more long term global temperature trend? That is a genuine question, by the way – this is not a troll, I am genuinely puzzled.

    [Response: Please read http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/uncertainty-noise-and-the-art-of-model-data-comparison/ - gavin]

    Comment by Matt — 3 Mar 2008 @ 8:28 AM

  322. As a lay person, the differences between climate models and weather models can be perplexing.

    On Floydo’s point, if one were to ask the climate models at the annual pageant what the high temperature would be at the next years pageant, what sort of answers would come out of their ditzy little heads?

    [Response: You would get a spread associated with the unforced variability in the global mean temperature - roughly a standard deviation of 0.15 deg C on top of the very small yearly increase in the long term forced trend (0.02 deg C). So the 5-95% range for next years anomaly would be something like -0.28 to 0.32 deg C (relative to some recent baseline). Note that for a proper forecast you'd need to assimilate the past changes in temperature which is something that the climate models in AR4 didn't do, but is starting to be done more often. - gavin]

    Comment by JCH — 3 Mar 2008 @ 8:58 AM

  323. Re floydo @ 314: “Yes, different models. And to me what seems to distinguish the two is that weather predictions are verifyable while MMGW climate predictions are not. Which is only to say that climate science is taken on faith!!”

    Oh dear, you really are hung up on this idea that anthropogenic climate change depends on model predictions, aren’t you?

    A question for you: Is it the models themselves that you object to, or the atmospheric and greenhouse gas physics that they are based on, or the actual measured and observed phenomina?

    First off, global circulation models do not make predictions of MMGW, as you insist on putting it, rather, they predict a range of expected climate changes for a specified change in initial conditions, regardless of whether those changes are caused by human action or by natural effects.

    Second, those predictions most certainly are verifiable, in exactly the same way that short term weather predictions are, by simply comparing the predicted range of outcomes to what actually happens. It just takes longer to do than with a specific short-term weather prediction.

    For example, a random explosive volcanic eruption was included in the early models, and the effects of the eruption predicted by the model, namely a short-term reduction of sunlight reaching the surface and consequent cooling due to the injected volcanic particulates and aerosols, matched the observed and measured effects of the 1991 Mt Pinatubo eruption. Another prediction was that while increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will warm the troposphere, the stratosphere will cool. Again, this is what has been observed and measured.

    To quote Hank Roberts, who is fond of saying: What do you base your opinion on, where do you get the information to form that opinion, and why do you trust that information?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Mar 2008 @ 10:38 AM

  324. #319 Cobblyworlds:

    I’ve noted the brilliant presence of cities on the Quikscat plots, presuming this is due to radio reflectiveness. I’m wondering if Arctic ice movement could be tracked by using nets with reflectors (wires cut to the right length) pegged to the ice.

    That would be corner cube reflections from the inner corners of buildings, they produce bright spikes in radar images.

    Your netting proposal probably wouldn’t give back enough power, but using aluminum sheet corner cubes of the kind suspended under weather balloons would have a chance of success. They could even be air dropped.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Mar 2008 @ 11:03 AM

  325. Significant Warming of the Antarctic Winter Troposphere
    Classé dans: Arctic and Antarctic Instrumental Record Climate Science— william @ 3:17 PM
    The “iconic” Antarctic temperature trends are the large warming seen on the Antarctic Peninsula, which has had various repercussions including the collapse of several ice shelves (some documented in a previous post). Elsewhere, though, the pattern of surface warming is more complex – trends are smaller, and while more are positive than negative they are generally not significant – see this map. Contrary to what you might have heard, this is in general agreement with model predictions.

    Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century.
    Warming? Cooling? Anyway its good talking about Antarctica and model predictions

    Comment by Frederic — 3 Mar 2008 @ 11:43 AM

  326. floydo,

    As a fellow layperson, may I recommend either of Mark Bowen’s last two books, Thin Ice and Censoring Science? By reading these profiles of Lonnie Thompson and Jim Hansen, you’ll see how both the physics and empirical data bear out the GCMs. If you’re like me, you’ll begin to appreciate (at an elementary level) the beauty and elegance of current climate science.

    Don’t worry about the models, for now. Read these histories and see where your thinking goes.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 3 Mar 2008 @ 11:52 AM

  327. #324 Martin Vermeer,

    Thanks for that Martin, cubes would be less attractive as with a higher profile they’d be at the mercy of the winds. Also the cost would probably be higher(although that would probably still be the smal when compared to installation). What made me think about it were some wire-on-netting dipole arrays I once had cause to build.

    Ooops! My post #319 single quotes ” are paraphrases, posted from work – no access to that paper there.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 3 Mar 2008 @ 12:06 PM

  328. #319 Cobbly, would be nice to see! About the surface cooling in North American side of the Pole, its not surprising here, given remarkably consecutive days of clear air ( a lot of work for me), is not Lindzen’s Iris effect, especially not cosmic rays which calls for more clouds at a solar minimum, the opposite is happening in North America’s side of the Pole, it is rather a tandem of systems (la Nina, thin Polar ice) creating remarkably steady planetary waves causing ripe conditions for clear air to occur at key locations. NE US coast was/is in continuous flow from the Southwest just as well, right now I marvel as to how steady, how predictable weather seem to manifest. If this keeps up, spring is easily foreseeable clear cold air with the coming high sun will turn into clear warmer air over the Arctic like during last years great melt (NAmerican side), NE US Coast will have much warmer continuous flows etc….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Mar 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  329. Re #308: Thanks, CW. Interestingly the PSC model projections went off the rails last summer along with everyone else (with the possible exception of Maslowski). It wasn’t just that they didn’t show such a sharp drop anywhere near so soon, but that the pattern of melt was so different. They don’t show the northern (easily navigable) NWP as open until something like 2040, making it some of the last ice to go. Consistent with that they show a general pattern of melt starting on the Siberian side and ending with the Canadian archipelago rather than working in from the Bering Strait region as we saw last summer. Is the difference Maslowski’s encroaching warm water? We shall see very soon.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 3 Mar 2008 @ 7:50 PM

  330. Re #319: CW, when Winton says “the elimination of Arctic ice would impact the local environment but the models studied don’t show it would have larger scale climatic changes,” my first thought is that the northern GIS is very much local. My impression has been that this is the big climatological concern with regard to the sea ice melting (not to belittle the direct ecological changes and coastal effects such as enhanced permafrost melt).

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 3 Mar 2008 @ 7:58 PM

  331. In response to my comment:

    NASA land + ocean temperature drops -0.43C, Jan, 2008. 3.7 sigma. (one sigma is .12C).
    Is a -0.43C drop in planetary temperature significant?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/02/antarctica-is-cold/langswitch_lang/sw#comment-82020

    Hank Robert’s comment #315 said:

    >Good question! No, it’s not significant (assuming you mean statistically
    >significant). Look at the error bars.

    Hank, are you saying a -0.43C drop in land + ocean temperature is not significant?
    Are you saying the data is incorrect? What error bars are you talking about?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Standard_deviation_diagram.svg

    Have you noticed that the solar magnetic cycle appears to have been interrupted? There are papers and current observations to support that statement.

    How much and how quickly would the planet cool if there was a solar magnetic cycle interruption?

    Others how made comments stating the planetary cooling of -0.43C was due to La Nina. What is causing the abrupt cooling of the ocean? Is this La Nina unusual? (See meteorologist’s comments)

    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2007/12/historic_la_nina_could_be_in_t.html

    Comment by William Astley — 3 Mar 2008 @ 10:23 PM

  332. Witnessed and answered.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/ocean-cooling-not/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2008 @ 11:01 PM

  333. > what error bars?

    Well, you can look those up easily. But for example, the green I-shaped bars on this chart are the uncertainty estimates:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    “Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change

    Fig A2 Line plot of global mean land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present. The dotted black line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates….. (Last modified: 2008-01-11)
    Source: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
    ————–
    Note the range of error is larger the farther back in time you go.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Mar 2008 @ 12:48 AM

  334. Re 331

    From NOAA, sunspot cycle forecast of March 6, 2006: The scientists expect the cycle to begin in late 2007 or early 2008.
    Forecast of April 2007: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/

    At the moment, we are still right in the line of the forecasts, which expect the next cycle to be about similar than the last one. We still have to wait a couple of months more until we can say that the sun is out of the ordinary.

    Considering that the temperature difference between the Maunder Minimum and the mid-20th century is in the order of 0.5-1.0 K (depending on the reconstruction), and that it is likely that about half of the cooling at that period is due to volcanic activity, a totally quiet sun will induce a cooling in the order of about 0.2-0.6 K. If neglecting further greenhouse warming, this would lead us at most back to 1950s,1960s values. More likely, it might just outweigh upcoming greenhouse warming for some time. And give us a nice temperature jump when the sun is back. If the sun really will keep quiet…

    Comment by Urs Neu — 4 Mar 2008 @ 3:54 AM

  335. William Astley cites an irrelevant post by a weather man. Brett Anderson’s bio-blurb on the page says:
    “Senior meteorologist with 18 years of experience at AccuWeather.”

    To which I would add: “…and no understanding of physics.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Mar 2008 @ 7:52 AM

  336. #331 William Astley,

    Your last link above (an article from December) seems to imply an almost unheard of La Nina and starts off claiming to be a problem for AGW theory – yet doesn’t deliver! CFS continue to forcast a level LN continuation, and NOAA’s Multivariate ENSO index doesn’t suggest anything exceptional in either timeseries (fig 1) or comparison (fig 2). http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/ENSO/enso.mei_index.html

    #329 Steve,

    The Greenland Ice Sheet’s northern flanks will be a place to watch if current events are part of a non-linear transition to a new regional regime – a seasonally ice free Arctic. If this is a non-linear transition I would not expect it to be predictable at all. If a model correctly predicted the weather events of last year and so predicted the subsequent crash it’d be good luck, i.e. predicting the effect of last year’s weather on the ice-cap would be within the domain of ice modelling, but predicting the weather itself may not be. There’s a paper (by Bitz I think) that mentions weather having a greater impact on a thinner ice-cap. That understanding of weather “taking advantage of” the reduced ice thickness certainly ties in with my understanding of perennial ice being a stabilising (integrating) influence. And I suspect this year we will see less total volume together with ice-albedo feedback’s ~60% increase of absorbed shortwave over-riding any weather effects.

    However what I’ve been trying to get my head around is what the consequences will be in terms of Northern Hemisphere circulation. For me all this talk of Polar Bears and regional ecology is not the biggest problem! There seems to be a real risk of changes that could impact climate south of 65degN. However as far as I can see there hasn’t been a modelling study investigating this scenario. As I’ve said before the Arctic going ice-free in 2070 after a great deal of global warming is not the same as an early loss of Arctic ice. And as we’re not talking about a problem that’s analysable in terms of superposition it’s impossible for an amateur like me to get anything meaningful from studies incorporating ice-cap changes into projections of mid-late 21st century climate change. I’m reading a lot of papers on the Arctic at present, perhaps I’ll find something relevant.

    #328 Wayne,

    My PC is ageing and losing function on the ‘net as time passes and I need to get a new one. The problem is a combination of frozen salary (economic situation) and long hours at work. The result – I can’t use my Flickr account, and can’t even e-mail now! So right now I can’t post any of that on the ‘net.

    Can you (or anyone else) point me to a source of synoptic current weather conditions from a polar view?

    I’m amazed at the good timing of IPY – one might almost suspect… ;)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 4 Mar 2008 @ 8:07 AM

  337. In reply to Urs Neu’s #334.

    >At the moment, we are still right in the line of the forecasts, >which expect the next cycle to be about similar than the last one. >We still have to wait a couple of months more until we can say >that the sun is out of the ordinary.

    The forecasts that you noted are not valid if the solar cycle was been interrupted. Is the sun “out of the ordinary”, based on the evidence?

    Urs, Cycle 23 was forecasted to end March 2007. The start of cycle 24 was extended to March 2008. The sun is currently spotless. The solar conveyor (term for the massive movement of plasma about the sun has slowed down by 70%.) There were 37 x-flares generated at the end of solar cycle 23 as compared to none for cycle 21 and 22. Each of these observations is consistent with an interruption at the region (tachocline) of the sun were the sunspot magnetic ropes are formed. The magnetic ropes float up through the solar convection zone to the solar surface, where they form sunspots.

    This article notes the slow down of the solar conveyor. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2…_longrange.htm

    In addition there was analysis that predicted a change of the sun to solar magnetic minimum.

    There were three recently published papers that predicted a solar magnetic cycle change to a Dalton or Maunder like minimum, for cycle 24: one analyzed on past solar barycentre motion which correlates with deep solar magnetic cycle minimums, a second based on an analysis of the paleo cosmogenic isotopes (again that correlate with deep solar cycle minimums), and a third based on a physical model.

    The following is the 2004 paper that predicts the sun is heading towards a Maunder minimum based on an analysis of the paleo record of solar activity.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004ApJ…605L..81B

    This the 2003 paper that predicts a solar cycle minimum based on a physical model.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003SPD….34.0603S

    This is the 1987 Solar barycentre motion paper: Prolonged minima and the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion by R.Fairbridge and J. Shirley

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w57236105034h657/

    The solar barycentre motion theory hypothesizes that specific motions of the sun about its barycentre, interrupts the formation of the magnetic ropes at the solar tacholine (Tacholine is the interface to solar radiative zone and convection zone.) With the barycentre hypothesis a Maunder minimum is an interruption to the solar magnetic cycle as opposed to a slow down.

    Comment by William Astley — 4 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 PM

  338. In reply to Cobblyworlds.

    See the note at the end of your link. It seems to confirm the observation by the professional meteorologist.

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/ENSO/enso.mei_index.html

    “Therefore, a comparison figure of the seven biggest La Niña events since 1949 is shown above, with the most recent MEI values included as well. Although previous strong La Niña events got off to an earlier start, the present La Niña came on so strong so fast that the MEI almost caught up with the ‘pack’ of historic events.”

    Comment by William Astley — 4 Mar 2008 @ 11:00 PM

  339. I have noticed that the sunspot activity is extremely low. NASA’s Hathaway noticed the slowing of the sun’s “conveyor belt” and predicted that the next sunspot cycle would be very low and that he had never seen such a slowing of the conveyor belt before.

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10may_longrange.htm

    As for this current cycle there were competing claims. Some projected very intense sunspot activity and others projected very low activity. Judging by the current lack of sunspots it looks like the projections for a quiet sun were correct.

    I find this exciting. The best competing theory for the current warming is solar activity. The solar folks however lacked a well understood mechanism to explain current warming. However if we get 20 years or more of low sun activity it will provide a natural experiment for us to observe. If it coincides with a cooling trend, then the solar hypothesis will gain respect. If not then the CO2 hypothesis will become more strongly supported, leaving its last competitor in the dust.

    Comment by gusbob — 5 Mar 2008 @ 2:02 AM

  340. The barycentre stuff is just wacky. It’s astrology in drag.

    Likewise Piers Corbyn. http://www.google.com/search?q=stoat+corbyn

    So is the Marohasty blog that was hyping that stuff.
    One of the scientists whose paper they were misrepresenting showed up and told them they had it backward. The last post says:

    “… I’m highly surprised by this blog. It’s citing one of my papers (Abarca del Rio et al., 2003) where it is said exactly the inverse of what is said herein. In fact we showed that there was not a true relationship between solar activity, atmospheric angular momentum and length of the day, at these time scales (interannual time scales) …Not a sole one. Even the one which was the more believed, the one related with the decadal time scales, is only coincidental. I do not know if at longer time scales it is true, but at least in the cases which we investigated, the linear relationship investigated over more than a century, was coincidental.”

    Thereafter all is silence.

    … jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002234.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Mar 2008 @ 2:09 AM

  341. #338, William Astley,

    How does it support the claim that the current LN is “looking more and more like an event that may make history.” as Joe Bastardi asserts.

    Then again what is one to make of the statement: “The fact is the warmer it gets the harder it is to get warmer, unless there is some kind of increase in the total energy available.” Followed by the claim “It is the huge hole in the cheese of the global warming argument, that there is only so much water vapor that can be held before there is condensation.”

    Perhaps the extra increase in total energy on a global basis could be provided by the increase of Greenhouse gasses due to human activity?

    Tsk.Tsk.

    What a daft suggestion.

    Silly me. ;)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 5 Mar 2008 @ 7:09 AM

  342. William Astley, if the Sun doesn’t go into some kind of unusual minimum over the next ten years or so, will you stop saying it’s variations in sunlight causing present temperature history?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Mar 2008 @ 8:03 AM

  343. Dr Olaf Orheim head of Norwegian IPY Secretariat:
    “If Norway’s average temperature this year equals that in 2007, the ice cap in the Arctic will all melt away, which is highly possible juding from current conditions.”

    Via IPY main site news, as reported by Xinhua press: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/01/content_7696460.htm

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 5 Mar 2008 @ 8:03 AM

  344. Re gusbob @ 339: “The best competing theory for the current warming is solar activity.”

    There is no competition as it is not a dichotomy. If solar output should diminish it would, of course, clearly mean less insolation here on Earth, and thus lead to a cooling of the surface and atmosphere. However, that in no way undermines the physics of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gasses would continue to make the surface and atmosphere warmer than it would otherwise be, and adding more would continue to make it warmer still. The two forcings can offset or reinforce each other, and thus amplify or mitigate the net warming or cooling, but they remain entirely independent of each other.

    So, should we get 20 years or more of low solar activity it would be unwise to take comfort in it. Not only would it potentially lead to much human pain and suffering, but when the sun once again should become more active steadily increasing greenhouse gases would amplify that renewed energy input.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Mar 2008 @ 9:26 AM

  345. Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi quoted @ 341:
    “It is the huge hole in the cheese of the global warming argument, that there is only so much water vapor that can be held before there is condensation.”

    No, that phenomenon is very much part of the body of the cheese itself.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Mar 2008 @ 9:40 AM

  346. Re 337, barycentre

    One of the citations for the third (1987) paper provides a needed reality check:

    Jager & Versteegh:

    Abstract We examine the occasionally forwarded hypothesis that solar activity originates by planetary Newtonian attraction on the Sun. We do this by comparing three accelerations working on solar matter at the tachocline level: Those due to planetary tidal forces, to the motion of the Sun around the planetary system’s centre of gravity, and the observed accelerations at that level. We find that the latter are by a factor of about 1000 larger than the former two and therefore cannot be caused by planetary attractions. We conclude that the cause of the dynamo is purely solar.

    Comment by Tom Fiddaman — 5 Mar 2008 @ 1:36 PM

  347. #344
    “So, should we get 20 years or more of low solar activity it would be unwise to take comfort in it. Not only would it potentially lead to much human pain and suffering, but when the sun once again should become more active steadily increasing greenhouse gases would amplify that renewed energy input.”

    But this sun’s already at minimum isnt? If there is a very low cycle, then this will slow the rate of global warming thankfully but we are hardly going to see much cooling while CO2 continues to rise.

    As you say though, we will really bake in the next cycle. Maybe William Astley is 80 and doesnt expect to be around in the next cycle.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 5 Mar 2008 @ 3:53 PM

  348. Jim Eager wrote “There is no competition as it is not a dichotomy. If solar output should diminish it would, of course, clearly mean less insolation here on Earth, and thus lead to a cooling of the surface and atmosphere. However, that in no way undermines the physics of greenhouse gases.”

    I must disagree. Although you are right in terms of insolation and CO2 both contributing in their own way, that is not my point. It is a matter of attribution and our weighting of those 2 factors which changes how we attribute cause and effect for the recent warming.

    Paleoclimate studies typically attribute climate change to solar via cosmogenic nucleotide evidence. The sunspot activity and the sun’s magnetic field have doubled in the past 100 years. So I can not discount the sun for those reasons. But I am skeptical of solar because there is no clear mechanism. We have only been able to measure the sun’s activity for the past 25-30 years and we see there is was little difference in total irradiance(about 1%?). For that reason the IPCC further discounted solar effects. However if there is a drop in solar activity that we have not ever witnessed before, and that drop is greater than the 1% recently measured, then the IPCC’s discounting would have been premature and based on a not so “solar constant”. I do enough deep sky observing to accept that there are lots of variable stars, and likely the sun is more variable than some suppose.

    Furthermore our recently measured change in solar activity only encompassed the peak of solar activity. Just as we argue that the southern hemisphere’s ocean maybe masking AGW, and providing ambiguities like a cooling Antarctica, it would be equally valid to argue that the oceans have masked the solar effect these past 50 years.

    In this thread some of argued that global temperatures have leveled off the past decade. I was unaware of that. But if true then it would coincide with the peaking of sunspot acvtivity.

    So if a decadal decrease in solar activity yields a decadal decrease in global temperatures, I think we will need to re-weight how much warming is attributed to solar. Yes it does not change the physics of greenhouse gases. But it changes our interpretation of how all the climactic factors interact and to which factors the climate is most sensitive.

    Comment by gusbob — 5 Mar 2008 @ 4:07 PM

  349. Cobbly here:

    However what I’ve been trying to get my head around is what the consequences will be in terms of Northern Hemisphere circulation. For me all this talk of Polar Bears and regional ecology is not the biggest problem! There seems to be a real risk of changes that could impact climate south of 65degN. However as far as I can see there hasn’t been a modelling study investigating this scenario.

    Precisely. A seasonally ice-free Arctic will change NH weather, which will change climate – perhaps very quickly. Something along the lines of Pekka Kostamo’s observation perhaps…

    Comment by Gareth — 5 Mar 2008 @ 4:45 PM

  350. Re Phil Scadden @ 347: “But this sun’s already at minimum isnt? If there is a very low cycle, then this will slow the rate of global warming thankfully but we are hardly going to see much cooling while CO2 continues to rise.”

    Not if we enter a long-term Maunder-like minimum, as many come here to insist we are, but then that’s their argument, not mine.
    Of course they also tend to forget that in addition to inducing warming, rising atmospheric CO2 will also acidify the oceans, and that a good percentage of the human population depends on the marine food chain.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 5 Mar 2008 @ 8:12 PM

  351. gusbob (348), I suspect you didn’t mean to imply such and it just came out wrong. But a 1% deviation of solar irradiance over 25-30 years strikes me as HUGH — about 13 watts at TOA.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Mar 2008 @ 9:49 PM

  352. In reply to those commenting above, concerning solar changes and climate. You do not understand the mechanisms.

    The solar magnetic cycle changes are hypothesized to affect planetary temperature by modulating the amount of planetary cloud cover, not by changes in total solar irradiation (TSI). (i.e. Sun does not get hotter. There is less solar magnetic activity which reduces solar wind bursts and reduces the solar heliosphere strength and size. Solar wind bursts remove cloud forming ions. The solar heliosphere blocks Galactic Cosmic Rays which form cloud forming ions.)

    This paper by Brian Tinsley and Fangqun Yu “Atmospheric Ionization and Clouds as Links Between Solar Activity and Climate” outlines the fundamental mechanisms in detail.

    http://www.utdallas.edu/physics/pdf/Atmos_060302.pdf

    This is my attempt to summarize (See the above paper for details.)

    The net effect of planetary clouds (all levels) is a reflection into space of 27.7 W/m2 (i.e. Clouds cool the planet by 27.7 W/m2.) [Hartmann, 1993] A process that increases or decreases the total amount of planetary cloud cover will change the planet’s temperature.

    GCR Modulation by Solar Heliosphere
    Pieces of magnetic flux from the sun are carried out into the solar heliosphere. The solar heliosphere stretches out about 20 light hours (near the orbit of Uranus.) The pieces of magnetic flux deflect GCR so that deflected GCR does not strike the earth. As the solar cycle progresses there is an observed change in amount of Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) particles. Tracking the change in the number of GCR is a change in low level clouds in regions of the earth (Over regions of the ocean that are ion poor. This is shown by satellite data in Palle’s paper and also in Tinsely and Yu’s paper (figure 2.1.)

    Cloud Modulation by GCR
    Microscope cloud nuclei are created by the electrons that are produced when the GCR strike the upper atmosphere. (GCR create muons. The muons reach lower levels in the atmosphere and create free electrons.) Svensmark has confirmed the processes in a lab test. Two additional tests are planned. One in a deep under ground mine, to test the process in the absence of natural muons and the second with CERN, where CERN will be used to create a known modulated artificial GCR source.

    Cloud Modulation by Electroscavenging
    High speed solar winds that are created by coronal holes (for example) remove cloud forming ions by the process of electroscavenging. The high speed solar wind creates a space charge in the earth’s ionosphere. The charge differential in the ionosphere creates a potential difference between the ionosphere and the lower atmosphere which removes cloud forming ions, from the lower atmosphere. (See figure 3.1 and figure 5.3 in Tinsley and Yu’s paper.) The ionosphere space charge is latitude specific (see figure 5.3.) Palle’s satellite analysis shows a significant reduction in clouds at the latitudes, as predicted by Tinsley and Yu.

    The planetary cloud cover closely tracks GCR through two solar cycles. Around 1999 there is a gradual reduction in the earth’s cloud cover and reduction of the earth’s albedo based on the moonshine albedo data and satellite data. This reduction in cloud cover occurs when there is an increase in solar wind bursts due to coronal holes moving to the solar equator at the end of the solar cycle. (See next paper for details.)

    “Once again about global warming and solar activity” by Georgieva, Bianchi, & Kirov

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    Comment by William Astley — 5 Mar 2008 @ 10:14 PM

  353. In reply to Tom Fiddaman’s comment #346

    >One of the citations for the third (1987) paper provides a needed reality check:

    Tom, no one is stating that the barycentric motions of the sun cause the tachocline oscillations. The solar barycentric motions are relatively slow however the distance moved by the sun is significant, about the diameter of sun, and the sun must change direction which is believed to be a key factor in creating conditions for an interruption. (Some researchers noted a correlation to specific solar barycentre motion, change in direction and acceleration, to the occurrence of solar magnetic cycle minimums.)

    The barycentric motion of the sun by the large planets creates some sort of oscillation or other type of disturbance in the tacholine region, which interrupts the release of the magnetic ropes that eventually form sunspots and keeps the magnetic seeds from the last cycle from entering the region where the seeds are amplified to form a powerful magnetic rope that can survive floating up through the turbulent solar convection zone.

    With an normal (undisturbed)tachocline, the most powerful magnetic rope released is around 1500 to 3000 gauss. When the tacholine is interrupt the magnetic ropes (the few that remain in the tachocline) are not released and build to a stronger magnitude. That explains why there are suddenly 39 x-ray flares at the end of the solar cycle 23.

    Comment by William Astley — 5 Mar 2008 @ 10:41 PM

  354. #349 Gareth,

    I’m not sure about Pekka’s comments representing a change outside of normal past behaviour.

    The Arctic Oscillation (AO) +ve phase tends to direct Atlantic storm tracks over the North of Scotland and towards Scandinavia. This would (I think) give the impression of a warm influx, over the N of Scotland and towards Scandinavia, but it’s a pre-existing pattern and has been implicated in the increase of mass balance of some Scandinavian glaciers in the recent past (more precipitation as warm wet maritime air hits the colder northern air masses). When I watch the weather here in the UK I regularly see fronts soaking Northern Ireland and the North of Scotland while the rest of the UK remains dry.
    e.g. http://nsidc.org/arcticmet/patterns/arctic_oscillation.html

    The daily AO index had been +ve preceding Pekka’s comment in early March: e.g. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html

    IF the loss of Arctic ice impacting local climate will have a wider impact, then it seems reasonable to suppose that the speed of change precipitated by a sudden transition to a seasonal as opposed to perennial ice-cap, will be as swift as the transition itself. Given the increasing worldwide demand, e.g. wheat prices, such threats to food security worry me.

    As an amateur I’m trapped between a mound of papers to read and a day-job so need more time to get my head around the issue.

    In plain-english here’s Jeff Masters at Wunderground: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=742&tstamp=200708
    “Loss of Arctic sea ice will also dramatically change the global weather and precipitation patterns. For example, the jet stream should move further north, bringing more precipitation to the Arctic, and more frequent droughts over the U.S.”
    Once again I find my “refutation” of that is “Nah can’t be that bad”, a poor response that keeps gripping me when I ponder next September.

    Meanwhile the mainstream Media haven’t touched this….

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 6 Mar 2008 @ 7:25 AM

  355. Cobbles #354:

    I think we’re both concerned about the same thing. I posted on an aspect of this at Hot Topic earlier this year. My reference to Pekka’s comment was to his “four months of November” as a winter – especially in the context of this news from Finland:

    The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the December-February period was the warmest since records began more than 100 years ago, with average temperatures about 5 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) higher than usual.

    .
    That strikes me as pretty unusual… (I’d really like to know how many SD’s that is away from “normal”. Do we have another Svalbard post coming?)

    The impact of a rapidly warming Arctic will be to change weather patterns, as Masters – and Stu Ostro at the Weather Channel – suggest. If the changed patterns persist, you have a changed climate.

    It’s too soon to say, perhaps, but the potential for rapid climate change in the northern hemisphere can be seen in this last winter.

    Comment by Gareth — 6 Mar 2008 @ 5:08 PM

  356. Mr. Astley, you are far more certain about this than Dr. Tinsley is. He suggests far less than you believe.

    “… The charges are of sufficient magnitude to suggest measurable electrical effects …. relevant to the modeling … as a possible cause of small effects on weather and climate.”

    Citation: Zhou, L., and B. A. Tinsley (2007), Production of space charge at the boundaries of layer clouds, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D11203, doi:10.1029/2006JD007998.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2008 @ 7:39 PM

  357. William Astley Says: “In reply to those commenting above, concerning solar changes and climate. You do not understand the mechanisms.”

    William you refer to but one theory to account for solar impact on climate. Perhaps it is not the ignorance of others but the fact that your reference is not the only theory floating about.

    In addition there are some who believe it is TSI that makes the difference. And others that see it as a function of cosmic rays and clouds and TSI. There is a group of minority astronomers who believe in an electric sun/universe and they have additional slants. Decades ago they suggested the energy flows to earth via the plasma and “twisted magnetic ropes”, Birkeland currents , that Themis has now confirmed. Such a discovery seemed to have surprised the other majority. Magnetic fields are produced by electric currents, so increased magnetic field means increased electric currents. Currents that are field aligned are orderly and can be de-thermalized , but when they interact with different media they can impart random motion and thus high temperatures. Such is their explanation for the high corona temperatures. The centennial doubling of the sun’s magnetic field implies a doubling of an electric current. Changes in voltage and amperage change the Watts/m2 that measures the energy input to the earth. Energy that has not been well measured. I am attracted to the electric sun ideas because they explain why the solar winds accelerate as they get further from the sun’s surface. That suggests an electric field at work.

    Half of my amateur astronomer friends like the electric universe paradigm. It explains lots of odd variable star behavior or observed emission nebula that turn on and then disappear. And it can explain other phenomena without creating imaginary dark matter.

    That’s why I find the prospect of a quiet sun very exciting because if the sun does go into a minimum it will be very instructive, adding insight and constraints to astronomy as well as climate. And we have many satellites in place to help measure what is happening.

    Comment by gusbob — 6 Mar 2008 @ 9:29 PM

  358. In reply to Hank Robert’s #356 Comment:

    I believe Tinsley does support the assertion that the electroscavenging mechanism can have a significant affect on climate. See the following: (Note the percentage increase in the mechanism for high altitudes which is consistent with Palle’s findings.)

    “The role of the global electric circuit in solar and internal forcing of clouds and climate” by Brian A. Tinsley, G.B. Burns, and Limin Zhoua

    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0273117707001135

    “The observed short-term meteorological responses to these five inputs are of small amplitude but high statistical significance for repeated Jz changes of order 5% for low latitudes increasing to 25–30% at high latitudes. On the timescales of multidecadal solar minima, such as the Maunder minimum, changes in tropospheric dynamics and climate related to Jz are also larger at high latitudes, and correlate with the lower energy component ( 1 GeV) of the cosmic ray flux increasing by as much as a factor of two relative to present values.”

    “Thus, we propose that mechanisms responding to Jz are a candidate for explanations of sun–weather–climate correlations on multidecadal to millenial timescales, as well as on the day-to-day timescales analyzed here.”

    Hank, based on the present planetary temperature change (assuming all of the change is attributable to the current solar change) and a published estimate of the planetary climate system’s e-folding time it is possible to calculate, the by year drop in temperature. (Assuming an interruption to the solar magnetic cycle. i.e. The solar cycle does not restart.) If the e-folding time estimate is correct, we can resolve this question by this time next year.

    Comment: Note also that Tinsley does not attribute the entire solar magnetic modulation of climate to Jz. Modulation of GCR is also a significant factor. Neutron counts have increased 10% over the last 2 years, which is due to increasing GCR. (The Solar heliosphere is reduced, as the cycle 24 has failed to start up.) It was only in the last year that the solar coronal holes which had moved up to the solar equator have started to dissipate. (There was a burst in solar wind, when the coronal hole moved into an earth facing direction.)

    In the recent past, solar wind bursts, at the end of each cycle, increase Jz and removed cloud forming ions, masking the increase in GCR at the end of each solar cycle. Now if the cycle has been interrupted, GCR will increase and there will no longer be solar wind bursts to cause the increase in Jz and remove the cloud forming ions.

    Comment by William Astley — 6 Mar 2008 @ 10:55 PM

  359. #355 Gareth,

    We are talking about the same thing.

    From my understanding so far it seems we can expect climate impacts and if we’re on a transition to a seasonally ice-free state as fast as Dr Orheim suggests or Maslowski’s model projects, it’s hard to see how any such impacts will not be as rapid as the transition itself. My concern is what will happen, because that determines how it will impact us. And it would not help to act (in the sense of adaptation) on observations that may turn out to be be transitory in nature. Like I said above, there is a current La-Nina.

    A couple of relevant papers that I’ve not had chance to really get to grips with as yet:
    Singarayer 2005 “Twenty-First-Century Climate Impacts from a Declining Arctic Sea Ice Cover” Available from here: http://www.cpom.org/publications.html

    Bhatt et al 2007 “The Atmospheric Response to Realistic Reduced Summer Arctic Sea Ice Anomalies”
    2nd paper down, here: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/michael.alexander/publications.html

    After a first read (whilst tired after work) their results have left me shaken (from the point of view of food security and geo-political stability). But I am hoping that worry recedes when I get to grips with them with a rested mind over the weekend.

    BTW; interesting blog, thanks for the link.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 7 Mar 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  360. In reply to: Barton Paul Levenson

    “…, if the Sun doesn’t go into some kind of unusual minimum over the next ten years or so, will you stop saying .. [solar magnetic cycle changes]… causing present temperature history?”

    BPL,
    The solar magnetic cycle appears to have been interrupted based on observations and analysis. I would expect some sort of official announcement by fall of this year, concerning a solar magnetic cycle interruption. If the solar magnetic cycle has been interrupted we should have a good idea based on planetary temperature by late 2008 or early 2009 whether the solar modulation of cloud hypothesis is or is not correct.

    Attached is the NASA global land-ocean temperature data by month. It is interesting to note how the by year planetary temperatures have varied in the past. There are quite low planetary temperatures in the 1880s and at the turn of the 20th century. For example, Jan. 2008 was +0.12C (Above base. Base for the NASA data is 1951 to 1980). How was the planetary climate different for the Jan. 1924 which was -0.24C (below base) or for Jan 1883 which was -0.83C (below base)? Note the planetary temperature was low for decades during those periods.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Assuming all of the recent cooling was caused by the recent solar magnetic cycle change and assuming that the e-folding time of the planetary system to a step change is 3 years, the final change in temperature from an assumed based of plus 0.54C, is -1.48C below the initial base of +0.54C. (i.e. If the e-folding time is known and there are no other significant forcing functions at the time of the first change, an estimate of the final total forcing can be made, based on the first change.)

    With the above assumptions, the by year (Jan of year in question) estimated temperature anomaly, 2008 to 2013 is as follows:

    2008, +0.12C
    2009, -0.18C
    2010, -0.40C
    2011, -0.55C
    2013, -0.66C

    BPL what are your thoughts?

    Comment by William Astley — 7 Mar 2008 @ 6:59 PM

  361. gusbob posts:

    [[Half of my amateur astronomer friends like the electric universe paradigm. ]]

    The electric universe theory is pseudoscience of the purest ray serene. Try here for a discussion as to why:

    http://www.tim-thompson.com/grey-areas.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Mar 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  362. My thoughts are, if it doesn’t turn out that way, will you admit you were wrong? Or will you start attributing temperature change to some other solar feature? How much is “temperature changes on Earth are caused by the sun” your premise rather than your conclusion?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Mar 2008 @ 7:24 AM

  363. Does anyone know if there’s any credibility behind this statement that I found in a Newsmax story in Feb 2008:
    “…according to reports from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that reveal that almost all the allegedly “lost” ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels.” It goes on to reference a UK tabloid newspaper (that infallible source of robust scientifc data) as quoting “Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year”

    I’ve had a look for a NOAA report along this lines but can’t find anything. Is this lies or is there anything behind it?

    [Response: Yes. It's called winter. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew — 8 Mar 2008 @ 10:38 AM

  364. > allegedly “lost” ice has come back
    >> winter

    That’s referring to the Northern hemisphere winter.
    The second claim isn’t about winter:

    > a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for this time

    Bzzzt!
    Fails the fact check (no such report) and fails the logic check:
    Where would they put it all? Stack it up to 4 miles thick?
    Surely the scientists there would notice.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2008 @ 11:39 AM

  365. BPL says “The electric universe theory is pseudoscience of the purest ray serene.”

    Your personal condemnation does little to shed light on the debate of an electric universe. If your information on that debate is limited to the link provided you are left with little more than a mud slinging fest devoid of much science, and likewise will be limited to mudslinging yourself.

    There have been great scientists that have proposed an electric model starting most notably with aurora pioneer Kristian Birkeland and in his honor “Birkeland currents” are named. Irving Langmuir who in honor of his work in measuring electric potentials the “Lanmuir probe” is named. Nobel prize winner Hannes Alfve whose names is attached to Alven waves. Thornhill is considered a great thinker in this field but admittedly does lack the credentials beyond a BS, a point that Thompson would rather hammer home than argue the specific science. Thornhill readily admits that he did not seek higher credentials because to succeed he needed peer approval and none of his contemporaries thought in terms other than gravitational effects. Likewise today physicists complain of the professional limitations for anyone who dares not to accept string theory.

    Until 1958 and the discovery of the Van Allen belts the idea of a magnetosphere and electric currents was limited to the few astronomers that followed the likes of Birkeland. The twisted magnetic ropes now confirmed by Themis were predicted by Birkeland 100 years. There is growing research into magnetic fields but there is a tendency to deny the possibility of electric currents. Electric universe people simply argue that according to Maxwell’s equations, without an electric current there are no electric fields.

    I would advise caution when taking Thompson’s point of view. When the majority of scientists accepted the geocentric model for orbiting sun and planets, they fended of the challenges to that theory and the heliocentric model by plugging in additional models such as the equant and epicycles. And those ad hoc inventions made better predictions at first than the “pseudoscience” of the heliocentric model.

    When Thompson says “especially in Thornhill’s propensity to deny the reality of that which is in front of him.” I am moved to appreciate Thornhill for his courage to inquire and challenge while discounting Thompson who mistakes hypothetical models for reality. People talk about black holes and dark matter as if they were real. The media reports new discoveries of these space species as if they are real. But they are only theoretical constructs created to fend off challenges to holes in their standard theory. All our real observations led scientists from Oort onwards to suggest that the calculations based on observation lacked enough mass. And so the mass did not add up if Newtons Law’s were to hold up. So dark matter(non-baryonic matter) was invented. It has yet to be observed because the inventors tell us it is very hard to observe. But reports always seem to verify dark matters presence, because it explains missing gravitational attractions. Attractions that can also be explained by electromagnetic forces that are a trillion, trillion, trillion times more powerful than gravity. Doesn’t it seem odd that in our cosmology that the weakest force of all dominates all mechanistic models and while electromagnetism as been virtually overlooked until recently. I suggest Thompson’s arguments would be more scientifically believable if he accepted that much of our cosmology is hypothetical and yet to be proven.

    Read Thompson’s replies again. Thornhill argued that the sun’s granules are electric and magnetic in nature, and not convective cells driven by rising heat. Thompson replies “with a rebuttal?” citing papers that evoke magnetic fields. He seems to be making Thornhill’s point.

    I see this as a time where our electromagnetic understanding is in its infancy (like the failed tether experiment underestimated the electric charge) and astronomers are struggling to incorporate new language and new observations into a more unified theory. And I have no doubts the electric universe will play a part.

    As regard to this topic on Antarctica, I must wonder and speculate if the observed warming at the poles has any relationship to electric currents. Since the north pole is really the south magnetic pole where the magnetic field is oriented into the earth vs the south pole where the magnetic vector is oriented out. Orderly streaming currents along magnetic field lines do not display high temperatures until they collide and create random motion. Would collisions at the north pole contribute to what is lumped together as “polar amplification”?

    Comment by gusbob — 8 Mar 2008 @ 2:38 PM

  366. Oh, and
    > third more ice in Antarctica

    If that referred only to sea ice, Cryosphere’s graphics are working again, you can look it up.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2008 @ 2:44 PM

  367. To get an idea of how much solar energy can be conveyed to earth that has been unaccounted for if just TSI and electromagnetic waves are considered, look at the substorms that are now being measured.

    On 3/2008 NASA states “A good substorm can unleash a hundred thousand billion Joules of energy, as much as a magnitude 5 earthquake. Although auroras, generally speaking, are understood (they are caused by solar activity), the sudden power of substorms is one of the biggest mysteries of space science.”

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/06mar_polar.htm?list27315

    We are in the infancy of understanding an electric universe.

    PS is there a way to edit a post for mis-spelling and sloppy typing?

    Comment by gusbob — 8 Mar 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  368. Gusbob, If you want to be taken seriously among scientists, might I suggest that advocacy of the theories of a disciple of Velikovsky isn’t the best way to do it. The fact that you find this stuff convincing suggests to me that you don’t understand what science is. If a theory does not lead to predictions and insights–as presented in peer-reviewed journals, not independently produced DVDs–it isn’t science.
    Stellar physics is well established, as is climate science. Maybe you have fun looking into all these alternative theories, but don’t fool yourself thinking you are doing science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Mar 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  369. In reply to Barton Paul Levenson’s comment #362

    “My thoughts are, if it doesn’t turn out that way, will you admit you [my comment: The solar magnetic modulation of planetary cloud theory] were [is] wrong?”

    Yes, I will unequivocally, admit the solar magnetic modulation of cloud hypothesis is incorrect, which would also imply that almost all of the 20th century warming was due to GHG. (Except for a very small portion which would likely be due to TSI changes.)

    Based on the cloud modulation hypotheses, as there is currently a spotless sun moving to a low magnetic cycle, there should be an abrupt cooling of the planet. If there is not an abrupt cooling, the hypothesized, solar modulation of clouds mechanisms, are disproved.

    The solar heliosphere takes roughly two years to reach the edge of its extent (About the orbit of Uranus to Pluto, depending on solar wind strength and interstellar gas density.) Due to this delay, the forcing function (cooling, due to weaker solar heliosphere and hence more GCR) should strengthen. Also there are currently solar wind bursts being produced due to coronal holes. If the coronal holes dissipate and there are no longer wind bursts, that should reduce electroscavenging and increase cloud cover.

    In the winter months, the larger extending cryosphere, will increase the planet’s albedo, amplifying the change, so the cooling noted in Jan. 2008 will be higher than would be expected in July for as the is more land area in the Northern Hemisphere. I believe, however, as there are both, pluses & minuses, the below estimated cooling is reasonable. (It would also be reasonable considering past paleo cooling events, assuming the step changes were mostly due to these solar mechanisms.) The actual data will answer these questions.

    2008, +0.12C
    2009, -0.18C
    2010, -0.40C
    2011, -0.55C
    2013, -0.66C

    -0.18C below 1950 to 1980 base is equivalent to 1952 to 1955 or 1965 to 1966.
    -0.40C below the base is equivalent to 1907, 1911, 1917.
    -0.55C below, matches the coldest years, which are 1880 to 1889.

    I have looked at Christopher Burt’s book “Extreme Weather” which quantifies and describes the extreme North American weather events in those periods. As Burt notes, North America has significantly more extreme weather events (than Europe or Asia), because for North America there are no east west continental mountain barriers to separate the cold Arctic air from the warm and moist Gulf and Atlantic lows. Also as the jet streams moves east up and across the Rockies it moves south (to conserve angular momentum) creating a Rossby wave. The Rossby wave oscillates North and South as it moves across the planet.

    The Rossby wave pulls Arctic cold air down and pulls warm moist air up. This affect in winter, can create blizzards with very high wind speeds, freezing rain as the cold front moves south and so forth. In summer the affect produces extreme storms and tornados.

    Comment by William Astley — 8 Mar 2008 @ 8:25 PM

  370. Hank:

    The sea ice extent anomaly for February 2008 for Antarctica at NSIDC looks to be close to 30% according to their graph on the “Cryospheric Climate Indicators” page. Not exactly a third more than the long term average sea ice extent, but pretty close.

    BRK

    Comment by Brian Klappstein — 9 Mar 2008 @ 2:58 AM

  371. Brian, it’s late summer in Antarctica. The text as written says “ice in Antarctica” — that’s deceptive. Funny how the PR errors always make mistakes in the direction of the people funding them.

    Yes, I agree — the number they’re talking about is actually the annual variation in the floating sea ice around Antarctica. Look at one year, then compare it to other years.

    Variation around the mean is normal. You can see other years like that in the past. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    It’d be interesting to know how much of this extra 1M sq. km. showing up — both in midwinter (from 15 to 16M sq. km) and currently (from about 2 to M)– is
    – fresh water from continental meltwater freezing at the edge, or
    – ice sheets pushing out from the toe of the glaciers, or
    – salt water freezing along the edges.

    Good thing the Int’l Polar Year is actively working down there. Perhaps we’ll hear real science news.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2008 @ 11:32 AM

  372. >367, gusbob, you seem impressed by the energy in the aurora, but it doesn’t add anything new; it’s part of insolation. How much?

    > a hundred thousand billion joules
    > a magnitude 5 earthquake

    And how much added warmth is that? If you reached in and tapped Earth with a meteor and produced that big an earthquake, how much would the planet warm up? Do you think it’s noticeable against background heat from the sun?

    http://www.unitconversion.org/heat-transfer-coefficient/watts-per-square-meter-per-k-to-joules-per-second-per-square-meter-per-k-conversion.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2008 @ 8:02 PM

  373. gusbob,

    Hannes Alfven did NOT accept what is now called the Electric Universe Theory, which is, as noted, pseudoscience. He thought electromagnetic and plasma effects might have had a greater influence on planet formation and galaxy structure than previously thought. But he would never have said stars were powered by electricity rather than fusion, as the EUT would have us believe. Sorry, there’s just too much evidence on the side of stars being fusion reactors. The EUT folk would have us believe that everything we know about nuclear physics and stellar evolution is wrong. Kind of like the way creationists portray modern biology.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:47 AM

  374. Hank’s comment is much more to the point than mine — it always helps to do the math. “A hundred thousand billion joules” is 10^5 x 10^9 = 10^14 Joules. The mass of the atmosphere is 5.136 x 10^18 kilograms, and has a specific heat capacity of 1,004 J/K/kg (dry air figure, wet air is even higher). So the heating from the aurora (if transmitted completely to the atmosphere, rather than most being lost through radiation to space) would be about 1.94 x 10^-8 K — about 19 billionths of a degree.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:53 AM

  375. Fine. You KNEW that Antarctica would get colder (’cause the models said so)… Would you be so kind as to explain that if CO2 is THE cause of Global Warming (aka “Climate Change”), AND CO2 stays “trapped” in our atmosphere, HOW IS IT that the ARTIC ICE has “recovered” to the same levels from a year ago (http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/arctic-sea-ice-back-to-its-previous-level-bears-safe-film-at-11/)?

    I’m assuming, of course, that there are still MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of “deniers” who have NOT cut back on their CO2 emissions, so Anthopogenic Global Warming “reductions” clearly cannot account for this.

    AND why is it that the “Global Temerature” tracks SO nicely with SUNSPOTS (http://www.global-warming-myths.com/images/Sunspot_Activity.jpg) without complex computer models (software guesses) to show that CO2 is the cause?

    Comment by M. Ward, CA — 10 Mar 2008 @ 8:56 AM

  376. Hank,

    I would respond to your questions but it seems that my questions and answers are censored. Two posts have been removed. Ideas that were too threatening I guess.

    [Response: No. Just too aggressive. Tone it tone and try again. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbob — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 AM

  377. Re #375:
    Aren’t you just a bit curious as to why your solar/temperature graph doesn’t extend past the 1980s? Is it because no data exists past the ’80s or is it because solar activity and temperature don’t track so well if one includes the entire data set?

    For a look at the complete record, try:

    http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    Comment by spilgard — 10 Mar 2008 @ 3:03 PM

  378. #375 Extent yes – its winter! But thickness? This is one-year ice instead of multiyear. I would say incredibly vulnerable to rapid melt if get similar weather condition in summer. And on subject of Antarctic ice, last month’s Nature Geoscience published nice map of ice speed and mass loss.
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n2/full/ngeo102.html
    Net loss was 136Gt/yr in 2000, 192Gt/yr for 2006.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 10 Mar 2008 @ 3:08 PM

  379. Re M. Ward @375: “HOW IS IT that the ARTIC ICE has “recovered” to the same levels from a year ago”

    It’s called winter, and it happens every year this time.

    But seriously, while the Arctic sea ice has recovered in surface area, which was also predicted and expected, it has NOT recovered in DEPTH. That will take multiple winters. The ice formed this winter is by definition new ice, which is thinner, saltier, and weaker than thicker, multi-year ice. What made last summer’s melt so different was that so much multi-year ice melted.

    M. Ward: “AND why is it that the “Global Temerature” tracks SO nicely with SUNSPOTS”

    It doesn’t. Did you notice that graph ends at about 1980? It’s now 2008. (Do you know where your missing 28 years of data are?)
    That’s because from 1980 to 2008 global temperature does NOT track at all nicely with sunspots or any other indicator of solar activity.
    Inconvenient, that, eh what? Never mind, just leave it off the graph.

    This is why it’s so hard to take “millions” of global warming “deniers” seriously.
    Some of them lie, and the rest of them accept those lies without question.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:21 PM

  380. Mr. Ward, no need to shout.

    Watts has opinions. You can look up the science yourself and make up your own mind. I recommend it.

    Google found these quickly, using a few likely words taken from your questions in the Search box:

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:42 PM

  381. M. Ward, surely you’ve heard of winter, have you not? However, the ice now forming will be weaker and more susceptible to melt in the future unless we get several cooler years.
    Let me acquaint you with what the theories do not say and what they do say. They do not say that temperature will rise inexorably and continually without limit. They do say that ceteris paribus, the climate will be warmer than it would have without that extra CO2.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:19 PM

  382. #375, It has not recovered in thickness nor in main features, multiple leads are more and more visible and the air is amazingly clear over the north American side of the Pole, just waiting for the fog to see if it will reoccur the habitual way…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:01 PM

  383. Hank says, “And how much added warmth is that? If you reached in and tapped Earth with a meteor and produced that big an earthquake, how much would the planet warm up? Do you think it’s noticeable against background heat from the sun?”

    That is a good question.If we are calculating the energy input we need to know the voltage and amperage. The magnetic ropes observed by Tmemis can be as wide as the earth. Where is tis energy deposited and how much propagates to earth and in what form. Lightning, substorms and auroras all need to be involved in the calculation. When this energy ionizes gas and which then release EMR how much of that is measures? I believe SOHO would miss all this when calculating TSI.

    Comment by gusbob — 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:51 PM

  384. Barton Paul Levenson Says: Hannes Alfven did NOT accept what is now called the Electric Universe Theory, which is, as noted, pseudoscience.

    I am not trying to defend one particular flavor of the Electric universe. I am saying we must incorporate an electromagnetic views of the universe and in doing so that leads us to logical extensions that may prove to be more or less valid. And I am not sure how you know just what part of the so called “EUT” you refer to that Alfven would reject? If Hank hasn’t asked you already , what are your sources?

    But Alfven most certainly thought of the sun in electrical terms. Here are 2 pictures of his model for a coronal loop and compared to what we wtiness: http://www.electric-cosmos.org/e-sun3.jpg

    http://www.electric-cosmos.org/coronaloop_trace.jpg

    Despite what BPL implies, the theories of an electric universe have never, ever said that there is no nuclear fusion. What is advocated is that electric z-pinch creates the fusion at the photosphere. Z-pinch for fusion was first done at Los Alamos in the 50’s so its well studied. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-pinch.

    BPL mentions the evidence of fusion but fails to understand that fusion can be caused by different mechanisms. To date the standard mechanism of gravitational confinement also requires the release of x amount of neutrinos from the sun and so far too many of those neutrinos are missing. Maybe dark neutrinos that we can’t measure? Z-pinch fusion would expect fewer neutrinos.

    I had hoped that a sustainable fusion reaction would satisfy our clean energy needs but nothing sustainable as postulated for the sun has been demonstrated in the last 50 years of hoping. But z-pinch fusion has been readily demonstrated.

    Comment by gusbob — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:23 AM

  385. Camp and Tung find a polar amplification in the signature of the solar cycle on the climate in the Antarctic as well as the Arctic, although it is smaller in the Antarctic.
    http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/solar-jgr.pdf

    This appears to be the paper that is in press at JGR retitled “Solar cycle warming at the Earth’s surface in NCEP and ERA-40 data: A linear discriminant analysis”

    Comment by Martin Lewitt — 11 Mar 2008 @ 6:08 AM

  386. #375 M Ward CA,

    CA? Climate Audit?

    That fits. ;)

    Once the available evidence is considered, e.g. QuikScat/PIOMAS/Cryosphere Today, and the relevant research. The current extent is neither a surprise, nor a reason for reassurance.

    Try reading Bitz, C. M. and G. H. Roe, 2004: A Mechanism for the High Rate of Sea-Ice Thinning in the Arctic Ocean, J. Climate, 17, 3622–31: Available here: http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~bitz/publications.html

    And if it gives you reason for reasurance maybe you need to consider the caveat:
    “However, following Thorndike (1992), we have assumed that M is independent, of h, while Untersteiner (1961) and Maykut (1986) argue that M should increase if the ice becomes thin…”
    M is the amount of melt, h is ice thickness

    #382 Wayne,
    I’ll be finalising a long detailed post on the board I normally frequent. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll post a link here, assuming it’s OK with RC (rather than spam RC with an essay). With regards whether the March >2.5-3metre ice is indicative of the following September extent: Using a series of images extracted from the PIOMAS 1979-2004 video it seems suggestive, but no more.

    Have you (or anyone else) got any current data on ice thickness?
    Specifically in the Arctic Basin – as that’s where the summer minimum will be set.

    This is going to be a very interesting year.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:05 AM

  387. Gusbob, where are you getting the idea that current theories ignore electromagnetism? A star is a plasma–and plasmas are inherently magnetohydrodynamic critters. As to your idea of a near-surface fusion zone–it doesn’t square with the evidience. For instance, in a supernova, the neutrinos escape long before the light does, indicating that both have travelled a long distance (btw, if you were in the vicinity of a supernova, it would be the neutrinos that would kill you). Your electic Universe theory just isn’t viable–for instance what would be the energy source that drove your heating?
    We can measure the energies involved, gusbob, and while the magnetic recombination events are impressive, they’re tiny compared to TSI. If you give us your technical background, maybe we can find some appropriate references.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:29 AM

  388. “Near surface fusion” is an idea I’ve found in only one person’s work:
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/9604074
    http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~soberman/

    Gusbob, is this your source? Or can you point to another source?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:03 AM

  389. Cobbly yes, try this site

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/arctic/index.htm

    Read the ‘EGG’ code before clicking on the map… These give approximate ice thickness,
    lets see what you have !

    Comment by wayne davidson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  390. M. Ward posts:

    [[Would you be so kind as to explain that if CO2 is THE cause of Global Warming (aka “Climate Change”), AND CO2 stays “trapped” in our atmosphere, HOW IS IT that the ARTIC ICE has “recovered” to the same levels from a year ago ]]

    Arctic. It’s because of seasons. The Earth is tilted 23.45 degrees to the plane of its orbit. As a result, many locations on the Earth experience a succession of seasons — summer when the hemisphere in question points toward the sun, fall and spring when it is “sideways on,” and winter when it points away. The Arctic is currently experiencing winter. Thus, it is colder there now than its mean temperature during the year.

    The furor over Arctic ice earlier was because it fell below its record for the summer. That’s what you have to compare — year to year figures, not season to season.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:35 PM

  391. gusbob posts:

    [[Despite what BPL implies, the theories of an electric universe have never, ever said that there is no nuclear fusion. What is advocated is that electric z-pinch creates the fusion at the photosphere.]]

    Right, except that we know from neutrino telescopes, helioseismology and stellar evolution models that fusion is taking place at the core, not the photosphere.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:38 PM

  392. Commentary on the glaciation of Antarctica 34 million years ago:

    http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=13&idContribution=1562

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:35 PM

  393. Barton Paul Levenson Says: Right, except that we know from neutrino telescopes, helioseismology and stellar evolution models that fusion is taking place at the core, not the photosphere.

    BPL I would suggest that you replace the words “we know” with the words “some infer”. The illusion of knowledge prevents discovery. But please show me your sources and logic to make such a statement.

    Nothing you mentions allows us to see inside the sun. Its all inference and conjecture. All the temperatures in the textbooks for the core are estimates not measurements. Regards to helioseismology you are advocating something analagous to stating earthquakes on earth are proof of fusion at the earth’s core. Sorry but there is no way in “the earth’s core” seismology tells us that.

    As far as stellar evolution models, there are several stars that defy the standard model as depicted by main sequence stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. Instead of the consumption of hydrogen at a speed determined by its mass and resulting progression of brightness and color some stars apparently haven’t read the theory and appear downright whimsical.

    Try FS Sagittae for starters http://www.aavso.org/vstar/vsots/1198.shtml

    Comment by gusbob — 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:28 PM

  394. Ray Ladbury Says: Gusbob, where are you getting the idea that current theories ignore electromagnetism?

    RL to be more specific most of astronomy ignores the electric and accept the magnetic. Just too much evidence and more easily measured than electric currents in space. For example, look at the descriptions of the Themis observations talking about “magnetic ropes”. These ropes are puzzles yet no one mentions electric currents other than the solar wind tavels along these ropes.Fine but perhaps you can help me here RL. My level of technical expertise says magnetic fields must be caused by electric currents. Now with your expertise perhaps you can show me how you get “magnetic ropes” with out a current. Does this magnetism just appear? from dark matter? from what?

    Comment by gusbob — 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:45 PM

  395. “The furor over Arctic ice earlier was because it fell below its record for the summer. That’s what you have to compare — year to year figures, not season to season.”

    Why do I have to compare year to year? The anomaly record compares a given time of year with the same time for previous years. It is therefore a relevant comparison any time of the year. And right now the global anomaly is plus a half million square kilometers. The Arctic anomaly has shrunk from 3 million square kilometers to less than half a million square kilometers. As so many here are so fond of saying, last year’s melt off was just weather.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:40 PM

  396. #395 Tilo Reber,

    I agree it’s not unreasonable to compare season to season to season, when done with due awareness of the wider context. I often compare days for different years. And about now is roughly the typical time for maxima so if one can compare minima trends, it’s not unreasonable to compare maxima. I’ve not yet checked today, but we may not be at this years maxima.

    However from my reading last night (Cryosphere Today regional) the area of greatest advance on last year seems to be in the Baffin Sea. The minima is set in the Arctic Basin, not Baffin Sea (which is ice-free in September), so any increase there is not really relevant to trying to figure out what last year means for the future.

    I had originally stated here (at RC) last years melt was just weather, but retracted that when I saw the later impact. Last year’s weather event removed a substantial volume of ice in the Arctic Basin. And it seems unlikely that volume will be replaced this winter. Short of an exceptionally cold summer it seems to me that loss of volume will impact next year. Exactly how depends on the next few months, but I wouldn’t bet against Olaf Orheim’s statement with regards a near complete loss next year being possible.

    Wayne,

    Thanks for that, way better than messing around comparing PIOMAS and QuikScat. I was reading the Egg code last night on Environment Canada. The site you link to is just what I needed.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 12 Mar 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  397. Gusbob, There are electric currents–both in the sun and in the earth. You can also generate magnetic fields by the flow of magnetic materials–as in Earth’s core. There are even instances of getting magnetic fields around icy satellites, where they are though to result from the flow of brine in the core. I would suggest that you look at some of the work by Gary Glatzmaier on the solar dynamo and the geodynamo. For one thing, it’s damned interesting. For another, it will hopefully ground you a little better in the electromagnetism of the solar system.
    BTW, BPL is quite correct when he says that we KNOW the fusion takes place in the core. The energy has travelled a long ways, and we know that the neutrinos emerge much more rapidly than do the photons, etc. This would not be the case for a near-surface source.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:29 AM

  398. Re #393 [gusbob] “Nothing you mentions allows us to see inside the sun. Its all inference and conjecture.”

    Hate to disillusion you, gusbob, but everything we believe about the outside world (and some would argue, about mathematics and our own mental states as well) seems to be based on inference and conjecture. All sensory experience involves a considerable component of active construction or to put it more colourfully, hallucination. Of course, this conclusion (of cognitive psychology) is itself based on inference and conjecture.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:38 AM

  399. Hmmm…I had started to think that gusbob’s dark matter/electric sun stuff was completely OT, not just for the particular posts but for RC in general. A total thread-jacking, although one that I was
    having some fun participating in on the Galactic Glitch thread.

    But it seems like there’s a backdoor which returns to climate stuff. The links Hank provided about “near surface fusion” go to the work of one Robert Soberman, who has written a book explicating his theory of dark matter. From the amazon.com review of that book:

    “Recognition of dark matter, cosmoids (a contraction of cosmic meteoroids), enables resolution of numerous scientific enigmas such as the link between our Earth’s climate and solar behavior.”
    http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Matter-Illuminated-Robert-Soberman/dp/0741406497/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205352635&sr=1-1

    So the TSI idea falls apart and then the GCR idea comes to the fore. But then there’s no trend in GCR, so the mechanism’s gotta be…dark matter?

    Huh. Didn’t see that coming.

    Comment by Kevin — 12 Mar 2008 @ 3:22 PM

  400. # Ray Ladbury Says:
    BTW, BPL is quite correct when he says that we KNOW the fusion takes place in the core. The energy has travelled a long ways, and we know that the neutrinos emerge much more rapidly than do the photons, etc. This would not be the case for a near-surface source.”

    Do we know that from the sun’s observations or from supernova observations?

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 6:17 PM

  401. #396 Cobblyworlds
    “The minima is set in the Arctic Basin, not Baffin Sea (which is ice-free in September), so any increase there is not really relevant to trying to figure out what last year means for the future.”

    You may be right. But I interpret greater expansion at the edges as meaning more thickness at the center. That doesn’t have to be the case, but I believe that it is most of the time.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:07 PM

  402. gusbob posts:

    [[***The energy has travelled a long ways, and we know that the neutrinos emerge much more rapidly than do the photons, etc. This would not be the case for a near-surface source.***

    Do we know that from the sun’s observations or from supernova observations?]]

    From nuclear physics. Sunlight is “fossil light,” a photon takes something like a million years to get from the core to the surface, being absorbed and reemitted in (nearly but not quite) random directions many times a second. Neutrinos are barely absorbed and zip right out.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:14 AM

  403. #401 Tilo Reber,

    Greater expansion at the edges doesn’t necessarily mean more thickening at the centre. The processes of growth of thin ice on open water and additional thickness on perenial ice are not the same. In the reverse process – the gross reduction in ice-volume and extent, Bitz & Roe show that the loss of thick ice is faster than thin, they propose that this is because of the physical properties of the ice. My post 386 reply to M Ward, links to the paper(preprint). Their comments about equilibrium response times apply in this case, thin ice is expected to grow rapidly over the winter, and to re-gain thicker ice will take longer than a winter – to do that the recent years trend in summer extent will need to reverse.

    What we’re headed for (on an unknown timescale) is a seasonal ice cap, you won’t see winter ice-free conditions under current levels of greenhouse gasses, as outgoing longwave will cool the Arctic too much. It’s quite feasible that for some time we’ll have an ice sheet that grows each winter and may have the sort of extent we see now (winter cooling is set by OLR and incoming atmosphere/ocean heat fluxes). We could even have a period where some summers you have a remnant ice-sheet, others an almost totally ice-free ocean. But the message of a seasonally ice-free Arctic is that we cannot take comfort in the presence of a winter ice sheet. I’m not a professional but for some months now all of my reading has supported the supposition that ice thickness is a crucial factor in resisting the melt impact of insolation during the melt season.

    I’ve previously been using a combination of the PIOMAS model and QuickScat to try to get a picture of the current thickness. I’d been hoping that this cold winter might help add thickness, I found some support for that, but I seriously doubt it’ll be enough. Now that Wayne in post 389 has pointed me to the National Ice Centre, I’ve found that on a snapshot view of a few areas in the Arctic Basin I have been over-estimating thickness. To get a wider view in context of the recent past will take me much more time.

    2 corrections:
    I should have referred to the Arctic being virtually ice free THIS year, not next. And it is of course Baffin Bay. – Rapid posting in a rushed lunchbreak. Doh! ;)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:57 AM

  404. BPL: From nuclear physics. Sunlight is “fossil light,” a photon takes something like a million years to get from the core to the surface, being absorbed and reemitted in (nearly but not quite) random directions many times a second. Neutrinos are barely absorbed and zip right out.

    Thanks but that doesn’t answer the question.

    Comment by gusbob — 13 Mar 2008 @ 8:55 AM

  405. gusbob — okay, what was the question?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:30 AM

  406. “Greater expansion at the edges doesn’t necessarily mean more thickening at the centre.”

    I believe that is what I said also. Although if your argument is that it doesn’t mean a thickening the majority of the time, I would have to disagree.

    “and to re-gain thicker ice will take longer than a winter”

    I wasn’t trying to say that all the thick ice that was lost will be regained this winter. I’m sure that it won’t. I’m only saying that there is a good chance that some that thickness will be regained this winter.

    “But the message of a seasonally ice-free Arctic is that we cannot take comfort in the presence of a winter ice sheet.”

    I don’t believe that we are headed to a seasonally ice free arctic. We have had the NW passage open in the past. The fact that it opened last year is simply an event that has happened may times before, and is not a guarantee of a trend that will continue. I don’t think that we can make too much out of a 30 year record. And to say that it will continue because of AGW and the level of CO2 is to use a circular argument.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:45 PM

  407. Tilo Reber (406) states And to say that it will continue because of AGW and the level of CO2 is to use a circular argument.

    Not so. It is a direct statement of causality.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Mar 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  408. #406 Tilo Reber,

    You say:
    “And to say that it will continue because of AGW and the level of CO2 is to use a circular argument”

    That is incorrect.

    There are good physical reasons to expect CO2 increases to cause higher temperatures. And the water vapour amplification effect applies as much to solar/volcanic, and other factors impacting insolation, as it does to increased greenhouse gasses like CO2 affecting outgoing longwave.

    Quite possibly this year, very probably within ten years I think we will see a rapid switch to a seasonally ice-free Arctic. I also think that Lindsay and Zhang were probably correct when they proposed in 2005 that the tipping point had been passed around 1990, “The Thinning of Arctic Sea Ice, 1988–2003: Have We Passed a Tipping Point?” http://psc.apl.washington.edu/lindsay/pdf_files/tipping_point.pdf I don’t think last years loss was predictable, in theory any weather event since 1995ish could have caused that, but the further the thinning went the less notable a weather event it would have taken.

    The picture painted by National Ice Centre(NIC) and QuikScat does not look good. It doesn’t suggest significant thickening, but we’ll see within a few months if anything odd will happen this year. Take a look at these from the NIC, zone Hi West Arctic 2:
    2003, a typical year.
    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Hi_West/Hi_West_two/2003/hiw2030310color.jpg
    2007 same time last year:
    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Hi_West/Hi_West_two/2007/hiw2070305color.jpg
    and about now:
    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Hi_West/Hi_West_two/2008/hiw2080310color.pdf

    The “Egg Code” is explained here: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/egg_code/index.html
    And NIC’s Arctic site is here: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/IDAO/model.html
    Expert analysis of ice states including thickness categories.

    When was the Northwest Passage last open as it was last year?
    And what is your reference?
    I do hope you weren’t thinking of Amundsen 1906(2 winters stuck in ice), or that Chinese Navy Circum-navigation (traced to a dubious source). According to Overpeck et al “There is no paleoclimatic evidence for a seasonally ice free Arctic during the last 800 millennia.” http://marine.rutgers.edu/~francis/pres/OverpecketalEOS05.pdf

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 16 Mar 2008 @ 2:47 PM

  409. Another popular report of glacier shrinkage:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7299561.stm

    with largest losses in Europe.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Mar 2008 @ 4:00 PM

  410. Bad news for those predicting a rebound in Arctic ice pack:

    Thickest, oldest Arctic ice is melting: NASA data
    By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The thickest, oldest and toughest sea ice around the North Pole is melting, a bad sign for the future of the Arctic ice cap, NASA satellite data showed on Tuesday.

    “Thickness is an indicator of long-term health of sea ice, and that’s not looking good at the moment,” Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center told reporters in a telephone briefing.

    This adds to the litany of disturbing news about Arctic sea ice, which has been retreating over the last three decades, especially last year, when it ebbed to its lowest level.

    Scientists have said the trend is spurred by human-generated climate change.

    Melting Arctic ice does not raise sea levels as the melting of glaciers on Greenland or Antarctica could, but it does contribute to global warming when reflective white ice is replaced by dark water that absorbs the sun’s heat.

    Using satellites that measure how much ice covers water in the Arctic and Antarctic, Meier and other climate scientists found a steep drop in the amount of perennial ice — the hardy, thick ice that is over a year old — in the north.

    The oldest Arctic ice that has survived six years or more is the toughest, and even that shrank dramatically, Meier and the other scientists said.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 18 Mar 2008 @ 5:29 PM

  411. Similar to comment #410, but has a useful graphic showing loss of old ice:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7303385.stm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Mar 2008 @ 8:41 PM

  412. All the graphics from the NASA presentation are here.

    Comment by The Tuatara — 19 Mar 2008 @ 3:51 AM

  413. Thanks for the links. I really should have said, “Bad news for us all.”

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 19 Mar 2008 @ 9:53 AM

  414. On this page http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=36894 there’s a link to a pdf copy of the paper behind that article. Nghiem et al 2007 “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice” GRL, VOL. 34, L19504, doi:10.1029/2007GL031138, 2007.

    Check out figure 3.

    Well if we can’t avoid “interesting times” we can at least endeavour not to come to the attention of those in authority, and to not find that which we seek. ;)

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 19 Mar 2008 @ 2:20 PM

  415. Arctic Pollution Dates to 1800s

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/080319-arctic-haze.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Mar 2008 @ 5:47 PM

  416. Re the Nghiem et al “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice” paper, it only looks at the state of Arctic ice to March 2007. It doesn’t even include last summer’s melt!

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 Mar 2008 @ 8:33 PM

  417. Followup to 261:

    Antarctic shelf ‘hangs by thread’
    By Helen Briggs
    Science reporter, BBC News

    A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.

    Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.

    Six ice shelves in the same part of the continent have already been lost, says the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

    Professor David Vaughan of BAS said: “Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

    “I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly. The ice shelf is hanging by a thread – we’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.”

    A 41-by-2.5km (25-by-1.6 mile) berg appears to be breaking away, with much of the Wilkins Ice Shelf protected only by a thin strip of ice spanning two islands.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 25 Mar 2008 @ 2:14 PM

  418. Re:417 Part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf collapsed today.
    http://news.aol.com/story/_a/massive-ice-chunk-collapses-in/20080325150409990001

    Yeah the Antarctic is cold, but it’s starting to follow in step with the rest of the world as predicted,

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 25 Mar 2008 @ 7:00 PM

  419. Links to the NSIDC and BAS press releases here. Watch the BAS video. Superb (and sobering) images.

    Comment by The Tuatara — 26 Mar 2008 @ 2:24 AM

  420. Apparent sudden lead (ice fissure) appearance in High Arctic.

    IMHO probably just apparent, not real.

    From National Ice Centre:
    Hi Arctic West 2, 10-14/3/08: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Hi_West/Hi_West_two/2008/hiw2080310bw.pdf
    Hi Arctic West 2, 17-21/3/08: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Hi_West/Hi_West_two/2008/hiw2080317bw.pdf

    Between these 2 analyses about 9 leads suddenly appear. I had previously emailed NIC about the apparent changes and the reply (coincidentally from the same analyst) advises that whilst there is some deformation of the first year ice, the NIC are also providing more detail to document this year’s melt.

    QuikScat doesn’t have the resolution needed to confirm the presence of these leads that were not reported prior to 17/3/08. I’ve tried inverting the colours and playing with contrast, but even that doesn’t reveal such fine structure. It’s possible that someone with polar orbiting satellite IR images may be able to say more, as the images from Environment Canada do show such detail.
    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satellite/index_e.html
    But I think I’ve noticed such leads on earlier Env-Canada source Polar IR images. So I am assuming that the appearance of these leads is due to increased reporting detail from the NIC.

    If anyone can show that these leads have appeared suddenly, feel free to shake me from my complacency. :)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 28 Mar 2008 @ 7:55 AM

  421. Re #398: Hear hear Nick. I think it’s fair to say we can actually ‘see’ inside the Sun, for one, widely accepted as reasonable, notion of ‘seeing’:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helioseismology

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Mar 2008 @ 4:19 AM

  422. Is this the beginning of the beginning? While the Bering Sea is only showing the slightest sign of the warm water thrust that seemed to presage last years melt
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/ani-weekly.html
    the SST warming south and west of Greenland nudging towards Baffin / Newfoundland Bay seems to have led to the loss of 250,000sqkm of ice extent quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.4.html

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 30 Mar 2008 @ 6:03 PM

  423. Re #422
    The present rate of decrease appears to be faster than last year, with the substantial reduction in perennial ice over the winter, this summer could be interesting.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 31 Mar 2008 @ 11:00 PM

  424. #422 Nigel, Ya the melt started sometimes last week, the really big unknown story
    is Arctic clear air, still prevailing later than usual. Is this because of the new ice which allowed the bromides to escape steadily instead of a sudden burst? Time will confirm shortly,
    meantime, UK extreme sport fans should be proud of Hannah (no longer there) and Ben Saunders, as he gives a direct view of the big blue Arctic Ocean sky, a direct account is always helpful in understanding remote sensing. Thanks and Good luck Ben!
    http://north.bensaunders.com/journal/entry/windchill-31-03-2008-18-30-39/

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 1 Apr 2008 @ 12:56 AM

  425. From the original commentary above:

    “Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    Now we have:
    “A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.”

    So… which is it? The models can’t predict both a cold Antarctica and a warm Antarctica at the same time, unless they are worthless. Is this contradiction that hard to see?

    Comment by Bill — 1 Apr 2008 @ 12:19 PM

  426. #425 Bill,

    The models don’t predict substantial warming in the continent of Antarctica at this stage, but the Antarctic Peninsular is not continental, its a peninsular, which by definition sticks out into a body of water (the Southern Ocean). And the models show warming of the sea.

    i.e. there is no contradiction, the models are not worthless.

    #422 – 424. Nigel/Phil/Wayne.

    From area/extent alone I see nothing remarkable at present. From Cryosphere Today:
    Okhotsk – down.
    Bering – up.
    Baffin/Newfoundland – down (small jump up recently).
    Greenland – level.
    Barents – up (small drop down recently).
    And in the key area for the Summer minima, the Arctic Basin – no change as yet (which I maintain is to be expected).

    Could you point to specifics if you see anything unusual in extent/area?

    NASA are starting an intensive study of pollution haze in the Arctic spring: http://www.nasa-usa.de/home/hqnews/2008/apr/HQ_08091_ARCTAS.html
    Watch the NASA press release page because in the March media teleconference they said more detail about ice-thickness would follow in early April.

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 2 Apr 2008 @ 6:02 AM

  427. Bill, There is no contradiction. Try reading the article. It clearly states that the issue is in how the ocean responds to the increased energy input. Over time, the entire Earth, including Antarctica, will warm. That’s what the models predict. Over time, you will have fluctuations–that’s weather. But the trends are clear.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Apr 2008 @ 7:51 AM

  428. Bill writes:

    [[So… which is it? The models can’t predict both a cold Antarctica and a warm Antarctica at the same time, unless they are worthless. Is this contradiction that hard to see?]]

    Your contradiction depends on a fallacy of equivocation. The evidence is that Antarctica is slowly warming. That’s not the same as saying it’s warm.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Apr 2008 @ 8:51 AM

  429. Bill (425) — The ‘chunk of ice’ is on the Antarctic Peninsula, much further north than the mainland. The cold portion of Antarctica, and staying that way, is the interior of the mainland.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Apr 2008 @ 12:23 PM

  430. Re Bill’s question in 425:

    It’s not a contradiction to observe that Antarctica is cold but warming. Apparently the system is so sensitive to temperature changes that even a little warming can cause the WAIS to disintegrate.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 2 Apr 2008 @ 12:50 PM

  431. What everyone doesn’t seem to realise is that we stop burning oil, and the worlds ecconomy goes down the pan. If the worlds ecconomy goes down the pan, then all you climate scientists will be out of a job, because there will be nothing to fund you, and your job, and mine, will be survival farming. There are loads of real problems for you to solve. The most pressing is how do we stop the worlds population growing and growing – 10 bilion very soon? Now if we could get the Pope to say, ‘Ok condoms aren’t such a bad idea’ then thered be a lot less demand on the worlds rescources and you’d get your drop off in CO2. The you can all concentrate on global cooling, and do your science on that. Lets get down to around just 1 billion on the world over the next 50 years or so, because if we don’t, nature usually finds a way doesn’t it chaps?

    Comment by pete — 2 Apr 2008 @ 2:33 PM

  432. Oh yes, and despite what ou may think that we will stop burning oil because its ‘dangerous’ tothe environment. We won’t. Was talking to some people on the oil industry last October. There are more and more drill sites being drilled, esp in Russia at the moment. We are an oil based ecconmony, get over it. Until the Energy return over investment drops to 1, we will continue to do our utmost to squeeze every last drop of it from the planet. And when thats done, we will then dig up every last nugget of Uranium out as well, until the EROI on that drops to 1 as well. All you climate fear artists forget one thing. Politicians are business for 5-10 years only. They tell people what the want to hear to get u the ladder. Then when they finally learn the truth, they can’t back track for fear of looking thick. Sorry 2 things actually, I was forgetting pschology. Dont we just LOVE politicians lying to us, it makes us FEEL GGOD..

    Comment by pete — 2 Apr 2008 @ 2:44 PM

  433. #425 Warm and cold in the contexts you have supplied are somewhat relative and in Antarctica, you also have to be careful about where you mean. I think this article (and especially the figure) give a very good picture of what is currently going on down there.
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n2/full/ngeo102.html

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 2 Apr 2008 @ 6:28 PM

  434. #431/432 Pete,

    “climate fear artists”

    I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I for one agree in general that we’ll continue our fossil fuel dependency until either we run out, or the consequences of climate change hit us so hard that they act as a limiting factor.
    Of course we might crack fusion, in which case we should be able to mature and leave the nest properly. But lets leave that aside until it’s at least able to produce more power than it consumes for prolonged periods in a lab test.

    At a tangent:
    If all life is going to be carbon based (due to the chemical nature of carbon this seems very likely). Then intelligent (as in technologically advanced) life evolves after a long period of deposition of organic carbon in fossil form. So all intelligent life has access to large reserves of fossil fuels, and upon reaching technological maturity proceeds to use these fuels. Then the CO2 emissions caused create substantial and rapid climate change thus impeding further technological development, until the fossil fuels run out. At that point the technologically advanced lifeforms revert to a lower level of technology having no easy cheap energy source.

    Thus the Fermi Paradox is answered… ;)

    Comment by Cobblyworlds — 3 Apr 2008 @ 6:01 AM

  435. pete writes:

    [[What everyone doesn’t seem to realise is that we stop burning oil, and the worlds ecconomy goes down the pan.]]

    Nobody is proposing we suddenly stop using oil. We’re just proposing replacing oil (and coal, and natural gas) with other energy sources as fast as possible, and trying to make our economies a little more energy-efficient.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Apr 2008 @ 7:28 AM

  436. Pete, You speak as if petroleum were the only energy source we could exploit. It is not. You speak as if the current configuration of the economy were they only configuration that could be thriving. This too is false. You presume that a decrease in population will solve all of our problems. It would not. Google “deflation” and read up on the threats of a decreasing population to the economy. All in all, you are pretty seriously misinformed. An economy based on alternative energy sources is not only possible, it could be more prosperous than our current economy. Yes, there are technical issues that must be overcome. However, I have never known of a concerted effort to overcome technical obstacles that has not also born fruit in unanticipated areas. This is a site that concerns itself with science. Science does not tell us what we want to hear, but rather what we need to hear–the truth. And the truth is that climate change is probably the greatest threat to human civilization we will confront in the next century. The way to predict the future is to create the future. The challenge for us now is to create a future that is sustainable–in terms of the evnironment, the economy and the social system. If we fail in that, we won’t have a future worth speaking of.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Apr 2008 @ 8:18 AM

  437. “Could you point to specifics if you see anything unusual in extent/area?”

    Nothing in particular yet, however the Quikscat movie shows so much flow of perennial ice out of the Fram strait and the breakup of the perennial ice in the Beaufort sea this winter leads me to think that a new record low is quite possible.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Apr 2008 @ 6:56 PM

  438. #420 Re my post.

    I was wrong, those leads were real.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 12 Apr 2008 @ 2:39 AM

  439. There is an interesting fissure on the Arctic coast of the Canadian Archipelago. Given it’s location and the time it could be an area to watch for this summer.

    From QuikScat(1) day 95 there’s an opening along the edge of the ice pack off Banks Island. By day 101 it’s between Prince Patrick Island and McKenzie King Island. It’s been visible on Environment Canada’s IR composite(2) for longer than that, but QSkat seems to show when things are substantial. Viewing a slideshow indicates it’s growing and spreading off the coast of Ellesmere island.

    1) http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/qscat_ice.pl Arctic
    2) http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satellite/index_e.html HRPT (NOAA polar orbiting), Canadian Arctic Composite, 10.7um IR.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 13 Apr 2008 @ 2:03 AM

  440. Re #439
    Yes I’ve been watching that area with interest, all the fragmentation and leads could make for interesting developments. NSIDC has started a page on Arctic sea ice analysis (see below), in particular the graph of perennial ice freeboard is very
    interesting.

    http://www.nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 13 Apr 2008 @ 2:17 PM

  441. This article in the Chronicle Herald describes more ice shelf woes:

    WARD HUNT ISLAND, Nunavut — New cracks in the largest remaining Arctic ice shelf suggest another polar landmark seems destined to break up and disappear.

    Scientists discovered the extensive new cracks in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf earlier this year and a patrol of Canadian Rangers got an up-close look at them last week.

    “The map of Canada has changed,” said Derek Mueller of Trent University, who was amazed to find how quickly the shelf has deteriorated since he discovered the first crack in 2002.

    Comment by The Tuatara — 13 Apr 2008 @ 7:05 PM

  442. #439-#440 Cobbly and Phil

    These big Canadian archipelago leads usually occurred in May, one month ahead of time, they will be bigger with the coming full moon. Temperatures UP Here have been extremely warm, Yellowknife was +11 C about 17 degrees above average. A vaster area of snow melt has just happened as well especially in Western Canada. High Arctic likewise, from unrelenting sunshine
    unprecedented in my memory, have warmed the Arctic surface dramatically, since after all ,
    the Canadian Arctic was the coldest spot in the world, a mere month ago, the changeover has been dramatic. The pattern is clear, literally and figuratively;
    Great Arctic Ocean ice melt of 2007 (few clouds), a rapid refreeze of the Arctic Ocean during the long night of 07-08 (few clouds), and a very warm spring (yes, again from fewer clouds). The dye is set it seems, a great re-melt has started.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 11:30 PM

  443. Wayne, thanks for the feedback, why do you expect bigger leads with the full moon, tidal effects?

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Apr 2008 @ 9:00 AM

  444. #443- Phil, correct, Tidal effects although apparently small, have had huge impacts during the full or new moon. Documented especially by Arctic Ocean ice dwellers, and by those who made it a habit to watch Polar orbiting HRPT’s for years. On the ice, those extreme sport adventurers, those ascending the Arctic Everest, the North Pole, know it well, its when there are huge compression leads formed, or , sudden forming ridge deformations appear from nowhere, for no other reasons than its the full or new moon.

    At about the next full moon watch for yourself, find the tidal wave which creates new leads in this animation sequence, tell me about it when you see it…

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satellite/animateweb_e.html?imagetype=satellite&imagen

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 14 Apr 2008 @ 9:53 AM

  445. Re #444

    Thanks Wayne, I wasn’t sure what the magnitude of tides would be up there.
    I couldn’t get anything from your link, I’d be watching around the full moon.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:30 PM

  446. The periodic opening and closing of leads can be seen across the basin, I’ve noticed it from slideshows of the last few years from QuickScat(QS).

    However I’ve not seen anything as extensive as what is happening now.

    See QS and it’s apparent that there’s a fissure between the remaining ice pack and the Canadian Archipelago.
    Day 104 (today)
    http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/ice_image21/D08104.NHEIMSK.GIF
    Yet for example day 204 2007, not the same length of fissure:
    http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/ice_image21/2007/D07204.NHEIMSK.GIF
    (There are already increasing areas of ice free water in the Archipelago as seen from QS)

    The fissure is better seen on the Env Canada NOAA images, but I lack an archive of those so can’t check back. (As the 3 people I’ve emailed aren’t overly concerned about it, I’ll post fully what I’ve been seeing). This fissure (lead) runs from Banks Island right the way to the North of Greenland where heavily broken ice is being rafted into the Fram Strait. This can be best be seen from the NOAA images from Environment Canada, although as they’re patchy you may have to keep checking.
    10.7um
    : http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg
    Visible: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_nir_100.jpg
    3um: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_03_100.jpg
    I have been keeping images and will try to post a link to 2 excellent overviews shortly (only just got fully back on the ‘net yesterday).

    This fissure opened up last week too early to appear on the National Ice Service analyses. It initially followed the boundary of zones D and X (thick sea and landfast ice respectively) on this analysis: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/West_Arctic/Canadian_Arctic_West/2008/canw080407color.pdf

    Areas B and C, to the left of the D/X boundary show the very start of it’s opening.

    I’d been hoping it would prove to be transitory, but it’s sticking around for much longer than I like given the regional warming described by Wayne and the onset of spring. The Transpolar drift should pin the ice to the North of Greenland/Baffin area of the Archipelago. But I have visions now of the entire mass collapsing into the Arctic Ocean come the summer.

    Last year the “kick” ahead of schedule occurred in June, look what that caused. Now we seem to be seeing it ahead of the normal melt season on top of the damage caused last year. I know that NSIDC caution that a similar event to 2007 seemed on the cards in 2006 due to weather – but didn’t happen. However in the face of the current state of the ice-cap that doesn’t reassure me.

    Comment by CobblyWorlds — 15 Apr 2008 @ 2:34 AM

  447. Cobbly and Phil, check my website, top news article, and get a treat, and see what a lunar under the ice tidal wave
    looks like….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 2:52 PM

  448. The Quikscat images continue to strengthen my feeling that there will be a further reduction in arctic sea ice this summer. The fragmentation in the Beaufort sea appears to be proceeding apace with the fragmented perennial ice moving rapidly in the gyre. Also attenuation of perennial ice to the north of Greenland via the Fram Strait appears to be continuing.
    I’ve attached today’s (day 119) image and day 90 to show what’s happened over the last month, and an image from last year, day 100 for comparison.

    http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/ice_image21/D08119.NHEAVEH.GIF
    http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/ice_image21/D08090.NHEAVEH.GIF
    http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/ice_image21/2007/D07100.NHEAVEH.GIF

    It’s quite easy to see a possible absence of sea ice by next summer!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Apr 2008 @ 12:10 PM

  449. From http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2008/12/agu_2008_evidence_that_antarct.html

    New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years. The study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle and soon to be published in Nature, calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century.

    ??

    [Response: That paper is in press, and I'm not allowed to comment on it per agreement with Nature until it is published. The claim that our result "calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century" is wrong though. Wait until the paper is published and I'll say more.--eric]

    Comment by Mark Smith — 28 Dec 2008 @ 8:47 AM

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