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  1. To me it looks like that the thaw in summer is rapid and obviously more extensive than earlier years with satellite observations.

    But the freezing in late autumn and winter is also very rapid. The temperatures are not that high – this year the temperature went over 0C later than any other year in the last 50 years.

    Can it be that the black carbon soot from millions of cooking fires in India, coal power stations in China, thousands of forest fires in Indonesia and so on.

    With other words: The thaw is rapid when the black soot shows up and increasingly so in the summer. When the sea ice becomes covered by snow its is not a dominant driver for the melting of sea ice. Therefore the rapid re-freezing of the sea-ice in the late autumn and winter.

    Comment by Knut Witberg — 17 Jul 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  2. Nice post. Readers might also want to take a look at NSIDC’s Sea Ice News and Analysis site (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/). Here you will find the blow-by-blow account of the changing sea ice cover. We have daily updated maps and time series of ice extent, and discussion pieces on a monthly basis for much of the year, transitioning to bi-weekly and weekly pieces as we approach the seasonal minimum in September. Lots of good high res. figures as
    well. Taking a look at the updated graph, you’ll see that as of yesterday, we were well below climatology, and a bit above 2007.

    Comment by Mark C. Serreze — 17 Jul 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  3. My memory of 2007′s record is that it had been augmented by unexpected wind patterns. Has the change become a fixture of the Arctic or have winds reverted to more traditional patterns?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  4. #2 Mark, Excellent report from NSIDC, fascinating that the pressure situation was similar to 2007 yet the melt not as strong. They left out the present dominant clouds cover, which is the main difference with 07. Their final estimate is likely, 07 record will likely not be broken, but I add 08, having similar cloudy conditions at this time, but not the synergistic High pressure exacerbating the Arctic Ocean gyre current stronger towards the Atlantic, therefore 09 will exceed 08 shaving close to 2007 minima. I make another prediction, if El-Nino persists grows and vanishes mid spring 2010, sailing will be possible from Bering strait to Spitzbergen via the Pole come September 2010.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  5. “But the freezing in late autumn and winter is also very rapid.”

    Yes, because the freezing depends on how long the sun goes away for. And that depends on orbital mechanics, not CO2.

    After all, if there’s no sun for 4 months, it will get freezing toward the end. Even if CO2 adds 10C to the temperatures. After all your coffee gets cold in the best thermos ever built by man in less than 4 months.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  6. PS so we have vey much the same maximum extent of ice in winter. But summer has heat coming in, which CO2 can retain a little better. So we have a much smaller summer extent.

    Going from a smaller summer extent to the same winter extent rather does require quicker growth, doesn’t it? After all, if the summer ice hadn’t melted, the extra winter ice being laid down would no longer appear as new ice and so would not contribute to growth of ice extent.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  7. Also:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Comment by wmanny — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  8. The link to the Nghiem study appears to be broken

    [Response: Fixed. Thanks - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  9. I think the main reason for the Arctic sea ice obsession is that it is considered as the first sign of irreducible climate change. Besides, it can be relatively soon, that the Arctic sea has no ice in summer, which is surely unpredicted in the beginning of this millenium.

    No one seems really know, what it means that there is no ice cover on the Arctic during summer. There was a study, that less sea ice increases the temperature a centigrade or two up to 1500 km from the ocean and speculations that sea currents and wind patterns change have arised. Maybe you could write a post on the topic here in RealClimate?

    Comment by Petro — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  10. Purely as a spectator, while last year’s June projections looked quite good, the May ones were way off – predicting a more dramatic loss. In the end, the melt matched the median of the June predictions. But this followed a much more rapid melt during mid-August to early-September than had occurred in the previous few years – was it luck or skill!?

    Comment by Steve Milesworthy — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  11. Normal statistics isn’t the best way to predict extreme values and thirty years is a relatively short time to be making accurate climate predictions. Extreme value statistics should be based on lots of data over longer time periods. Said that I’m still game to join many others in making predictions using normal statistics. I’ve found very strong correlations between Scripps carbon dioxide data, sea ice extent, and Arctic SST. Besides the annual cycles, the data show cycles common to all three with wave lengths around 9 and 308 years. I welcome all to view my analysis at http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf. I’ve found that the Scripps data is probably our best measure of climate change and is a strong function of both sea ice extent and and Arctic SST. The Mauna Loa and South Pole daily flask data go back to 1960 and 1957 respectively. This week I have critically analysed the raw data and developed statistical fits that produce better than three 9s for R square. The most significant parameter is a 322.5 year sine wave. This wave has a minimum of 312 around 1940 and a maximum of 500 around 2100. None of us are likely to stick around to see it but we can watch the trend. The rate of accumulation is starting to decrease rather than increase exponentially with anthropogenic increasing emissions.I strongly believe that decreasing those emissions by any amount will have no measurable effect on that trend.

    Comment by Fred H. Haynie — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  12. According to the IPCC AR4 chart it looks like the ensemble mean going below 5.0 wasn’t predicted until around 2050.

    This seems to be another case of “it’s worse than we thought.” I’m just wondering if “it’s worse than we thought” is stochastic random variations, or there’s some upward trend here.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  13. Petro 17 Jul 2009 at 11:14 am

    “No one seems really know, what it means that there is no ice cover on the Arctic during summer.”

    That does seem like a great topic for modeling with a specific objective in mind, particularly if it could done repeatedly over a continuum of ice cover.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  14. Thoughts from a layman.

    Arctic sea ice is an obsession for me for a couple of reasons.

    It is so huge that its own mass and latent heat would seem to act as a buffer against high variability. That is, changes in it year over year would reflect a summation of forces acting upon it, and so, random fluctuations tend to cancel each other out more so than temperature readings at any specific locale, or most other measurements. (Nevertheless, it still shows a lot of variance.) It’s also easier to measure than the mass of the major ice sheets (well, extent more so than thickness) and I believe it has more interaction with the rest of the world because it is in contact with the ocean currents. It probably has more variability than biological changes, like changes in the distribution of species or migratory timings, but it is harder to point an instrument at those and get a reading.

    The feedback mechanism of melting ice is rather large as well. So, I tend to see changes in it as an indicator of whether the IPCC predictions are more or less below or above the mark for the rate of change, as well as the rate of change of the rate of change. I presume nonlinear effects because of feedback mechanisms, and also because the records of the ice cores makes it look like the climate system has at least 2 modes of relative stability and the transition from one to the other can be rapid. I wonder if the increase in CO2 will drive us into a mode we haven’t seen before, or have good records of, or if it will simply drive us a bit higher in the current mode.

    Comment by Chris G — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:24 PM

  15. Lots more on the complex mix of factors determining trends in sea ice — and the many efforts to untangle them:
    http://bit.ly/dotArc09
    http://bit.ly/dotArc08

    Comment by Andy Revkin — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:28 PM

  16. The threat to the Arctic is known for quite some time. C.E.P. Brooks regarded it “of great significance in human affairs” in 1938 (Met.Magazine, p.29-32. When Al Gore’s paid the North Pole a visit by submarine before becoming Vice President of the U.S.A he observed: “We were crashing through that ice, surfacing, and I was standing in an eerily beautiful snowscape, windswept, and sparkling white, with the horizon defined by little hummocks, or ‘pressure ridges’ of ice that are pushed up like tiny mountains ranges when separate sheets collide. But here too, CO2 levels are rising just as rapidly, …As the polar air warms, the ice here will thin; and since the polar cap plays such a crucial role in the world’s weather system, the consequences of a thinning cap could be disastrous” (Al Gore, ‘The Earth in Balance’, 1992. However, a brisk Arctic warming started in the late 1910, and it is still unknown why and how it commenced.

    Comment by Aber — 17 Jul 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  17. Looking at the NSIDC ice extend and area charts…both 2008 and now 2009, have, month by month, been above the 2007 meltdown. In actually retrieving ALL of the data points from the NSIDC files available on-line, GLOBAL sea ice has an absolutely flat trend-line over the 30 years of satellite data. So although the Arctic has a negative slope trend for this period, the Antarctic has an equal and opposite offset. The fact that there was little “multi-year ice” in 2008 and 2009, I think it is pretty amazing that the Arctic faired well last summer and now.

    One other issue is the fact that the NSIDC always compares to the 1979-2000 average. Calculating the mean by using only the first 20 years out of 30 years of data basically throws out 30% of the mean calculation.

    The other issue is the trendline numbers and slope posted under the NSIDC monthly ice area and extent charts. Their tren numbers are not “per decade” as noted on the chart. It seems to be the trend from month to month, not per decade (that is, each month the numbers change quite a bit such as -3.4, -1.1, then the next month it is -2.2 …which is impossible if the trend line is a plot over the three decades. This just doesn’t show up to match what they are saying about the trend when you plot it, as I did, using a simple EXCEL chart plot and auto-generated trendline graph.

    A final comment about the monthly plots. The Antarctic plots they show of monthly ice averages have changed radically since December 2008. In overlaying the latest charts of the last 30 years of data points from month to month, the NSIDC charts are never the same as if there is some sort of glitch in the plotting equation. Some month plots over the past 6 months had totally opposite data points when compared with the database. I have complained about this to the NSIDC at least on three occassions and FINALLY, this month, it looks closer to what I get when I plot the entire data set (making up for a number of totally missing” months of data from Dec 1987 and Jan 1988). At best, this is a bit sloppy in their record-keeping.

    Believe half of what you see from the NSIDC ice charts and the faulty satellite sensors which disagree with the Arctic ROOS Data.

    Comment by MJ Strong — 17 Jul 2009 @ 1:11 PM

  18. Is anyone aware of documentation of Arctic wind anomalies similar to 2007 (Polar Express) in years prior to the current decade?

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 17 Jul 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  19. Thanks Gavin and also Mark Serreze. A couple of questions:

    1) What is the current/recent state of the NAO (per the discussion of its possible influence, via wind, in the early 90s)?
    2) Is it related in a known way to the pressure gradient two years ago that drove the southerly air flow and strong melt?
    3) Are either of these in turn related in a known way to the PDO or ENSO?
    Thank you.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Jul 2009 @ 1:38 PM

  20. Thanks for a fascinating post! Why is it that watching the ice melt is so much more interesting than watching paint dry, even though it’s far slower?

    Let me renew my offer to share an Excel sheet I did up on the IJIS sea ice extent data. It’s a convenience for anyone who wants to follow that data in near real-time without the hassle of formatting from scratch. Just click on my name in the message header to reach my website. (If that doesn’t work, it’s ispeakmusic.com.)

    Remember, though, it’s not guaranteed to help if you enter any of those betting pools.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Jul 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  21. Also–and I’m only putting this OT link on this post because I’m not seeing any “recent comments” in the sidebars–here’s a technology for solar electrical generation that I’ve not seen before:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709205950.htm

    It’s interesting that “commercial-scale” deployment is expected next year, but it would be nice to have some actual numbers, both in technological and economic domains.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Jul 2009 @ 2:45 PM

  22. Re#4 the NSIDC map seems to show considerably less ice loss than the UIUC and Bremen Univ. maps. Therefore their ice loss graph seems to be an underestimate. Has anybody else noticed this?

    Comment by dave p — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  23. Believe half of what you see from the NSIDC ice charts and the faulty satellite sensors which disagree with the Arctic ROOS Data.

    Interestingly, a few months ago the WUWTer favorite chart was from IJIS, which uses the AMSRE sensor from another satellite. Then, when NSIDC recalibrated to the sensor on NOAA-17 (IIRC) and started agreeing closely with the IJIS results (as their numbers do now), suddenly IJIS fell out of favor with that bunch, and here they are spewing that now Arctic ROOS is the accurate source. Why? Because at the moment they’re showing higher ice extent figures than IJIS and NSIDC.

    Gee, guys, cherry-pick much?

    Comment by dhogaza — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  24. Unless there’s a rapid change in the rate of melting, I predict that the WUWTers will become silent regarding Arctic Roos by July 31

    Comment by dhogaza — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  25. Knut Witberg in comment #1 suggests black carbon. That was my thought while reading this thread. Is there any “black carbon index” available?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:10 PM

  26. I would like to join Petro (#9) and Doug B (#13) in pleading for models, opinions, speculations, WAGs… on what may be the short- and long-term effects of an ice-free late summer Arctic Ocean on northern hemispheric and global climate.

    I imagine direct some direct effects may happen sooner (or are already happening with an increasingly if not completely ice free Arctic?), while indirect effects–from consequent changes in ocean currents…–may take longer.

    Also, is the focus on ice cover a bit misplaced? I know it plays a role in albedo feedback, but isn’t total ice mass the most important stat to be following? As others have noted here and elsewhere, ice mass and average ice thickness loss has continues, even though ’08 was not as dramatic a year as ’07 for reduction in total sea ice extent.

    With almost no 5+meter-thick ice left, what is the probability that this year could see the total dissolution of Arctic sea ice?

    Comment by wili — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  27. From the last sentences of Gavin’s post:”Arctic ice cover is not just a number, but rather a metric of a profound and disruptive change in an important ecosystem and element of the climate. While it doesn’t look at all likely, the best outcome would be for all the estimates to be too low.”

    Though the low outcome would be desirable from this point of view,(as well as more favorable albedo numbers)estimates that are on target would seem to answer and/or correct for the questions posed in the first paragraph regarding predictability,pre-conditioning,data reliability,or possibly overlooking of some physics principle.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:34 PM

  28. NSIDC is a great resource, especially the perspective of 1979-2000 average. Here’s the URL for the actual graph:
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    JAXA shows all recent years, and so is useful too.
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    The latter shows 2009 just edging below 2008. (My prediction, made in haste at Stoat, was “closer to 2008 than 2007 or 2005″. Let’s call that 4.7 +- 0.2 M km2).

    I notice that the blogosphere was atwitter over spring Arctic sea ice anomalies. But the Jaxa graph shows that the June anomaly, say, is not indicative of sea ice minimum trend, as measured in Spetember. So it seems to me that trends in June sea ice extent are not particularly relevant. Maybe Mark S can give us the comparative trends by month.

    If you’ll permit a slightly OT segue, we have Lord Monckton:
    “There was almost certainly less Arctic sea-ice in the early 1940s than there is now, and there may have been none in Summer in the middle ages.”

    Meanwhile, we have Friends of Science advisor Tim Ball claiming:
    “The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports a
    continuation of the [Arctic] sea ice recovery.” (as of July, 2008).

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Sea%20Ice.pdf

    Lots of other presumably unintentional hilarity in this document, too.

    Now comes news FoS is co-sponsoring a Canadian speaking tour by Monckton this September, with apparent funding through the Science Education Fund at the Calgary Foundation (the same fund that supported Friends of Science until the University of Calgary pulled the plug).

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/07/16/friends-of-science-theyre-back/

    Comment by Deep Climate — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  29. Re: #17 (MJ Strong)

    In actually retrieving ALL of the data points from the NSIDC files available on-line, GLOBAL sea ice has an absolutely flat trend-line over the 30 years of satellite data

    This is so wrong it’s hard to imagine how anyone could make such a claim with a straight face. GLOBAL sea ice shows a distinct, strong, and statistically significant declining trend over the 30 years of satellite data.

    False claims about “trends” are becoming more shrill and more ludicrous; there are so many that constantly correcting them is becoming quite tiresome. Perhaps that’s the intent.

    But there is a commonality to them: the vast majority of ludicrous claims about trends come from those who deny the reality, human origin, and danger of global warming. Imagine that.

    Comment by tamino — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  30. Hmmmm. Being the guy who always reminds you to focus a little more on the possibility and consequences of a shut down of the North Altlantic Thermo-Haline, deep-ocean return circulation mechanism; I wonder if less sea-ice in the Arctic might not let the Gulf Stream penetrate into – and thus spend itself – the Arctic Ocean.
    I would like to see Real Climate, or anyone, do a study of Deep Arctic Ocean, cold, dense, desalinated current circulation paterns; or, at least, some more info about the state of the aforementioned ‘drain’ down which the Gulf Stream currently ‘flushes’, with regards to the effects that decreasing salinity of this return flow (due to Greenlands Ice melting) has been having upon it; as the news was not good in the 1990′s.

    Comment by James Staples — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:12 PM

  31. Re #17, 1:11 PM: MJ, a couple of quick responses.

    The 1979-2000 average is not a running mean, but a baseline. It’s supposed to act as a stable benchmark. All the climate datasets are set up this way (though not necessarily with those particular years.)

    The monthly numbers “per decade” are, as you say, for the particular month only. However, you can have “a decade’s worth of Junes” (or Mays, or whichever month.) Breaking the numbers down this way makes it evident that the trend toward lower extents is greater at some times of year than others. (The minima are trending down much faster than the maxima, for instance.) NSIDC also provides annual trends stated “per decade,” so you can look at decadal trends for any month, or annually. You just need to be attentive which is which.

    As to the question of data points changing, I’m afraid you aren’t very clear exactly what is wrong–I can’t really tell what you mean by “totally opposite data points,” for example. But there are a couple of things to bear in mind. One is that data correction–quality control–continues for up to a year after the initial posting. Again, you’ll see this a lot in different datasets–for example, IJIS often adjusts their sea ice extent numbers after just a few hours. (That was the case today, actually.) Another thing that can affect the graph, at least, is the application of smoothing algorithms–such as moving averages–to the plot. It can appear to change the plot line “after the fact,” though it doesn’t change the actual data.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  32. I do not think you guys are missing key physics. I just think weather patterns and climate variability coupled with flucuating emissions have a lot to do with it, but the physics and chemistry is well established. I do think you guys hit high quality approximations and this is all one can expect from such a complex system. You will get closer and narrow the “spread.”

    Comment by jcbmack — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:32 PM

  33. Oh and trends serve well, but even trends have great limitations on such short term and sudden changes.

    Comment by jcbmack — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  34. It has occurred to me that as the extent and thickness of arctic sea ice declines, it becomes far easier for ice to drift southward through straits to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

    In other words, when sea ice is bound tighter to northern land masses, it might tend to remain stuck, even under the influence of northerly winds. Conversely, when ice is broken up and flowing more freely, it will drift more easily out of the Arcic when winds are conducive.

    Does this make sense to any experts ?
    If so,is it factored into any models ?

    Comment by Mike Hilson — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  35. Re: #19:

    You can probably answer #1 for your self with the data found here:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/jhurrell/indices.html

    Regarding #3, it’s been argued, see for example,
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0442(2000)013%3C2671:TAORTT%3E2.0.CO%3B2
    that the NAO is the dominant recurring mode across the Arctic. Dominant is not exclusive so it’s probably safe to assume that there may be some relationship with the PDO and ENSO but I’ll leave that to others.

    Comment by Bill Sneed — 17 Jul 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  36. Million sq. km global sea ice area (from year long average)

    18.07 (start in 1979)
    17.60
    17.57
    18.11
    17.79
    17.52
    18.10
    17.39
    18.21
    18.96
    18.45
    18.16
    18.24
    18.46
    18.25
    18.86
    18.14
    18.45
    18.11
    18.27
    18.36
    18.29
    18.13
    17.70
    18.18
    18.25
    17.60
    17.30
    17.56
    17.97

    Average is 18.06

    Comment by MJ Strong — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  37. Your links to the SEARCH group, the betting pools and Arctic Ice Forecasting Centre all work, but none of them have been updated since last year. Has interest, like the ice, evaporated a bit?

    The two sites I regularly visit, Cryosphere Today and NSIDC show the ice melt, after a slow start in April and early May, then tracking down quite nicely, in fact at one point melting to the same extent as in 2007 at the beginning of June. However a subsequent “slow” June makes if very unlikely that the ice will melt to near the 2007 extent, but it is still quite possible for the melt to exceed last year’s, it’s a bit of a race. I believe that temperatures in north-east Canada have been rather colder than normal, so this suggests that despite a low total ice amount, there will be more melt on the Russian Arctic seas than in the Canadian Archipelago, and the fabled North West Passage might not yet become fully navigable,

    So if I was a betting man, I’d go for the three predictions of Kauker, Petrovsky and Stroeve at 4.6 million sq kms. mainly because there’s so much thin first year ice that will melt in the next eight weeks, despite the lessening amounts of sunshine.

    It’s a fascinating area of study because if one could fully understand the physics of ice melt, albedo, atmospheric circulation etc in the Arctic, it must mean a much greater understanding of climate change science generally. It is also possible with the pace of change we’re seeing that the results of models can be demonstrated much more quickly. The fact that the IPCC models got things so wrong in the Arctic is a worry, because that’s what we’re basing our still very inadequate political and economic response to AGW on.

    Comment by John Monro — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:11 PM

  38. Re #17, MJ Strong, about global sea ice trend:

    Where did you get your information?

    Would you please point to your source?

    I don’t recognize you as a regular poster; if you’re new to this issue, remember to search the same keywords three ways and observe the difference in what you find, e.g.

    Google:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=global+sea+ice+area+trend

    Google Images:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=global%20sea%20ice%20area%20trend

    Google Scholar:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&scoring=r&q=global+sea+ice+area+trend&as_ylo=2009

    (I’m guessing your source is going to show up in one, two, or all three of those search results. That doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong, good or bad, honest or not, it just means Google found it.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:11 PM

  39. Melting ice at a faster rate is not good, but the correlation between AGW and less ice is as of yet to be determined. We need more research.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:17 PM

  40. > Antarctic growing

    Someone knowledgeable can comment about this, I can’t beyond noting the prediction, based on the prediction of increased snowfall over the Southern Ocean as the climate changes:

    “… The observed increase in Antarctic sea ice cover is counter to the observed decreases in the Arctic. It is also qualitatively consistent with the counterintuitive prediction of a global atmospheric-ocean model of increasing sea ice around Antarctica with climate warming due to the stabilizing effects of increased snowfall on the Southern Ocean.”

    Published 16 May 2002.
    Zwally, H. J., J. C. Comiso, C. L. Parkinson, D. J. Cavalieri, and P. Gloersen (2002), Variability of Antarctic sea ice 1979–1998, J. Geophys. Res., 107(C5), 3041, doi:10.1029/2000JC000733.

    Google Scholar says 100 papers have subsequently cited the above; here they are:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=2438491923589866582&hl=en

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  41. And ‘Related Articles found:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=related:VqQ7HXxD1yEJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:26 PM

  42. If folks are still wondering what all the fuss is about RE Arctic melting, this might be of interest:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/07/huge-blob-of-arctic-goo-floats-past.html

    Something nominally alive appears to have broken loose in the Arctic, perhaps from the bottom of the sea floor, or maybe from the bottom of the ice itself. It might also just be a floating mat of something that is normally afloat, but my experience with mats like this is they tend to break free of a substrate of some kind and then float as a unit until something (usually the wind) disrupts them. While the goo itself doesn’t appear to pose a problem (I’d not want to get any on my clothes, by the looks of it) the very fact of it existing at all in this location has people stumped.

    Maybe it’s something that is just learning how to grow that far north. Maybe it was there all along as mats and the changes in currents have pushed it into a place where it can be observed. Or maybe it was bound in/under/on ice and is free for the first time. However you cut it, strange goo circulating in the Arctic cannot be a good thing.

    Comment by cougar_w — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:29 PM

  43. Slightly OT.

    Gavin’s comment; “I personally don’t think that the intrinsic worth of a successful prediction of overall sea ice extent or area is that societally relevant – interest in open shipping lanes that might be commercially important need much more fine-grained information for instance – but I think the predictions are interesting for improving understanding of Arctic processes themselves (and hopefully that improved understanding will eventually feed into the models and provide better tests and targets for their simulations).”

    I read http://www.nature.com/ngeo/press_releases/ngeo0709.html – Unexplained warming during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum – Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming.

    The paper could only explain 3.5C of the total estimated 5-9C temperature rise 55.5M years ago. This event is most interesting to me, because it has alot of smart people stumped. Maybe what is needed is a betting pool.

    With David J Beerling’s comment in mind I think this unexplained temperature rise is “societally relevant”.

    Comment by glen — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:31 PM

  44. This is going to be an awful comment, due to my ignorance. First, the minimum seems kind of a fickle / twitchy / ephemeral thing to estimate. To me it seems more likely that better estimates could be made for a longer time period (eg mean September coverage) that would necessarily have more meaning. For Fraser River salmon, we don’t care if the temperature of some part of the river hits 21 C for an hour, but one week over 18 C means a lot of fish are going to die unspawned.

    Second, it seems to me that in terms of albedo, it’s the late spring / early summer coverage that’s important (when the sun is highest). So now I’m soapboxing the idea that the late summer extent isn’t what needs to be measured for climatological purposes. [I'm not a climatologist, meteorologist, physicist, etc, so I'm curious about how on or off that claim is.] Maybe the relatively low, Apr-Jul Arctic coverage in 2006 somehow stored more heat that resulted in the surprisingly low ice extent in late November that year, and maybe it also contributed to the 2007 record.

    Third, salinity affects the speed with which water freezes and presumably the rate at which ice melts. With the amount of ice melting and water freezing each year, it seems to be that there is likely to be an important effect of the mixing of the fresher surface waters with the saltier deep water. But nobody seems to mention that in these forecasting discussions. Am I out in left field here? Out in left galaxy?

    Comment by Steve L — 17 Jul 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  45. Apologies, I see the references to the Arctic Ice Forecasting Centre have been updated, in fact those are the forecasts that I’ve referred to later, it’s just that the links all refer to last year’s events. JKM

    Comment by John Monro — 17 Jul 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  46. #28 tamino

    I think this dandy little myth on global sea ice thing is generating from Monckton and Co.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/fake-documents/Monckton_Reply_to_Rush_on_Chu.pdf/view

    page 13 of his pdf

    They are mixing up the context of the signals as far as I can tell but I have not checked with NSIDC yet on this. Will update Moncktons page and include this silliness, after I have more time.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 17 Jul 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  47. How much effect do the volcanoes at the ocean floor have an effect on the Arctic ice?

    [Response: None as far as anyone can tell. There was a good discussion of this on Dot Earth last year sometime. - gavin]

    Comment by MIke — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:02 PM

  48. #32 MJ Strong

    MJ you are looking at ice extent, but in what context?

    If you want to understand the problem with Arctic ice you need to understand the context of what is bad, vs. what is worse.

    Ice extent is only part of the picture. As Walt Meier (NSIDC) explained it’s like looking at the cover of a book from he top down. If you look top down, you cant tell how thick the book is.

    So looking at ice extent (surface ice cover) tells you nothing of the extent of the loss of sea ice mass, which is actually where the real story is.

    Take a look at a few of these images to get an idea of ice mass loss:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200804_Figure6.png/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200804_Figure4.png/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 17 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 PM

  49. Slightly ot, but still relevant to this discussion:

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37612 (2009)

    “I think it points out that the atmosphere is more complex than the computer models currently simulate,” says Dr. Roy Spencer, senior scientist for climate studies at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “However, it does not by itself substantially alter the expectation that some amount of global warming will occur in the future.”

    “Spencer and Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, are trying to account for the unexpected temperature patterns. By explaining the contrary behavior of atmospheric and surface-level temperature trends, they hope to improve computer models used to simulate the world’s climate. This would provide a better picture of how severe or mild global warming will be over the next century.”

    “I believe the data bolster the traditional scientific skepticism one must have when discussing predictions of the future,” Christy said.
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast21jul_1m.htm (back in 2000)

    http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd5feb97_1.htm (back in 1997)

    Now, I did see mention of problems with satellite data from several mods here, so I will not harp on that and being that new data and number crunching happens all the time, perhaps there has since been a validated proposal made to exaplain such disparities, however, a repeated and well researched answer to the aforementioned questions posed have yet to be provided by anyone in the relevant fields. Also I respect the work done in such sophisticated models, however, a lot of it just seems like esoterica.

    Of course nowadays “Global Warming,” is a household name and rightfully so; we as a human race should be concerned by the consequences of our actions, and especially our collective (global) ones.

    Fair NASA artical in PDF format.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/global_warming_2002.pdf (long, but a rewarding read)

    The aspects of vector borne diseases are of great concerns and mid latitudes affected by warming may lose much plant and animal life that cannot adapt, but this “may,” is still speculation; ecological niches have shown enormous ability to adapt. Whether we are discussing prokaryotes which evolved long before we did,or us,human beings, survival has been facilitated through evolutionary processes. I do not mean to belittle the effects AGW “may,” bring about in the future, however, the models did overestimate water vapor feedbacks as they also underestimated ice sheet loss. The problems stem from both inadequate data from such a vast global climate system and lack of technology as of yet to simulate real world conditions in total. The physics is basically done as is the chemistry and of cousre by the mods admission no single or group of models can include all of the chemistry (especially) or dampings/forcings/feedbacks. In short we need a lot more research. The alternate energy sources need far more $ to have a true meaningful effect.

    Good summary: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/meetings/seaice1999/session1.html

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  50. I have seen your peer reviewed work gentlemen,but are there trend analyses of immense detail from several sources that strongly evidences model predictions are NOW far more accurate–show more appropriate water vapor feedback and sea ice loss? How are the correlations going in showing AGW= sea ice loss, in light of satellite issues?

    I am looking for large volumes of data and papers to look at to cross analyze and not just a paper or 2 from so and so and such and such. I have time again to do so, and I am eager for large databases and research sources.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 17 Jul 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  51. cougar_w 17 Jul 2009 at 6:29 pm

    “Maybe it’s something that is just learning how to grow that far north. Maybe it was there all along as mats and the changes in currents have pushed it into a place where it can be observed. Or maybe it was bound in/under/on ice and is free for the first time. However you cut it, strange goo circulating in the Arctic cannot be a good thing.”

    A big, sticky, icky glob of bad karma? ;-)

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jul 2009 @ 2:49 AM

  52. AMSR-E sea ice concentrations calculated daily in near real time are shown here:
    Daily AMSR-E sea ice maps

    Comment by MS — 18 Jul 2009 @ 5:12 AM

  53. Knut Witberg
    17 Jul 2009 at 9:17 am

    Can it be that the black carbon soot from [...], coal power stations in China, [...]

    Not singling you out Knut, but I’ve seen this more often. As soon as the subject is coal power, people just can’t resist to mention China. As if there isn’t any significant coal power in the rest of the world.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 18 Jul 2009 @ 6:05 AM

  54. Re: #32 (MJ Strong)

    You need to read the documentation more carefully.

    Important Note: The “extent” column includes the area near the pole not imaged by the sensor. It is assumed to be entirely ice covered with at least 15% concentration. However, the “area” column excludes the area not imaged by the sensor. This area is 1.19 million square kilometers for SMMR (from the beginning of the series through June 1987) and 0.31 million square kilometers for SSM/I (from July 1987 to present). Therefore, there is a discontinuity in the “area” data values in this file at the June/July 1987 boundary.

    Comment by tamino — 18 Jul 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  55. Consequences

    How is the gyre pump action of the freeze-melt cycle of Artic ice affected by the change in sea ice coverage?

    Is the net ice melting helping the gyre?

    Will the eventual stabilisation of a smaller cycle affect the gyre, and particularly the Gulf stream/north Atlantic drift? (I live in UK!)

    Comment by Peter Dawe — 18 Jul 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  56. Why are Real Climate and the rest of the AGW proponents completely ignoring the research of NASA’s Drew Shindell—and NASA’s own reports on the role of black carbon in Arctic warming?
    In the light of that research, what is the use of predictions that don’t factor in the black carbon that’s clearly visible in all photographs of Arctic ice.
    Or is black carbon factored in—and if so, how are the forward projections of black carbon calculated , when they’re dependent on accurate predictions of China’s future industrial growth,[ which can even change over a year, as seen in the present circumstances] and the energy mix involved in that for the foreseeable future—as well as the ability of the world to persuade countries like Brazil, Indonesia, PNG and India to change their habits ?
    If the output of a driver of Arctic warming that is shown by NASA research to be responsible for almost half of the warming, [ namely black carbon ] is not precisely known [ or nearly so] for the future——then how can models that predict ice cover possibly be taken seriously?
    Why are climate scientists not telling governments that getting the black carbon problem mitigated is a more important goal than disrupting already damaged economies with their almost complete concentration on CO2 and emissions trading schemes —schemes that will cause even more unemployment , inflation , loss of national income and ongoing disruption and dislocation , that will harm your country and mine for many years to come?
    Surely Obama would defer his climate legislation, and exhort other leaders to do the same, if AGW scientists told him at the Copenhagen conference, that almost half of the Arctic warming was from black carbon, and that mitigation of that would have a much more immediate effect on warming than the economy-destroying CO2 emissions legislation ?
    Why is the AGW side so desperate to have all the focus on CO2?

    Comment by truth — 18 Jul 2009 @ 8:57 AM

  57. SEARCH has just released the July Report for the September Sea Ice Outlook:

    http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/2009_outlook/full_report_july.php

    “Most estimates for September sea ice extent are in a narrow range of 4.4 to 5.2 million square kilometers, as were last month’s (based on May data). However, two new responses come in at 4.0 and 4.2 million square kilometers, which would represent a new record minimum. As the submitted uncertainty standard deviations are about 0.4 million square kilometers, most of the Outlook estimates overlap”

    Comment by Neven — 18 Jul 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  58. Re: comment #40

    Dear Steve L,

    These topics are all covered somewhere, yes. Just dig through the recent literature or go to the NSIDC website for the monthly reviews of sea ice conditions. Lots of explanatory material there.

    http://nsidc.org/data/news.html#2009

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 18 Jul 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  59. Perhaps of greater interest will be how the increase in fresh water content of the Arctic Ocean will eventually play out.

    Comment by Ron Crouch — 18 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  60. Regarding googling this issue, when I search on “global sea ice trend” a WUWT post is first on the list. NSIDC came in second. Their main graph does show a slight increasing trend for the Antarctic, but nothing like the decrease in the Arctic.

    Comment by Dean — 18 Jul 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  61. Gavin, I wonder if there is not something like “garbage in, garbage out” in the forecasts based on physical modelling. You may pay attention for instance to the work conducted by Jerome Weiss and his colleagues at LGGE (Grenoble, France), on the mechanical behaviour of sea ice. It turns out that at the scale of the Arctic basin, sea ice has a fragile mechanical behaviour instead of a visco-plastic one, as “wrongly” assumed in current models. With his PhD student Pierre Rampal, Jerome also observed that the summer and winter sea-ice drift speeds have significantly increased between 1979 and 2007, as well as internal deformation (work published in JGR of 14 May 2009). Combined with the fragile mechanical behaviour, this could contribute to explain, at least partly, what happens since two years. It also seems that the drift speed in winter bears some predictive potential regarding summer sea ice evolution.

    [Response: Hi Jerome, I wouldn't go as far as your first statement. There is certainly more to learn about sea ice continuum rheologies - and people like Bruno Tremblay and others are working on that. A bigger issue may well be the scale issue between the global models used to make projections and the much higher resolution Arctic-only models that do a very good job in hindcasts. Observational links between drift speed and ice extent would be perhaps a profitable way to assess their fidelity, but it's not obvious that rheology is the biggest problem - I'd probably say that Arctic cloud feedbacks are a bigger uncertainty. - gavin]

    Comment by Jerome Chappellaz — 18 Jul 2009 @ 11:51 AM

  62. “I think it points out that the atmosphere is more complex than the computer models currently simulate,” says Dr. Roy Spencer

    Thank you, Dr. Obvious :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Jul 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  63. Fred #11, are you telling us that you tried to fit a 322-year sine wave to a time series running from 1977 to today? Really?

    There’s a guy called Tamino that might want to have a chat with you…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Jul 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  64. 4 Wayne said, “if El-Nino persists grows and vanishes mid spring 2010, sailing will be possible from Bering strait to Spitzbergen via the Pole come September 2010.”

    Look at the bluing of the ice in the SOTC concentration view. Pretend it’s your bucket of beer. How many years until your bucket loses all its ice? You might be dodging growlers and chunks, but I bet that given the right conditions, we could have our first trans-sailing in 2010.

    And why did you add “vanishes” to your list of El-Ninoactivities?

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_concentration_hires.png

    Comment by RichardC — 18 Jul 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  65. #55 Ron, That is easy, after the great melt of 2007, the ice extent maximum following, March 2008 was very high. Old Arctic Ocean multi year ice is nearly as pure as distilled water, a great deal of it has melted in the summer of 2007. By inference Antarctica greater yearly maximum ice extent should be from glacier ice melting a great deal more. The way to prove this is by ship, a lowering of salinity around Antarctica should be noticed.

    And what do you know:

    http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=4246

    That is it, so contrarians bragging about the greater antarctica Sea Ice extent
    should be aware of their ignorance…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Jul 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  66. Re: #63 (Martin Vermeer)

    Fred #11, are you telling us that you tried to fit a 322-year sine wave to a time series running from 1977 to today? Really?

    There’s a guy called Tamino that might want to have a chat with you…

    No. Sometimes you have to acknowledge a lost cause.

    Comment by tamino — 18 Jul 2009 @ 12:28 PM

  67. Truth: A number of fallacies in your post:
    1) “the black carbon that’s clearly visible in all photographs of Arctic”: Actually, my understanding is that black carbon on Arctic ice is usually not visible to the naked eye. The dirty snow photos that are often shown are actually areas that are near dust sources.
    2) Neither RealClimate nor the majority of AGW proponents are ignoring black carbon: heck, Hansen was one of the first people to make an issue of it. However, even if BC has contributed to half of the warming of the Arctic to date, it is a flow pollutant not a stock pollutant, which means that as time goes on it will be a smaller and smaller percentage of the total (eg, if you emit a constant amount of CO2 concentrations keep rising, if you emit a constant amount of BC, concentrations stay constant). Politically, there are efforts to reduce BC by the Arctic Council and other international fora in which the US is actively participating. And domestically, the US and Europe _have_ reduced BC emissions significantly, mostly due to controls on diesel engines.
    3) Blaming Chinese coal: while some papers (Rypdal et al 2009, for example) show a significant contribution to BC in the Arctic from China, updated modeling work seems to suggest that that was an overestimate. As would make sense, a priori, emissions from the northernmost latitudes are very important: Russian springtime agricultural burning, northern US and European diesel and agricultural emissions, etc. Fingerprinting work from a couple of Arctic campaigns shows that the majority of the soot is biomass derived, so coal is likely not a large source.

    Comment by Marcus — 18 Jul 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  68. Shortened “truth” question:

    > Why…ignoring…..predictions…don’t factor…black carbon…factored in—and if so, how…accurate predictions…change over a year…energy mix…foreseeable future—…habits…not precisely known [or nearly so]…future… models… predict…possibly be taken seriously…not telling…black carbon…disrupting…damaged economies…CO2… emissions trading schemes —schemes…unemployment, inflation…income…disruption…dislocation…harm…country…Obama …defer…exhort…black carbon…mitigation…economy-destroying CO2 emissions legislation…AGW side…desperate…focus on CO2?

    Short answer: atmospheric residence time of CO2

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jul 2009 @ 1:06 PM

  69. truth (#56) asks:

    Why are Real Climate and the rest of the AGW proponents completely ignoring the research of NASA’s Drew Shindell

    For crying out loud, “truth”, Drew Shindell had a guest post here in April. Go study.

    [Response: ...and if you look at Drew's and my publication records, you'll see over 20 co-authored papers (and more to come). Hardly surprising since his office is two doors from mine. - gavin]

    Comment by CM — 18 Jul 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  70. Marcus (#67), if you have some references handy for the modeling / fingerprinting work you mention in your point (3) above, could you share them please?

    Comment by CM — 18 Jul 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  71. Thanks Tenney @ 58, but I commented here because I haven’t found good coverage of those topics elsewhere. Here’s something a bit different, too — tidal forces.
    “How a moon that hangs in the frigid depths of the solar system could keep water in a liquid state is not much of a mystery. Too small to have a molten core and too far from the sun to feel even a flicker of its heat, Enceladus does have other moons — principally outlying Tethys and Dione — orbiting nearby. Each time those moons pass, they give Enceladus a gravitational tug, which causes it to flex slightly. Do that enough times — and the 4 billion years the solar system has been around is more than enough — and the pulsing moon heats up in much the way a wire hanger does if you bend it repeatedly back and forth. That explains both why the water stays liquid and why it’s repeatedly squeezed up through cracks and into space, where it flash-freezes into icy mist.”
    http://tinyurl.com/ms5ubm
    I have wondered what effect the Moon getting further from Earth has had over the ages. It may also have a short term effect on things like sea ice?

    Comment by Steve L — 18 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 PM

  72. #64 Richard, Great link! We are looking at a repeat of 1997-98. 2006-07 ENSOs
    when El-Nino lasted the winter and turned to a strong La-Nina come spring/summer.
    In brief, EL-Nino = cloudy Arctic, La-Nina= cloud free to a greater extent. It was like that in 06-07. The great melt component: the higher solstice sun, didn’t happen this year… If La-Nina thrieves in June…. bye bye ice…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 18 Jul 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  73. For a good earlier perspective:

    Johannessen et al. 2004 “Arctic climate change: observed and modelled
    temperature and sea-ice variability”
    https://bora.uib.no/dspace/bitstream/1956/2728/1/tellus_omj.pdf

    On historical uncertainties:

    However, it remains open to debate whether the warming in recent decades is an enhanced greenhouse-warming signal or natural decadal and multidecadal variability (Polyakov and Johnson, 2000; Polyakov et al., 2002), e.g. as possibly expressed by the arctic warming observed in the 1920s and 1930s followed by cooling until the 1960s (e.g. Kelly et al., 1982).

    The uncertainties are exacerbated by a lack of homogeneous, century-scale instrumental data sets needed to resolve the inherent timescales of variability in the Arctic (Venegas and Mysak, 2000), a region characterized by high variability.

    Notice that physics-based projections of short-term future trends also are hampered by that same lack of data, leading to a reliance on synoptic-type forecasting approaches, which seem little more than informed guesses.

    On the use of models to compare early 20th century Arctic warming to the present trend (note that all models predict that anthropogenic forcing results in amplified Arctic warming, 2X the global mean over the next 50 years at current rates):

    A recent modelling study (Delworth and Knutson, 2000) has suggested that the 1920s–1930s warming anomaly was due to natural processes, insofar as models are capable of simulating such anomalies due to internal chaotic processes of the climate system….

    In contrast, no comprehensive numerical-model integrations have produced the present global warm anomaly (Fig. 1a) without including observed anthropogenic forcing.

    And the central questions?

    From these concerns, two overarching questions are as follows. (1) To what degree are the gradually changing atmosphere–ice–ocean conditions in the Arctic a consequence of natural climate processes and/or external factors such as anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing? (2) To what degree may anthropogenic forcing induce the arctic sea-ice cover to decrease or even disappear in this century?

    Can we now answer those questions? Ice has continued to decrease in thickness and extent – see the images from 2004 and 2008 from NASA JPL:

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-107

    Claims about modern warming in the Arctic being an amplification of unforced natural variability are no longer plausible, for one thing – 2002 was also a ‘record low’. Nor does melting ice fit a ‘cooling trend’ – if there was such a trend, ice would be thickening.

    This has not kept people from claiming that “intersecting modes of variability” are responsible for the current Arctic warming, or denying the existence of the trend altogether, but such claims have no evidence to back them up and are only promoted by fossil fuel-linked lobbyists and the like.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Jul 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  74. Black Carbon fanboys might like to get behind Eli Rabett’s Simple Plan to Save the World Supplement

    India and China and many other developing countries should reduce their emissions of black carbon by 90% or more in the next decade. This will not only significantly reduce warming of the climate, it will make a major contribution to the health of their people. Simple and economical methods of doing this are available.

    which of course, supplements Eli Rabett’s Simple Plan to Save the World

    Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.

    but somehow, the bunny brain trust thinks they are more interested in the problem than the solution. The fact is that everyone and ever nation has to do their part, but that the most effective parts may be different at this point in time.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 18 Jul 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  75. Truth asks:”Why is the AGW side so desperate to have all the focus on CO2?”

    Burning fossil fuels(and their accompanying CO2 emissions)have consequences the world over,not just in the polar regions.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 18 Jul 2009 @ 5:21 PM

  76. truth, don’t be such an alarmist:

    economy-destroying CO2 emissions legislation

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 18 Jul 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  77. Truth,
    no one group of experts can discuss all the research findings. Neither is each expert an expert in all aspects of climate. Climate science is just too vast, (albeit young) requiring more epxerts than RC has. It is true NASA has many peer reviewed research papers and findings discussed at conferences which asks more questions than there are answers for, and even casts doubts on both GCM’s and satellites as being as reliable as the RC mods may tend to represent at times. Then again this is their blog and though it is full of accurate information, no blog can stay uo to date or discuss at great length the disrepancies of findings. For example, GCM’S overstimated water vapor feedback, but ice loss has been faster than predicted. Also paleoclimate data is only a rough science, albeit a legitimate one, it is difficult to know how the climate really functiond in totality 1550 years ago and so forth. Since long term trends are really necessary (even 30 years is oftentimes inadequate) only approximations of how it has been and why it is the way it is now, and where climate/weather is going can be ascertained.Ocean and atmospheric coupling is covered well at AOS and Harvard’s site; the site eluedes me at the moment, but I will find it for you, if you cannot do so. Best of luck!

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 18 Jul 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  78. LOL, Gavin and Drew, I saw your response to Truth after my post; still there are so many papers out there discussing what Truth is aking about.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 18 Jul 2009 @ 6:05 PM

  79. OT, but amusing in an appalling sort of way (not the story, the comments!)

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/07/17/climate-satellite-crash-report.html

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 18 Jul 2009 @ 6:50 PM

  80. Best way to find current information: look at prior publications and follow citations forward. Best source of advice: your local reference librarian.

    Best bet without leaving your chair or this site, is the Search box and the topic list in the right sidebar; pick a relevant recent topic in previous years on what interests you; read the cited papers.

    Then find them online, and follow “cited by” links to read papers citing them published more recently. That’s how science works.
    which will lead, by following cites forward, to much of interest that’s recent.

    Example:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/catastrophic-sea-level-rise-more-evidence-from-the-ice-sheets/

    Following the papers cited there forward in time finds pretty much everything on the subject you might want to read.

    Record of a Mid-Pleistocene depositional anomaly in West Antarctic continental margin sediments: an indicator for ice-sheet collapse?

    Author(s): Hillenbrand CD (Hillenbrand, C. -D.), Kuhn G (Kuhn, G.), Frederichs T (Frederichs, T.)
    Source: QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS
    Volume: 28 Issue: 13-14 Pages: 1147-1159 Published: JUN 2009

    “… Abstract: Modern global warming is likely to cause future melting of Earth’s polar ice sheets that may result in dramatic sea-level rise. A possible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) alone, which is considered highly vulnerable as it is mainly based below sea level, may raise global sea level by up to 5-6 m…. Here we present physical properties, palaeomagnetic, geochemical and clay mineralogical data from a glaciomarine sedimentary sequence that was recovered from the West Antarctic continental margin in the Amundsen Sea and spans more than the last 1 Myr…. A prominent depositional anomaly spans MIS 15-MIS 13 (621-478 ka). The proxies for biological productivity and lithogenic sediment supply indicate that this interval has the characteristics of a single, prolonged interglacial period. Even though no proxy suggests environmental conditions much different from today, we conclude that, if the WAIS collapsed during the last 800 kyr, then MIS 15-MIS 13 was the most likely time period….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Jul 2009 @ 7:20 PM

  81. 71: The retreat of the moon is currently only a couple of cm per year, so the rate of change of the tides should not be relevant for the time periods in which paleoclimate data is reasonable. IIRC tidal drag drops off at a pretty rapid expnent of the distance. Total current dissapation on the earth is a few terawatts -mostly in shallow seas, which is several orders of magnitude lower than solar insolation. I do wonder if tidal dissapation might possibly be a solution to the weak young sun problem, whereby the early sun is too weak to keep the early earth from freezing -even with high concentrations of greenhouse gases.

    Comment by Thomas — 18 Jul 2009 @ 9:08 PM

  82. truth 18 Jul 2009 at 8:57 am

    That handle you’ve chosen, it causes me problems. Does it refer to accuracy, or precision? Are you a source of truth? Are you a darkly humorous and ironic presence? Is this a lack of humility we’re witnessing? What enlightenment can you offer?

    Surely a real name or at least something more innocuous would be less distracting, whatever it is you’re trying to convey. I see “truth” and I just get stuck, the more so when you take a prat within a handful of words.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 18 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 PM

  83. Hank Roberts,
    you are always a gem for references and referencing lessons. Thank you, you tireless veteran.

    Comment by jcbmack — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:21 AM

  84. Re: comment #71

    Dear Steve L,

    I am going to have to fall back on the wise response of Tamino at #66.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 19 Jul 2009 @ 8:38 AM

  85. #17 – MJ Strong – Your right
    Global sea ice still running about normal, no mass meltdown:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    If the Antarctic sea ice is at almost recorded highs, why would the interior be any different. You don’t normally see melted ice cream in the middle of a freezer, when all else is froze.

    #29 Tamino-you know that analysis I did on the Central England data set (1659-2008) you said was “bungled”. Check out my post on WUWT UAH global Temp Anomaly post 7/7/09;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/page/3/

    You might be enlightened on use of cross checking analysis methods.

    Comment by J. Bob — 19 Jul 2009 @ 9:16 AM

  86. jcbmack: I do nothing but point out a few examples of how good citations — and a good reference librarian — help people learn.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=finger+pointing+moon

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jul 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  87. “That handle you’ve chosen, it causes me problems”

    Doug, it’s Son of Mulder (the truth is out there) and “the truth” before that.

    Same ol’, same ol’.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Jul 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  88. #85 Firstly, “Mass” is closer to volume than to ice extent, Mass wise there is a significant meltdown, by Northern Hemisphere multi year ice on the verge of extinction. Secondly, the two poles are not easily comparable, for obvious reasons, ice extent around the same latitudes in the North and South, Barents, Greenland and North Atlantic seas between 70 and 65 North may be something to study, but still not comparable with Antarctica still. Combining hemisphere ice extent jointly is not a good way to explain world wide ice conditions with respect to climate. It is rather used to avoid explaining present climate conditions.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 19 Jul 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  89. Tenney, I’m no lost cause. Don’t be [edit]. The first point of my first comment was that minimum ice extent was too ‘knife-edge’ a thing to forecast well and somewhat unimportant in the grand scheme, anyway. My last comment was about an effect that, if I understand correctly, could affect something as fickle as the Arctic sea ice minimum: if stormy weather can cause a considerable proportion of the ice to break up and/or leave the Arctic Ocean, then the timing of a strong tide (relative to other conditions) and the currents it causes could also have an important effect on a given year’s minimum. Right? Tides are more predictable than weather (obviously) and yet they aren’t discussed as a potential part of a model. I wonder if that’s an oversight. You can insult me, ignore me, or provide a thoughtful comment/rebuttal — your choice.

    To someone other than Tenney: David reviewed “Revenge of Gaia” here (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/james-lovelocks-gloomy-vision/) and describes the solution to increasing solar forcing (over geological time) as reducing atmospheric CO2. The Moon’s orbit is also increasing over time, reducing tidal effects (I presume). The link in comment 70 is to a Time magazine piece that implies an orbiting moon can warm a planet over geological time. I have never read about this idea in reference to cooling the Earth over time, or in reference to the Earth’s climate more generally. Have you? Sorry about being off-topic, but I wanted to mention it in the context of supporting the idea that the Moon has climatological effects (and so it’s not totally crazy to examine it with respect to even short-term phenomena like seasonal sea ice).

    Comment by Steve L — 19 Jul 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  90. Marcus #67, I was going to suggest in reponse to your pointing out the fallacies in “truth”‘s comment, that it would be more parsimonious to list the things he does not get wrong… but then I noticed that there aren’t any.

    Taken literally that would mean that the best would be not to comment at all, and now I see that tamino in #66 already covered that base…

    It’s clairvoyance I tell ya.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 19 Jul 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  91. Oddly, eyeballing the graph J. Bob posted (7/16, 9 AM) certainly makes me think there is a downward trend WRT global sea ice extent, which seems to be the opposite of his conclusion. (And I’m guessing he may have missed Tamino’s comment about the discontinuity in the numbers.) But eyeballing, as we know, is not the ultimate arbiter. So I looked to see what I could find, and came up with this, from 2008 (data current to 2006):

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007JC004257.shtml

    “. . .the trends in ice extent and area in the Arctic are now slightly more negative at −3.4 ± 0.2 and −4.0 ± 0.2% per decade, respectively, while the corresponding trends in the Antarctic remains slight but positive at 0.9 ± 0.2 and 1.7 ± 0.3% per decade.”

    Still not “global.” So, resorting to the metaphorical back of the envelope, NSIDC gives average maximum areal extent as about 15 million km2 for the Arctic, and 18 million for the Antarctic. (Baseline minima are ca. 7 million and 4 million respectively–yes, quite different from current numbers.) If you assume that the maxima are the most applicable numbers for assessing which trend dominates the global trend–minima are clearly less favorable to J. Bob’s case–you’ll conclude the balance is downward. (For instance, you could reason that since the Antarctic maximum is about 15% larger, that trend should be weighted by a like amount: .9% x 1.15 = 1.035%–not nearly enough to counterbalance the Arctic ice loss.)

    (Of course, this will change with time one way or another: if the separate trends persist, the Antarctic growth will come to dominate over time, since Antarctic sea ice will come to be a larger and larger portion of the total. Conversely, the Arctic and Antarctic minima are presently tending to converge. On the other hand, there is good reason to think that it won’t play out that way: as planetary warming continues, the growth trend in the Antarctic sea ice will surely reverse.)

    Naturally, a proper analysis would be much more complicated and comprehensive than this (and you’d need a better analyst than I.) You’d have to make sure that everything was “orthogonal” and “homogenous”–that is, that you were applying the correct trends to the correct data, and not, for example, the June trend to the yearly mean anomaly–or at least applying appropriate correction factors as needed. (That’s if I’m understanding those terms correctly.)

    Lastly, one reason that the aggregated data is so hard to find is surely that the Arctic and Antarctic cases are so different–nobody seems to think that studying both “at once” is very productive. For a nice summary of the many differences, see:

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/characteristics/difference.html

    (BTW, I strongly suspect I didn’t achieve proper “orthogonality & homogeneity” in the “back of envelope” stuff above. For one thing, the abstract I quoted doesn’t explicitly say that the trends discussed are WRT annual means–that’s just my guess. If so, I presumably should have done my weighting with annual mean extents, too. But that would have been too much data crunching than I could stomach for a brief (and nominally casual) post.) Frankly, I was hoping just to find the data used to generate the graph, and then run the numbers for trend–but no dice.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Jul 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  92. Thomas, 81 — thanks. I didn’t see your reply prior to what I just posted (assuming it survives moderation).

    Comment by Steve L — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  93. J. Bob #85

    Are you suggesting that the uiuc graph you linked to shows ice running about normal? Fit a line to the data. It is obvious even from a cursory examination that the ice has declined in the past thirty years according to the linked graph. Looks like you bungled it again.

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:18 PM

  94. The public certainly keys on the Arctic Sea ice and I mention it on air rather frequently. They do have trouble understanding the difference between Antarctica and the Arctic. Perhaps half do not even realize that one is Ocean and the other is continent.

    Make no mistake though, for good or bad, the disappearing ice in the North is more than just a scientific metric, it’s the poster child for our changing planet.

    Hank: Kudos from me too, but you can lead a horse to water….

    Comment by Dan Satterfield — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:44 PM

  95. “Global sea ice still running about normal, no mass meltdown:”

    Yet the link says:

    “/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg”

    Uh, mass is density times volume.

    Not density times area.

    Still, I wouldn’t expect you to know that. It’s science.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:58 PM

  96. “If the Antarctic sea ice is at almost recorded highs”

    It’s because it’s passing to its winter.

    Where there is exactly as much no sun as there has always been.

    Even the best coffee flask lets the coffee get cold after four months…

    Comment by Mark — 19 Jul 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  97. J. Bob – Have you even considered why Antarctic sea ice is so high (increasing) even though the Southern Hemisphere oceans were the warmest on record for June? A good explanation of the increase in Antarctic sea ice can be found at Skeptical Science; and no, that doesn’t mean that land ice isn’t melting, which it is. Antarctica has also been rather warm lately based on various maps (e.g.).

    Also, I think it is obvious that something is “up” with UAH if they disagree so much with surface temperatures (especially considering the ocean temps):

    Comment by Michael Stefan — 19 Jul 2009 @ 4:00 PM

  98. #85 J. Bob,

    I was going to post on this over the weekend but ran out of time.

    I have studied the same chart you are looking at. But I seem to see different figures. You seem to be looking at the peak. I’m looking at the span of time at high ice concentration. You wil note that at the beginning of the chart there was a solid period of months where the Global Ice was high. Now and for years, there has been a spiked drop off smack in the middle of high ice time. Which means the duration of high ice levels has dropped significantly.

    If you only look at the spike then, yes, the drop has been somewhat insignificant.

    If you look at the amount of time we now have high ice concentrations it would appear to me, without reference material, that it has dropped by some 20%-30%

    Which is what the scientists are saying.

    So pointing at the same charts, reading them incorrectly and then boldly stating that the published results are wrong; doesn’t seem to be a good way of putting your argument forward.

    Comment by NeilT — 19 Jul 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  99. Hank Roberts: This is in dire need, what you provide, and do not belittle what you do in helping others learn. Your efforts are still, as always greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 19 Jul 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  100. “All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon; and those whose gaze is fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty.”
    (April 1888) http://yoshitoshi.verwoerd.info/image44.jpg

    How difficult it is to see the Earth!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Jul 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  101. One can look at a graph in many ways. If you look at the same season anomaly end points, nothing much has happened. From 1979 to 2001 it was basically flat. If you look at the anomaly from 2001-2007, it trends down. If you look at the anomaly from beginning of 2008-now, it trending up. Unfortunately we do not have enough history to say if this is normal or something else. And if it’s something else, what is it? Remember, I said “about normal”, with nothing really standing out to indicate a strong bias one way or another.

    So Michael Sweet, where do you want to draw the line?

    Comment by J. Bob — 19 Jul 2009 @ 10:08 PM

  102. My only concern is, I have not seen Ray Ladbury much as of late; he was a prolofic poster of great merit as well.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 19 Jul 2009 @ 10:31 PM

  103. In all the differences of opinion here, does anyone have a handle of just how accurate the data we are discussing is?
    0.1%, 1% 10%?

    Comment by J. Bob — 19 Jul 2009 @ 11:15 PM

  104. Anyone have a response to my post #34 ?

    Comment by Mike Hilson — 20 Jul 2009 @ 1:01 AM

  105. Steve L writes:

    The link in comment 70 is to a Time magazine piece that implies an orbiting moon can warm a planet over geological time.

    Either you misinterpreted the article or someone at Time doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I can’t think of any way the Moon could significantly affect the Earth’s climate, other than crashing into it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Jul 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  106. The inaptly named “truth” writes:

    Why is the AGW side so desperate to have all the focus on CO2?

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Jul 2009 @ 3:09 AM

  107. A favourite site:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    On this graph one easily sees both the slow trend down (3,5%/dec) as well as the short term variability due to “the weather”.

    One also sees that there is something of a mode change since 2007. If this character change is transitional or permanent remains to be seen, but three seasons in a row makes one think.

    The mode change became possible with continued thinning of the ice. Thin ice is more susceptible to weather, particularly to the windws. So the 2007 persistent winds were able to drive lots of ice out to the Atlantic and also pile some against the Greenland coast. Sensitivity to high solar input is also increased.

    As to the discussion about global ice cover, one needs to keep in mind that the Arctic sea ice can not grow in a linear manner. After the ocean is frozen over coast-to-coast, area growth can only happen in two narrow sectors. Besides, sea currents limit ice expansion in both hemispheres, not just the surface air temperatures as apparently assumed by many writers.

    Predicting sea ice developments is probably as difficult as of any other regional change brought about by the global warming. Regional changes are of utmost importance for practical reasons, and will no doubt remain the focus of research.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 20 Jul 2009 @ 5:14 AM

  108. Thanks for a clear comment, Pekka.

    This image has been the source of some comment here of late. Some (J. Bob) see it as “flat” or maybe “sort of” flat. I see that the first dozen years are largely above the mean, with occasional excursions below it, while the last dozen years have the opposite pattern. That would be the -3.5% trend you mention, of course.

    Mike, 34 & 104, I’m no expert, but I doubt that ice thickness has a measurable impact on ice mobility. Seems to me the only strong effect would be when ice is grounded in shallow water, and given that maximum thickness is only a matter of tens of meters at most, this scenario will not be relevant for the vast preponderance of Arctic waters. My two cents.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Jul 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  109. Steve L — 18 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 pm
    is pointing to an article about Saturn’s moons.

    Steve, look into it a bit more. Once you understand what they’re describing there, you can compare the situation of other pairs and have an idea how much effect gravitational flexing will have. This may help
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/abs/ngeo396.html

    Compare say Sun/Mercury, and Earth/Luna — look at the relative size, distance, and particularly the materials involved, very different in each case. Your question’s addressed, you’ll find it if you dig for it with Google Scholar, or any good reference librarian can help you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  110. J.Bob, yes, one can look at a graph in many ways. You can look at it like a hazy distant mountain range, or a washboard, or a ski jump, or anything you imagine.

    Once you take Statistics 101, you lose that ability and find yourself looking at it in only a few ways, the ones that have some use in understanding what it represents.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:55 AM

  111. Per post 88, Wayne Davidson:

    “…there is a significant meltdown, by Northern Hemisphere multi year ice on the verge of extinction….”

    Can we agree that using the word “extinction” is a bit hyperbolic? I know it’s found its way into the GW discussion per Al Gore and others, but doesn’t it strike you as silly, and unproductive to your argument?

    Let’s leave “extinction” where it properly belongs, in the world of animals and plants and genetic code.

    Comment by Stephen — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:55 AM

  112. Did I miss it? Was there no discussion here of the 699 images released by USGS last Wednesday, 1-m nominal spatial resolution, spanning the last 10 years and covering several different sites in the Arctic including Barrow?

    I thought this dataset would be causing excitement among those interested in modeling sea ice decline in the Arctic. Am I wrong, or did the word not get out?

    See: http://gfl.usgs.gov/ArcticSeaIce.shtml; http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12631

    Would love to read realclimate’s opinions on how/how much this data might contribute to model projections.

    Comment by Kea Duckenfield — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  113. BPL @106 — maybe a bit of both; why not read the short Time article and find out? [I'm not selling subscriptions to Time, don't worry.] This is how I interpret it: a moon of Saturn has liquid water because its own satellites cause it to flex and the friction keeps it warm. So I figure the Moon’s kinetic energy is transmitted to some degree to the Earth by gravity in the form of tidal forces that warm the Earth via friction.
    Thomas @81 gets what I mean — the Moon is getting farther from the Earth, so these tidal forces are diminishing, perhaps cooling the Earth compared to its early history when the Sun was fainter. Your use of the term “significantly” has the usual problems, and I don’t know if this effect would match your criteria.

    Comment by Steve L — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:04 AM

  114. “Why is the AGW side so desperate to have all the focus on CO2?”

    Because when you’re bleeding out your arm where you hand used to be, they put a tourniquet around that rather than see to the bloody nose. Even though it’s leaking blood too.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  115. “how accurate the data we are discussing is?

    Comment by J. Bob ”

    What is “the data” you ask for.

    After all, the length of a day is quite accurately known. The speed of the laden swallow is less accurately known.

    Both are data.

    Remember: some data is more accurately known than others.
    Remember: accuracy doesn’t mean reliability. You can accurately measure maximum temperatures at LHR on one day. But the expected value the next day has a range around that value based not on accuracy but on reliability.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  116. “So Michael Sweet, where do you want to draw the line?

    Comment by J. Bob ”

    As in anything to do with putting an equation to real life, when the error of estimation is low.

    If your error in estimating a trend has an error less than 0.05C per decade, you have an accuracy of estimation of 0.05C per decade. If you have a graph fitted line of 0.0C/decade you can then call it flat.

    If your error is bigger than 0.2C per decade, a fitted line of 0.0C per decade cannot be called flat, since the long term trend of 0.2C/decade still is comfortably within the error of your estimation of the trend.

    VERY basic stats.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  117. “the Moon is getting farther from the Earth, so these tidal forces are diminishing, perhaps cooling the Earth compared to its early history when the Sun was fainter.
    Comment by Steve L”

    So do the maths.

    Even if you assume 100% of the tidal forces cause warmth in the earth, I don’t think even 10 million years is going to make much difference.

    But work it out. Even over-estimate it. Then convert that energy into watts per square metre.

    If over 10 million years, that comes to less than 0.01W/m^2 it can be ignored. It it gets over ~0.1W/m^2 it may have something to say over the paleo record (about as much as sunspot activity, for example).

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  118. “Let’s leave “extinction” where it properly belongs, in the world of animals and plants and genetic code.

    Comment by Stephen”

    ex·tinct (k-stngkt)
    adj.
    1. No longer existing or living: an extinct species.
    2. No longer burning or active: an extinct volcano.
    3. No longer in use: an extinct custom. See Synonyms at dead.
    4. Law Lacking a claimant; void: an extinct title.

    Source: WordNet (r) 1.7

    extinct
    adj 1: no longer in existence; lost or especially having died out
    leaving no living representatives; “an extinct species
    of fish”; “an extinct royal family”; “extinct laws and
    customs” [syn: nonextant] [ant: extant]
    2: of e.g. volcanos; permanently inactive; “an extinct volcano”
    [syn: inactive] [ant: active, dormant]
    3: of a fire; being out or having grown cold; “threw his
    extinct cigarette into the stream”; “faint smoke from the
    extinguished candle”; “the fire is out”; “the quenched
    flames” [syn: extinguished, out, quenched]

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  119. Re. the goo appearing in Arctic waters (e.g. # 42 – cougar_w), I wonder if this is something to do with buried submarine ice starting to melt, caused by warming of waters above it?

    There are miles of this stuff down there, many tens of metres thick in places, buried under rafts of old Pleistocene sediments, some of the latter well mixed up with old tundra and bog deposits. A lot of it, clearly, is near the present shoreline, where water is not too deep, say less than a couple of hundred metres. Much of this has been melting slowly, we think, since the end of the Pleistocene, but there’s no reason why the rate of melt can’t speed up. It could also explain some of the non-linearity of the ice-melt response e.g. much of the phase change taking place in the surface (floating) ice, this then clears the way for sunlight to penetrate deeper, and the phase change then switches a bit to the buried ice. Quite complex and difficult, but could be just another part of the story, a filament rather than a big effect. If anyone wants to follow this up, I’ll try to dig out a few references.

    Comment by Nick O. — 20 Jul 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  120. > Arctic Goo
    http://scienceblogs.com/guiltyplanet/2009/07/arctic_goo_update.php
    Category: What the…?
    Posted on: July 19, 2009 2:19 PM, by Jennifer L. Jacquet
    “It was marine algae.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  121. Steve L., consider some of the numbers involved.

    Mass of Enceladus:
    (1.080 22 ± 0.001 01) × 10(20th) kg (1.8×10-5 Earths)
    Mass of Saturn: 5.6846 × 10(26th) kg (95.152 Earths)

    Orbital axis of Enceladus: 237,948 km

    Mass of Luna: 7.347 7 × 10(22nd) kg (0.0123 Earths)
    Mass of Earth: 5.9736 × 10(24th) kg

    Orbital axis of Luna: 384,399 km

    First, obviously, is the fact that Enceladus is five whole orders of magnitude smaller than Earth, which right there would make the heating effect 10,000 times smaller, all other things being equal.

    Then you have the fact that Saturn is four orders of magnitude bigger than the moon, which means a further reduction in heating of about 1,000. That gets us to a heating effect that’s about one ten-millionth.

    From here on, things get a bit picayune by comparison, but there’s the fact that the orbital radius is about 50% greater for the Earth/Luna pair; that gives a reduction of about one-fourth. (Tidal force is inversely proportional to the cube of the distance.)

    You do have to give back a factor of about 250, because tidal force is also proportional to the radius of the body affected, and Earth’s diameter is about 250 times that of Enceladus.

    That ends us up where? An effect that’s 63 ten-millionths?

    And of course all of this ignores what your source posited as the main source of Enceladus’s heating: the other moons which pass it closely–Earth has nothing like that. I don’t know how to quantify that, but whatever it is, it’s taking away from the effect you propose–and your source, again, seemed to say that it was very significant. So I think you can kiss this idea’s viability goodbye.

    As to the idea that lunar retreat can affect the “short term things like sea ice” with orbital retreat of a few cm per year is just not workable. Measurable effects over many millions of years, OK. Over a decade, or two, or ten, NOT.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Jul 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  122. Oops, I slipped a couple of decimal points, didn’t I? I really miss the preview function. . .

    Well, correcting it should make the overall argument stronger. 100 times stronger, in fact, unless I’m screwing up the math again.

    Did I mention that I’m an artsie?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Jul 2009 @ 1:37 PM

  123. I updated the Monckton page to include perspective on the notion of there is no problem with regard to global sea ice extent (scroll down to global sea ice extent).

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/christopher-monckton

    Although redundant, as always, please note that sea ice extent is only part of the signal and ice mass loss is a more obvious indicator in this case.

    This is not to say sea ice extent has no importance, merely that context is needed when discussing these issues.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 20 Jul 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  124. Jacob Mack 19 Jul 2009 at 10:31 pm

    “My only concern is, I have not seen Ray Ladbury much as of late; he was a prolific poster of great merit as well.”

    Absent by doctor’s orders, suffering from “climate elbow”?

    CE is similar to tennis elbow but also may involve carpal tunnel syndrome as a secondary pathology. CE is caused and aggravated by endlessly swatting down wads of revanchist anti-science, anti-progress propaganda on a playing court of shape and dimensions boundlessly elastic depending on the rhetorically expedient needs of the particular Pangloss team member playing in opposition.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jul 2009 @ 2:32 PM

  125. Good points, Nick O.

    Aren’t there a lot of areas on the continental shelf where the depth of the water is more like tens of meters than hundreds of meters?

    At what depth could surface warming affect ice on the sea floor?

    Same for sunlight. How deep till sunlight penetration becomes insignificant (or how shallow till it can becomes significant)?

    Comment by wili — 20 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 PM

  126. Absent by doctor’s orders, suffering from “climate elbow”?

    Or “climate forehead”, from repeated attempts to butt through the brick wall of denialism…

    It’s summer. Hopefully he’s out exploring the radiation hardness of various sunblock lotions at some place far, far from work and the internet …

    Comment by dhogaza — 20 Jul 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  127. Re #106 by Barton- Interesting and informative link. Thank you. I notice,at first glance, that there hasn’t been a negative anomaly since 1977!The accompanying graph, t-statistics and correlation coefficient should be sufficient to convince even hard line deniers of the relationship between CO2 and increasing temps,but the die hards are out there as shown by Barton’s note at the end.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 20 Jul 2009 @ 3:34 PM

  128. Responding to Mark @117 and to Kevin @121… Thomas’s response in 81 gave me some terms to help me google (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=654). [Nice to know that I've now caught up to what scientists were wondering about this 200 years ago.] The current effect is estimated at 4 terawatts (about a quarter of it exerted in the deep ocean). The surface area of Earth is 510,000,000 sq.km. If I’m converting correctly, that gives me 0.01 W/m^2. Is that correct? If it is, then it almost satisfies Mark, and then the next important part is figuring out how much that has changed since the sun was young and faint (a couple of billion years ago).

    I could try to extrapolate the 3.8 cm/yr backward in time to see how much greater the tidal forces would be, but that assumes a constant rate of orbital increase (bad assumption — orbital increase is thought to have slowed a lot), and it assumes constant month length (bad assumption — it’s thought to have completed closer orbits more frequently). But if I do the extrapolation and then use the square of the distance to compare to present (I’m just a fish biologist, I have no idea…) then I get a 20% reduction in heating since nearly a billion years ago.

    But I think maybe a better way to do this is to assume that all of the slowing of Earth’s rotation around its own axis is due to friction of the sloshing tide (?), and then figure out how much friction is required to slow the Earth from one rotation every 18 hours (why I extrapolated to nearly a billion yrs ago above) to a day length of 24 hours now. Can we do that? I don’t know how (and I don’t know if we need to account for the molten interior — hard boiled egg keeps spinning, a raw one slows down quickly).

    I think this latter approach is preferable, but of course I’m ignoring that the Sun’s gravity also plays a role in tides. But at least we get a tidy maximum effect. (Right?) With regard to short term things like one year’s sea ice minimum, Kevin, which is more akin to weather than climate, I think it’s MORE likely that tides can have an important effect — since the long term effects tend to balance out. Wind-driven currents are blamed for a lot of what happened to produce the 2007 minimum. A well-timed spring tide (when the Moon and Sun are both pulling in the same direction) might also result in strong currents that have an impact. Do the maths? Hopefully Mark (or somebody) will give me more hints on how to do so.

    Comment by Steve L — 20 Jul 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  129. “At what depth could surface warming affect ice on the sea floor?”

    Well the thermocline is usually some 100′s of feet below the surface.

    If the sea floor is below that, it won’t.

    You then have to rely in mixing and inversion layers turning over.

    Sunlight doesn’t extend much below 100m anywhere and blue light goes furthest. IR much, much less.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  130. ” Do the maths? Hopefully Mark (or somebody) will give me more hints on how to do so.

    Comment by Steve L ”

    Mass of water “lifted” by the moon.

    Revolves once every day.

    1/2mv^2

    Then do it with the moon as much further away as it will be in 100 years, 1 million years and 10 million years.

    Check the differences.

    I DO hope you aren’t employed in a scientific capacity.

    To a large extent, I hope it’s not engineering either.

    These are standard “back of the envelope” ideas that should, if you are any good at those professions, be practically second nature.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 4:49 PM

  131. “But I think maybe a better way to do this is to assume that all of the slowing of Earth’s rotation around its own axis is due to friction of the sloshing tide (?)”

    No, that would be exceedingly wrong.

    At least it isn’t wrong for most people, but someone who knows that the earth is slowing its rotation AND that the moon is getting further away should have known what the heck is going on.

    Our rotational energy is going in to throwing the moon away. A little like the slingshot effect is taking rotational energy from the body it is using for the slingshot to give it more kinetic energy on leaving its influence.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  132. Steve, taking the 0.01W/m^2 and saying it was 20% different means that over the 1 billion years, the change has been 0.005W/m^2.

    In 100 years, this would be…?

    1/2,000,000 W/m^2.

    I wouldn’t like to say we get more effect from Idi Amin having walked a mile once, but that is a REALLY small number.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jul 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  133. re Mike Hilson (#34/#104):

    There is a natural flow from the Bering Strait towards the Fram Strait. The latest (east of NE-Greenland) is the largest area for Arctic ice flowing to the south. A minor one is the (narrow) Nansen Strait between N-Greenland and the Canadian Ellesmere Island. Ice usually doesn’t flow south in the Bering Strait.

    Arctic sea ice is moving always, even in wintertime. The speed and direction of movement depends on the flow of the water beneath the ice and on the winds at the surface.

    The speed at which broken parts of ice can flow southwards also depends on the width of the Strait it is flowing through. The Fram Strait has enough width to let even the biggest sheets of ice pass.
    But the Nansen Strait is only 40 km width. It was ice free 10 days ago, when the southern part of the Lincoln Sea to the north was beginning to fall apart. But today, after the ice sheets of the Lincoln Sea have disintegrated into smaller parts, there is a kind of traffic jam in the northern part of the Nansen Strait.

    But I think the flowing of Arctic ice parts southwards is a rather minor component in the process of ice loss. More important are ‘in situ’ processes like insolation (no clouds) and warmer air spreading from the continents over ice areas.

    Comment by HenkL — 20 Jul 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  134. I have to agree it will be very exciting to see how this works out.

    And even more than “1st year ice”, how the second year ice (the difference between 2007 and 2008 minimums) does. Will it perform closer to 1st year ice, closer to mature ice, or somewhere in between?

    Looking at 2005 vs 2008, it is easy to see that 2008 was on the same curve until mid-August, when “1st year ice-itis” hit and it plunged.

    Doncha just love new data?

    Comment by geo — 20 Jul 2009 @ 6:22 PM

  135. Shall we start a pool for 2009 arctic summer minimum? I call 5.1M km2.

    Comment by geo — 20 Jul 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  136. Mark @130, why question my scientific bonafides? (In fact, I’m an employed scientist studying fish genetics, but why that matters in a blog for sharing scientific information, I don’t know.) And why the heck are you talking about 100 years and 10 million years? I’m talking about billions of years — the faint young Sun problem is evidence of liquid water on Earth eg 3 bya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox).

    Mark @132, again there’s the problem of 100 years… Anyway, my attempt at figuring the difference between now and a billion years ago may have some over-estimation, but the fact that the Moon was a lot closer billions of years ago (I chose 1 billion because that’s the most ancient information I came across on day length, but 3 bya would have been more relevant), and apparently orbited the Earth a lot faster back then means that the change from .01 to .008 W/m2 is a bad underestimate.

    Mark @131, I’ll have to think about this more. Earth’s spin is throwing the Moon away. Okay…. Little is obvious to me, including this: how does that slow the Earth’s spin? The Moon creates tides and the friction slows the Earth, non? I can tell this is going to be the kind of thing that helped me choose biology rather than physics, but I don’t see why my weaknesses in this kind of thinking relative to climate scientists and physicists should invite ridicule. Indeed, this blog is valuable specifically because people like me are far behind many contributors here who like to try and help us catch up a bit in understanding the world.

    Comment by Steve L — 20 Jul 2009 @ 6:56 PM

  137. I guess I made a mistake in trying to put two things about the Moon together, really to make one argument. The main argument I meant to make was that tides could have an impact on a given year’s Arctic sea ice minimum. A spring tide when ice was vulnerable could create currents that break more ice, that pile up more ice into a compact area or export more ice, that affect salinities and help melt more ice, etc, than a neap tide in a year with otherwise identical conditions might. How much more? I dunno. I’d like to. Or I’d like to compare wind energy at sea ice level to tidal current energy at sea ice level.

    I thought it might help people to accept the Moon as being worth investigating if I posted something obout another way the Moon might be important for things that interest people at this blog. I regret using that approach. This second lunar effect would operate on a much, much longer time scale than the main point, which is unrelated other than the fact that the Moon is involved. I’m still interested in whether the Moon has something to say about the young Sun paradox, and I’m thankful to any who help me work it out (or point me to a good source). But by introducing both topics, I seem to have got people thinking that I believe changes to the Moon’s orbit has a considerable impact in the short term. That is certainly not what I have been arguing, or at least it’s not what I have tried to argue.

    Comment by Steve L — 20 Jul 2009 @ 7:24 PM

  138. Gavin [ re 69 response]
    Even though you’ve co-authored papers with Drew Shindell, it doesn’t alter the fact that he said the following: he said the following “We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we’re just looking at carbon dioxide,” Shindell said. “If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone.”
    Does Drew Shindell not really mean that last clause—‘we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone’?
    I realize he had a guest post at Real Climate, but the political leaders of the world are only talking about CO2, and trading schemes—–never about black carbon.
    They take their cues from the AGW scientists, and are taking no cues about black carbon.
    Our former Prime Minister established a Global Forest Initiative with initial funding of $200million , in 2006/07, to be used to try to stop the forest burning around the world, that’s the largest contributor to the black carbon problem.
    He was just sneered at and vilified by Greens and other AGW proponents for that policy, and lost office largely on the AGW issue—at a time when the AGW scientists knew about the impact of black carbon in the Arctic.
    Will there be as much or more focus on aerosols and ozone at the Copenhagen conference, as on CO2 and emissions trading and carbon taxes?

    [Response: You are creating a false dichotomy - the fact that tackling black carbon and methane and other ozone precursors would be useful does not imply that CO2 can be ignored. Drew, myself and even Jim Hansen have made this point repeatedly. - gavin]

    Comment by truth — 20 Jul 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  139. #115,#116 – Mark, let me spell it out more, so you can understand. The data I am referring to is the plot of global sea ice from:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    namely how accurate is the data plotted therein. Is the north and south polar ice data accurate to what tolerance? Remember you have uncertainties in the orbital trajectory, the vehicle attitude, pointing of the antenna, beam errors, after that the signal is quantized (another error/uncertainty), and transmitted back to earth. In addition you have long term aging of the components, equipment temperature gradients, radiation effects, etc. All of these effect the accuracy of the data.
    So what is the orbit to orbit, day to day, year to year, decade to decade 1 sigma error/uncertainty?
    0.01, 0.1, 1.0, 10 mill. sq. km.?

    Seems that before one can use statistics, effectively, one has to have an idea of the quality of the data. Statistics will not improve the smell of garbage coming in to garbage going out.

    Comment by J. Bob — 20 Jul 2009 @ 8:29 PM

  140. ALL: Here is an interesting new paper published in GRL on 16/July/09

    Arctic air temperature change amplification and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL038777.shtml

    Abstract:
    Understanding Arctic temperature variability is essential for assessing possible future melting of the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and Arctic permafrost. Temperature trend reversals in 1940 and 1970 separate two Arctic warming periods (1910–1940 and 1970–2008) by a significant 1940–1970 cooling period. Analyzing temperature records of the Arctic meteorological stations we find that (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale, (b) the Arctic warming from 1910–1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970–2008 warming, and (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.

    Comments anyone?

    Comment by BobFJ — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:21 PM

  141. Good points, Nick O.

    Aren’t there a lot of areas on the continental shelf where the depth of the water is more like tens of meters than hundreds of meters?

    At what depth could surface warming affect ice on the sea floor?

    Same for sunlight. How deep till sunlight penetration becomes insignificant (or how shallow till it can becomes significant)?

    Comment by wili — 20 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:22 PM

  142. At what depth could surface warming affect ice on the sea floor?

    Same for sunlight. How deep till sunlight penetration becomes insignificant (or how shallow till it can becomes significant)?

    Comment by wili — 20 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 pm–

    Will–Here is a basic point about ice–it’s ligher than liquid water and therefore ice floats. There is no ice on the bottom of the sea or lakes.

    Comment by Bill DeMott — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:25 PM

  143. I think Wili was asking about methane hydrate ‘ice’ — which is actually mostly below the seabed, though some is exposed. On that, this may help:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=methane+destabilization+warming

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:46 PM

  144. First, J. Bob (#85) wanted to use sea ice data to claim “Global sea ice still running about normal, no mass meltdown.” He was ridiculed, and rightly so, because the very graph he linked to showed the folly of his statement. Michael Sweet put it rather well in #93: “Are you suggesting that the uiuc graph you linked to shows ice running about normal? Fit a line to the data. It is obvious even from a cursory examination that the ice has declined in the past thirty years according to the linked graph. Looks like you bungled it again.”

    Then, J. Bob (#101) said “One can look at a graph in many ways,” followed by more extremely silly talk, all of which reminded me of the “pathological liar” skit on Saturday Night Live. Probably the most embarrassing statement of all was “If you look at the anomaly from beginning of 2008-now, it trending up.”

    I guess he decided that nobody was going to believe his ridiculous claims about the sea ice data, so he’d lay the groundwork (in #103) for questioning the data itself with “does anyone have a handle of just how accurate the data we are discussing is?” He followed through in #138 with “Seems that before one can use statistics, effectively, one has to have an idea of the quality of the data. Statistics will not improve the smell of garbage coming in to garbage going out.”

    He’s only shown how little he knows about statistics. Imprecision in data doesn’t create false trends, especially at the extreme (and I do mean extreme) level of significance of the downtrend in global sea ice. If the data were 1,000,000 times less precise, then it would mask whatever trend might be present — but it would not create the statistically significant downtrend which is present in the data. Clearly. To everybody except those who refuse to see.

    J. Bob: there is indeed a smell of garbage here. But it isn’t from the sea ice data.

    Comment by tamino — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:18 PM

  145. Steve L, thanks for the clarification.

    Good luck with your inquiries on tides.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:27 PM

  146. Steve, if you do back of the envelope -order of magnitude size estimates you’ll discover that tidal heat dissapation is a trivial part of earths energy budget. Now tidal dissaption goes down at a high rate as distance increases (a lot more than inverse squared). So during the first few hundred million years the planet had the moon, it might be an important term -but we have so little geological data that early, that we only know the most approximate things about the climate then. It might make an interesting study to determine what it might have contributed back then, but it is hardly relevant to modern climate science.

    Comment by Thomas — 20 Jul 2009 @ 10:53 PM

  147. One of the problems with Northern Hemisphere ice extent is that it includes fairly large areas that are going to melt for sure and which are really not connected to the polar cap such as Hudson’s Bay. This means that the maxima are not as useful as you might think

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 20 Jul 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  148. J. Bob 20 Jul 2009 at 8:29 pm:

    “…uncertainties in the orbital trajectory, the vehicle attitude, pointing of the antenna, beam errors, after that the signal is quantized (another error/uncertainty), and transmitted back to earth. In addition you have long term aging of the components, equipment temperature gradients, radiation effects, etc. All of these effect the accuracy of the data.”

    Good point! If all those error sources are significant and in sum are biased in one direction, in reality we could be looking at even –less– ice remaining than the trend line suggests!

    Fortunately it seems unlikely that the summed error points in one direction, plus unlike us punters I suspect the folks that run the measurement program are on top of this. What a relief, eh?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 20 Jul 2009 @ 11:33 PM

  149. I should clarify my last remark, 20 Jul 2009 at 11:33 pm.

    Of course there will be errors from some of the sources J.Bob mentions, and it’s actually unlikely they sum to “0″.

    Do they all exhibit a bias in one direction? Probably not.

    Will the sum of the errors exhibit a strong but unnoticed bias in one direction? Probably not.

    Why? Because the operators of the equipment are almost certainly not going to overlook significant error sources.

    If the operators were overlooking significant errors, would we have cause for celebration, or despair? I guess that depends on the error, and your perspective.

    For the curious, complete information on the collection of this data and associated significant limitations is here

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0051_gsfc_seaice.gd.html

    including an extensive set of references to articles going into the more fine-grained behaviors and limitations of the instrumentation behind the datasets. It does not look like many loose ends have been left hanging.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 12:00 AM

  150. The comments on the guest post by Kyle Swanson appear to be closed. But I did a little more work after my comment #50 http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/#comment-130960

    I am now pretty certain that the jump in temperature between 1997 and 1998 shown in the second plot is around 2 sigma in inter-annular variability rather than better than 3 sigma as stated in the post. In the GISS data it only appears to be around 1.5 sigma so it is a pretty typical change.

    I suspect that a sigma derived from another data set may have been used to do the calculation described in the guest post. In any case, the jump does not appear to be anomalous within the presented data set.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:49 AM

  151. Thanks, Lawrence.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Jul 2009 @ 2:21 AM

  152. “Mark @130, why question my scientific bonafides?”

    Because you should be able to consider a ball-park esti mate of that problem all yourself.

    That you didn’t shows you will not work well on your own outside your own comfort zone.

    “Thinking outside the box” it’s called.

    And you don’t have a worthwhile grasp on it.

    “Mark @132, again there’s the problem of 100 years…”

    What problem of 100 years? The power is one half of one millionth of a watt from your tidal average.

    Is that being sma ll a pro blem?

    “Okay…. Little is obvious to me, including this: how does that slow the Earth’s spin?”

    Strange. You knew so much yet stopped reading at some point.

    Why?

    Read up yourself: it’s in the same place as the statement of the fact of the moon’s retreat from us.

    This partial knowledge is worrying. Are you running from a prompt somewhere? A blog post that said about it and you didn’t bother to read up on it, just decided to ask on here?

    Go read up on it.

    “The Moon creates tides and the friction slows the Earth, non?”

    No.

    Read up on the discussion where you found out that the moon is retreating. If it doesn’t say, then you’ve been sca mmed: it’s a false talking point.

    “but I don’t see why my weaknesses in this kind of thinking relative to climate scientists and physicists should invite ridicule.”

    The ridicule is because you have such very SPECI ALISED knowledge that oddly enough has some whopping great holes in it.

    Holes that would not exist if you were genuinely informed.

    And you have an over-sensitive skin. It wasn’t ridicule, it was shock at your lack of scientific ability displayed in that post.

    If you hadn’t known the earth-moon system was separating, it could be explained merely by assuming you hadn’t read up on the astronomy. But you do. Yet you don’t know the explanation of what is happening to make them separate.

    So you read somewhere something about it and then JUMPED to a conclusion. Forgetting to read up about it first.

    Not very scientific.

    Your plaintive, querulous query “can you tell me how to get a ballpark figure…” shows you won’t think outside the box and your lack of invention and ingenuity in doing this for yourself shows you will be unable to stretch the boundaries of science because you don’t know where to start.

    Not very scientific.

    And now you jump to a conclusion of ridicule?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 3:17 AM

  153. “I think this latter approach is preferable, but of course I’m ignoring that the Sun’s gravity also plays a role in tides”

    Twice the force, in fact.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 3:19 AM

  154. #140 “There is no ice on the bottom of the sea or lakes”, Bill DeMott. Permafrost thaws because a constituent is ice. Both land and continental shelf permafrtost is thawing. Rather an excessive amount of methane bubbling in the Laptev Sea was noted by Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov. They attributed the bubbles to the possible emissions by clathrates, ice globules containing methane and trapped under pressure in the continental shelf by permafrost.

    Comment by Juola (Joe) A. Haga — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:02 AM

  155. Doug Bostram [82] and Martin Vermeer[90]
    I replied to each of your criticisms of me, including Doug Bostram’s sneer at my screen name—just a simple and truthful explanation— but for some reason, although you and all and sundry are allowed to attack me , I’m not allowed a civil reply. [moderator--you are, as long as it doesn't violate our comment policy, which your comments typically do on multiple grounds, and as long as it is indeed 'civil']
    All of my replies were ditched.
    No dissent allowed, I guess.
    Anyway, I just want it on the record that I don’t accept your [edit]
    Marcus [ 67] , my reply to your more civil remarks was also binned, but I don’t believe your three points were correct, in particular, point1.
    How is albedo reduced if , as you claim, the soot is not visible to the naked eye on the ice ?

    Comment by truth — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  156. tamino 20 Jul 2009 at 10:18 pm

    “I guess [J. Bob] decided that nobody was going to believe his ridiculous claims about the sea ice data, so he’d lay the groundwork (in #103) for questioning the data itself…

    He followed through in #138 with “Seems that before one can use statistics, effectively, one has to have an idea of the quality of the data. Statistics will not improve the smell of garbage coming in to garbage going out.”

    Whoops, I did not notice the earlier post. Only two data points but they do exhibit a trend if one draws a line between them.

    J.Bob, is this a sampling error we’re looking at? Inquiring minds need to know.

    It took me about 5 minutes to discover a document from the horse’s mouth including everything you need to address your worry; I’m amazed that you’d walk around needlessly haunted by your doubt for so long.

    Anyway, you asked twice, so here are the answers you say you’re looking for, –again–.

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0051_gsfc_seaice.gd.html

    As I mentioned, what likely errors do exist appear to be accounted for and presented in tabular form for you to scrutinize. More granular exploration of the instrumentation’s limitations can be pursued via the list of references. Perhaps you can find something there by reading; no idle speculation is necessary, only work.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:40 AM

  157. > an oversensitive skin
    Ask any alligator, they’ll tell you the same ….

    I recommend Robert Grumbine’s blog for people willing to make beginner mistakes asking questions. He’s an ice/climate guy, who aims to be rather more welcoming to new people. (He filters all the nitwittery, allowing no faux ignorance or trolling — so his site offers much less fun for those who may go for the ankles when they see someone deserving of their pointed attention.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2009 @ 10:07 AM

  158. #149 Doug- Thank You Doug, the following is from the NIDC ref.
    Confidence Level/Accuracy Judgment

    Estimates of the accuracy of the NASA Team algorithm vary depending on sea ice conditions, methods, and locations used in individual studies. Cavalieri et al. (1992) summarizes several of these studies. In general, accuracy of total sea ice concentration is within +/- 5% of the actual sea ice concentration in winter, and +/- 15% in the Arctic during summer when melt ponds are present on the sea ice. Accuracy tends to be best within the consolidated ice pack when the sea ice is relatively thick (greater than 20 cm) and ice concentration is high. Accuracy decreases as the proportion of thin ice increases. See Cavalieri et al. (1992), Steffen et al. (1992), and other listed references for an overview of the algorithm performance.

    So if I read this right, it looks like a error, or uncertainty range of 5 to 15 %. Assuming a 10% error, that would be about 2 mill. sq. km. error/uncertainty. So for the anomaly data, it’s rather hard to argue one way or another, as to the degree of change. Much less, what is causing it. Seems a satellite measuring ice went out about some time ago, only it deteriorated rather fast, so the problem was more noticeable. The worst ones are the slow moving ones that escape notice, and data is accepted as fact. That’s why re-calibrations are helpful.

    Unfortunately with all those digits in a reading, some might get the impression that it’s accurate to that level. Depending on the circumstances, we used to have to “pad” the uncertainty digits with zeros to highlight error/uncertainty, especially to a Marketing Director.

    #144 Tamino – So if you have a long term error “drift” in the sensor, how do you use statistics to help you separate real temperature “drift” or sensor “drift”? Unless you re-cal a unit to a known standard, or compare it to other sensors you know (hopefully) are good, statistics will not help. That’s the purpose of comparing results with other methods. That is why I cross checked my Fourier Analysis of the 1659-2008 Central English temp data, with a different method ( 4-pole Cheb. recursive filter). Both methods showed the recent flattening/downward trend in global temperature over the last decade, that MAY indicate it being part of a 40-50 year cycle.

    One of the best ways to tell if people are on “thin ice” with their arguments, is the their use of condescending remarks.

    Comment by J. Bob — 21 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  159. Acknowledgements: Kevin & Thomas & Hank
    Disacknowledgements: Mark
    The problem of 100 years is that you use 100 years in an example to show how wrong I am, but the change I started writing about occurred over several billion years, thus magnifying even a small effect I presume. The problem of unscientific conclusion jumping is exemplified by your conjecture that I’m getting this stuff from some sort of scamming talking points based on the fact that there are holes in my knowledge. And that I don’t know how to do science because I didn’t read up on every aspect or figure everything out first before commenting on an idea. (The simple answer is that I’m busy doing my own science; others know this stuff much better so I came here looking to gain from their expertise.) Shall I question your ability to do science or to teach? The moderators should correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was perfectly acceptable behaviour (not shocking behaviour) to visit this blog and ask about an idea because others might share links to something directly relevant or be capable of quickly figuring something out, and sharing that. I didn’t realize I had to “stretch the boundaries of the science” myself before commenting.

    Comment by Steve L — 21 Jul 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  160. Truth : “the black carbon that’s clearly visible in all photographs of Arctic”:

    “as you claim, the soot is not visible to the naked eye on the ice ?”

    NO, none whatsoever especially by Arctic ice dwellers present for decades… Place that idea in the bin….

    #140, The Multidecadal melt periods suggested have nothing in common with the current vast shrinkage of old ice. Back in the 80′s there was such things as ice 10 meters thick. Often sought by “bush” pilots in support for Arctic ocean expeditions, they were vast and easy to find. Not so, now a days. Data from 30′s and 40′s are scarce, but I must suggest access to International Ice patrol data, with respect to Iceberg seasons. If there were great melts during that period, iceberg seasons would have been greatly affected.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  161. When sea water freezes slowly, low salt ice is formed and a very cold brine is rejected. Such low salt ice floats. The high density brine sinks, and under some conditions can rapidly freeze sea water forming a frozen solid that is denser than sea water and called “anchor ice.” Sometimes “ice” does not float.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  162. “The problem of 100 years is that you use 100 years in an example to show how wrong I am, but the change I started writing about occurred over several billion years,”

    But it’s the CHANGE that forces the current warming, since the change in forcing will cause change until the system catches up with the forcing.

    That billion year old forcing was part of the stable temperature 999,990,990 years ago. So only changes over the 100 years could be considered as requiring a change in temperature.

    So there is no 100 year problem as you put it. Except being a problem in the idea that tidal forces could cause global warming.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  163. “I recommend Robert Grumbine’s blog for people willing to make beginner mistakes asking questions.

    Comment by Hank Roberts ”

    And if it hadn’t been on something pretty darn esoteric (the moon moving away), I could have accepted a beginners’ mistake.

    But the moon moving away I’ve only ever seen said where it explains where that move is coming from: the rotation of the earth.

    So if it had been “Does the dissipation of the tides cause warming?” I would have explained.

    Then asking “how would I do the ballpark guess?” kind of demanded a “Hope you’re not a scientist”. Because the idea of being able to come up with such a rough calculation is the first level of defence for weeding out wasteful ideas in science.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:29 AM

  164. “truth” #155:

    I’m not allowed a civil reply. [moderator--you are, as long as it doesn't violate our comment policy, which your comments typically do on multiple grounds, and as long as it is indeed 'civil']

    I can confirm what moderator wrote. My comments have been snipped at times too, usually for intemperate language (did I say that I’m allergic to lies?). The moderation rules are simple, a fairly legalistic application of comment policy by apparently not climatologically trained operators. And like cops they have no sense of humour. It really isn’t that hard.

    BTW my remarks required no reply. There really isn’t much to reply to someone observing the serial repetition of long-debunked untruths. Shame would be the apt response.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  165. “truth” asks above:
    > How is albedo reduced if , as you claim, the soot is
    > not visible to the naked eye on the ice ?

    Note: he said it happens; now you’re asking _how_.
    That’s a different question.
    Do you accept that it does happen even when you can’t see it?
    That’s easy to check — you can look this up.

    I pasted your question into the Search box for Google Scholar and found this within the first few dozen hits, in less than a minute:

    http://www.geophysica.fi/pdf/geophysica_2006_42_1-2_017_rasmus.pdf

    “… Impurities, such as soot or dust, within the snow absorb radiation more efficiently than the ice in the snow grains, thus lowering the albedo of the snow cover. Warren and Clarke (1990) found that very small concentrations of soot that are invisible to the naked eye decrease the albedo of snow….”

    The cite there is to:
    Warren, S.G. and A.D. Clarke, 1990. Soot in the atmosphere and snow surface of Antarctica, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 1811-1816

    So yes, there’s evidence for the statement made.
    Now, you want to ask _how_ this happens?
    You realize it’s a different question, a real one?

    Because given your history, “truth” — I’d guess you were just making a rhetorical expression of disbelief in the fact.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  166. “One of the best ways to tell if people are on “thin ice” with their arguments, is the their use of condescending remarks.

    Comment by J. Bob”

    Of course, a terrible and incorrect argument could also result in condescention.

    You know, like “Have the IPCC considered it may be the SUN that is doing all this?”.

    A query inviting condescention.

    Of course, most of Jim-Bob’s points of of that quality, so he’s come to the conclusion that it must be “thin ice” rather than he “has nothing” since he knows he’s right, it’s just that the science is being suppressed…

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 12:50 PM

  167. PS to Hank’s 158 post. Filtering out the nitwittery also makes it less necessary to treat the nitwits with undeserved respect.

    After all, if the nitwit posts are pruned, there’s no false “discussion” where someone will use their unearned respect to “prove” the debate is still on (see Plimer/Monkton et al).

    And the point of putting the debate on continuous repeat is so that there is always a “reasonable” request to say “we don’t know yet if we have to, and it will cost, so we’d best wait until it IS sorted out”.

    What the denialists want by the back door.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  168. Two points:

    1) The melt season is at an interesting point right now; it appears that the 2009 plot is likely–based mostly on the trajectory of past seasons–to dip below that of 2006 sometime within the next week, thereby becoming (for a time at least) the second-lowest extent. (This assumes no drastic change in the current melt rate, which is admittedly a sizable assumption.)

    2) A question regarding the physics of glacial cracks & meltwater, proceeding from the previous post, where there was a bit of a thread going. The question there was, how does meltwater behave in a glacial crack? Gavin pointed out that the densities involved imply 10% more pressure within the crack than within the surrounding ice. A poster stated that he thought the meltwater might freeze, creating a lateral pressure.

    My intuitive take: the crack is surrounded by many thousands of tons of (relatively inelastic) ice. It *can’t* expand, so becomes supercooled. But, I wondered, was this plausible given such a small pressure differential? The following discussion seemed to say, “no.” (Ie., since it takes 135 atmospheres to lower the freezing point 1 degree C, a 10% pressure differential will result in a negligible lowering of the freezing point.)

    http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem00/chem00543.htm

    So, what happens? Presumably the pressure can preferentially act in two ways: to lift liquid water in the melt pond, or to propagate the crack downward. (This might be a good place to mention another post, which seemed to state that pressure in a water column was largely independent of depth. This made no sense to me, and appears to be wrong, according to this discussion. But perhaps I misunderstood what that poster was trying to say.)

    If a crack gets deep enough, the pressures will become such as to lower the freezing point significantly (and presumably that 10% differential will obtain throughout the column.) Here’s a discussion of supercooled liquid water flow in glaciers that I found (2003):

    http://www.agiweb.org/geotimes/oct03/NN_glacialmodel.html

    Don’t know if I’m on the right track (or, indeed, any particular track!) with these musings, but feedback, elaboration, or comment would be warmly appreciated.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jul 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  169. you are sik! [sic]

    [edit] like you are dreaming of a green christmas…dream on and be quiet, your time will be over soon!

    Comment by silvia — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:06 PM

  170. Mark (153), did you say the Sun’s tidal force on the Earth is twice that of the Moon??

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  171. #155 truth

    hmm… truth doth protest too much.

    The moderators here are in my opinion extremely intelligent and very fair. They are also cool headed in their assessments, more-so than I.

    You’ve been around here awhile, so you ‘should’ know. I myself have been edited plenty of times. That’s because I get frustrated with silliness that does not have a foundation in holistic reasoning (but is rather based on myopic out of context arguments and unfounded or rhetorical bias).

    My guess is that you are posting drivel or ad hominem remarks, and thus are edited. If entire posts are being ignored, then I would venture to say that you are adding nothing intelligent to the conversation.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  172. BobF is talking about the Pielke Sr. & ICECAP promotion of a slanted view of a paper on Arctic temperature trends and postulated global climate modes:

    http://climatesci.org/2009/06/01/new-paper-arctic-air-temperature-change-amplification-by-chylek-et-al-2009/

    Not having the paper, it’s hard to say what they actually did. From the abstract:

    (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale,

    (b) the Arctic warming from 1910–1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970–2008 warming, and

    (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.

    Poor historical data is a serious problem in analyzing 20th century changes as well as in forecasting future rates of decline. Dynamically, there is a circulation and flow of Arctic sea ice, linked to ocean currents and atmospheric wind patterns. Energy-wise, heat and momentum budgets are complicated by large polewards energy transfer from tropical regions.

    The single largest global influence on the Arctic is has previously been though to be the tropical Pacific, with the main source of natural variability being El Nino & La Nina. For a paper on this interesting phenomenon (AO links to ENSO)

    http://www.pol.ac.uk/home/research/waveletcoherence/download/2003JD003417.pdf

    Moore & Grinsted “Influence of the Arctic Oscillation and El Nino-Southern Oscillation
    (ENSO) on ice conditions in the Baltic Sea: The wavelet approach

    “These results are consistent with GCM simulations showing dynamical connections between high-latitude surface conditions, tropical sea surface temperatures mediated by tropical wave propagation, the wintertime polar vortex, and the AO and with models of sea ice and oceanic feedbacks at decadal periods.”

    http://www.bio.puc.cl/caseb/casebpdf/Stenseth&al.2003.PRSL.pdf

    The fundamental scientific issue is the nature of such ‘oscillations’. Some phenomena (like the tides) have an obvious periodicity driven by orbital dynamics, with a small but significant irregularity.

    Others have a quasi-periodicity that is linked to gravity waves – see the QBO wiki blurb Such gravity waves may also play a role in timing the 22-year solar cycle – something solar physicists picked up from atmospheric physicists, interestingly enough:

    Mayr et al. 2001In the Earth’s atmosphere, a zonal flow oscillation is observed with periods between 20 and 32 months, the Quasi Biennial Oscillation. This oscillation does not require an external time dependent source but is maintained by non-linear wave momentum forcing. We propose that such a mechanism also drives long-period oscillations in planetary and stellar interiors, and we apply it here to generate a flow oscillation for the 22-year solar cycle.

    Others may appear periodic, but actually be chaotic. What that means is that very small differences between two initial states result in wildly different outcomes at some later time, characteristic of the system in question. For example, consider the moons of Saturn. If we take two measurements of their locations that differ slightly, and plug those numbers into a planetary orbital model, we expect no major difference when it comes to predicting the moon’s future locations.

    With ENSO, two sets of very similar values of ocean temperature, wind speed, air pressure, etc. would indeed result in very different predictions and outcomes. This appears similar to the situation in the atmosphere, but with a longer time period before divergence. It seems probable that other postulated fluctuations behave similarly, and it is also clear that, in particular, the regional effects of ENSO etc will change as the oceans and atmosphere warm.

    For example, the main factor in the susceptibility of sea ice extent to these fluctuations has been the thinning – 1-meter thick ice can be pushed around by the wind, which was a major factor in the most recent record low extent. However, more open water means more ocean-air temperature exchange, leading to lingering warmth in the Arctic fall and warmer Arctic winters.

    This predicted warming of the Arctic winter has also been observed:
    Comiso 2006 Abrupt Decline in the Arctic Winter Sea Ice Cover

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  173. truth 21 Jul 2009 at 9:31 am

    “I replied to each of your criticisms of me, including Doug Bostram’s sneer at my screen name—just a simple and truthful explanation— but for some reason, although you and all and sundry are allowed to attack me , I’m not allowed a civil reply.”

    Here’s a teachable moment. How did did “truth” comport himself/herself/itself (sorry, the moniker allows no more precise pronoun) when he/she/it parachuted into this thread?

    “Why are Real Climate and the rest of the AGW proponents completely ignoring the research of NASA’s Drew Shindell—and NASA’s own reports on the role of black carbon in Arctic warming?

    Why is the AGW side so desperate to have all the focus on CO2?”

    The underlying assertion is flat wrong, which if it were coming from a complete neophyte and presented as a sincere question on this site would certainly be acceptable. However, “truth” introduced this silly fiction in a way that was arguably rude and obnoxious, while being well acquainted with the exhausted patience of regulars on the site. Translated, “truth” entered the conversation saying that climate scientists are either incompetent or pursuing a non-scientific hidden agenda.

    Being carelessly loose with truth while simultaneously adopting the conceited pseudonym “truth” and at the same time displaying a really poor attitude is an almost irresistible invitation for a withering response.

    Now “truth” is whining about being sneered at, treated in turn rudely and obnoxiously, even though nobody chose the absurdly conflicted costume he/she/it volunteered to wear in a public appearance where the outcome should be no mystery.

    Rude and obnoxious replies are not particularly unusual here when RC regulars are confronted with stale talking points coupled with pugnacious presentation. Repeated exposure to expired canards elicits a positively allergic response. If you can’t stand heat, don’t turn up the thermostat.

    If you’re a thin-skinned “skeptic” and imagine you’ve got a beef to pick with any particular facet of climate science, why not first make sure of your facts, then present your “finding” with a neutral affect?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  174. #101 J. Bob

    Understand that the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 and forcing, combined with oceanic thermal inertial paints a pretty reasonable picture of what is actually happening.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/thermal-inertia

    All things considered we are on a new path and that path is warming.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    A reasoning mind does not need history to understand basic Newtonian physics. If you drop an apple while you are standing on the earth, it will drop toward the earth. In this sense, climate is very easy to understand.

    Think of it like a 230 car locomotive loaded with steel on a downhill slope. Inertia. In this case the C02 is the steel and it is in the atmosphere (the downhill slope). It will not be easy to slow and reverse to return to previous state climate range.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  175. # 103 J. Bob

    From a lay perspective, it is probably a good idea not to worry as much about the error bars but rather recognize the basic trend based on the forcing component. The error bars will remain on various data sets and get smaller over time.

    The trend is clear.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  176. J. Bob 21 Jul 2009 at 10:25 am

    “So if I read this right, it looks like a error, or uncertainty range of 5 to 15 %. Assuming a 10% error, that would be about 2 mill. sq. km. error/uncertainty. So for the anomaly data, it’s rather hard to argue one way or another, as to the degree of change.”

    I disagree. In order to dismiss the downward trend in the data, you need to posit and then identify a mechanism producing a previously unidentified bias in the data product that will explain the downward trend.

    I don’t think you can do that, based on what I read of the instrumentation’s function. If you look here

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0002_ssmi_seaice.gd.html

    you’ll an extremely detailed accounting of how these measurements are obtained, including calibration philosophy and methods, how orbital mechanics interact with the RF observations, etc. It all seems pretty airtight.

    Again, if you’re questioning the validity of the data, you need to identify an error source that will explain the downward trend in ice coverage as observed by the instrumentation. Comprehensive information on the instrumentation is available for you to do the work required for such finding.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  177. #158 J. Bob

    Are you disagreeing with the general trend because of the error bars?

    If so, why?

    Additionally, do you realize that in post #85 you stated

    “Global sea ice still running about normal, no mass meltdown:”

    and then pointed everyone to a graph that showed a downtrend.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    Do you realize that the visual of the graph to the untrained eye would look like there is no downtrend but that in fact there is a significant trend?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/christopher-monckton

    I added the chart you showed to this page (scroll down to global ice) specifically because that was one of Moncktons arguments. Read it and let me know if you still think nothing is melting?

    Then take a look at this glacier chart

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig2-18.htm

    Take a look at glacial retreat

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/glacier-retreat

    Of course, study over at NSIDC

    http://www.nsidc.org/

    Last but certainly not least:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/worldwide-glacier-retreat/

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  178. Good golly, Mark, read what I’ve written! I’m not blaming tidal forcing for global warming! I’m blaming the Moon moving away from the Earth for global COOLING (only warming if going backward through time, until the Moon was much closer to the Earth, potentially having a significant impact on the Earth’s temperature). Mis-reading what someone writes and assuming they are politically motivated is bad pedagogy, not to mention unscientific.
    PS. You seem to be overly concerned with who I am and my motivations and not with the questions I’ve actually tried to ask. Would it be more scientific to search up comments by Steve L on climate blogs than to assume that I’m an AGW-denier? (I wanted to keep this about the issues, but if you read through your comments, they’re largely of a personal nature — how scientific is that?)

    Comment by Steve L — 21 Jul 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  179. Re: 168, Kevin McKinney:

    I believe the statement was made that the gradient was constant in a water column, not that the pressure was constant. (Admittedly a rather clumsy phrasing, but that was my take on it).

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 21 Jul 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  180. To Mark, comment # 118 (in response to my earlier comment):

    I gather that, by your post back to me, you think using “extinct” is good science writing, and not a form of hyperbole?

    But your post, cryptic as it was, doesn’t support your position, unless your suggest that your use of ‘extinct” with reference to arctic ice maps to:

    “3: of a fire; being out or having grown cold; “threw his
    extinct cigarette into the stream”; “faint smoke from the
    extinguished candle”; “the fire is out”; “the quenched
    flames” [syn: extinguished, out, quenched]

    Clearly, in a science-based discussion analyzing the global impact of warming, someone using the word “extinction” should be understood to be referring to “the permanent disappearance of a species (or some other permanent disappearance)from the Earth.”

    Comment by Stephen — 21 Jul 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  181. Steve L 21 Jul 2009 at 3:20 pm
    “Good golly, Mark, read what I’ve written!”

    I think maybe you’re seeing the RC equivalent of anaphylaxis.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  182. Steve L 21 Jul 2009 at 3:20 pm
    “Good golly, Mark, read what I’ve written!”

    I think maybe you’re seeing the RC equivalent of anaphylaxis. You’re not a nut, but the even a coincidental and perfectly innocent resemblance to being a nut triggers a hyperimmune response…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  183. #178 Steve L

    Okay, I’ll bite. What are your motivations here?

    And while we are at it, what relevance does a discussion of the moon have on current global warming?

    Shouldn’t you start your own thread or blog on the subject. This thread largely revolves around understanding climate science with a special regard to recent changes in the climate environment that are causing additional forcing to be imposed on the earth climate system.

    Bear in mind, there are many that use red herrings to distract the conversation away from contextually relevant information regarding paleo climate and our current global warming event, and I myself am wondering how could the faint young sun or moon orbit be relevant in this context? But if you have something relevant between this, the moon and anthropogenic global warming, what is it?

    More specifically, how is the amount of forcing change that may or may not be imposed on the climate system by the moon moving away relevant to our current event. Can you express this in forcing of W/m2?

    Context is key.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:17 PM

  184. #158 J. Bob,

    Here is that Global Sea Ice graph on a non-stretched x-axis with the OLS trend and uncertainty intervals:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/iceanomalywithuncertaintyintervals.jpg

    The decline in global sea ice is both clear and significant.

    For more background, read:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/what-george-will-meant-why-its-wrong/

    and

    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/03/george-wills-analysis-sea-ice/

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  185. “Good golly, Mark, read what I’ve written! I’m not blaming tidal forcing for global warming!”

    I’ve told Hank of for bad arguments, Steve.

    What makes you think you’d get a by on making more bad ones just because it isn’t proving AGW false?

    My problem isn’t the arguments denialists make against AGW. It’s the ***bad*** arguments denialists make against AGW.

    And pro-AGW people can make just as bad an argument.

    Now, you still haven’t given where you got the partial informtaion that told you that the moon was getting further away but didn’t explain why.

    And it doesn’t matter what side of a fence you sit, if you want to consider yourself a capable scientist, you will have to think of several ways of getting a ball-park estimate. Not just ask others.

    After the ballpark, you can see if it’s worth asking anyone about it.

    But you didn’t do that [edit]

    But when did I say you were a denialist? I said if you’d read something somewhere and got part of the picture but didn’t care enough to read up, read up but “edited out” the reasons or just had a brain-fart, doesn’t matter.

    You’d either scammed yourself, been scammed or other activity that isn’t really worthy of someone who wants to be considered “scientific” in their field.

    And that’s the same if you were arguing that AGW is right over that half-baked (if that) theory, trying to prove it was “something else” or just trolling for attention.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  186. “Mark (153), did you say the Sun’s tidal force on the Earth is twice that of the Moon??

    Comment by Rod B”

    No it was someone else [edit--lets be civil]

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  187. [edit--lets be civil]

    Well tell that barnstack that.

    “Oh, I thought that the ratio was X:Y …gives link..” would work better rather than the prissy “did you just say…?”

    No, it was some other person.

    So sod off.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jul 2009 @ 5:05 PM

  188. #176 Doug

    I’ll stick with what the document says;
    Cavalieri et al. (1992) summarizes several of these studies. In general, accuracy of total sea ice concentration is within +/- 5% of the actual sea ice concentration in winter, and +/- 15% in the Arctic during summer when melt ponds are present on the sea ice.

    That’s a standard way of specifying instrumentation. That means you have about a +/- 2 million sq. km. error/uncertainty in the presented data, and the real data it somewhere in there. So don’t get to excited about the least significant digits.
    From your reference:

    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0002_ssmi_seaice.gd.html

    Bootstrap Algorithm Error Analysis
    Under ideal winter situations when only thick ice and open water are present, ice concentration can be derived with the Bootstrap technique at an accuracy of about five to 10 percent, based on standard deviations of emissivities as used in the formulation. Errors are higher in the seasonal sea ice region than in the central Arctic region because of higher standard deviations of consolidated sea ice in the 19 vs 37 GHz plots. This is partly because of spatial changes in surface temperature that are not as effectively accounted for by this set of data.

    farther on:
    Despite this adjustment, the error is still substantial and can be larger than 20 percent due to spatial variations in melt and affects of meltponding.

    If I read this right, instead of +/- 10%, should I now look at a +/- 20% error/uncertainty, and increase the error band to 4 million sq. km.?

    #177 – John, what I am saying, is that one should not get to excited about a 3% error, when the over all error/uncertainty can be as high as 20%. One may not know if there is a instrumentation problem or a sea ice problem in a fine grain analysis. It doesn’t mean you don’t watch it, just be aware of what your dealing with.

    Comment by J. Bob — 21 Jul 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  189. Ike Solem Reur 172
    You wrote concerning my 140:

    BobF is talking about the Pielke Sr. & ICECAP promotion of a slanted view of a paper on Arctic temperature trends and postulated global climate modes:

    Not so Ike. Here is the link again:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL038777.shtml
    It is to the AGU, (American Geophysical Union) and their respected Journal; GRL (Geophysical research letters).

    You seem to want to denigrate this paper, but please note the diverse and impressive authorship, which BTW includes Chris Folland of the Hadley Centre! Note too, GRL’s peer review process timing.

    Petr Chylek
    Space and Remote Sensing, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
    Chris K. Folland
    Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Change, Exeter, UK
    Glen Lesins
    Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Manvendra K. Dubey
    Earth and Environmental Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
    Muyin Wang
    Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

    Received 19 April 2009; accepted 9 June 2009; published 16 July 2009.

    Comment by BobFJ — 21 Jul 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  190. JPR @183, I’ve tried to lay out my motivations @137; faint young Sun was discussed on Realclimate previously and I link to that @89, so presumably it’s fair game to comment/ask about very ancient climate stuff. I wouldn’t have belaboured the point I tried to make, or defend it, if I thought it was being received properly. I suspect that if I’d tried to be more complete when I first brought it up (rather than be overly cursory — I knew it was a bit off topic) some of the misunderstandings might not have occurred and you would have had to read less of this personal stuff. Sorry about that. But now I’m going to take Mark’s bait….

    Mark @185 thinks my argument is crap. I can’t find out why from him because he’s [self-edit] and focused on personal stuff, but I’m trying to obtain Bruce Bill’s Nature Geoscience article (recommended by Hank @109) and may learn something there. I don’t think Mark knows what my argument is — he thinks I’m saying the Moon has caused global warming over the last 100 years or something. And he thinks I may be seeking attention (projection) or that, to prove authenticity, I must spend more time and space here describing where I got the partial ideas I have. Very well: I’m a fish geneticist so I like evolution and I’ve watched Thunderf00t on youtube (one video mentions the Moon getting farther away); also as I’m a fish geneticist who works with a temperature sensitive creature, I’m interested in tides and temperature; finally I’m not a physicist so I don’t understand how the Moon gets farther away by slowing the Earth without tidal breaking. You’d think someone who based several of his own comments on a poor reading/understanding of something (I’m not asking Mark to prove his 100 year fetish is authentic — I don’t care) would understand how partial ideas get formed!
    I hope this satisfies you, JPR. This is gladly(!) my last comment on this topic unless I learn more (hopefully from the Nature Geoscience article when I can access it) and can provide something useful on W/m2. Thomas @146 has dampened my optimism that this is possible because very little is known about actual conditions that existed so long ago when whatever effect the Moon had would have been strongest.

    Comment by Steve L — 21 Jul 2009 @ 6:30 PM

  191. J. Bob 21 Jul 2009 at 5:45 pm

    [handwaving about scattered errors omitted]

    So you concede that you cannot identify any systematic source of error that will reproduce the trend of declining ice identified by the instruments.

    Good.

    Then you should stop emitting unsupported statements such as:

    “So for the anomaly data, it’s rather hard to argue one way or another, as to the degree of change.”

    Let me repeat:

    “…if you’re questioning the validity of the data, you need to identify an error source that will explain the downward trend in ice coverage as observed by the instrumentation.”

    You did not do that. Other errors are irrelevant. The instrumentation indicates a downward trend in ice coverage that you have failed to explain via defects in the data.

    Sorry to be so repetitious but it seems to be unavoidable.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  192. Lest anybody be misdirected, let me emphasize that J.Bob in his 21 Jul 2009 at 5:45 pm post is attempting to explain an observed downward trend in ice coverage by resorting to errors of a type that while significant are not capable of producing a systematic trend of erroneous underestimation of ice coverage.

    The errors J.Bob refers to are seasonally consistent and end up producing measurements with shorter error bars in winter, taller error bars in summer.

    The errors he is referring to do not grow year-by-year, nor do they produce a skew or trend in measured area over the course of years.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 6:52 PM

  193. re Steve L 21 Jul 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Further to your posts and even more solidly off-topic, but I understand some of the cognoscenti believe terrestrial life would not have emerged but for the lunar tide. So we would have been stuck at the fish stage, which I suppose would have precluded our current combustion-related problems.

    Speaking of evolution, here are some ideas found mixed in association together at a hapless congressman’s recent town hall meeting on health care. He found himself confronted with more than medical bills:

    ““It’s still a theory, so is Darwin’s theory of evolution! And yet we have the audacity to say global warming is accurate, it’s more than a theory? How about how cold it’s been this spring. Personal data, data shows that since 1998 average temperatures have been cooling!””

    ““The virus was built and created in Fort Dix, a small bioweapons plant outside of Fort Dix. This was engineered. This thing didn’t just crop up in a cave or a swine farm. This thing was engineered, the virus. Pasteur International, one of the big vaccine companies in Chicago, has been caught sending AIDS-infected vaccines to Africa. Do you think I trust — I don’t trust you with anything. You think I’m going to trust you to put a needle full of dead baby juice and monkey kidneys? Cause that’s what this stuff is grown on, dead babies!””

    ““Do you have any idea what that cap and trade tax thing, bill that you passed is going to do to the Suffolk County poultry industry? That’s how chicken houses are heated, with propane. It outputs CO2. I mean, I’m outputting CO2 right now as I speak. Trees need CO2 to make oxygen! You can’t tax that!””

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/07/21/castle-townhall/

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 7:17 PM

  194. #173 Doug Bostrom

    Thank you for your assessment of the ironically misnamed ‘truth’.

    Personally I think he/she/it has more in common with a shill, or a troll.

    The improperly named ‘truth’ seems to have an agenda: that of avoidance, or neurosis, on the science of climate. ‘truth’ also seems to be one of those that wants to wear the badge of being able to say ‘the RC posters don’t like me and my truth’, so obviously the science regarding AGW must be wrong.

    To hide anonymously behind the moniker of ‘truth’ and babble incoherently about how the petabytes of data and innumerable hours of analysis are wrong is simply mind boggling. But easy to understand when it comes from an anonymous source so ineptly named ‘truth’.

    But you see, what I am writing is exactly what the foolishly named ‘truth’ wants; I have been suckered into his expertly woven web so that he can now say that I am a mean person and don’t care about science, therefore anything I say about global warming must be wrong.

    If only he/she/it would bestow upon us a real name associated with the actual poster, that we may herald such wisdom and understanding and possibly elect he/she/it into an office of our great land that such person/entity may then bless the nation, nay, the world with profound elucidations about how all those crazy scientists are wrong.

    Nay, we mere mortals must bow down to the anonymity of the splendor of masked diatribes, non sequitur arguments, straw-men, false dichotomies and red herrings and wallow in our foolish consideration of the works of scientists who are guilty of examining evidence using such device as the relatively unestablished scientific method…. because everyone knows that the climate has been around much longer that the scientific method…, at least on this planet.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 7:30 PM

  195. J.Bob @158 and 188, no, sea ice doesn’t work like that.
    Here, look at the current sea ice concentration map from Cryosphere Today.

    The key fact which you are missing, and which you can see from that map, is this: almost all of the ocean is either ice-free (much less than 5% ice) or has very high ice concentration (over 95%). This is fundamental to an understanding of sea ice: you’ve either got ice, or you haven’t. Check MODIS for direct visual confirmation. Here’s a picture from today. Even now, in the middle of a ferocious melt season, when the ice at 90 East and 83 or even 85 degrees North is all chopped up like a frappuccino – a daunting sight to the keen amateur ice watcher – it still covers well over 90% of the sea surface. During the winter, it’s even more cut and dried.

    This bimodal behaviour is why we can even talk about an “ice edge”. So when ice scientists say they have a 5% or a 15% or even a 20% error bar on their concentration numbers, they *aren’t* talking about the areas which read 100%, or 0%. The error bars there are very much smaller. They are talking about the ice edge, that fringe around the ice pack which has 80% or 50% or 25% ice. Determining whether a given point in this fringe has a 40% concentration or a 50% concentration is very hard: there’s a large error bar, but it makes no difference at all to the total extent number. In fact this ice edge is especially narrow in winter. Consider this tool at CT, which lets you see concentration maps from many different dates.

    Observe also that most of the ice fringe has high ice concentrations (above 50%). This all counts as 100% towards the “ice extent” number (which counts all areas with over 15% ice concentration). The only uncertainty is over the size of the very narrow fringe with less than 15% concentration. It is difficult to pick out even a single pixel from a concentration map which counts towards this uncertainty. On a MODIS shot you can trace a low-concentration fringe, but it’s very narrow – a few tens of kilometres at most, often well under a kilometre. As the perimeter of the late-summer ice pack is maybe ten thousand kilometres (paradoxically it is much less in winter), the extent uncertainty is not going to be millions of square kilometres. It’s just not, and you can’t advance a single study which says that it is.

    So no, there isn’t anything like a 20% error bar on the ice extent number.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 21 Jul 2009 @ 7:30 PM

  196. #188 J. Bob

    I’m trying to understand your context. Are you arguing the finer points of climate science or are you arguing the validity of the AGW science?

    As I understand it, the further you get out to the edge of the error bars the less likely the accuracy based on the overall analysis or the specific data point. So why get excited about the possibility of a 20% error/uncertainty?

    I’m all for reducing error bars ;) but context will get you relevance every time. So I want to understand your argument point. Is it AGW is partly, or largely false, in concept; or merely that the planet is warming, the ice is melting and we need to be more precise….

    But, as indicated in your previous post #85 “Global sea ice still running about normal, no mass meltdown” so I’m confused? Your statements seem to be contradictory. Maybe you can help me understand better what precisely you are saying?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 7:33 PM

  197. #190 Steve L

    Thank you for the context. I looked at the original RC article, faint sun, and also looked up the departure rate of the moon.

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/21jul_llr.htm

    3.8cm per year and steady.

    Consider the potential of influence on the time scales of seasonal vs. eons and periods. I would add the context of actual forcing as illustrated by the GCM’s into this context. You seem to be considering the possibility of major, or substantial, climate influence on shorter time scales, even seasonal, but how much (W/m2)? Also consider that any influence on short time scales would likely prove to be statistically insignificant in this context (that of forcing changes that are human caused).

    I would never say don’t examine something, but thar be dragons where context is less understood, as you have noticed. Sometimes things out of context can smell a bit fishy (no pun intended… okay, pun intended, sometimes I get a chuckle out of how silly I can be).

    For further context, consider the GHG change rate estimated by a study from a University in the UK indicating a change rate of 15,000 times the natural rate of change (for a typical glacial/interglacial shift).

    So while off topic and out of context in consideration of AGW, it may be interesting study.

    I saw a documentary on the lunar orbits relationship to the earth rotation and other interesting points once, but don’t recall the relationships. I would guess that the relationship is gyroscopic. The closer an ice skaters arms are drawn in in a spin the faster the spin and vice versa, the further the arms are outstretched the slower the rotation.

    All in all, the lunar departure is a long slow process and I can’t think of any good reason it would have a significant impact on climate on shorter time scales such as that being examined in relation to AGW.

    For my own understanding: If you were to say the global warming event was human caused, what % value or range would you assign it to human causes?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 7:47 PM

  198. Kevin McKinney Reur 168, item 2)
    “…The question there was, how does meltwater behave in a glacial crack?…”
    Perhaps this experiment will help:

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2566/3744786850_0e6f250bb8_o.jpg

    Anne van der Bom, Brian Dodge, Doug Bostrom, & Sidd:
    Please also study

    Comment by BobFJ — 21 Jul 2009 @ 8:13 PM

  199. JPR @197, I suppose I would subscribe to the estimates provided by detection & attribution by the IPCC. I have no reason (or ability) to come up with my own. I note that climate sensitivity estimates haven’t changed much over the last twenty years — seems to me like things have been worked out quite thoroughly.

    Comment by Steve L — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:04 PM

  200. #195 Nick Barnes

    Excellent post! I learned a few new contexts there myself.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:10 PM

  201. Re #188
    I’ll stick with what the document says;
    Cavalieri et al. (1992) summarizes several of these studies. In general, accuracy of total sea ice concentration is within +/- 5% of the actual sea ice concentration in winter, and +/- 15% in the Arctic during summer when melt ponds are present on the sea ice.

    That’s a standard way of specifying instrumentation. That means you have about a +/- 2 million sq. km. error/uncertainty in the presented data, and the real data it somewhere in there.

    No, that’s an error in the concentration not the area/extent, the boundary of the ice is defined by a threshold concentration (usually 15%). A 10% error in concentration does not mean a 10% error in the location of the boundary (far from it), if the concentration gradient is steep, as it usually is, the error in the boundary is small.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:37 PM

  202. BobFJ 21 Jul 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t care about your condition of being cracked or not, I’m instead still baffled by your previous blanket statement that ice shelves are unaffected by climate.

    Since you have not explained otherwise, I take it you concede that ice can be modeled with reasonable confidence as a beam (or girder, if you prefer) and that a beam composed of ice behaves similarly within its material property confines to beams composed of other materials? That is to say, a beam (or girder) of ice does not increasingly resist a deflecting force as its cross section is reduced? Presumably you also concede that ice fractures in a brittle mode? Finally, I suppose you concede that ice eventually melts when warmed above the freezing point?

    As you’ve conceded all those things, in sum that as an ice sheet is reduced in thickness by warming temperatures it is thus more susceptible to mechanical failure, how is it that you hypothesize that ice shelves can be unaffected by climate change?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 21 Jul 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  203. 168: A few decades back I actually studied glaciology. A simple model for ice is a plastic material, with yield strength of about 1bar. For hydrostatic pressure of water in a crack that would be roughly a hundred meters depth. Any deeper than that, and armed with hydrostatic pressure, the water can go where it pleases. This fact is believed to be important for the stability of glacier dammed lakes.

    Regarding the errors regarding ice area (locally fraction of coverage): What effect would the errors have for ice extent (area within which coverage is estimated as >=15%? This is the much more frequently published metric -even though I will agree area and volume are more important physically. Presumably these areas are grid point by grid point, so unless there was systemic bias they should largely cancel out.

    Poor Steve L, he is interested in the possible effect of tides on the dim younf sun problem, but the climatologists are interested in recent (and near future) climate. To them deep time is 100 million years, which in the context of potential tidal forcing is nothing. I’m sure it would be an interesting subject in theoretical comparitive planetary climatology. Unfortunately we have virtually no data in this field -about all we can do with exoplanets is estimate orbit, mass and radius.

    Comment by Thomas — 21 Jul 2009 @ 10:37 PM

  204. I don’t quite see how your experiment helps, BobFJ.

    The container walls are elastic, unlike the ice, and there is no possibility of supercooling or even differential pressures. The only thing that is demonstrated that is parallel is the “path of least resistance,” which I discussed in my original post:

    “Presumably the pressure can preferentially act in two ways: to lift liquid water in the melt pond, or to propagate the crack downward.”

    The latter seems to be what happens, quite often. Rapid draining of large melt ponds via moulins has been scientifically observed.

    Descending to the anecdotal realm, I myself often noticed as a child how quickly water flowing on top of an ice sheet could erode a channel. None of this gives me confidence that the meltwater is very likely to freeze consistently.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:05 PM

  205. I’ve told Hank of for bad arguments, Steve.

    Not to mention many others, who you’ve not bothered to understand, then after throwing them under the bus, saying “oh, well, cheers!”

    I have to admit – I don’t pay much attention to you unless you’re attacking me unfairly, or someone else trying to make a reasonable point or ask a reasonable question who you attack with hydrogen bombs.

    Your contribution here is almost entirely negative, mostly due to nuking people with friendly fire.

    You are smart enough to do better.

    But, apparently you’d rather be known as an asshole, rather than being known for being knowledgeable, having reading comprehension skills, and helpful to the cause.

    A 10% error in concentration does not mean a 10% error in the location of the boundary (far from it), if the concentration gradient is steep, as it usually is, the error in the boundary is small.

    Indeed, J Bob, the latest engineer proving the works of scientists to be wrong, assumes that errors in bits of the data analysis means that the same amount of error follows for the ice extent or area calculations.

    Good luck with that extrapolation, J Bob.

    Meanwhile, have you ever noticed how the denialsphere is never so straightforward with uncertainties?

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:08 PM

  206. BobF,

    No, it’s just the typical respinning that is objectionable, perhaps not the paper itself. Again, the abstract says, first:

    (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale.

    That’s plausible, but what does it mean? Could such multidecadal patterns be used for projections of future trends, is there a chaotic-type progression, or are you just looking at random fluctuations, i.e., noise in the warming trend?

    b) the Arctic warming from 1910–1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970–2008 warming.

    You’d have to know a lot more about the data coverage. Were there similar changes as today in ice thickness and areal extent at that time? There are few if any such records – but there is the issue of aerosols to consider, which appear to play a large role in warming the Arctic atmosphere, not just recently as per Shindell et al. but also ever since the industrial revolution took off:

    <a href="http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/~mflanner/ppr/Mccnnl07.pdfMcConnell et al. 2007 20th-Century Industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Arctic Climate Forcing (pdf)

    During the 5-year period of maximum industrial BC emissions from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface forcing in the Arctic was 3.2 W m–2, which is about eight times the typical early summer forcing before industrialization.

    (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.

    The complexity of deep water formation and gyre-driven western boundary currents results in very complex water mixing in the North Atlantic, and not just at the surface. A simple thermohaline conveyor belt seems to be the wrong model, as many data-based studies indicate, for example:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090513130942.htm

    . . .much of this water, originating in the sea between Newfoundland and Greenland, is diverted generally eastward by the time it flows as far south as Massachusetts. From there it disburses to the depths in complex ways that are difficult to follow.

    A 50-year-old model of ocean currents had shown this southbound subsurface flow of cold water forming a continuous loop with the familiar northbound flow of warm water on the surface, called the Gulf Stream.

    If the loop is not continuous, then there is no slowing the loop via changes in salinity – there is just the continued transport of gradually warming water via the gyre-driven Gulf Stream. Britain and similar zones are thus likely to suffer most from flooding and summer heat, not from a deep freeze.

    The paper could very well be legitimate, but simply wrong, or missing important features. If one wished to ‘denigrate’ said paper, one would say it was “not even wrong.”

    Chylek does seem to have a recorded perspective on the issue:

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-07-24-global-warming-skeptic_x.htm

    July 2006. . “You really cannot say for certain what is causing current climate change,” Chylek said in an interview.

    In February, when a team of U.S. scientists produced new data suggesting Greenland’s glaciers are melting more rapidly than previously thought, Chylek shot back with is own evidence. He said Greenland temperature records show the North Atlantic island was cooler in the second half of the 20th century than it was in the first half.

    In the same article, we have:

    Pielke’s father, Robert Pielke Sr., is one of those climate renegades.

    Pielke Sr. said in an interview that he thinks greenhouse gases are not the whole story behind climate change. Massive human land-use changes — for example, wholesale shifts from forest to agriculture — are also important, he said. And, global temperature data are fraught with uncertainties, he said. He also is skeptical of the computer climate simulations used to forecast future climate changes.

    That is a bit dated, but the repetitive behavior is remarkably numbing… what, do we get to talk about the radiative behavior of the atmosphere again… saturation, is it?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:26 PM

  207. He’s just having fun with y’all.

    But for some kid reading this later, obviously science fair help needed.

    Bob, take a thin-walled 1″ PVC plumbing pipe ten feet long, wall thickness as close as you can find to matching the thickness of your little freezer containers for comparison.

    Stand it on end. Fill it with water. Let it freeze solid (you’re having unusually cold weather wherever you are, right? If not just wait til next time it gets below freezing for a few days).

    What happens?

    Now do it with as many feet of that same pipe as you can put vertical, 30 or 40 feet if you’ve got a tall house.

    Now, how deep are the cracks in the ice shelves
    – compared to your ten foot length of PVC?
    – compared to the four inch depth of your freezer containers?

    How strong are the walls of your PVC pipe, or your freezer containers, compared to ice? Rather stronger, right? You can make little bridges out of all three materials and test them for breaking strength.

    Even better, take two PVC pipes, say 3″ and 6″ diameter, nested. Fill the space between them. Freeze the water in that space. Split off the outside pipe and run a little water through the inside pipe and pull it out.

    Now you have a ten foot pipe made entirely out of solid ice.

    Stand it on end, outdoors in freezing weather.

    Pour the coldest water you can find into it, cold enough it won’t melt the ice around it.

    What happens?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:45 PM

  208. And yes, none of this has anything to do with arctic sea ice.
    Red herring (sigh).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2009 @ 11:46 PM

  209. Doug Bostrom Reur202:
    You wrote in part:

    I don’t care about your condition of being cracked or not, I’m instead still baffled by your previous blanket statement that ice shelves are unaffected by climate… [and]
    …how is it that you hypothesize that ice shelves can be unaffected by climate change?

    Not what I said Doug. I now quote something of mine more typical:
    Re mechanical hinging failure of ice shelves:
    Thanks for so much interest but I remain unconvinced by the arguments presented that global warming has a significant effect in accelerating the process.

    Concerning your “strength of materials” theory, you should not confine it to a simplistic beam section-modulus consideration. Deflection of plates or diaphragms, especially if there is a curving hinge fracture is very complicated. Throw-in that the plate is floating in water which is heaving up and down on tides and responding to multi-directional wave impulses, gravitational effects and whatnot it gets extremely difficult to predict the nature of failure. Oh, and BTW ice creeps, I imagine more so when it is “warm”, (less fracturing), if the above were not complicated enough. It might even be that a thinner plate, more like a “flexible” diaphragm, may survive better than thick, so it all becomes rather intuitive, even to a mechanical engineer like myself.

    If you still want to make a section-modulus hypothesis, you also should keep a sense of scale for your simplistic “beam”. Ice sheets vary between about 100 and 1,000 metres thick, or 330 to 3,300 feet thick. Has that range changed much lately do you know?

    What we need is a really good rock-engineer (geologist)!

    The favourite climate effect argument that I’ve seen so far is the hypothesis of hydrostatic stressing of pre-existing mechanical failure, however again, a sense of scale of the huge “thermal mass” of ice compared to that of the melt water, which looses contact with the warm air above that created it, needs to be considered.
    The experiment described in 198 is further commentary that suggests that that hypothesis is rather weak.

    Comment by BobFJ — 22 Jul 2009 @ 1:20 AM

  210. “I have no reason (or ability) to come up with my own.”

    And that’s just defeatist. Or you’re pulling the sympathy card.

    Until you’ve tried, you don’t know how hard or easy it is, so how do you know you do or don’t have the ability?

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:31 AM

  211. “Mark @185 thinks my argument is crap. I can’t find out why from him because he’s [self-edit] and focused on personal stuff,”

    Nope, I think your argument is bad, not crap.

    There’s a difference.

    A crap argument would be “I don’t know what’s going on with the climate, so AGW is wrong”. A bad argument is also “I don’t know what’s going on with the climate, so AGW is right”, though that can be fixed with “because lots of people who study this think it’s right”.

    What’s BAD about your argument isn’t “something personal”, [edit], it’s about your explanation of what you’re asking.

    You have to have done some investigation to know that the moon wanders off. But that investigation comes with the information about WHY. Yet you didn’t know that.

    EVEN IF you’re genuine, you had to edit out what’s happening from what you read.

    And that’s a great way to get a ***bad*** argument.

    Worse, you need to be able to think for yourself and you seem to be predicated to rely on the kindness of strangers.

    Guess what? I’m a stranger.

    Am I kind?

    The very problem itself should have given you a red light to check the order-of-magnitude before asking a [edit] question. And your attitude that someone else should do it for you is a ***bad*** argument.

    After all, I’ve now told you that it doesn’t matter.

    But how do you know I’m even in the right ball park?

    That is why your position leads to a ***bad*** argument.

    But if you want to see it as a personal thing, go ahead. It is another bad argument to do so, but I can’t stop you and don’t care enough about you to worry about it.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:39 AM

  212. The following betting pool is still open, but closes August 1:
    http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/2009/07/minimum-arctic-seas-ice-betting-pool.html

    Comment by Lab Lemming — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:23 AM

  213. “I would guess that the relationship is gyroscopic. ”

    The kick back that is taking the moon further away is also due to the fact that the high tides aren’t pointing directly at the moon, therefore the earth isn’t a spherical rigid system and there is a torque applied.

    The application of that torque transfers energy into the orbit of the moon and takes its energy out of the earth’s rotation.

    I didn’t do that lab experiment at university (since in astrophysics you can’t fit any appreciable volume of the universe into a lab, lab work often means “with a calculator and a pencil”) but it was on the list of things to do and someone else in the class did it.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:35 AM

  214. http://www.thedailyshow.com/

    Quite amusing on yesterdays agenda. Steven Chu is being interviewed.

    Funny, get some people here to lighten up here slightly as a lot of verbal is going around for no good reason.

    Comment by pete best — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:49 AM

  215. Mark writes:

    “The Moon creates tides and the friction slows the Earth, non?”

    No.

    Steve is right. It’s the friction of ocean water in tidal bays that accounts for most of the slowing in the Earth’s rotation, especially in the Bay of Fundy in Canada.

    “I think this latter approach is preferable, but of course I’m ignoring that the Sun’s gravity also plays a role in tides”

    Twice the force, in fact.

    Not correct. Lunar tidal force on the Earth is more than twice solar. Mid-ocean tide height is about 30 centimeters from Lunar gravity and 14 centimeters from Solar.

    Following Webster (1925), the mean mid-ocean tide height is

    h = 0.85 M R^4 / (m r^3)

    where M is the mass of the perturbing body, m the mass of the perturbed body, R the radius of the perturbed body, and r the distance between them.

    SI figures: For the Sun on Earth, M = 1.9891e30, m = 5.9736e24, R = 6,371,010, a = 1.496e11. For the Moon on Earth, substitute M = 7.35e22 and a = 384,401,000.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jul 2009 @ 5:51 AM

  216. Re: comment #89

    Dear Steve L,

    Many people commenting here put in several hours per day over years in order to get up to speed on the various aspects affecting the ongoing situation in the Arctic Sea. If you can’t find recent articles via google, then you are not looking hard enough. I have posted more than 1,200 articles on climate change on my own blog. Go there and use the search field at the top left corner, or click on an appropriate label — you will find plenty of good information.

    As to your comment (quoted below), I would tend to agree.

    “The first point of my first comment was that minimum ice extent was too ‘knife-edge’ a thing to forecast well and somewhat unimportant in the grand scheme, anyway.”

    But leaving that aside, factors that used to have the greatest influence on the sea ice melt are having to move aside for new factors as the ice becomes thinner and thinner. Winds have a much greater influence on its behavior now. The ice is moving around much faster than it did 5 years ago (it’s in the published research, ok, I found it, so you can, too). This only makes sense.

    The cap of cold air that used to sit on top of the North Pole has weakened to the point that it is being pushed around like nobody’s business. So, it is stormier in the Arctic.

    Heat from the equatorial regions is being transported on water vapor streams up to the Arctic where it has warmed the air and the waters. You could have observed this by watching the satellite images at the time, but it is now also published in the peer-reviewed literature. I found it. It’s on my blog. Go, read, learn. These factors are much more significant than tidal effects.

    You want to know about these things, then put in the time.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:38 AM

  217. Re: comment #119

    Dear Nick O,

    Re: “If anyone wants to follow this up, I’ll try to dig out a few references.”

    I do try to follow the submarine melting in the Arctic. If you have good links and it would not be too much trouble, I would be very glad to have them. Thanks,

    Tenney

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:48 AM

  218. “Not correct. Lunar tidal force on the Earth is more than twice solar.”

    See, RodB.

    THAT is how you correct someone’s mistake.

    A simpler way to put it is that the square/cube relationship means that the 1/r factor is cancelled out because they both extend the same area and the only remaining factor is the relative average density of the two objects.

    I’ll need to check the bay of Fundy thing because that’s not what I was taught.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  219. http://www.google.com/search?q=compare+tidal+effect+of+sun+and+moon+on+Earth

    See also: catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    … How To Answer Questions in a Helpful Way
    Be gentle. …
    … There is no need of public humiliation for someone who may have made an honest mistake. A real newbie may not know how to search archives or where the FAQ is stored or posted.

    If you don’t know for sure, say so! A wrong but authoritative-sounding answer is worse than none at all. Don’t point anyone down a wrong path simply because it’s fun to sound like an expert. Be humble and honest; set a good example for both the querent and your peers.

    If you can’t help, don’t hinder. Don’t make jokes ….

    … Try to turn the bad question into a good one; remember we were all newbies once.

    While muttering RTFM is sometimes justified when replying to someone who is just a lazy slob, a pointer to documentation (even if it’s just a suggestion to google for a key phrase) is better.

    If you did research to answer the question, demonstrate your skills rather than writing as though you pulled the answer out of your butt…. teaching them research skills by example is showing them how to grow food for a lifetime.”

    —-
    The strength of the sun’s gravity is 179 times that of the moon’s but the moon is responsible for 56% of the earth’s tidal energy while the sun claims responsibility for a mere 44% …
    geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/tides.htm

    The sun’s gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon…. http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moontides/

    And you’ll find quite a few more varying numbers, depending on whether you’re doing calculations from mass and distance, or from the height to which the tide is raised by the sun compared to the moon in a particular spot at a particular time or some average therefor.

    —-

    Meanwhile BobFJ continues to bleat for attention by claiming what we really need to understand how floating ice behaves is a hard-rock geologist. I’m sure he has some particular geologist in mind. There are more than a few geologists, especially the hard-rock variety, who opine as experts about climate change. Oodles of theory, belief, and opinion, but not a minute for reading up on the work actually done on the subject. It’s compelling.

    Not.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  220. A the risk of getting caught in cross-fire, it sounds to me like Barton & Mark have hold of different parts of the same problem. Surely conservation of rotational energy AND tidal friction–which presumably accounts for the “fact that the high tides aren’t pointing directly at the moon”, as Mark put it–are both involved?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:07 PM

  221. Tenney Naumer, I did go to your blog and found it very impressive.

    It looks like you have been combing through news releases and scientific papers for some time, gleaning the best and most relevant, and organizing them helpfully. Still I could not find an item that addresses a question a number of us have posed to deafening silence here (even while irrelevant lunar lunacies seem to get much attention):

    What do models say will be the most likely immediate and longer-term effects of a total loss of Arctic sea ice in late summer?

    Surely this is the great issue staring us in the face. Are there no such studies? Can you point us to any or any speculation by climatologists on this? Do none of the climatologists that frequent this site have anything to say on this crucial issue facing the earth?

    I understand that scientists are reticent about talking about things they haven’t studied, but they are in a better position than I to know what research is now going on about this. Even news that there are no models that look at this and no one is planning to look at it would be informative.

    Again, thanks for pointing us to your useful blog, and any light from you or others on the issue of what the world faces in the next few years would be most appreciated.

    Comment by wili — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  222. BobFJ 22 Jul 2009 at 1:20 am

    Just so we’re clear, here is your original assertion:

    “May I point out that this phenomena and also the calving of icebergs are fundamentally mechanical fracturing failures. If you study the canyons developing in ice shelves, before break-up, they appear to run parallel to the influence of the ocean, primarily because of tidal and wave action, resulting in hinging at the sites of the canyons. As an engineer, I find it hard to see any climate change effect that would significantly accelerate this normal process.”

    So you yourself identified what you believe to be the dominant structural failure mode of an ice shelf, then immediately went on to say “I find it hard to see any climate change effect that would significantly accelerate this normal process.”

    As to your most recent remark and the handwaving therein, it was not a explanation of your assertion that ice shelves are immune to a warming climate.

    What’s more, the handwaving leads me to wonder if you fundamentally understand what a hinging failure is.

    “What we need is a really good rock-engineer (geologist)!”

    A geologist is a “rock-engineer”? How in the world did you get that impression?

    “The favourite climate effect argument that I’ve seen so far is the hypothesis of hydrostatic stressing of pre-existing mechanical failure, however again, a sense of scale of the huge “thermal mass” of ice compared to that of the melt water, which looses contact with the warm air above that created it, needs to be considered.”

    That paragraph translates into “I doubt it”. Doubt is not an argument. Unless you’re prepared to do the work to demonstrate how your idea is plausible, you’ve going to continue conveying the impression that you’re engaging in idle speculation and are not really informed about the subject you’ve chosen to discuss.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  223. re 219, also remember this:

    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    How to ask questions the smart way.

    Web and IRC forums directed towards newbies often give the quickest response

    Don’t claim that you have found a bug (equivalent is “have they thought of…?”)

    Prune pointless queries

    How To Interpret Answers
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    RTFM and STFW: How To Tell You’ve Seriously Screwed Up

    Dealing with rudeness

    On Not Reacting Like A Loser
    Odds are you’ll screw up a few times on hacker community forums — in ways detailed in this article, or similar. And you’ll be told exactly how you screwed up, possibly with colourful asides. In public.

    “When this happens, the worst thing you can do is whine about the experience, claim to have been verbally assaulted, demand apologies, scream, hold your breath, threaten lawsuits, complain to people’s employers, leave the toilet seat up, etc.”

    And in “Questions not to ask”:

    Q: Can I convert an AcmeCorp document into a TeX file using the Bass-o-matic file converter?

    A: Try it and see. If you did that, you’d (a) learn the answer, and (b) stop wasting my time.

    NOTE: the site is about IT, so some leeway in interpretation on that one is required. But that one is most relevant to Steve’s post originally.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:12 PM

  224. #221 wili

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/2009-june-leading-edge

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/security-reports/071105_ageofconsequences.pdf/view

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  225. “Surely conservation of rotational energy AND tidal friction–which presumably accounts for the “fact that the high tides aren’t pointing directly at the moon”, as Mark put it–are both involved?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney ”

    Since I didn’t do the lab work about it, it could be that they work out to “the same thing”, just one was predicated by the torque but that happens to be the mechanical equivalent of “water piles up on the coast”.

    That’s why I’m going to have to take a look at the fundy thing. See if the explanations are the same thing, just “explained” differently.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:43 PM

  226. PS isn’t that Hank and Mark? (And Steve sulking in the corner…)

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  227. Mark, would you look carefully at what you said above?

    “the square/cube relationship means that the 1/r factor is cancelled out because they both extend the same area and the only remaining factor is the relative average density of the two objects.”

    You’re referring to the angle subtended by the Moon and Sun in the sky (why we have such nice eclipses).

    Hold up a marble at a distance where it perfectly eclipses the Moon.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2009 @ 1:15 PM

  228. The difference may be that it isn’t friction either: it’s the water walloping into the ground that is working here. That’s not friction unless you have a very lax definition of friction.

    Like instead of CFIT, it’s CFFFT: Controlled Flight: Friction From Terrain.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jul 2009 @ 1:19 PM

  229. Re: Tides

    One way to think about tides might be the following.

    1)the gravitational potential varies inversely as distance
    2)the gravitational force is the gradient of the potential, so it varies as the inverse square of distance
    3)the tidal force, being the difference of the gravitational forces on either side of the subject body, is given by the gradient of the gravitational force and varies as the inverse cube of distance.

    denoting the earth sun distance as R, and the earth-moon distance as r, the mass of the sun as M, and that of the moon as m

    ratio of the gravitational forces due to each is M/m*(r/R)^2 and the ratio of the tidal forces is M/m*(r/R)^3

    so the dependence is on the fractions M/m and r/R.
    M=2e30,m=7e22,R=1.5e11,r=3e8, so the fractions are 2.85e7 and 2e-3
    the ratio of the gravitational forces is 114, whereas the ratio of the tidal forces is 0.22

    the mass of the sun is about 30 million times the mass of the moon, but the sun is about 500 times further away. This latter factor overpowers the mass effect when cubed, but not when squared.

    the energy dissipation is messier, and being lazy, i shall not attempt a calculation here. I do want to to point out that the effect of the ‘land tides’ contributes to the dissipation as well as the oceans, (the land flexes quite a bit too)

    as always, check my math, and my physics.

    Comment by sidd — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  230. John, thanks for the links. But they seem to deal with general issues of the consequences of climate change beyond at various temps. I would be very interested in any link you have that specifically consider modeled effects of the Arctic sea ice collapse that seems to be upon us any year now.

    Anything that deals with this specific, imminent threat from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by wili — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  231. Riding the razors edge of OT, I found this really cool image of gravity anomalies on earth

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GRACE/page3.php

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  232. re. comments on submerged relict ice e.g. #145 etc., also #217 (Tenney Naumer), for a primer, have a look at Mackay and Black (1973), in “Permafrost”, Second International Conference proceedings (N.A.S. publication). Mackay did a lot of work, going back to the 1950s some of it, and is still cited. More recently, you could probably look at research by people such as Julian Murton (University of Sussex) e.g. Murton JB (2005), Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 16; also Chris Burn at Carleton University (Canada), but there are others as well who you could look at, just check the cited refs. Hope this helps.

    Regarding lake bed ice (i.e. lakes over ice, whether the lake floor is debris covered or not), try West and Plug (2008), JGR Earth Surface 113(F1) to start with, and references cited therein.

    The overall volumes of submerged and buried ice are quite small compared with the sea ice, of course, but even so, the extent may be many kilometres along the coastal shelf provided it’s not too deep. Could be some interesting sea bed mass movement effects as this stuff starts melting. Some of it is buried permafrost, other parts massive ice, and so on.

    Comment by Nick O. — 22 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 PM

  233. Re:230,wili;
    This site by the British met office includes an animated projection of arctic sea ice extent out to the year 2100 for March and September.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/projections/

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 22 Jul 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  234. Wili, these (click for most recent, pick a beginning year) are helpful.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=arctic+%22sea+ice%22+loss+consequences

    There are physical and biological changes and no one can give a complete and definite answer, but the recent International Polar Year research is only beginning to show up in the journals; keep searching, click the links that notify you when a scientific paper is cited and you can get email from the journal’s website for example, or just keep checking.

    Look at the earlier topics here as well, you’ll recognize some of the scientists’ names.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  235. It’s a nit and probably has no significant effect, but, for the record, the lunar tidal force is 2.2 times the Sun’s at 45 degrees (lat or long), pretty close to Hank’s 46% figure, which might be correct at a different lat or long. The main reason there is not a tidal budge on the centerline is that the tangential tidal force is zero there and the radial tidal force causes virtually no tidal bulge since its compressive/expansive forces have no noticeable effect on water. Another factor in slowing the Earth’s rotation is the direct torque applied by the gravitational force on the off-center tidal bulge; though this is likely even more miniscule than the tiny friction stuff. (I once grossly calculated this torque would stop the Earth’s rotation in 10^23 years — long after the Red Giant Sun burns us up (talk of your global warming!!))

    Worthless, but maybe interesting.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  236. sidd (229), another insignificant but maybe interesting nit. The tidal forces vary closely with the cube of the distance, but not exactly. It is actually very complicated and on the average varies with something between the square and the cube with a bias toward the cube side, while varying with latitude and longitude.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  237. Off topic: does anyone know of a recent published estimate for the contribution of water vapor (or water + clouds) to total greenhouse forcing, along the lines of the Water Vapor: Feedback or Forcing post from April of 2005? Thanks!

    Comment by Marcus — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  238. #230 wili

    Unfortunately your question has a relative component. What is an ‘immanent threat’? And as has already been pointed out, defining specific outcomes with precision is quite difficult. Generally you can expect problems that are progressive in nature and accelerating in impact.

    Maybe this image will help understand the amplification effect?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/icealbedo.jpg/image_view_fullscreen

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  239. Hank, dear, you are awesome cool, and you don’t even know it.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 6:54 PM

  240. Re: comment #221

    Dear wili,

    Thanks for the compliments, I appreciate them.

    Second, you just rudely (kidding) pointed out the 10-ton elephant in the room that no one is talking about publicly.

    But, hey, if I had access to those fancy computer models and a bunch of NASA computers, I sure as hell would have already looked at that ages ago.

    And, if there is one thing I know about myself, it is this — if I think up what I think is a great idea, I have the certain knowledge that someone else has already come up with it long before I ever did.

    Let’s see, due to the radically changed albedo, the cold air that used to hang around up at the North Pole will get shoved out of the way, and the jet stream will go all wacky, and weather all over the Northern Hemisphere will change in ways we cannot even imagine, the changing patterns of wind will alter the sea-surface temperatures of the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, also screwing with what we used to know as the four seasons.

    Everything we used to know will be useless.

    And, this will all probably take place within the next 5 to 10 years.

    Rising sea levels will be nothing compared to the weather whiplash we are going to be experiencing.

    Over time (100 years? 10,000 years?), some sort of equilibrium state will be realized, and things will sort of calm down into a kind of regularity again.

    Gee, I wonder why no one has published a peer-reviewed paper on this, yet? Can’t imagine why…can you?

    But, hey, let’s have some fun in the meantime!

    I am taking bets on which is going to open first — the Northwest or the Northeast Passage? Comments welcome:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/07/northwest-passage-or-northeast-passage.html

    [N.B. Y'all have to hit the page-down key a few times to get past that list of articles and down to the post.]

    Signed,

    A card-carrying member of the Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Generation

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:17 PM

  241. Re: comment #232

    Dear Nick,

    Thank you — I will try to google some of that and see if it is online. (I forgot to mention that I live about 500 clicks from the ocean, in the middle of nowhere, at roughly 14° 51′ 42.09″ S, 40° 49′ 58.61″ W. You are welcome to visit any time — bring lots of books, please.)

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:28 PM

  242. Oh, yeah, wili, my apologies — I forgot to mention that explosion of methane from the melting permafrost. Factor that one in, too.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:31 PM

  243. > water vapor
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2008b.pdf
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler09.pdf

    http://www.grist.org/article/Looking-for-validation

    “The problem with climate-model criticism”
    Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    I have a paper [PDF] in this week’s Science discussing the water vapor feedback. It is a Perspective, meaning that it is a summary of the existing literature rather than new scientific results. In it, my co-author Steve Sherwood and I discuss the mountain of evidence in support of a strong and positive water vapor feedback.

    Interestingly, it seems that just about everybody now agrees water vapor provides a robustly strong and positive feedback. Roy Spencer even sent me email saying that he agrees.

    What I want to focus on here is model verification…..”

    ——————————
    I have a good perspective, because I often get in the hair of giants.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:35 PM

  244. #237 Marcus

    I don’t think it would have changed much, relatively speaking.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

    If anyone knows if the numbers have been refined, I’d love to see that too?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 Jul 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  245. Doug Bostrom 222:
    Doug, you really should lighten up!
    For example, my Rock-engineer = geologist was a joke.

    As far as I’m aware, there is absolutely no dispute that break-up and calving from ice shelves is primarily from mechanical failure, from a variety of causes. However, there is an area of debate is, in which I speculated:
    As an engineer, I find it hard to see any climate change effect that would significantly accelerate this normal process.”
    For a wordsmith like you, I’m rather surprised that you distort my “[NOT] significantly accelerate this normal process” to mean an assertion that I’ve claimed there is no effect from warming. It is hardly helpful in the debate if you keep saying that I‘ve said something that I have not said. (twice here, and twice in your previous missive)

    I’ve also written that as yet, there has been nothing produced here, claiming a significant effect from warming on these mechanical failures, that is any less speculative than my offering. (as far as I can see)
    You should also take into account that a cross-disciplinary approach in scientific study is probably more fruitful than that of cliquey over-specialization.
    You might like to check this abstract out, which includes the words speculation and may:

    Larsen Ice Shelf Has Progressively Thinned
    Andrew Shepherd,1* Duncan Wingham,2 Tony Payne,3 Pedro Skvarca4
    The retreat and collapse of Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves in tandem with a regional atmospheric warming has fueled speculation as to how these events may be related. Satellite radar altimeter measurements show that between 1992 and 2001 the Larsen Ice Shelf lowered by up to 0.27 ± 0.11 meters per year. The lowering is explained by increased summer melt-water and the loss of basal ice through melting. Enhanced ocean-driven melting may provide a simple link between regional climate warming and the successive disintegration of sections of the Larsen Ice Shelf.

    However, it also provides a reference to comment more on your simplistic hypothesis of comparing an ice shelf (plate) floating in complexly heaving water, to that of a beam with a reducing section-modulus.
    If we take it from 1979, when satellite observations began, and a recent report that Larson B was about 220 metres (~730 feet) thick, and assume linearity, this suggests that 30 years ago, perhaps it was 228 metres thick. That is hardly a dramatic change, and perhaps you should consider that ice shelves have widely varying thicknesses, yet they all have mechanical failures. It is far more complicated than you seem to think.

    Now here is another profound contribution from you:
    What’s more, the handwaving leads me to wonder if you [BobFJ] fundamentally understand what a hinging failure is.
    Well actually I believe I do understand it, given that my formative tertiary education as an engineer included 5 years of study in “strength of materials” Call me a liar if you like, but that is hardly promoting sensible debate.

    Comment by BobFJ — 22 Jul 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  246. @ wili 22 Jul 2009 at 2:20pm
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/michael.alexander/Deseretal.seaicesubmit.2-09.pdf
    “The Seasonal Atmospheric Response to Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss
    In the Late 21st Century”
    Submitted to the Journal of Climate
    January 23, 2009
    3. Results
    a. Arctic sea ice concentration and thickness
    b. Surface energy flux response
    c. Atmospheric temperature response
    d. Terrestrial snow cover and precipitation responses
    e. Heat budget
    f. Atmospheric circulation response

    So new pubs indicate that people are modeling the impacts, and you can see from the above results headings that the range of impacts is wide. I’m still wading through the paper, but my first take is that the increase in precipitation they see will have the greatest impact. It’s early days in analysing what the sea ice loss will do- this paper dates to January-, so there’s also more to be done -”Our experiments address only the direct impact of Arctic sea ice loss on the atmospheric circulation and climate, and neglect the potential role of oceanic feedbacks. In particular, warming of the Arctic Ocean due to enhanced solar heating associated with sea ice loss may provide additional forcing to the overlying atmosphere, although Singarayer et al. (2006) has shown this effect to be small. In addition, warming of the high latitude north Pacific and Atlantic Oceans due to enhanced downward turbulent energy fluxes as a result of anomalous warm air advection out of the Arctic may also alter the atmospheric circulation response through feedbacks with the midlatitude stormtracks…”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 22 Jul 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  247. Pretty much all over the Canadian Arctic, temperatures are unusually high:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/forecast/canada/index_e.html?id=NU

    namely Iqaluit… There is no doubt the NW passage will open yet again. I am impressed by heat despite overall cloud coverage above normal. The Arctic Ice is shrinking less than 2008 at the same date, the NE passage will open end of July
    NW passage mid August I would say.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 22 Jul 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  248. I recalled from an old article by Fritz Leiber–a spin-off of the research in tidal theory he did to prepare for his novel The Wanderer–that situations such as the famous high tides of the Bay of Fundy arise from resonances formed by the tidal basin itself.

    So a quick search of “tidal resonance” and there’s this dandy image of the Bay, with brief explanation and link to the Wiki.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6650

    It’s probably more basic than what you’re looking for, but it’s a start, perhaps.

    (BTW, younger science fiction fans might want to check out the novel–it’s apparently back in print. It’s been years since I read it, but I bet it holds up.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jul 2009 @ 9:54 PM

  249. John P. Reisman (238), I understand the albedo of ice to vary from about 0.4 to about 0.75 with an average over types and wavelength of about 0.6. Your reference showing 0.85 might be good for snow (even a bit low for some) but is too high for ice, including ice with a moderate snow cover.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Jul 2009 @ 10:16 PM

  250. About 36 hours ago, I mentioned that this year’s melt seemed poised to overtake 2006 & move into second place in the all time list. Happened today, according to IJIS, by a razor-thin margin–seems the extent took a bit of a dive yesterday.

    “Second place” may not hold up long–IJIS often revises their number within the first day, and if the revision is upward, there isn’t much headroom. Still, it’s a milestone while it lasts at least, and the revision could just as well be downward.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jul 2009 @ 11:43 PM

  251. BobFJ 22 Jul 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I’m dull, I still don’t get the joke about geologists. Maybe because I’ve been overexposed to ‘em? Father, grandfather, two brothers-in-law, the list goes on, it’s positively stony here.

    “For a wordsmith like you, I’m rather surprised that you distort my “[NOT] significantly accelerate this normal process” to mean an assertion that I’ve claimed there is no effect from warming.”

    Words matter. I don’t want to become all neurotic about semantics, but to me and the dictionary the qualifier “significant” is a verbal dividing line between things we may ignore and things we can’t. Something is insignificant if it does not matter, or signify. It’s significant if it has appreciable impact, on measurements, hazards, whatever.

    If you agree that a warming climate will have a significant, appreciable and important impact on the failure of ice shelves, then we don’t have a disagreement.

    If you believe that a warming climate will have no significant, appreciable or important effect on ice shelves, we disagree.

    “I’ve also written that as yet, there has been nothing produced here, claiming a significant effect from warming on these mechanical failures, that is any less speculative than my offering. (as far as I can see)”

    Here is your original remark, and raypierre’s reply to you:

    “May I point out that this phenomena and also the calving of icebergs are fundamentally mechanical fracturing failures. If you study the canyons developing in ice shelves, before break-up, they appear to run parallel to the influence of the ocean, primarily because of tidal and wave action, resulting in hinging at the sites of the canyons. As an engineer, I find it hard to see any climate change effect that would significantly accelerate this normal process. Changed wind strength or circulation? Increased melt within the canyons? Maybe…. but I doubt it.

    [Response: Actually, temperature increase has been shown to have a very pronounced effect on the breakup of ice shelves. It is indeed mechanical fracture that does the job, but what warming does is to form massive melt ponds at the surface, which then cause hydraulic fracture. --raypierre]”

    Your assumption is that raypierre’s response was speculation? Think for just a moment: would raypierre just make that up, especially given the level of scrutiny proprietors of this site endure? Not likely, huh? Yet you immediately generated and then propagated a hypothesis about ice shelves being essentially self-healing due to their thermal mass. You’ve stubbornly continued asserting that, not bothering to look up the literature, not bothering to do the maths to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Yet the burden is on -you- to do the work, because you are the person hypothesizing a challenge to what raypierre explained to you as being the accepted understanding of the system under discussion.

    I absolutely agree with you about the benefits of a cross-disciplinary approach. That is why I’m highly confident that anthropogenic global warming is a problem of sufficient significance and probability that we cannot afford to waste energy in idle speculation about whether or not ice melts when warmed. Multiple scientific disciplines are producing research results that have a clear trend or signal telling us the climate is being mutated in a way that is undesirable, by us.

    “…my formative tertiary education as an engineer included 5 years of study in “strength of materials” Call me a liar if you like, but that is hardly promoting sensible debate.”

    I’d be engaging in baseless speculation if I called you a liar about describing your profession or training, which I did not. What I suggested was that your understanding was less than complete, but I doubt that, really, and my jab was unnecessary and counterproductive. That remark was prompted by the mixture of modes you’ve spun up with what I’m still going to call “handwaving”.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2009 @ 12:59 AM

  252. Hank Roberts Reur 219; your final para:
    You gave such a profound philosophy, it is almost worth a gilt frame:

    Meanwhile BobFJ continues to bleat for attention by claiming what we really need to understand how floating ice behaves is a hard-rock geologist. I’m sure he has some particular geologist in mind. There are more than a few geologists, especially the hard-rock variety, who opine as experts about climate change. Oodles of theory, belief, and opinion, but not a minute for reading up on the work actually done on the subject. It’s compelling.
    Not.

    1) Maybe you are unaware, but the debate here has been geological. It has nothing to do with climate change, which is not a matter of dispute. It is about whether the accepted warming has a significant accelerating effect on what are fundamentally mechanical failures in ice shelves.

    2) No! I do not have any geologist in mind for this consideration. (and BTW my “rock-engineer” was bit of a quip)

    3) Do you think that cross-disciplinary science debates are bad for science?

    I recommend that you study the following from the USGC (U.S. Geological Survey), with an open mind:
    http://earthshots.usgs.gov/Filchner/Filchner
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    BTW, you do not appear to have shown an interest in my earlier geological comparison:
    Please refer to the following image of the Ross ice shelf, and you may notice that it terminates abruptly from mechanical shearing
    http://www.eoearth.org/upload/thumb/1/10/Ross_edge_large.gif/250px-Ross_edge_large.gif
    It is interesting to compare with the White Cliffs of Dover….. Got it?
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/White_cliffs_of_dover_09_2004.jpg/350px-
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Doug Bostrom, please note that the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is much larger than Wilkins and Larson, (that have had so much attention recently). Of one of the three huge calvings, over two decades ago, this was written:
    A24 was about 90 km by 95 km in area and about 400 m thick. (~1320 Feet). Did you see that: 400 metres thick? How does that compare with your concern about hypothesised weakening in an implied 30-year reduction from 228 to 220 metres in the recent events?
    You might also find this interesting:
    “…German scientists have recently learned that the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is two-layered… …but the bottom 80 m of ice came from the water below. (BTW; sea water freezes at about 2C colder than fresh!)

    Comment by BobFJ — 23 Jul 2009 @ 1:00 AM

  253. BobFJ 22 Jul 2009 at 8:48 pm:

    Whoops, forgot this!

    “However, it also provides a reference to comment more on your simplistic hypothesis of comparing an ice shelf (plate) floating in complexly heaving water, to that of a beam with a reducing section-modulus.”

    Yes, highly simplified, to match your equally simple but in a different sense opinion that you could not see how climate change could “significantly” accelerate the progress of failure mechanisms in ice shelves. The example I chose was the most direct and easy route to help you understand how wrong you are in making your assertion.

    I see by your sudden fit of unaccustomed exertion in using the literature that you see my point and have been motivated to try and show how, right now, it’s not a big factor. Obviously, the reduction in competence of the structure when treated as a simple beam (sure, plate is a better descriptor for the structures we’re talking about) is going to depend on the magnitude of reduction in dimensions. Warming will lead to a reduction in those dimensions, ultimately a lot. You concede that a mechanism for significant acceleration is available. Thank you!

    By the way, since you’ve re-discovered the literature, why not delve a little further, where you’ll discover references to the hydrofracture mechanism raypierre mentioned, temperature profiles of ice shelves showing how your refreezing conjecture is incorrect, descriptions of how sudden collapse of ices shelves are driven by a combination of “simple” peripheral plate failure leading to loss of compression thus increased opportunity for growth of meltwater driven fractures, etc. Why not keep going deeper?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2009 @ 3:12 AM

  254. BobFJ #245: “lowered” != “thinned”.

    Freeboard is only 10% of thickness. So, more like 300 m -> 220 m over 30 years, accepting your other assumptions.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 4:54 AM

  255. I like to follow the sea-ice situation on http://ice-map.appspot.com/ with daily mid-resolution satellite maps. Since a few days the ice is progressively cracking into smaller pieces and became a playing field for the weather conditions. The overall direction of the multi year ice is towards the warmer Atlantic and into Narres Strait.

    Comment by Noiv — 23 Jul 2009 @ 5:31 AM

  256. Re: #246

    Thanks so much for that submitted paper, Brian. Hope the authors don’t mind us having a look. I certainly appreciate looking at it.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:16 AM

  257. Tenney Naumer at #240 wrote: “due to the radically changed albedo, the cold air that used to hang around up at the North Pole will get shoved out of the way, and the jet stream will go all wacky, and weather all over the Northern Hemisphere will change in ways we cannot even imagine, the changing patterns of wind will alter the sea-surface temperatures of the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, also screwing with what we used to know as the four seasons. Everything we used to know will be useless. And, this will all probably take place within the next 5 to 10 years.”

    This, along with the point you noted about melting tundra, is pretty much what I thought, but since I’m not in the field, I wanted to hear it from someone a bit closer to the data and models.

    To Brian Dodge at #246–thanks very much. This looks like just the kind of article I was looking for. Perhaps we can move the discussion here more toward this article and away from lunar influence and placing bets on melt amounts?

    Comment by wili — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  258. #247 Me bad.. The ice is covering less area than last year, I miss wrote… Despite a huge cloud cover, implying heat in the Ocean air system beyond what is understood.
    Speaking of errors, Ice models failing extent predictions perhaps have three different flaws:

    1- Failure to calculate IR down welling, current with now a days cloud cover melts.

    2-Not taking into account IR down welling from thin ice…

    3- Not calculating the effects of less salinity due to multi-year sea ice or extra glacial ice melts.

    Sea Ice climate model failure topic is in dire need of exploration…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 8:14 AM

  259. #247, Wayne–

    An eye-popping temp for Iqaluit! (Tomorrow’s forecast, 22/14 C; climate normals 12/4.) And sampling around the region, not that exceptional spatially.
    Looking at the weekly forecast numbers, not too many days/locations are forecast to get down to the normal climatology.

    It’s also interesting to see that the daily minimums that appear to be more elevated with reference to the normal than do the maximums.

    No wonder the melt continues apace.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 23 Jul 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  260. #259, Yet Kevin, cloud cover is the big story, #255, great link, hard to see the clouds, try
    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satellite/animateweb_e.html?imagetype=satellite&imagename=hrpt_dfo_ir_m_………………jpg&nbimages=1&clf=1

    this animation shows how bad it is, but surface temperatures are way up there. Expect rapid disintegrations just about now.

    Of course its IR upwelling from thinner ice during any season which fascinates, yet I wonder if the models take that into account. I suspect a significant feedback
    loop during extensive cloudy periods, playing an important role in tandem with cloud reflecting IR downwards, is IR in ice models well factored??…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  261. Wow ….. SST’s becoming more and more red world wide as well. Not only in the Pacific.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  262. > ice shelves
    BobFJ, you post huge blocks of words about what you believe but dont’ have time to read the abstracts, so you’re just talking about your opinion. If you’d at least read the last decade or so of abstracts, which are easy to find — heck, if you’d just read the Google excerpts on the search results page — it’d save you making a lot of statements about what should be that don’t match what’s in the literature. Another example of papers you’d find informative, pick a few from the recent ones here. This is the sort of work Ray pointed out in a reply days ago, which Doug reminded you about recently:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=climate+%22ice+shelf%22+%22loose+tooth%22+fracture

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  263. #260 Here are the clouds and dark red melting areas using other bands (w/ infrared)
    http://ice-map.appspot.com/?map=Arc&sat=367

    Comment by Noiv — 23 Jul 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  264. Wayne, 260 & 26–

    Wow, indeed. Remarkable to see so much of the Northern ocean with anomalies of +5 C. I must admit, though, that I don’t really have the contextual knowledge to profit much from the animation of cloud cover, though it was interesting to watch.

    Re my 250–and pace wili at 259!–the IJIS revision of yesterday’s extent was indeed downward, so 2009′s IJIS sea-ice extent stands as the second-lowest ever for this date. There is the element of a spectator sport here, but I’m also hoping that it is unambiguously clear going into the Copenhagen conference that there is no question of an Arctic ice “recovery,” which was being touted earlier this year.

    Sadly, I’m afraid that the Orwellian thought processes of some will still continue as in the past. After all, the record or near-record low we are about to witness will predictably be followed by a very rapid growth of new sea-ice over all the exposed open water, and this will be touted as a miraculous “recovery.” (Never mind if the freeze is two weeks later than it used to be.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  265. BobFJ 23 Jul 2009 at 1:00 am

    “Doug Bostrom, please note that the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is much larger than Wilkins and Larson, (that have had so much attention recently). Of one of the three huge calvings, over two decades ago, this was written:
    A24 was about 90 km by 95 km in area and about 400 m thick. (~1320 Feet). Did you see that: 400 metres thick? How does that compare with your concern about hypothesised weakening in an implied 30-year reduction from 228 to 220 metres in the recent events?”

    Yes, and thank you! That helps to illustrate something I believe you’re missing here.

    Ice shelves can be thought of as structures for purposes of understanding their strengths and weaknesses. If you look at the literature, you’ll see many of the same techniques used in assessing the properties of engineered human artifacts are used in predicting and explaining how ice shelves behave.

    However, ice shelves are -not- engineered. They take on a shape and size and set of behaviors dictated by outside, changeable and by us frangible factors. Their physical characteristics do not arise from choices made by a person working with a slide rule and specific set of performance objectives in mind. The mechanisms that dictate the gross physical characteristics of an ice shelf are composite and include a plethora of circumstantial features, each of those features being a reflection of the ice shelf’s environment and having in common only that they are phenomena that include water in its liquid and solid phases.

    Especially, ice shelves are not overengineered. They are not constructed with the objective of having reserve strength. An ice shelf is a reflection of the instantaneous environment it is occupying. It is a structure that is constantly approximating an equilibrium state with its various external conditions. An ice shelf is as big as it can be at any given time, and the dictation of that size is external to the ice shelf.

    In the case you cited, something in the environment controlling bulk behavior characteristics forced the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf to make a major adjustment. The external variance was small, indeed not easy to discern. Yet we see from the literature that what appear to be small adjustments to a change in external conditions of an ice shelf via a particular physical characteristic can result in significant changes in the gross characteristics of the ice shelf. This includes complete disappearance if a feedback mode is entered, such as is apparently occasionally the case when unloading of the confining forces partally controlling interior portions of a shelf occurs due to what at a glance appears to be an insignificant increase in calving,

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  266. BobF, try these references on ice shelf stability:

    1) Rignot & Jacobs 2002 Rapid Bottom Melting Widespread near Antarctic Ice Sheet Grounding Lines (pdf)

    …It is therefore not the average ice shelf melt rate, but the melt rate near the grounding line that will have the greatest impact on ice flow dynamics. As the properties and circulation of the ocean are modified by climate change, a corresponding change in the rate of basal melting in this region may alter ice thickness and motion enough to influence ice shelf stability.

    2) Rignot & Kanagaratnam 2006 Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet Sci

    …Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year.

    3) Schoof 2007 Ice sheet grounding line dynamics: Steady states, stability, and hysteresis”

    …The purpose of this paper is to develop an improved theory for marine ice sheet dynamics based on the physics of the ice sheet-ice shelf transition zone. Our work builds on a substantial literature which has identified coupling between ice sheet and ice shelves as an essential control on the dynamics of marine ice sheets.

    That should at least partially answer your questions about how global warming is expected to lead to increased ice sheet volume loss.

    P.S. BobF, No responses on the Petr Chylek et al. discussion? For more on that source, see the following:

    Chylek et al 2007 “Limits on climate sensitivity derived from recent satellite and surface observations.”

    We find that the climate sensitivity is reduced by at least a factor of 2 when direct and indirect effects of decreasing aerosols are included, compared to the case where the radiative forcing is ascribed only to increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

    That’s a straw man argument, since no one claims that the observed radiative forcing is due only to CO2. Look at the IPCC FAR report FAQ 2.1 figure 2 which shows a radiative forcing due to CO2 of about +1.6 W/m2, and a total aerosol effect of about -1.2 W/m2. Methane, N2O and other IR-absorbing gases account for another +1.0 W/m2.

    In a separate effort, they based their ‘empirical climate sensitivity’ estimate of 1.6C on the past ten years of data alone, not on the entire 20th century record.

    They also tried to back this low sensitivity estimate up using historical paleoclimate data in a separate paper, which provoked this response:

    Hargreaves & Annan, Comment on “Aerosol radiative forcing and climate sensitivity deduced from the Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene transition”

    …However, their results depend critically on their selection of single unrepresentative data points from time series which exhibit a large amount of short-term variability, and are highly unstable with respect to other arbitrarily selected data points. When temporal averages are used in accordance with accepted norms within the paleoclimate community, the results obtained are entirely unremarkable and in line with previous analyses.

    Taken together, this all seems to fit a pattern of selection of data from a variety of different fields for the purpose of promoting a pet theory. See Douglass & Knox for similarly discredited efforts to produce low climate sensitivity estimates using volcanic eruption responses, as debunked by Robock 2005, etc.

    Keep in mind, as usual, that a single number for climate sensitivity does not really capture the complete climatic effects of doubling atmospheric CO2, one of which will be permafrost melting and the ‘natural’ injection of an uncertain further amount of CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere, an example of a positive feedback which will then increase warming past the 2X CO2 level.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  267. Tenny (240), et al: I might have missed it in earlier posts, but I don’t understand 1) what determines if an albedo change is “radical” — it seems the average of everything above the Arctic circle is short of radical; 2) why the change in albedo, even if near radical, has such a massive disruptive change in the atmosphere of the entire Northern hemisphere. What is the energy exchange that brings this about?

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:51 AM

  268. #264, Kevin, Exactly why we have to get ready for the “onslaught of the ill informed”, studying weather conditions every day helps, on the animation, try to see if something does not move, that is land or sea. I recommend Roger Pielke to try that before he even thinks about making another dumb statement about sea ice. But it is certain, they will claim a recovery, from 2007, even without comparing the weather conditions of 2007. I strongly believe that 2008-2009 is at par or worse than 2006-2007 because of cloud scenarios. But then again, asking for contrarians to study climate, as integrated long term weather, is asking too much.
    So I warn them, in advance, we are ready for your comments, and have nothing but answers which will baffle and never be amusing but for those who study hard.
    The pay for some is not money, but knowledge.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  269. Continuing #240 Tenney Naumer and his game of what if…
    In regards of the North Pacific, the Bering strait isn’t that deep it could host a massive cold surge, no doubt the jet stream will go erratic in the summer (unless it will be located round Greenland), not so in the winter, at the same time the usual patterns of low and high pressure areas are going erratic, and there’s no knowing what the rainiest or hottest month each year will be (there will be a strain on the agriculture), possible is the starts of winters will get more snow that melts during winter, this leads to earlier start to growing season, which may be interrupted by cold surge during the breakup of the wintry (stable) jetstream conditions… the transition to a new climatic stable state (resembling Miocene) is not rapid (due Greenland), so the erratic behavior of spring, summer and autumn weather may last for very long, and what the methane releases will do is out of my comprehension…

    Comment by jyyh — 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:34 AM

  270. The Arctic freeze/thaw cycle is the pump that drives the global oceanic conveyor belt. As the cold sea water freezes, it concentrates salts in the unfrozen water, increasing it’s density. The heavier brine sinks and flows toward the equator. Dissolved carbon dioxide, calcium carbonate, and carbonate ions are part of the mixture that sinks to the bottom. The cold sea water of the Arctic is a strong sequester of carbon dioxide. When sea ice forms it covers the water which then can no longer absorb carbon dioxide. Conversely, when it thaws, absorption resumes. The rate of absorption decreases with increases in arctic sea surface temperature. The observed year to year increase in measured atmospheric carbon dioxide is very likely the result of increases in Arctic SST. The year to year decreases in sea ice is evidence the sea surface temperatures have been rising in the Arctic. A set of Bering Sea buoy data confirms this fact. These are natural processes that are not related to the rate of burning fossil fuels.
    The rate of freeze/thaw is a fairly good measure of the net energy flux in and out of the Arctic. When it is dark, there is no solar influx. What little influx there may be is delivered by ocean currents and wind. During the time of the midnight sun, solar influx is at its maximum. Radiation out to space occurs day and night. The driving force is the difference between the surface of the earth and outer space to the fourth power. Exposed Arctic ocean is warmer than frozen sea ice and outbound flux from water is greater than from ice. Because thermal conductivity of ice is less than radiant transfer, ice serves as an insulator for the arctic ocean and thus slows the rate of global cooling. Heat must conduct through the ice before it can be radiated to space.

    Comment by Fred H. Haynie — 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:35 AM

  271. OT but here’s a thought provoking article on failure to communicate effectively as well as how we construct hopeful myths about many things including climate change:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327185.900-comment-why-people-dont-act-on-climate-change.html

    I think the author too lightly dismisses the potentially powerful effect of a relatively small amount of money carefully spent on fostering misunderstanding. Yet it does seem undeniable that even those of us who are concerned about this problem are very ready to talk about it, less able or willing to act.

    For a specific response, don’t forget that by making some adjustments at home that will save you money without any capital input, you can also substantially offset whatever transportation transgressions you may be guilty of committing.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2009 @ 12:01 PM

  272. Apologies for off-topic question, but do you RC folks expect to be commenting on:

    McLean, J. D., C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter (2009),
    Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature,
    J. Geophys. Res., 114, D14104, doi:10.1029/2008JD011637
    23 July 2009

    I understand that at least two of the authors (de Freitas and Carter) are long-time denialists associated with oil industry funded denialist groups, and this study is being aggressively touted on the web as “refuting” the “hypothesis” of CO2-caused warming.

    [Response: Yet another example of people over-playing something that is well known. We looked at the trends that occur once you remove ENSO effects and they are still just as large. Press release statements that imply the contrary are just wrong. - gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Jul 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  273. From the quote Brian posted from the article he cited at #246:

    “warming of the Arctic Ocean due to enhanced solar heating associated with sea ice loss may provide additional forcing to the overlying atmosphere, although Singarayer et al. (2006) has shown this effect to be small. In addition, warming of the high latitude north Pacific and Atlantic Oceans due to enhanced downward turbulent energy fluxes as a result of anomalous warm air advection out of the Arctic may also alter the atmospheric circulation response through feedbacks with the midlatitude stormtracks…”

    Could someone help with a translation for the (marginally) intelligent layman? If the anomalously warm air from the Arctic “alters” the atmospheric circulation response, what would that mean for weather on the ground?

    Comment by wili — 23 Jul 2009 @ 2:50 PM

  274. #249 Rod B

    Article
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_serreze.html

    Image
    Figure 1. Sea ice reflects as much as 85% of solar radiation hitting the surface, hence absorbing only 15%. Ocean water, by contrast, reflects only about 7% of solar radiation, absorbing 93%. (Courtesy Don Perovich, CRREL)

    I’m not sure about the specifics of what you are saying, but my point was general in nature regarding Arctic Amplification. The point of the post was to give an idea of the ice albedo with regard to amplification effect in order to get an idea of what will happen as the summer ice reduces in the Arctic. I think the image does that well.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 23 Jul 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  275. This is only speculation on my part (my part being an art major college dropout Dunning-Kruger exemplar), but I think that the loss of summer ice cover on the arctic will have the following consequences:
    A. Expansion of the polar cell driven by evaporation of moisture from open seawater; this is supported by the increase in precipitation over Siberia, Canada, and Greenland seen in the models of Deser et al 2009.
    B. General easterly winds around the Arctic coast driven by the coriolis effect on the polar vortex will couple into the now open water causing (intermittent?) clockwise surface currents; these will converge with the warm(ish) Gulfstream waters from the Barents sea northeast of Svaalbard, transporting warm salty water northward. As these waters freeze, the cold, salty brine sinking will drive more bottom water south through the Fram Straights; i.e., drive the circulation of the AMOC further north.
    C. Exposure of open water to wind will mix the ice derived fresh water with salty surface waters, The process of melting, mixing, refreezing and expulsion of cold dense brine will “pump” salt down in the Arctic sea, giving fresher surface layers and saltier bottom water.
    D. The increase in precipitation and snowpack will give higher river flows during spring melt (and more floods like recently seen on the Red river), further freshening the Arctic ocean surface. The increase in snowpack may act to protect the permafrost from melting, or the increased transport of latent heat mey do the opposite; accurate modelling, or time will tell.
    E. The expansion of the polar and Hadley cells will compress and intensify the Ferrel cell(s); this will cause more variation in the jetstream, both position and strength, as Tenney expects. We will see a continuation of the trend to more intense storms, higher peak to average rainfall, and more wind/flood damage in the northern temperate zone.
    F. The easterly winds coming over the increasingly open water of the Barents and Greenland seas will drive more heat (latent and sensible) onto the lower eastern parts of Greenland, increasing the ablation of the glaciers and ice sheets below the accumulation line, and may drive the accumulation line to higher elevations, increasing the ice loss from Greenland. Snowfall will increase at the higher elevations, resulting in accumulation and thickening in Greenland’s interior. The increase in gradient will speed flow from the interior to the coast, and the net mass loss will continue to increase, following the currently observed trends.
    G. Wind driven mixing of open warm surface water with cooler layers below will transport more heat to the methane hydrate layers of the East Siberian Shelf, continuing the trend of increasing evolution of methane observed by Igor Semiletov,Natalia Shakhova, and others. (see http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0904/full/climate.2009.24.html and http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0904/fig_tab/climate.2009.24_F1.html. I wonder if Tamino would be interested in calculating the correlation coefficient between the methane increase and arctic sea ice loss &;>)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 23 Jul 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  276. 266 Ike. Your last paragraph. You suggest that the doubling of CO2 will lead to permafrost melting and release of the trapped GHG. That release is temperature-defined rather than based on CO2 concentration isn’t it.

    That worries me a lot, because in the paleoclimate record the rate of change was of the order of +0.1K per century, possibly less. And the Lag between temperature rise and the observed CO2 increase is something in the range between as little as 200 years and maybe 800. So the temperature rise that triggered the CO2 increase is somewhere in the range of 0.2 to 0.8K. Which is roughly where we are now, isn’t it?

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Jul 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  277. Of more interest than Carter’s paper cited above might be Lindzen’s latest, in which he argues that negative feedbacks reduce sensitivity to 0.5C per doubling of CO2.

    Will you guys take a shot at dismantling it? It’s already making its spread throughout the denialsphere…

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Jul 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  278. Regarding the consequences of an ice free summer Arctic:

    Most people following AGW are familiar now with the stories about permafrost melting and the ensuing positive feedback, etc. Last year I ran across another theory and I’d love to hear the opinion of people who know and understand more about these things.

    Tom Wysmuller, a retired meteorologist, acknowledges Global Warming is happening and that it is being caused by human activities. His theory however is that as the Arctic sea loses more and more ice during summer melt there will be a counter-intuitive flip that will bring on a new ice age instead of further global warming. This theory is based on Ewing’s and Donn’s theory from the 50′s, see Spencer Weart’s site: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm#L_M007

    To quote his webpage:

    “As more Arctic Ocean becomes exposed for longer times before being sealed by seasonal pack ice formation, snows will fall earlier each year, in larger amounts, and linger on the ground longer into the spring. Albedo reflectivity from snow is negligible during the dark arctic winter, but both in early fall, and as spring arrives, the snow in higher latitudes remains on the ground longer, and reflectivity increases. Thus the central US and the East Coast will experience cooler springs and the transition into summer temperatures, although somewhat later, will be relatively rapid. The US West Coast will have warmer springs and summers, as will Western Europe. Warmer weather will linger through October’s end almost everywhere, but winters will be sharply colder. The massive pack-ice loss of 2007 set up ocean effect snows on the Arctic Shores that increased reflectivity. Colder Northern Hemisphere winters with sharp temperature contrasts are an inevitable result.”

    Unfortunately there isn’t more information on the website: http://www.colderside.com/faq.htm, though the author did send me a few pdf’s containing research by Ewing and Donn.

    Brian Dodge in #275 coincidentally wrote: “The increase in snowpack may act to protect the permafrost from melting, or the increased transport of latent heat may do the opposite; accurate modelling, or time will tell.”

    Now, I know from Spencer Weart’s website that climate science finally rejected the Ewing-Donn theories (this is what I was told last year upon inquiry here as well), but does it nevertheless hold any merit whatsoever? I myself find the idea of the permamelt-feedback more plausible (because of the CO2 forcing etc), but as I understand it nobody really knows what the consequences of the decreasing Arctic sea ice extent will be (hence wili’s questions as well). I hope this question isn’t considered too silly! If so, I apologize.

    Comment by Neven — 23 Jul 2009 @ 5:18 PM

  279. #275 Brian, nice to read this kind of dissertation. Was there any common knowledge with respect to inversions? Its a key issue, warmer Polar oceans and thinner ice affects the very structure of Upper Air layers. The long term data with respect to inversions is a bit muddled by resolution problems with changing radiosondes having different instrument errors. The other important question is what GCM’s predict, it is surely linked with thermal IR effects.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  280. Off-topic, but “Ancient Maya Practiced Forest Conservation 3,000 Years Ago”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722150825.htm
    and then stopped. So it may be that the long drought which ruiined Mayain civilization was brought on, in part, by their own actions.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  281. Re: #257

    Dear wili,

    Please note that I am not a scientist.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  282. Re: #267

    Dear Rod B,

    Change in albedo due to loss of the Arctic Sea ice is but one factor, but I would have assumed that you already knew that.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:22 PM

  283. Re: #273

    Dear wili,

    “If the anomalously warm air from the Arctic ‘alters’ the atmospheric circulation response, what would that mean for weather on the ground?”

    wili, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but what this all means is that everything we thought we knew will become wrong and useless.

    Now, you may or may not have noticed, here on many threads at realclimate, there seems to be a real joy in the fellowship of the exchange of numbers and formulae. Most of these numbers thus exchanged and chewed over will have little significance in the long run or in the big picture, but it seems to be a type of comfort to these gentlemen. At the risk of offending the gentlemen here, I will point out that this is usually a male activity. More power to them, if they enjoy it.

    Sometimes, I think it is their way of dealing with the inevitable by sort of ignoring it (“it” being that 10-ton elephant in the room).

    And, I think you know in your guts just how to translate into layman’s terms that article’s quote.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:35 PM

  284. Re: my comment #240

    I did phrase that rather badly making it appear that all was related to changing albedo.

    Of course, that is not correct.

    But, while we are on the subject, let’s have a look at the resulting SST anomalies:

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.7.23.2009.gif

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 23 Jul 2009 @ 7:55 PM

  285. Well, speaking as another artist I have to say hats off to Brian Dodge; I wish I understood all this stuff as well as he does. I got fossicking around about the thermohaline thanks to a pseudoskeptic and learned a lot (talk about doing evil that good may come!).

    Part of my problem is that I forget that one thing causes another and then another, and the sum of all this may be a little counterintuitive. Also, science is a little slow for those of us who want fireworks (not to say we aren’t getting ‘em on a scale we wish we weren’t, natheless). Tenney helped me – info neat but not gaudy – much of it visual and simple enough for my lay understanding.
    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/

    172. Ike Solem
    Thanks for your usual patience coupled with information.

    Hats off to the team of refreshingly honest questioner wili, Brian Dodge, and Tenney as well as this pearl:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/michael.alexander/Deseretal.seaicesubmit.2-09.pdf
    “The Seasonal Atmospheric Response to Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss In the Late 21st Century”

    There’s a certain Alice in Wonderland quality to the arguments going back and forth. I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that, nothing works …

    People have tried to answer quibbles that lack scientific backing politely and in detail, and they’ve tried doing it less politely, but the banging around and rattling the cage keeps coming up with the usual – turning words around into complaints about attacks. As it kidnaps discussion perhaps it’s best to leave the trolls alone. People who have made their mind up based on pseudoscience (or worse – the closed mind is the giveaway); you get this kind of thing
    “One of the best ways to tell if people are on “thin ice” with their arguments, is the their use of condescending remarks.”

    Doug Bostrom 173 tries very hard to make this explicit:
    “Rude and obnoxious replies are not particularly unusual here when RC regulars are confronted with stale talking points coupled with pugnacious presentation. Repeated exposure to expired canards elicits a positively allergic response. If you can’t stand heat, don’t turn up the thermostat.
    “If you’re a thin-skinned “skeptic” and imagine you’ve got a beef to pick with any particular facet of climate science, why not first make sure of your facts, then present your “finding” with a neutral affect?”

    Dr. Reisman in 194 has also named it well.
    “Nay, we mere mortals must bow down to the anonymity of the splendor of masked diatribes, non sequitur arguments, straw-men, false dichotomies and red herrings and wallow in our foolish consideration of the works of scientists who are guilty of examining evidence using such device as the relatively unestablished scientific method…. because everyone knows that the climate has been around much longer that the scientific method…, at least on this planet.”

    Presenting useful information will restore the life to the conversation. I think there have been enough replies to clear the air for the rest of us.realize how refreshing it is to have real questions that start a real discussion – nice!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 23 Jul 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  286. The Moon and tides again (I’m reporting this because I have now received some interesting information, a few of you seemed interested, and I said I would post on this topic when I had learned more):

    Hank posted a link to a Nature Geoscience paper, but I’m not presently at a location where I can access it. I contacted the author to request a copy and Dr. Bills kindly recommended another paper as well. This paper (Munk, W. & B. Bills, 2007, “Tides and the Climate: Some Speculations”, Journal of Physical Oceanography) has lots of interesting stuff, personal and scientific. From the abstract: “The obliquity modulation of tidal mixing by a few percent and the associated modulation of the [MOC] may play a role comparable to the obliquity modulation of the incoming solar radiation.” They’re not talking just about the Moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth, but also other gravitational interaction effects with longer periodicities. I’m going to share some interesting/fun quotations from that paper and then a comment Dr. Bills made in direct response to my question about the Moon and early Earth climates:

    “The proposal for a long-period modulation goes back to Loder and Garrett (1978) who attributed an 18.6 yr cycle in ocean surface temperature to shallow mixing associated with the lunar nodal tide cycle. Otto Pettersson in 1910 discovered internal tides breaking over the bank that separates Gullmarfjord from the sea and spent much of his subsequent career trying in vain to convince his colleagues that tidal mixing is a factor in ocean climate…. A few decades ago the suggestion that the Moon played a role in determining global ocean properties was considered lunatic; now it is considered obvious…. There is wide agreement that pelagic tidal mixing must be taken into account in any realistic modeling of ocean properties. But we are a long way from understanding the underlying physics, and depend heavily on a parameterization of the processes involved.”

    “Mixing is associated with the tidal current, and not the tidal elevation.”

    “Given the appropriate long time constants of global ocean overturning, the weak obliquity tides might play a role in ocean climate; it is a matter of joules versus watts.”

    “We end up with an effect of (allegedly) significant magnitude but unknown sign, hardly a satisfactory situation.”

    “Solar radiation directly delivers energy to Earth’s surface, whereas tidal mixing modifies the poleward transport of heat by the MOC, with large (and unknown) phase lag.”

    “The rising sea level [referring to ends of ice ages] significantly alters the depth and dissipation in the shallow seas; Egbert et. al. (2004) estimate that the North Atlantic tides during glacial times were 2 times as high and the pelagic dissipation almost three times the present rate. These feedbacks dwarf the astronomic forcing. But the numbers will not go away. It takes 10^25 J to melt enough ice to raise the sea level by 120 m. This corresponds to only 300 yr of the 10^15 W flux. A 3% increase in the MOC heat flux could account for the entire melting.”

    I am thankful to Dr. Bills for offering some additional information. To summarize, “tidal heating scales roughly as the inverse 6th power of distance to the Moon.” Therefore, he says, it is conceivable that tidal heating could be comparable to radiant energy when the Moon was 10x closer to Earth (a million times more than tidal heating yields now). But this would only have been for a few million years. Dr. Bills ensures to include caveats regarding extrapolating models too far, and in fact there perhaps IS NOT acutally a young faint Sun paradox for such reasons.

    Interesting tid-bit: “Tidal heating, at present, generates about 3×10^12 W. That is roughly the amount of energy in the global electric power grid.” So if electrical power could be perfectly converted into heat, the present warming effects of tides would be similarly small (warning: my own layperson’s interpretation), although I suspect the fact that the tidal heating is dissipated largely in the oceans makes it more important.

    I hope you find the above interesting. I suspect Thomas won’t like this post very much, as I doubt much of it is new to him.

    Comment by Steve L — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:17 PM

  287. SecularAnimist #272:

    Tamino has already posted a thorough debunking of the McLean, de Freitas, & Carter (2009) paper. The authors have applied a manipulation to the data that first removes the trend in temperature rise. They then claim that because their analysis of that manipulated data finds no correlation between the temperature trend (which has been removed) and CO2, CO2 can’t be having an effect. Based on their method and illogic, their analysis would have come to the same conclusion no matter how tight the correlation between CO2 and temperature.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 23 Jul 2009 @ 10:25 PM

  288. Tamino has a discussion of the Freitas/Carter paper on “Open mind.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 PM

  289. For a somewhat different perspective on the significance of Arctic sea ice melt, see “UNDERSTANDING RECENT VARIABILITY IN THE ARCTIC
    SEA ICE COVER – SYNTHESIS OF MODEL RESULTS AND
    OBSERVATIONS,” John Whelan September 2007, Naval Postgraduate School thesis, Monterey CA
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA474361&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
    “The changing conditions in the Arctic Ocean are of significant importance to the national security interests of the United States spanning across several areas of concern including: national defense, territorial integrity, freedom of navigation, commerce, energy resources, environmental protection, and search and rescue operations. Although the wide-ranging implications of diminishing sea ice will affect multiple federal agencies, the greatest impact will be felt by the U.S. Navy as it reshapes its strategies and policies to adjust to the changing physical and political environment.”
    Also note-”Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited”; I wonder what is in the papers “not approved for public release; classified”?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 PM

  290. Doug Bostrom #265

    A24 was about 90 km by 95 km in area and about 400 m thick. (~1320 Feet). Did you see that: 400 metres thick? How does that compare with your concern about hypothesised weakening in an implied 30-year reduction from 228 to 220 metres in the recent events?”

    Yes, and thank you! That helps to illustrate something I believe you’re missing here.

    Not the only thing BobFJ is missing, and not even the most important. See my correction
    .

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 1:07 AM

  291. Kevin McKinney, Brian Dodge, Ike Solem, Anne van der Bom & Sidd:
    Did you notice these two summertime aerial photos on the ‘U.S. Geological Survey’ site that I cited above?
    (entitled) ‘Somewhere over the Grand Chasms, 1957’ [Filchner ice shelf; at an early stage of break-up]

    http://earthshots.usgs.gov/Filchner/FilchnerChasms1photo.jpeg
    http://earthshots.usgs.gov/Filchner/FilchnerChasms2photo.jpeg

    I’m still flummoxed by some vague statements something like “massive melt ponds”, (but presumably in an unrelated dynamic on the Greenland icesheet?), and “melt ponds were observed, (presumably by satellite?), shortly before break-up” of one or more of the Antarctic ice shelves recently.

    I don’t know if you have caught-on yet but these mechanical hinging failures of ice shelves do not happen overnight, but perhaps over a decade or so. So why would melt ponds suddenly appear shortly before break-up? Could it be instead that there has eventually been total physical separation across the canyon, (chasm), that allows sea water to rise to around 90% of the surrounding ice thickness shortly before the separation is observed to accelerate?
    BTW, the freezing point of sea-water is about 2C lower than fresh.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Kevin McKinney, Reur 204:
    Thankyou for your response, which in the first part was:

    “I don’t quite see how your experiment helps, BobFJ.
    The container walls are elastic, unlike the ice, and there is no possibility of supercooling or even differential pressures. The only thing that is demonstrated that is parallel is the “path of least resistance,” which I discussed in my original post:
    “Presumably the pressure can preferentially act in two ways: to lift liquid water in the melt pond, or to propagate the crack downward.”

    Just taking your first line, the purpose in the experiment in selecting flexible flat sided containers was to precisely demonstrate that the freezing of water did NOT exert any discernable “pressure” on the open container. Why you imply that a more rigid container of ice would give a different result is a puzzle to me, as are some of your other points. Also, when water freezes in a container, there is no longer any hydrostatic pressure. (in any direction). Sorry, but that is all I have time for right now.

    Oh BTW, quickly, the dynamics on the Greenland outer (lower) ice SHEET which is substantially geologically captive in a basin, are different to heaving ice SHELVES in Antarctica.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ike Solem,
    Thankyou for your interest and two thoughtful posts.
    I’ll try to respond soon…. I do have some other things on the go.

    Comment by BobFJ — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:20 AM

  292. re # #277

    dhogaza, I wonder whether the “denialsphere” will be so interested in puffing Amy Clement et al.’s study reported in today’s Science, which shows evidence for a positive cloud feedback in the Northeast Pacific.

    Their analysis yields an interpretation consistent with a climate sensitivity on the high end of the IPCC range (i.e. > 4 oC per doubling of CO2).

    Personally speaking, I think we’re in the early days of attributing cloud responses and their impacts, and this is far from being a conclusive finding. However it will be interesting to see how the dodgy-bloggers deal with these two papers….!

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5939/460

    Amy C. Clement, Robert Burgman, Joel R. Norris (2009) Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback Science 325, 460-464. (July 24, 2009)

    abstract: Feedbacks involving low-level clouds remain a primary cause of uncertainty in global climate model projections. This issue was addressed by examining changes in low-level clouds over the Northeast Pacific in observations and climate models. Decadal fluctuations were identified in multiple, independent cloud data sets, and changes in cloud cover appeared to be linked to changes in both local temperature structure and large-scale circulation. This observational analysis further indicated that clouds act as a positive feedback in this region on decadal time scales. The observed relationships between cloud cover and regional meteorological conditions provide a more complete way of testing the realism of the cloud simulation in current-generation climate models. The only model that passed this test simulated a reduction in cloud cover over much of the Pacific when greenhouse gases were increased, providing modeling evidence for a positive low-level cloud feedback.

    Comment by chris — 24 Jul 2009 @ 5:01 AM

  293. John. P. Reisman, Reur 274:
    “…I think the image does that well…”
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/images/icealbedo-sml.jpg

    Quickly; sorry; but the image you cite is extremely simplistic. Most people agree that when the sun does appear in the Arctic, its zenith is rather low in the sky. This has a profound effect on the reflectivity of water. Take a look at the sun as it sets over a large expanse of water, and you should be able to understand what I mean.

    Comment by BobFJ — 24 Jul 2009 @ 6:32 AM

  294. Martin Vermeer Reur 290
    Yes, you are right I did miss that point, but quickly, the fundamental thing is that all ice shelves frfacture, regardless of thickness, such as the calving of A24 at 400 metres thick, compared with the more recent failures between 200 and 250 metres thick

    Comment by BobFJ — 24 Jul 2009 @ 6:36 AM

  295. Brian Dodge, thanks for the great information and sources!

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 6:44 AM

  296. John P. Reisman

    Citing a press blurb by Mark Serreze of NSIDC you wrote to Rod B (274):

    “Sea ice reflects as much as 85% of solar radiation hitting the surface, hence absorbing only 15%. Ocean water, by contrast, reflects only about 7% of solar radiation, absorbing 93%”.

    These values may be true on average, but studies have found that at Arctic/Antarctic latitudes the surface albedo of seawater varies between 25 and 40%, depending on the waviness of the water.
    http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/JOSJ/pdf/2104/21040148.pdf

    The surface albedo varies strongly with the angle of the sun, so that at the higher latitudes (which have a greater percentage of the sea ice) the albedo is nearer to the higher end of the range (but let’s take the arithmetic average of 32.5%).

    As pointed out by Serreze, sea ice has a higher albedo. The estimates I have seen put this at around 80% (high end of the range).

    Based on a quick look at the satellite photos, let’s assume that half of the Arctic surface area is covered by clouds, which reflect incoming solar radiation, so that its surface albedo is essentially unaffected by the state of the sea below (ice or water).

    The Earth is said to have an “average” surface albedo of around 30%.

    To what extent has this been impacted by melting sea ice to date?

    NSIDC data show us that the average summer-month (April-September) Arctic sea ice extent was 10.93 million km^2 (1979-2000 baseline) and 9.87 km^2 (latest 2008/09 values).

    At the same time Antarctic sea ice extent was 9.66 million km^2 (1979-2000 baseline) and 10.09 million km^2 (latest 2008/09 values) for the summer months there (October-March).

    Globally the sea ice extent has declined on average by 0.62 million km^2. All of this surface area is exposed to the sun during the summer months, but half was covered by clouds. The Earth has a surface area of 510 million km^2, of which half is exposed to the sun.

    So, if the surface albedo was changed from 80 to 37.5% due to melting ice, this means that the average albedo of the Earth was lowered by 0.06% (from 30% to 29.94%). Not much of an “albedo feedback” there.

    This is obviously not a problem.

    Let’s assume that the more alarming predictions for the future are correct and that there will be a major meltdown of Arctic ice leading to an “ice-free summer”.

    NSIDC’s Mark Serreze says this could happen by 2030 if melting rates accelerate; other estimates put it closer to 2070-2100 if melting rates remain the same as they have been recently. Let’s also assume that the Antarctic sea ice stops growing and remains the same as today.

    If we assume that there is no Arctic sea ice for a full 31-day period in August/September of some future year and that the remainder of the “summer ice” is reduced by one-half on average, we have a “disaster scenario”.

    On this basis we have a reduction of sea ice of 5.3 million km^2 for 31 days and 6.0 million km^2 for 152 days, leading to a reduction of the Earth’s average annual albedo of 0.3% (from 30% to 29.7%), if we assume that half of the area is covered by clouds and unaffected. Even if we ignore the clouds we still only arrive at an albedo reduction of 0.6%.

    These figures are based on a rough calculation that could be refined, but the conclusion will not change by very much.

    My question: other than any regional impacts that this may have in the Arctic, is this a major cause for concern and, if so, why?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 24 Jul 2009 @ 7:33 AM

  297. Bob_FJ

    Reur 293 on seawater surface albedo at high altitudes, the message I just posted to John P. Reisman has an attached study, which confirms what you are saying.
    http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/JOSJ/pdf/2104/21040148.pdf

    At Arctic/Antarctic latitudes seawater has an average surface albedo of around 32%, depending on the waviness of the water. This compares to an albedo of around 80% for ice (upper end of the range of estimates I have seen).

    I’ll post the link again in case my other message gets stuck in the incoming filter.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 24 Jul 2009 @ 7:58 AM

  298. BobFJ
    24 Jul 2009 at 2:20 am

    Pretty pictures you posted. I might be mistaken, but it seems you’re just posting them and let everyone do the guesswork of what exactly it is you’re trying to say. To keep up the appearance that you actually have anything to say.

    Let me formulate your hypothesis as follows: “The recent collapse of ice sheets is solely caused by mechanical hinging forces”.

    Prove your hypothesis.

    Not – as you have done until now – by throwing doubt on the counterhypothesis (that global warming is just the tiny change in circumstances that are necessary for those ice shelves to find themselves in a place where they no longer can exist). No, you start by supporting your hypothesis with evidence. I suggest you start off with the observations regarding the changes in those mechanical forces over the past decennia.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  299. Re #271, Doug, that article is interesting but its all about getting your head around the numbers. As an example, energy usage in terms of the KWh. If a computer burns 100W of energy then after 10 hours it will have used up 10×100 Watts = 1 KWh in 10 hours. Now lets scale that up to the size of countries shall we. 1000 KWh = 1 MWh and 1000 MWh = 1 GWh and 1000 GWh = 1 TWh!

    USA = 29,000 TWh (thats 12 zeros added making an astronomical number). Of that 3,900 TWh is purely electricity. 200 Two MW (a measure of power) Wind Turbines will produce 1 TWh of energy a year. So 200 x 3,900 = 800,000 Wind Turbines. Thats a lot.

    No wonder we are in denial beccause oil usage makes up another huge number of that 29,000 TWh and replacing that is another massive operation even if everything is 50% more efficient. I am sure that Wind, wave, solar in all its forms deployed on a massive scale along with a lot of nutural gas increased usage can get rid of coal and eventually oil and gas usage but its a massive ask!

    Comment by pete best — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:14 AM

  300. BobFJ, an “open” container a few centimeters deep isn’t a good analog for a glacial crack many meters deep. And obviously, the closed container case shows what the pressure can do. But are you losing sight of the fact that part of the question was whether there would be freezing at all? Your intuitive assumption was that it must. Direct onsite observations–draining of meltponds via moulins–show that that’s not always the case, however. (And yes, this part of the discussion was about glaciers, not sea ice.)

    Part of the reason for this discrepancy might lie in the way you conceptualized the problem. You wrote that the water in a crack “loses contact with the warm air that created it” and hence should freeze. But 1) it isn’t necessarily the air that “creates” the melting; radiative heating can do that. It’s very directly observable on a sunny March day in Sault Ste. Marie, where I grew up. All you have to do is look at the south vs. north sides of snow banks, preferably on a day when the air temp is still at freezing point. 2) It isn’t necessarily the case that the water in the crack “loses contact.” There’s a big old melt pond up there, remember? It remains “in contact” with the air–and with the radiation. And the cracks can be large enough that some mixing still occurs. Perhaps most importantly, the crack may well have an outlet, in which case you get a large heat transport down into the ice, and freezing is much less likely.

    Turning to your other post regarding sea ice and solar zenith, your point about the effects of water albedo change being minimized by the low Arctic solar zenith is true as far as it goes. But it ignores the fact that direct solar radiation is only part of the picture. Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence–and, according to Kiehl & Trenberth ’98, this is an input roughly twice as large as direct insolation. (Moreover, that low zenith also means a nice long path through an atmosphere which, with less sea ice, will have a higher absolute humidity, and hence enhanced absorptivity–not an albedo effect, I know, but it’s going to enhance warming all the same.)

    You can’t wish away the consequences of sea ice loss quite so easily!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jul 2009 @ 9:26 AM

  301. BobFJ:

    > Yes, you are right I did miss that point,

    Thank you!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  302. @ manacker 24 Jul 2009 at 7:33 am

    “Based on a quick look at the satellite photos, let’s assume that half of the Arctic surface area is covered by clouds, which reflect incoming solar radiation, so that its surface albedo is essentially unaffected by the state of the sea below (ice or water).”

    This is an oversimplified assumption which will lead to underestimation of the effect of water versus snow-covered ice. Clouds scatter light down as well as up, so the surface state below them has an effect – to see the effect in qualitative lay terms, put down a sheet of wax paper (model “cloud”), half over white paper (model “snow covered ice”), half over black construction paper (model “open water”). Use several sheets of waxed paper to simulate thicker clouds, or several layers of clear plastic under the wax paper to simulate higher cloud base. How thick a model “cloud layer” does it take to hide the difference between the model “snow covered ice” and “open Water”?

    “NSIDC data show us that the average summer-month (April-September) Arctic sea ice extent was 10.93 million km^2 (1979-2000 baseline) and 9.87 km^2 (latest 2008/09 values).

    At the same time Antarctic sea ice extent was 9.66 million km^2 (1979-2000 baseline) and 10.09 million km^2 (latest 2008/09 values) for the summer months there (October-March).”

    Averaging over six month periods is another oversimplification that will lead to an underestimation of the effect of loss of ice cover. The insolation varies with time, as the sun moves higher in the sky, following a curve that is roughly the top half of a sine wave. As the sun moves higher in the sky and the incoming radiation increases, the open water area is also increasing, multiplying the effects. Google “crest factor” and “root mean squared” to learn more. To get an accurate estimate, you would need to multiply the changing insolation by the changing absorption curves on a point by point basis, and integrate the area under the resulting curve.

    “This is obviously not a problem.”

    Diluting the affected Arctic area (where the methane hydrates are concentrated) by averaging in the area of the rest of the globe where the heat will eventually end up erroneously underestimates the transient catastrophic effect.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 24 Jul 2009 @ 9:43 AM

  303. pete best 24 Jul 2009 at 8:14 am

    Truly staggering indeed. I keep on wondering why, since we know this free ride is going to stop, we’re not acting in a more concerted way to ease our way out of the problem? Quite apart from climate change, we’ve got a huge problem on our hands here, it’s going to manifest itself in a big way in little more than a generation even if we give not a whit about what parts of the planet are newly dessicated, etc.

    Again, I believe the author too casually dismisses the damping effect on necessary action created by existing industry that is directly concerned with fossil fuels. From manufacturers of boilers to tiny firms attempting to produce better diesel emissions controls, there’s an enormous amount of potential inertia here. Many of these actors are sufficiently organized (API, for instance) to form a diamond-hard constituency and public relations message apparatus, arrayed against a mushy and disorganized rabble of environmentalists, alternative energy interests, etc. History is littered with examples of the outcome of knives left resting edgewise on warm butter.

    So between misdirection, sloth, and denial we recline in ease, watching and doing nothing as prices for fossil fuels not only inevitably rise but become increasingly chaotic, unpredictable and dangerous. We’re in a deck chair, sitting on the tracks with a tasty cocktail in our hands, waiting for the fossil fuel powered juggernaut to crush us flat even as it runs out of motive power.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  304. John P. Reisman (274), it seems a bit misleading, though I don’t choose to make a big deal out of it. While the average ice albedo exceeds 50% as your reference states, to take ‘snow-covered ice might exceed 80%’ to a simple diagram with a smiley Sun getting reflected 85% over ice (it looks a little snow-covered but the title says “ice”) is quite a stretch for a general idea.

    The shown water albedo is pretty good.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Jul 2009 @ 11:22 AM

  305. Thanks Doug Bostrom for this:
    “So between misdirection, sloth, and denial we recline in ease, watching and doing nothing as prices for fossil fuels not only inevitably rise but become increasingly chaotic, unpredictable and dangerous. We’re in a deck chair, sitting on the tracks with a tasty cocktail in our hands, waiting for the fossil fuel powered juggernaut to crush us flat even as it runs out of motive power.”

    It was said recently that at the moment we are experiencing the beginning of a permanent drought in the southwest which has recently been named as one of the first obvious US outcomes.

    I’d like to know if there is any connection between Atlantic (not Pacific) northern cool and current Arctic and Greenland melting. In my naive unscientific way, I look at those satellite images and it seems likely. Does anyone know anything that will enlighten my ignorance?

    I understand that comparative pictures of Greenland this year/last year will soon be available, and think they will startle. I’ll have to look out some maps and see how much of a “bowl” it is and how much of that ice is inside it.

    On the lay front, several excellent PBS programs have provided information that seems to me to be relevant to the discussion above.

    Nova’s Extreme Ice shows glacier melt and even goes down into a moulin hole.

    Alan Alda takes a walk in northern areas and shows and discusses permafrost and albedo with scientists, in relationship to trees, shrubs, growth, etc.

    I found this fascinating and it might be useful to a slightly larger sliver of the population than hardworking scientists. Chris Mooney has been pushing for communication and Alan Alda doesn’t get enough credit for the great job he does on this.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  306. Brian, thanks for a good discussion.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  307. Anne van der Bom Reur 298:

    Let me formulate your hypothesis as follows: “The recent collapse of ice sheets is solely caused by mechanical hinging forces”.

    [edit] Yet again; NO, I did not say that!

    Comment by BobFJ — 24 Jul 2009 @ 5:21 PM

  308. Kevin McKinney Reur 300, in part:

    “…Direct onsite observations–draining of meltponds via moulins–show that that’s not always the case, however. (And yes, this part of the discussion was about glaciers, not sea ice.)…”

    Quickly; Well actually the discussion is about the complex dynamic of ice SHELVES in Antarctica. Can you elaborate what part of the world you are refering to and where/how the observations were made?
    Oh and BTW, the further down a crack, (that has not yet propagated all the way through), the more likely it is (if water can get down there), that freezing will take place because of the huge difference in “thermal mass”.

    “… Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence…”

    Quickly: And neither will snow and ice reflect infrared? Is it not black in those wavelengths? Do you have time to check that out for me please?

    Comment by BobFJ — 24 Jul 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  309. Re: #302 with regard to #296

    Dear Brian,

    Once again, thanks!

    manaker at #296 says:

    “So, if the surface albedo was changed from 80 to 37.5% due to melting ice, this means that the average albedo of the Earth was lowered by 0.06% (from 30% to 29.94%). Not much of an ‘albedo feedback’ there.”

    Brian clarifies:

    “Diluting the affected Arctic area (where the methane hydrates are concentrated) by averaging in the area of the rest of the globe where the heat will eventually end up erroneously underestimates the transient catastrophic effect.”

    What you said!

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 6:29 PM

  310. Looks like the NW passage(siberia) is about to open, been watching it over the last few weeks and it is melting rapidly, by the look at how it’s going I bet it will exceed last years. The NE passage is melting less rapidly and will probably not completely open I my guesstimation.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:07 AM

  311. In post 291, doofus:

    “I don’t know if you have caught-on yet but these mechanical hinging failures of ice shelves do not happen overnight, but perhaps over a decade or so.”

    And no mention of ANY OTHER EFFECT.

    Now if you want to change your story again, do so. but do so clearly, rather than just straight out denial.

    Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, you know…

    Comment by Mark — 25 Jul 2009 @ 9:10 AM

  312. re 309 have you got that the wrong way around? Siberia is the NE passage and looks likely to open soon. The NW passage through the Canadian Archapeligo looks iffy.

    Comment by dave p — 25 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  313. Lawrence (#310, 3:07 am)–NE is Siberia, yes? NW is Canadian archipelago.

    I’m thinking they are both going to open, FWIW.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Jul 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  314. #309 Lawrence, The NE passage is traditionally known as the passage on top of Eurasia, The NW passage is the term used for North American Arctic.

    And now for something completely different: +18 C at 83 degrees North!

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/trends_table/pages/ylt_metric_e.html

    New uncharted passages should open. Its a tad less cloudy, as one would expect when temperatures are simply too warm in the Arctic.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  315. It will be +27 in Inuvik Canada as per forecast. Watch the Beaufort Sea Expand really fast as well.

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/forecast/canada/index_e.html?id=NT

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  316. For Alert temps, as I remember, we were lucky to get +5 during the summer, back in the 80′s.

    http://www.eldoradocountyweather.com/canada/climate/alertclimate.html

    Again, this data begets serious attention, and also absolute negation of a so called “pause” in warming. Some model experts should
    respond to these events accordingly. Unlike elsewhere in the world, Arctic temperatures do not have the tendency to vary wildly, and are truly a reflection of climatic trends and of the landscape and sea scape around, rather than the usual spike on a temp graph.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  317. From Wayne’s link:
    ding! http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/saisons/images/mfe1t_s.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  318. so the 18 degrees up in the 83o would be sort of out of line? Funny but there have been some of days in Scandinavia too which have been hotter in the north (70o)than in the south (60o). Never used to happen, but I may recall this wrong. Some sort of analysis could be done.

    Comment by jyyh — 25 Jul 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  319. From Wayne’s link:
    ding!

    So there’s still a stubborn cool spot over the southern part of Hudson’s Bay, if I read that correctly. Hudson’s Bay has been one area that has been melting slower than the 1979-2000 average, judging by the NSIDC daily map, and of course it’s been cool south of there clear into the American mid-West.

    But that stubborn bit of Hudson’s Bay ice is almost gone. The slope of the daily graph at IJIS, NSIDC and yes, even denialist-favorite Arctic Roos as steepened. Even Arctic Roos now shows the ice extent almost down to the 2008 level, and it’s crossing the 2008 ice area.

    In the far turn, we’ve got a horse race, people! 2007 by a length over 2009, followed by 2008 trailing by a head, with 2009 starting to make its move along the rail…

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:12 PM

  320. Rod B, 304 and John. P. Reisman, Reur 274:
    Here is an extract from Wiki’
    Although the reflectivity of water is very low at low and medium angles of incident light, it increases tremendously at high angles of incident light such as occur on the illuminated side of the Earth near the terminator. (early morning, late afternoon and near the poles).

    And here is their graph:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_reflectivity.jpg

    Comment by BobFJ — 25 Jul 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  321. Kevin McKinney Reur 300, last part:

    In fact, snow is an extremely good absorber of infrared EMR.
    This fact is demonstrated in this photo taken with infrared film. “Snow White” on Flickr photo sharing
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3472/3365391796_169fea972f_m.jpg

    What may appear to be counter-intuitive is that the “hottest” part of the image is from the snow. This means that the most powerful emitter of infrared in the image is the snow.
    In turn, it follows from Kirchhoff’s law of radiation, that snow is a powerful absorber. (a black body in that spectrum)

    Comment by BobFJ — 25 Jul 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  322. Itg may be off topic but are there any sites that show land ice?, since UIUC no longer do. It would be intersting to see if the ice on Baffin or Ellsmire islands are surviving the warm condtitions. Is Greenland having above normal melt?

    Comment by dave p — 25 Jul 2009 @ 6:29 PM

  323. If you want to see a slightly broader picture of Arctic temperatures on a spot basis, this site has a map with little yellow dots on the entire Arctic Circle (none of the dots on the eastern coast of Greenland works, unfortunately). It is a bit hokey looking, but the info is good.

    http://www.athropolis.com/map2.htm

    For example, clicking on Fairbanks, Alaska, gives this info:

    July 25, 2009, weather report for
    FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, USA

    Weather report as of 61 minutes ago (23:55 UTC):
    The wind was blowing at a speed of 3.1 meters per second (6.9 miles per hour) from South/Southwest in Fairbanks, Alaska. The temperature was 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit). Air pressure was 1,017 hPa (30.03 inHg). Relative humidity was 30.8%. There were scattered clouds at a height of 2438 meters (8000 feet), scattered clouds at a height of 3658 meters (12000 feet) and broken clouds at a height of 6096 meters (20000 feet). The visibility was 16.1 kilometers (10.0 miles).

    And, clicking on Thule gives:

    July 25, 2009, weather report for
    THULE, GREENLAND

    Weather report as of 3 minutes ago (00:55 UTC):
    The wind was calm in Thule, Greenland. The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit). Air pressure was 1,018 hPa (30.05 inHg). Relative humidity was 40.5%. The sky was clear. The visibility was >11.3 kilometers (>7 miles).

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  324. There is a particular spot of ice between Northern Ellesmere and Greenland , a rock steady sheet for as long as I can remember, disintegrating. This is new, the last remnants of steady ice are disappearing in front of our eyes. #318, same in Canada, except distances from North and South range about 2000 miles.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 12:35 AM

  325. Re:319 I’ve got my money on 2009 by a nose, I think now it’s squeak in under the radar, it’s finally found it’s legs and is romping home. lol!
    But jokes aside this shows that the ice albedo momentum is building every year despite 2009 not being an outstandingly hot year.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 26 Jul 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  326. Tenney Naumer, Reur 323, you reported in part:

    “…THULE, GREENLAND
    Weather report as of 3 minutes ago (00:55 UTC):
    The wind was calm in Thule, Greenland. The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit)…”

    That sounds a bit like some weather we have had in Melbourne (Australia) recently.

    However, compare Greenland to the current Wiki’ entry concerning temperatures in Antarctica:

    The lowest temperature ever recorded in nature on Earth was −89.2°C (−128.6°F) recorded on Thursday, July 21, 1983 at Vostok Station. For comparison, this is 11 °C colder than subliming dry ice. The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica was 14.6°C (58.3°F) in two places, Hope Bay and Vanda Station, on January 5, 1974.
    The mean annual temperature of the interior is −57°C (−70°F). The coast is warmer. Monthly means at McMurdo Station range from −28°C (−18.4°F) in August to −3°C (26.6°F) in January. At the South Pole, the highest temperature recorded was −14°C (7°F). Along the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures as high as 15°C (59°F) have been recorded, though the summer temperature is usually around 2°C (36°F).
    Severe low temperatures vary with latitude, elevation, and distance from the ocean. East Antarctica is colder than West Antarctica because of its higher elevation. The Antarctic Peninsula has the most moderate climate. Higher temperatures occur in January along the coast and average slightly below freezing.

    In my engineering/geological comments to others previously here, concerning ice SHELF mechanical failures in Antarctica, there have been various vague counter-references to massive melt ponds and moulins, (as reported in Greenland?), as being causal to those mechanical failures in Antarctica. However, I’ve pointed out that the Greenland ice SHEET is a different animal to ice SHELVES in Antarctica, for instance; it is substantially geologically captured in a basin, and not subjected to tidal heaving etc. (and of course, Antarctica is much colder)

    Are you able to give me a response to some of the issues I’ve raised, (that have been avoided or derided by others), such as the decadal nature of hinging failure, and for example the apparent absence of melt water in the two summer aerial photos of the Filchner chasms in 1957.

    Oh, incidentally, to help in understanding, floating ice SHELVES are fed by Glaciers/ice SHEETS which creep seaward under gravitational force. Consequently, the initial hinging failure lines are progressively advanced seaward and the resulting canyons may become massive over time.

    Comment by BobFJ — 26 Jul 2009 @ 3:54 AM

  327. Wayne, could you tell what do you think of the effect this breakup has? I’d expect the additional cold from this ice to melt and sink once it gets to Atlantic, and have no effect on the European winter, but I haven’t seen 10 by 10 km ice bergs melt… they only drift away in the Baltic coasts…

    Comment by jyyh — 26 Jul 2009 @ 5:04 AM

  328. Wayne@324: do you mean the Lincoln Sea, about 83N, 57W? That came apart very rapdily after the “ice bridge” at the north end of the Nares Strait broke up a couple of weeks ago.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 26 Jul 2009 @ 5:27 AM

  329. Rod B #235,236: the tides is something I have actually published on a long time ago: see the introduction (first page) of

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/h7674t3q42453mj4/

    equations 1-4. The tidal potential is in practice exactly proportional to d^-3. Only for objects a lot closer than the Moon this would be different. This is for the tidal potential (the tidal deviation of ideal sea level) but is the same for tidal force (its gradient).

    BTW there is no difference between the direct torque effect and the friction effect: the tidal bulge lags Sun and Moon because of friction. And that again makes the torque nonzero. I don’t understand (and don’t even recognise as coherent) your “explanation” in #235. You do get the ratio between Sun and Moon right though, to end on a positive note.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:17 AM

  330. re: #322

    Dear dave p,

    It seems pretty clear that this year Greenland will have an extraordinary mass balance loss, but those data will not come out until September, probably, or even later. I will be posting updates on my blog as usual. For everything you wanted to know about the melt on Greenland but were afraid to ask see here:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/search/label/Greenland%20ice%20melt

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  331. re: #318

    Dear jyyh,

    Hammerfest in the extreme north of Norway has been very warm. In 2007, it was also very hot up there. It was in the 70s there yesterday, I believe.

    You can get the temps around the Arctic at this site:

    http://www.athropolis.com/map2.htm

    July 26, 2009, weather report for HAMMERFEST, NORWAY

    Weather report as of 15 minutes ago (12:50 UTC):
    The wind was blowing at a speed of 7.7 meters per second (17.3 miles per hour) from Northeast in Hammerfest, Norway. The temperature was 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). Air pressure was 1,012 hPa (29.88 inHg). Relative humidity was 52.5%. There are no clouds below 1,524 meters (5,000 feet). The visibility was >10 kilometers (>6.2 miles).

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:06 AM

  332. re: #324

    Dear Wayne,

    The multi-year ice in the location to the north of Ellesmere and Greenland all moved east last year. What is there now is what came from the west last year before it all froze solid again. The multi-year ice is at a very low percent of total ice now, as I am sure you know. But it is all much thinner. In that particular location, it began to crack up in early April. Again, it has moved to the east. Nares Strait didn’t even freeze up properly this past winter.

    The Canadian Met Office has a very good overview of what is going on there:
    http://tinyurl.com/nares-ice-arch-2009

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:14 AM

  333. re: #326

    Dear BobFJ,

    I am afraid that all of your questions are way out of my area of expertise.

    In fact, I just look at Greenland as if it were one very large snowcone on a hot summer’s day — to my unscientific eyes, that is how it is behaving.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:51 AM

  334. #324, Terry, Its highly likely that ice has moved East or West at that location, but in the past it was the most stable area, where as buoys didn’t move fast, but the main point is that the entire area is melting, something I never seen before, Usually only a small section remained open Just North of the Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere… #324, Nick, the effects of this is highly likely much quicker flow of the entire ice pack, since a stable ice sheet “anchor” is no longer present.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 10:17 AM

  335. Bob, you’ll need to either get out of your chair and go to the library, or pay the publisher for full copies, for most of the current work in the area you ask about. A few more examples just to encourage you to read in the field in which you want to shine:

    http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/07-1941.1
    Jeff W. Higdon, Steven H. Ferguson (2009) Loss of Arctic sea ice causing punctuated change in sightings of killer whales (Orcinus orca) over the past century. Ecological Applications: Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 1365-1375.
    doi: 10.1890/07-1941.1

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/10POLAR/techprogram/session_22845.htm
    10th Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography
    Session 16 Atmosphere-Ocean-Sea Ice Interactions

    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0012821X08007887
    T Scambos, HA Fricker, CC Liu, J Bohlander, … – Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2009
    … Ice shelf disintegration by plate bending and hydro-fracture: Satellite observations and model results of the 2008 Wilkins ice shelf break-ups. …

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=5856680
    Antarctic Science
    doi:10.1017/S0954102009990137
    Published online by Cambridge University Press 16 Jun 2009 ($20.00)
    Review — Ice sheet mass balance and sea level

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  336. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/26/climate-change-obama-administration

    Unbelievable, unfathomable, that Global Warming pictures of the Arctic were censured top secret… As if the Arctic itself should be cut off from the rest of the world. How utterly deprived!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  337. It seems possible that northern melt is causing cooler weather to the south. The stuff about Hudson Bay seems to be another instance, like here in Boston. Of course we’ll have to wait and see.

    (My family calls this an “Anderson check”, asking a question and since no one actually contradicted my idea (too vague to call a hypothesis), making a statement.)

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  338. #334 Sorry Tenney, not Terry , me bad.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  339. #337 Susan, its the clouds coinciding with El-Nino, I elaborate more on my website.
    In Montreal, elders are acknowledging the cloudiest summer ever.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 2:06 PM

  340. Dear Wayne,

    Well, we know the ice is thinner, and we know it is stormier up there these days, and we know that the water underneath is warmer, so it only makes sense that a bunch flowed out and then was not replaced.

    Last year when I commented that the ice was flowing out faster, someone jumped all over me, but this is what I found on the speed:

    Journal of Geophysical Research, 114, C05013; doi: 10.1029/2008JC005066.

    Positive trend in the mean speed and deformation rate of Arctic sea ice, 1979–2007

    P. Rampal (Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, UMR5183, Université Joseph Fourier, CNRS, Saint Martin d’Hères, and Laboratoire de Géophysique Interne et Tectonophysique, UMR5559, Université de Savoie, CNRS, Le Bourget du Lac, France), J. Weiss (Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, UMR5183, Université Joseph Fourier, CNRS, Saint Martin d’Hères, France), and D. Marsan (Laboratoire de Géophysique Interne et Tectonophysique, UMR5559, Université de Savoie, CNRS, Le Bourget du Lac, France)

    (Received 1 August 2008, accepted 11 March 2009, published 14 May 2009.)

    Abstract

    Using buoy data from the International Arctic Buoy Program, we found that the sea ice mean speed has substantially increased over the last 29 years (+17% per decade for winter and +8.5% for summer). A strong seasonal dependence of the mean speed is also revealed, with a maximum in October and a minimum in April. The sea ice mean strain rate also increased significantly over the period (+51% per decade for winter and +52% for summer). We check that these increases in both sea ice mean speed and deformation rate are unlikely to be consequences of a stronger atmospheric forcing. Instead, they suggest that sea ice kinematics play a fundamental role in the albedo feedback loop and sea ice decline: increasing deformation means stronger fracturing, hence more lead opening, and therefore a decreasing albedo. This accelerates sea ice thinning in summer and delays refreezing in early winter, therefore decreasing the mechanical strength of the cover and allowing even more fracturing, larger drifting speed and deformation, and possibly a faster export of sea ice through the Fram Strait. The September minimum sea ice extent of 2007 might be a good illustration of this interplay between sea ice deformation and sea ice shrinking, as we found that for both winter 2007 and summer 2007 exceptionally large deformation rates affected the Arctic sea ice cover.

    Link to abstract: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JC005066.shtml

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  341. Actually, Wayne, that Nares Strait ice arch had big cracks in it last year, if I can find a photo, I will post it on my blog for you.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  342. hmmm, permit me to correct myself. Last year, I commented that most of the multi-year ice had moved out, and someone jumped on me by saying that it was not possible because the ice couldn’t move that fast. I was looking at the satellite images every day, and you could see it was going at a pretty fast click.

    Now we know that there is hardly any decent mult-year ice left:

    “New NASA Satellite Survey Reveals Dramatic Arctic Sea Ice Thinning”

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707.html

    N.B. That link takes forever to open, but has tons of data and charts.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  343. #341 Dear Tenney, I agree, melting doesn’t happen without thinner ice, I appreciate your links as well, it is nevertheless very significant area of melting. Usually there is an arcof open water in the Robeson channel as per picture:

    http://bprc.osu.edu/~jbox/img/polynya/2009.086_location_map_sm.jpg

    It varied in size and dimensions over the years. I surmise it was due to very steady ice, as confirmed by buoys. The area of ice Northwards of Robeson is melting dramatically now.

    Not far away Greenland Glacier is melting dramatically as well,

    http://www.meltfactor.org/blog/?cat=1

    Which merely again confirms that chaos from melting has started a while ago.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  344. Dear Tenney, Fortunately there is a link showing a recent picture of the melting and cracking…

    http://www.meltfactor.org/blog/?p=66

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 26 Jul 2009 @ 4:35 PM

  345. Gee, looks like I am hogging the comments section, sorry.

    But, be that as it may, is anyone willing to call the Northeast Passage open or would that be premature just based on this graphic (I had to post it to my own blog because those images are changed daily — hit the page down key a few times to get down the page to the post):

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/07/did-northeast-passage-open-today-july.html

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  346. The people here:

    http://peakoil.com/environment/record-sea-ice-loss-in-arctic-2009-t49665-585.html

    are saying that the Arctic ice cap is now detached and free floating. Is this what others are seeing? Has this happened before? Is it significant for predicting rate of melt?

    [Response: It's always free floating... This is nothing extra to be concerned about. - Gavin]

    Comment by wili — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:06 PM

  347. 30 James wonders, “if less sea-ice in the Arctic might not let the Gulf Stream penetrate into – and thus spend itself – the Arctic Ocean.”

    It would make a rather good heat exchanger. The North Atlantic MOC gets its thrust from wind-blown cold and salty water. Move the deep water formation locations a few hundred miles northward and things get interesting. I’m sure someone here could speak to the odds.

    44 Steve ponders, “it seems to me that in terms of albedo, it’s the late spring / early summer coverage that’s important (when the sun is highest).”

    Late spring sea ice extent is very consistent. This will likely change as winters get shorter, ice gets thinner, and warm waters penetrate the Arctic further. As melt season gets up to steam earlier, the albedo effect will come more into play and an ice-free minimum will result quite soon.

    Still haven’t changed my guess on minimum extent – 4.0 to 4.5 million km. Look at the concentration maps. There’s large areas with concentrations below 65%. That’s a lot of open water; kind of like the slush left over after the cubes in your iced tea are almost all gone. Add in that Hudson Bay has some remnants to melt and it looks like the melt season has plenty of steam left.

    Comment by RichardC — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:54 PM

  348. “This will likely change as winters get shorter, ice gets thinner, and warm waters penetrate the Arctic further.”

    Why will winters get shorter, Richard?

    The onset of winter depends on the orbit of the earth, not the temperature. And CO2 doesn’t affect the orbit of the earth…

    Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:42 AM

  349. John P. Reisman, Rod B, Kevin McKinney, & Manacker,
    Further my 320, Mark Serreze, newly director of NSIDC is the apparent author of this article:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_serreze.html

    Please study the following graphic comparison of its figure 1, with some other information in Wikipedia:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3496/3760617259_68b468d807_o.jpg

    I’d be interested in your comments, and also from anyone with a rational consideration.

    Comment by BobFJ — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  350. Why will winters get shorter, Richard?

    The onset of winter depends on the orbit of the earth, not the temperature. And CO2 doesn’t affect the orbit of the earth…

    While strictly true, the reality is that we pitiful humans in large parts of the temperate zone think that winter begins when winterish weather arrives, typically in November here in PDX.

    I suspect the “shorter winters” comment was made in the weatherish, not orbital, sense. The date of the summer minimum is moving to later in september than in the past (on average) despite their being no change in the nice, neat, definition of “winter” based on earth’s orbit ’round the sun. If it makes you feel better to call it a “shorter freezing season” rather than “shorter winter”, cool – but it doesn’t really add anything to the discussion …

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Jul 2009 @ 8:02 AM

  351. I think that #44 Steve L. makes a good point. In terms of albedo, isn’t the ice extent around the summer solstice the more important metric than minimum extent? I think that total mass is probably the most important metric, but wouldn’t Average June Extent be much more valuable than September Minimum?

    Comment by Consumer — 27 Jul 2009 @ 8:55 AM

  352. Martin Vermeer (329), my math has tidal force proportional to the inverse cube of the distance from the geocenter of the moon (e.g.) and the point of delta_(m) on the earth’s surface, not the geocenter of the earth. Three howevers, however: 1) I didn’t complete the integration (taking the moon as a point mass but not the earth) — (and ’cause it was too hard!) and it’s conceivable in my gut that the integration might end up with the cube of the distance between centers. 2) the difference of the distances are noticeable but really small. 3) My math might be lousy!

    This is picayune, but the torque and the friction are not the same thing, though as you say it is the friction that is behind the cause of the off-center bulge, and their effects are similar.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:21 AM

  353. …wouldn’t Average June Extent be much more valuable than September Minimum

    June’s not necessarily the right period – wouldn’t you want to choose something that’s symmetric around the solstice date? Average over June and July would be closer. Also, if you’re looking at albedo, wouldn’t you want to look at area rather than extent?

    Really, I guess you want to integrate the product of (hours of sunlight) x (area) across the year as a whole, with a further correction for the angle of incidence.

    Comment by Peter Ellis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  354. Re: #344

    Dear Wayne, the breakup of the ice arch is proceeding rapidly and is flooding the strait with large chunks to the extent that I would imagine that the Arctic Sunrise had to hightail it out of there.

    This particular MODIS Rapidfire image from today shows the above, and it also shows what looks to be the start of the breakup of the Jakobshavn Glacier’s floating tongue — does it break up every year?

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2009208/crefl1_143.A2009208003000-2009208003500.250m.jpg

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  355. > seasons

    It depends on your choice of definition;
    biological spring observed, and changing. There’s an entire topic on that at RC not long ago.

    Physical versus biological spring transition: 2005. P. Michael Kosro. College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, …
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL027072.shtml
    Cited by 16

    Biological spring coming sooner
    Mar 19, 2006 … The calendar says spring begins next Tuesday, but a US environmental groups says biological spring arrived last Monday.
    http://www.physorg.com/news11904.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:57 AM

  356. Dear Tenney, This break up is particularly large, unusually so, if memory serves me well, the largest ever. This is not an ice shelf, but something similar, which is disintegrating, extending the size of the usual polynia between Northern Greenland and Northern Ellesmere, which in itself disturbs everything including Narwhal migrations amongst other species. I am not familiar with local glaciers, luckily one is observed directly.

    http://www.meltfactor.org/blog/

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  357. re 349: That plot is for smooth, pure water. The Arctic Ocean is never pure, and rarely smooth.

    Another point is that there is more moisture in the air over open water than over continuous sea ice. Water vapor is an excellent greenhouse gas. Thus, not only is there an albedo feedback from loss of sea ice, there is also a greenhouse gas feedback from the loss of sea ice that helps slow the return of sea ice in the fall. This moisture also drifts over shore areas helping to keep them warmer than they would be under the dry air coming off of sea ice.

    Such shore areas include ice shelves, permafrost, and Greenland.

    This moisture also carries latent heat, which allows tranfer of the heat and the melting of other ice. Thus, loss of sea ice includes a drop in albedo, and increase in the ablility of the atmosphere to trap heat, and a way of transfering that heat to adjacent weather systems. It is an interesting process and worth understanding.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  358. Re 354 & 356: Tenney & Wayne,

    That certainly is a beautiful, but scary, image you linked to, Tenney, and wonder if either of you can help me interpret the image correctly. Near the top center of the image, just below (north) of Jacobshavn fiord, there is a large, irregular, pale blue area spotted with melt-ponds. Is the blue indicative of bare glacial ice? Or could it be snow cover saturated with melt-water? Or something else altogether?

    I also want to thank you both for your many informative posts.

    Phillip

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  359. Aaron Lewis (357), I didn’t follow the latent heat adding to ice melt. Can you explain?

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  360. Thanks Wayne Hamilton for the response. Interestingly, I find lay friends and neighbors have no trouble with the idea that we in Boston are getting the byproduct of northern melt. Fascinating site.
    http://www.eh2r.com/

    I’m wondering if this is duplicate information or adds to the information. I always find visual information easier to take in:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2537/3755670805_a15ce75903.jpg
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2579/3756450296_e03a0baa00.jpg
    Now, I’ve stolen these both from an article at DailyKos:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/25/756980/-News-from-the-Arctic:-26-July-2009
    There was lots more in the article, which also includes the images, but I follow Tenney’s site and there was some overlap. Don’t know if they add anything and also may not be sourcing the originals properly.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 27 Jul 2009 @ 3:26 PM

  361. #358 Phillip, hard to say what location you are referring, but all I see on top of the ice is water puddles, essentially everywhere along the coast.

    Susan, DailyKos didn’t do a bad job. Caution must be said about Arctic Ocean ice,
    it moves a lot with winds, sea currents, tides, and other important factors, especially tempered by clouds, which play a huge role in where the greatest melts occur. Boston and essentially every other place on earth is linked, if there is an El-Nino, less Arctic ice, all so far away, Boston’s weather changes. The world’s climate is in transition right now, and these changes will appear more and more obviously.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 27 Jul 2009 @ 5:32 PM

  362. http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/CASIE

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2009 @ 6:39 PM

  363. re: 358

    Dear Phillip,

    The pale blue area was much whiter on the original — I added density because I was wanting to have a better look at the tongue’s breakup. Maybe if we could now have access to those military spy photos we could all have a much better idea.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 27 Jul 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  364. “…wouldn’t Average June Extent be much more valuable than September Minimum”

    No. Thermal inertia means that the months AFTER the longest day are warmer, just like it is coldest just before the dawn.

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:49 AM

  365. “If it makes you feel better to call it a “shorter freezing season” rather than “shorter winter”, cool”

    How about “warmer winter average”?

    Or, if you want to assume that “winter” means “the average weather over the winter period” (as opposed to “winter” being 2/3 Feb in the UK, where there was snow in London, hence there could be no warming and the weather men got the forecast wrong because they said a mild winter, when 2/3 Feb it was snowing. For these people, winter sure is short…)

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 AM

  366. Tenney Naumer Reur 333
    Hi [edit]
    I see that you have a strong interest in recent observations of ice melting in Greenland.
    However, have you studied the substantial evidence from thermometer records that Greenland had similar or higher temperatures in the early 20th century? For instance, notably from various collating papers by Chylek et al.
    Whilst there may be no reliable information on the extent of ice melt in those times, it should be considered that in those days, they were probably quite happy with the relative warmth, and not too troubled as to why it was so, whilst seeing nothing astonishing or unrelated in any increased ice melt that merited quantifying it. (Quite apart from the fact that reasonably meaningful spatial and temporal observation of ice and snow have only been available for ~30 years from satellites)

    [Response: Remarkable: No information apparently implies extensive melt and happy greenlanders. (But check out the position of the Jacobshavn glacier just for fun). - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:58 AM

  367. Kevin McKinney Reur 300, in part, you wrote concerning comparative albedos of water and ice:

    Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence–and, according to Kiehl & Trenberth ‘98, this is an input roughly twice as large as direct insolation.

    I was intrigued by your reference to K & T ‘98, because it seems to be a very simplistic statement. So, I Googled around but could not find it. Could you please check your reference; is it the wrong year maybe? Also, Trenberth and his colleague Kiehl have independently authored other works …. ?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Something else I should mention about water absorption of infrared is that my recollection is that it absorbs extremely strongly in just the skin at its surface. Furthermore, Kirchhoff’s law (of radiation) states in effect that a good absorber (body) is an equally good emitter. (AOTBE; in equilibrium). Although the (fluid) oceans are a good heat-sink to visible light because of that spectra’s deepish penetration, any heat conduction downwards from infrared absorption, is slow and trivial compared with the instantaneous re-emission from the surface skin.
    It is not easy to find a quick and easy reference to show you this, but I did find a rather academic QM paper* that does nevertheless include some handy graphics:
    Absorption coefficients for water
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/images/watopt.gif
    Seawater is impure and rather variable in opacity etc, but it is generally taken that the blue part of the visible spectrum, (See the rainbow-band pattern on the graph) is extinguished at about 100 metres deep. On the other hand, per this graph, the absorption of visible red light is about 100 times stronger. (two orders of magnitude less penetrating) However, absorption of full infrared (~ the RH half of the graph) is a massive 7 orders of magnitude greater! (billionth)

    ADDITIONALLY:
    Comparison of the gas, liquid and solid spectra of the same amount of H2O
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/images/vibrat.gif
    Although I don’t understand why the ice data is given at such a low temperature, can you perhaps see that ice and presumably snow, may be better absorbers of infrared than water, depending on a few variables? (like ice is colder than water, grain size, and age etc)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    So, what was K & T (?) on about?
    Kevin, please clarify your sources.… I‘m very interested.
    ANYONE: Do you disagree with the two graphics in the paper I cite, and if so, please give scientific details as to why you might think so.
    * http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html

    Comment by BobFJ — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:05 AM

  368. 354 Tenny, 358 Phillip, et al.

    On Jacobshavn: Nice photo of calving front of Jacobshavn glacier C2006.
    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/3392822.jpg

    This confirms the width of the calving face of about 8km back around then.

    But the latest image of Jacobshaven in good old Google Earth dated 18 July 2008 shows the active calving face about 10km further east (“uphill”) and developing faces on the north and south of the channel as well as the primary face heading east.

    And the image you point to in 354 Tenny shows the face has moved back another step since then.

    The interesting thing is that the length of the calving face has therefore increased to more than 16km now – double that of a couple of years previously.

    The final useful bit of data from the recent pix is that measuring the freeboard of the recently calved bergs near the face (using datetime hence local sun angle = 45 degrees hence freeboard from berg shadow = 40 metres) we see a total depth to bedrock of about 400 metres at the present calving line.

    This thus presents us with a surface area of over 6 square kilometres washed by the warming sea, and every bit that falls off increases the area of face exposed to warm water, and to increased gradient for the remainder, and so to increased velocity, to increased fracturing, to increased exposure of deeper ice surfaces to warmer air, warmer surface meltwater and basal flows and intrusion of sea water, and, and, and so it goes on. Faster and faster, until.

    But hey, I could be wrong.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 28 Jul 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  369. Gavin

    To your comment to Bob_FJ’s 366 that there is “no information” about retreating Arctic sea ice in the early 20th century (at the time of the Chylek et al. study on warming Arctic temperatures) check:
    ftp://ftp.whoi.edu/pub/users/mtimmermans/ArcticSymposiumTalks/Smolyanitsky.pdf

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:15 AM

  370. re: #366

    Thanks Gavin, I posted that image for comparison, and it appears that the 2006 line has already been passed, but maybe not the 2005 line:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/07

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  371. Re: #369

    The link was truncated for some reason — here is the complete link:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009/07/jakobshavn-glaciers-floating-tongue.html

    But let’s try a tinyurl to be on the safe side:

    http://tinyurl.com/Jakobshavn-tongue

    And, the Northeast Passage looks open again:

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:58 AM

  372. Nigel, then again you could be right.

    However, the outflow from the glaciers may well be taking a back seat to the melting ice these days.

    btw, it is “Tenney” — thanks, it has been spelled incorrectly by all and sunder my entire life.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:00 AM

  373. #364 Mark,

    I know that September will be warmer because of accumulated heat from the summer. My point is that for albedo purposes, a one million KM^2 difference in area in September won’t make nearly as much difference in the amount of sunlight absorbed as it will in June.

    Comment by Consumer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:18 AM

  374. Rod B #352:

    … Three howevers, however:
    1) I didn’t complete the integration (taking the moon as a point mass but not the earth) — (and ’cause it was too hard!) and it’s conceivable in my gut that the integration might end up with the cube of the distance between centers.

    Yes, that’s what happens. A Taylor expansion with the Earth centre at the origin… (BTW what are you integrating for?)

    2) the difference of the distances are noticeable but really small.

    In fact, proportional to the ratio r/d, in case of the Moon 1/60, i.e. 1.5%, relatively speaking. In case of the Sun, really really small. This is also the relative error in the tidal effect due to Taylor truncation.

    3) My math might be lousy!

    Not if you got this far…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:31 AM

  375. Don’t miss the CASIE site, link above.
    Recent post there:

    Update from the CASIE Science Team
    Posted on Jul 24, 2009 02:45:02 PM | Matthew Fladeland
    We had two productive back-to-back missions on Wednesday and today. I’m very impressed by the performance of the aircraft and the NASA team. Today, the SIERRA flew over 1000 km, which is what I’d hoped for but really expect would be possible. The ice conditions we’re seeing in the data are exactly the types of conditions I’d hoped we would encounter. Now, we just need to keep racking up the flight hours in conjunction with good performance from the sensors. Being in this location, with this aircraft, sensor package, and team, is a rare opportunity of which we hope to take full advantage. …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  376. Re BobFJ — 24 July 2009 @ 2:20 AM
    “I’m still flummoxed by some vague statements something like “massive melt ponds”, (but presumably in an unrelated dynamic on the Greenland icesheet?),…”
    The point is that even on the Greenland ice sheet, where the edges are more restrained than ice shelves, and there aren’t tides to flex and crack the ice, when the surface temperatures are high enough for long enough, meltwater from the surface can penetrate cracks, NOT freeze, and create flow channels (moulins) through the thicker, more stable ice sheet. If surface melt water can penetrate cracks in the more mechanically stable Greenland ice sheet, and open up channels by continuously flowing away, it will certainly penetrate thinner and mechanically less stable ice shelves.

    “…these mechanical hinging failures of ice shelves do not happen overnight, but perhaps over a decade or so.”
    It’s not a simple hinging failure like a coat hanger repeatedly bent at a single point. The dynamics of ice sheet failure have more to do with the rheology of non-Newtonian viscous fluids than simple solid fracture mechanics. See ‘Numerical modelling and data assimilation of the Larsen B ice shelf, Antarctic Peninsula’. “In this study, the flow and rheology of pre-collapse Larsen B ice shelf are investigated by using a combination of flow modelling and data assimilation.” “Regarding the sensitivity of the stress field to rheology, the consistency of the model with the observed flow seems crucial for any further analysis…”http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1844/1815.full

    “So why would melt ponds suddenly appear shortly before break-up? ”
    The question should be ” Why do ice shelves collapse shortly after the appearance of melt ponds?” As average temperature rises, the surface of ice shelves during the summer eventually warms enough that melting occurs, only for brief periods at first, but longer and more extensively in successive summers. The meltwater that remains for the next winter refreezes(and the expansion stresses the shelf, sometimes enough to expand existing cracks or create new ones, depending on the details of size, shape, aspect, etcetera of the melt ponds). Icebergs can break off without surface melting when other stresses break apart the ice shelves. Tidal flexing combined with ice rubble collapsing into cracks can lever them apart and cause them to propagate; combining this with seawater penetrating from below, or meltwater from the surface freezing and stabilizing the rubble into stiffer, larger chunks can enhance this effect. The heat of fusion of ice forming in cracks(crevasses, fissures whatever you want to call them) will also warm and weaken the ice. see http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=685.
    The appearance of extensive melt ponds is indicative that significant warming of the shelf has occurred, from the top and from the bottom by seawater. The temperature gradient through an ice shelf goes from the average yearly temperature near the top surface to about -2 degrees, equilibrium with seawater, at the bottom. see http://nsidc.org/data/thermap/antarctic_deep_temps/j9/j9_1977.html. Mechanical stresses, and seawater intrusion into bottom cracks alone are sufficient to cause calving, or the breakoff of sometimes very large tabular ice islands, like the Filchner ice shelf case you cited, at temperatures too low for surface melt; When the temperatures are high enough for surface melt, extensive ponding, thinning from below by warmer ocean currents, and hydrostatic cracking, a threshold is passed and the ice shelf collapses over a large area.
    Most of the time, dirt and rocks erode slowly off the mountains,and snowpack melts slowly but occasionally external events like extreme rainfall trigger avalanches, a huge spike in the rate of mass transfer; global warming is causing ice shelves to collapse and release “avalanches” of icebergs. We can trigger avalanches with dynamite; we could trigger ice shelf collapse with enough dynamite; we ARE triggering ice shelf collapse with the cumulative effects of AGW.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:07 AM

  377. BobFJ (367), and Kevin. A couple of minor points. I don’t think the absorption of infrared is meaningful to the discussion of albedo: water emits more IR than it absorbs and while important in the overall radiation budget analysis, it’s not pertinent to the decrease (or lack thereof) in albedo going from ice or snow to water.

    Someone smarter than me can correct me, but the fact that infrared is absorbed only in the skin is not significant. If a substance absorbs radiation it absorbs radiation and its energy — period. That the energy, after converting to temperature, doesn’t get distributed much in the ocean is not pertinent to the albedo question, IMHO. That the heated skin is more likely to release its heat/temperature back into the atmosphere with greater emission, evaporation and thermals might effect the albedo question, I think (I think…) it’s secondary.

    You might include the words “radiation” or “energy” (better) and “budget” and maybe “global” in your search. btw, K&T issued a revision in 2004 with minor number corrections. K&T’s radiation budget diagram is pretty ubiquitous and might not be listed in their name or specific year.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  378. Regarding the NE passage, any of the great polar explorers would go for it, and quite likely make it, but I certainly wouldn’t want to sail anything but an ice-breaker past Severnaya Zemlya just yet. Yes, there’s a lot of open water north of Komsomolets, and in the Vilitsky Strait. There’s also a lot of ice, which shifts around pretty quickly. You don’t want to get trapped between ice and a lee shore. As for the New Siberian Islands, there’s too much cloud to be really definite. This image from today show’s there’s still a lot of ice in the straits, and although it hints at open water north of the islands it’s obscured by heavy cloud.

    Maybe in another few days, depending on what the winds do and on what is revealed once the clouds clear.

    The coastal waters of the East Siberian Sea have always seemed a strange green colour on MODIS. Are they very shallow – like huge salt marshes? If so, we might have to wait another week or two before deeper, more navigable waters are clear.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  379. Mark, my initial intent was the calculate the gravitational force (in tangential and radial components) by integrating the force on one delta mass from another delta mass rather than the standard of assuming both masses as point sources. Turns out there is good reason for that assumption — the integration requires at least a Feynman or two!

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  380. “My point is that for albedo purposes, a one million KM^2 difference in area in September won’t make nearly as much difference in the amount of sunlight absorbed as it will in June.

    Comment by Consumer ”

    OK. Problem is that the effect won’t appear until you get the September minimum because that extra warmth has to melt the ice and that takes time. But then if it’s meltier in June, less ice in September may increase the average albedo enough that the total infusion of solar energy is still higher than it was when the sun was more nearly overhead at noon…

    Let’s just call it “complicated”.

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  381. “retreating Arctic sea ice in the early 20th century (at the time of the Chylek et al. study on warming Arctic temperatures) check:

    Comment by manacker ”

    The pre-1940 period being defined by a summary of a well known polar explorer’s personal notation and descriptions of artic navigation stories.

    Oh, and a statistical model based on fitting atmospheric pressure to ice extent.

    Sure.

    Real accurate and complete…

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:32 AM

  382. And from that PDF:

    “There is still a big gap between the amount of available factual information on ice extent before 1970s and amount of information assimilated in the climatic models”

    Which could mean that there’s little factual information on sea ice extent before 1970.

    Which sort of bolsters Gavin’s response to Bob…

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:36 AM

  383. Firstly, I want to congratulate you all on this site, especially now that it is easier to navigate around ! And the side bar seems to be back in its rightful place too – I’m using Ubuntu and Firefox.
    I have learned a lot on here from all the contributors, except the most dodgy Denier types, of course. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more and using the information provided, as ammunition against the Deniers out there.

    With that in mind, I wonder whether you are aware of the close connection between BobFJ and manacker, and whether you know how useless it is to have any debate with them because of their already pre-determined self-belief in themselves, their Denial and their abilities to prove it to themselves.

    I realise manacker has already been outed on here as a Denier of old and many of his comments from other sites have already been shown, but he has also been making the same conspiracy, etc. comments on the SPECTATOR piece about Plimer’s latest fiction :

    “The article starts out: “Imagine how wonderful the world would be if man-made global warming were just a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.”
    In actual fact, it is.
    But this figment is being sponsored by the powerful and rich of the world, with the ultimate aim of making them even more powerful and wealthier at the expense of everyone else.
    Professor Plimer has it right. It’s a con trick.”

    “This is all pretty clear to me (as it also was to the very cautious and careful court). AIT was full of errors, all of which were intended to cause alarm about AGW (from which Al Gore has already earned millions, and hopes to earn even more).”

    “The UK court was very cautious and “politically correct” when it (nevertheless) lambasted Al Gore’s AIT sci-fi film and ruled that it should not be shown to school children as a factual report.”
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/3755623/meet-the-man-who-has-exposed-the-great-climate-change-con-trick.thtml#comments

    Two other Commenters on there (Robin Guenier and TonyN) are also fellow-Deniers of manacker and can be seen on the following website discussing tactics from time to time :

    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=47#comment-24634

    (The above link will lead to a lovely comment from BobFJ, which includes the following :

    “I’ve been long-time amused at some of the nonsense that Serreze has issued forth as regular spokesman for NSIDC, but was stunned today to learn that he is now director of NSIDC!
    Do they still have that expression in England, (as I knew thereof prior to 1969, when I Oz’d-off):
    “Bullshit baffles brains”?”)

    More BobFJ gems here :

    “And, further to Max’s 6836, I can repeat/confirm that although we both read well over here, we are rather busy teasing Gavin Schmidt at RC, leaving less time to contribute here.
    (But that’s nothing! Max has had a scolding from Mike, seemingly in an “executive” statement over the top of Gavin, and it seems apparent that this was from none-other than you-know-who, of Manna fame.)
    I’ve not had that privilege, but can boast to have managed to get Bart Verheggen and Kevin McKinney, to crawl out of the woodwork to protest at some of my inconvenient comments. These two guys run their own alarmist websites, and appear to be at least guest contributors on RC, or at least VIP‘s there.
    Oh, and BTW, some of the regular fruitcakes such as:
    Dhogaza, Mark (aka “yeah whatever” suggested Jasper), Peter Martin, James, and David B Benson, seem to have gone rather quiet….. Apart from the odd irrelevant nonsense.”
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=46#comment-22845

    “Well blow me! I was wanting to get on there early this morning to have some more fun, only to be greeted with a July 4 message something like: sorry we are updating our software momentarily.
    No prob’s, I had already composed a new post, which was surprisingly rapidly accepted and commented on by Gavin.
    The only thing is that his comments are startling absolute crap, as appended on my: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/groundhog-day-2/#comment-129677
    and I suspect that if I respond making any corrections, they will probably be deleted, leading other readers to think that I‘ve submitted to his nonsense.
    I think I’ll let July 4 get out of the way, and meanwhile ponder how best to point out for example that Gavin contradicts NASA and others in principle concerning the terrestrial energy budget. (that is, in principle, not with the actual numbers)
    My current thoughts are to work-up to it obliquely via a F/U enquiry to Kevin McKinney, who has gone silent on some points I asked him on the difference and on his understanding of EMR versus HEAT.”
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=46#comment-22949

    “I would love to make enquiries of Gavin as to the functionality and reasonableness of the current and past models, but suspect that it would be like waving a red flag at a bull, and I might get seriously excommunicated, thus terminating the fun I’m having in a more prolonged gentle tease.
    Why don’t you try for a moment of kamikaze glory over there?
    Please, or delegate to Brute or Robin or someone!”
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=46#comment-23046

    “All; anyone interested in trying a kamikaze job over at RC, in a day or two when they sort their apparent (?) software(?) problems (?) out?”
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=46#comment-23340

    It’s worth keeping on eye on that site just to find out where they will be posting next and what their (poorly-developed) arguments are. I’ve noticed they like to post graphs of temperatures and ice-extent when they are going the way that they want them to go (so they don’t post them very often), and they like to see who has the best story about how cold, wet or snowy it is where they are or in some surprising place around the world.

    Sorry if this is all a distraction from the serious business at hand (if it gets published) but I thought you should all be made aware of the ‘seriousness’ of some of these dodgy Commenters.

    [Response: It's worth pointing out now and again, but really, coming here and spouting nonsense only embarrasses them (although they probably don't notice). I find it interesting that they see themselves as 'kamikaze' though - fanatically wrong pawns sacrificing themselves for no point whatsoever. It's curiously apt. - gavin]

    Comment by JFJM — 28 Jul 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  384. Wayne Hamilton, thanks again. I see I failed to mention that I keep it all in perspective, and was only interested in the likelihood of it being a contributory factor. No need to reply, just wanted to indicate that I am keeping an open mind (unlike our friends in the pseudo-skeptic camp).

    Lately, there’s a new push by the denial cadres; they all ask for detailed scientific information backing up anything that contradicts their point of view. My take on this is that they wish to tie up good people’s time digging up details from the vast quantities of information available, give the impression it doesn’t exist, and are not at all interested in actually seeing it, because when it is provided, they ignore it. They have considerable communication skills, sometimes professionally honed and certainly professionally backed by a variety of organizations (like Heartland) with big money from entrenched industry – whose profits have continued to skyrocket while the rest of the economy has tanked. They constantly find new ways to turn the words of science against science. Scientific uncertainty, a certain asset, they regard as a gift and are good at exploiting it. Their certainty is very revealing if anyone takes the trouble to reflect on it.

    Sadly, my recommendation is to ignore them as inaction works in their favor; but they will exploit that too. It is easier to destroy than to build.

    [Response: Well put. - mike]

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  385. re my previous (not yet OK’d):
    Wayne Davidson, oops, sorry, you are not Wayne Hamilton!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  386. Re 378 we may have to wait a week or two for the North East Passage to open properly, and even then there may be danger from drifting ice. The fact that it is happening as early as this is amazing. Last year it was September before this happened.

    Comment by dave p — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  387. “Turns out there is good reason for that assumption — the integration requires at least a Feynman or two!

    Comment by Rod B”

    I don’t think so. This WAS an undergraduate lab experiment. Second year for a course ON astrophysics, but still undergraduate.

    I didn’t do it, but someone I know did. Well, we worked in pairs, so two someone’s.

    I think it’s hard to get the right set of equations but once you have the right ones, it kind of falls out automagically. That’s my remembering of their explanation of it, anyway.

    Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  388. Susan,, it was OK, Wayne Hamilton sounded nice, :)… A second what mike wrote

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  389. Sorry, my 379 post should have been directed to Martin V; apologies to both Martin and Mark.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:20 PM

  390. Mark, I appreciate your response anyway. I was exaggerating a bit — the integration was at least way beyond me!

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:41 PM

  391. JFJM Reur 383 and Gavin’s response thereon:

    [Response: It's worth pointing out now and again, but really, coming here and spouting nonsense only embarrasses them (although they probably don't notice). I find it interesting that they see themselves as 'kamikaze' though - fanatically wrong pawns sacrificing themselves for no point whatsoever. It's curiously apt. - gavin]

    Well actually, the only time that I’ve felt embarrassed was when Martin Vermeer corrected me that altimetry data showing lowering of ice shelves referred to a reduction in freeboard, not total thickness…. A silly oversight on my part. (to which I agreed with Martin)
    Taking just a few recent points, is it nonsense to point out:
    1) That Greenland temperatures and their rate of change today should not be alarming when compared with those temperature records recorded in the early 20th century
    2) That water has high reflectivity at high latitudes, (sun low in sky) contrary to the common assertion of seriously greater absorption when sea ice melts.
    3) That ice/snow is an excellent absorber of infrared, which contradicts another more complex assertion made here.
    4) That Antarctica is seriously colder than Greenland (according to Wiki’, including BTW that the hottest temperatures ever recorded there were back in 1974)
    5) That goodly satellite observations of sea-ice and melt-ponds etc, have only been available since 1979, and that it is unscientific to assume that anything seen since 1979 is either the worst or best ever.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    BTW, the reference to kamikaze (posts, not people), was meant to be humorous and should be understood in the context that RC had a PAST reputation for unfairly deleting some posts from sceptics. I must say though that the technical editing here is far better than that PAST reputation.

    [Response: Since you put up a summary, it's maybe worth pointing out in one place why you are confused. 1) There is plenty of evidence that glacier retreat on Greenland has exceeded levels earlier in the century (Jacobshavn, Liverpool land etc.). In fact, there is evidence that it has exceeded 1000 yr levels in places. Basing conclusions about ice on a few temperature stations from Southern Greenland is clutching at straws. 2) zenith angle affects do not cancel out ice-albedo feedbacks (since a) zenith angles are large enough a lot of the time for them not to matter and b) apply to ice surfaces as well). 3) When have we ever discussed snow NIR absorption? In any case the effect is real but small - visible snow albedo is ~95%, compared to the net albedo of about 80% (taking into account the distribution of solar radiation). Still much higher than water almost all of the time. 4) That is an argument for what? 5) Yup. No other evidence of the age of collapsing ice shelves and glaciers or indeed any other climate process can add any knowledge to the history of the planet because we didn't have satellites before 1979. Brilliant.

    [You might not think you are embarrassing yourself, but..... -gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:18 PM

  392. Chuckle. He doesn’t cast _himself_ as a kamikaze; he’s recruiting.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:57 PM

  393. P.S.:
    “… Today the cranking out of righteous indignation is a robust growth industry, and it threatens to do far worse than cloud our critical faculties. Help us to put the culture wars aside … ” Thomas Frank, in The Wall Street Journal JULY 28, 2009.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:01 PM

  394. Re: #383–

    A rather different tone from BobFJ than the lead in his email to me from July 25:

    “Hi Kevin,
    I like talking to you because you seem to be a reasonable guy, open to sensible debate.
    Here are my last two posts at RC, which I have copy pasted after submission from the site itself for reference, below. . .”

    Seems Bob can soft soap with the best of ‘em, when it suits his purpose, then use phraseology like “crawl out of the woodwork.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:31 PM

  395. Reuters:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE56F6N220090717
    U.S. releases unclassified spy images of Arctic ice
    Fri Jul 17, 2009

    —-excerpt follows—-
    The Arctic images have a resolution of about 1 yard (1 meter), a vast improvement on previously available pictures of sea ice, said Thorsten Markus of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    “These are one-meter-resolution images, which give you a big picture of the summertime Arctic,” Markus said on Thursday. “This is the main reason why we are so thrilled about it. One meter resolution is the dimension that’s missing.”

    The next-best resolution for images of Arctic sea ice is 15 to 30 meters, Markus said by telephone. This risks missing small features that can have a big impact on warming in the area.

    SMALL PUDDLES, BIG IMPACT

    For example, during the summer months, pools of melted water form on top of Arctic ice floes, and these puddles can stretch across 30 meters. The water in the puddles is dark and absorbs heat, as opposed to the white ice all around them, which reflects heat.

    Knowing about these melt pools is valuable to producing models of what might happen in the Arctic in the future, but with images that have a resolution of 30 meters or so, these pools might well be missed. While individual puddles are small, collectively they cover about 30 percent of the Arctic.

    “The (forecasting) models do well at capturing the overall sea ice cover in the Arctic,” Markus said. “But there are certain processes that we cannot adequately model yet, mainly … because we don’t have enough data.”

    Markus said the public release of these images was “a huge surprise — I expected after the report, months could go by until somebody moved.”

    “That doesn’t happen every day,” said a person familiar with the government’s decision. “This is a great example of good government cooperation between the intelligence community and academia. In the science community, we call it a no-brainer.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:41 PM

  396. re: 378

    Dear Nick,

    You inquired about the Arctic Sea to the north of Eastern Siberia, I believe.

    I don’t have a good link at hand, but if you use google earth, you can zoom in on that area.

    It is like thousands of miles of tidal flats.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  397. RE #383 – The good company they keep …

    “Like rain. We believe it is a creation of god rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.

    “Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism.”

    Teachings by Nigerian Taliban leader Mohammed Yusuf, as reported by BBC yesterday. At least the issues have become known quite widely.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  398. re #383: Thanks for pointing this out!

    Fortunately most denialists are not very smart, and BobFJ’s combination of cock-sure assertions using lots of difficult words combined with elementary errors immediately got my neck-hairs up.

    I wonder if he finally understood the silliness of using pictures that had solar limb darkening digitally removed in trying to prove it doesn’t exist… I sure hope the readership here got the message.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 1:06 AM

  399. “I was exaggerating a bit — the integration was at least way beyond me!”

    It’s beyond me now. I haven’t had to do serious maths for a LONG time now and you really DO need to just be immersed in it for some years to get back into being able to do integrations (differentiation is easy in comparison: the “by parts” and so on are just shortcuts around the basic idea of using a difference: you can swap knowledge for time and do things the first-principles way and take ages and still get the right answer with differentiation).

    I *think* it starts with considering the earth-with-bulge as THREE bodies:

    Earth
    Bulge toward Moon
    Bulge away from Moon

    and because the bulges are the *same size* but the one further away has less of a pull on the moon is the clincher for the effect.

    But the *detail* I have no pigging clue, I’ve just not been immersed in integration for too long to have the answers readily available to my mind.

    They’re still IN there, pretty much, but a book will fill the specifics. But the immersion is how you remember WHEN YOU SHOULD APPLY A METHOD.

    And that’s pretty much gone.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:12 AM

  400. Mark, JFJM

    Read this. It’s by a real climate expert. You might actually learn something new.
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/07/resisting-climate-hysteria

    Max

    [Response: I learned that even people who once had stellar scientific careers can end up dissembling, using baseless arguments and insulting all of their colleagues - all in the pursuit of a political agenda. A salutary (if sad) tale. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:14 AM

  401. Has anybody done an in depth analysis, of seasonal lag (statistical warmest day based on climate records after maximun solar insolation).

    Here in Halifax, August 1 is the warmest day (from a climate perspective). In the arctic (ie. Resolute, it appear to occured over a week ago), so I assume that seasonal lag is less with increasing latitude.

    However, large bodies of water, appear to lengthen season lag, as it has a dampening effect.

    In the past several years, the rate of ice melt has not slowed down in August, as in the past, and I wonder if this has more to do with seasonal lag, than the condtion (thickness and structure) of the ice.

    Comment by Larry N — 29 Jul 2009 @ 6:54 AM

  402. Max, I read it.

    Given it starts with the unscientific and emotion-laden “Hysteria” didn’t give it a good start. Making a strawman in the first sentence wasn’t auguring well either. Jumps into another one in the next sentence but one. It’s not looking good, is it. Continues with something that is not disputed on either side of the debate (YEC’s probably don’t think it has happened for millions of years, for example). And then goes on about how when the situation in the past was different (no New York with millions of people living in it for a start…) that the climate was also differnt adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge.

    And we haven’t even gotten through the first PARAGRAPH yet.

    The first paragraph ends on a common denialist note:

    “Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.”

    Either

    a) So? Doesn’t mean we don’t understand anything about it
    or
    b) YOU may not understand, but you aren’t the world. Others may understand what you do not

    All I’ve learned is that that bloke is cuckoo.

    And Sir Isaac Newton was a quite bright fellow.

    Look at what he did later on:

    http://www.alchemylab.com/isaac_newton.htm

    Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  403. Hi Mark

    Looks like you read it (402), but still did not learn anything new, because you apparently feel you already know all there is to know (and are therefore more qualified than Prof. Lindzen to talk about climate).

    Hats off to a either (a) a very smart fellow or (b) a very conceited fellow.

    Max

    [Response: You've obviously never met Lindzen. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:26 AM

  404. BobFJ, #5, one last attempt at giving you a clue, not that I think you’re reading the science, but for any youngster who comes along and is wondering, well, what _do_ we know from before the satellite record started — the answer is
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&scoring=r&q=ANDRILL&as_ylo=2009

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  405. re: #391

    Dear Gavin,

    If it would not be too much trouble, could you please point me in the direction of published material concerning this (in particular, the bit about where glacier retreat has exceeded 1000 yr levels):

    “There is plenty of evidence that glacier retreat on Greenland has exceeded levels earlier in the century (Jacobshavn, Liverpool land etc.). In fact, there is evidence that it has exceeded 1000 yr levels in places.”

    [Response: Try here or possibly here. - gavin]

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  406. Mark (399), well said. I was almost 40 years past any real calculus when I started messing with tides. The fun part comes from treating the earth as a solid (with the moon still treated as a point mass to ease it a bit). The gravitational force goes from moon center to a delta_mass [which will get changed to (rho)*(delta_volume)] somewhere (anywhere) within the solid sphere, relating that line of force geometrically to a line between actual centers, which becomes kinda the independent variable, throwing in the earth’s centripetal/centrifugal force for flavor, then integrating the (rho)*(delta_volume)’s throughout the solid sphere. There still are a pile of simplifying assumptions; none-the-less the integration gets very messy very fast.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  407. Gavin

    A quickie question for you.

    When I pointed out to Mark that Prof. Lindzen was probably more qwualified than Mark to discuss our planet’s climate you wrote (403):
    [Response: You've obviously never met Lindzen. - gavin]

    Can you explain what that sentence is supposed to mean?

    Thanks.

    Max

    [Response: It was a reference to conceit and arrogance. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 29 Jul 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  408. Thanks again to all. I will reiterate one point because I think it bears keeping in mind, which is that to the lay mind, it is not too complex to understand there is some association (not to be oversimplified), between northern melt and occasional and all too short-term cooler/wetter conditions further south.

    Though most of the scientific discussion here is well above my head there are many kernels of wisdom to absorb and I appreciate it.

    For the pseudo-skeptics, it is important to note that science is a process that continuously asks questions, which is quite different from spending all your time trying to disassemble the partial answers using a narrow spectrum of sources that tend to slant information by various means in service of an agenda. For every time a Pielke or Lindzen (and I have considerable respect for the latter despite the strangeness of some of his recent material) promotes controversy, there are hundreds doing real work on real data and making their best efforts at making sense of it.

    Last but not least, a neat article from Sharon Begley in this week’s Newsweek (8/3/08) which I include verbatim here. I don’t know whether to suggest one enjoy it for its truth or wring one’s hands about it.

    Climate-Change Calculus: Why it’s even worse than we feared.
    By Sharon Begley | NEWSWEEK

    Among the phrases you really, really do not want to hear from climate scientists are: “that really shocked us,” “we had no idea how bad it
    was,” and “reality is well ahead of the climate models.” Yet in speaking to researchers who focus on the Arctic, you hear comments like these so regularly they begin to sound like the thumping refrain from Jaws: annoying harbingers of something that you really, really wish would go away.

    Let me deconstruct the phrases above. The “shock” came when the International Polar Year, a global consortium studying the Arctic, froze a small vessel into the sea ice off eastern Siberia in September 2006. Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen had done the same thing a century before, and his Fram, carried by the drifting ice, emerged off eastern Greenland 34 months later. IPY scientists thought their Tara would take 24 to 36 months. But it reached Greenland in just 14 months, stark evidence that the sea ice found a more open, ice-free, and thus faster path westward thanks to Arctic melting.

    The loss of Arctic sea ice “is well ahead of” what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast, largely because emissions of carbon dioxide have topped what the panel—which foolishly expected nations to care enough about global warming to do something about it—projected. “The models just aren’t keeping up” with the reality of CO2 emissions, says the IPY’s David Carlson. Although policymakers hoped climate models would prove to be alarmist, the opposite is true, particularly in the Arctic.

    The IPCC may also have been too cautious on Greenland, assuming that the melting of its glaciers would contribute little to sea-level rise. Some studies found that Greenland’s glacial streams were surging and surface ice was morphing into liquid lakes, but others made a strong case that those surges and melts were aberrations, not long-term trends. It seemed to be a standoff. More reliable data, however, such as satellite measurements of Greenland’s mass, show that it is losing about 52 cubic miles per year and that the melting is accelerating. So while the IPCC projected that sea level would rise 16 inches this century, “now a more likely figure is one meter [39 inches] at the least,” says Carlson. “Chest high instead of knee high, with half to two thirds of that due to Greenland.” Hence the “no idea how bad it was.”

    The frozen north had another surprise in store. Scientists have long known that permafrost, if it melted, would release carbon, exacerbating global warming, which would melt more permafrost, which would add more to global warming, on and on in a feedback loop. But estimates of how much carbon is locked into Arctic permafrost were, it turns out, woefully off. “It’s about three times as much as was thought, about 1.6 trillion metric tons, which has surprised a lot of people,” says Edward Schuur of the University of Florida. “It means the potential for positive feedbacks is greatly increased.” That 1.6 trillion tons is about twice the amount now in the atmosphere. And Schuur’s measurements of how quickly CO2 can come out of permafrost, reported in May, were also a surprise: 1 billion to 2 billion tons per year. Cars and light trucks in the U.S. emit about 300 million tons per year.

    In an insightful observation in The Guardian this month, Jim Watson of the University of Sussex wrote that “a new breed of climate sceptic is becoming more common”: someone who doubts not the science but the policy response. Given the pathetic (non)action on global warming at the G8 summit, and the fact that the energy/climate bill passed by the House of Representatives is so full of holes and escape hatches that it has barely a prayer of averting dangerous climate change, skepticism that the world will get its act together seems appropriate. For instance, the G8, led by Europe, has vowed to take steps to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by reducing CO2 emissions. We’re now at 0.8 degree. But the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is already enough to raise the mercury 2 degrees. The only reason it hasn’t is that the atmosphere is full of crap (dust and aerosols that contribute to asthma, emphysema, and other diseases) that acts as a global coolant. As that pollution is reduced for health reasons, we’re going to blast right through 2 degrees, which is enough to ex-acerbate droughts and storms, wreak havoc on agriculture, and produce a planet warmer than it’s been in millions of years. The 2-degree promise is a mirage.

    The test of whether the nations of the world care enough to act will come in December, when 192 countries meet in Copenhagen to hammer out a climate treaty. Carlson vows that IPY will finish its Arctic assessment in time for the meeting, and one conclusion is already clear. “A consensus has developed during IPY that the Greenland ice sheet will disappear,” he says. Cue the Jaws music.
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/208164

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  409. #400. Manacker , Mark and others here understand Climate better than Lindzen… Because they understand AGW while Lindzen pretends he doesn’t. In this long article not one explanation about the current Arctic ice situation. No wonder because he has an agenda along with ax to grind against others which disagree.

    “Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.”

    LIndzen, is the Pope of the contrarians, just like the Catholic Pope has a throne . He sits on a met chair at MIT, flaunting infallibility from his arm chair, in his background, the failed “Iris effect”. Which basically guarantees a stable climate.
    It is hard to see where the “Iris effect” fits in the varying climate he cited. Ancient alligator remnants found in the Arctic were from geological ages rich in CO2, millions of years ago. GCM’s not being perfect is a non-secutor, we all know they are flawed, but some point towards the right temperature anomaly direction, within a very close margin of error. A remarkable achievement. Neglected by Lindzen, he knows himself, again. weather computer forecasts from models are incredible, achieve weather forecasts unheard of 40 years ago.

    “for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present”

    I am sure that he has looked at Milancovich cycles, which essentially made these warmer temperatures possible, a first year met student would know more than he claims. And thus his insincerity is shown, driven by a weird mix of science and agenda, proving the majority of his colleagues wrong , a fixation muddling his objectivity.

    This entire article that he wrote requires debunking, riddled as usual with errors, and also political attacks nothing much a do with his credentials…

    Furthermore, he likes to claim that things will cool down within a few years , as he did a few years ago, inevitably, without a doubt, then June 2009 was second warmest in history… Some cooling! What good credentials when the intelligence used to achieve them is not used. So be warned, not all scientists are objective., he sadly again is one of them.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:05 PM

  410. “Looks like you read it (402), but still did not learn anything new,”

    All that was read there was the sort of tripe you get in a “Sunday Sport” in the UK.

    What in the first paragraph has anything new?

    Not.
    One.
    Thing.

    I do not have to eat a dog-turd sandwitch to know I won’t like the taste.

    What do YOU consider “new and interesting” in there?

    Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  411. “(and are therefore more qualified than Prof. Lindzen to talk about climate).”

    As Gavin says, this is not difficult.

    However, in that tripe you posted there wasn’t anything new at all.

    Ergo *from what you asked me to read* there was nothing to learn.

    Now it could be that Lindzen knows much more than me about climate, however, that wasn’t evident in that rant.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:43 PM

  412. RodB: “The fun part comes from treating the earth as a solid (with the moon still treated as a point mass to ease it a bit).”

    As I said, if I’m recalling what they said they did, it wasn’t the earth as a solid body, it was the earth and the tides as THREE bodies.

    I don’t know if they worked out how or why the bulges weren’t on a direct line to the moon (mind you, since the moon is some distance away, the tide is 2.6 seconds behind the moon as far as the moon is concerned, so maybe that is where the difference comes from: is it 18 miles off the right line?) or whether they just had the offset angle and used it I don’t know. But they took the three bodies of the earth/tide as fixed in relation to each other.

    And that gave them a figure for the retreat of the moon. It was cm but whether it was 1, less than 1 or about 5 I have NO CLUE.

    I have trained my brain cells to be faster using the “Norm’s theory of drinking makes you smarter” method. Those neurons may have had to sacrifice themselves for the good of the “herd”.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  413. Ms. Anderson: Thanx for the article. The assertion that the Greenland Ice Sheet will disappear is new to me. I thought some of it had survived in the Eemian.

    I think there was some speculation that our fossil carbon release would suppress not the just the next glacial stage but the one after that as well, but I do not recall the citation.

    sidd

    [Response: You are correct - complete disappearance is unlikely. Berger and Loutre (2002) is the reference you are thinking of. - gavin]

    Comment by sidd — 29 Jul 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  414. Lindzen’s essay was pathetic. Even I, a non-scientist, could deconstruct it easily if I had a few hours to spare (waste).

    Obviously, he completely went off the rails this time, and one can only speculate as to his motivations for doing so, but his line of blathering is so similar to that of the fossil-fuel industry-paid denial junk science, that we need not search too far.

    Follow the money.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  415. Gavin, Reur response on 366

    [Response: Remarkable: No information apparently implies extensive melt and happy greenlanders. (But check out the position of the Jacobshavn glacier just for fun). - gavin]

    Thankyou for that, and I agree that the image of Jacobshavn is fun. I was particularly amused by the pronounced lack of linearity in retreat between 2001 and 2006.…almost stationary the latter years!
    Nice photo in 1851 too.
    Any photos of the massive melt ponds prior to 1979?

    Manacker (a Swiss), better than me, may be able to help you understand that the mechanisms of advance and retreat of glaciers are not well understood. (and not all that logical compared with some temperature data.)

    [Response: Hey, where'd those goalposts go? - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 29 Jul 2009 @ 6:23 PM

  416. Gavin, Reur response on my 414:

    Response: Hey, where’d those goalposts go? – gavin]

    Dunno! You brought up the topic of Jacobshavn glacier, not me.
    I’m more interested in all those photos of those massive melt ponds and moulins prior to 1979, especially say 1930 -1940’s.

    [Response: Ummm... perhaps you failed to notice that Jacobshavn was much further out in the 1930s than it is now i.e. the retreat was less then. Of course, if you insist that it couldn't possibly have been colder then, carry on looking for evidence that doesn't exist. - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  417. Mark (411), the three-body method strikes me as being more accurate and considerably more difficult — interesting. The simple answer why a bulge is not on the centerline (in an idealized problem) is that there are no tidal forces that would cause it. The only tidal force that causes flow and hence bulges is the tangential component (not the radial component) which is exactly zero on the centerline. [To be picky there is a radial component force; it just doesn't cause a bulge/tide.]

    Norm’s theory makes the world look better, too!

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  418. Brian Dodge Reur 376, & Rod B Reur 377
    Thankyou for your thoughtful and interesting posts.
    They deserve a thoughtful response which I’ll try and do soon.

    Comment by BobFJ — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:12 PM

  419. Gavin, thanks for the links!

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:29 PM

  420. Over time, looking at graphics that appear to represent sea surface temperatures, it seems that there is a lot of melt water flowing out of Greenland. This seems to occur in pulses. Has anyone done studies on the SSTs around Greenland and how they change (on a daily basis)?

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:33 PM

  421. Permit me to improve Dr Lindzen’s hysterical editorial

    “We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [55 million years ago (Ma)], which was accompanied by a number of environmental perturbations, including mass extinction of benthic foraminifera. ”

    “More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat, but there is no conclusive proof that the cause isn’t cosmic rays.”

    “Recent work (McLean et al, 2009), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century, assuming mathematical manipulations which remove trends are performed.”

    “This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years; it is widely believed by leading climatologists that the precipitous decline and collapse in sea and shelf ice is either due to internal variability, cosmic rays, or the fact that when an iris closes over one area, it opens over another.”

    “However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, and will do whichever is necessary to refute global warming.”

    “Given that we are in a relatively warm period,( the last ten years were warmer than the previous ten years, the last twenty years were warmer than the previous twenty years, and so on) this is not surprising, but it says nothing about trends.”

    “Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The odds of any specific catastrophe or prerequisite variable actually occurring are almost zero, and when multiplied together are so vanishingly small that they cannot possibly occur. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler, Lord Monckton, refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range, a mathematically ludicrous proposition.”

    “The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, donations, and the profits resulting from the hard work and transparent accounting of energy companies are reasonably clear.”

    “It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities, unlike my entirely coincidental relation with the Western Fuels Association.”

    “The forty billion possibilities for corruption are immense.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  422. Martin Vermeer, Reur 398:

    Fortunately most denialists are not very smart, and BobFJ’s combination of cock-sure assertions using lots of difficult words combined with elementary errors immediately got my neck-hairs up.
    I wonder if he finally understood the silliness of using pictures that had solar limb darkening digitally removed in trying to prove it doesn’t exist… I sure hope the readership here got the message.

    Well for a start, I did not say darkening does not exist but that it was a trivial consideration in what I was trying to demonstrate, which incidentally Patrick 027 (who mentioned limb darkening before you), understood OK. The analogy of the sun, whilst hugely different to a terrestrial surface, is a thought grabbing (if imperfect) demonstration, that a flat surface radiates EMR equally in all directions hemispherically. (probably a surprise to most people)
    I repeat that in my experience, if you look at the sun with eye protection, it appears to be a flat disc of uniform brightness. (In my case I’ve used an arc-welding mask…. BTW ditto with mask through various cloud densities.)
    To me, it looks similar to the SOHO MDI image except a hotter colour. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/mdi_igr/512/
    If you look at this image carefully (try the larger 659 KB version on 400% zoom) you will see that there is indeed some limb darkening, but it is slight.
    This is what the site says of this image:
    The MDI (Michelson Doppler Imager) images shown here are taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots. This is very much how the Sun looks like in the visible range of the spectrum (for example, looking at it using special ‘eclipse’ glasses: Remember, do not ever look directly at the Sun!).
    I still feel that your two other referenced images are exaggerated by mathematically/digitally adding a limb darkening theory effect.

    Comment by BobFJ — 30 Jul 2009 @ 1:01 AM

  423. “The simple answer why a bulge is not on the centerline (in an idealized problem) is that there are no tidal forces that would cause it.”

    That doesn’t make sense.

    the centreline is the line between the centre of the earth and the centre of the moon, extending towards and away from the moon indefinitely.

    That centreline is the line of lowest geopotential deviation by the two masses and therefore the tides tend toward that line and create two bulges: one at the moon side and one away from the moon.

    This is only the case when both bodies are stationary.

    Ergo there IS a force to create a bulge on the centreline. Gravity.

    In a rotating system (necessary to stop the earth and moon colliding) the bulge doesn’t appear in the same place. One reason is that the gravitational well created by the moon travels at the speed of light and therefore is 1.3 seconds behind the moon. And the gravitational pull of that tidal bulge on the moon is 1.3 seconds even further behind.

    It will also be mass inertia of the water causing more lag (it has to keep up). Viscous flow causing more lag again. And surface friction moving over the seabed (where the sea is shallow/nonexistent at low tide) can cause more tide (note: this is what I considered to be the “friction” in “does tidal friction cause the earth to slow down?”).

    Whether they are bigger effects than the 18km lag from speed of light, or ignorable I do not know.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:59 AM

  424. Bob_FJ

    You have been discussing early 20th century developments in Arctic sea ice. I cited a study on this subject earlier.
    ftp://ftp.whoi.edu/pub/users/mtimmermans/ArcticSymposiumTalks/Smolyanitsky.pdf

    The study compares the “Variability of the summary ice extent in Greenland, Barents, Kara Seas and Laptev, Eastern Siberian and Chukchi Seas in August for period 1900 –2008”.

    Source of data is stated to be:
    Ice extent data for Eurasian Arctic Sea are developed by the AARI for period 1900-2008. 1940-2008-based on a regular aerial and satellite observations.
    1924-1939-assessed by the well-known polar explorer V.Vieseby summarizing all available by that time shipborne and aerial observations.
    1900-1923-either reconstructed on a basis of publications containing descriptions of arctic navigation during that period or calculated using physical statistical model taking into account mean monthly atmospheric pressure (r ~ 0.72).
    After 1966, satellite data are used.(visual and later IR and SAR)

    Sources cited are:
    Sources for sea ice mapping in Eurasian Arctic (from “Observed Sea Ice Extent in the Russian Arctic, 1933-2006” by Andrew R. Mahoney, Roger Barry, Vasily Smolyanitsky and Florence Fetterer. JGR, 113, C11005, 2008)

    Citing a report by Mahoney et al. mean winter, spring, summer and autumn temperatures from 1930 to today are compared. This comparison shows an overall sinking trend of winter temperature (1930-1965) from -15°C to -25°C, reversing to a rising trend up to around -12°C today. The post-1965 warming was more pronounced in the Russian Arctic than in the North American Arctic. The same trend is shown, but is much less pronounced in the average summer temperatures.

    Overall temperatures and sea ice extent are compared. There appears to be a correlation between the two, with both showing a cyclical trend and two distinct warming/shrinking periods from 1910-1945 and 1976 to today. The 6th degree polynomial trend line reflects these cycles; it also shows that the latest warming/shrinking cycle has begun to reverse – but how this will really continue is anyone’s guess.

    The study takes the best data available and concludes that the warming/shrinking periods do correlate, and that these are cyclical in nature, somehow tied to solar activity with an overall cycle of around 60 years. The sea ice data prior to satellite measurements are obviously less accurate than those made since the 1970s, but temperature data should be fairly good for the entire period.

    Based on this 60-year cycle and projected cooling from 2007 to around 2035 the study projects some possible future variations in sea ice. This is based on the rather doubtful assumption that the observed historical 60-year warming/shrinking and cooling/expanding cycle will continue into the future, instead of continued warming/shrinking resulting from continued GH warming.

    The postulation of a 60-year solar driven cycle may be dubious, but to write this study off as insignificant (as Mark has done) because the earlier pre-satellite sea ice data are not as accurate as the later data is a simple form of denial.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  425. “I repeat that in my experience, if you look at the sun with eye protection, it appears to be a flat disc of uniform brightness.”

    If it does, your eyes are lying to you.

    Limb darkening exists.

    You even say you admit such a phenomenon exists. Then you go and ignore it again.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:04 AM

  426. “The postulation of a 60-year solar driven cycle may be dubious, but to write this study off as insignificant (as Mark has done) because the earlier pre-satellite sea ice data are not as accurate as the later data is a simple form of denial.

    Max”

    But it IS insignificant.

    If it were significant, then our temperature average last year would be the same as the temperature average for the year of 1948.

    It isn’t.

    Not even close.

    Ergo, insignificant.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:06 AM

  427. Re: Smolyanitski study from 1900 to 2008

    “sixth degree polynomial trend line” ?!
    “60 yr trend” deduced from 108 yrs of data ?!!

    This is cargo cult mathematics.
    Or rather, cargo cult numerology.

    Comment by sidd — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  428. #421 Brian, its not only hysterical, but planned lunacy, a diversion from reality,

    “We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [55 million years ago (Ma)]”

    vs recent

    “Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years,”

    Quite a deceiver, on purpose, since the latest was written by himself. Its something worthy of a US Senator in deep denial. A political ploy, not science,
    even though scientists may dable in politics, made easier now a days, since lies are so numerous in that practice.

    Now back to the ice, it looks more and more like 1997, ie the precursor year to 1998, in every way:

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo&hot.html

    except Arctic Ocean waters are amazingly warm. So my latest prediction of Arctic Ocean ice shaving the extent of 2007 seems more plausible. Again , despite extensive Arctic cloud coverage, which if factored means that the Arctic is warmer then ever, in every way, from ocean to air. I am on sched for the NE passage to open at month end:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    No doubt the NW passage will be open for business mid August, Canadian ice doesn’t have a chance amidst the heat onslaught. In particular, and of interest is the Arctic Ocean melt morphing, from year to year, different occurring in very distant locations. Fram Strait now is loaded with ice, as flows are not slowed down by that 2007 old ice bridge. This simply means that the melt is greatly linked with weather conditions and predisposed settings depending on the severity of Arctic winter. The accurate time to make a melt prediction should be at summer solstice, when cloud coverage has been observed. Arctic clouds in May-June 2009 have spared a melt catastrophe, or delayed it, by at least one year.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  429. Mark, in a nutshell, if you break the gravitational force into a tangential (to the earth’s surface) and a radial (perpendicular to the surface), it’s true that at the centerline the tangential is zero and the radial is maximum. But to form a bulge the radial force has to expand (or compress) the water. Water does not expand nor compress easily (hardly at all). So it’s the tangential force that pulls on the water along (and under) the surface and will cause a flow to occur and pile up the water (which is completely different from expansion). The tangential component is zero at the centerline and zero at the poles (actually 89.5+ degrees) and reaches a maximum at about 45 degrees (actually about 44.4+ degrees). The inertia and friction of the water flow limits the build interval and effects the position of the peak tidal bulge which will fall somewhere between 25 and 44 degrees. But, even though the total tidal force is a maximum on the centerline, it is all radial and the tidal bulge will be zero.

    Actually a large nutshell. Sorry.

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  430. Max (manacker) continues to be a consistently reliable source–for cherries.

    Give his claims the same scrutiny you’d give any claim about a science paper; look it up. Don’t trust guys on blogs claiming to be informative.

    Look the source up; check what’s claimed; look the author’s name up in Google Scholar, and check for newer work, and read the citing papers.

    Just as an example of that exercise:

    Observed sea ice extent in the Russian Arctic, 1933–2006
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008JC004830.shtml

    “… For the Russian Arctic as a whole in summer, there have been two periods of retreat separated by a partial recovery between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s. The AARI charts, combined with air temperature records, suggest that the retreat in recent decades is pan-Arctic and year-round in some regions, whereas the early twentieth century retreat was only observed in summer in the Russian Arctic.”

    published 5 November 2008.

    Mahoney, A.R., R.G. Barry, V. Smolyanitsky, and F. Fetterer (2008), Observed sea ice extent in the Russian Arctic, 1933–2006, J. Geophys. Res., 113, C11005
    http://doi:10.1029/2008JC004830

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  431. “But to form a bulge the radial force has to expand (or compress) the water.”

    Rod, you’re all over the place now.

    No, it doesn’t have to compress the water.

    What happens is that the water at a higher geopotential with a nearby lower geopotential available and not occupied by water will, guess…

    Run to the lower geopotential. Same as when it runs downhill: it is moving to a lower geopotential.

    This isn’t compressing anything.

    Draw the lines of equipotential around a sphere of mass and you get lines that are themselves spherical.

    Now add in a mass at distance.

    Redraw the lines of equipotential.

    They are not spherical.

    They are not bulged toward the new mass (which would be the layman view of what’s happening: one bulge where the water is “running” toward the moon).

    The water pressure doesn’t change because of the bulge. The bulge is the water next to the bulge being able to lose energy by drifting toward the side where the geopotential heights are further away from the earth.

    It’s EXACTLY the same reason why you have lagrange points. The L1 position is the only one you’d get if you considered gravitational forces, but the other L points result from considering EQUIPOTENTIALS.

    Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  432. 408 413 Greenland Ice Sheet. Completely? Can we take it that even if not all Greenland is to go, that whatever is happening in/to Greenland will be mirrored in the Antarctic too over a similar timeframe?

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  433. Re #432

    It does not make sense to me to argue that because some Greenland ice survived the last Eemian inter-glacial then we can be sure it will also survive what we are throwing at it. CO2 is now far higher than during any interglacial in the past, and more likely to rise than fall in the future.

    But hopefully the East Antarctic ice will survive. It is at a higher altitude and higher latitude than Greenland and Arctic sea ice. However, the Antarctic Peninsula is at a lower latitude, closer to that of Greenland, and the Antarctic ice shelves are at very low altitudes, so it seem very possible that they too will follow the fate of the Antarctic Peninsula, and Greenland ice shelves.

    I foresee the 7 m rise from Greenland melt being matched by another 7 m from parts of Antarctica.

    And that is with CO2 at current levels. Let is rise so global temperatures get to +2C, and we may not die of heat stroke but we will be drowned. (or at least all our major city ports and much of our arable land. Don’t forget, food does not grow well on hillsides.)

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  434. sidd and Dr. Schmidt, thanks for the factual response on Greenland complete melt. I sloppily ignored that final sentence. I was surprised and a little disappointed as I like Sharon Begley and the placement of this quote makes it easy to attack the overall sense, which I consider right on point. Always more to learn, I’m glad to see the truth comes first. I think the idea that in the next couple of hundred years there will be some unexpected developments that most of our descendants won’t have a chance to observe is realistic, but perhaps the feedbacks and those mountain ranges are too big a hurdle.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know of a good source for a medium-scale map of Greenland’s topography underneath all that ice?

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  435. Had a change to see Paul Ehrlich this year, and he was trenchant about agriculture. A good idea to remember that settlement follows convenience and the damage to lowlands etc. is going to make things fierce not only practically but in terms of inducing conflict.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  436. Gavin, Reur response on my 416:

    [Response: Ummm... perhaps you failed to notice that Jacobshavn was much further out in the 1930s than it is now i.e. the retreat was less then. Of course, if you insist that it couldn't possibly have been colder then, carry on looking for evidence that doesn't exist. - gavin]

    I think those photos from space of the Jacobshavn glacier back in 1851 through to 2006 are great, and it makes good sense that there is a crudely progressive retreat over that period of coming out of the little ice age up until now. (and yes, the 1930-40’s would be expected to be further out than today)
    However, you appear to see more in it than I do, and since you made some assertions and asked me about it,here are some thoughts, re your image here:
    http://www-nsidc.colorado.edu/sotc/images/jakobshavn_retreat.jpg
    In that shot from space in 1851; that area to the left of the 1851 line is apparently the largest of all retreats? Is that for just one year, or what do you know? (BTW, the main topic link would be handy)
    Notice that the 14 intervals between 1851 and 2006 are a bit ragged, being in year-count intervals of: 24/8/19/11/16/2/22/11/37/1/1/1/1/ and 1 respectively.
    Notice that the retreat 1929 to 1931 is very similar in surface area to that of 2004 to 2006, (whilst the hypothesis is that it was thicker in the 1930‘s…. implying a greater mass melt back then than recently). Oh, but unfortunately, the 1931 to 1953 interval is not so helpful in its longer duration.
    Notice that the yearly progression 2001 through 2006 is way-way non-linear, and begs the question: why the big slow-down in 2005/2006?

    I would also suspect some further complications in predicting retreat rates of glaciers under a significant sustained warming regime, particularly the geological. (somewhat allied to my field of engineering)
    Firstly, we are talking about a very large “thermal mass” in which a significant lag in response to air temperature changes could be anticipated. However, even if the warming regime were CONSTANT, since 1851, the response should accelerate over time, as the mass of ice is progressively reduced.
    Secondly, the precipitation of snow during such a regime may have unknown variation. (insulation/mass building effects)
    Thirdly, as glaciers retreat inland, typically the gravitational gradient increases, (but probably not uniformly) which should result in further acceleration of retreat over time, in a warming regime.
    Fourthly, I would think that moraine grinding (smoothing) will have had greater predominance over the millennia, upstream and higher up the glacier, resulting in freer flow, from creep and sliding, the further the glacier retreats.
    Fifthly, it has even been posited that if the termination shortens, such as in the break-up of ice shelves, that the flow-rate increases.

    Then of course there are some glaciers that are reportedly advancing such as in Alaska and New Zealand, and there are some that terminate abruptly where there is no retention in precipitous terrain, and they hardly change in extent.

    Like I said; (I repeat), I’d prefer to see photos from space of the massive melt ponds and moulins in Greenland prior to 1979, and especially in the 1930-1940’s where thermometer records indicate significant warmth.
    This would be far more relevant to assessing regional warming in the Arctic than assuming an understanding on the complexities of Greenland glaciers. (that logically should accelerate in retreat even if the warming regime were constant over the past 150 years or so)

    [Response: Does it really take me to point out that there weren't any 'shots from space' in 1851? The photo was taken in 2004 and the lines for the historical extent are drawn on using observed data. - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  437. Gavin: Your comment in reply to a question about the effects of sea floor volcanoes was “no-one seems to know…” I’m an engineer and diver interested in this area and have been searching out related research papers for several years only to find what appears to be a particularly neglected subject. Several projects are now beginning to look at measuring a few such net effects in a limited way – and the Argo data will soon (over the next decade), begin to refine part of the sub-surface picture, but there appears to be little interest in or attention to sea floor hydrothermal dynamics in general. The standard geological presentation cites heat balance averages derived from bore samples that are about 80% from land masses… while just a few years ago, there was “found” a 14,000 foot high undersea mountain (near a hot-spot), spewing forth a 4-mile-wide river of superheated water. A natural question is “How many of these are there and what’s the net ocean-heating effect?”. We don’t know. What’s the net heating effect of all the hydrothermal venting along mid-ocean ridges? No one seems to know and few are trying to find out (current work on the Eastern Pacific Rise and in the Arctic are welcome exceptions). West Antarctica sits above an active zone containing one of the world’s three lava lakes… known to significantly heat at least local waters (reports of cruise-ships stopping to let people swim in warm water along Antarctic shores), yet there’s almost no discussion of whether there’s a net contribution to regional or ocean warming. A few recent studies provide an implied conclusion that sea floor hydrothermal activity is far more widespread and operating on a larger scale than is generally appreciated, but it still seems largely ignored. This at a time when ocean temperature dynamics are raising critical questions related to climate variability and possible sources and sinks yet undefined. Is there a plan that you’re aware of for more research attention to this area, or is it still considered too insignificant to be a focus of serious study?.

    Comment by Eric — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  438. Mark, if there is a kg of water exactly on the centerline the only tidal force is straight up toward the moon. Given the geometry, the only way a rising bulge of that kg can form is if the moon’s gravitational pull is sufficient to expand that kg. Expanding water is the mirror image of compression — with water it ain’t going to happen. Using your example it would be like the water on the top of the hill flowing (further) uphill. There is no tidal bulge on the centerline. (using the simple moon-earth example, of course)

    [to be inanely precise there in fact is a bulge from the radial tidal force, but it is infinitesimal and realized only in math.]

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:10 PM

  439. Ms. Anderson:
    Re: Greenland topo
    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland.html

    Comment by sidd — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  440. Which brings us back to the life-and-death issue again:

    What are the likely effects of a total or even near total melt of the Arctic Ocean going to be on agriculture and other crucial systems?

    Is this somehow off topic? Is it too uncertain to discuss? Or too scary to discuss?

    Such discussion is what the world needs from sites like this, rather than troll feeding and lunar speculations. We are not just fascinated at watching the Arctic melt because it is abstractly and scientifically interesting. We are riveted to charts on Cryosphere Today and other sources because we are watching our earth change into a different kind of planet, and we can’t be sure what this mean for us and our children.

    I would still like any clear and accurate information (or even well-informed speculation) that the good folks here could provide. I have read many of the books on the subject for the general public, but I do find some climatological jargon in published papers a bit hard to follow.

    Sorry to keep harping on this. If most don’t find this subject interesting/important enough to discuss in more depth, I’ll stop pestering.

    Comment by wili — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:57 PM

  441. Mr. McDonald:
    Re: GIS/WAIS survivability

    Stipulate that GIS/WAIS will not survive. The crucial question is: what is the timescale ?

    If Hansen and Bindschadler are right and the upper limit on GIS/WAIS disintegration is 1KYr, then we are in grave danger in this century. If 1KYr is a lower limit, then we have some breathing room, perhaps, for the long retreat from the coasts.

    Comment by sidd — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:26 PM

  442. Hi 438 Wili and 439 sidd!

    Based on the best and latest info I can find as a layman, and what I would describe as a prudent reserve, these are my ‘prove me wrong’ estimates of how much by when.

    This shows the whole journey through Business as Usual – until something stops us burning coal – through to your GIS/WAIS disintergration – plus eventually the rest of Antarctica as well:-
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hpUJPjLjGlc/SlPWzfmu1LI/AAAAAAAAAE8/oM8no9qLt9s/s1600-h/SLR+5m2100-5000.png

    And assuming MIT’s recent +5 degrees K by 2100 estimate the next few decades look like:-
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hpUJPjLjGlc/SlPUHXUdjeI/AAAAAAAAAE0/cVRS5UxE3bc/s1600-h/SLR+5m.png

    This may be a bit more pushy than a real climate scientist would admit to, but as an ordinary bloke these curves are to my mind a fair representation of how bad it could get, and thus how urgently we should:-

    A) Do what we reasonably can avoid it,

    and simultaneously

    B) prepare our respective communities to live with it, just in case we don’t achieve anything effective with A.

    Nigel

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 31 Jul 2009 @ 1:11 AM

  443. “Mark, if there is a kg of water exactly on the centerline the only tidal force is straight up toward the moon”

    Then please explain why there are two tides.

    After all the opposite side of the earth has a tidal bulge (two tides, remember) where the water is going AWAY from the moon to do so.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  444. “Using your example it would be like the water on the top of the hill flowing (further) uphill”

    What if the crown of the hill had a neutron star sitting on it?

    In a accreting binary system, some of the gas from the atmosphere from the larger star falls UP from that star and then gets taken in by the other star in the system.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2009 @ 3:08 AM

  445. #422 BobFJ: sigh…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 31 Jul 2009 @ 3:26 AM

  446. Mark

    Your logic (426) is flawed.

    There is an underlying warming and shrinking trend which is reported in the paper I cited. Nowhere did the authors claim that today’s temperature is the same as that in 1948 (as you state). They simply observed that the warming/cooling and shrinking/expanding of those portions of the Arctic sea ice which they studied occurred in a 60-year cyclical nature.

    Look, Mark, there are lots of studies out there. This is just one of many. But to write it off as “insignificant” because it happens to present a postulation with which you happen to disagree is denial on your part. That’s all.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 31 Jul 2009 @ 4:00 AM

  447. Hank Roberts (430)

    You spent a lot of time talking about cherries but saying essentially nothing.

    The study I cited was limited to a large portion of the Arctic Sea Ice (but not all), as was clearly stated.

    The study showed that over that large portion of the total there was an observed cyclical warming/shrinking and cooling/expanding trend that appears to occur in 60-year cycles (remember that the Russian Arctic is a tad larger than that of North America, and they included Greenland as well).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 31 Jul 2009 @ 4:07 AM

  448. Re #439

    sidd,

    You can move all the Bangaldeshi to the Tibetan Plateau, but what are they going to live on? The point I am trying to make is that much of the good agricultural land is the flat coastal areas created during the the Eemian, when sea levels were 4 – 6 m higher. You can’t move people from there to the vast cold dry Siberian wilderness and expect them to produce the same amount of food as they can in the warm wet tropics. The higher land in the topics is too steep to farm.

    You are correct that whether the GIS/WAIS survive is not the most urgent problem for us. It is the rate of melt from which we will be affected. In other words, even if only half the GIS eventually melts, if that happens over the next 100 years then we are talking about a 10 foot rise in London, New Orleans and New York. Can they cope?

    The problem is that scientists don’t really understand feedback, especially positive feedback which is non-linear. For, instance they persist in drawing straight trend lines through the arctic sea ice extent, and seem to be incapable of grasping that, since these trend lines steepen as time goes, the melt is accelerating. It is driven by the ice albedo positive feedback.

    But there is also a positive feedback affecting the Greenland ice sheet. As the surface melts, its altitude is lowered. Lower altitudes mean warmer air and more melting. So once the ice sheet starts melting, the melt will accelerate until it has all gone. Greenland is an anomaly. It is only snow covered at such a low latitude because it is covered with two miles of ice. Remove that ice and it would be a green land just like Sweden or Alaska which are at the same latitude.

    Remove the Arctic sea ice, which keeps the Arctic cold and the Greenland ice sheet is doomed!

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 31 Jul 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  449. Rod B writes:

    Mark, if there is a kg of water exactly on the centerline the only tidal force is straight up toward the moon. Given the geometry, the only way a rising bulge of that kg can form is if the moon’s gravitational pull is sufficient to expand that kg. Expanding water is the mirror image of compression — with water it ain’t going to happen. Using your example it would be like the water on the top of the hill flowing (further) uphill. There is no tidal bulge on the centerline. (using the simple moon-earth example, of course)

    [to be inanely precise there in fact is a bulge from the radial tidal force, but it is infinitesimal and realized only in math.]

    The moon tugs the nearby water more than the Earth, and the Earth more than the water on the other side, thus forming two tidal bulges. No compression or expansion of water required. Just flow. Gravitationally-induced motion.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:58 AM

  450. “Look, Mark, there are lots of studies out there. This is just one of many.”

    One of many wrong ones.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2009 @ 7:20 AM

  451. Max (manacker),

    I looked up more recent work from the same author you cited and pointed to it — this is how to read science.

    What source are you relying on? Why do you trust your source?

    If you’re posting references from some blog or discussion, they’re not complete and you’re not getting good information.

    If you’re searching the actual science then picking older papers and ignoring newer ones, you’re doing the cherrypicking — selecting what supports your beliefs, from older papers, rather than saying what’s currently known.

    Always check the references, look at citing papers for more recent work, and discuss what’s known.

    When you don’t say where you get your information, I have to check every claim you make. So far, consistently, your claims aren’t well supported, mostly being older papers or partial selections from them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  452. sidd
    Thanks for the maps/projections, right on point. I’d still love to see real current topography under all that ice, but not if it requires a large amount of computer capability.

    PBS last night; Lonnie Thompson “The Real Iceman” on tropical glaciers, mentions Quelccaya (I think it was a rerun from 2007):
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0405/04-real-nf.html

    This is good too; varied resource guide packed with pictures and information:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/mtblanc/vanishing.html

    hot dam’ I was just getting ready to take a break and leave it to better minds than mine, then new riches emerge.

    (Forget feeding the trolls, they won’t (can’t) stop, and will continue until doomsday – what they practice is not science. They love something to argue with.)

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  453. Manacker says “Hank Roberts (430), You spent a lot of time talking about cherries but saying essentially nothing.

    No, he didn’t say “essentially nothing”, he provided a reference to a study on Russian Arctic sea ice extent and dynamics.

    And even if he did, saying nothing beats the hell out of ignoring significant components of the carbon cycle, fabricating numbers, lying, and refusing to accept contradictory evidence by people who know a lot more about climate science than you do. All of which are your signature on this site.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:37 PM

  454. Some observations from the reality of a seascape painter. I have to watch this stuff because it affects my work and I kind of like numbers and statistics at the lowest level.

    1. Tides in the northern hemisphere are bigger at the new moon than the full moon in summer, and the reverse in winter. That would be the sun.

    2. Tides accelerate in the middle. If I set up to paint below high tide mark in Cornwall with a nearly 24 foot tide, I have to remember at the midpoint between high and low tide, the increase will not be 4 feet per hour but much more (say 8 feet). Day lengths do the same thing, more increase in the middle, flattening at the ends (and some weird wobble).

    I don’t know if or how these factoids might be useful …

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  455. Ms. Anderson:
    Re;Greenland subglacial topo
    The dataset I used is from Bamber, available at
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/pub/DATASETS/BAMBER_THICKNESS/

    Comment by sidd — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  456. Mark, yes there are double tide bulges on the front side and the back side, but none on the centerline. Backside tides arise from the moon’s gravitational pull on the whole earth (centripetal and van der Waals force stuff) being greater than the differential tidal pull on the ocean water which then tends to go in a lesser arc than its earthen container… more or less.

    True, a neutron star’s gravitational attraction would beat hell out of the water’s compression/expansion resistance. Plus, as I said, the moon does that too: pulling up on the water and then having water on the side flow in to fill in the lower pressure/density. It’s just less than noticeable or measurable — much less than a um.

    This is fun, but aren’t we starting to bore everyone else and wearing out our welcome?

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:44 PM

  457. “I’d prefer to see photos from space of the massive melt ponds and moulins in Greenland prior to 1979, and especially in the 1930-1940’s where thermometer records indicate significant warmth.”

    So now BobFJ (aka the Kamikaze Denial Troll) wants to see shots from space taken in the 1930s, or else AGW is not real.

    Right.

    I think this illustrates quite clearly that there is no amount of evidence in the world that is ever going to convince you, Bob.

    Comment by CTG — 31 Jul 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  458. Gavin, Reur response on my 436:

    [Response: Does it really take me to point out that there weren't any 'shots from space' in 1851? The photo was taken in 2004 and the lines for the historical extent are drawn on using observed data. - gavin]

    Well actually Gavin it was a joke; partly because you did not provide a source link for the image, (see link in 3, below), that might have explained some of the issues apparent on the image, which in part I suggest are, briefly:

    1] The retreat in the interval 1929-1931 was probably greater in mass than that in the final 2004-2006 period.
    2] The retreat in the five intervals 2001-2006 was extremely erratic year by year.
    3] The retreat in the interval 1964-2001 is about the smallest in area, but the longest in duration, see composite image:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2573/3775490997_b6e8c91f72_o.jpg
    However it matches the longest most significant temperature rise in the 150 years, if we take the HADCRUT NH annual average temperatures. (Whereas, earlier colder periods had very much greater retreats).

    For more detail, 5 possible explanations of the complex dynamics, and other remarks, see my 436

    Comment by BobFJ — 31 Jul 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  459. “True, a neutron star’s gravitational attraction would beat hell out of the water’s compression/expansion resistance.”

    Rod, you’re talking out your 7th planet.

    There’s no compression/expansion going on with the tide thing at all.

    Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  460. BobFJ 30 July 2009 at 5:56 PM

    “Thirdly, as glaciers retreat inland, typically the gravitational gradient increases, (but probably not uniformly)” [true] “which should result in further acceleration of retreat over time, in a warming regime.” [nope]
    As the environment warms, glaciers lose mass more quickly at the front than it is replaced by flow from upstream, so the front retreats, If it retreats far enough that increases in the gravitational gradient increase the flow rate, it can result in a new equilibrium, where the higher flow balances out the higher loss rate; if there is an environmental fluctuation like a strong La Nina, the glacier front may even advance. Obviously, a higher flow has to be supplied by higher accumulation to maintain balance over the long term, or the ice sheet which supplies the glacier will disappear. In Greenland, mass is accumulating at high elevations, but disappearing at lower elevations through surface ablation and accelerating glaciers; the overall result is net mass loss. Positive albedo feedback with the loss of Arctic summer ice cover and polar amplification of global warming will continue to increase Greenland mass loss.

    “Using satellite radar interferometry observations of Greenland, we detected widespread glacier acceleration below 66° north between 1996 and 2000, which rapidly expanded to 70° north in 2005. Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year. As more glaciers accelerate farther north, the contribution of Greenland to sea-level rise will continue to increase” Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5763/986

    “Fourthly, I would think that moraine grinding (smoothing) will have had greater predominance over the millennia, upstream and higher up the glacier, resulting in freer flow, from creep and sliding, the further the glacier retreats.”
    I don’t know about this, but if true, it will give positive feedback and make some ice sheets less stable to warming. Greenland sits in a bowl so this doesn’t apply here; it’s ice on ice (or maybe turtles, all the way down).

    “Fifthly, it has even been posited that if the termination shortens, such as in the break-up of ice shelves, that the flow-rate increases.” It has actually already been observed and published. see http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/121653main_ScambosetalGRLPeninsulaAccel.pdf
    Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica
    T. A. Scambos, J. A. Bohlander, C. A. Shuman, and P. Skvarca
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 31, L18402, doi:10.1029/2004GL020670, 2004

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 31 Jul 2009 @ 8:29 PM

  461. Mark, That’s what I’ve been saying…

    Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2009 @ 10:01 PM

  462. re: #440

    Dear wili,

    You have stated the problem perfectly.

    If you want to talk about this further, you can get in touch with me via my blog profile.

    You can also try to push people here to discuss this, which is IMO a very good idea, and it is high time.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Jul 2009 @ 11:03 PM

  463. The science shows we influence weather and climate to a high degree of certainty. The science shows that mean global temperature has risen from recent (recent as in global recent, not human recent) pre-industrial periods. The science shows that GHG and aerosols hurt the atmospheric boundary conditions and human health above certain optimum levels. The clomate science shows that AGW is real. The models still need a lot of work and the prediction ability is still poor. The science does not show repeatable and validated evidence of a tipping point coming anytime soon, but the paleoclimate data and archaeological finds do show that tipping points have existed in this planet’s history.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 31 Jul 2009 @ 11:25 PM

  464. Rod B, Reur 377, sorry for delay, but thankyou for your thoughtful comments on my 367 that was addressed primarily to Kevin McKinney. He wrote in part in his 300 concerning comparative albedos of water and ice:

    Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence–and, according to Kiehl & Trenberth ‘98, this is an input roughly twice as large as direct insolation.

    If I fully understood what you wrote, I agree with you, but reiterate that my understanding of Kevin’s comments was that either he or K & T (?) infer that IR back radiation will result in HEATING of the oceans. However, since infrared is (you agree) only absorbed in the skin of the water, and re-emission is an instantaneous process, there is virtually no opportunity for the slower downward process of conduction to take place. Thus, although it IS a very different process, it is somewhat similar IN EFFECT to reflection.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I also sought clarification from Kevin on his source….. Like for instance I can’t find K & T ‘98, which might simply be a typo on his part. I also asked everyone, if they disagreed with the two defining graphics that I linked to. (although they were from an academic QM paper)
    You are the only one to respond. Again, thankyou for your positive comments.

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  465. “Mark, That’s what I’ve been saying”

    Then what is all this about there needing to be compression to make a bulge in post 438:

    “Given the geometry, the only way a rising bulge of that kg can form is if the moon’s gravitational pull is sufficient to expand that kg.”

    ?

    Comment by Mark — 1 Aug 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  466. “However, since infrared is (you agree) only absorbed in the skin of the water, and re-emission is an instantaneous process,…”

    But conduction of heat from the ground into air is only done at the skin surface. Yet that doesn’t stop a lot of heat going into the atmosphere.

    So why do you think it such an impediment to ocean warming here?

    Comment by Mark — 1 Aug 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  467. I think somewhere up-thread there were questions regarding ice extent errors?

    Regarding error considerations on Artic ice extent, Walt Meier (NSIDC):

    First, one has to separate out error in concentration in a given grid cell vs. total extent. The concentration is indeed on the order of 5%, upwards of 20% or more during summer. The higher summer error is due to surface melt on the ice depressing the total concentration. The instrument also underestimates thin ice and this can also lead to an underestimation. These do have a potentially significant effect when adding up total ice area. That is one reason why we generally suggest not using total area, but rather total ice extent (ice of at least 15% concentration).

    However, while the instrument isn’t terribly accurate at providing the exact concentration, it does a much better job of discriminating ice (of any concentration above 15%) from ice-free water. Because of the melt water (or thin ice), you can potentially depress the concentration from say 25% to maybe 10% and that takes away ice from the extent calculation that should be included. However, in most cases sea ice very quickly goes from no-ice to well above 30% concentration, so any such effect is usually limited to at most 2 or 3 pixels along the ice and thus the effect on total ice extent are much smaller than 20% and most of the time smaller than 5%. I would generally put this at 1-3% at most during summer, even smaller during winter.

    But the news is even better than that. Note that these errors are generally biases (i.e., an underestimation) and the bias at a given time of year is pretty consistent. Thus, if one is most concerned about change from year to year and/or long-term trends, any consistent bias is not a factor. This is the difference between “absolute error” (measurement vs. truth) and “relative error” (uncertainty of a measurement relative to other measurements). Relative errors result uncertainties of measurements of change, but absolute error does not do so if most of the absolute error is bias as in the case with sea ice extent.

    Based on comparisons of sea ice extents from different instruments of a similar type, we estimate relative errors of +/- 30,000 sq km or less. For summer extents, this is less than 1%; for winter is is less than 0.5%. Changes in summer extents of more than 10% per decade are far beyond these error levels. Thus there is extremely high confidence that these changes are real and not significantly affected by instrument or algorithm error.

    We actually have an FAQ entry relating to this issue, which you are free to pass along to anyone interested:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html#error_bars

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Aug 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  468. Mark, Reur 466, thankyou for your thoughtful question;
    The topic in 464 was about the effect of back radiation or incoming EMR (infrared) and its virtual inability to penetrate water, and thus not cause significant HEATING because downward conduction is a very slow process compared with re-emission from the skin. This is unlike sunlight (EMR) which penetrates water well, including its near infrared, and is thus converted to HEAT, some lagging long term, and some being quickly lost back to the atmosphere, in three main processes.

    I seem to recall that some 11% of HEAT loss from the surface as thermals is typically estimated, and I guess that sounds reasonable. The rest is via up-welling infrared EMR, and evapo-transpiration. (HEAT loss)

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Aug 2009 @ 6:13 PM

  469. Martin Vermeer, returning to your 398/p9, you wrote:

    [1] Fortunately most denialists are not very smart, and BobFJ’s combination of cock-sure assertions using lots of difficult words combined with elementary errors immediately got my neck-hairs up.
    [2] I wonder if he finally understood the silliness of using pictures that had solar limb darkening digitally removed in trying to prove it doesn’t exist… I sure hope the readership here got the message.

    And in your 445/p9, you wrote:

    #422 BobFJ: sigh…

    I guess this means that you were unhappy with my 442.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    [1] I think that part of the misunderstanding is that you did not consider why I bold emphasised the word fundamental in something early-on, quoting exactly:
    “The fundamental solution as to why the sun appears to have uniform brightness [from ocular observation with eye protection] presented despite that it is a sphere, is that its surface emits EMR equally in ALL directions, hemispherically…”

    Now let me give you a demonstration of the use of the word fundamental in this context. You may well have heard of the common idea of ’black body radiation of the sun’. However, it is severally an imperfect statement, but WRT limb darkening, take a look at this article by Courtney Seligman
    professor of astronomy. In particular, notice that on the figure, he gives the black body curve of the sun at 5780K
    http://cseligman.com/text/sun/blackbody.htm
    However, in the area of limb darkening, the plasma is obviously “colder” in the tangential direction. Do solar scientists ever mention this when talking of the sun temperature being 5780K? No, I don’t think so.
    Do you now understand the significance of fundamental?
    Did you also notice my use of the conditional word ‘appears‘, with respect to ocular capability in my phrase: appears to have uniform brightness?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    [2] I also draw your attention to this exchange:

    BobFJ #292: don’t sweat it… I won’t try to teach you anything against your will ;-)
    “Now that has me [BobFJ] more than puzzled. For example, are you suggesting that the SOHO MDI image of the sun of quality 151 KB, (or you can click for a 657 KB enhancement), is inferior to the 9.65 KB “depiction” in Wiki’, and that it does not show a difference?

    Bear in mind that when I look at the sun through my arc-welding mask, it looks uniform in colour, and that the MIDI SOHO image shows only slight limb darkening, which would not be observable ocularly. (they also described it as what you see in visible light)

    I asked a simple question, stating that I did not understand what you were infering. Typically, you obfuscated and applied derision, rather than give a proper answer. An apology from you would be appropriate.

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:57 PM

  470. Sorry, correcting my part[2] above to Martin Vermeer, html tags wrong.

    [2] I also draw your attention to this exchange:

    BobFJ #292: don’t sweat it… I won’t try to teach you anything against your will ;-)

    “Now that has me [BobFJ] more than puzzled. For example, are you suggesting that the SOHO MDI image of the sun of quality 151 KB, (or you can click for a 657 KB enhancement), is inferior to the 9.65 KB “depiction” in Wiki’, and that it does not show a difference?

    Bear in mind that when I look at the sun through my arc-welding mask, it looks uniform in colour, and that the MIDI SOHO image shows only slight limb darkening, which would not be observable ocularly. (they also described it as what you see in visible light)

    I asked a simple question, stating that I did not understand what you were infering. Typically, you obfuscated and applied derision, rather than give a proper answer. An apology from you would be appropriate.

    Comment by BobFJ — 1 Aug 2009 @ 8:03 PM

  471. Re# 467

    Regarding ice area over ice extent. Over the past week, ice area has slowed down quite a bit, with the past few days showing a melt rate of 35-40K per day. Meanwhile the ice extent has shown a greater decrease.

    From looking at the sattilite photos, it appears that the ice in the east siberian sea is becomming more disperse, however it is still above 15% and this is depressing the actual true melt rate.

    The 15% crieteria may be a little low, and it would be interesting if mutliple crieteria was given like 15%, 25%, 40%.

    It may be a mute point, as by the end of the melt season, the ice appears to have a well defined boundary, or at least it has during the past several melt seasons.

    I do expect a few more 100-150k melt days, as the ice in the disperse ice in the east siberian sea drops below 15% concentration.

    Maybe with the release of 1 meter sat photos, hopefully the modeling of sea ice area and extent, can be better modelled, and the results will begin to converge better.

    Comment by Larry N — 1 Aug 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  472. #467 John, Is there a push for:

    Ice Volume publications
    Total energy input in melting the ice
    How much temperature loss this gives
    Average sea surface temperature of the entire Arctic ocean

    A few of these items in the form of data would be useful…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 1 Aug 2009 @ 10:15 PM

  473. Re #464
    If I fully understood what you wrote, I agree with you, but reiterate that my understanding of Kevin’s comments was that either he or K & T (?) infer that IR back radiation will result in HEATING of the oceans. However, since infrared is (you agree) only absorbed in the skin of the water, and re-emission is an instantaneous process, there is virtually no opportunity for the slower downward process of conduction to take place. Thus, although it IS a very different process, it is somewhat similar IN EFFECT to reflection.

    Re-admission is not an instantaneous effect, far from it there is time for many deactivating collisions with other water molecules during the emission lifetime of the excited state. Consequently the energy of an absorbed photon is rapidly shared through the surrounding molecules.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 1 Aug 2009 @ 10:43 PM

  474. BobFJ writes:

    The topic in 464 was about the effect of back radiation or incoming EMR (infrared) and its virtual inability to penetrate water, and thus not cause significant HEATING because downward conduction is a very slow process compared with re-emission from the skin.

    The relative speed is completely irrelevant in this context! For a given thermal conductivity, heat transfer by conduction depends solely on the difference in temperature. For your model to be correct, the skin of the ocean would somehow have to maintain a markedly different temperature from the water one millimeter below it. Trust me, it doesn’t.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:05 AM

  475. “Bear in mind that when I look at the sun through my arc-welding mask, it looks uniform in colour,”

    And you eyeball is an EXCELLENT photometer, isn’t it…

    Look, the earth looks flat on the wild plains or out on a large lake, doesn’t it.

    Does that mean the earth is flat?

    Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:59 AM

  476. How do you respond to recent papers that sea ice losses are due to wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic?

    Comment by Dave — 2 Aug 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  477. Re #476 where Dave asks “How do you respond to recent papers that sea ice losses are due to wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic?”

    Which papers?

    In any case, the reason more ice is lost from the Arctic due to wind is that the ice is now thinner and so has broken into smaller pieces which are more likely to be blown about. In other words, it is not a matter of winds OR warming. It is a matter of winds AND warmer oceans AND warmer air due to greenhouse warming.

    HTH,

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 2 Aug 2009 @ 9:38 AM

  478. Dave asks:

    > how do you respond to recent papers … wind shifts, not warming …

    Let’s take your question as an example.

    Paste your question into the Search Box for Google Scholar. Here, thus:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&scoring=r&q=sea+ice+losses+are+due+to+wind+shifts%2C+not+warming+in+the+north+Atlantic%3F&as_ylo=2008

    Look at the first hit:

    GLACIOLOGY: Winds, Not Just Global Warming, Eating Away at the Ice Sheets
    RA Kerr – Science, 2008 – sciencemag.org
    … drove more waters from the Irminger Sea near Iceland …

    So — Dave — Compare:

    You: “wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic”
    Science: “Winds, not just global warming”

    Perhaps you’re thinking of some other “recent papers” — if so, which ones? What’s your source, and why are you relying on it?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  479. 8000 mile shortcut.
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/era-of-trans-arctic-shipping-nigh/

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:06 AM

  480. #472 Wayne Davidson

    As far as I know they are still trying to model ice volume over the past 100 years (or so) but that has many challenges.

    Last I heard, the ice volume >2 year ice is down to 9.8% and losing that thick ice at 10% per year. You can find more on NSIDC http://www.nsidc.org

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic
    images have source links in the descriptions

    The modern satellite measurements are helping us understand what is going on now though.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/image_view_fullscreen

    The sea surface temps and temps at depth are measured, dig around google, there are tons of SST sites in NASA and elsewhere.

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090717_juneglobalstats.html
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707.html

    Google is your friend :)

    Here are some I use

    http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/research/cmb/sst_analysis/
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsst.shtml
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/oisst/
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/clim/sst.shtml
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.noaa.ersst.html
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/sst_ani.htm
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/oper/Welcome.html
    http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/goessst2.shtml
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/sstanim.shtml
    http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/current/sst_anomaly_2m.html
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/at.html
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/gsstanim.shtml
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/jsdisplay/
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/sst.php
    http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/sst.html
    http://www.csc.noaa.gov/crs/cohab/hurricane/sst.htm
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/oper/global_sst_oper0.png
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/oper/global_anomaly_oper0.png
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/oper/namer_sst_oper0.png
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/trends.html

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:27 AM

  481. BobFJ #470, congratulations, you just invented “limb darkening denial”.

    Spare me the concern trolling. I don’t care if you understand me or not, or if you’re fake dumb or the genuine article. The readership here understands you very well by now, trust me.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:49 AM

  482. Wili in 440 speaks for me:

    “Which brings us back to the life-and-death issue again:

    “What are the likely effects of a total or even near total melt of the Arctic Ocean going to be on agriculture and other crucial systems?
    ….
    “We are not just fascinated at watching the Arctic melt because it is abstractly and scientifically interesting. We are riveted to charts on Cryosphere Today and other sources because we are watching our earth change into a different kind of planet, and we can’t be sure what this mean for us and our children.

    “I would still like any clear and accurate information (or even well-informed speculation) that the good folks here could provide. I have read many of the books on the subject for the general public, but I do find some climatological jargon in published papers a bit hard to follow.”

    That said, replies to persistent (and professional looking) pseudo-skeptics provide a wealth of varied information.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  483. #482 Susan Anderson

    Susan, as the summer ice subsides the Arctic amplification (polar amplification) is reasonably expected to accelerate. This will have multiple effects the expected ramifications include further latitudinal shift and accelerated warming.

    Latitudinal shift and warming have different but related ramifications

    Droughts, floods, extra large snowstorms in higher latitudes, inability for infrastructure to follow shift due to economic limitations, et cetera.

    Of course northern hemisphere accelerated warming will exacerbate the Greenland ice melt and accelerate sea level rise.

    That warming will of course influence the oceans and they will begin to warm faster placing more H2o into the atmosphere, and further exacerbating the acceleration of warming.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/2009-may-leading-edge

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security

    Read up on feedbacks on RC and elsewhere

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/feedbacks

    * http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/glossary.html#ClimateFeedback
    * http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  484. Re #482

    Susan,

    You are not the first to try and get the scientists to answer the question “What are the likely effects of a total or even near total melt of the Arctic Ocean going to be on agriculture and other crucial systems?”

    Willi wrote “Is this somehow off topic? Is it too uncertain to discuss? Or too scary to discuss?”. The answer seems to be “Yes, yes, yes.”

    But two scientists have now faced up to the truth. See Brierley and Kingsford described here.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 2 Aug 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  485. Phil. Felton 473, you wrote WRT infrared absorption by water:

    Re-admission is not an instantaneous effect, far from it there is time for many deactivating collisions with other water molecules during the emission lifetime of the excited state. Consequently the energy of an absorbed photon is rapidly shared through the surrounding molecules.

    OK, perhaps I should have said ‘almost instantaneous’, and it is of course complicated. E.g. re-emission is not a perfect description of what happens according to QM theory. For instance one particular photon being absorbed is end of story for that photon, and subsequent emissions are in other photons from varying energy levels. Sure there is a lot of activity in the skin of the water as a consequence of incoming infrared, but as you say: …rapidly shared through the surrounding molecules….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    474 Barton Paul Levenson also wrote:

    The relative speed is completely irrelevant in this context! For a given thermal conductivity, heat transfer by conduction depends solely on the difference in temperature. For your model to be correct, the skin of the ocean would somehow have to maintain a markedly different temperature from the water one millimeter below it. Trust me, it doesn’t.

    Actually, as with most things in nature, they turn-out to be more complicated than at first sight.
    The skin of the water has complex dynamics, the obvious being; the interface conditions, temperature, air humidity, wave action, wind, and evaporation. The most important WRT your observation is the latter. Global estimates of HEAT loss from the surface from evapo-transpiration have been made up to 50% of the total#. Thus since this is the largest cooling effect, and since it takes place from the skin, it infers that the water below the skin would be warmer. Thus, there is a problem WRT to your comment and thermo’law2.
    However, for the skin, I suggest that what with the other dynamics below, that some of the higher energy molecules may be transported downwards resulting in an effect that might be called conduction for want of a better word. It doesn’t end there; for instance, any surface HEATING would be combative to convective heat loss from below.
    # http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/#comment-981

    Comment by BobFJ — 2 Aug 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  486. BobFJ 1 August 2009 at 6:13 PM

    “The topic in 464 was about the effect of back radiation or incoming EMR (infrared) and its virtual inability to penetrate water, and thus not cause significant HEATING because downward conduction is a very slow process compared with re-emission from the skin.”

    Hey, Wingman Bob, if I point an infrared source at an iron ingot and meanwhile the infrared source remains constant, will only the first millimeter or so become warmer, assuming the ingot is cooler than the source?

    Come to think about it, where -does- your zone of heat impermeability begin? A millimeter? A centimeter? Kilometers down?

    How does this magic work? And how do we commercialize it?

    Seriously, that is probably the single most ignorant assertion I’ve heard on this site, and that’s saying a lot.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:43 PM

  487. Further BobFJ’s discovery of heat impermeability, do we taxpayers get a rebate for all the money wasted on Apollo PLSS sublimator systems? What a fraud! The suits would have re-radiated perfectly well without all that plumbing! After all, the wavelengths impinging on the suit couldn’t penetrate that first magic millimeter (centimeter/kilometer/parsec) of material and thus the money on cooling was wasted, right?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  488. Phil. Felton & Barton Paul Levenson, cc Kevin Mckinney.
    Further my 485, I recapitulate, that this all arose from an exchange I had with Kevin Mckinney, (my 367, and his 300), and that the more recent stuff is really a nitty-gritty diversion to that of the bigger basic ask I had in my 367 that still remains in a state of ???????????????????????????????:

    Kevin McKinney Reur 300, in part, you wrote concerning comparative albedos of water and ice:
    Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence–and, according to Kiehl & Trenberth ‘98, this is an input roughly twice as large as direct insolation.
    I was intrigued by your reference to K & T ‘98, because it seems to be a very simplistic statement. So, I Googled around but could not find it. Could you please check your reference; is it the wrong year maybe? Also, Trenberth and his colleague Kiehl have independently authored other works …. ?
    [discussion in my 367 excluded here for brevity]
    …So, what was K & T (?) on about?
    Kevin, please clarify your sources.… I‘m very interested.

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:45 AM

  489. “Actually, as with most things in nature, they turn-out to be more complicated than at first sight.”

    Not complicated to significantly change BPL’s statement.

    No matter how much you want it to.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:46 AM

  490. Phil. Felton & Barton Paul Levenson, cc Kevin Mckinney.
    Further my 485, I recapitulate, that this all arose from an exchange I had with Kevin Mckinney, (my 367, and his 300), and that the more recent stuff is really a nitty-gritty diversion to that of the bigger basic ask I had in my 367 that still remains in a state of ???????????????????????????????:

    It doesn’t really matter why you got the science wrong it gets corrected.
    Your original question appears to be how to find K&T, your problem might be that it was actually published in ’97.
    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  491. #274 #293 #304 #320 #349 (Bof_FJ, manacker, Rod B, Kevin McKinney)

    Sorry, to have missed the discussion. My point was meant to be general in nature so I hope it was not unduly misleading. The loss of arctic ice will allow the Arctic ocean to absorb more heat energy.

    Maybe this is a better way to illustrate the point

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010000/a010021/index.html

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  492. Susan (#482),

    The answer to the question “what are the effects of substantial loss of sea ice?” looks to be that it all happens in a package. There are obvious local effects such as a big change of habitat for many Arctic creatures and perhaps one may attribute some local heating to change in albedo but you are worried about agriculture and for that you need to look at global models. Once you do that, the particulars of the sea ice loss will not be all that apparent. Drought in the US Southwest and Southeast are part of the whole warming pattern. Greater precipitation in the Northeast would also be a part of the global pattern. The IPCC report tries to describe what models indicate will be the changes on a subcontinent scale. Changes over the whole Earth feed into these predictions, not just the Arctic.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 3 Aug 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  493. July (month end averages) NSIDC

    1980 Southern Hemisphere = 16.1 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 10.4 million sq km
    Total = 26.5 million sq km

    2008 Southern Hemisphere = 16.6 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 9.0 million sq km
    Total = 25.6 million sq km

    2009 Southern Hemisphere = 16.6 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 8.8 million sq km
    Total = 25.4 million sq km

    Comment by G. Karst — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  494. And at the south pole, where is the sun?

    So it will be cold because there’s no solar heating for the greenhouse gasses to keep in.

    Now look again at your figures:

    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 10.4 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 9.0 million sq km (1.4 million lower in 28 years = 0.05 million per year)
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 8.8 million sq km (0.2 million lower in 1 year)

    Looks like the rate of melting is increasing to me!

    Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  495. > July
    Compare the proportions.

    Of course it’s silly to cherrypick individual years when you can look at the overall trends over the long term.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:32 PM

  496. Re #490 where Phil. Felton posted a link for BobJ to K&T 1992. BobJ also asked for any later papers and K&T 1992 is about to be updated with this.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 3 Aug 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  497. It does seem as if the melting has stalled in the last few days. In the bearents sea the ice seems to be increasing again. If this continues it may not reach the 2008 levels.

    Comment by dave p — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  498. #495,#494 Mark, Hank Roberts:

    Everyone has seen the graphs, however, I find it a useful exercise to examine the numerical values. One can get so used to visual aids and anomaly trends, that we lose track of the actual values. Since we cannot process large columns of numbers, it becomes necessary to 3 or 4 columns. I choose current, last year, 30 yrs. ago as a fair snapshot. Beyond that, it is hardly cherry picking.

    As Mark points out “Looks like the rate of melting is increasing to me!”. He is entirely right for this July. I shouldn’t have to remind either one of you, that this is a monthly average report. Last month indicated the reverse. If you do not find the exercise useful, just use the scroll wheel to pass. That is what it is for!

    Comment by G. Karst — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  499. Susan #482 & willi,

    I share your concern about the impact of reductions in summer sea ice on northern hemisphere weather patterns. As changes in climate can be expressed as changes in the patterns of weather, not just as gradual warming, increase in rainfall etc, it’s very important to get some kind of idea of how the flows of atmosphere around the planet might change – what meteorologists might call the general circulation response. There are a few papers around on the subject (the most recent I’ve seen is Deser et al The Seasonal Atmospheric Response to Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss In the Late 21st Century, submitted to the Journal of Climate earlier this year (a preprint can be found on the web)).

    A couple of key points seem to be emerging. The first is that during periods of rapid ice loss there is a corresponding rapid warming on the land around the Arctic, for a very substantial distance inland (1,000km, from memory). This warming is likely to be seen mainly in autumn and winter, but still has nasty implications for the stability of permafrost and potential positive carbon cycle feedbacks. This goes hand in hand with an increase in precipitation in winter – more snowfall. Both effects are related to the impact of having open oceans close to land: as they lose heat during the autumn/early winter freeze, that heat goes into the atmosphere and can be moved south. At the same time, that warmer air carries more water vapour from the open oceans, adding to snow fall. Open oceans are also conducive to increased storminess.

    It’s less clear what impacts this will have on the patterns of weather – storm tracks, positions of regions of high pressure, and so on. Deser et al find some responses – a pattern similar to the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation in winters over the north Atlantic – but don’t speculate on what that might mean for North America and Europe. A lot more work is obviously needed…

    Comment by Gareth — 3 Aug 2009 @ 7:43 PM

  500. I would add to Gareth that if the Arctic seas warms by a few degrees, Greenland’s Glacier base, its very foundation, is directly in contact with these oceans. A lesson already learned by the collapse of Ward Hunt Ice shelf, despite still quite cold Arctic winters, the shelf drifted away from shore. Weather wise, its very hard to imagine an Arctic Ocean without ice, but Iceland’s current weather may be what is in store for the greater Arctic lands,
    at least for the ice free periods, this will ultimately mean a different weather world West of the rockies all the way to the Atlantic. More like fall weather of the last 50 years lasting for a great chunk of winter. We have already experienced what is to come. Not bad if you hate winter, but coming along with far reaching ramifications,
    affecting all. What is worrisome is the unknown in these ramifications.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:30 PM

  501. Phil. Felton 490 you wrote:

    [1] It doesn’t really matter why you got the science wrong it gets corrected.
    [2] Your original question appears to be how to find K&T, your problem might be that it was actually published in ‘97.
    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If your item [1] is in response to my 485, as I understand it, you do at least know of the second law of thermodynamics; broadly that HEAT can only flow towards a colder sink. Now consider this:
    No one has disagreed that sunlight penetrates water down to a depth of around 100 metres, (blue…. red less) where it is converted from EMR to HEAT. Furthermore, that a substantial portion of that HEAT then reaches the surface, where it escapes as HEAT and via conversion to EMR. How does it do this unless there is a reducing temperature gradient towards the surface, which enables convection and conduction? Is there enough turbulence or whatnot to negate the influence of law2. I doubt it except maybe close to the surface in average conditions. What is your view, and what/how/why can you assert that I am wrong?

    When it comes to the skin itself, do you disagree that the majority of the terrestrial surface cooling is from evaporation, and that this must drastically cool the skin?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Your item [2] must relate to my 488.
    Thanks for the link to K & T’s “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget”, but the source for the claim I was asking Kevin to clarify in his 300 was:
    “Albedo is not only an issue at optical wavelengths, but at infrared wavelengths. Back radiation in the infrared will not be reflected by the water due to angle of incidence–and, according to Kiehl & Trenberth ‘98…”

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:38 PM

  502. > impact

    And don’t forget the biology. From the older topic
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/01/arctic-sea-ice-decline-in-the-21st-century/comment-page-1/#comment-23508
    Cecilia Bitz says:
    13 January 2007 at 14:24
    … Have I heard from researchers with interest in the ice retreat? I am in contact with several biologists in my universtity and others that I have met in various meetings.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:44 PM

  503. Doug Bostrom Reur hilarious 486 and 487:
    No amount of your classic word-smithing can conceal the fact that you have not a clue about the elementary mechanics, let alone the quantum mechanics of the topic. For instance, the end heating of your iron ingot (a highly conductive SOLID) is totally unrelated to the specifics as originally raised in my 367/p8 for top of water. (a FLUID). Perhaps you could try reading 367, but it is fairly advanced, touching on QM. Among other things, this gives that the absorption coefficient of infrared in water is about a billion times greater than the blue part of the visible spectrum. Oh, BTW, others here have no objection to this meaning that infrared is fully absorbed in the “skin” of the water. Might I suggest that you should not attempt ridicule as a defence/attack in debate, especially when you only have a simplistic understanding of the topic. Oh, and BTW, the skin is predictably colder than below, primarily because of evaporation. (It has been claimed that up to 50% of the HEAT loss from the terrestrial surface is from Evapo-transpiration, the greatest of the three basic HEAT loss processes.)

    Comment by BobFJ — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  504. re:497

    I would seriously doubt that sea ice is actually increasing (refreezing) in any area, not for another month.

    One must remember that sea ice area does not take in account the ice volume. What is happening is that the peanut butter is being spread around thinner on the bread, so to speak. When weather favors ice compaction, the sea ice area will show an increased melt rate.

    It would be nice if we had daily estimates of volume calculations, however I do not know of such graphs.

    Comment by Larry N — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:15 PM

  505. #500 That is East of the rockies…

    Phil F. Please confirm it aint so:

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_weatherdata.html

    No IR down welling? and a truly remarkable shift in the drift, explaining in part the current ice picture.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:37 PM

  506. BobFJ 3 August 2009 at 9:59 PM

    Sure, Wingman Bob, whatever. Infrared heating of a liquid is impossible in your world. Molecules of liquid are mysteriously frozen, unable to convey energy in any direction except (mysteriously) in the direction of greater warmth. Energy is pushed uphill by mysterious demons.

    Sorry, I just can’t look at your world without laughing.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  507. Walt Meier (NSIDC)

    On the ice thickness, there’s a nice recent paper:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JC005312.shtml
    Kwok R., G. F. Cunningham, M. Wensnahan, I. Rigor, H. J. Zwally, D. Yi (2009), Thinning and volume loss of the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover: 2003–2008, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C07005, doi:10.1029/2009JC005312.

    Here’s a NASA press release with info if you can’t get to the paper:

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/jul/HQ_09-155_Thin_Sea_Ice.html

    The European Space Agency will launch an altimeter, Cryosat-2, later this year that will be able to get routine thickness estimates and NASA will continue collecting aircraft and satellite measurements in the future. For older data, there are submarine data dating from the 1950s through the 1990s. Those are more sporadic and not as complete, but it is quite clear that the recent measurements are markedly lower than during the submarine period.

    On the slowing of the area and extent, there is indeed a temporary slowdown in the extent due to a shift in the winds, dispersing the sea ice and slowing down the extent. This is expected to be temporary, though by mid-August, it is not unusual for the rate of decline begin to gradually slow. However, this didn’t happen until much later last year because there was so much thin ice. It will be interesting to see what develops this year.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:00 AM

  508. Re #505

    I’m afraid it is so Wayne, why I know not.

    “Weather plot: This plot presents air temperature, air pressure, and winds measured by the meteorological station. No radiometer was deployed this year.”

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:20 AM

  509. Referring to the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland per the NSIDC image tendered by Gavin, this shows more rapid melt in recent years, but it is relevant to note that it is erratic and is a short-term 5-year observation, from 2001-2006. In other words, it has occurred during the current warming pause, that was discussed earlier on this site @ http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/#more-686

    However, the average rate of retreat between 1964-2001, was of an order of magnitude lower. Yet, in extreme paradox, this was the greatest prolonged period of warming, prior to the current warming pause. On the other hand, the earlier contradictory period of 37 years would usually be considered long enough to be adequate for trend determination.

    Here is a composite image visually demonstrating the scale of the retreat events, compared with the Hadley Northern Hemisphere temperatures. A broader study shows that counter-intuitively, there is very poor correlation over the 150 years of retreat data, compared with HADCRUT NH temperatures.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2573/3775490997_b6e8c91f72_o.jpg

    Comments anyone?
    If anyone is interested that a recent short term retreat event may not be a crisis after all, there is more comforting detail @ 436/p9 & 458/p10

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:46 AM

  510. BobFJ 3 August 2009 at 9:59 PM

    Whoops, my apologies, I was all hung up on:

    “However, since infrared is (you agree) only absorbed in the skin of the water, and re-emission is an instantaneous process, there is virtually no opportunity for the slower downward process of conduction to take place. Thus, although it IS a very different process, it is somewhat similar IN EFFECT to reflection.”

    I missed where you morphed your earlier radiation-proof ocean idea into:

    “When it comes to the skin itself, do you disagree that the majority of the terrestrial surface cooling is from evaporation, and that this must drastically cool the skin?”

    Further to your spluttering outrage, this latest hypothesis of yours shares the same basic fault your earlier musings about the self-healing properties of ice exhibited. No real data, no numbers, no equations, no development of the mechanism you imagine dominates the picture. All I hear is repetition of the same assertion using various verbal permutations, in this case with a strangely shifting shape.

    Here’s an idea. You’re an engineer, I’m sure you’re good with numbers. Why not produce some models of your concept? You could research and then plug in real-world subsurface temperature gradients, convection, conduction, pelagic mixing, real-world dewpoints, real-world wind velocities, effective illumination temperatures as are actually found on this planet. Perhaps you could demonstrate that evaporative cooling can effectively isolate the sea from IR heating even where the conditions for so doing seem very wrong, such as the Arctic.

    Or, alternatively you could dig in the literature and find out if somebody else has already done this work for you.

    Unless you do that you’re not going to sound very persuasive to anybody who knows as much about this topic as do I, which is very little indeed. Without devoting any effort to developing your idea you’re simply indulging in idle speculation, again. That being the case, you surely can’t justify being angry when somebody fails to deliver you a snappy salute.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:51 AM

  511. Dave, Reur 476/p10, you wrote:

    How do you respond to recent papers that sea ice losses are due to wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic?

    I have not seen the papers you refer to, but the following article from NASA is relevant:

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html

    Extract:
    Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.

    “The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:16 AM

  512. To the moderator,
    I notice that the new blog software now accepts a post for moderation without allocating a new post number, and that means that it can no longer disrupt the numbering sequence if it is rejected?

    Some commenters here tend to cherry-pick and ridicule a selective line or two from an earlier post, without referring to the original post ID to enable readers to check in full the real context, and whether the relevant stuff has been properly addressed or simply evaded.

    It may be that post numbers tended earlier to be unreliable, but that is no longer the case?

    Do you agree that when commenters respond to earlier stuff, that they should clearly state what it is that they are responding too?

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:43 AM

  513. “For instance, the end heating of your iron ingot (a highly conductive SOLID) is totally unrelated to the specifics as originally raised in my 367/p8 for top of water. (a FLUID).”

    In what way?

    Inter-atomic/molecular distances are very comparable. In fact, given that temperature is the ***kinetic energy content of a molecule*** and that liquid molecules are known for their freedom to move (unlike solids, where phonons are the mode of temperature transport: and they don’t even EXIST as a real thing!), this would seem more likely to be a problem for keeping a solid cold despite incident IR more than for a liquid.

    Truly you live in bizzarro world.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:53 AM

  514. “Everyone has seen the graphs, however, I find it a useful exercise to examine the numerical values”

    I did:

    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 10.4 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 9.0 million sq km (1.4 million lower in 28 years = 0.05 million per year)
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 8.8 million sq km (0.2 million lower in 1 year)

    Did you not read past the name??

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:54 AM

  515. Karst, now look at some different numbers:

    The ice LOSS over a year min-max dec YY-1 to jul YY.

    Check also the numbers as to how they vary.

    You seem to be demanding that for ice to be melting it has to be monotonically melting year-on-year.

    Why would you expect that to happen in the face of weather???

    For the straw?

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:57 AM

  516. BobFJ writes:

    It has been claimed that up to 50% of the HEAT loss from the terrestrial surface is from Evapo-transpiration, the greatest of the three basic HEAT loss processes.

    Whoever claimed this was wrong. The surface is at, let’s say, 288.15 K with an emissivity of 0.95, which means it radiates about 371 watts per square meter. It absorbs 161.4 x 0.85 + 348 x 0.95 = 137 + 331 = 468 watts per square meter from sun and atmosphere, respectively, which means there’s another 97 watts per square meter it has to lose. That’s from 17 W/m^2 due to conduction and convection (“sensible heat”) and 80 W/m^2 due to evapotranspiration (“latent heat”). So of the Earth’s 468 W/m^2 of cooling, 80 or 17% is from evapotranspiration. This is not “up to 50%” except in the loosest sense.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 6:09 AM

  517. BobFJ @ 509, on Jakobshaven. Check MODIS: the glacier has retreated by an additional 2 or 3 km since the 2006 line, especially along the front of the southern ice stream. Now that the glacier front is above the neck and head of the fjord and into the body of the ice sheet, I would expect the retreat to slow and broaden.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  518. Re #511

    BobFJ,

    You have cherry picked your excerpt. The previous paragraph says:

    “The scientists observed less perennial ice cover in March 2007 than ever before, with the thick ice confined to the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. Consequently, the Arctic Ocean was dominated by thinner seasonal ice that melts faster. This ice is more easily compressed and responds more quickly to being pushed out of the Arctic by winds. Those thinner seasonal ice conditions facilitated the ice loss, leading to this year’s record low amount of total Arctic sea ice.”

    I already explained that in my post #477

    Re #476 where Dave asks “How do you respond to recent papers that sea ice losses are due to wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic?”

    Which papers?

    In any case, the reason more ice is lost from the Arctic due to wind is that the ice is now thinner and so has broken into smaller pieces which are more likely to be blown about. In other words, it is not a matter of winds OR warming. It is a matter of winds AND warmer oceans AND warmer air due to greenhouse warming.

    HTH,

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  519. regarding #482 one effect is that in England it seems to be causing a lot of summer rain. In 2007, the first big melt year we had out wettest ever June, causing floods in places. In 2008 we had our wettest ever July. Summer rainfall this year is running at twice it’s normal rate. A downstream effect?

    Comment by dave p — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:40 AM

  520. “regarding #482 one effect is that in England it seems to be causing a lot of summer rain.”

    I believe that has more to do with the Jet Stream staying where it is rather longer than normal.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  521. BobFJ writes:
    It has been claimed ….

    Do you think people should cite their sources? Otherwise it’s a bit harder to figure out whether someone’s making stuff up or quoting an unreliable source.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  522. Barton Paul Levenson (516), with much hesitation, I have a quibble with your calculation — though it might be a matter of definition. The total cooling of the surface has to equal the absorbed solar heating: about 138 – 161 W/m^2, depending on emissivity factor. The cooling from IR emission is the difference between outgoing and “back” radiation, about 63 W/m^2 (from T&K, 2008 and using a=1.0) . That leaves 98 W/m^2 — 17 from thermals and 80 from evaporation (latent). From this direction, evaporation at 80 is 50% of the total cooling of 161.

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Aug 2009 @ 11:22 AM

  523. Yep, BobFJ cherrypicks.
    BobFJ, you’ve ignored previous answers.
    Don’t just repost talking points from the PR here.
    People notice.

    Quoting a bit from my reply posted earlier to Dave (you know how to find this):

    GLACIOLOGY: Winds, Not Just Global Warming, Eating Away at the Ice Sheets RA Kerr – Science, 2008 – sciencemag.org
    … Dave …“wind shifts, not warming in the north Atlantic”
    Science: “Winds, not just global warming”

    Not hard to understand.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  524. #509 BobFJ

    The answer is thermal inertia.

    Remember context is key. Any data you look at out of context might look funny. That is why cherry picking is so silly.

    It only ‘looks’ counter intuitive, but it is not. The human mind is limited by perspective until knowledge and understanding meet closer to truth to relieve the prematurely apparent contradiction.

    Natural variability is short term. Climate is long term. Oceanic thermal inertia keeps the warming at bay in relation to the additional forcing imposed.

    Regional variation and natural variation are pieces of the puzzle, but not the whole puzzle.

    Remember, we are on a new path, that of warming, natural variation does not go away, it just weaves like a drunk driver on a different road.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    Also, global change is not just about Jakobshavn, it’s about what is happening to the entire cryoshpere of the planet.

    In other words we know the large signal, and it is warming. We don’t know all the details that are below the large signal in various time scales. The decadal processes are being looked into and science will just keep getting better.

    That fact that we don’t know everything does not negate the fact that we (science) know a lot.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-dont-know

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-know

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  525. Mark — #514,#515 -4 August 2009 @ 2:54 AM

    “You seem to be demanding that for ice to be melting it has to be monotonically melting year-on-year.”

    Read my post. I simply posted NSIDC data, without any comment or demands for anything. I implied no relevance or importance to NSIDC monthly averages. You are the only one who is drawing conclusions to this observational data (poor scientific skills). July total ice extent indicates July 2009 was a rapid ice decrease month. June was not. Beyond this simple statement, I don’t know what you want me to say. You seem to want an argument even when my data agrees with you. Maybe next months data will give us something to disagree about. You should wait until I actually make a statement before disagreeing with it.

    You may not be interested in observations, but there are others who may. Please refrain from dictating what observations are valid for this blog. It is not all about you! If the moderator feels that ice observations are supercilious, then he/she should say so and I will gladly stop posting the report. Otherwise, it is what it is!

    Comment by G. Karst — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  526. BobFJ 4 August 2009 at 2:43 AM

    “Some commenters here tend to cherry-pick and ridicule a selective line or two from an earlier post, without referring to the original post ID to enable readers to check in full the real context, and whether the relevant stuff has been properly addressed or simply evaded.”

    Perhaps you should be more specific. Which of your ideas make you squeamish when you’re asked to explain and demonstrate them in detail?

    How about this? When you make a controversial assertion why not -first- address your concept properly, show how it functions numerically, rather than simply evading that work and expecting readers to accept that you’ve overturned generations of publications with a stroke of your pen. By so doing I think you’ll save a lot of useless back-and-forth and perhaps arouse the genuine interest of some the quant mavens who frequent RC.

    It smacks of evasion when, asked to develop a quantitative model of your hypothesis about evaporative cooling losses, you instead swerve into a meta-discussion about moderation minutiae.

    You could do the work at some rough level of granularity, right? Perhaps a first pass would be promising enough to dig in, but in any case it’s -your- idea to let starve or thrive as -you- choose.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:12 PM

  527. Thanks to all who took the trouble to flesh out responses to my and Tenney’s emphasis on Willi’s question and our and others’ comments, as well as my observations as a Boston resident. That’s lot to digest and good stuff!

    Despite the possibility of an association between colder early summer weather here and around Minnesota and the melt in the north (not just north Atlantic but midwest), this “weather” is exploited as evidence of cooling. We have just had the most peculiar June and July in living memory, very cold and wet. I am well aware that there is a danger in oversimplifying this and climate is much too complicated to draw a straight line. There has already been good and sufficient response to this and I understand those points inasmuch as I am able to do so. I’m not suggesting making trouble by supporting the insupportable. But it is interesting that this point is quite obvious from a commonsensical point of view by thinking and observing nonscientists such as a city worker I met down the block a couple of days ago(!).

    Despite my considerable interest and understanding of what science is and does, I am not a scientist myself (I couldn’t digest differential equations and took to art instead).

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  528. “Read my post. I simply posted NSIDC data, without any comment or demands for anything.”

    You ***started*** with that.

    You didn’t continue with it:
    #498:

    “He is entirely right for this July. I shouldn’t have to remind either one of you, that this is a monthly average report. Last month indicated the reverse”

    You demand that the figure is the reverse for this year from the same time last year as if this is important, begging the question “if it’s warming, why is this year ice extent higher?” thereby indicating a demand that for it to be warming, it must be a monotonically (that is for each year the month has to have less ice than the same month last year) decreasing.

    So you did demand it.

    Or are you withdrawing that statement in post 498 because it doesn’t mean anything?

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  529. “The total cooling of the surface has to equal the absorbed solar heating”

    RodB you’re wrong.

    This only has to be the case when the system is in thermal equilibrium.

    If your point was extant without that requirement, it would be impossible to boil water, since the water would lose heat as fast as it gained it from the hob.

    Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  530. Arctic sea ice news updated today:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Remarkable how this year’s graph seems to mirror 2008.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:07 PM

  531. Mark, #528:

    I repeat “It is what it is”!

    Comment by G. Karst — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  532. Susan Anderson 4 August 2009 at 2:10 PM

    I’m sorry I’ve not got time to wade back and see if this was covered, but a note in today’s update of Arctic ice news may help with your picture of the weather in your area:

    “The strong Beaufort Sea high-pressure cell that occurred both this summer and in 2007 is part of a larger scale atmospheric pattern known as the Pacific North American (PNA) “teleconnection.” The airflow in the western hemisphere is usually characterized by a low pressure trough over the North Pacific, a ridge over western North America, and a trough over eastern North America. The PNA describes the strength of this pattern. When the PNA is positive, the normal pattern is amplified and the airflow becomes more “wavy” than usual. While the expressions of the PNA vary by season, the strong western North American ridge during the positive PNA favors a strong Beaufort Sea high pressure system. The stronger than usual trough over eastern North America also helps to explain the cool and rainy weather that has gripped this area much of the summer.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:42 PM

  533. 530:

    Interesting, recent concavity in 2009:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Comment by Walter Manny — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:46 PM

  534. Mark (529), of course you’re correct but it’s an insignificant nit on the question at hand. It changes the percent of cooling from evaporation probably less than one, while I was using ballpark (albeit accurate, but not exact) figures.

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Aug 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  535. Northwest passage and NSIDC aficionados should be interested in this CANADIAN article (1/Aug/ 09) which has this opening paragraph:

    Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean’s overall ice cover is headed for another “extreme” meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.

    Read more @:
    http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/pockets+choking+Northern+Passage+officials/1853191/story.html

    Oh, and you might find this CANADIAN surface observation history histogram of the past 38 years interesting?
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCHACTWA/20090727180000_CVCHACTWA_0004492483.gif

    Comments anyone?

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  536. Rod B Reur 522, you wrote:

    Barton Paul Levenson (516), with much hesitation, I have a quibble with your calculation — though it might be a matter of definition. The total cooling of the surface has to equal the absorbed solar heating: about 138 – 161 W/m^2, depending on emissivity factor. The cooling from IR emission is the difference between outgoing and “back” radiation, about 63 W/m^2 (from T&K, 2008 and using a=1.0) . That leaves 98 W/m^2 — 17 from thermals and 80 from evaporation (latent). From this direction, evaporation at 80 is 50% of the total cooling of 161.

    Thanks for that Rod; you are correct in recognising that EMR is a different form of energy than HEAT. HEAT is transported by EMR only when there is a potential difference between two opposing sources.
    Confirming that, here are some less confusing depictions than K & T 1998:

    http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/u2L5aimage.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_energy_budget (containing two graphics)

    BTW, there is an update of K & T 1998 here:
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/#comment-981

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 5:53 PM

  537. NSIDC latest:

    “This year, cloud fields provided by Jennifer Kay at the National Center for Atmospheric Research show fewer clouds over the Beaufort Sea than in 2007, leading to strong melt in that region. However, over the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas, the Arctic sky has been cloudier than 2007.”

    I don’t know if this is what I saw, at least in The Canadian Arctic, although it cleared up a bit of late. Baffin Bay was mostly clear, MODIS didn’t show that. But over all, it was much cloud free in 2007. Particularly during the Solstice period over the Beaufort area, causing an amazing sequence of melting. I’d like to see Modis results month by month. Don’t know why they were bunched up.

    Thanks Phil,, darn… Why they do a thing like that? No radiometer??? The ultimate instrument for warming , not over a particularly important area of sea ice…

    Many thanks John Reisman for your links above, still they are not Arctic specific, its hard to get good data from that location.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  538. BobFJ 4 August 2009 at 5:27 PM

    “Comments anyone?”

    1) WHY IS Canadian IN ALL CAPITALS?

    2) Why did you choose to highlight that particular tiny fraction of the Arctic?

    3) What about this http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCHDCTEA/20090727180000_CVCHDCTEA_0004492565.gif particular tiny fraction of the Arctic?

    4) What about this

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:01 PM

  539. Oops, cut my self off while commenting on BobFJ’s smoking CANADIAN gun.

    More cherries from the fraction of the Arctic covered by Canada’s truly excellent analyses of their bit:

    This year’s departures from “normal” for:

    Eastern Arctic
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS55DPTCT/20090727180000_WIS55DPTCT_0004492567.gif

    Western Arctic
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/WIS56DPTCT/20090727180000_WIS56DPTCT_0004492488.gif

    Weekly historical and recent ice cover for:

    Eastern Arctic
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCSWCTEA/20090727180000_CVCSWCTEA_0004492568.gif

    Western Arctic
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCSWCTWA/20090727180000_CVCSWCTWA_0004492486.gif

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:23 PM

  540. Ooh, this is fun! Interactive ice coverage graphing tool, producing trend lines (mostly depressing regardless of your point of view).

    Canadian Ice Service – Ice Graph Version 1.0,

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/IceGraph/IceGraph-GraphdesGlaces.jsf

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2009 @ 8:47 PM

  541. Nick Barnes, you wrote in 517:

    BobFJ @ 509, on Jakobshaven. Check MODIS: the glacier has retreated by an additional 2 or 3 km since the 2006 line, especially along the front of the southern ice stream. Now that the glacier front is above the neck and head of the fjord and into the body of the ice sheet, I would expect the retreat to slow and broaden.

    Thankyou Nick.
    Here is a comparison of the image extracted from the MODIS site, and that of the NSIDC image discussed earlier. It shows some conflicts and issues, See notes thereon:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2488/3790963832_1dd0405660_o.png

    Further to those notes: According to NSIDC, there has been a progressive retreat since 1851, but comparison with HADCRUT shows no correlation with NH air temperature. I agree that if the glacier has retreated to a significant plateau, then it should slow, but bearing in mind that this is said to be the fastest flowing glacier in the world, there would seem to be something rather powerful driving it, such as a long gravitational gradient. As you point-out, there appears to be a strong north and south stream in the ice sheet, and of course, ice creeps. (or maybe some of the possibilities I raised in 436/p9 & 458/p10 apply)
    If the NSIDC data for 1964-2001, (37 years) are correct, showing slow retreat during that greatest period of warming, it is paradoxical that it was followed by, for one year only, an annual linear retreat rate of the order of 150 times faster. (before slowing down again)

    Re MODIS: http://bprc.osu.edu/MODIS/?p=24

    Comment by BobFJ — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:21 PM

  542. BobFJ (536),, I agree the NOAA/NASA diagram is easier to comprehend, but I think a little is lost in the translation by showing the net IR EMR and not showing the gross IR emissions from the Earth’s surface with the back (downwelling) radiation from the total atmosphere. Those radiation mechanisms are partially different and are necessary for understanding the processes

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  543. Alastair McDonald Reur 518;
    Yes, I agree that sea ice melts from a combination of factors, (who wouldn’t?), but you may have misunderstood my 511.
    My meaning was that Dave referred to “recent papers”, attributing wind shifts as the primary cause, without any links to back it up. I brought-up the NASA article as the only relevant thing I’ve seen on this. (And, BTW, as you also asked, what papers?)
    Here is part of my 511 again, but I‘ve added bold emphasis to an interesting line in the extract that perhaps you did not notice. Might I dare to say that if true, this could have wider regional implications, even prior to 2007?:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I have not seen the papers you [Dave] refer to, but the following article from NASA is relevant:
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html
    Extract:
    Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.
    “The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Yes, I cherry picked this extract, because I thought it would provoke interest in reading the article, for which the link was given for anyone so interested to do.

    It seems as I write, that you are the only one interested in that NASA article, and thankyou.

    Comment by BobFJ — 5 Aug 2009 @ 2:13 AM

  544. “EMR is a different form of energy than HEAT. HEAT is transported by EMR only when there is a potential difference between two opposing sources.”

    IR = EMR.

    IR=HEAT.

    Sheesh.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:00 AM

  545. Rod, the total cooling is 468 W/m^2, not 161. IR heats the surface, not just sunlight.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  546. BobFJ, again radically revising modern physics, writes:

    Thanks for that Rod; you are correct in recognising that EMR is a different form of energy than HEAT. HEAT is transported by EMR only when there is a potential difference between two opposing sources.

    EMR transports ENERGY, and losing energy causes a material substance to lose HEAT, which makes it DECREASE IN TEMPERATURE. That’s why a hot object, even left in a vacuum, will cool down. It radiates away the heat. Earth’s surface is primarily cooled by infrared radiation, secondarily by evapotranspiration, and tertiarily by conduction and convection, to the tune of 371, 80, and 17 W/m^2, respectively.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:50 AM

  547. Yesterday somewhere someone inserted comment about this sudden concave shape of the JAXA curve. Why I really don’t know other than another one who goes like ‘finally finally again the world is cooling’. Well NANSEN Arctic ROOS does both AREA and Extent, and the copmparison tells me the melt is still very much on and the break up index is still on the rise and that is not a good sign.

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_ext.png

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/observation_images/ssmi1_ice_area.png

    Wait Wait, it was here, walter manny #533 showing insight. Nothing personal Walter, but it does pay to look a little bit further before calling it interesting.

    Comment by Sekerob — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:12 AM

  548. Sea ice melt curve is now “concave?” Short-term changes. No big deal–though I will confess I was/am hoping for a low minimum this year, heading into the Copenhagen conference. Political? Sure, but politics is how society gets stuff done. Or not. . . I’m worried about the prospect of “not.” The evidence convinces me that “not” dealing with AGW will be a very bad thing for the future.

    The curve? I’m pretty sure we’ll see it turn down again before we hit true bottom.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  549. By the way, we had been discussing crevasses and melt ponds earlier on this thread.

    Coincidentally, I found this information, showing that crevasses filled with meltwater can propagate the crack downward even if initially as shallow as 6-15 meters:

    http://web.pdx.edu/~chulbe/science/Larsen/larsen2002.html

    (Note references at bottom of report.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:48 AM

  550. 548

    Kevin, what I found interesting about the concavity is that it is the only one in the eight curves shown that exhibits that shape in late July. Already it appears to be reverting to its previous slope. I doubt it is significant, but to me it was interesting. Seems to be at a sort of graphical crossroads at the moment. In any event, we’ll see.

    Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  551. “I doubt it is significant, but to me it was interesting.”

    But in a scientific sense, “interesting” means “significant”.

    The effects of general relativity on gravity is not interesting AT ALL to someone throwing a cricket ball.

    The rotation of the earth and the coriolis force are not interesting to the ball-thrower either.

    Comment by Mark — 5 Aug 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  552. > I doubt it is significant
    Look at the error bars (gray band) around the average line, that will help assess the wiggles. Remember you’re seeing daily changes posted because people want to see them, but they go up with the caveat that these results are affected by clouds, etc. and get cleaned up after a while

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  553. Kevin, what I found interesting about the concavity is that it is the only one in the eight curves shown that exhibits that shape in late July. Already it appears to be reverting to its previous slope. I doubt it is significant, but to me it was interesting

    It might just be ice being blown around, but not reducing in density below the 15% threshold used to calculate extent. I’ve been watching Hudson’s Bay for a couple of weeks because in most years the ice would be long gone by now, yet this year it’s not. Much of what’s left is moving around a lot and the extent map at NSIDC shows this, and also the extent shrinking, growing, shrinking as it moves around and changes shape. The density maps from cryosphere today show the ice there to be mostly in the 40% or less range.

    Maybe that’s happening elsewhere, too.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Aug 2009 @ 1:14 PM

  554. Barton P. Levenson
    Sorry Paul but you are wrong, and here is what I wrote in full, with bold emphasis added:

    Thanks for that Rod; you are correct in recognising that EMR is a different form of energy than HEAT. HEAT is transported by EMR only when there is a potential difference between two opposing sources.
    Confirming that, here are some less confusing depictions than K & T 1998:
    http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/u2L5aimage.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth’s_energy_budget (containing two graphics)
    BTW, there is an update of K & T 1998 here:
    [sorry, that should say 1997, twice]
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/#comment-981

    If you look at the NOAA and the other two examples of typical Earth’s Energy Budget diagrams, including a very widely disseminated one from NASA, these demonstrate adequately that you are indeed wrong.
    The K & T version includes a confusing depiction of the greenhouse effect that should be treated just as Rod described for HEAT transfer, not as you think.
    To help you understand:
    Note also that if EMR going up is arrow-labelled positive, then that coming down is negative, and that there is a net result. To demonstrate; consider also that EMR travels in all directions, and typically any layer of air, is being bombarded by EMR laterally in all directions. Typically the emission power from all these lateral directions is uniform, but because they are typically equally opposing each other, they cancel each other out. (no heating takes place)

    Comment by BobFJ — 5 Aug 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  555. John P. Reisman, Reur 524
    Concerning the erratic nature of retreat of the Jakobshavn glacier over the last ~150 years, according to NSIDC, you wrote in part:

    “The answer is thermal inertia.
    Remember context is key. Any data you look at out of context might look funny. That is why cherry picking is so silly. It only ‘looks’ counter intuitive, but it is not…”

    Well, putting aside your semantics, I agree that thermal inertia may be part of the story, but it is probably trivial as elaborated later.

    I’m surprised that you assert that thermal inertia IS the answer, because the NSIDC and MODIS data (although they contradict each other somewhat) do NOT support that assertion. There are many other factors in the advance and retreat of glaciers, and perhaps the most basic is the terrain in terms of gradient, channelling profile, and roughness. You do understand that glaciers can only flow if there is a net downhill gradient? According to NSIDC, this glacier has retreated some 50 km since emerging from the Little Ice Age, but in erratic fashion, and there is no correlation with HADCRUT NH temperatures. Over the length of this ~50 km retreat it is hard to imagine that the ground gradients etc were constant and that there was no variation in potential difference between the creep-gravitational driving forces from the ice sheet above and the reactive drag from below.
    According to NSIDC, between 1964 and 2001 the retreat was at a comparative standstill. (for 37 years…. The greatest period of warming.)
    According to MODIS, 2002 was close to 2001, (slow), but 2003 alone was a massive one-year melt before a following big slow-down. (See 541/p11 )
    I’m sorry, but your emphatic; The answer is thermal inertia is wrong. (if the NSIDC data are correct). There is no way that a glacier can virtually sit there for 37 years, and then respond after sudden thermal inertia wakeup with a violent burp for just one year before then immediately going relatively quiescent again. (something else happened!)

    BTW glaciers flow (creep) downhill and form large ice shelves in Antarctica, where it is very much colder.
    Oh, and BTW, how does your delayed melting response in thermal inertia work in Greenland after the melt season decays; usually in September?
    See also my 541 to Nick Barnes and its references.

    I also agree that Jakobshavn is only a small player in the total cryosphere, however it is often held as an icon of disaster, particularly WRT the reported rising sea level concerns.
    Thus it is appropriate to not cherry-pick a year of rapid retreat in 2003 according to MODIS as being significant in the longer term trend, say from 1964.

    Comment by BobFJ — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  556. Wayne Davidson (409)

    Thanks for your compliment:

    “Manacker, Mark and others here understand Climate better than Lindzen.”

    It’s nice of you to write this, but Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, certainly knows a whole lot more about climate than either Mark or myself.

    According to this site, Lindzen “is often described as the most respectable of the climate ‘sceptics’ and is frequently cited in discussions here and elsewhere. Lindzen clearly has many fundamentally important papers under his belt (work on the QBO and basic atmospheric dynamics), and a number of papers that have been much less well received by the community (the ‘Iris’ effect etc.).”

    But thanks for the compliment, anyway.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Aug 2009 @ 5:22 AM

  557. Rod B, Reur 542, you wrote:
    [edit. too tedious - please move on to something more interesting]

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:52 AM

  558. Further my recent posts on that iconic Greenland glacier, you might be interested in this Encyclopaedia Britannica on-line entry that puts it into proper perspective:
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/234619/glacier/65682/Greenland-Ice-Sheet
    EXTRACT, my bold emphasis added:
    “The bedrock surface is near sea level over most of the interior of Greenland, but mountains occur around the periphery. Thus, this ice sheet, in contrast to the Antarctic Ice Sheet, is confined along most of its margin… …The unconfined ice sheet does not reach the sea along a broad front anywhere in Greenland, and no large ice shelves occur. The ice margin just reaches the sea, however, in a region of irregular topography in the area of Melville Bay southeast of Thule. Large outlet glaciers which are restricted tongues of the ice sheet, move through bordering valleys around the periphery of Greenland to calve off into the ocean, producing the numerous icebergs that sometimes penetrate North Atlantic shipping lanes. The best known of these is the Jakobshavn Glacier, which, at its terminus, flows at speeds of 20 to 22 metres per day

    Thus, the iconic alarming Jakobshavn glacier might be compared with a dripping tap, (faucet), versus the scale of that huge island of ice.

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:12 AM

  559. Here ‘tis; the relative scale of Jakobshavn to that massive ice sheet:
    http://bprc.osu.edu/blogfiles/MODIS/jk/jakob_00-08_front_change_small.png
    Compare with the map of Greenland in the lower RH corner!

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:34 AM

  560. Re BobFJ @ 555 (and others), on Jakobshaven.

    Trying to correlate Jakobshaven retreat with global temperature averages is an approach which wouldn’t have occurred to me. Do you know what the temperatures at Jakobshaven have been like over the last 100 years? Why don’t you look it up (temperature anomalies for Illulisat)?

    However, supposing for the moment that the Jakobshaven temperature anomaly has behaved similarly to the global one, I still don’t find the retreat pattern particularly mysterious.

    Suppose the climate (in the broadest sense: temperature, precipitation, seasons, ocean currents, etc) was not changing, and there was a steady state. Then the glacier would presumably neither advance nor retreat. If the climate was static but at some warmer level, the glacier would also be static, at a different location. So there’s some function from static climate to static glacier location. Simplifying “climate” to temperature T, the glacier front position is pos(T). This function is likely to be monotonic, more or less – warmer temperatures have less ice, approximately – but I don’t expect that it is at all linear: it will depend on all sorts of things such as the bedrock topography. It’s easy to imagine a glacier front position which is pretty stable over a wide range of temperatures but then unstable outside that range: a flattish area in the graph of pos(T).

    As the climate changes, the glacier will also be inclined to change, but there’s going to be some lag, which will also not be fixed. So if at time t the temperature suddenly changed to T’, then the glacier will start to change and will stabilise – probably at pos(T’) although this is another simplifying assumption – at some later time t’. The lag t’-t will depend on T, T’, and everything else (e.g. bedrock topography).

    Now in the real world, the climate is never fixed. Among other changes, we’ve seen considerable warming over the last hundred years. We expect glaciers to retreat accordingly, but at any given time the position of a glacier front is not going to be a good measure of temperature. It’s going to be non-linear, and it’s going to lag. In the case of Jakobshaven, it looks as if there was a stable position for several decades, but once the temperatures reached a certain level, and stayed there for a while, the retreat continued (and will continue – as temperatures continue to rise – until it reaches a new stable position).

    In short, although glacier position over long periods should be correlated (although certainly not linearly) with temperatures at the glacier, I don’t think *rate of change* in glacier position is going to be so strongly correlated with *rate of change in temperature*, firstly because of the lag and secondly because of the non-linearities.

    This is all amateur guesswork on my part. I hope it’s clear.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:36 AM

  561. Also on Jakobshaven, the significance of this glacier to sea level rise is the speed of the glacier. Not its retreat rate (which is much slower).

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 6 Aug 2009 @ 8:14 AM

  562. A little further reading on Google Scholar tells me that the change in 2001(ish) was the disintegration of the floating ice tongue, caused by increased basal melting from warmer waters in Baffin Bay. Before the disintegration the front wasn’t moving much but the tongue was thinning.

    The remaining glacier now is grounded, not floating (although the bedrock, at least in the centre of the ice stream, is far below sea-level), so the continued retreat cannot be attributed to warmer sea water. I suppose that as the glacier continues to retreat this will expose increasing side-fronts of the ice sheet to the sea water of the fjord.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 6 Aug 2009 @ 8:45 AM

  563. Catching up on back threads a bit, I realize that I found–but, IIRC, never cited on RC–this 2001 paper on Arctic albedo in optical and near IR wavelengths:

    http://www.umanitoba.ca/ceos/files/publications_pdf/042.pdf

    Hanesiak et al. seems to have some legs, scientifically speaking, as it’s been cited 20 times, according to Google Scholar.

    Relevant to past discussions here is the statement that “. . . the most responsive region within this spectrum to changes in the sea ice surface is the visible (VIS) and part of the near-infrared (NIR) region (300-1100 nm).” So, yes, IR albedo–NIR, at least–is important.

    The biggest takeaway point generally is probably the fact that this is a very serious observational study measuring actual albedos in situ, and that a major part of its purpose is to improve parameterization of albedo in models. (Ie., make sure that the models are as realistic in this regard as they can possibly be.)

    Secondarily, one might note the widely varying albedos measured for different terrain types. IIRC, the original context of this whole discussion thread was an argument from first (or at least, basic) principles that the albedo changes resulting from sea ice melting don’t really matter–or not much. This argument was, I think, answered in considerable part by the point that solar zenith, even at the pole, exceeds angles for which the reflectivity coefficient approaches .5. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_reflectivity.jpg–although this graphic assumes temps of 20 C. At the pole, solar zenith is around 23 degrees.)

    But the study I’m pointing to here also seems to provide empirical support for “my” idea that NIR radiation–which presumably wouldn’t be affected by the angle of incidence issue at all, since it’s emitted uniformly in the lower atmosphere–might be a significant in the melting process. (BTW, I’m quite sure the idea is “mine” only in the context of this particular discussion. Unlike some, I don’t assume that because I never thought of it before, no researcher has either!)

    For purposes of this idea, it would be nice to know what the spectrum of the downwelling IR characteristically looks like, WRT to how well it matches up with the spectrum Hanesiak et al are talking about. I searched, but so far did not find. Can anyone point to that data? (Wayne, how about you, since you were just referencing the lack of IR monitoring this year?)

    Finally, this interesting paper from 2007 is among those citing Hanesiak et al: http://www.ub.uit.no/munin/bitstream/10037/1909/4/paper_2.pdf

    It notes that some (few) GCMs do incorporate “spectral and solar angle dependencies.” But it presents a parameterization for ECHAM5 which, the authors state, will be “the first time the albedo of melt ponds are treated explicit[ly] in any GCM.” It should also be mentioned that the intent is to reduce the under-prediction of Arctic melt trends by GCMs, which we have discussed here on RC in the past. The authors believe that the discrepancy between observed and predicted melt trends may be due to inadequate treatment of albedo within GCMs, resulting in GCM albedo values that are biased high.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:14 AM

  564. Nick Barnes (560) and Bob_FJ

    Just calculated the average Illulisaat winter (Jan-Feb-Mar) and summer (Jul-Aug-Sep) temperatures for the 20-year periods 1928-1947 and 1986-2005 (last year listed).
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/greenland/illulissat.dat

    Both summer and winter temperatures were significantly warmer in the earlier period than in the most recent period.

    1928-1947
    -11.8 winter
    +6.6 summer

    1986-2005
    -15.5 winter
    +5.7 summer

    Ouch!

    So much for a “temperature response” in the most recent glacial retreat. Back to the drawing board.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:36 AM

  565. #556 Manacker, However impressive Lindzen’s credentials are, he has failed predicting anything about present warming conditions. Although he confirms lately that the climate is warmer, nice of him to do so… He steadfast refuses guarantee his predictions, or if he did faintly tries, he fails…….. I read him a few years back that the climate will cool as it inevitably will do so. Assured by ignoring climate science, The man has a lot of nerve to criticize successful predictions, based on models which have done so, And therefore is a classic example that stature is meaningless unless its reinforced by credible accomplishments as achieved elsewhere.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:43 AM

  566. The topography of Greenland has been discussed quite extensively here in the past. The Brittanica entry isn’t news in this forum, nor is the relative scale of Jakobshavn (spellings seem to vary) to the island. I seriously doubt that anyone’s point about Jakobshavn is that it’s going to “drain” Greenland all by itself.

    BTW, it’s great to have the recent posts & inline responses back. Thanks to the contributors/IT team! Is the preview function going to come back as well? I like to check with it, especially when, as above, I try to use HTML–I have a pretty high error rate in HTML usage!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Aug 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  567. “…high error rate in HTML…”

    I guess so–my link to the Wiki reflectivity graph should have been:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_reflectivity.jpg

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  568. “#409 Wayne Davidson says:
    29 July 2009 at 14:05
    #400. Manacker , Mark and others here understand Climate better than Lindzen… Because they understand AGW while Lindzen pretends he doesn’t….”

    #556 manacker says:… “Thanks for your compliment”

    Spin? Punctuation problem?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  569. Max, if you want more back-handed compliments, you’re also smarter than BobFJ ;-)

    Sorry Bob…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  570. Nick Barnes (560)

    You wrote:

    “Now in the real world, the climate is never fixed. Among other changes, we’ve seen considerable warming over the last hundred years. We expect glaciers to retreat accordingly, but at any given time the position of a glacier front is not going to be a good measure of temperature.”

    The average annual temperature at Illulisaat over three 20-year periods was:

    1900-1919: -4.8C
    1928-1947: -2.7C
    1986-2005: -4.4C (2005 is last year of record)

    It is certainly true that glacial retreat is not tied to temperature, but we have not really seen considerable warming over the past 100 years (if we exclude the early 20th century warm period of the 30s and 40s).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  571. #566 The topography of Greenland – there isn’t but few glaciers to drain the ice, and the most important of those are up north… so it (the massive melt down) isn’t going to happen so long as the arctic sea ice is holding it (GIS) back… partial ice sheet calving events during summers are likely when the arctic sea ice diminishes enough, but it is not going to be very rapid – in the scale of tens of years (unlike WAIS), or so I see it. But I’m not studying GIS nor WAIS, so this is just another (somewhat, I’d like to think) uninformed opinion on the subject…

    Comment by jyyh — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:11 PM

  572. Actually the 1930s-40s warm spell over Greenland is well known from the record…

    So no, it’s not local air temperature.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  573. #555 BobFJ

    I think I see where the confusion is here? In your post #509 I saw the gist of the item as:

    However, the average rate of retreat between 1964-2001, was of an order of magnitude lower. Yet, in extreme paradox, this was the greatest prolonged period of warming, prior to the current warming pause. On the other hand, the earlier contradictory period of 37 years would usually be considered long enough to be adequate for trend determination.

    Thus you were presenting Jakobshavn in the sense of the paradox between the “greatest prolonged period of warming” and slower glacial retreat, and the current “more rapid melt in recent years” having “occurred during the current warming pause”.

    My ‘answer’ was a reply to the paradox. That generally speaking the best or most reasonable answer is likely ‘thermal inertia’.

    In your post #555, you are looking at the behavior of Jakobshavn more specifically. My earlier reply, ‘thermal inertia’ was the answer in consideration of the lag time between forcing and oceanic absorption of the forcing energy in the ocean system, which slows down the rate of warming in relation to total forcing capacity.

    My answers tend to be general in nature in order to address global warming response mechanisms, or considerations. One glacier does not tell the whole story.

    BTW, I agree that the possibility of ‘something else happened’ is interesting, but I do tend to focuc on the big picture not the personality of a single glacier.

    As to

    Oh, and BTW, how does your delayed melting response in thermal inertia work in Greenland after the melt season decays; usually in September?

    I am referring to the long term signals, not inter-annual melt and refreeze.

    As to Jakobshavn’s role as an icon of disaster? Humans have long sought the means to protect themselves from danger, thus the industrial iconic phrase canary in a coal mine, though I’m sure there are many similar phrases in the history.

    I tend not to cherry pick, but look at the pieces in context of the bigger picture

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/worldwide-glacier-retreat/

    It may very well be, or even most likely is that Jakobshavn is the canary in the cryosphere. When fitted in the big picture it it may be more than iconic, but rather, or most likely is, prescient of our future.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:16 PM

  574. Wayne,

    To Lindzen’s having “a lot of nerve to criticize successful predictions, based on models which have done so.”

    Which predictions and models in particular are you referring to? (And, please, it’s only a question, not some implication that there are none.)

    Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 6 Aug 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  575. BobFJ, after a long discourse on why I’m wrong that losing electromagnetic energy cools an object [!], adds:

    Note also that if EMR going up is arrow-labelled positive, then that coming down is negative, and that there is a net result. To demonstrate; consider also that EMR travels in all directions, and typically any layer of air, is being bombarded by EMR laterally in all directions. Typically the emission power from all these lateral directions is uniform, but because they are typically equally opposing each other, they cancel each other out. (no heating takes place)

    K&T used what’s called a radiative-convective model (RCM) of the atmosphere, Bob. That reduces the energy-transfer problem to one dimension, accounting for ignoring solid angle by multiplying the optical thicknesses of each layer by a “diffusion factor” usually equal to 1.66. This is adequate to represent the real situation to within a few percent. K&T and me and the climatology community are right about this and you are wrong. Evapotranspiration does not dominate the cooling of Earth’s surface. Period.

    P.S. I’ve been writing RCMs since about 1998.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:00 PM

  576. #574, Walter, any one, and I mean any one, a kid, a teenager, a plumber, who understands the basics of GHG’s, will predict more or less an impossible to stop warming to come unless there are volcanic event or some world wide changing phenomenon. Even Lindzen if he bothered to debate here , would be forced to admit, that this graph:

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/Hansen06_fig2.jpg

    is mighty impressive. So if he cares to impress, start predicting… Correctly…. At least once….. Even at the pub! No bets necessary…. (that should help a reputation in the normal academic world not hindered by stupid money)…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  577. 576, Wayne, thanks, though not really an answer to my question (not that one is required!) and I had thought the Hansen A,B scenarios vs. observations to be a fairly contentious subject these days (it certainly was last year at the 20th anniversary). – Walter

    Comment by wmanny — 6 Aug 2009 @ 4:32 PM

  578. More ice (ok, less, apparently):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/aug/06/america-glacier-melt

    On a semi-related note (regional ice behavior) Bob_FJ pointed out the excellent Environment Canada ice site and by extension its Ice Graph interactive data extraction program.

    The Canadian site is oriented mostly around navigational and other human interaction impacts of ice. Because of that, Ice Graph allows the selection of regions of coverage extending from rather small to nearly the entire purview of Canada’s ice-impacted navigation scene. Super-coverage including individually extractable areas of sub-coverage can be selected, allowing the source of apparent trends to be followed more closely. I’ve been noodling around with Ice Graph and am impressed with how the decline of ice in confined areas isolated from open water is noticeably less dramatic than areas with larger “fetch”. For instance, the Northwest Passage is not showing a great deal of loss, whereas Lake Michigan appears to be undergoing a more obvious decline in recent years.

    Another nice feature of Ice Graph is the ability to define what period of record keeping establishes “normal” ice coverage.

    Something here for everybody interested in sea (or Great Lakes) ice, regardless of prejudice.

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/IceGraph/IceGraph-GraphdesGlaces.jsf?id=11874&lang=eng

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Aug 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  579. You are welcome Walter , is it contentious because it is right? Placing myself in the eyes of a novice at this subject, its pretty convincing that this science is at a high degree of precision. I put it to all again, in the past (19th century) , it was fair to say no one knew for sure GT temperature leanings, now this cant be said. Whether scenario A or B or C is a bit off is irrelevant with my main point, this current warming was foreseen in 1988, all while fuddle dudle contrarians gesticulated climate obscenities, not heresies, heritics offer substance. No contrarian can predict anything because they were/are oblivious to this success, they preclude what was learned on purpose, and they offer nothing good.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 6 Aug 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  580. Barton Paul Levenson, Reur 575, you wrote in part:

    BobFJ, after a long discourse on why I’m wrong that losing electromagnetic energy cools an object [!], adds:

    Sorry Paul, not what I said. There IS indeed a net HEAT loss from the surface resulting from the difference between up-welling and down-welling EMR (infrared). EMR is a different form of energy to HEAT, but can transfer HEAT to a lower potential between two opposing sources.

    Here is an extract from the link below, defining this, using Stefen Boltzmann‘s law:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://www.nzifst.org.nz/unitoperations/httrtheory5.htm

    Radiation between Two Bodies

    The radiant energy transferred between two surfaces depends upon their temperatures, the geometric arrangement, and their emissivities. For two parallel surfaces, facing each other and neglecting edge effects, each must intercept the total energy emitted by the other, either absorbing or reflecting it. In this case, the net heat transferred from the hotter to the cooler surface is given by:
    q = ACs (T14- T24 )

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If the symbols are not reproduced OK, the part of the equation fundamental to the discussion is:

    (T1^4 – T2^4) which is that classic potential difference found in all energy transfer equations , for instance (T1 – T2) in conductive heat transfer, or (H1 – H2) in hydraulics, where H2 is the lower height.

    The following impeccable sources are in agreement with the above. If you are convinced that they are wrong, why don’t you launch a campaign to have corrections made. (and to the accepted physics out there)
    http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/u2L5aimage.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth’s_energy_budget (containing two graphics)

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:07 PM

  581. Martin Vermeer Reur 572:

    Actually the 1930s-40s warm spell over Greenland is well known from the record…
    So no, it’s not local air temperature.

    Good point, but others here have tried to deny that record when it was raised earlier.

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:18 PM

  582. Nick Barnes, Reur 560, 561, 562.
    Thanks for the very interesting observations, and you confirm that it is a very complex dynamic in such a long ~50km retreat over some 150 years. (per NSIDC)
    My main point remains that the very rapid retreat in 2004, (per MODIS), should not be taken as alarming evidence for disastrous climate change, either regionally or globally.
    Furthermore, Jakobshavn is atypical of all other glaciers as far as I’m aware.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Max, Reur 564;
    Great stuff…… as you say Ouch!

    Comment by BobFJ — 6 Aug 2009 @ 6:40 PM

  583. 579 Wayne, thanks again, and to: “This science is at a high degree of precision.” If by precision you refer to the accuracy of projections, that may prove to be the case as the models keep improving. To point out that Scenarios A or B (C is moot) are a bit off, though, hardly illustrates that high precision. Today’s models, it would stand to reason, are better than 1988′s, but if 30 years is the climate standard of choice, as is often stated, then the best we can point to in observation are the hindcasts. Was warming accurately foreseen in 1988? To the extent that observed slopes were more often positive thereafter than not, rather than flat or negative, then yes, but a cynic could argue: “33% odds”. It strikes me that the observed data are less compelling than the ongoing accumulation of puzzle pieces supporting AGW theory. But that’s only a lay opinion, clearly at odds with the more informed mainstream, and we are far afield from my original question about Lindzen’s climate expertise or lack thereof. Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:32 PM

  584. > http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/u2L5aimage.jpg

    That’s a picture of an equilibrium condition.
    We aren’t in one.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:31 PM

  585. jyyh Reur 571, you wrote in part:

    #566 The topography of Greenland – there isn’t but few glaciers to drain the ice, and the most important of those are up north… so it (the massive melt down) isn’t going to happen so long as the arctic sea ice is holding it (GIS) back…”

    May I suggest that floating sea ice is easily pushed around, even by wind, and offers trivial resistance to glacial discharge. The dynamics of glaciers depend largely on gravitational gradients, and, the complexities of topography and a few other complications have been discussed above. (See for example Nick’s 560, 561, & 562). Something I forgot to mention before in the gravitational aspect was that the ice domes are around 3000 metres (3km) above sea level. Although they are a long way from the coast, the fact is that ice creeps slowly and inexorably under the effect of gravitation, (regardless of air temperature), and the forces exerted must be enormous. (for instance they carve huge glacial valleys in the rock)

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Aug 2009 @ 2:19 AM

  586. Nick Barnes (560) and Bob_FJ

    The apparent disconnect between local temperature and glacial retreat at Illulisaat (Greenland) intrigued me, since it went against everything one reads in the general media.

    So I took the basic monthly temperature record and converted this to annual average temperature, to see if there is a connection. (I did 5 samples correcting each month for the number of days, but this showed less than 0.05°C difference from just taking the arithmetic monthly average, so I stayed with the arithmetic average).
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/3797223161_16c1ac5e39_b.jpg

    Over the entire period (1900-2005) there was actually a very slight cooling. The linear cooling over this entire period was 0.1°C. So one can say that thee was no warming at Illulisaat over the 20th century.

    What surprised me even more is that the first half of this period (1900-1950) showed a fairly strong linear warming of 2.3°C, while the second half (1951-2005), when most of the CO2 greenhouse warming effect should have taken place, showed a linear cooling of 0.4°C.

    Is the glacial retreat we are now observing the delayed result of early 20th century local warming?

    (At any rate it is certainly not the result of late 20th century local warming, because there was none.)

    A dilemma.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:43 AM

  587. Wayne Davidson

    In your 565 you wrote:

    “However impressive Lindzen’s credentials are, he has failed predicting anything about present warming conditions.”

    Further to Walter Manny’s basic question on Lindzen’s criticism of successful model predictions, which you failed to answer in your 576, here are my comments.

    “Present warming conditions”? It has not been warming since 1998 and has been cooling since 2001.

    IPCC (and Hadley) have “failed predicting anything about present cooling conditions” (or “interrupted warming conditions”, as some prefer to call it).

    Now let’s look at Lindzen’s “failed predictions”.

    Lindzen has estimated that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 should lead to a theoretical greenhouse warming of from 0.5 to 1.2 degrees centigrade (all other things being equal).
    Let’s take the arithmetic average of 0.85°C.

    Atmospheric CO2 level was around 290 ppmv in 1900 and in 2000 it was 369 ppmv. Using the logarithmic relation to adjust Lindzen’s estimate for the CO2 increase over the 20th century, we arrive at 0.3°C.

    20th century warming was 0.65°C. Solar studies put around half of this attributable to the unusually high level of solar activity. If the rest is due to CO2 alone (forgetting ENSO, other GHGs, aerosols, etc.), we have 0.3°C left for CO2.

    Forgetting “heat hidden in the pipeline”, etc. we have a pretty close “prediction” from Lindzen.

    Max

    PS If you’d like links to the solar studies, I’ll be glad to provide them.

    [Response: This is just rubbish - you know that it's rubbish, I know that it's rubbish and Lindzen knows that it's rubbish. It's just the kind of superficially plausible rubbish that you can use on people that don't know any better. For the sake of people reading, the missing elements are the changes in other factors such as aerosols and the difference between transient and equilibriurm sensitivity. Lindzen is well aware of the uncertainty in aerosol forcing - he mentions it all the time - so assuming that it is exactly zero as in the above calculation without mentioning the uncertainty is dishonest. He is also aware of the thermal inertia of the oceans - he has even written a paper about it - so again giving the impression as in the above calculation that it is zero is dishonest. If you are going to go back to playing games, go elsewhere. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  588. Excuse me for mentioning this, but won’t the rates of outflow of Greenland’s glaciers matter less in the near future as more and more of the ice sheet itself turns into water?

    [Response: Actually no, the vast majority of mass loss from greenland is from the outlet glacier ice rather than surface melting and this will be the case for a very long time. - gavin]

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  589. 583 Walter, He has lots of expertise, I never argued that. But applies himself very little in climate science. On purpose, making wild allegations, hinting about Arctic alligators during the holocene.

    I unquestionably praise the temperature model predictions done in the 80′s. You are grasping at straws when you argue against it.

    Before we are stunned by Manackers prowess with physics, lets read Lindzen:

    “Lindzen also stated that the global mean temperature has not increased since 1995″
    “to cool in the next 30 years”

    “Richard Lindzen says he’s willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now”

    to cool… “probably within the next few decades.”

    “Professor Lindzen had been willing to bet that global temperatures would drop over the next 20 years”

    “global average temperatures would cool back down in 20 years.”

    All this said for several years going back a while… He did state in a news article a few years back, that it will be cooling in 4 to 5 years

    Coming FRom Lindzen I am truly not confused…. Is it warmer? Or is warming? Or is it going to be cooler… He is right climate is unpredictable, perhaps in some rooms at MIT.

    As Max wrote:

    “Present warming conditions”? It has not been warming since 1998 and has been cooling since 2001.”

    Well, June 2009 2nd warmest in history? Rings a bell? Is this cooling since 2001? As I recall June 2001:

    Temperature anomaly +0.55 C June 2009 +0.77 C….. I digress, since I require clarity.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  590. Sorry, Gavin, what I wrote in 587 to Wayne Davidson is not “rubbish”, just because you may not personally agree with it.

    Lindzen has predicted 0.85±0.35°C equilibrium greenhouse effect from doubling CO2 (from 280 ppmv to 560 ppmv, for example). Would you agree that this is what he has predicted or would you prefer that I cite the reference?

    Adjusting this for the 20th century increase in CO2 we arrive at a theoretical equilibrium GH warming from CO2 of 0.3°C. Would you agree with this?

    IPCC has told us that the climate forcing (1750 to 2005) from other anthropogenic factors (other GHs, aerosols, land use changes, etc.) essentially cancel one another out so that we can ignore them for now. This is spelled out in SPM 2007, p.4. Total net anthropogenic forcing is stated to be 1.6 and forcing for CO2 is stated to be 1.66 W/m^2. This is roughly equal. Would you agree with this?

    The solar studies conclude that around 0.3°C of the total 20th century warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity. I will give you the references, if you wish. Most of the studies attributed a higher level of solar warming during the early 20th century warming than during the last 30 years, but the average over the entire 20th century was a bit over 0.3°C

    The Hadley record shows that there was 0.65°C linear warming over the entire 20th century, i.e. from 1901 through 2000. (IPCC TAR and SPM 2007 called this 0.6°C, but the actual Hadley record shows 0.65°C). Would you agree with this?

    I believe the only open question is whether or not there is still some warming from the 20th century increase in atmospheric CO2 still “in the pipeline”. I do not have an answer on that, but the point was made by Wayne Davidson that Lindzen was a poor predicter of 20th century GH warming from CO2, and I believe the figures show that he did not do too badly.

    If you have better figures, please bring them so I can get educated.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  591. #590… Max, I would, sincerely, absolutely review your reasoning, if I were you… I would look at :

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20010806.png

    2001 when your claim it has been cooling ever since; Really?? Sea ice utterly denies your reasoning….

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    Need it melt more?

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:51 AM

  592. Wayne: “I unquestionably praise the temperature model predictions done in the 80’s. You are grasping at straws when you argue against it.”

    I’ll stop. Thanks. — Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  593. manacker August 2009 at 11:26 AM

    “IPCC has told us that the climate forcing (1750 to 2005) from other anthropogenic factors (other GHs, aerosols, land use changes, etc.) essentially cancel one another out so that we can ignore them for now. This is spelled out in SPM 2007, p.4. Total net anthropogenic forcing is stated to be 1.6 and forcing for CO2 is stated to be 1.66 W/m^2. This is roughly equal. Would you agree with this?”

    Sorry, I can’t help but ask: Can we take from your reliance on IPCC data that you are in substantial agreement with the IPCC report for policymakers?

    Or is it just this part you agree with:

    “The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6to +2.4] W m-2.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  594. Walter….. how reasonable! Thanks…. When success is denied, some must defend it fiercely!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 1:14 PM

  595. Congratulations to all.

    You have all been very successfully played.

    We are nearly at 600 posts on this topic, and almost all of them are postings or responses to Bob_JF with a few more to Max, posters that could easily be identified as trolls after one or two posts, and yet you all took hours of valuable time to respond to them, to let them take over the whole thread.

    The world is dissolving before us and you, the intellectual elite that society has privileged with access to special knowledge and leisure, have chosen to squander these gifts on obviously insincere distracters.

    Meanwhile the rest of the world is left scratching our heads. Is the Arctic about to be ice free? What will be the consequences for human and non-human life?

    I guess these questions are totally stupid and totally irrelevant to your superior intellects, and you far prefer to banter about minutia with posters that are probably paid to do exactly this–derail really crucially important discussions about crucial topics with people who have the intellectual ability to shed some light on them.

    I used to think this was a valuable site. Maybe I misjudged. I don’t plan to return any time soon. Thanks for knowingly wasting my and doubtless thousands of others time in trying to follow your hapless and naive sparing with shadows.

    Comment by wili — 7 Aug 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  596. manacker (sigh) typically makes a claim about what’s said — claimed to be found on p4 of the SPM

    Let’s have a look at p.4.

    Where are you seeing what you claim to quote?
    Give us a link, please, to whatever you’re relying on for what you claim to see.

    Or see if you can find it — are you looking at this?

    Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report
    Summary for Policymakers

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

    Nope.

    Page 4 is a global map and a figure caption for it.

    How about page 5? Well, there’s footnote 6:

    6 … Increases in GHGs tend to warm the surface while the net effect of increases in aerosols tends to cool it. The net effect due to human activities since the pre-industrial era is one of warming (+1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W/m2) ….

    So that doesn’t match what Max / manacker is claiming is said.

    Source, please, for what you claim and why you’re relying on your source.

    So far, Max, every time I check what you claim is a fact, it’s not there.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 2:54 PM

  597. it seems the melting has stalled. The graph is moving away from the 2007 line towards the 1979-2000 line. It looks like falling short of 2008.

    Comment by dave p — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:12 PM

  598. Re 590: “If you have better figures, please bring them so I can get educated.”

    Max, it has been pointed out to you many times that it is wrong to say “It has not been warming since 1998 and has been cooling since 2001.”

    And yet strangely, you have not managed to educate yourself about this.

    So you don’t need to pretend that you are here to learn. We know you are not.

    Comment by CTG — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  599. 596

    Hank, it took me seconds to locate the iconic radiative forcing chart on page 4 of the SFP, with which the most cursory reader of the AR4 is familiar. That you ended up elsewhere is understandable, but will you withdraw the triumphant “sigh”.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  600. > stalled

    riiiiight

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  601. Does anyone know why the World Glacier Monitoring Service only shows preliminary data through 2006-2007? Are they still in business?

    Comment by Matt — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:37 PM

  602. Oh, and, dave p — your PgDn button is your friend:
    From http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    —excerpt follows—–

    Conditions in context

    The average pace of ice loss during July 2009 was nearly identical to that of July 2007. Ice loss sped up during the third week of July, and slowed again during the last few days of the month.

    Averaged for the month, July 2009 saw a decline rate in ice extent of 106,000 square kilometers (41,000 square miles) per day. For comparison, the rate of decline for July 2007 was 107,000 square kilometers (41,000 square miles) per day and the July 2008 rate of decline was 94,000 square kilometers (36,000 square miles) per day. The Arctic Ocean lost a total of 3.19 million square kilometers (1.23 million square miles) of ice during July 2009, and dropped below ice extent at this time in 2008.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  603. Hank Roberts 7 August 2009 at 2:54 PM

    I believe manacker was citing “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers”. It’s amusing to see him cling to this particular straw, loathsome as he no doubt regards the general bale of hay. But perhaps he’s had a change of heart.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    wili 7 August 2009 at 2:40 PM

    There’s no “last word” here, or at least not until the moderators decide to terminate a thread. Formation Flyers such as manacker and BobFJhave endless canisters of chaff available to leave twinkling in the air, ready to dazzle our eyes. It’s impossible to vacuum it all up, but leaving the confusion unanswered is not only contrary to human nature but also risks a slide into further degeneracy.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  604. Wayne Davidson (591), Are you saying the Arctic ice melt proves the Hadley Center data is wrong? Or, what am I missing here? (I came in the middle of all…)

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:53 PM

  605. wili (595), in a large pile of silly posts (IMO), you just won the gold medal.

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Aug 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  606. Get with it, Hank (sigh!).

    You goofed again with your 596.

    Here is the link to IPCC SPM 2007. Check p.4.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_SPM.pdf

    You will see that the RF for CO2 alone (1750-2005) is 1.66 W/m^2, while that for “total net anthropogenic” factors is 1.6 W/m^2, just as I said.

    Read and you will learn, Hank.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 4:28 PM

  607. If you look at the arctic roos site, you’ll see their ice area measurement continues to steadily decline, though ice extent has leveled off. Since ice extent shows ice wherever density is > 15%, ice would seem to be a better indicator of melt (volume would be best of all).

    But … I don’t know how good that measurement by arctic roos is.

    What I do know is that a couple of months ago arctic roos was the denialist favorite ice site (since it showed ice extent lagging noticeably behind 2008, unlike nsidc or ijis. So make them eat that area graphic if they claim that melting has stopped! :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Aug 2009 @ 4:35 PM

  608. Doug Bostrom (593)

    You ask: “Can we take from your reliance on IPCC data that you are in substantial agreement with the IPCC report for policymakers?”

    To answer your question:

    I believe that in its rather myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors, IPCC has identified the GHG impact of CO2 and other anthropogenic GHGs. IPCC has concluded that the equilibrium radiative forcing from all anthropogenic factors is roughly equal to that of CO2 alone (around 1.6 W/m^2), so that we can ignore the other factors for a rough estimate.

    IPCC has also informed us that “feedbacks from clouds remain the greatest source of uncertainty”, so we should look elsewhere for cloud impacts. Fortunately, there have been recent studies on this with empirical data (Spencer et al., Norris)

    In addition, IPCC has told us that its “level of scientific understanding” of solar impacts is “low”, so we should also look elsewhere for information on these impacts.

    There are, fortunately, several studies on the solar impact.

    The “positive feedback” assumptions of the GCMs cited by IPCC (leading to a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C) are also questionable, since they are based on model assumptions alone, and not on empirical observations, so I would be very skeptical of these.

    Does this answer your question?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 4:46 PM

  609. Wayne Davidson (591)

    Wayne, I am not denying in any way that Arctic sea ice has shown a receding trend since 1979 when satellite measurements started, which appears to have started a reversal since 2007.

    What I am saying is that the average annual temperature at Illulisaat (Greenland), which you cited to Bob_FJ in reference to the Jakobshavn glacier , has not warmed over the entire 20th century, based on the temperature record there. There was a warming in the first half (1900-1950) and a cooling in the second half (1951-2005).

    So the glacial retreat at Illulisaat is not responding to late 20th century warming, but rather to something else.

    Got it?

    Maybe you have an idea what the cause of the Jakobshavn retreat has been.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:01 PM

  610. This is why we ask for citations for the claims.
    And if you cited your sources the first time you post your claims, you wouldn’t end up repeating your ideas three or four or five times before you finally point to something people can look at to figure out what you’re talking about.

    Yep, that makes sense, if your purpose is to repeat your claims over and over.

    And now you’re claiming — with no source — that the IPCC doesn’t include published research that addresses the areas identified there as uncertainties, so you can claim it makes sense to look outside the IPCC’s reports for different science that’s more certain.

    Riiight.

    Omitting to mention the fact that the IPCC doesn’t do or publish research, it summarizes — the available science.

    Then you point — without citation — to names and make claims they have “empirical data” — as though other studies reviewed by the IPCC do not, or as though they have better data.

    Yes, there are newer studies since the cutoff for the last IPCC report.
    No, the ones you hint at without citation aren’t the only or best available science since the cutoff.

    Tedious.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:06 PM

  611. Well, let’s see how Max / manacker is doing — try to cite.

    Max / manacker:

    > cloud impacts. Fortunately, there have been recent studies on this with
    > empirical data (Spencer et al., Norris) …
    > “positive feedback” assumptions … are also questionable, since they
    > are based on model assumptions alone, and not on empirical observations

    Perhaps “et al. and Norris” as pointed to recently by Spencer?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5939/460

    Science, Vol. 325, No. 5939, 460-464 (24 July 2009); DOI: 10.1126/science.1171255
    Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback
    Amy C. Clement,1,* Robert Burgman,1 and Joel R. Norris2

    Hmmm. Positive feedback evidence, both model and empirical (observation).

    Nope, once again, Max /manacker — you make a claim, you vaguely asssert the research supports it, I look and find you’re misstating what’s out there./

    Well, it’s pointless trying to chase your claims, they just keep popping up.
    http://www.pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF216-Thwack_Ye_Mole.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  612. Re 602
    I realise melt in July was rapid but it is since then that the stall has occcured.

    Comment by dave p — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  613. CTG you wrote in part 598:

    Max, it has been pointed out to you many times that it is wrong to say “It has not been warming since 1998 and has been cooling since 2001.”

    Perhaps CTG, you should read the earlier thread here entitled:
    Warming, interrupted: Much ado about natural variability— raypierre @ 12 July 2009
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/#more-686

    There is no question that Ray Pierrehumbert (a highly respected professor of climate science here) agrees something along the lines of what Max says. In fact he refers to and discusses“a pause in warming“, and the debate is not about whether there is a pause, but what is causing it. Notice too, in the title: “Warming, interrupted”

    [Response: That was not written by Ray, it was written by Kyle Swanson. - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:28 PM

  614. manacker 7 August 2009 at 4:46 PM

    “Does this answer your question?”

    Well, not really, but that’s because I did a poor job with my question. Let me ask instead, do you agree with the portion of the report highlighted by the IPCC authors as of particular significance for policymakers and which you chose to cite in support of your position:

    ‘“The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6to +2.4] W m-2.”’

    Is there any part of that with which you disagree?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:29 PM

  615. #608 manacker

    Says:

    “myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors”

    Max, if you have no risk of losing your job or otherwise relevant reasons, please post your full name and stand by your words.

    Also, since you are so smart, please explain current warming without anthropogenic factors.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:32 PM

  616. Hannk Roberts, # 61o, that is not accurate:”Omitting to mention the fact that the IPCC doesn’t do or publish research, it summarizes — the available science.” In fact the IPCC does their own research and publishes findings in their reports in addition to reviewing the latest research and evaluating it; this is a minor distinction as mainly they do on fact review the literature. Still if you read 2008′s Climate change and Water and the AR4, you will see IPCC lead research and individually publsished research from its members for the actual reports. Maybe you meant on the whole and as a whole the IPCC does not does not do or publish research? A minor distinction, but still an important one. Your other points are still accurate.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  617. manacker 7 August 2009 at 5:01 PM

    “Wayne, I am not denying in any way that Arctic sea ice has shown a receding trend since 1979 when satellite measurements started, which appears to have started a reversal since 2007.”

    Really. Has it? How do you come to that conclusion? We have one complete year of data since 2007, one partially complete set of observations. They don’t look particularly hopeful but even if 2008 had been a stellar year compared with 2007, which it was not, one would be naive to draw any conclusions. Look at the record to see the folly in working from a single year’s data.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  618. Sorry, Hank (611)

    Your claims are wrong again (sigh!).

    IPCC has stated that “cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty”. Earlier studies (Ramanathan and Inamdar) stated that the overall impact of clouds was one of strong cooling (“several times the 4W/m^2 heating expected from a doubling of CO2”) and that “the magnitude as well as the sign of the cloud feedback is uncertain”.

    Spencer et al. helped to clear up this “largest source of uncertainty” with empirical observations showing a strongly negative net feedback from clouds with warming (I’m sure you have seen this study).

    This would indicate that the overall 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is around 0.6 to 0.8°C (rather than 3.2°C, as assumed by all the GCMs cited by IPCC).

    Max

    [Response: Spencer has shown no such thing despite his claim to have done so. All models do not assume that sensitivity is 3.2ºC. And yes, there are empirical studies suggesting just as large values (and sometimes larger). Since this is the umpteenth time you have said this and the umpteenth time you have been corrected, perhaps a small time out is appropriate so that something else can be talked about. The internet may be unbounded, but my threshold for unending repetition of error is not. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  619. manacker wrote in 608:

    IPCC has also informed us that “feedbacks from clouds remain the greatest source of uncertainty”, so we should look elsewhere for cloud impacts. Fortunately, there have been recent studies on this with empirical data (Spencer et al., Norris)

    I see what you mean:

    Is this feedback present in climate models? To address this question, we analyze the 20th century climate simulation in 18 coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models with comprehensive output available from the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP’s) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multimodel archive (38, 39)….

    By eliminating models successively on this basis, we are left with only two that simulate the correct sign correlations for all variables, the INMCM3.0 and the HadGEM1. Because these two models represent opposite ends of the range of values of equilibrium climate sensitivity (INMCM3.0 has the lowest value and HadGEM1 has the highest) (5), the cloud-meteorology correlation test alone is not a sufficient metric for global climate sensitivity….

    The analysis presented here provides observational evidence that this feedback is positive in the NE Pacific on decadal time scales. The only model in the CMIP3 archive that properly simulates clouds in the NE Pacific and exhibits 2 × CO2 circulation changes that are consistent with multimodel mean produces a reduction in cloud throughout much of the Pacific in response to greenhouse gas forcing (i.e., a positive feedback).

    Observational and Model
    Evidence for Positive Low-Level
    Cloud Feedback
    Amy C. Clement, Robert Burgman, Joel R. Norris
    Science, Vol 325, pp 460-4
    24 July 2009 Vol 325

    In all fairness, though, the next sentence is, “Evaluating cloud feedback with one model is, however, far from ideal.”
    *
    manacker wrote in 608:

    The “positive feedback” assumptions of the GCMs cited by IPCC (leading to a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C) are also questionable, since they are based on model assumptions alone, and not on empirical observations, so I would be very skeptical of these.

    The climate models make no “positive feedback” assumptions. They are based upon the principles of physics and both negative and positive feedback are the result. But predominantly the feedback is positive. And last I checked, the principles of physics (as they describe radiation transfer, fluid flow, thermodynamics, gravity and so on) were empirical in nature.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  620. Doug Bostrom (614)

    Yes, I would agree that IPCC has probably done a fairly good job on estimating the theoretical GH impact of CO2 plus all other anthropogenic factors (i.e. the IPCC “specialty”).

    If IPCC puts this radiative forcing at 1.6 W/m^2 since 1750 I can buy that. It tells me that all other anthropogenis factors besides CO2 essentially cancel one another out. It also relates to a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of sightly below 1 degree C, with which I could also agree.

    Does this answer your question?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  621. Gavin, Reur comment on my 613:

    [Response: That was not written by Ray, it was written by Kyle Swanson. - gavin]

    But the fact that the title of the article is endorsed thus: — raypierre @ 12 July 2009, and his responses to comments include the same terminology surely means that he seconds the author?

    [Response: You'd have to ask him. All the post authorship means is that he prepared the posting. It's safe to assume that he saw some merit in it being posted, but assuming complete agreement without a specific statement is not warranted. - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Aug 2009 @ 5:48 PM

  622. Jacob, please check your source.

    This is mine: http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.htm

    “The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  623. Doug Bostrom (617)

    Please read posts a bit more carefully.

    I wrote that the net receding trend of Arctic sea ice “appears to have started a reversal since 2007″.

    Got it?

    I did not say that this reversal was a new trend.

    Maybe it will become a new trend (I personally doubt it, but who knows?).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:08 PM

  624. Max / manacker claims “a reversal” — but

    “… The average pace of ice loss during July 2009 was nearly identical to that of July 2007. Ice loss sped up during the third week of July, and slowed again during the last few days of the month….”

    From http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ — use PgDn to find it on the page.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:08 PM

  625. manacker

    Try not to get to hung up on the weather and ice extent changes in the short term

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/200800904_Figure5.png/view

    Ice mass loss is much more important

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/view

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:21 PM

  626. Gavin

    You are right in your comment to Bob_FJ that the lead article was not written by Ray Pierrehumbert, but:

    On the RC blog cited by Bob_FJ Ray Pierrehumbert wrote:

    “ I think the connection is very intimate. We at RC think that some of the Keenlyside results “predicting” an interruption of warming were overstated and misinterpreted, but for me personally the take-away message from Keenlyside is that ocean dynamics is capable of producing a temporary warming interruption, even in the face of growing radiative forcing,”

    “It’s too soon to say whether the current “pause” in warming is anything more than statistics being clouded by one unusual El Nino event, but we should be thinking now about possible explanations just in case something more interesting is going on”

    So he definitely recognizes a ‘current “pause” in warming’ but believes that there could be possible explanations for this pause, which should be investigated.

    Just to clear this point up.

    Max.

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  627. Wayne Davidson 591, you wrote in part to Max:

    2001 when your claim it has been cooling ever since; Really?? Sea ice utterly denies your reasoning….

    You could perhaps check 543/p11 for moreinfo, but sea ice is not only affected by air temperature but also wind, currents and water temperature plus a few lesser things.

    Comment by BobFJ — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  628. manacker 7 August 2009 at 5:46 PM

    “Yes, I would agree that IPCC has probably done a fairly good job on estimating the theoretical GH impact of CO2 plus all other anthropogenic factors (i.e. the IPCC “specialty”)…

    Does this answer your question?”

    Yes, to a fault, which I removed.

    manacker 7 August 2009 at 6:08 PM

    “Please read posts a bit more carefully.

    I wrote that the net receding trend of Arctic sea ice “appears to have started a reversal since 2007″.

    Got it?

    I did not say that this reversal was a new trend.”

    Yeah, I get that when you make a careless mistake you’re pretty good at splitting hairs so as to save face. So “reversal” does not imply direction? In that case why did you not say “dither”?

    I think it’s late in Switzerland and you should go to bed.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:47 PM

  629. John Reisman

    You wrote (619): “Try not to get to hung up on the weather and ice extent changes in the short term” and then referred me to studies on Arctic sea ice.

    The loss of Arctic sea ice since 1979 is well-documented.

    The growth of Antarctic sea ice is also well-documented (but less frequently referred to by NSIDC and others).

    The unrelated story of the Jakobshavn glacier was discussed previously, and I checked the long-term local temperature record there since 1900. (This is primarily grounded ice and not floating sea ice.) A NASA report tells us: “The ice stream’s speed-up and near-doubling of ice flow from land into the ocean has increased the rate of sea level rise by about .06 millimeters (about .002 inches) per year, or roughly 4 percent of the 20th century rate of sea level increase. “
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/jakobshavn.html

    I found that there was a strong local warming in the first half of the 20th century and a cooling since 1951, with an overall slight cooling over the entire period 1900-2005. This surprised me, since it pointed out that the glacial retreat there was not related to local late 20th century warming (as many would assume), but to something else.

    Maybe someone on this thread has an answer to this quandary.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:54 PM

  630. Hank Roberts (624)

    You are right.

    Arctic sea ice extent in July 2009 was around 1.3 million km^2 below the 1979-2000 baseline and 0.68 million km^2 above the July 2007 low.

    So we have only “recovered” about one-half of the long-term loss.

    Who knows what will happen next year (July 2010)?

    Not me. Not you. Not Mark Serreze of NSIDC.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  631. Hank,
    here is my source: http://www.ipcc.ch/

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:37 PM

  632. Hank,
    may be exhaustion on my part; I could have sworn I read somewhere on the site I pasted that there was actual research conducted by IPCC or many IPCC individuals on the 2008 Climate Change and Water; after a nap, I will do a more thorough search, if I still do not find it, I will recant my statement.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:48 PM

  633. OK, Jacob.

    Now –from that page, that you point to as your source for what you believe:

    click “Organization” — first tab in their left sidebar on that page.

    Look at the second paragraph.

    There is no research done by the IPCC.
    They don’t publish any research.
    They review published research, from the science in the journals.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  634. OK, naps are good; our postings overlapped and I just saw yours.

    This is important because folks spin the facts.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  635. Max / manacker trots out the old confusion talking point, about Antarctic sea ice, as though it proved his idea instead of disproving it.

    Ask an ice guy. That question, in fact, was recently asked here:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/08/question-place.html

    And answered:

    “Blogger Penguindreams said…

    Eric: You raise a point I’ve been meaning to give a full post to. Namely, increased Antarctic ice area is expected from a greenhouse warming. This goes back to Manabe in the early 1990s. The mechanism he saw in his model was that in the warmed climate, there was more snowfall onto the ice pack. The snow gets converted to ice (if there’s enough of it to sink the top of the floe below the sea level), or simply acts as an insulator for the ice. The rising trend in Antarctic ice was not statistically significant until much later. But then we (Markus and Cavalieri) also observed that there was more snow on the Antarctic ice pack.

    So, a very successful prediction out of the climate model.”

    ——
    Funny how people don’t remember this and post to the contrary over and over.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:12 PM

  636. #630 manacker

    Again wit the short term v. long. What is it prevents you from understanding the difference between short term weather and long term climate trends.

    Looks like cherry jubilee in here these days.

    #631 Jacob Mack

    Can you be a little more specific please.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:16 PM

  637. Re 613. BobFJ, the Kamikaze Denial Troll strikes again. Are you paid by the word for the garbage you churn out?

    Max said “it has been cooling since 2001″. This is wrong. You know it is wrong. Max knows it is wrong. And yet you both continue to say it, knowing it to be wrong.

    Why should we listen to a word you two say?

    Comment by CTG — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:33 PM

  638. Re: #609 (manacker)

    You seriously mischaracterize the temperature history in Ilulissat by saying “warming in the first half (1900-1950) and a cooling in the second half (1951-2005).” Although there was cooling for much of the time span from 1951 to 2005, there was very strong warming for more than the last decade. Linear regression of CRU data for Ilulissat from 1992 to the end of 2005 (the end of the CRU data) gives a warming rate of 37 +/- 15 deg.C/century.

    According to this report on Jakobshavn,

    The data showed that the glacier slowed down from a velocity of 6700 meters (4.16 miles) per year in 1985 to 5700 meters (3.54 miles) per year in 1992. This latter speed remained somewhat constant until 1997. By 2000, the glacier had sped up to 9400 meters (5.84 miles) per year, topping out with the last measurement in spring 2003 at 12,600 meters (7.83 miles) per year.

    Re: #630 (manacker)

    I’ll leave it to others to correct your arithmetic.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  639. #609… Max:

    “Illulisaat (Greenland), which you cited to Bob_FJ in reference to the Jakobshavn glacier , has not warmed over the entire 20th century, based on the temperature record there. There was a warming in the first half (1900-1950) and a cooling in the second half (1951-2005).”

    Sorry I am unfamiliar with this argument since I have not replied to Bob yet…

    ….. “which appears to have started a reversal since 2007.”

    absolute nonsense, in terms of ice thickness, and especially weather related events leading to the melts.
    Sea ice is a true metric of Global temperatures, There is a close relation between GT’s and Arctic sea ice extent or volume at minima. 2007 being the warmest year in history for the northern hemisphere , 2007 the greatest minima in history. A cold winter GT wise gives the same effect, more ice extent.

    Now I have discovered a relation between ENSO and clouds, which affect sea ice, as per this year, cloudier than usual Canadian Arctic can be seen as a sea amongst sea ice “footprint” . 2007 during solstice had unprecedented clear skies during La-Nina leaning conditions which have left a sea print amongst open water quite unlike 2009 with reverse ENSO effects. Claiming that the ice melt as stabilized is incorrect.

    Bob:

    “You could perhaps check 543/p11 for moreinfo, but sea ice is not only affected by air temperature but also wind, currents and water temperature plus a few lesser things.”

    My oh my, novice arguments don’t impress. Winds would leave a definite sea ice pattern easily recognizable, but winds against a well frozen pack, laced with multi year ice has never rid the Arctic ocean as now a days (in the past winds were just if not more ferocious)… Wind is a significant player amongst much thinned and scattered ice due to melting.

    Sea currents are rarely if ever different, a near constant, except for velocity, same reasoning for winds applies.

    Recent Warmer Water temperatures…. Last I looked … Are and can be caused by AGW!!!!!

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 7 Aug 2009 @ 9:02 PM

  640. Hank,
    I stand corrected.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 9:08 PM

  641. Gavin’s response to #618. I emphatically support your comment. The decrease in signal to noise in this thread is greatly hampering my climate science education and is very irritating.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 7 Aug 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  642. > Jacobshaven

    Remember it’s not the average temp; it’s the melt ponds on the surface at the warm part of the year that change the ice, even if the average for the year is cooler

    Note that glacier has another name, and searching on both may be helpful.

    That is discussed in the Q&A quite a bit, you could pick up that thread about here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/10/q-a-global-warming/comment-page-1/#comment-5042

    Look for the inline replies from the Contributors there, and the pointers, but remember — check for more recent papers citing these; follow the science forward in time, no one paper is _the_ answer you’re looking for:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v428/n6979/full/428114a.html
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1115356v1
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/310/5747/456

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 9:38 PM

  643. Jacob — no worries, the secret behind my habit of trying to always give a good cite is, I don’t trust my memory.

    I can’t rely on it even to be accurate as of the last time somewhere in the past when I caught up on a subject, let alone up to date.

    It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.
    Lewis Carroll
    English author & recreational mathematician (1832 – 1898)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:32 PM

  644. Limb darkening:

    Main post:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/08/06/kepler-works/

    Specific explanation of observation:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/08/06/kepler-works/#comment-204271

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:53 PM

  645. Yeah Hank, of course you are right…I have been burning the candle at both ends lately and I read many reports through and through these last few days, so I am better off in the future going back to the specific citation first.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  646. In a certain very sad sense, wili (595) is correct.

    Here we are at 644, and manacker repeats his nonsense, and gavin’s patience is infinite and to what effect?

    More of the same repetitive nonsense that most of us have seen for months if not years.

    Is this useful? How?

    I think Hansen has it right.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  647. > Is this useful? How?

    When some guy is posting bad information, make sure the guy’s name or pseudonym is posted along with the refutation, each time, and point to good information that people can read for themselves to see that he’s wrong.

    Answer them all, and let Google sort them out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:56 AM

  648. manacker writes:

    It has not been warming since 1998 and has been cooling since 2001.

    IPCC (and Hadley) have “failed predicting anything about present cooling conditions” (or “interrupted warming conditions”, as some prefer to call it).

    It’s not cooling:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:33 AM

  649. Looking at manacker’s posts from 587-606, I’m guessing he doesn’t understand what “net” means. manacker, if there has been a “net” warming of 1.6 W/m^2, and there has been cooling of 1.6 W/m^2, it means the gross warming must have been 3.2 W/m^2. “Net” means the balance after the positives and the negatives have been added together.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:39 AM

  650. manacker writes:

    IPCC has also informed us that “feedbacks from clouds remain the greatest source of uncertainty”, so we should look elsewhere for cloud impacts. Fortunately, there have been recent studies on this with empirical data (Spencer et al., Norris)

    And the most recent study concludes that cloud forcing is positive; i.e., will make warming worse:

    Clement, A.C., Burgman R., and J.R. Norris 2009. “Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback.” Science 325, 460-464.

    In addition, IPCC has told us that its “level of scientific understanding” of solar impacts is “low”, so we should also look elsewhere for information on these impacts.

    There are, fortunately, several studies on the solar impact.

    Here’s a very simple one:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    The “positive feedback” assumptions of the GCMs cited by IPCC (leading to a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C) are also questionable, since they are based on model assumptions alone, and not on empirical observations, so I would be very skeptical of these.

    Nobody’s ever observed that there’s more water vapor pressure when it’s hotter? Or that melting bright ice leaves dark land under it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:42 AM

  651. [edit]

    [Response: Basta. From now on, all posts simply repeating points made a dozen times before get deleted. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 8 Aug 2009 @ 6:59 AM

  652. Barton asks, rhetorically, in response to manacker: “Nobody’s ever observed that. . . melting bright ice leaves dark land under it?”

    Well, the albedo observations have been quite a bit more detailed than that. I cited this paper upthread, but M obviously didn’t realize that this was an instance of the “empirical observations” that he thinks don’t exist.

    Hanesiak et al, 2001:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2001/1999JC000068.shtml (abstract)
    http://www.umanitoba.ca/ceos/files/publications_pdf/042.pdf (pdf)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:13 AM

  653. Barton Paul Levenson (650)

    Atmospheric water vapor content and temperature do, indeed, correlate to some extent. But it would be foolish to assume that relative humidity will remain constant with increased temperature. (Minschwaner + Dessler have shown based on observations in the tropics that RH actually decreases with warming).

    Surface albedo depends on a lot more than just Arctic sea ice extent. There is also Antarctic sea ice extent (growing) and northern hemisphere snow cover (no change since the 1980s). I do not question the premise that snow cover and sea ice should theoretically shrink with a warming planet, but the empirical data so far have not demonstrated much change in overall surface albedo to date.

    As to the solar impact on 20th century warming, there have been several studies by solar experts, which have concluded that roughly half of the observed 20th century warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity (highest in several thousand years). These studies have concluded that the solar impact on early 20th century warming was greater than on the warming which occurred after 1970, but the overall average for the entire century was around half of the warming or 0.35C

    If you would like the reference to these studies so you can check them yourself, please let me know.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:50 AM

  654. Gavin,

    A question:

    When someone repeats the “accepted consensus opinion” on AGW, will you also censor this out as repetitive?

    Max

    [Response: If all they do is repeat the same thing over and again, yes (and I do). The point of these threads is not to keep repeating the same thing until everyone gets bored and goes home. Either contribute to a discussion - which actually involves engaging in points that others make - or go somewhere else where they don't care. Dozens of people have engaged with you, so reciprocate. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:56 AM

  655. #604 Rod B… Yes Hadley has a problem, as their ice animation projection errs so is their GT calculations (to measure or calculate melt). Hadley apparently does not incorporate a great chunk Arctic temperatures which appears to warm the most. The very area where the melt is occurring, their GT’s are not true GT’s like GISS or NOAA but rather GT-(arctic area) and are valid for a great swat of the world… If they get their ice extent projections right they might reconsider or discover more model algorithm related errors.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:50 AM

  656. They finally uploaded the last week worth of images from the nort pole webcam (currently around 86 degrees north 2 west).

    I no longer see any melt ponds (or very few) compared to last year. The camera has tipped over on its side however. Has the melt ponds drained?

    North Pole webcam

    Comment by Larry N — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:10 AM

  657. Re 654 Max

    We all know that you and BobFJ are desperately trying to earn the “Banned from RealClimate” badge, so that you can go whine to your friends about how nasty the scientists are. Diddums.

    This is probably why you have lately dropped all pretence of real arguments, and resorted to flame-bait material such as “it has been cooling since 2001″.

    Come on, at least make it interesting and pretend to have a real argument. Tell us why Arctic ice melting faster than ever before is really a sign of global cooling, or something like that. Go on, please?

    Comment by CTG — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  658. BobFJ @ 613:

    There is no question that Ray Pierrehumbert (a highly respected professor of climate science here) agrees something along the lines of what Max says. In fact he refers to and discusses“a pause in warming“, and the debate is not about whether there is a pause, but what is causing it. Notice too, in the title: “Warming, interrupted”

    (please ignore the discussions of authorship since that’s in question …)

    As an aside, the only people who’ve gotten climate predictions correct since 1998 or so are people who know what “The Gore Minimum” means. If someone is out there taking money, I’ll put mine on 2010 having more summer ice than 2007.

    More on-topic, the fact that 2007 was a record for a minimum on a trend line where the minimum is declining about 50,000 km^2 / yr is far less interesting than noticing that no one is freaking out that there was surplus ice in 1996. What “previously not understood” physics is responsible for what appears to be an atypical recovery?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  659. I have some questions that perhaps someone reading this can model/answer. I’m a native of Daytona Beach, FL, and there is a weather phenomenon that occurs at the beach during periods of clear sky and calm winds as frequently occur when a high is over the area. During the day, the land heat faster than the ocean; this creates updrafts inland, and cooler, denser, moist air flows inland from the ocean, where its heated by the warmer land, rises, often creates afternoon thunderstorms, creating a localized “Hadley” convection cell. At night, the land cools faster (once the clouds have dissipated) and the circulation reverses. This has the side effect of blowing mosquitoes and no-see-ums to the beach at night from freshwater swamps near the coast.

    Will the presence of open water now occurring in the arctic create relatively stable offshore winds in the fall and early winter before freeze up – a seasonal rather than daily sea breeze? Could the winds drive offshore surface currents and upwelling of relatively warmer deep water, making the process self sustaining? Might there be enough energy transport to create offshore precipitation & latent heat release, and onshore/inland downwelling of dry air & no snow? Can we name these seasonal cells “Dodge cells”? &:>)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  660. > If you would like the reference to these studies so you can check
    > them yourself, please let me know.

    Yes, post the cites, and the page of the second- or third-hand website where you’re reading this spin, since you’re not quoting from the primary source.

    You know you’re posting a distortion of the research, each time you do this. You persist in repeating twisted and bent notions and claiming they’re facts.

    Do it again, as long as Gavin lets you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  661. Melt ponds are visible. Where are you looking?
    There are a handful of days in August, the camera’s been erratic.
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/index.php?year=2009

    When they’re backlit they reflect; otherwise they look dark.

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2009/images/tmp/noaa1-2009-0805-051110.jpg.tmp
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2009/images/tmp/noaa1-2009-0802-041020.jpg.tmp

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:46 AM

  662. Paste Manacker’s first 3 lines above into Google, that turns up him going on at great length here on the same stuff he’s paraphrasing above:

    most recently here:
    wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/21/rueters-world-meteorological-organization-says-this-year-so-far-coolest-for-at-least-5-years/

    and here:
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=63&cp=9#comment-2224

    But it’s the same nonsense as he’s been posting before, over and over
    — cooling, negative cloud feedback, IPCC must revise, blahblahblah.

    It’s like seeing someone with a peculiar talent in archery, can hit from anywhere downrange at worst to perhaps the outside ring of the target at best, but never, ever, ever near the bullseye. Dancing around and around.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 10:52 AM

  663. Data out of context is just as bad as thoughts out of context. Your thoughts are misleading you because you don’t have enough context, STILL.

    You state M+D have shown RH decreases with warming, IN THE TROPICS. When discussing global climate it is IMPORTANT to look at the ENTIRE PLANET (not cherry pick unless you have relevant context (and you don’t)). And still, last I heard, RH is hanging in around 80% while the planet is warming and we are getting more moisture in the atmosphere as expected as oceans increase in temperature.

    As to your comment regarding surface albedo that “empirical data so far have not demonstrated much change”. You don’t understand Arctic (polar) amplification effect.

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_serreze.html
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/polar-amplification/

    As to solar attributing to half the warming: if you have the cites please provide them when you make the statement. Things go faster that way. Yes, please provide the cites and links to the papers if available.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  664. Re #656

    Larry N says:
    8 August 2009 at 10:10 AM
    They finally uploaded the last week worth of images from the nort pole webcam (currently around 86 degrees north 2 west).

    I no longer see any melt ponds (or very few) compared to last year. The camera has tipped over on its side however. Has the melt ponds drained?

    That’s my interpretation, the ice has got very thin there if you look at the associated data from the station, I wonder if it will make the Fram strait, they usually recover the camera in October, I think they’ll need a ship this time.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  665. CTG says (657)”This is probably why you have lately dropped all pretence of real arguments, and resorted to flame-bait material

    He dropped all such pretense as soon as he showed up here, with his assertions (wait no they were proofs–he used actual numbers and math as I recall) about the maximum possible levels of atmospheric CO2 (there is NO carbon in the ocean or terrestrial biosphere to feedback on fossil fuel additions), and about how we can burn all fossil fuels with very little temperature increase, because even at 700-1000 ppm there’s negligible temperature sensitivity.

    The guy’s a major league troll. He has no desire to learn anything here, it’s obvious. As with all trolls, best policy is to ignore after a couple honest attempts to help. He’s gotten way more than a couple.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  666. My #660 is of course to manacker #653

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:20 PM

  667. Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958–2008
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL039035.shtml

    R. Kwok, D. A. Rothrock

    The decline of sea ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean …
    … a much stronger and richer data set. Within the data release area (DRA) of declassified submarine sonar measurements (covering ∼38% of the Arctic Ocean), the overall mean winter thickness of 3.64 m in 1980 can be compared to a 1.89 m mean during the last winter of the ICESat record—an astonishing decrease of 1.75 m in thickness. … Prior to 1997, ice extent in the DRA was >90% during the summer minimum. This can be contrasted to the gradual decrease in the early 2000s followed by an abrupt drop to <55% during the record setting minimum in 2007. This combined analysis shows a long-term trend of sea ice thinning over submarine and ICESat records that span five decades.

    published 6 August 2009.

    Citation: Kwok, R., and D. A. Rothrock (2009), Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958–2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L15501, doi:10.1029/2009GL039035.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  668. Hank Roberts 8 August 2009 at 12:56 AM

    “When some guy is posting bad information, make sure the guy’s name or pseudonym is posted along with the refutation, each time, and point to good information that people can read for themselves to see that he’s wrong.

    Answer them all, and let Google sort them out.”

    More meta-discussion!

    Yes, the “body of literature” is useful indeed. In manacker’s case, a search on Max Anacker or manacker reveals a remarkable history, a puzzling picture. On some sites he presents as a raving loon, yelling about scientific conspiracies and governmental cabals. In other places he seems more reasonable, though if you read carefully you’ll realize that many if not most of his posts include some subtle nugget of misdirection or misinformation going beyond the immediate topic under discussion. Thus, for instance, the crafty introduction of Antarctic ice in a thread on Arctic ice, requiring the inception of yet another stream of futile attempts at correction/clarification. This appears to happen as any given particular avenue of wrongness is about to force manacker into retreat.

    If forced to choose, I would conclude that here on RC manacker is not so much concerned with pursuing arguments about climate with an eye to improving understanding as much as he’s writing for a silent audience, either as performance for acquaintances made elsewhere or to pollute other people’s minds with degenerate perspectives. With regard to the latter case he often appears superficially to demonstrate that many aspects of climate science are so unsettled as to be wide open in making conclusions; for the casual observer manacker is an intellectual trap, only to be eluded by devoting an unwarranted amount of time picking apart his claims.

    Examined as a phenotype manacker is rather interesting and instructive.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:24 PM

  669. Re melting v 2008 http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    Melting is lagging last year.

    Comment by dave p — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  670. Gavin re your response to (621) re authorship: I never knew that. That’s helpful to understand the process here on RC.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Aug 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  671. #670, 669 dave, not for long! The ice appears to do a 2008, whereas its melting late in the season, from overall thinness, there is a lot broken ice everywhere, hard to make an overall extent measurement… Fram melt is particularly fast. , despite the lack of High sun. The Northwest Passage is just about to open via Peel Sound, a magical mystical place for tourists, Where the beaches are pink. in the past the gateway to China.
    Its been warm up there (+5 to +10 C more than enough to clear the passage) so for the second year running, both passages will be open for ordinary ships.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  672. Hank # 660, indeed, primary sources are of utmost importance, hence my avoidance as a rule of wikis and other secondary sources.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 8 Aug 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  673. “dave p” claims Arctic “melting is lagging last year” and points to the anomaly chart, which may differ by about a pixel, if it’s accurate.

    Well, how could we learn any more than looking at a chart?
    Ah, yes, look at the data.

    Well, I don’t see it easily at NSIDC, let’s look at Stoat’s favorite:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

    The latest value : 6,610,000 km2 (August 7, 2009)

    Their data is downloadable; this is last year’s:

    08,06,2008,6579844
    08,07,2008,6485625
    08,08,2008,6485000
    08,09,2008,6417656
    08,10,2008,6343906
    08,11,2008,6291563

    Let’s see, 6610000 minus 6485625 —
    dave p?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:19 PM

  674. Oops, that wasn’t meant as a trick question; what matters is not the raw number but the rate and the accuracy; here’s what you find at NSIDC as of today, using the PgDn key:

    “Averaged for the month, July 2009 saw a decline rate in ice extent of 106,000 square kilometers (41,000 square miles) per day. For comparison, the rate of decline for July 2007 was 107,000 square kilometers (41,000 square miles) per day and the July 2008 rate of decline was 94,000 square kilometers (36,000 square miles) per day….”

    Note the gray band: http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090804_Figure2.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 5:35 PM

  675. Barton Paul Levenson, Reur 649, in part:

    “…if there has been a “net” warming of 1.6 W/m^2, and there has been cooling of 1.6 W/m^2, it means the gross warming must have been 3.2 W/m^2….”

    Could you run that by again please. I don’t understand how you mean it in relation to the table on page 4 of the relevant link
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_SPM.pdf
    Isn’t Max simply saying that the SPECIFIC anthro-forcing of 1.66 from CO2 is roughly the same as the NET forcing of 1.6? Also, the reason for that is that a whole bunch of lesser SPECIFIC positive and negative forcings all NET out to roughly zero? (and in context in that discussion, those lesser forcings, a NET of 0.06 can almost be ignored)

    Comment by BobFJ — 8 Aug 2009 @ 7:51 PM

  676. Actually this year is very close to 2008 at this point. Last year was a leap year, so there is an extra day of melt in last year’s data. We should be comparing August 6th from last year with August 7th this year, which puts the two within about 30,000 km2, which is well within the accuracy for measuring sea ice extent.

    dave p was actually looking at NSIDC’s Ice Area graph, which has a likely measurement error even larger than ice extent measurement (according to NSIDC personnel). In either case, there simply is very little difference for comparable days into the melt season.

    But the pattern of the melt seems very different, with the Siberian side of the Arctic showing more rapid melt, and melt in the Beaufort Sea side lagging last year’s melt. The melt seems to be following a very different process than last year.

    Comment by Paul Klemencic — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:18 PM

  677. #673 Hank, From the numbers you presented you can see that data acquisition is not exactly perfect, and requires some ulterior thinking as to really get a grasp of a melting. 08,07,2008 and 08,08,2008 had basically very little melt compared to other days, this is inconsistency should be presenting an error factor within the measurement itself. When the ice compresses it is easier, so the real numbers depend on winds, or consolidation by sudden freezing right after sea ice minima…

    Special thanks as always to all your efforts, truly commendable but especially informative…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  678. Wayne Davidson 639, following on from your 591:

    2001 when your [Max] claim it has been cooling ever since; Really?? Sea ice utterly denies your reasoning….

    I pointed out to you Wayne that sea-ice melt is not simply a matter of air temperature, to which Max was referring.

    You do not make it clear if you read 543, as recommended, but if so, did you notice for example this statement from NASA?
    “The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.

    To elaborate; sea-ice melt is affected by at least winds, air temperature, thermohaline circulation, water temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, solar variations, black carbon, dust….. will that do?

    You can speculate as much as you like as to how significant these things are, but it is highly assumptive of you to assert any factuals. The real facts are that air temperature is only one of the drivers of sea ice concentration, and sea ice is fragile compared to say ice shelves and glaciers.

    Perhaps compare another complexity:
    If you have been following the discussion on retreat of the more robust Jakobshavn glacier, you may have learnt that the popular intuitive cause of retreat as a consequence of air temperature, is clearly NOT the primary cause of retreat.

    Comment by BobFJ — 9 Aug 2009 @ 3:43 AM

  679. max writes:

    Atmospheric water vapor content and temperature do, indeed, correlate to some extent. But it would be foolish to assume that relative humidity will remain constant with increased temperature. (Minschwaner + Dessler have shown based on observations in the tropics that RH actually decreases with warming).

    Not enough. Water vapor feedback is positive. Here are four recent studies which reach that conclusion from empirical evidence:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    As to the solar impact on 20th century warming, there have been several studies by solar experts, which have concluded that roughly half of the observed 20th century warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity (highest in several thousand years). These studies have concluded that the solar impact on early 20th century warming was greater than on the warming which occurred after 1970, but the overall average for the entire century was around half of the warming or 0.35C

    If you would like the reference to these studies so you can check them yourself, please let me know.

    Just read this:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    When I do the math, I don’t find ANY significant solar influence from 1880 to 2007. I’ve tried it with four different measures of solar activity — TSI (solar constant), sunspot number, years since minimum, and years since maximum. It’s just not there.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 5:49 AM

  680. BobFJ, what makes you think that the only effect of global warming in the Arctic is the local surface temperature increase? Global warming impacts atmospheric pressure distributions, clouds, winds and ocean currents. The atmosphere and oceans are dynamic systems that respond to the energy being added to them.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  681. #678 Bob, Is clear, you extrapolate one wind event, and claim all years are wind events… Amazingly incorrect!!!
    Please keep showing your misinterpretations as to inform us all of your climate ignorance, and soon you will have to use another nick name.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  682. #678 Bob , Might as well help you, Winds are never the same , year by year, patterns vary always, week by week… There is dominant winds at one point or another, but no specific pattern being always persistent. Perhaps after a while, you will understand…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:49 AM

  683. #678 BobFJ

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html#anthropogenic

    Please do review the topics to help you with other related questions

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 9 Aug 2009 @ 10:23 AM

  684. Well, BobFJ: “These require summing asymmetric uncertainty estimates from the component terms, and cannot be obtained by simple addition.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  685. > “primary cause”

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/igsoc/jog/2008/00000054/00000187/art00008?crawler=true

    “… We examine seasonal and interannual changes in ice-front position, surface elevation and flow speed for 32 glaciers along the southeastern coast between 2000 and 2006…. Many retreats began with an increase in thinning rates near the front in the summer of 2003, a year of record high coastal-air and sea-surface temperatures….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  686. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=2570192475898672976&hl=en

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  687. “… the science marches on. On July 7, the American Geophysical Union put out a press release on a paper appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Oceans. ‘Scientists have evaluated for the first time how much the thickness and volume of Arctic sea ice, not just the ice’s surface area, have shrunk since 2004 across the Arctic Ocean basin. Even where the sea ice cover persists despite climate change in the region, a vast portion of the remaining ice layer has become thinner than it used to be, the new study finds.’”
    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/editor/87/8730editor.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:57 AM

  688. An example of a wind being dominant is the trade winds.

    Reliable enough to build a seafaring empire with but with lots of variation.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  689. <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/world/canada/articles/2009/08/09/vast_expanses_of_arctic_ice_melt_in_summer_heat”Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat, Charles J. Hanley, AP Special Correspondent, August 9, 2009

    “TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories—The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

    From the barren Arctic shore of this village in Canada’s far northwest, 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) north of Seattle, veteran observer Eddie Gruben has seen the summer ice retreating more each decade as the world has warmed. By this weekend the ice edge lay some 80 miles (128 kilometers) at sea.

    As far as realistic future climate projections, the minimal reliable period for predictions appears to be about a decade, doesn’t it? On shorter timescales, natural variability can dominate the trend.

    The same thing happens on with cyclic seasonal trends – short warm periods between winter storms do not indicate the onset of an early spring. Likewise, periods of rapid warming are interspersed with periods of small-scale equilibration.

    As the ice melts and more ocean is exposed, the polar ocean will cool more rapidly in the fall (thus warming the atmosphere, leading to prolonged fall warmth, as observed). Since ocean temperatures play a role in sea ice thickness and extent, this is a kind of negative feedback – but it is only a short term effect, as warmer summer water in the North Pacific continues to infiltrate in the fall. Thus, the actual warming trend ends up looking more like a jagged staircase than a smooth slope, with steps as broad as a decade, as various positive and negative feedbacks kick in.

    For example, see:

    http://www.whoi.edu/beaufortgyre/pdfs/shimada_seaice_grl2006.pdf

    Shimida et al. April 2006 GRL “Pacific Ocean inflow: Influence on catastrophic reduction of sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean”

    The basic issue is this:

    In the Canada Basin the primary oceanic heat source to the sea-ice cover and atmosphere is not the Atlantic Water which lies beneath the halocline but, instead, the Pacific Summer Water that occupies the upper portion of the halocline…

    They also describe the complex interplay between wind, water and ice in the region, and how ocean warming may affect that:

    However, if sea-ice cover is reduced along the coast, then the momentum of wind is more efficiently transferred to the ice and underlying waters. Therefore the delayed development of sea-ice cover in winter enhances the retroflexion (westward turning) of PSW, just as the warmest pulse of PSW arrives on the Beaufort Slope. This anomalous heat flux into the western Canada Basin retards sea-ice formation during winter which, in turn, causes an imbalance between ice growth in winter and ice melt in summer, further accelerating sea ice reduction.

    That enforces the point that amplified Arctic warming but is due to increased equator-to-pole heat transport as much as to other local factors (aerosols & albedo).

    The authors also point out that:

    The potential of shifting from no-slip to free-slip boundary conditions constraining sea-ice motion implies that thresholds are established that, once crossed by an initial reduction in sea-ice, result in catastrophic change.

    If you look at current sea ice images you can see that this is the region with greatest ice melt:

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png

    Comment by Ike Solem — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  690. funny why the ice area figures differ so much. It seems this year will be similar to 2008 give or take 100,000 sq km.

    Comment by dave p — 9 Aug 2009 @ 4:17 PM

  691. #689, Ike, its truly complex, but there are a few main simple features which make a greater or lesser melt.

    1- High sun during the summer solstice
    2- Few clouds allowing the high sun to do its thing
    3- A cloudy Arctic winter preceding a sunny summer
    4- Higher than usual temperatures
    5- Salinity (the elephant frequently not discussed about)

    Educating Bob a bit more, lets look at his “wind” obsession…

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/19790808.png

    1979 Chuckchi sea open water

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/19890808.png

    1989 Chuckchi sea??? Open water. Barents sea open..

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/19990808.png

    1999 Chuckchi sea open water. Barents sea Open

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    2009 Chuckchi sea open water. Barents sea Open

    Winds:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfcwnd_90b.rnl.gif

    In 2009 Must be Bob’s winds!!! He appears to be right in the Chuckchi However wrong in the Barents… With stronger than usual winds going towards Scandinavia.

    Lets look at the melt progress from 1982 with respect to 2008

    http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/arctic-sea-ice-minimum-extent-in-september-1982-and-2008

    Even with a great melt there is a pattern, so most RC readers know the reason for this pattern, I will leave Bob explain to us his demonstrably impressive grasp on this subject…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  692. #590, Dave, really liked Paul’s Leap year comment in #676, simple factors are often underestimated. Its not at all like 2008, I am a bit perplexed by NSIDC verifiable MODIS claims of more sun over the Beaufort, yet more ice. As I wrote earlier, I didn’t see the sun hitting that area alot during the solstice period. So I preclude MODIS 3 month analysis, just as a matter to think about what happened, I come up with a cloud “imprint” , but the ice should be very thin, and will melt quite easily given present warmer temperatures.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 5:51 PM

  693. > funny why the ice area figures differ so much

    dave p — did you read the explanation on the site?
    It’s less confusing if you read the explanations at

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Click where you see “Learn about” and “Read about”
    under the daily update.

    “Learn about update delays ….
    Read about the data.”

    Look at the pictures; sometimes there are clouds.
    Anything interfering with a good picture is noise; it affects daily results.
    They explain how they clean up the noise, for more accurate monthly results.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  694. Barton Paul Levenson, Reur 650, in part:

    Nobody’s ever observed that there’s more water vapor pressure when it’s hotter?

    I think everyone agrees that there must be a positive feedback from increased water vapour with global warming. (e.g. Dessler, Zhang, & Yang, GRL, 35; 2008). However, what do you speculate WRT side effects such as possible changes in cloud cover and species? Might there be increased precipitation, with higher albedo fresh snow somewhere? If there is more water vapour, might you speculate that there will be increased evaporation? (which according to NOAA and others is already the greatest HEAT loss process from the surface, see links).
    http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/u2L5aimage.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth’s_energy_budget

    Comment by BobFJ — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  695. # 694:there will be some evaporative cooling from increased water vapor cooling too, (cloud formations, higher-lower optical densities in conjunction with CCN, more/less rain and so forth)and LW heat loss to space, however, there will be net warming effects approaching equilibrium in conjunction with natural weather and climate processes.(conduction, convection, advection, wind magnitude changes, adiabatic processes and lapse rates)If there was not huge evaporative heat losses then AGW would be far more severe than it currently is. I am out of time, so I am brief, but I look forward to other poster responses as we use greater specificity.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 9 Aug 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  696. BobFJ (comment 694),
    Evaporation is not the greatest heat loss process from the surface. Longwave surface radiation amounts to almost five times the energy output that evapotranspiration provides. Check out Fig 1. in this link, which gives more recent data than that in Trenberth (1997).

    Comment by Jeff — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:59 AM

  697. Sure, BobFJ, you could, well, scientists could write several hundred papers
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=14448914297137877150&hl=en
    or even a book about it.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=9611808599973159357&hl=en
    Google Scholar could be your friend.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:03 AM

  698. PS, BobFJ, if you want to read just one paper, start here:
    http://courses.eas.ualberta.ca/eas570/h2o_cycle_global_warming.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:06 AM

  699. Oh, and BobFJ, if you don’t want to read one, at least read a bit from the conclusion section. Like this, which gets across a point related to some science Gavin’s mentioned to me several times over the years, in reply to some of my dumber questions, and that I’m finally getting a glimmering of:

    7. Conclusions
    A number of important aspects of the hydrological
    response to warming are a direct consequence of the
    increase in lower-tropospheric water vapor. Because
    the increase in strength of the global hydrological cycle
    is constrained by the relatively small changes in radia-
    tive fluxes, it cannot keep up with the rapid increase in
    lower tropospheric vapor. …. In many popular,
    and in some scientific, discussions of global warming, it
    is implicitly assumed that the atmosphere will, in some
    sense, become more energetic as it warms. By the fun-
    damental measure provided by the average vertical ex-
    change of mass between the boundary layer and the
    free troposphere, the atmospheric circulation must, in
    fact, slow down….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:12 AM

  700. Re my 650, Please ignore previous, that link also failed, second try
    The second link is broken… This one should be OK:
    It contains three energy diagrams.

    Earth’s_energy_budget

    If this one is also broken, please paste the following line into Google:
    Earth’s energy budget – Wikipedia

    Comment by BobFJ — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:30 AM

  701. BobFJ writes:
    Re:increased precipitation and evaporation

    1)Globally speaking: the average humidity of the atmosphere is not necessarily related to average water vapor residence time in the atmosphere. The latter controls the flux per unit time of water into the air thru evaporation and return thru precipitation, or, if you like, the velocity of the water cycle.

    2)Locally speaking: I seem to recall some work that indicates extreme precipitation and drought events are likely to increase? For hurricanes, in intensity, and for droughts, in frequency ?

    Comment by sidd — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:32 AM

  702. Can anyone display the CICE animation?

    http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/LANL-CICE.html

    It seems projection nearly 0 sea ice by 2040 minima:

    http://www.lanl.gov/news/index.php/fuseaction/1663.article/d/20078/id/11863

    Which seems more correct to Hadley by a wide margin…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:05 AM

  703. “Might there be increased precipitation, with higher albedo fresh snow somewhere? ”

    Might there be less, with less high albedo fresh snow in more places?

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:18 AM

  704. ” It seems this year will be similar to 2008 give or take 100,000 sq km.

    Comment by dave p”

    Yup, they’ll be the same if you ignore the differences.

    Like the old joke says: what’s the difference between a duck’s legs?

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:20 AM

  705. Wayne Davidson Reur 691, in part:

    ”…Educating Bob a bit more, lets look at his “wind” obsession…
    …Must be Bob’s winds!!! He appears to be right in the Chuckchi However wrong in the Barents…
    …I will leave Bob explain to us his demonstrably impressive grasp on this subject…”

    Thank you for all the links, certainly interesting.
    However, just because I quote the following from a NASA article, does not mean that I’m obsessed by winds:
    “The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.”

    I also went on to say (678):
    To elaborate; sea-ice melt is affected by at least winds, air temperature, thermohaline circulation, water temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, solar variations, black carbon, dust….. will that do?
    Well if you want more, there are also some oscillations such as NAO right?
    Finally my grasp on these complexities is not as impressive as you claim, and I think that anyone who claims to understand the frailties of sea ice is simplistically speculating. There are simply too many unknowns to draw any conclusions.
    Even the more robust Jakobshavn glacier apparently has no correlation to air temperatures, paradoxical though that may seem.

    Comment by BobFJ — 10 Aug 2009 @ 3:28 AM

  706. Barton Paul Levenson (679)

    No one disputes that water vapor feedback with warming should be expected to be positive.

    But the constant RH assumption results in a gross exaggeration of this feedback and its 2xCO2 impact.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:16 AM

  707. BobFJ writes:

    If there is more water vapour, might you speculate that there will be increased evaporation? (which according to NOAA and others is already the greatest HEAT loss process from the surface, see links).

    It isn’t. Radiation is.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:43 AM

  708. Hank Roberts (660)

    In response to my 653 to Barton Paul Levenson you stated (relating to solar studies I had cited which show significant 20th century warming attributed to high level of solar activity):

    “Yes, post the cites, and the page of the second- or third-hand website where you’re reading this spin, since you’re not quoting from the primary source.”

    Hank. You are wrong again. No “spin”, no “second-or third-hand websites”. Here are five of the studies:

    Lean et al.
    http://www.geo.umass.edu/faculty/bradley/lean1995.pdf

    Scafetta and West
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/334163/Phenomenological-solar-contribution-to-the-19002000-global-surface-warming

    Shaviv and Veizer
    http://www.gsajournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-static&name=i1052-5173-14-3-e4&ct=1

    Solanki et al.
    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/nature02995.pdf
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/solanki2004/solanki2004.html

    Soon et al.
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1996ApJ…472..891S

    Max

    [Response: None of these are proper multi-factor detection and attribution papers. Correlation is not enough. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 6:00 AM

  709. Kevin McKinney

    Thanks for links to albedo observations (652). These are a bit lower for snow/ice than those I have seen before (0.75 vs. 0.8 for the upper value).

    I believe we all agree that sea ice has an empirically observed higher albedo than sea water, so that a significant net melting of sea ice should lower the average albedo of Earth.

    I posted another link to a study on the albedo of sea surface water on this site (296). This study shows that this varies strongly with latitude and degree of waviness.
    http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/JOSJ/pdf/2104/21040148.pdf

    Using these data plus the high estimate of sea ice albedo (0.8) and the changes in Arctic plus Antarctic sea ice, I calculated very roughly that to date the average albedo of the Earth was lowered by 0.06% (from the estimated 30% to 29.94%).

    Taking the pessimistic assumption that there would eventually be an “ice free summer” in the Arctic plus no further growth of Antarctic sea ice, I came up with a future reduction of the average albedo of the Earth by 0.6% (from 30% to 29.4%).

    Posters opined in response that my calculation was oversimplified, but no one came up with a better figure for the overall impact of global sea ice changes on the average albedo of the Earth.to date or a better estimate for the future.

    Do you have any ideas on this?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 6:53 AM

  710. FurryCatHerder

    Your comment on Arctic sea ice recovery 1995/1996 being comparable to the recent recovery since the 2007 all-time low is interesting.

    I would also agree with your estimate that 2010 will probably also be well above the 2007 low.

    The overall trend (since 1979) is still downward, of course. Whether or not the current reversal is part of a longer-term cyclical trend (as postulated by a Russian study citing the previous shrinking/warming of the 1930s/40s) or whether ASI will continue shrinking in response to a continuation of the currently interrupted warming trend is anyone’s guess.

    I think it is safe to say that the moderators of this site (RC) believe the latter will be the case.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:21 AM

  711. Gavin

    To the five solar studies I cited which showed significantw20th century warming attributable to the unusually high level of solar activity you commented:

    “None of these are proper multi-factor detection and attribution papers. Correlation is not enough. – gavin”

    Can you be a bit more specific here, gavin?

    Thanks.

    Max

    [Response: If two or more things (A, B, C...) happen at the same time that a particular effect (X) is observed, a statement that X must be caused by C (and not mentioning A or B) is not going to be very robust. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:25 AM

  712. Gavin

    Can you point me to “proper multi-factor detection and attribution papers” that confirm that AGW is a potentially serious threat? “Correlation is not enough.”

    Also I would like this to be based on empirical data rather than simply model studies. Okay?

    Thanks.

    Max

    [Response: All D&A studies require a 'model' - either statistical or physical. Lean and Rind (2006?) was a statistical one, while chapter 8 in AR4 gives a larger discussion of other recent approaches. None give large numbers for solar. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:30 AM

  713. Barton Paul Levenson (650)

    Here is a model study on cloud feedbacks using super-parameterization and showing a strongly negative net cloud feedback, resulting in a global climate sensitivity of only 0.41 K/(W / m^2).
    http://www.usclivar.org/Newsletter/VariationsV4N1/BrethertonCPT.pdf

    I usually prefer empirical data to model studies, but since you cited a model study on clouds in your 650, I thought I’d return the favor.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 7:41 AM

  714. Gavin

    The “correlation” between solar activity and global climate since the early 17th century has been empirically demonstrated, even though the physical mechanism for this correlation, which would prove causation has not been defined.

    There have been proposed mechanisms (ex. Svensmark cosmic/cloud connection), but these have been discarded by IPCC.

    IPCC limits its definition of solar impact to the direct solar irradiation, stating that this is much too small to have caused any significant warming.

    Yet the warming since the early 17th century is unequivocal and there are no other natural or anthropogenic forcing factors other than solar that have been shown to be the cause for this warming up to the early 20th century when human GHGs started to appear on the scene.

    The CO2/temperature “correlation” fits into the same category with one notable exception: a mechanism has been postulated based on the greenhouse theory. In addition, there is the suggestion that a variety of model-derived positive feedbacks will lead to a 3 to 4-fold increase in the GH impact as specified by the GH theory.

    So in both cases we have “correlation”, but no direct empirical support for “causation”.

    Please explain to the essential difference here, Gavin.

    Why can the unusually high measured level of activity of the sun not have been the cause of a significant portion of the warming we have measured since the modern record started around 1850?

    Max

    [Response: First off, there is still substantial disagreement about the level of solar activity prior to the satellite record. You get different answers if you use 14C, or 10Be from Greenland or 10Be from Antarctica and even the sunspot record is not as solid as one might think. Second, changes in volcanism are a significant player in the pre-industrial and could well have been as important or even dominant. Single factor correlation studies - like Soon or Scafetta's papers are inherently unstable to the presence of confounding factors when you basically only have a small number of degrees of freedom. D&A for the twentieth century is not based on a naive correlation of temperature and CO2 - and you know that full well. Read the IDAG report for instance. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  715. Mark

    AIS extent:

    “It seems this year will be similar to 2007 give or take 500,000 sq km.”

    Yup.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:38 AM

  716. Sidd

    You asked (701):

    “ I seem to recall some work that indicates extreme precipitation and drought events are likely to increase? For hurricanes, in intensity, and for droughts, in frequency ?”

    IPCC SPM 2007 (p.8) tells us:

    “Heavy precipitation events” are “likely” (>66%) to have increased “in the late 20th century”, that the “likelihood of a human contribution” to this trend is “more likely than not” (>50%) with the footnote:

    “Magnitude of anthropogenic contributions not assessed. Attribution for these phenomena based on expert judgment rather than formal attribution studies.”

    Yet the likelihood of future trends based on projections for 21st century are listed as “very likely” (>90%).

    So a 66+% likelihood with a 50-50 “expert” guess on cause (rather than a study) becomes a 90+% sure thing for the future!

    The same is true for increased “intense tropical cyclone activity” (e.g.. hurricanes) and “area affected by droughts”.

    Believe you can forget these forecasts as highly speculative.

    Check the expert papers, such as that of Dr. Chris Landsea on hurricanes for some real information.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:55 AM

  717. …whether ASI will continue shrinking in response to a continuation of the currently interrupted warming trend is anyone’s guess. I think it is safe to say that the moderators of this site (RC) believe the latter will be the case.

    Yeah, I’m sure they believe that the decline in arctic sea ice is due to the lack of warming over the last several years. I mean what could be clearer right? And I think it is safe to say that whatever they believe, your imterpretation of their explanation thereof will be about 180 degrees off.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:03 AM

  718. Gavin

    Thanks for your explanation and link to 2004 IDAG report.

    This report does indicate that the warming contribution from individual natural forcings and internal variability remains controversial. They do cite a solar report (which I did not include in my list) by Stott et al.
    http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/StottEtAl.pdf

    This report concludes:

    “It is found that current climate models underestimate the observed climate response to solar forcing over the twentieth century as a whole, indicating that the climate system has a greater sensitivity to solar forcing than do models. The results from this research show that increases in solar irradiance are likely to have had a greater
    influence on global-mean temperatures in the first half of the twentieth century than the combined effects of changes in anthropogenic forcings. Nevertheless the results confirm previous analyses showing that greenhouse gas increases explain most of the global warming observed in the second half of the twentieth century.”

    This is exactly the point I was trying to make, based on the other solar studies I cited, namely the early 20th century warming may have been driven largely by solar forcing with some small GHG effect while the late 20th century warming may have been driven largely by the GH effect, with a small solar component.

    On average, this would have led to a roughly 50/50 attribution.

    Max

    [Response: Perhaps you'd care to mention how old that paper is, which out of date solar reconstruction they used, and why no more modern study has come up with the same answer? But regardless, this is a big step up from what you were claiming as evidence earlier. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:16 AM

  719. My link to Trenberth’s recent paper on the Earth’s Energy Budget didn’t quite work. Let’s try again.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/BAMSmarTrenberth.pdf

    Comment by Jeff — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:56 AM

  720. Mark (703)

    “Might there be increased precipitation, with higher albedo fresh snow somewhere? ”
    “Might there be less, with less high albedo fresh snow in more places?”

    Yup, to both.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  721. Max / manacker does the usual — posts one thing from the old literature and claims to have contributed some useful information, while spinning the conclusion toward the PR line.

    Nonsense, again. Look up the author; look up the author’s subsequent work.

    Max / manacker doesn’t like to give cites to published sources — that makes it easier for people to click the links on the publication pages for subsequent and cited material.

    No, Max / manacker likes to drop misleading posts and hope nobody follows up.

    I’m about done following this elephant; anyone else want to pick up the dustpan and broom and take on the chore of improving on what he leaves behind?

    Just for the record, Max / Manacker did it again — posted a poor reference to an older earlier study that hasn’t held up, according this time to the same authors’ more detailed work.

    How do you find this? Look up the authors in Google Scholar.
    This is just ONE of the many newer papers
    that Max / Manacker must have ignored while digging
    out the old preliminary work to spin his posting.

    Or, of course, he could just be mining this crap out of
    denial/PR sites, since he never seens to have references.

    Shame, manacker — pretending to discuss science, doing PR.

    Just one of the many updates that belies Max’s spin above:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&scoring=r&q=Bretherton+cloud+feedback+sensitivity&as_ylo=2009

    ftp://eos.atmos.washington.edu/pub/mwyant/papers/blossey_bretherton_wyant2009.pdf

    Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

    Subtropical Low Cloud Response to a Warmer Climate in a
    Superparameterized Climate Model. Part II. Column Modeling with a
    Cloud Resolving Model

    Peter N. Blossey, Christopher S. Bretherton and Matthew C. Wyant

    … With SP-CAM grid resolution, the CRM shows +2 K low cloud increases similar to SP-CAM. With fine grid resolution, the CRM-simulated low cloud fraction and its increase in a warmer climate are much smaller. Hence, the negative low cloud feedbacks in SP-CAM may be exaggerated by under-resolution of cloud-topped boundary layers …

    … A practical modeling implication of our study is
    that a superparameterized GCM or global CRM likely
    needs very high resolution — on the order of ∆x=250m
    and ∆z=100m — to realistically simulate subtropical85
    boundary layer cloud feedbacks on climate. While the
    required resolution is computationally infeasible for a
    global CRM for the foreseeable future, it might be within
    reach of a suitably designed superparameterized GCM ….

    ——-

    Max / manacker / bogus / spin / why bother

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  722. “It seems this year will be similar to 2007 give or take 500,000 sq km.”

    So ignoring the differences, they’ll be the same.

    Colour me unsurprised.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:46 AM

  723. ““Might there be less, with less high albedo fresh snow in more places?”

    Yup, to both.

    Max”

    So discuss the second one.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  724. “But the constant RH assumption results in a gross exaggeration of this feedback and its 2xCO2 impact.

    Max”

    So since there is no assumption of constant RH, there is no gross exaggeration of CO2 doubling effect.

    Correct?

    Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  725. Bob , saying that we dont understand everything is true, but it does imply that we know a lot more than we use to. Ignorance is not an excuse for causing doubts and confusion. What is at doubt is what we specifically dont discuss.

    Lets go back to 1979…

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/19790810.png

    And you can go back to 1597, Barents sea was and almost is usually open during the summer.
    With winds or no winds. But near land, sea ice was much more prominent in 1979. Solid enough for Caribou to cross. Look at 2009,

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    Every where near land, either on the Canadian or Russian side of the Pole. There is less ice. Either
    you can explain that the winds are all conspiring to make it so, extremely unlikely? Would you say?
    Or as land warms, so does adjoining sea.

    The bigger issue, is salinity, and the existence of fresher water, either in ice or in the Arctic ocean surface, and as to, whether constant wind battering of the open ocean surface will increase sea surface salinity and affect the entire Arctic circulatory cooling engine, transforming it to circulate differently. Winds from any direction causing upwelling will be a factor in this case, upwelling deeper more saline water will change the entire system gradually. As you can see this system still holds, for now, as is, despite warmer temperatures, giving similar melt areas over the wider Arctic ocean since 1979. But the release of fresh water found in the multi-year ice over the last few years means that there is a new salinity balance in the works.

    Any glacier around Greenland is vulnerable to one thing simultaneously, warmer temperatures on its flanks during the warming season, and to say that one glacier is not moving as expected during warmer conditions is silly. Should all others more erratically as well?

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  726. re #708

    That’s a dreadful lot of cherrypicking manacker. It’s easy to hunt around for old papers that might provide temporary support of an agenda, but one should at least run papers through Google Scholar to determine whether the old papers, and even what their authors think in the light of recent evidence, have stood up to the test of time! Your examples fail:

    ONE: The old Lean paper that you cited – way out of date. Here’s what Lean (and in fact pretty much all the proper solar scientists) have established from analysis of solar contributions in the almost 15 years since the old paper you cited:

    J. L. Lean and D. H. Rind (2008) “How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006″, Geophys. Res. Lett.35, L18701., who conclude their analysis with:

    “For the ninety years from 1906 to 1996, the average slope of the anthropogenic–related temperature change in Figure 3d is 0.045 K per decade whereas Allen et al. [2006] concluded that the rate is 0.03–0.05 K per decade for this same period. Solar-induced warming is almost an order of magnitude smaller. It contributes 10%, not 65% [Scafetta and West, 2006, 2008], of surface warming in the past 100 years and, if anything, a very slight overall cooling in the past 25 years (Table 1), not 20–30% of the warming.

    Lean’s analysis certainly doesn’t support your agenda!

    TWO: The Shaviv/Veizer paper you cited. This has nothing to do with 20th century temperature variation. It’s about a flawed hypothesis on the role of CRF variations in the deep past (the ~500 million years of the Phanerozoic era). Veizer himself has re-assessed this putative relationship, reinterpreted his previous paleotemperature analysis and concluded that the paleotemperature data correlates with the atmospheric CO2 levels (rather than a putative CRF flux variation):

    Came RE, Eiler JM, Veizer J, Azmy K, Brand U, Weidman CR (2007) Coupling of surface temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Palaeozoic era Nature 449, 198-201

    Abstract: Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations seem to have been several times modern levels during much of the Palaeozoic era (543-248 million years ago), but decreased during the Carboniferous period to concentrations similar to that of today(1-3). Given that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it has been proposed that surface temperatures were significantly higher during the earlier portions of the Palaeozoic era(1). A reconstruction of tropical sea surface temperatures based on the delta O-18 of carbonate fossils indicates, however, that the magnitude of temperature variability throughout this period was small(4), suggesting that global climate may be independent of variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Here we present estimates of sea surface temperatures that were obtained from fossil brachiopod and mollusc shells using the ‘carbonate clumped isotope’ method(5)-an approach that, unlike the delta O-18 method, does not require independent estimates of the isotopic composition of the Palaeozoic ocean. Our results indicate that tropical sea surface temperatures were significantly higher than today during the Early Silurian period (443-423 Myr ago), when carbon dioxide concentrations are thought to have been relatively high, and were broadly similar to today during the Late Carboniferous period (314-300 Myr ago), when carbon dioxide concentrations are thought to have been similar to the present-day value. Our results are consistent with the proposal that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations drive or amplify increased global temperatures(1,6).

    The Shaviv/Veizer article certainly doesn’t support your agenda either!

    THREE: The Solanki paper. Like the other solar scientists, Solanki has made rather more detailed analyses using new understanding of solar contributions to surface temperature and determined that the entire solar irradiance contribution to earth’s temperature since the Maunder minimum is 1.3 W. This gives a contribution to warming of around 0.2 oC [1.3 * 0.25 (geometry)* 0.7 (albedo)* 0.8 (sensitivity)] over this entire period of which 0.1 oC or less is 20th century. A very similar conclusion to that of Lean.

    L. Balmaceda, N.A. Krivova and S.K. Solanki (2007) “Reconstruction of solar irradiance using the Group sunspot number” Advances in Space Research 40, 986-989

    Abstract: We present a reconstruction of total solar irradiance since 1610 to the present based on variations of the surface distribution of the solar magnetic field. The latter is calculated from the historical record of the Group sunspot number using a simple but consistent physical model. Our model successfully reproduces three independent data sets: total solar irradiance measurements available since 1978, total photospheric magnetic flux from 1974 and the open magnetic flux since 1868 (as empirically reconstructed from the geomagnetic aa-index). The model predicts an increase in the total solar irradiance since the Maunder Minimum of about 1.3 Wm−2.

    So Solanki certainly doesn’t support your agenda opinion either!

    And so on….

    Comment by chris — 10 Aug 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  727. Mark

    You asked:

    “So since there is no assumption of constant RH, there is no gross exaggeration of CO2 doubling effect.
    Correct?”

    Umm…

    Check IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch. 3, p.374 and Ch.8, pp. 632, 633, 635 for confirmation of constant RH assumption. .

    Max

    [Response: Please look up the difference in definition between "assumption" and "result". It might help. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 3:08 PM

  728. Chris (726)

    Let me digest your long post, check out the references you cited and get back to you.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Aug 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  729. > manacker says:
    > 10 August 2009 at 3:09 PM
    > Chris (726)
    > Let me digest your long post, check out the references
    > you cited

    Max / manacker — you’re ignoring the basic skill needed to get out of the slough of denial.

    Look papers up for yourself with Google Scholar.
    Look at the primary source, at least the abstract.
    Click the links for supporting material if available
    Read the footnotes.
    Click the “cited by” links (sometimes several different services provide these and they may differ)

    As long as you focus on individual papers, wherever you’re getting them (co2science is typically the source for this kind of spin) — you’ll never have good information.

    You’ll just continue posting bad outdated information with spin wrapping around it.

    Science is like that. Follow it forward.
    Anyone can do it, as a blog reader at least, trying to find the best information — and ask smart questions after reading it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:16 PM

  730. Jeff, Reur 696:

    BobFJ (comment 694),
    Evaporation is not the greatest heat loss process from the surface. Longwave surface radiation amounts to almost five times the energy output that evapotranspiration provides. Check out Fig 1. in this link, which gives more recent data than that in Trenberth (1997).

    If you wish to visualize that the 396 w/m^2 EMR leaving the surface (cooling) to be HEAT, don’t overlook the fact that 333 w/m^2 EMR is being back radiated, and if also visualised as HEAT, then this is a heating effect, replacing the heat loss.
    The net HEAT loss via EMR is (396 – 333). See also this for example from NASA Earth Observatory:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/images/surface_energy_balance.jpg

    Comment by BobFJ — 10 Aug 2009 @ 9:16 PM

  731. BobFJ (730):

    Your comment applies equally as well to latent heat. The energy provided to the atmosphere by latent heat is back radiated in much the same manner that the radiant heat is back radiated. Why discriminate? You are applying different standards to each forcing. The truth is that the radiative process produces 5 times the forcing that latent heat does. That, my friend, is inescapable.

    Comment by Jeff — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:12 PM


  732. BobFJ says:
    10 August 2009 at 9:16 PM

    If you wish to visualize that the 396 w/m^2 EMR leaving the surface (cooling) to be HEAT, don’t overlook the fact that 333 w/m^2 EMR is being back radiated, and if also visualised as HEAT, then this is a heating effect, replacing the heat loss.
    The net HEAT loss via EMR is (396 – 333).

    The heat returning via EMR didn’t get there exclusively via upwelling EMR, it makes no sense to consider it as a net effect.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 11 Aug 2009 @ 1:55 AM

  733. Why are you so fixated on talking about ammunition: High Explosive Ant-Tank, Bob?

    Heat is merely kinetic energy of a bulk mass randomised through elastic collision.

    It transports either by the bulk movement of the medium (convection), the equipartitioning of energy when the average energy of the medium changes (conduction) and release of electromagnetic waves (radiation).

    Yet you keep writing HEAT as if it is some magical thing that only YOU know the meaning of.

    You are more apparently LESS knowledgeable of what heat is than the layman.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 2:33 AM

  734. “Check IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch. 3, p.374 and Ch.8, pp. 632, 633, 635 for confirmation of constant RH assumption. .

    Max”

    And the RH constant is a result, not an assumption.

    Since your only meme against CO2 being the cause is that constant RH is assumed and that this is not an assumption being made, I take it you will now accept that CO2 effect isn’t being overestimated, yes?

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 2:36 AM

  735. Sidd reur 701, you wrote in part:

    ”BobFJ writes:
    Re:increased precipitation and evaporation
    1)Globally speaking: the average humidity of the atmosphere is not necessarily related to average water vapor residence time in the atmosphere. The latter controls the flux per unit time of water into the air thru evaporation and return thru precipitation, or, if you like, the velocity of the water cycle…”

    But I think everyone agrees that in a warming world there will be increased forcing from water vapour. (positive feedback). For that to be the case there MUST be an increased average level of water vapour in the atmosphere. I don’t understand why you think the residence time or cycle time is important. Surely what matters is the average level of water vapour that is being constantly lost and replaced?
    For instance, if it rains more, (just to take your point 2), that implies a responsive reduction in some water clouds and/or water vapour, but the precipitation on land will result in increased evaporation and biological transpiration activity.
    To me, it seems fundamental that because there is water vapour positive feedback, then it is strongly intuitive that there must be increased evapo-transpiration to enable that to be so.

    [Response: Sidd is correct - gavin]

    Comment by BobFJ — 11 Aug 2009 @ 3:38 AM

  736. manacker writes:

    No one disputes that water vapor feedback with warming should be expected to be positive.

    But the constant RH assumption results in a gross exaggeration of this feedback and its 2xCO2 impact.

    Empirical evidence says you’re wrong:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Aug 2009 @ 4:48 AM

  737. BobFJ writes:

    If you wish to visualize that the 396 w/m^2 EMR leaving the surface (cooling) to be HEAT, don’t overlook the fact that 333 w/m^2 EMR is being back radiated, and if also visualised as HEAT, then this is a heating effect, replacing the heat loss.
    The net HEAT loss via EMR is (396 – 333). See also this for example from NASA Earth Observatory:

    You’re seriously confused, dude.

    Sunlight and atmospheric back-radiation HEAT the surface.

    IR radiation from the ground, conduction/convection, and evapotranspiration COOL the surface.

    Both numbers are equal over the long run. By your definition, that would mean no heat is being transferred.

    Sorry, but you can’t say evapotranspiration cools the surface and infrared radiation doesn’t. That’s just illiterate from a physics point of view.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Aug 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  738. Mark

    You posed a rather convoluted question (734):

    “Since your only meme against CO2 being the cause is that constant RH is assumed and that this is not an assumption being made, I take it you will now accept that CO2 effect isn’t being overestimated, yes?”

    No.

    I can accept the GH theory that CO2 might theoretically cause somewhere around 1C warming if doubled (ex. from “pre-industrial” 280 to “year 2100 maybe” 560 ppmv), all other things being equal. But, Mark, as we are seeing “all other things” are not “equal”, and these have been overlooked by IPCC in its myopic fixation on anthropogenic forcing factors (primarily CO2).

    I have a very hard time accepting that the 2xCO2 impact of net cloud feedbacks is an increase of 1.3C (as estimated by IPCC), especially when there are data out there telling me that the net impact of clouds on our climate is one of strong cooling (over four times the theoretical 2xCO2 impact) and physical studies showing a strong net negative feedback from clouds with warming over the tropics.

    This is a much smaller bone of contention, but I also doubt seriously that atmospheric water vapor content will increase in goose-step with temperature according to Clausius-Clapeyron to maintain constant RH. A serious study has shown that RH decreases with temperature over the tropics. So I believe that the impact of the water vapor feedback on the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is overstated by IPCC.

    So I’d say that (as a result of these discrepancies) the 2xCO2 temperature “effect is being overestimated”.

    Hope this answers your question and clears up my position

    Max.

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2009 @ 6:44 AM

  739. Gavin

    Thanks for tip on ‘difference in definition between “assumption” and “result”‘.

    This has been helpful.

    Without getting too much into the nitty gritty mechanics, let me summarize:

    Computer models provide “results”.

    These are strongly influenced by the “assumptions” fed into these models.

    It is all very clear to me now, Gavin.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2009 @ 6:51 AM

  740. “These are strongly influenced by the “assumptions” fed into these models”

    However, one of those “assumptions” wasn’t that RH was a constant.

    Most of the other assumptions were things like adding 1 to 1 makes 2, and that PV=nRT.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 7:49 AM

  741. ““Since your only meme against CO2 being the cause is that constant RH is assumed and that this is not an assumption being made, I take it you will now accept that CO2 effect isn’t being overestimated, yes?”

    No.”

    Why not?

    You didn’t believe the models when it said about 3C because you thought that this was a result of a constant RH being assumed in the models.

    Now that you’ve been told that there is no such assumption made in models by someone who writes such models, you should now be admitting that your assumption was faulty and the result of that faulty assumption needs to be revisited.

    Yet you still cling to the idea that CO2 doubling will cause much less temperature increase than evidence shows is the case.

    Why?

    “especially when there are data out there telling me that the net impact of clouds on our climate is one of strong cooling ”

    But there’s data out there telling you that cloud cooling cannot cause the temperature sensitivity to be less than about 2.5C per doubling of CO2.

    And the datum of the IPCC report, based on scores of papers.

    You cling to data that says the sensitivity is low and ignore that your assertion that this was due to RH constancy being assumed is provably wrong.

    Why?

    “A serious study has shown that RH decreases with temperature over the tropics.”

    And serious studies (note the plural) have shown that RH globally is pretty well constant.

    But you go with the minority view.

    Why?

    “So I’d say that (as a result of these discrepancies) the 2xCO2 temperature “effect is being overestimated”.”

    But how do you say that when your only point to “prove” overestimation was the incorrect assumption that a constant RH was an input parameter for models?

    You DID say that.

    And it is wrong.

    But despite that assumption being wrong, which should (if you are being logically consistent) result in the warming per doubling being HIGHER than you thought before being corrected, it is still much lower than almost all serious papers on the subject say it can be.

    Why?

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 7:57 AM

  742. Re Max #739:

    > Computer models provide “results”.

    So do empirical studies — without the quotation marks. Why are you so fixated on computer models? Did a computer treat you badly when you were little?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  743. Chris (726)

    Looks like the latest study by Lean and Rind (2008) which you cited disagrees with the Scafetta and West (2008) study, which concludes that 69% of the warming of the past 100 years can be attributed to the sun (L+R state that this is only 10%).

    The studies, which I cited, concluded on average that this was around 50% over the entire 20th century, with a higher percentage of the early 20th century warming period (1910-1944) attributable to solar factors than of the late 20th century warming (1976-2005), where the solar contribution was estimated to be relatively minor.

    Looks like we have a “take your pick situation”, and there is still “controversy” on the relative impact of solar and anthropogenic factors on observed 20th century climate changes, which is the point I made earlier.

    As far as Shaviv and Veizer, the report I cited states: “Once this solar amplification is included, the paleoclimate data is consistent with a solar (direct and indirect) contribution of 0.32 ± 0.11 °C toward global warming over the past century”.

    As for the L. Balmaceda, N.A. Krivova and S.K. Solanki (2007) study, which you cite, the study does state “The model predicts an increase in the total solar irradiance since the Maunder Minimum of about 1.3 Wm−2.”

    This does not appear to contradict the earlier Solanki et al. study, which pointed out that the 20th century level of solar activity was the highest in several thousand years, and “although the rarity of the current episode of high average sunspot number may be taken as an indication that the Sun has contributed to the unusual degree of climate change during the twentieth century, we stress that solar variability is unlikely to be the prime cause of the strong warming during the last three decades.”

    Again, reference is made to “the last three decades” as the period where solar factors had less influence than during earlier periods of the 20th century.

    I’d say that all of the studies show that there is still a lot that is not yet known about the mechanisms involved in solar warming of our planet or about the relative role played by the sun in our planet’s past and most recent climate.

    But thanks for links anyway. The reports were interesting.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  744. For someone who’s repeatedly rebuked for hsi posts and who’s advised people to ‘disregard anything that is posted by RealClimate. This is not a serious blogsite on climate science’, I hope Manacker appreciates the tolerance he’s been offered at Realclimate.

    I suspect it won’t be for much longer though.

    Comment by Nelson — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:21 AM

  745. Barton Paul Levenson (736)

    Here is some “empirical evidence” from the cited Minschwaner + Dessler report (Fig. 7), showing observed water vapor increase with warming and comparing this with the “constant RH assumption” line as well as with the line from the simplified M+D model.
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3347/3610454667_9ac0b7773f_b.jpg

    Looks pretty clear to me. This evidence shows that you are wrong, but let’s not belabor that point.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:21 AM

  746. Mark Vermeer

    You wrote (742):

    ‘Computer models provide “results”.
    So do empirical studies — without the quotation marks. Why are you so fixated on computer models? Did a computer treat you badly when you were little?’

    No problem with computers, Mark.

    You just have to see them for what they really are and are not: They are not oracles providing prophesies for the future or fountains of wisdom, but simply monstrously expensive, highly sophisticated reincarnations of the old slide-rule of the past.

    Observed empirical data provide tangible support for hypotheses or theories.

    Computer model outputs (or “results”) per se do not.

    Max

    [Response: They do when they provide a match between observed effects and model results - implying that physical causes and effects can be attributed. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  747. Just curious . . . did anyone see Scafetta’s talk at the Fall 2008 AGU meeting? In his abstract he states “A cooling of the global climate, not predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections, has been observed since 2002.” Was he roundly ridiculed for not knowing the difference between weather and climate?

    Comment by Jeff — 11 Aug 2009 @ 8:54 AM

  748. Re: #725

    Right now I have a real problem with the quality of data coming out of University of Illinois and NOAA. They both appear to lack proper quality controls and corrective action plans.

    For the last couple of weeks, the Cryosphere Today website has been displaying the formation of Sea Ice on coastlines around the world. Some of that sea ice supposedly forming in waters which have nighttime SST’s in the 20C range. (Germany, Denmark, etc…. Totally Impossible outcomes…)

    I’ve emailed and called them up in person about these gross errors.
    So far, ZERO corrective action @ UIUC !!

    In the same vein. NOAA has been using ICE map masks upwards of a month out of date!! That error masks the true SST’s in open water areas near the poles. I’ve called, and talked to them about it, looks like NOAA is using historic ice cover masks instead of realtime data to mask off SST’s.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/index.html

    They have access to the data needed to fix this error..

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/mirs/mirs_images/n19_sice_des.png
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/mirs/mirs_images/n18_sice_des.png
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/mirs/mirs_images/m2_sice_des.png

    I’m really surprised that errors of this magnitude could have been overlooked !!!

    Until NOAA and Cyrosphere today resolve these issues, I will treat their web based data products with suspicion, and will NOT cite any of their mapping/summary as an authoritative reference. I.E. Mapping and summary data fails the obvious error test.

    Comment by Tim — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  749. “You just have to see them for what they really are and are not: ”

    Would have to ask you do do that yourself?

    It doesn’t seem as though you do.

    Computer models do the physical maths. The empirical evidence PROVES (in the old-fashioned sense of “test”) the physical maths as implemented in the model.

    Since we have no time travel, we cannot get future trends now. Since we have the option of complete disaster in the future if we do nothing, we can’t wait for the future to hit us like a freight train with the lights out in a tunnel.

    So we use the empirical evidence as proving the model works like real life (or close enough) and then use that model to predict the future course.

    Just like the bombing computer works out when the bomb should be dropped to hit target. A computer model that is EXTREMELY limited in resources and time. Yet it has turned the average bombing error from over 200 feet in WW2 to less than 30 feet today.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:06 AM

  750. “For someone who’s repeatedly rebuked for hsi posts and who’s advised people to ‘disregard anything that is posted by RealClimate.”

    What you don’t realise Nelson is that Max is talking about his own posts. He’s advising that his posts should be ignored. Just leaving out that it is HIS posts he’s talking about, leaving the impression of all posts being wrong without actually *specifically* lying about it.

    Weasel wording at its finest!

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  751. “Until NOAA and Cyrosphere today resolve these issues, I will treat their web based data products with suspicion, and will NOT cite any of their mapping/summary as an authoritative reference.

    Comment by Tim ”

    Aw.

    I bet they’re real disappointed…

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  752. re 704
    that was uncalled for. 100,000 sq km is a minute proportion of the melt, and could be accounted for by differing interpretations of the figures. The point being that while it would be impossible for this year and 2008 to have exactly the same ice loss the difference looks like being one for pedants.

    Comment by dave p — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  753. “100,000 sq km is a minute proportion of the melt, and could be accounted for by differing interpretations of the figures.”

    It’s still pretty silly to say “apart from the differences, they’re the same!”.

    After all, no “differing interpretations” were taken to mean that even if the data seemed to show more ice extent (which says almost nothing about volume) was higher, that this was proof AGW is wrong, is there.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:26 AM

  754. Jeff (731), I don’t think that is correct; but I’m not sure, so maybe you can help.. When seawater evaporates it picks up thermal heat energy from the sea (cooling it) without (materially) increasing the temperature of the vapor. When the vapor later condenses it releases its internal energy to increase the temp up the atmosphere, but does not affect the temp or energy of the sea when the rain falls into it. Though that heated atmosphere has other possible (but not certain) routes for “returning the temperature” to the sea. Comments or corrections?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Aug 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  755. Martin (742), Is there anyone who has not been treated badly at least once by a computer?? ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Aug 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  756. Rod, no. You can’t do this without the math.
    We’ve talked this through endlessly, and you keep insisting on using words as though you could add and subtract them.

    Words like “thermal heat” and “temperature” (presumably you also have the notion there would also be nonthermal heat, or thermal cold, to fill out this bestiary?).

    You’re just fooling yourself to try to fit, I dunno what.

    Heat of condensation — molecules condense from vapor to liquid; they have quit moving too fast to stick together, and the energy goes into the surrounding atmosphere.

    Picture a lot of molecules — H2O, O2, N2 — jittering around individually. The H2O molecules start pairing off and the O2 and N2 jitter slightly more.;

    Heat of vaporization — molecules that were slow enough to stick together as liquid pick up enough energy to break loose as vapor — individual molecules.

    Picture lots of H2O molecules all together as a liquid, but something is adding to the total energy in the liquid so the mass is lurching around, the molecules are being thrown about, and eventually a crack-the-whip effect puts enough kick into one of them that it zings off independently.

    Temperature — what the thermometer reads

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Aug 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  757. Rod, the point I was trying to make, albeit poorly, was that latent heat transfer to the atmosphere will increase the temperature of the atmosphere, which will increase the radiant flux downward according to the Stefan Boltzmann equation. You can’t separate the effects of latent heat and downward IR flux, so it is foolhardy to compare the magnitudes of latent heat (one way) and net radiative flux (two ways). Besides, BobFJ stated that latent heat represented the greatest heat loss PROCESS, which is not true, for the reasons I have mentioned above.

    Comment by Jeff — 11 Aug 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  758. Re 754 where did you get that bit about AGW being wrong, without it the extent would be near it’s 1979 level.All it means is that the melting is similar to last years and above 2007. The 2007 low will remain an anomaly at least until next year.

    Comment by dave p — 11 Aug 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  759. Barton Paul Levenson 737, in part:

    Sunlight and atmospheric back-radiation HEAT the surface.

    So the backradiation heating that you refer to replaces a goodly portion of the heat that is lost? Yes or no?

    IR radiation from the ground, conduction/convection, and evapotranspiration COOL the surface.

    Agreed, but you also wrote:

    Both numbers are equal over the long run. By your definition, that would mean no heat is being transferred.

    If you mean that the K & T upwelling EMR of 396 w/m^2 and the backradiation of 333 w/m^2 are equal over the long run, then you are contradicting K & T 1987, and various divisions of NASA.

    Sorry, but you can’t say evapotranspiration cools the surface and infrared radiation doesn’t. That’s just illiterate from a physics point of view.

    I’ve never said that, and for instance in my 730, quote: The net HEAT loss via EMR is (396 – 333)

    Comment by BobFJ — 11 Aug 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  760. I must say that you are extraordinarily patient with people like Max.
    But they are a big distraction to those of us who are generally interested in the science and maybe have a few questions of our own. Max is of the belief that ‘puny man’ is incapable of changing the Earth’s climate and that it is ‘arrogant’ to think otherwise. This kind of belief can’t be rational. It must therefore be delusional, and needs to be treated as such.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 11 Aug 2009 @ 5:48 PM

  761. PeterMartin
    (also known as Tempterrain)

    Rather than opining to third parties on what you believe my opinion may be, why don’t you stick to your own?

    There is a lot to be learned about our planet’s climate and possible human plus cyclical natural impacts and a myopic fixation on just either of these factors would be foolish, as I am sure you would agree.

    That is what makes exchanges on sites such as RC interesting. One can always learn something new if one keeps an open mind.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 5:50 AM

  762. manacker writes:

    Here is some “empirical evidence” from the cited Minschwaner + Dessler report (Fig. 7), showing observed water vapor increase with warming and comparing this with the “constant RH assumption” line as well as with the line from the simplified M+D model.
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3347/3610454667_9ac0b7773f_b.jpg

    Looks pretty clear to me. This evidence shows that you are wrong, but let’s not belabor that point.

    Right, max, a study confined to +/- 20 degrees latitude, with restrictions on areas used by observed OLR, over six years of time series data, with a one-month time lag used for no clear reason (to make the correlation higher?) disproves all the studies using global data over longer periods of time and without the artificial restrictions.

    Can’t you read?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:13 AM

  763. BobFJ writes:

    If you mean that the K & T upwelling EMR of 396 w/m^2 and the backradiation of 333 w/m^2 are equal over the long run, then you are contradicting K & T 1987, and various divisions of NASA.

    I am not saying that. I am saying:

    Heating:
    161 Solar
    367 Atmospheric back-radiation

    468

    Cooling:
    371 IR radiation
    80 latent heat
    17 sensible heat

    468

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:18 AM

  764. “That is what makes exchanges on sites such as RC interesting. One can always learn something new if one keeps an open mind.”

    That isn’t what you’ve said elsewhere, Max.

    Speaking from both sides of your face…

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 6:41 AM

  765. Barton Paul Levenson

    Empirical evidence for water vapor RH decreasing significantly with increased temperature over the tropics. Can’t you read?

    What percentage of the world’s surface would you guess is covered by +20 / -20?

    Take a guess and ry to be a bit more polite.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:17 AM

  766. Gavin

    Thanks for your comment (746) on “observed empirical data” versus “computer model outputs (or ‘results’)” as tangible support for hypotheses or theories.

    You wrote:
    “They [computer model results] do [provide tangible support for hypotheses or theories] when they provide a match between observed effects and model results – implying that physical causes and effects can be attributed.”

    I think we are saying the same thing, Gavin. It is the “observed empirical data” that lend the “computer model results” their authenticity. Without the match with “observed empirical data”, the “computer model results” per se do not provide tangible support for hypotheses.

    That was the point I was trying to make.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  767. Re 766. And yet, Max, you continue to insist, after 20 times of being told otherwise, that constant relative humidity is an assumption of the models, rather than a result.

    Can we take it from this latest pronouncement that you have finally learnt this distinction?

    Yeah, right.

    Comment by CTG — 12 Aug 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  768. CTG (767)

    You are making a big “to-do” about a fine point in semantics when you write:

    “And yet, Max, you continue to insist, after 20 times of being told otherwise, that constant relative humidity is an assumption of the models, rather than a result.”

    First, please show the “20 times”, CTG.

    Second, as Gavin has commented, a “result” (or climate model output) is only valid as tangible support for a hypothesis or theory if it is backed by empirical evidence.

    M+D have provided empirical evidence, based on actual physical observations, that RH does nor remain constant with warming but that water vapor increases by only a small fraction of what would happen if RH remained constant. This study was limited to the tropics (+20 to –20 degrees).

    Model “results” that predict constant RH with warming are based on “assumptions” that are fed in.

    I have seen no empirical evidence that RH remains constant with warming.

    Show me the empirical evidence that RH remains constant with warming, CTG.

    Max

    [Response: Soden et al (2002; 2005),Forster and Collins (2004), Bauer et al (2004), Dessler and Sherwood (2009), Allen et al (2003), McCarthy and Toumi (2004). All taken from IPCC AR4 section 8.6.3.1. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  769. “Take a guess and ry to be a bit more polite.

    Max”

    Try being less dumb.

    Annoying people tends to make them less polite to you.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  770. > +20 / -20?

    Max. You keep ignoring the problems — here, the six month time lag, Max; if you move any line on a chart around far enough you can match up something similar from earlier. Just slide one over the other til you see something line up and claim a correlation with a time lag.

    Your routine continues: proclaiming your conclusion; people point out whatever source you claim doesn’t support your story; you repeat it.

    You can’t be reading the science and be this wrong this consistently.

    Are you just channeling CO2Science? Where are you getting this stuff?

    People are being incredibly patient.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  771. Hank Roberts

    Sorry, your last post (770) does not appear to make sense.

    Can you express this all a bit more clearly?

    Thanks.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 10:41 AM

  772. Max your question #771 doesn’t make sense.

    Can you please explain your confusion better so you may be answered.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  773. Hank, not sure of your complaint as I agree with most of your words (756). Maybe the disagreement is in the semantics: you might have it down cold but there is a great confusion out there with the terms “heat” energy” and “temperature”. Temperature and energy are not equivalent; heat is more often than not (an) energy but not temperature; though sometimes it does refer to temperature (something getting hot by adding “heat”). Ergo confusion. So I try to pick my terms carefully here.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:34 AM

  774. Max said:Second, as Gavin has commented, a “result” (or climate model output) is only valid as tangible support for a hypothesis or theory if it is backed by empirical evidence.”

    See Gettelman and Fu (2008) as well
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/andrew/papers/gettelman2008_wv.pdf

    Since this paper (in addition to the older ones available for IPCC AR4) shows agreement between empirical evidence and modelling, by your standards it is valid support for the theory. Your misunderstanding was merely due to an incomplete survey of the literature. Perhaps you should change your approach so that you don’t miss these papers.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:40 AM

  775. Jeff (757), I understand that. The IR “return” is one thing I had in mind in my “other routes”. (Sidebar: there is some confusion/disagreement over the atmosphere generating S-B radiation.) I’m not sure if I agree with you viz-a-viz BobF, though that whole thing strikes me as entirely semantic.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:40 AM

  776. dave p (758), did you mean re 704, not 754??

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Aug 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  777. Back to ice:

    http://seaice.bplaced.net/buoy-pos/

    I wonder if the Bremen people can be kind enough (as they always are) to show us a link to their splendid up to date websites… Namely the buoy animations as the link above and model volume estimates.

    And the very quiet Los Alamos people: they would be kind to show the CICE projections… I want to see if sea current appears to change over time.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  778. http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/animations/Rigor&Wallace2004_AgeOfIce1979to2007.mpg

    This site from international Buoy program shows a nice but too fast animation to see if there is a dramatic current change. http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/research_seaiceageextent.html
    Has a few explanations

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 1:43 PM

  779. t_p_hamilton

    I’m checking out your 774 and will get back to you.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  780. “First, please show the “20 times”, CTG.”

    Now who’s being pedantic? I don’t know the exact number of times that Gavin has corrected you on this, but any number greater than 1 indicates that you are being obtuse on this point. There are many times when you have claimed the GCMs must be wrong because they assume constant relative humidity. Do you deny you have said this?

    There is a great deal of difference between an assumption and a result, as Gavin has explained several times. An assumption of constant relative humidity would mean that the models take one value for RH at the start, and never vary it. This is not what they do. RH is in fact a calculated product of the models. Specific humidity can change by a large amount (i.e. water vapour feedback), whilst relative humidity changes by a much smaller amount. Relative humidity changes by such a small amount that you can approximate it to be constant

    Gavin has also provided you with a list of references – these have the empirical evidence you are looking for. Cooling following volcanic eruptions shows large changes in specific humidity, while relative humidity stays roughly constant. In fact, if the models do not include the water vapour feedback mechanism, they are unable to reproduce the cooling induced by volcanic eruptions.

    The information is there if you look for it, Max, but if you are unwilling to read the actual science and learn from it, there is nothing we can do to help you.

    Comment by CTG — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  781. You see, Max, your behaviour over this relative humidity business is one of the main reasons people here have little time for you.

    It is not unreasonable for a skeptic to ask questions, and indeed that should be encouraged. It is unreasonable, though, for a skeptic to refuse to accept an answer to a question just because they don’t like the answer.

    For example:
    Reasonable Skeptic: I think the GCMs are wrong because they assume constant relative humidity.
    Gavin: Actually, constant RH is a result of the models, not an assumption. Here are some references.
    [RS goes away and reads the references]
    Reasonable Skeptic: Oh right, my mistake. Next question…
    [RS never mentions constant RH being an assumption again].

    Compare that with:
    Max: I think the GCMs are wrong because they assume constant relative humidity.
    Gavin: Actually, constant RH is a result of the models, not an assumption. Here are some references.
    [a few posts later...]
    Max: I think the GCMs are wrong because they assume constant relative humidity.
    [repeat ad nauseam]

    Do you see the difference, Max?

    Comment by CTG — 12 Aug 2009 @ 5:03 PM

  782. Max,

    Are you lecturing us on keeping an open mind? Nice one!

    Your earlier comment, to which I was referring, was “The arrogance of thinking that puny man is changing global climate is only exceeded by the stupidity of believing we can – and must – urgently do something to stop it”

    This sort of declaration cannot be based on any sort of rationalaty. The rational response to an initial question of “is it possible that mankind is changing the climate?” is to say “Yes maybe it is. Lets do some calculations and look at the evidence”.

    You obviously decided that this was not at all any kind of necessary step. That’s not keeping an open mind!

    Its not good to stifle debate, but I would like the guys at real climate to stick to Climate Science rather than having to waste time with people who hold irrational beliefs.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 12 Aug 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  783. the Bremen site seema to be having delays updating. anybody know why?

    Comment by dave p — 12 Aug 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  784. Max,

    The behavior of RH in a warming climate is really simple, and it’s related (I’m pretty sure …) to the shape of the pH20 v T curve for a given RH.

    Put into plain English, with fewer abbreviations, the amount of moisture that warm air holds is greater than the amount of moisture that cold air will hold. But it isn’t just “greater”, it’s “more greater” — the amount of water vapor air can hold at a fixed relative humidity increases at a faster rate than the temperature (positive second derivative, if you know what that means). What this means is that as the air cools in the evening, the relative humidity increases faster, and this increases the probability that the water vapor will come out as precipitation. So, back down goes the relative humidity.

    This is what an earlier poster said about a warming climate increases the “velocity” or “turnover rate” of water vapor in the atmosphere. The higher daily temperatures INCREASE evaporation, which increases the total water vapor. But the swing back from those higher temperatures have a greater impact on forcing that water vapor back to the liquid state than at lower temperatures. The result — constant relative humidity and it doesn’t even require a model.

    Here’s an equation (actually, a Java method …) that might make it easier to understand –

    /**
    * pH2O – compute the H2O saturation partial pressure for a given
    * temperature (in degrees C) using the Magnus-Teton formula.
    *
    * @param temp
    * @return pH2O.
    */
    private static double pH2O(double temp) {
    double value = ((17.625 * temp) / (243.04 + temp));
    value = 6.1094 * Math.exp(value);
    return value;
    }

    (We’ll see if the “pre” tags are honored!)

    As you can see, pH2O increases EXPONENTIALLY with increases in temperature, but decreases EXPONENTIALLY with decreases from those same higher temperatures.

    What then is “Relative Humidity”? It’s the ratio of the dewpoint’s pH2O with the current temperatures pH2O at saturation. Again, more Java (all of which is copyrighted by me, but since I’m not copying the entire file, feel free to print out and line your bird cage with) –

    public static double estimateRH(double dewPoint, double temp) {
    if (temp < dewPoint)
    return 100;

    double currentPH2O = pH2O(temp);
    double dewPH2O = pH2O(dewPoint);

    return (dewPH2O / currentPH2O) * 100;
    }

    As you should be able to see (maybe …) the rise in the dewpoint caused by rising temperatures (which would normally cause a rise in RH) is offset by the newer, higher temperatures.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:11 PM

  785. I don’t understand the issue under discussion. In a local weather report, relative humidity goes up and down almost hourly. Is this a case where words mean something differently in a technical context than in the vernacular?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 12 Aug 2009 @ 8:10 PM

  786. Furrycatherder, This is all good stuff. If Max has brought this out, then maybe he does have a role to play after all. If you think he is unreasonable on RC, though he’s actually on his best behaviour, you should see what he’s like on other forums. He’s pretty active. I really don’t know how he finds time for the normal things in life.

    Max’s latest words of wisdom, on the topic of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s warning on the urgency to act to cut GHG emissions is “FIRE THE BUM !”. So, unfortunately, his level of irrationality puts him beyond all help.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 12 Aug 2009 @ 8:59 PM

  787. #761 manacker

    Max

    PeterMartin has made some cogent points regarding your perspective. Rather than saying your version of ‘I know you are but what am I’, might you consider the points he is clearly making are actually reasonable assessments of your perspective in that you have presented many of your considerations out of context.

    I also agree with PeterMartin that you do not seem to have a reasonable open mind in this subject area.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 4:45 AM

  788. #766 manacker

    Do you live in a cherry orchard? I’ve looked now a little at what you are posting elsewhere, hmmm… pot, meet kettle.

    Here, manacker cherry picks his way through the IPCC
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/01/hansens-coal-and-global-warming-protest-may-get-snowed-out/

    Here manacker and Bob_FJ cherry pick their way through temp data and even using an admission of fact regarding short term data v. long term trend from IPCC Chairman

    http://www.paulmacrae.com/?p=74

    The point is Max, you are looking at everything out of context. That is foolish actually. You have been shown relevant context and you ignore it. That is foolish as well. Maturity is not making the same mistake over and over, especially in the face of relevant reason and overwhelming evidence.

    Why is it you can’t separate short term from long term? Is it that you can’t understand that natural variability actually exists on a short term and decadal scale within the 30 year trend that already has attribution?

    When I here you speak of having an ‘open mind’ I am again reminded of a line form the movie ‘Princess Bride’ – “Do you think he is using the same wind we are using?”

    In this case, I don’t think you are using the same wind. I would venture that scientists use as their wind ‘ratiocination’ and the ‘scientific method’ and you are using for your wind something akin to, or same as, ancient mythology, naivete, and portions of myopia and ignorance.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:21 AM

  789. FurryCatHerder

    Good analysis. What about the role of clouds? Will these increase with higher RH in the complex environment of our atmosphere? What impact will this have? Will there be more (or less) precipitation? What impact will this have? How will all these changes be felt locally, regionally and globally?

    Theory is great (Clausius-Clapeyron, etc.). But our climate is far more complex than simple gas laws.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  790. Peter Martin

    Since you are repeating messages that you posted on another site, I will repeat the response I gave you to this message on another site.

    I usually do not enter into a discussion based on a loaded question, but I will make an exception here, since I believe that you are seriously interested in my answer rather than than just baiting me.

    You asked: “Why do you believe that ‘puny man’ is incapable of changing the climate? Why is it ‘arrogant’ to suggest otherwise?”

    Several world politicians (including Germany’s Angela Merkel) have made statements such as “we must stop global warming to no more than 2°C by year 2100”.

    It is “arrogant” of these politicians to believe that they can actually achieve this self-imposed goal.

    IPCC tells us that CO2 is likely to be at a level twice the pre-industrial level of 280 ppmv by year 2100 (560 ppmv).

    IPCC also tells us that this will cause an equilibrium warming of 1.5 to 4.5°C above pre-industrial values by year 2100. The mean 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is stated to be 3.2°C.

    So far it has warmed by around 0.7 to 1.0°C since pre-industrial times. Some AGW gurus tell us that some of the warming to date is “still in the pipeline”.

    This means that (on average) we have somewhere between 2.2 and 2.5°C warming to be expected from AGW from today until year 2100 (all other things being equal, which they rarely are).

    And these politicians are telling us that they will commit to keeping this at a maximum of 2.0°C!

    No big deal. Just (pardon the expression) “hot air”.

    Now let’s look at some specific proposals to “change our planet’s climate.

    Hansen (a climate “prophet”, who happens also to be quite “arrogant”), tells us that coal trains are like the “death trains” of WWII, and that 450 ppmv is a “dangerous level” of CO2, which could lead to irreversible “tipping points” in our climate and horrible consequences for our society and our environment.

    From this horror scenario have come proposals that the USA should stop building new coal-fired power plants in starting in 2010 and shut down half of all existing plants by 2050.

    Now, I have figured out what impact this astronomically costly upheaval of US power generation would have on global temperature, and it is around 0.05°C. (You and I discussed this earlier on the Harmless Sky site).

    So yes. “Puny man” (the politicians and climate gurus, included) is unable to “change the climate” on our planet, Peter.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:53 AM

  791. CTG

    You appear to misunderstand the exchange on RH.

    We are at the point now that I have presented one study based on empirical evidence of physical observations, which shows that water vapor content increases with warming, but only at a small fraction of the rate required to maintain a constant RH. This study (M+D) was limited to the tropics.

    In addition, I have posted long-term NOAA data that show that absolute atmospheric water vapor content as measured by weather balloons and satellites (and hence also RH) have decreased over the long term, despite increasing global temperatures over this period.

    Gavin has cited other studies, which purport to provide empirical data based on physical observations, which show that RH remains constant with warming.

    I have not yet checked out all these references to make sure that they are, indeed, based on the empirical data gleaned from actual physical observations and not simply on model studies.

    Once I have looked at them all in detail, I will come back to this discussion.

    Got it now?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2009 @ 6:06 AM

  792. manacker writes:

    Empirical evidence for water vapor RH decreasing significantly with increased temperature over the tropics. Can’t you read?

    What percentage of the world’s surface would you guess is covered by +20 / -20?

    Take a guess and ry to be a bit more polite.

    Since a perfect sphere has area inside a given latitude of sine theta, 34%. But aside from exclusing two-third of the world, you’re ignoring the fact that climate conditions vary greatly by latitude. And all the other special conditions the folks writing your article listed in the very chart you referred me to. And why do you focus on that one study and ignore the four studies I referred you to?

    Could it be because you’re only looking for evidence to support a predetermined viewpoint, and ignoring anything that doesn’t fit?

    [Response: Don't forget that M&D are only looking at a very small chunk of the upper troposphere around 200 to 100mb, (around 15km height). - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2009 @ 6:55 AM

  793. Jeffrey Davis writes:

    In a local weather report, relative humidity goes up and down almost hourly. Is this a case where words mean something differently in a technical context than in the vernacular?

    The reference is to the global average, which seems to stay about the same over significant differences in temperature.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Aug 2009 @ 7:08 AM

  794. Max @ 790:

    From this horror scenario have come proposals that the USA should stop building new coal-fired power plants in starting in 2010 and shut down half of all existing plants by 2050.

    Now, I have figured out what impact this astronomically costly upheaval of US power generation would have on global temperature, and it is around 0.05°C. (You and I discussed this earlier on the Harmless Sky site).

    Well, by 2050, most of the existing coal plants will long since have reached their end-of-life and need replacing anyway. Why not replace them with something that doesn’t require cutting the tops off mountains or digging giant holes in the ground?

    Reality is that renewable energy really does work. It’s cheap, abundant, improves the quality of life (my friends are turning their thermostats up because of huge bills, I’ve turned mine down and I still average $47 a month — and that includes recharging an electric vehicle) and doesn’t pollute. You can support getting rid of coal because it causes global warming, or you can support getting rid of coal because renewable energy makes life better. All I know is that while people I know here in Austin, TX are fretting huge electric bills and rising gasoline prices, I’m just sitting here shaking my head.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:19 AM

  795. Max @ 789:

    FurryCatHerder

    Good analysis. What about the role of clouds? Will these increase with higher RH in the complex environment of our atmosphere? What impact will this have? Will there be more (or less) precipitation? What impact will this have? How will all these changes be felt locally, regionally and globally?

    Uh, what higher relative humidity? Did you just completely ignore what I wrote? The only thing that’s going to be higher is the absolute humidity, and that doesn’t affect clouds. Clouds happen when air is saturated, and at higher average temperatures, air holds more water before saturation (I even gave you the formula), so fewer clouds. The water vapor that is in the air further contributes to warming (ever noticed that a humid night is a warmer night?), but we don’t wind up living on some cloud-covered planet that reflects all the sun’s radiation magically back into space because the increased warming due to increased water vapor leads to … a greater ability to hold more water vapor.

    Look, if you want to be a “skeptic”, that’s fine — but try to understand what the heck is going on.

    And for an added bonus, if you’re just here to cause trouble, find ways to cause trouble and actually be RIGHT. Because causing trouble and being wrong is just boring. But causing trouble and being right — much more exciting.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  796. Jeffrey Davis @ 785:

    I don’t understand the issue under discussion. In a local weather report, relative humidity goes up and down almost hourly. Is this a case where words mean something differently in a technical context than in the vernacular?

    Relative humidity rises and falls because the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere doesn’t rise and fall as rapidly as the temperature. But what holds it all “up” is the dew point, which is the basis for the relative humidity.

    All relative humidity is is the percentage difference between the amount of water the atmosphere COULD hold at the present temperature, and the amount of water the atmosphere DOES hold. As the temperature rises, the relative humidity falls because the dew point hasn’t changed. In the evening, the temperature falls and the relative humidity rises because the dew point still hasn’t changed. Of course, rain, evaporation and air moving in from somewhere else can change that, but that complexity is what makes life worth living.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  797. #790 manacker

    The message you are stating in this post is completely bizarre. In other posts you doubt that man is changing the climate and here you are using the statements of others that say man ‘has’ changed the climate but ‘now’ we ‘can’t’ change the climate.

    When considered together your spin is cumulative and increasingly foolish. Also, you bait all the time and you refuse to answer questions that ‘bait’ you? Hypocrisy is the word that best describes your behavior.

    So let’s add your inferred perspectives together:

    - Climate is too complex to understand.

    - The people you quote arrogantly claim man has changed the climate.

    but if man has changed the climate

    - It is arrogant of the people you quote to claim that man can change the climate (mitigation).

    Of course, you are still cherry picking form the solution bin just to create a strawman you can burn down to make your point. There are many other possibilities in mitigation such as efficiency and consumption reduction as well as biomass production for energy and carbon capture. etc. etc.

    SUMMARY
    I conclude that either you are here to confuse others by making nonsensical arguments, or you have no clue what you are talking about, or likely/possibly some combination of the two.

    PS Wouldn’t it be amazing if you were held accountable for misinformation and misdirection.

    PPS Pot, meet kettle.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  798. Re #791
    Ah yes, shift the goalposts. I take it you now accept that GCMs do not assume constant RH, then? Good, at least that’s progress.

    As to empirical evidence, yes the references Gavin gave you do include empirical evidence.

    You, on the other hand, quote Minschwaner & Dessler, the abstract of which says:

    “The sensitivity of water vapor in the tropical upper troposphere to changes in surface temperature is examined using a single-column, radiative–convective model”.

    I’m sorry, but how exactly does this contradict the finding of constant RH in global GCMs looking at the whole atmosphere?

    You have not provided one piece of evidence that supports your claim that GCMs assume constant RH.

    You have not provided one piece of evidence that RH cannot remain constant in the presence of warming/cooling.

    Gavin has provided several pieces of evidence to the contrary, and you say you’ll get back to us later…

    Can’t wait.

    Comment by CTG — 13 Aug 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  799. John P. Reisman

    The question was whether or not man could change the climate on Earth, and I simply stated that the plan of stopping new coal-fired plants in the USA after 2010 and shutting down half of the existing ones by 2050 would only result in a theoretical reduction of temperature by 2050 of 0.05 degrees C.

    The least expensive way to do this would be to replace the coal-fired capacity with new nuclear fission plants. Maybe by 2050 the “fast breeder” technology with thorium could be an alternate to minimize the spent fuel problem. Maybe there might even be commercial nuclear fusion by then. Who knows?

    Saving energy and increasing efficiency, where possible, is a given, of course, as are the development of more efficient electrical cars, trucks, etc.

    Whether wind and solar sources will ever be able to overcome the fact that neither has a better on-line factor than around 30% is questionable, but bio-fuels may have some promise. Ethanol from sugar cane works well in Brazil (but the rain forests suffer if this is where the sugar cane will be grown); ethanol from corn has been a disaster in the USA, driving up food prices in the process.

    I have not seen any other specific “mitigation” plans (carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes will not result in any reduction of temperature increase, as we all know).

    Let’s say some of the solar experts are right, and we are headed for another Maunder minimum, with temperatures well below the late 20th century levels. What will man be able to do to change this climate fluctuation?

    My point is simply that we are not able to change things very much, no matter what we do.

    This is not based on “cherry picking a solution” (as you have stated). It is simply evaluating one of the specific solutions that has been proposed and establishing that it will have no effect on our climate.

    If you have some specific plans that could change our climate, please lay them out, with a calculation of just how much reduction in atmospheric CO2 the plans will achieve, so the net reduction in temperature of the plan can also be evaluated. Along with this, the cost of the proposed plan (investment as well as running cost) should be considered, so we can see waht the unit CO2 ppm cost and unit temperature cost will be.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  800. CTG

    You asked: “I take it you now accept that GCMs do not assume constant RH, then?”

    What change in RH do they assume then, CTG? An increase? A decrease?

    Please try to be specific.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 13 Aug 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  801. This RH discussion is silly, as average GT’s increase so will total water vapor content per cubic meter.

    “Evaporation increases with temperature, not because the holding capacity of the air changes, but because the more energetic molecules can evaporate more readily ”

    Air does not “hold” water….

    http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadClouds.html

    So I really like to hear from more sources on present ice conditions, and surely if a model suggests constant RH , it makes sense because of the higher energy state of the air molecules.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 13 Aug 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  802. Max,
    I moments of pessimism, I might agree with your assesment that trying to control the climate in the future is all going to be too hard. Not enough will be done quickly enough. Disaster will result. If that happens you, and those of like mind, will have played your part but, unfortunately you won’t be around to face the wrath of your descendents.

    But you’ve shifted your ground. What you actually believe, and have written on RC, is:
    “the arrogance of thinking that puny man IS changing global climate is only exceeded by the stupidity of believing we can – and must – urgently do something to stop it.”
    I would challenge you deny that this declaration is completely irrational. Furthermore, I would suggest that anyone whose beliefs are other than rationally based should stay off scientifically oriented websites.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 13 Aug 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  803. Max,
    13 August 2009 at 5:53 AM

    From this horror scenario have come proposals that the USA should stop building new coal-fired power plants in starting in 2010 and shut down half of all existing plants by 2050.

    Now, I have figured out what impact this astronomically costly upheaval of US power generation would have on global temperature, and it is around 0.05°C.

    ‘man’ ≠ ‘US coal plants’.

    What you have proven is that US coal based power generation can not change the climate (significantly). To prove that man can not change the climate, you must include the other 94% of fossil fuel related CO2 emissions. And the other greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and land use change. And use a longer horizon than 2050, let’s say 2100.

    After that exercise, let’s re-examine your claim that man can not change the climate.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 13 Aug 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  804. Wayne @ 801:

    Okay, air doesn’t “hold” water.

    However, when trying to explain something to people who don’t know the difference between an assumption and a result, “air holds water” is about the correct grade level.

    And yes, a constant relative humidity SHOULD be the outcome. The rate of evaporation increases as relative humidity declines and temperature increases. Increases in relative humidity are limited by overnight low temperatures because d pH2O / dT is positive, as it it’s second derivative (it’s an exponential function — see Java on previous page). I do very short term weather forecasting assuming a fixed dew point. Works pretty good, in terms of calculating relative humidity, which is what I’m after (solar power output is more strongly dominated by RH than Tambi-ent.)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:17 PM

  805. Max:

    The least expensive way to do this would be to replace the coal-fired capacity with new nuclear fission plants. Maybe by 2050 the “fast breeder” technology with thorium could be an alternate to minimize the spent fuel problem. Maybe there might even be commercial nuclear fusion by then. Who knows?

    Nuclear fuel isn’t renewable. Not only is there no enough to do what you’ve described, but to the extent that there is, increasing the rate at which we burn up Uranium means that there still isn’t.

    Saving energy and increasing efficiency, where possible, is a given, of course, as are the development of more efficient electrical cars, trucks, etc.

    Correct. For which we need a massive increase in electricity production. Since non-renewable sources aren’t … renewable … the only way to successfully do this is with renewable energy.

    Whether wind and solar sources will ever be able to overcome the fact that neither has a better on-line factor than around 30% is questionable, but bio-fuels may have some promise. Ethanol from sugar cane works well in Brazil (but the rain forests suffer if this is where the sugar cane will be grown); ethanol from corn has been a disaster in the USA, driving up food prices in the process.

    You’re factually incorrect on both wind and solar. Wind averages 30% of nameplate capacity, not 30% up-time. I’m going over an ERCOT white paper on “Wind Ramps” at the moment and will be sending them my version of “how to make wind work better”. And solar is far better both in terms of nameplate rating AND up-time.

    You need to learn not to make false claims on a board when there are people around who really are experts.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 13 Aug 2009 @ 8:26 PM

  806. Re 800. Ah yes, the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” trap. Lame. Is that the best you can do?

    Go away and find out how mathematical models work, then come back if you have something useful to say.

    It’s pointless talking to you when you obviously don’t have the first clue about how models work.

    Comment by CTG — 13 Aug 2009 @ 10:36 PM

  807. #799 manacker

    First, what is your statement based on? An incomplete potential scenario? And if you were right, then you are merely saying we are going to cook, which of course will destroy the entire economy of the planet. This party now pay later type attitude is wholly unacceptable. We must not act like freshman in college, we are, each of us, called to rise to the occasion and take responsibility as best we can.

    Second, you don’t understand what is going on enough to make an intelligent statement on the subject. That is clear.

    For fun, let’s just assume you are correct for a minute and consider that. If all the mitigation plans only gave us a net reduction of 0.05C, would it be worth it?

    Well, let’s compare to the BAU alternative, increased temperature and positive feedbacks increasing the temperature to say around 5.2C in 90 years. Solidly into the catastrophic scenario where most of the worlds governments either have already failed or are on the brink of failure; a global economy in tatters; resource scarcity on a scale so severe as to strain the survival capacity; et cetera.

    So this is the choice you would make?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/2009-may-leading-edge

    Now, let’s say ‘some’ of the experts are right and we get another maunder minimum? Who cares? If the TSI is at or near thermal equilibrium, hitting a maunder minimum is a significant event. But that is not where we are at. Just look at the numbers: IPCC indicates best mean estimation at 1.6 W/m2 above equilibrium. So who cares if we remove .2 or .3 W/m2? That would only bring us down to 1.3 or 1.4 W/m2 positive. I may not be a math guy, but I am pretty sure that positive is still positive, so we continue to warm.

    Personally, I would really appreciate a maunder minimum event right now as that would buy us at least a little time.

    The reason I said you are cherry picking your solutions is because it is clear to me that you are not aware of all the potential solutions and how much C we may be able to sequester in a meaningful manner? We, as a human race, have not yet risen to the occasion. You can remain despondent if you wish, and you can stand in the way of progress if you wish, but that is your choice. Be aware of your part in the play… If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

    I will not lay out my plans for you due to circumstance, but for you to say we can only… so why should we try… would be to say through recent history that man can not fly, man can not go to the moon, man can not achieve therefore man should not achieve… how utterly un-American!

    Do you live in a cave, or a house? Are you scrounging for grubs to sustain your life, or shop in a grocery store? Do you walk everywhere with a spear in your hand, or drive a car to run your errands. How dazed the mind that can not see the forest through the trees…

    Innovation got us here, so innovation will have to get us out. The first step is imagination. Maybe you are not the imaginative type, but then don’t stand in the way either unless you have substance to your reason. From my seat, you don’t.

    Context gives you relevance.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 11:54 PM

  808. #804, Its great to read the language of maths in all this, quite compelling and hard to refute!
    Well done..

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 14 Aug 2009 @ 12:02 AM

  809. Peter Martin

    I believe we have discussed the topic of man’s ability to change our planet’s climate ad nauseam.

    If you can show specific proposals that could be implemented to do so, including estimated investment plus running costs and resulting change in our planet’s climate, I would like to see your thoughts on this.

    Max

    [Response: Easy. We could try burning all the carbon-rich fossil fuels at a rate millions of times faster than it was produced, thereby increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to warming at roughly 3 deg C per doubling of CO2. It would cost trillions of dollars - mining infrastructure, building networks to transport the fuel, the distribution of 'engines' to almost every single family so they could use it, the infrastructure of 'refuelling' locations, subsidies to exploration companies etc. Even better we could start to design cities so that it becomes impossible to get around without using large amounts of these fuels and then make sure that any consequent damage from pollution wasn't paid for by the generators of that pollution so as to avoid any incentive to make better decisions. I figure it would take about 100 years to really start having an impact. You with me? - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 3:08 AM

  810. Furrycatherder,

    “Nuclear fuel isn’t renewable.” In the strictist sense of the term nothing is renewable. Even the sun is losing mass!

    However, the amount of nuclear fuel available, even on Earth, is such that it can just about be considered to be ‘renewable’.

    One possible pathway to the future would be:
    Current Technology (Enriched Uranium 235 based) > Fast Breeder reactors (U238 based)> Thorium Reactors > Fusion Reactors

    Fusion being the “Holy Grail” which could be 100 or even 200 years away. FBs and/or Thorium Reactors may be considered possible interim solutions.

    [Response: Not every thread has to end in a discussion of nuclear power. This is OT. - gavin]

    Comment by PeterMartin — 14 Aug 2009 @ 4:03 AM

  811. FurryCatHerder (804)

    I agree with your statement : “And yes, a constant relative humidity SHOULD be the outcome.”

    All other things being equal, you are 100% right.

    But why is it that the atmospheric water vapor content has decreased (based on the long-term NOAA record) while temperature has increased?
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3343/3606945645_3450dc4e6f_b.jpg

    Not only has the RH decreased over this long-term period, but the specific humidity (water vapor content) itself has also done so.

    Do you have an explanation for this?

    (Please don’t come with “the observed data must be wrong, since they do not agree with the theory”.)

    Max

    [Response: This isn't 'observed data', it is a reanalysis. Of which there are many. And none of the others show this. And this conflicts with actual observations (see the papers I gave you which you still haven't read.) - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  812. FurryCatHerder

    More info on observed RH trends FYI.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/m2054qq6126802g8/?p=e209f4ac50044f93a421b19e0a636d4bπ=0

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 4:30 AM

  813. FurryCatHerder

    The link is provided on the curve in my earlier post, but for convenience, you can get the long-term NOAA specific humidity data on:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Specific+Humidity+(up+to+300mb+only)&level=300&lat1=90&lat2=-90&lon1=180&lon2=-180&iseas=1&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=1&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries

    Max

    [Response: Not observed 'data'. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:08 AM

  814. Gavin,

    To the long-term NOAA data you wrote:

    “And this conflicts with actual observations (see the papers I gave you which you still haven’t read.) – gavin]”

    Yes, it does conflict.

    I have read and am continuing to do so. Interesting stuff. Will get back to you when I have digested it all.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:14 AM

  815. Gavin

    Of the long-term NOAA record showing a reduction in water vapor content as the planet warmed you state: “This isn’t ‘observed data’, it is a reanalysis.”

    Not to get into a fine point in semantics, but here is what NOAA writes about their water vapor content reanalysis record:

    “PSD maintains a collection of reanalysis datasets for use in climate diagnostics and attribution. Reanalysis datasets are created by assimilating (“inputting”) climate observations using the same climate model throughout the entire reanalysis period in order to reduce the affects of modeling changes on climate statistics. Observations are from many different sources including ships, satellites, ground stations, RAOBS, and radar.”

    Note that the reanalysis datasets are “created by inputting climate observations.” So they are a reanalysis based on observed climate data.

    Max

    [Response: Yes. But trends in reanalysis products are a mix of trends in the real world, trends in observing systems and the model used to do the interpolation. The RH trends in the NCEP reanalysis are unique to that product (they do not appear in the more up-to-date ERA-40, JAXA or MERRA versions), and are almost certainly tied to radiosonde technology changes (as they have gotten more responsive, they report drier conditions lower in altitude) and not real world trends. This was discussed at length in Chen et al (2008). - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:25 AM

  816. manacker:

    Whether wind and solar sources will ever be able to overcome the fact that neither has a better on-line factor than around 30% is questionable

    Where did you get the idea that solar is only on-line 30% of the time? By storing excess peak heat in molten salts to run the turbines at night and in bad weather, existing solar thermal plants are getting nearly 24/7 operation, and are already as reliable as most coal-fired plants.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:37 AM

  817. John P. Reisman

    Your long post #807 reveals that you apparently firmly believe in the premise that AGW is a serious problem, is largely caused by human CO2 emissions and will lead to horrible consequences (ex. “increased temperature and positive feedbacks increasing the temperature to [sic] say around 5.2C in 90 years”).

    I do not believe that the scientific evidence supports a temperature increase of 5.2C in 90 years from AGW.

    Our opinions differ, to be sure. They are both based on independent evaluations of all the scientific information available, yet we arrive at two different conclusions.

    Who is right? Who is wrong?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 5:44 AM

  818. #809 gavin “I figure it would take about 100 years to really start having an impact” and this after the huge concerted efforts that you describe. Realistically, how long do you figure it might take us to engineer a reversal?

    [Response: A complete reversal? Probably never. The issue is to stop it getting much worse - that might be forseeable after 50 years or so of effort. - gavin]

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Aug 2009 @ 6:27 AM

  819. Gavin (copy: simon abingdon)

    You wrote: “The issue is to stop it getting much worse – that might be forseeable after 50 years or so of effort.”

    I would be very interested in the specific proposals you have seen to “stop it getting much worse” after “50 years or so of effort”.

    How much effort at what overall cost (investment plus running cost) will be required?

    How much total reduction in emitted CO2 (GtCO2) over how many years?

    What impact would this reduction have on atmospheric CO2 concentration (ppmv) after these years?

    What net theoretical reduction in GH warming (°C) will this reduction cause as compared to not undertaking this specific long-term effort (using IPCC estimate of a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C on average).

    What is the unit cost per degree C avoided (total cost in $, cost in $ per capita of those bearing it, i.e. all citizens of the “developed” countries).

    Just some basic questions, to get a bit more specific.

    Thanks for any input you have,

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 7:08 AM

  820. #819 manacker

    Gee, you’re so clever. Instead of haranguing Gavin with your inanity, how about you tell us how much it will cost if we do nothing? Then we can all marvel at how smart you are.

    Just some basic questions, to get a bit more specific.

    Thanks for any input you have,

    John

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:07 AM

  821. Gavin

    Thanks for link to Chen at al. This does not in any way show that the long-range NOAA record (based on a reanalysis of observations) is incorrect. In fact, it says:

    “Based on the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) and the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40), a comprehensive atmospheric structure associated with the GW trend is given. Significant discrepancies exist between the two datasets, especially in the tightly coupled dynamics and water vapor fields. The dynamics fields based on NCEP–NCAR, which show a change in the Walker Circulation, are consistent with the GW change in the surface temperature field. However, intensification in the Hadley Circulation is associated with GW trend in ERA-40 instead.”

    To the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis (1948-present) to which I referred, NOAA tells us:

    “This reanalysis was the first of it’s kind. NCEP used the same climate model that were initialized with a wide variety of weather observations: ships, planes, RAOBS, station data, satellite observations and many more. By using the same model, scientists can examine climate/weather statistics and dynamic processes without the complication that model changes can cause. The dataset is kept current using near real-time observations.”

    Max

    [Response: Look at their fig 4 and then come back and discuss whether the reanalysis trends in humidity are robust. Then read Bengtsson et al 2004 for a deeper understanding for why that might be. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:30 AM

  822. Gavin

    Thanks for response.

    As I have read it, Chen does not refute the NOAA record of humidity, based on reanalysis of observed data from several sources, the link to Bengtsson et al. 2004 doe not work, and other links show Bengtsson et al. re tropical cyclone activity but not water vapor content trends. Can you give me a valid link to the Bengtsson et al paper so I can chack it out?

    Thanks.

    Max

    [Response: Try this Bengtsson et al, 2004. The point in linking to Chen was to point out how non-robust reanalysis trends are. Bengtsson tells you why. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  823. @gavin [809]
    Shh! Don’t give the game away! You know, I can’t believe Arrhenius & co. managed to get that experimental proposal past the ethics committee!

    And I must credit Lindzen et al for stepping in and ensuring the experiment wasn’t terminated in the late 20th century. If they had failed, we may have lost the opportunity to discover how quickly the Himalayan and Antarctic glaciers will melt. Fortunately the experiment will provide some interesting data in the decades to come!

    Comment by Timothy — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  824. Anne van der Boom

    Thank you for your comment (803), and sorry for delay in responding.

    I agree that the specific proposals that have been made to reduce GH warming by stopping new coal fired plants and shutting down existing ones in the USA will have no impact. They would, however, be quite expensive to implement.

    Broad statements that stopping all human CO2 emissions would show a major climate impact by year 2100 are rather meaningless. One needs to be quite specific here, because only specific actions can be implemented after cost/benefit evaluation.

    I have asked gavin for his ideas on what specific efforts should be made, along with a cost/benefit analysis, and I hope to get his thoughts on this.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  825. #824 manacker

    And I’m still waiting for you to answer my question…

    Please tell us specifically how much it will cost if we do nothing?

    And do add your cost/benefit analysis.

    I hope to get your thoughts on these important subjects.

    John

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  826. The discussion on humidity has been a useful one for me, as it has led to much better understanding of some basic issues. (Maybe I should have written “. . .led to some basic understanding. . .”)

    Gettleman 2008 seems pretty strong, to my layman’s eye. On the other hand, Max’s figure comparing the Relative Humidity reanalysis to Global Temps looked suspect to me from the get-go because the higher-frequency trendlines matched so well, while the lower-frequency trend was completely opposite in sign. Not an impossible situation, I realize, but you have to suspect a third variable. (Such as the changing bias in radiosonde data Gavin refers to later.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Aug 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  827. John P. Reisman

    You asked: “Please tell us specifically how much it will cost if we do nothing? And do add your cost/benefit analysis.”

    Who is “us”, John? I will tell you.

    It’s a no-brainer, John.

    It costs nothing to do nothing.

    Since the benefit is divided by the cost in a normal ROI analysis, when you divide by zero you get infinity, but since that can’t be right, there is no cost/benefit analysis for “doing nothing”.

    Do you have one?

    Please try to be specific (and spare me “Stern reports” and other such stuff, please).

    Thanks,

    Max

    [Response: Business-as-usual is not 'nothing'. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  828. Kevin McKinney (826)

    It’s not MY reanalysis of water vapor content, it is that of NOAA.

    And the temperature record is that of Hadley.

    So it may have “looked suspect to you from the get-go”, but take it up with NOAA and Hadley, not with me.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  829. The reference in (815) starts, “…The dominant interannual El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon and the short length of climate observation records make it difficult to study long-term climate variations in the spatiotemporal domain…” Not a very propitious beginning. But I’ll see what follows…

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:45 AM

  830. manacker
    14 August 2009 at 9:25 AM

    I agree that the specific proposals that have been made to reduce GH warming by stopping new coal fired plants and shutting down existing ones in the USA will have no impact.

    Hey, wait a minute, you said:

    Now, I have figured out what impact this astronomically costly upheaval of US power generation would have on global temperature, and it is around 0.05°C.

    What is it, no impact or 0.05°C?

    0.05°C might seem small but US coal power plants are responsible for only 6% of global CO2 emissions. You seem to be falling into the ‘divide and discard’ trap. Divide all emissions in categories that are so small that the effect of each one can be discarded as ‘insignificant’. If you do a little, you achieve a little. That was why I was asking you about the other 94%.

    What I then find a bit ironic is that you forward the question I asked you to Gavin in 14 August 2009 at 6:27 AM. You’re asking him to back up your opinions with evidence.

    I still feel you might be able to answer the issue I raised about how your calculations into the effect of dismantling US coal power generation extrapolates into ‘man can not change the climate’.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 14 Aug 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  831. Oops, the second quote I referenced to should have been 14 August 2009 at 7:08 AM

    When are we going to get our preview back so I can check my links and tags before posting.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 14 Aug 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  832. Oh, lordy, it’s manacker again. Won’t someone else clean up after him?
    All you have to do is plug what he says into Google to find out he’s spinning.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=US+coal+power+plants+are+responsible+for+only+6%25+of+global+CO2+emissions

    Or pick the search terms a little better to get a clearer idea:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=coal+total+anthropogenic+CO2

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Aug 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  833. #829 Rod, “The dominant interannual El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon and the short length of climate observation records make it difficult to study long-term climate variations in the spatiotemporal domain”

    Not really, if ENSO’s are weighed. So lets do one example

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

    El-Nino summer 2009, is not as strong as El-Nino summer of 1997.. Yet July 1997 GT was: +0.16 and July 2009 GT is +0.68 C (3rd warmest in history) … I hope Manacker can make a mental calculation disproving is own insinuations. Its obviously warming worldwide. The “world is cooling” since 1997 movement is academically dead…. RIP…… My flowers and condolences….

    I do watch FOX or some say FAUX news, it helps understand the stupidity out there, the most virulent, how shall I put it, the most misinformed or uneducated (in real time facts) zealot in the world making $$$$$ millions for spouting out inanities, Hannity was bragging about the coldest summer in history for the midwest, although humble me and others have seen this El-Nino driven regional cooling coming months ago. The fact that it was the 3rd warmest July in history worldwide does not fit the needed propaganda.

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

    And Faux network will skip this fact and they await the next gem of apparent AGW contradictions. Hank…. Manacker is small potatoes… Our focus must be at the higher exposure medias spouting out nonsense almost hourly.

    Ice wise the extent gap with 2008 has narrowed, and it is still very warm up there…

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/nu-27_metric_e.html
    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/jac18_100.gif

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 14 Aug 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  834. Re 832.

    Yes, he is rather tedious, isn’t he? It’s the bone-headed refusal ever to accept he might be wrong that is so tiresome, in that it takes so much effort to stamp him down.

    And yet he is clearly fishing for his “Banned from RC” badge, so it would just be giving in to him to have him banned.

    But you never know. Maybe he will pick up a dictionary and learn the difference between “assumption” and “result” one day. He might even read some of the references he is pointed to, and learn something. Although I doubt he will.

    Comment by CTG — 14 Aug 2009 @ 3:30 PM

  835. Rut row Mr. Jetson, Arctic sea ice melt seems to have slowed considerably. Live by the weather, die by the weather.

    Comment by realist — 14 Aug 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  836. Anne van der Boom

    You ask (830): “I still feel you might be able to answer the issue I raised about how your calculations into the effect of dismantling US coal power generation extrapolates into ‘man can not change the climate’”

    A major upheaval of the US power network to arrive at a 0.05C temperature difference is a true case of “Much Ado about Nothing” (with apologies to the bard).

    It’s pretty obvious to me that a 0.05C change in temperature is not a “change of climate”. In fact, it is not even measurable.

    I made a rough calculation of the added investment cost to do both “Plan A” (no new coal plants after 2010) and “Plan B” (shut down half of all existing coal plants by 2050), and the total is around $ 1 trillion, so this is obviously a poor “return on investment”.

    I have not yet seen any specific proposals that will bring any meaningful “change in climate”, and this is what I am asking Gavin to provide, if he has seen such proposals.

    Max

    [Response: Why do you think this is mysterious? We discussed it a couple of months ago - the need for coordinated actions and the level of changes required to likely avoid a > 2 deg warming. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 4:17 PM

  837. Gavin

    Thanks for “hit the brakes hard” link. Let me look at it more closely to see if there are any specific actionable proposals with direct results and estimated costs to implement.

    ax

    Comment by manacker — 14 Aug 2009 @ 6:08 PM

  838. #827 manacker

    So if you have house payment due, and you don’t pay it, what is the cost of doing nothing?

    You get a bunch of notices and then the bank takes your house.

    hmmm… the cost of doing nothing actually can have a cost! what a surprise.

    So, if you create too many derivative markets and keep oversight out of the legislation, what is the cost of doing nothing… apparently as President Bush showed us last October, hundreds of billions of dollars… and those bills just keep coming…

    hmmm…. the cost of doing nothing is hundreds of billions in this case.

    And Gavin is right, BAU is not nothing, it’s continuing to add GHG’s and I can tell you based on my economic analysis, there is a very high cost to this. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out the economic strains, it actually only requires common sense.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/2009-may-leading-edge

    So you got your economics education from???

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Aug 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  839. J. Bob, you stated your academic and job experience here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/cnn-is-spun-right-round-baby-right-round/comment-page-2/#comment-109473

    Is that correct?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Aug 2009 @ 8:43 PM

  840. manacker
    14 August 2009 at 4:17 PM

    and the total is around $ 1 trillion, so this is obviously a poor “return on investment”.

    Only a trillion dollars? This is roughly the same as the cost of the war in Iraq. What makes you think the US can not afford this cost over a period of 40 years? 1 trillion dollars over 40 years is 0.2% of GDP. So actually, it turns out it is very doable.

    And you keep sidestepping the real issue I have with your reasoning. The real issue is that you concluded that ‘man can not change climate’ based on your calculation regarding the elimination of only 6% of global CO2 emissions.

    The second problem I have is that you take only 2050 as the deciding point in time. What about 2100? 2150? If the US decides to spend that 1 trillion dollars, the difference in CO2 emissions as compared to the BAU scenario will keep on increasing after 2050. In the do-nothing-scenario, those coal plants will still be there in 2050, increasing the CO2 level ever more, year after year. Can you please extend your calculation to 2100 and 2150?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 15 Aug 2009 @ 6:10 AM

  841. Rut row Mr. Jetson, Arctic sea ice melt seems to have slowed considerably. Live by the weather, die by the weather.

    Cool, since it’s picked up again and is tracking 2008 very nicely.

    We have no way of knowing where it will end up, but it’s fun to watch.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Aug 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  842. > coal plants … dollars
    > around $ 1 trillion, so this is obviously a poor “return on investment”.

    Are you using the Acceptable Risk calculator?

    http://www.dowethics.com/risk/

    —- excerpt —

    Dow Acceptable Risk™ … For the first time ever, you will know beforehand what you can and can’t allow to occur. Will project X be just another skeleton in the closet–something your company comes to regret? Or will it be a golden skeleton–will it have harsh, but acceptable costs?

    To help you determine this, the AR Calculator™ accesses an immense knowledge base of over half a million risk events from every country on earth (reflecting the global risk breakdown). These cases are normalized according to location, time, casualties, financial outcome, litigation costs, and other parameters. 26 ancillary databases on products, laws, climate, income levels, etc. further clarify what any given case will mean in bottom-line terms.

    At the highest level, event data have been divided into four core types.

    Unproven Harm / Diffused Risk (UHDR)

    The most common type are those cases where harm shows up late, if at all, and investments are amortized through wide distribution.

    Beginning in 1972, for example, alarmists began linking casualties to one of our pesticides, Dursban, whose main ingredient came from German nerve agent research in WWII. Studies on student volunteers as late as 1998 showed no unexpected results, but Dursban lost out and was banned in the US. Its usefulness continues, fortunately, in places with more rational approaches to risk.

    Had we had Acceptable Risk™ back in 1972, we would have known that Dursban’s global potential, combined with low chances of major risk “blossoming,” would mean that if Dursban was going to be a skeleton in the closet, it would be a golden one–which it is.

    Mitigated Causality / Indirect Ownership (MCIO)

    A type of risk especially familiar to bankers is when the company involved is the agent of another entity who is primarily responsible.

    Close to home for Dow in this category are some products that helped cause wide and sometimes illegal devastation in wartime Vietnam. We got a lot of flak in the media for these products, but it never got worse for that, mostly because the ultimate culprit was the US military. Today, napalm and Agent Orange are definitely “skeletons in the closet” for us. But even in 1970, AR™ would have shown us that despite some mottling around the tibia, these skeletons would likely be golden.

    A more complex case is IBM’s sale of technology to WWII Germany for use in identifying Jews.This was bad. But IBM’s early management could have seen that the risks here would be mitigated by (a) uncertainty about what the technology would be used for; and (b) the likely distance in history from which judgment would happen, if it ever did.

    Some people would say that IBM’s decisions in this matter were lucky, others would say they were shrewd. But no one can deny they were profitable, and although this issue remains a skeleton in the closet, in retrospect it is quite clearly golden.

    Marginal Target / Unclear Impact (MTUI)


    Suppose Bill wants to set up a factory to produce a new pesticide. He logs on to the AR Calculator™ and plugs in the various chemicals, how much he wants to produce, and so on. The database finds roughly analogous cases, adjusts for geography and changes in law and income, and tells Bill that the risk of setting up in the US might well involve over $2 billion in liability from potential area lawsuits. After comparing that with profit projections, it’s very clear that taking this route will make Bill an unhappy camper.

    But the database proposes alternatives. The harm risk in India, for example, translates into potential losses of less than $400 million, based on previous liability settlements. Meanwhile, profit margins actually increase thanks to cheaper manufacturing, less draconian inspection requirements, etc. It is clear already that the skeletons here will be golden.

    As it happens, this case is typical of the type where risk acceptability varies depending on cultural and societal conditions. We would of course never wish to imply that an Indian life is worth any more or less than any other. I myself believe in the sanctity of life. But the market has its own logic, and if we’re going to live with it, we must make the most of its choices.
    —-end excerpt—–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Aug 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  843. Cost of replacing coal plants… There seems to be some confusion between capital cost to construct new generating plants and the actual increased cost of electricity. The ITC credit in the stimulus plan last fall would be sufficient to make a lot of renewable energy projects feasible. Unfortunately there is very little tax equity financing available due to the financial collapse of banks and financial institutions last year (banks traditionally have the largest need for tax reduction strategies). In any case, the 30% ITC instead of the general business 10% ITC provides roughly 3 cents per kwh. Contrast this with the average cost of electricity in the US at about 9 cents, which includes low cost legacy plants and hydroelectric generators.

    The US electricity consumption is around 3.8T kwh annually, with coal plants currently providing about half the supply. By multiplying 3.8 x 0.03 x 0.50 we find that if coal was replaced with renewable generators, the approximate increase in electricity costs would be about $60B annually. Of course, this doesn’t include the other environmental and health benefits of reducing coal fired emissions and mining impacts, or positive feedbacks from the large new renewable power generating equipment industry.

    It also doesn’t address US energy security issues. If this path takes us to a course where PHEVs take over on the country’s roads, US petroleum demand will drop. By comparison, the $60B annually contrasts with the over $200 to 300B in annual total loaded cost of the Iraq war.

    Also we should consider that the ramp to replace coal fired plants will take some time, so the annual cost will be much less than calculated over that ramping period.

    This looks like a no-brainer to me.

    Comment by Paul K in Seattle — 15 Aug 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  844. Hank Roberts (842)

    To my statement that $1 trillion investment for 0.05°C theoretical warming averted is a poor return on investment you asked:
    “Are you using the Acceptable Risk calculator?”

    No, Hank, Just common sense.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 15 Aug 2009 @ 1:32 PM

  845. Max,

    If “just common sense” were enough we wouldn’t need science! I could give you plenty of examples to illustrate this point, but it would be better if we set you some homework and you had to think of one or two of your own.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 16 Aug 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  846. Max,

    Further to my previous point I’ve just looked up World GDP. It is approximately $55 trillion per annum. Taking your figure of $1 trillion dollars to achieve a 0.05degC cooling would imply that, globally, we would need to spend $4 trillion per decade to offset 0.2deg of AGW.

    That works out at 0.7% of world GDP.

    Doesn’t sound too bad a deal to me.

    Comment by PeterMartin — 16 Aug 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  847. John P. Reisman

    This has gotten hungup in the “spam” filter, so will try sending in three pieces, in order to locate the problem

    Part 1:

    Your examples (838) are weak.

    Not paying your house payment is not “doing nothing”. It is defaulting on a contractual obligation, which will, of course, have its repercussions.

    Part 2 to follow.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 6:04 AM

  848. John P. Reisman

    Part 2:

    The derivatives mess started a long time ago and the U.S. sub-prime crisis started back with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac (backed by U.S. Congress) promoting “easy money” for everyone (so everyone could afford a house) and greedy agents closing deals with people who had no chance of paying. This all has nothing to do with “doing nothing”. These problems were caused by a lot of people (politicians, bureaucrats, bankers, brokers, etc.) “doing something wrong”.

    Part 3 to follow.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 6:20 AM

  849. John P. Reisman

    Part 3

    (Found the “spam” word and eliminated it):

    The lack of oversight by the SEC, etc. was also not “doing nothing”. It was gross negligence of duty by government officials who were payed by the US taxpayer to avoid the excesses that occurred. They were certainly “doing something” during all this time. They just weren’t “doing their job”.

    Now back to global warming: you say, “significant meaningful action is required”.

    Lay out a specific actionable proposal, John, rather than hypothesizing about what “doing nothing” means and costs.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 6:22 AM

  850. Hi Gavin,

    Have finally checked out all the links you gave me plus a few others that popped up.

    All in all, the reports you cited indicated an agreement between model results and physical observations on water vapor, although some did not mention this at all and others were not too conclusive in this regard.

    Soden, B.J., et al., 2005: The radiative signature of upper tropospheric
    moistening. Science, 310(5749), 841–844.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1115602
    I could only get access to the abstract which tells me:
    “Climate models predict that the concentration of water vapor in the upper troposphere could double by the end of the century as a result of increases in greenhouse gases. Such moistening plays a key role in amplifying the rate at which the climate warms in response to anthropogenic activities, but has been difficult to detect because of deficiencies in conventional observing systems. We use satellite measurements to highlight a distinct radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening over the period 1982 to 2004. The observed moistening is accurately captured by climate model simulations and lends further credence to model projections of future global warming.”

    Sounds good, but without the rest of the data this is simply a statement. Do you have access to the full report?

    Forster, P.M. de F., and M. Collins, 2004: Quantifying the water vapour
    feedback associated with post-Pinatubo cooling. Clim. Dyn., 23, 207–214.
    I could not get access to this study but here is a quote from a later study by Cordero and Forster.
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/6/7657/2006/acpd-6-7657-2006-print.pdf

    “For many years there has been controversy over apparent differences in modeled
    and observed temperature trends in the free troposphere, comparing trends from ra20
    diosondes, satellites and models (e.g., NRC, 2004). The recent CCSP report (Karl et
    al., 2006) and the papers it cites (e.g., Fu et al., 2004) resolve many of these issues.
    Our findings also tend to support the conclusions of this report, that models and observed
    trends appear in agreement, within their respective uncertainties. However, the CCSP report also notes that in the tropics “while almost all model simulations show greater warming aloft, most observations show greater warming at the surface”. Our results also support this conclusion. In particular they point to a real difference in the
    upper tropical troposphere. Since 1979 there seems to have been a real cooling trend in the radiosonde observations down to altitudes around 200 hPa, whereas in models it is almost impossible to get a cooling below 100 hPa”.
    This sounds like there is still some discrepancy between physical radiosonde observations and models although the report tends to support the conclusion “that models and observed trends appear in agreement, within their respective uncertainties”.

    Allan, R.P., M.A. Ringer, and A. Slingo, 2003: Evaluation of moisture
    in the Hadley Centre Climate Model using simulations of HIRS water
    vapour channel radiances. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 129, 3371–3389.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/113511801/abstract
    “It is important to establish that climate models can accurately simulate the observed present-day fluctuations of water vapour. In particular, water-vapour and cloud-radiative feedbacks are intrinsically linked to processes governing relative-humidity distribution and variability. To explore these issues, clear-sky radiances, sensitive to upper-tropospheric relative humidity, are simulated within the Hadley Centre atmospheric climate model, version HadAM3, allowing direct comparison with High Resolution Infrared Sounder (HIRS) observations. The model is forced by observed sea surface temperatures and sea-ice fields over the period 1979-98. Evaluation of the simulated distribution and variability of water vapour is undertaken utilizing the HIRS 6.7 m brightness temperature (T6.7) and satellite measurements of column-integrated water vapour and clear-sky outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR). Modifications are made to the clear-sky OLR and T6.7 HadAM3 diagnostics to reduce sampling inconsistencies with the observed products. Simulated T6.7 over subtropical dry zones are higher than T6.7from observations, particularly in the southern hemisphere, and is symptomatic of an overactive circulation. The observed spatial signature of the T6.7 interannual variability is dominated by El Niño and is captured well by HadAM3. Interannual variability of the tropical ocean meanT6.7 is consistent between HadAM3 and the HIRS observations, suggesting that the small simulated decadal changes in relative humidity are realistic.”

    This shows a fit, even if it is hardly a robust link between physical observations and model out puts supporting a constant RH with warming. Does reducing “sampling inconsistencies with the observed products” imply that are physical observations are corrected to match the model outputs? I hope this is not what was meant.

    Dessler, A.E., and S.C. Sherwood, 2000: Simulations of tropical upper
    tropospheric humidity. J. Geophys. Res., 105, 20155–20163.
    http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/joe/DesslerSherwood_JGR_2000.pdf
    “Our model of upper tropospheric humidity (UTH) of the tropics simulates well the measurements of tropical UTH at 216 and 146 hPa.”
    “Based on this analysis and previous analyses in the midtroposphere, we suggest that three-dimensional general circulation models of climate should be able to simulate the water vapor distribution well, as long as they can correctly simulate the large-scale circulation and temperature structure and can attain suitably moist conditions in convective situations.”

    This is not a confirmation that empirical physical observations support the model result of constant RH with warming. Taken together with the later report by Minschwaner and Dessler, also in the tropics, which showed that physical observations support an increase of water vapor with warming, but at only a fraction of the amount required to maintain constant RH, this does not provide empirical support for constant RH with warming.

    The best link to support your premise actually came from another blogger (it was published after IPCC AR4, however):
    Gettelman and Fu (2008)
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/andrew/papers/gettelman2008_wv.pdf
    “Results indicate that the upper troposphere maintains nearly constant relative humidity for observed perturbations to ocean surface temperatures over the observed period, with increases in temperature _1.5 times the changes at the surface and corresponding increases in water vapor (specific humidity) of 10%–25% °C_1. Increases in water vapor are largest at pressures below 400 hPa, but they have a double peak structure. Simulations reproduce these changes quantitatively and qualitatively. Agreement is best when the model is sorted for satellite sampling thresholds. This indicates that the model reproduces the moistening associated with the observed upper tropospheric water vapor feedback. The results are not qualitatively sensitive to model resolution or model physics.”

    And then I ran across another quite recent related study:
    Colman and Power (2009)
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/a47441n4384784lr/
    “The time evolution of the transient (or ‘secular’) feedbacks is first examined. It is found that both the global strength and the latitudinal distributions of these feedbacks are established within the first two or three decades of warming, and thereafter change relatively little out to 100 years. They also closely approximate those found under equilibrium warming from a ‘mixed layer’ ocean version of the same model forced by a doubling of CO2. These secular feedbacks are then compared with those operating under unforced (interannual) variability. For water vapour, the interannual feedback is only around two-thirds the strength of the secular feedback. The pattern reveals widespread regions of negative feedback in the interannual case, in turn resulting from patterns of circulation change and regions of decreasing as well as increasing surface temperature. Considering the vertical structure of the two, it is found that although positive net mid to upper tropospheric contributions dominate both, they are weaker (and occur lower) under interannual variability than under secular change and are more narrowly confined to the tropics.”

    So I will accept that there is some empirical evidence for water vapor increase with temperature to maintain near-constant RH, and there is also some empirical evidence to support the premise that RH decreases with warming, plus there is a long-range NOAA record that shows that even specific humidity has decreased over the years at the same time as globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperatures (as well as tropospheric temperatures during the latter part of the record) have increased. The numbers of published reports (I have been able to see) favor the near constant RH, if numbers of reports are any indication

    Let’s not beat this dog anymore, Gavin.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  851. Blog 16 Aug RC Anne van der Bom

    Anne van der Bom (840)

    Sorry for delay in responding. The first reply got lost.

    You state that the war in Iraq cost the USA a trillion dollars. Would you say this was “taxpayer money well spent”? I certainly would not, based on the not very impressive result that has occurred (plus the many lives that were lost in the process).

    Comparing one bad investment with another even worse one does not make it any better.

    I do not live in the USA, but I doubt that the average US taxpayer would agree with your statement that the US taxpayer can afford this cost in order to reduce global warming by 2050 by 0.05C.

    Now as far as “sidestepping” is concerned, I am beginning to detect a “nit-pick” here, Anne.

    I have said that man cannot change the climate. Spending $1 trillion to result in an immeasurable 0.05C reduction in warming is not “changing the climate”. I have seen no specific actionable proposals that will change the climate. Have you?

    Now to taking 2050 rather than 2100 as the date for measuring the impact of the improvement: I firmly believe that we (including all the scientists, computer engineers, report writers and politicians of this world) have no notion what our climate will be in year 2100. There are just too many unknown factors and “outliers” out there that can move our climate projection into a completely different direction.

    To say that the proposed US projects will theoretically reduce year 2100 warming by 0.08 or even 0.2C would be a joke. If we are in the middle of a new Maunder Minimum by then, and our globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature has sunk by 0.8C below the 2000 level as a result (rather than warming by twice or three times this amount, as is currently being projected), we will not be worrying too much about what the result of these projects has been.

    The coal-fired plants will probably not be in operation 90 years from now, as they will have been replaced as they wear out and more economical and environmentally acceptable alternates become available to replace them. We don’t even have a clue today what the most economical alternates will be 90 years from now, do we? Will nuclear fusion be an economically and environmentally viable alternate by then? Will solar and wind power be able to overcome their inherent “on-line” disadvantage through new technology? Who knows?

    Read Nassim Taleb’s book, “The Black Swan”, to see for yourself the folly of trying to make long-term predictions and why these inevitably fail.

    And remember the long-range (60-year) forecast made back in 1860 that Manchester would be covered by two meters of horse manure by 1920, due to the rapidly expanding number of horse-drawn carriages and buggies.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  852. Gavin,

    Found the Forster and Collins study you cited.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/37eb1l5mfl20mb7k/
    “ Variability, both in the observed value and in the climate model s feedback parameter, between different ensemble members, suggests that the long-term water vapour feedback associated with global climate change could still be a factor of 2 or 3 different than the mean observed value found here and the model water vapour feedback could be quite different from this value; although a small water vapour feedback appears unlikely.”

    This is not a statement of a robust correlation between the empirically observed values (relating to the post-Pinatubo cooling) and model results for warming.

    But I still agree with you that there are studies out there that show such a correlation.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 16 Aug 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  853. Pulllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez don’t feed the troll folks. Waste of perfectly good food.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 16 Aug 2009 @ 10:51 AM

  854. “To my statement that $1 trillion investment for 0.05°C theoretical warming averted is a poor return on investment…”

    And what did you use to calculate the $1 trillion and 1/20th C warming aversion?

    The black-hole calculator at arms length???

    Please show all your workings and assumptions for that value.

    It certainly isn’t the one made by a REAL economist…

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  855. “Lay out a specific actionable proposal, John, rather than hypothesizing about what “doing nothing” means and costs. ”

    Reduce energy use 30% in the short term in the first world.

    Move 50% of power capacity to renewable sources by the mid term.

    Move away from fossil fuels and non-renewable sources completely in the long term.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  856. What Jim Bouldin said.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Aug 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  857. Manacker, I don’t think 0.2% of US GDP to achieve a 0.05C warming redction is a bad deal at all. Assuming your numbers are right, and we can extrapolate linearly, it will cost 4% of US GDP for every degree of warming prevented.

    This is the kind of money nations are prepared to pay to evert an existential threat — rightly, without going bankrupt. Think defence budgets. This extrapolation agrees with those found in the AR4 WG3 report BTW, suggesting it’s in the ball park.

    That’s percentage of US GDP only. Of course the spending will have to be global… methinks you’re engaging in alarmism.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Aug 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  858. Interesting that methane hasn’t been increasing in concentration in the atmosphere..

    Also interesting that while Gavin (RealClimate author) said of the June and July 2009 ice minimum predictions

    “The point is that whether 2009 is or is not a record-setting or near-record setting minimum, the science behind what happens is going to be a lot more interesting than the September headline.”

    If 2009 is an interesting test science, I’m assuming all of his readers and he agree that the science failed miserably. The minimum was not 4.5 million sq km it was 5.3 million sq km. The national snow and ice data center said ice had entered a “death spiral” in 2007. I’m not saying ice won’t keep decreasing in the long term, it probably will (although the -PDO will probably induce La Ninas which help it stabilize in the next decade or two). But whatever new science the 2009 minimum was supposed to be testing according to Gavin must be invalidated or reevaluated now at least right? Either that or Gavin was wrong to say the 2009 minimum constituted a test of that science.

    I assume all of you have the intellectual honesty to pick one of the two. Is Gavin’s statement that the 2009 ice minimum constituted a test of new ice science

    A) Correct, and that new science is partially or totally invalidated
    B) False.

    [Response: I think it safe to say that detailed estimates of the September minimum made in June still need some work. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew P — 12 Nov 2009 @ 10:33 PM

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