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North Pole notes

I always find it interesting as to why some stories get traction in the mainstream media and why some don’t. In online science discussions, the fate of this years summer sea ice has been the focus of a significant betting pool, a test of expert prediction skills, and a week-by-week (almost) running commentary. However, none of these efforts made it on to the Today program. Instead, a rather casual article in the Independent showed the latest thickness data and that quoted Mark Serreze as saying that the area around the North Pole had 50/50 odds of being completely ice free this summer, has taken off across the media.


The headline on the piece “Exclusive: no ice at the North Pole” got the implied tense wrong, and I’m not sure that you can talk about a forecast as evidence (second heading), but still, the basis of the story is sound (Update: the headline was subsequently changed to the more accurate “Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer”). The key issue is that since last year’s dramatic summer ice anomaly, the winter ice that formed in that newly opened water is relatively thin (around 1 meter), compared to multi-year ice (3 meters or so). This new ice formed quite close to the Pole, and with the prevailing winds and currents (which push ice from Siberia towards Greenland) is now over the Pole itself. Given that only 30% of first year ice survives the summer, the chances that there will be significant open water at the pole itself is high.

The actuality will depend on the winds and the vagaries of Arctic weather – but it certainly bears watching. Ironically, you will be able to see what happens only if it doesn’t happen (from these web cams near the North Pole station).

This is very different from the notoriously over-excited story in the New York Times back in August 2000. In that case, the report was of the presence of some open water at the pole – which as the correction stated, is not that uncommon as ice floes and leads interact. What is being discussed here is large expanses of almost completely ice-free water. That would indeed be unprecedented since we’ve been tracking it.

So why do stories about an geographically special, but climatically unimportant, single point traditionally associated with a christianized pagan gift-giving festival garner more attention than long term statistics concerning ill-defined regions of the planet where very few people live?

I don’t really need to answer that, do I?


827 Responses to “North Pole notes”

  1. 201
    Lawrence Brown says:

    On Gavin’s response to comment #173, that melted sea ice being less salty(ergo less dense) than the underlying water will lead to a slight rise in sea level. Live and learn. Thank you. It may be a negligible rise, but it’s interesting to know that it’s non zero.

  2. 202
    l david cooke says:

    RE: 193

    Hey Pat,

    Interesting data, though it does not seem to be the representation of the low temperature for Dec., Jan., and Feb. that we were originally talking about. It looks to me you are representing the DJF and Annual mean, which I believe can have multiple variables. I can see in most of the DJF mean graphs you appear to have between a 1 to 2.5 Deg F. variation across the record for most sites which would appear close to what I have seen in the USHCN record.

    To reduce the participation of other variables I prefer to look at the low temperature (Tmin) average, (since I am concerned about the change in the radiant loss). If I am trying to develop the amount of “radiant efficiency”, I also like to track the high temperature of the day before, against this mornings low, as that helps me to see the change in the range across long term data sets. (I simply insert a blank Cell at the top of the Tmax column to offset the data by one day and extract the difference between Tmax and Tmin to demonstrate the radiant cooling range.)

    I also usually try to include the change in the Relative Humidity,(if it can be found), in my graphs as humidity plays a part in the atmospheric heat content. It was not until I started comparing the daily temperature range between a Desert (or recently cleared land) as opposed to a Rain Forest that I found out how important that change in the humidity is.

    Since 2006, I have started using the Julian Date across the historic record, as this appears to make the best statistical model of comparing apples to apples. (For instance if you compare say the 15th of June across the data set you can choose samples of thirty from anywhere in the historic record (total population of June 15th values for that station record) and have a proper statistical sample according to my statistics references.) This helps me to identify if there may be multiple modes (variables) participating in the statistical models. (Sometimes I get the feeling that the way we are looking at the data today may be be like if you were to try to solve a algebraic equation and were not abiding by the algebraic orders of operation…)

    The important point is, no matter the data set, an increase in the long term surface temperature record is present. My hobby of late has become one of trying to determine how global warming could be changing the weather patterns. (For me, it is one thing that the models seem to suggest more extremes, it is another to understand how these extremes are caused.)

    I think I have taken up enough space talking about the Mid-West temperature records and my evaluation of US surface temperature changes. Time to get back to the thread, have you any insights regarding Arctic air/ocean temperature or salinity changes?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  3. 203
    l david cooke says:

    RE: 193

    Hey Pat,

    Sorry, I went back to review your graphs and saw the low temperature record values this time, my apologies. By the way have you considered using Dot Plots of the temperatures? It just seems curious to me that when I look at the trend data and the data points and I see what appears to be an even distribution of outliers across the range, even though we are seeing upward trending. (I was expecting to see skewing of the data set.)

    Dave Cooke

  4. 204
    pat neuman says:

    David (#202),

    Yearly low temperature plots at Green Bay WI and Park Rapids MN exhibit increases of 5 to 11 deg F from the early 1900s to 2008 – as shown on data plots (link in #193), from 10 year moving averages.

    Milder winters in the Midwest have been occurring because there have been fewer and less extreme Arctic air blasts into the Midwest.

  5. 205
    Hank Roberts says:

    And I think what the postings by Mark and Phil aren’t clear about is what an ‘increase’ in a minimum is — is that a change in the direction of less, or more? It’s probably in the original source clearer than here.

  6. 206
    Tom G says:

    A question if I may…
    I am not surprised by the current Arctic ice melt, but I am at a loss by the faster melt north of Canada as opposed to the slower melt north of Siberia.
    North America had an “average” winter in spite of La Nina and yet for most of the past winter Siberia was above normal.
    The melt conditions are exactly opposite to what I expected….

  7. 207
    Jim Peden says:

    Japanese Naval Records indicate a fleet navigated a completely ice-free Arctic Ocean at the peak of the Medieval Warm Period, so total melting is nothing new, however unlikely at current temperatures.

    [Response: What tosh. Where do you get this kind of nonsense? – gavin]

  8. 208

    #206 Think winds and JUne dominant low pressure…

  9. 209
    Andrew says:

    Re: 206

    Believe the rate of melting is largely a function of how much warm air is transported north by various weather systems. So, it’s possible that the North America weather has been more favorable for melting this season so far.

    Understand that many other factors are involved as well, but the prime differance between one side of the artic and another is weather and currents.

  10. 210
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Well, I posted my rebuttal on the WSJ forum, but strangely, I can only see the first two pages of comments. Can anyone else see later comments? Do you have to be a subscriber or something?

  11. 211

    Re: comment #206

    Tom G,

    If you had been looking at daily temperatures in Canada south of Banks Island, you would have observed that strong heat waves from the south were reaching all the way to the Arctic Sea and melting the ice there.

    This was not the case in northern Siberia.

  12. 212
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Peden, I am interested in what possible source could suggest this, as the first mention of Japanese Naval engagements is the engagement of the Mongol force circa 1280 CE (origin of the kamikaze legend). It would appear your source is as ignorant of Japanese/Naval history as they are of climate.

  13. 213
    spilgard says:

    Re 212:

    If you google “Jim Peden” you’ll find your way to a webpage featuring an amusing grab-bag of the stock howlers and talking points. You’ll also find RealClimate mentioned as:

    one particular pro-hoax web site calling itself “Real Climate” which tells us that it is all about “climate science from climate scientists”, …. The site isn’t actually run by “scientists”, it’s actually run by Environmental Media Services, which specializes in spreading environmental junk science on behalf of numerous clients who stand to financially benefit from scare tactics through environmental fear mongering. [edited – no need to repeat nonsense]

    At last, the cunning conspiracy is revealed!

    [Response: Gosh! I wondered where those monthly million-dollar deposits were coming from …. (I wish!). It shouldn’t need saying, but all EMS do is host our server (see the original disclaimer). – gavin]

  14. 214
    Mark says:

    [Mark, did you learn New Math?
    I learned it the old way; I read it thus:

    > 4.2 ± 4.6 % is a range between these extremes:

    4.2 + 4.6 = +8.8 %
    4.2 – 4.6 = -0.4 %

    > 0.8 ± 0.8 % is a range between these extremes:

    0.8 + 0.8 = +1.6 %
    0.8 – 0.8 = 0

    How did you do the addition? Can you show your work?]

    That’s how I worked it, but the text said “mostly flat”. Which isn’t “sloped” unless you’re a very bad carpenter.

    Hence the query.

  15. 215
    pat n says:

    David (#203),

    I’ve been using Microsoft Excel’s scatter diagrams with trend lines determined based on moving averages.

  16. 216
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #214
    Sorry I omitted the timescale in error, it’s /decade.
    I would argue that a slope of less than 1%/decade is ‘mostly flat’

  17. 217
    Paul Melanson says:

    Thanks to Brian Dodge (#60) and corrections from (#112) about how much ice a Vesuvius-sized volcano could melt. This was approached by the denial community in different ways, from the simple (from alt.globalwarming):

    Now let’s use just a tiny bit of common sense, and consider honestly
    for just once in the hysterical discussion this topic always seems to
    devolve into:
    Which is likely to have more impact on frozen ice in the water
    directly above those volcanoes?
    A tiny theoretical change which nobody can actually measure, in the
    air (above) that ice?
    Or a literal mountain of red-hot molten rock exploding directly into
    the water, at over 10 times the boiling point of water?…
    Hmm. Lemme think.
    Wow.
    Tough one.
    We should probably raise taxes, and immediately had over our national
    government, to social-ists at the UM

    to the numeric (from Bob Krumm’s blog):

    “A cubic mile of molten rock, like was launched by Vesuvius on to Pompeii, converts to 4.186 billion cubic meters. At a density of 3,000 kilograms per cubic meter, that much molten rock works out to be approximately 1.25 x 1013 kg.

    Basaltic magma has a specific heat of 1,000 joules per kilogram per degree Celsius. In other words, a kilogram of magma releases 1,000 joules of heat energy for every degree it cools until it transforms into a solid. A kilogram of molten rock at 1350 degrees Celsius, therefore gives off 250,000 joules of heat as it cools to its crystallization temperature of 1100 degrees Celsius. Passing through that phase from liquid to solid, that kilogram releases another 400,000 joules of heat. Then as the solid rock cools from 1100 degrees to 0 degrees Celsius it releases another 1,400 joules per degree, or 1,540,000 joules. In total, one kilogram of molten basalt at a temperature of 1,350 degrees releases 2,19 million joules of heat into the surrounding atmosphere. Multiplying the weight of a cubic mile of lava by the heat energy released per kilogram and we find that a Pompeii-sized underwater eruption releases 2.739 x 1019 joules of heat into the sea.

    One kilogram of ice at 0 degrees Celsius requires the addition of 333,550 joules of heat energy to turn it into a liquid. Dividing that number into the quantity of joules of heat released by the volcano that we calculated above, we find that the cubic mile of magma can melt roughly 82 trillion kilograms of ice. A cubic meter of ice at 0 degrees weighs 917 kilograms, so that works out to roughly 90 billion cubic meters of ice melted by our undersea volcano.

    Because of the shifting currents beneath the North Pole, the sea ice there is only two to three meters thick. Dividing 3 meters into the volume of ice that our volcano melted, we find that it would cover an area of just under 30 billion meters square, or a little less than 30 thousand square kilometers. Convert that into English, and it works out to 11,532 square miles of ice three meters thick, or an area about 10% larger than the state of Massachusetts.

    Obviously, I’ve made some simplifications, like ignoring whatever effects the pressure of 13,000 feet of sea might have on the equation, and I haven’t taken into account the change in melting point as a result of the salinity of the ocean. But this is probably close enough to demonstrate that Jonah Goldberg’s original question is worthy of much more analysis.

    In short: how much polar ice is melted by an undersea volcano? A whole lot.”

    An article in Investors Business Daily has picked up the “Volcanoes Ate My Homework” storyline about Arctic ice melting (“Are Volcanoes Melting Arctic?” June 30, 2008). This ends with the paragraph:

    “Earth is not a museum, but a geologically active place that reminds us frequently how relatively puny our activities are. The WHOI’s voyage to the bottom of the sea shows it is climate alarmists who are skating on thin ice.”

    This, in turn, got picked up by Dakota Voice, where Bob Ellis ended his article with:

    “According to the article, Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute spoke at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change and said Arctic temperatures were warmer during the 1930s, and that most of Antarctica is actually cooling now.

    Anthropogenic global warming apostles would have us believe the planet has never changed in all it’s history, and suddenly man and his evil, capitalistic, oil-company fed industry has plunged the planet into an unprecedented warming event.

    That simply isn’t the case. The planet hasn’t been sitting in a glass case all these years (or in a museum, as the IDB article put it). Greenland wasn’t so named as a joke; it used to be warm enough for the Vikings to plant vineyards.

    But if you’re already biased against capitalism and the West, why let an inconvenient truth get in your way of a useful tool for bashing both?”

    Vineyards in Greenland? Not only in this article, but as it turns out, all over the web. Yeah, I realize it’s probably a conglomeration of the “warm, green Greenland” and “Vineyards in England” contrarian arguments, but if this is the level of truthiness they use to approach science, is it any wonder they’re confused about climate change?

    P.S. “social-ists” used to defeat the spam filter.

  18. 218

    #217, A little hint for the volcano “dun it” gang, find the spot where the surface ice has melted, either on a glacier or on floating ice, aside from that , laughing is a healthy thing to do, its good stand up comedian stuff. .

  19. 219
    l david cooke says:

    RE: 215

    Hey Pat,

    Yes, I realized that. Excel is supposed to have the capability to support Least Squares or Linear Regression functions, if you are interested. I generally only use the old Bell Labs technique (Dot Plots) to check for multiple attributes. (I have been expecting greater evidence of multiple attributes / modes or a shifting mean in the weather station data sets then I have found.)

    Have you tried sampling the daily Tmin values in the USHCN yet? I have found if you will also include the TMIN/TMAX Flag Codes you can check the data continuity. (Generally I try to only select sites with a minimum of 90 years history when I am looking for a strong correlations and use sites with a minimum of 60 years for regional testing.)

    I am curious what would a long term Arctic weather station (Like Pt. Barrow, AK) low temperature, wind, pressure and relative humidity record would show us. (Regional Weather Stations above the Arctic Circle http://pabr.arh.noaa.gov/wmofcst.php?wmo=ASAK69PAFG&type=public ) Have you tried to access and analyze data from any of these sites yet? I had not thought to try to test for temperature trends above the Arctic Circle until yesterday.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  20. 220
    Richard Morgan says:

    Dear Gavin,

    Moving right-along to http://nsidc.org/data/virtual_globes/
    then- Greenland melt file for Google Earth (KMZ, 404 KB),
    Isn’t Melt curve at lower left best served by exponential-
    non-linear regression curve, rather than linear as depicted
    in Graph??

    Upmost Respect,
    Richard

  21. 221
    Hank Roberts says:

    “less than 1% per decade … flat”

    It’s slow on a human lifetime time scale.
    On an ecological time scale it’s quite rapid.

  22. 222

    Re: #183

    Jim, remember who you are dealing with (WSJ). They choose only certain comments — mine was already filtered out.

    Good luck, and let us know what happens.

  23. 223
    Jim Galasyn says:

    For anyone who might still be interested, the WSJ forum seems to be fubared. It keeps reporting spurious empty pages that appear and disappear, regardless of the browser I use. I reposted my rebuttal for good measure, but so far, no dice.

    I blame Rupert Murdoch.

  24. 224
    Sean says:

    #150

    It would be foolish to “rule out” solar forcing completely, as certain correlations between solar variation and climate have certainly been observed in the past, and the current warm period has coincided with high solar activity. Ruling out solar as a forcing would be equivalent to saying ENSO and the NPI and other forms of natural variability no longer play a role in climate change because of CO2….they obviously do, as the declining temperatures of the past year have shown.

    This isn’t to say that greenhouse gases may or may not be the dominant factor now, but to not consider other forcings on climate would be rather narrow-minded. Climate science is still very young, and there is lot that has not yet been determined or proven.

  25. 225
    Mark says:

    [# Phil. Felton Says:
    2 July 2008 at 12:35 PM

    Re #214
    Sorry I omitted the timescale in error, it’s /decade.
    I would argue that a slope of less than 1%/decade is ‘mostly flat’]

    Unless you’re expecting 0%/decade. My shelf is “flat” but if you put a well balnced steel ball bearing about 5mm diameter on it, it will move. So it is “flat” for storing books on. However, if it were a machinist’s bench, that’s not very flat at all.

    You need a bit of context. Alternatively, if the third year had grown by 0.4% the eighth shrunk by 1% and the 8.8% was in the fifth year, then again, that’s “flat”. But if it was 0.4% bigger, 0.2% smaller, 1.6%smaller, 2.4% smaller….

    That would not be flat.

    It’s a problem though with limited text availabe and graphical needs.

  26. 226

    Just when did this Vesuvius sized volcano erupt and cause all this melting we are seeing currently in the Arctic? And can anyone point me to the Richter Scale readings on that eruption?

    best,
    John

  27. 227
    Mark says:

    (from alt.globalwarming):

    Sigh.

    So get a cold store. Put the temperature at *exactly* 0 degrees C.

    Put some ice in it.

    Leave it.

    Still there?

    Now, we cannot measure the temperature with our bodies, but put the thermostat at +0.5C.

    Leave the ice there.

    Still there?

    Nope.

    (the only reason I put it there was in case anyone *dumb* enough to read and think “they may have a point” was passing. this is an experiment they can manage for themselves)

  28. 228
    Jim Eager says:

    Re Gavin’s in-line to Jim Peden @207,
    Perhaps Mr. Peden is confusing Japanese ‘naval records’ with Gavin Menzies’ tosh about the arctic exploits of the Chinese Treasure fleets.

  29. 229
    SecularAnimist says:

    Paul Melanson quotes some global warming denier: “But if you’re already biased against capitalism and the West, why let an inconvenient truth get in your way of a useful tool for bashing both?”

    It is really quite peculiar how so many deniers seem to assume that taking action to mitigate anthropogenic global warming is in fundamental conflict with “capitalism” — as though the manufacturers of wind turbines, solar thermal power plants, photovoltaic panels, energy-efficient buildings and appliances, etc. were not profit-seeking companies. It is as though they equate “capitalism” with “the fossil fuel industry”.

    According to WorldWatch Institute, in 2007 alone $71 Billion in private investment went into the wind and solar industries. Now admittedly that is just a couple quarters worth of profits for ExxonMobil, but still, it’s not nothing.

  30. 230
  31. 231
    Figen Mekik says:

    #230: I don’t know the immediate cause,the la Nina or what, but it’s been a cold summer too where I’ve been, which was Grand Rapids Michigan til a couple of days ago, and is Vancouver, BC since. It seems I can’t find enough clothes to wear. I had to sleep under a wool blanket last night to avoid turning the heat on!

  32. 232
    Ray Ladbury says:

    A minor quibble with the Krummy blog (#217), he has neglected that he would have to heat a column of water roughly 4.3 km deep and several hundred km^2 in area–so we’re talking a few degrees of heating at most. Now given that most of the deep ocean is right near freezing, as well as salty and dense, this heat will stay in the deep ocean, and the ice will never see it.

  33. 233
    pat n says:

    David (#219),

    While a NOAA NWS hydrologist from 1976-2005, I worked on consistency analysis of climate station data for use in calibration of hydrologic model parameters for flood and low water forecasting and risk assessment.

    Since leaving NWS, I created plots for annual mean temperature plots at 19 stations in Alaska (about half inland and half near coastal waters/ice). The majority of the climate stations in Alaska have records beginning in 1950. Several NOAA NWS Cooperative Climate Stations in the Midwest have daily records starting in the 1890s.

    I’ve plotted average daily Tmin values (annual, seasonal and monthly) for many stations, and average annual and monthly dewpoints – but not recently.

  34. 234
    gavin says:

    NSIDC July update is now available:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html

  35. 235
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #232
    “A minor quibble with the Krummy blog (#217), he has neglected that he would have to heat a column of water roughly 4.3 km deep and several hundred km^2 in area–so we’re talking a few degrees of heating at most. Now given that most of the deep ocean is right near freezing, as well as salty and dense, this heat will stay in the deep ocean, and the ice will never see it.”

    I tried to give a post with sample calculation here but the spam checker wouldn’t let me!
    See here for an example:
    http://www2.ocean.washington.edu/oc540/lec01-11/

  36. 236
    mike says:

    The solar crowd has some new research and has some jumping for joy.

    http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/138/paper/AS06018.htm

    Does a Spin–Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?

    Abstract :We present evidence to show that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in its orbital motion about the barycentre of the Solar System. We propose that this synchronization is indicative of a spin–orbit coupling mechanism operating between the Jovian planets and the Sun. However, we are unable to suggest a plausible underlying physical cause for the coupling. Some researchers have proposed that it is the period of the meridional flow in the convective zone of the Sun that controls both the duration and strength of the Solar cycle. We postulate that the overall period of the meridional flow is set by the level of disruption to the flow that is caused by changes in Sun’s equatorial rotation speed. Based on our claim that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun’s orbital motion about the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun’s meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

    I’m a layman. Can anyone help explain what this means?

    [Response: Not much. There is a vague numerological connection between the orbit of Jupiter (roughly 10 years) around the sun and the length of an average solar cycle. Ever since this was noted (decades ago) people have hypothesised that the latter is connected to the former. This paper is just an extension on that theme. The completely absence of any force, mechanism or physics that could – even theoretically – make a link has not apparently been a deterrent. Why this has any implication for climate is .. mysterious.. to say the least. -gavin]

  37. 237
    Jim Peden says:

    Unfortunately, my attempt to answer the question previously posed to me by Ray Ladbury was rejected as “spam”, and multiple attempts to find the forbidden language was unsuccessful. In fact, I could find nothing in verbiage not traditionally used in climate science. Such is the life of a “denier”….

  38. 238
    Brian Dodge says:

    re #217, #226, #232

    Not to mention that if you subtract 110% of the area of Massachusetts (~2.3e4 km2) from the area that melted last year (~7.72e6 km2), you’re left with ~7.7e6 km2, or 99.7%. Volcanoes as a cause for 2007 arctic melting? 99.7 percent BS.

  39. 239
    mike says:

    Gavin says “Why this has any implication for climate is .. mysterious.. to say the least”

    I thought so but a well known meteorologist who likes to sign certain ‘petitions’ claims that “On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World’s mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 – 2 C. ”

  40. 240
    David B. Benson says:

    Jim Peden (237) — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

    First of all, the internet seems to me to becoming less reliable; your comment may simply not have even reached the spam filter. Second, try putting in hyphens .

  41. 241

    #232 Ray, the stand up comedian contrarians will easily point out that not all of the Arctic Ocean is 4.3 Km deep, its a no brainer. Volcano “dun it” guys dont know that I have collected Pumice rocks on the shores of Ellesmere Island in the early 80’s when there was lots more ice, there is a thing called geological activity, which mind you, can be picked up by US or Canadian Geological surveys, But hey, lets not encourage them to do proper research, its fun to read them so over the top.

    #234 Thanks Gavin, Great report. I want to note the early Melt aspect of 2008, which is a match
    with the late now defunct “big blue” skies which was an extraordinary event of continuous cloud free skies which lasted several months, well before spring, giving a greater ice extent at least on the North American side of the Pole, what “big blue” gaveth “big blue” taketh away…..

  42. 242
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #240

    I had exactly the same problem posting a reply to that post (see #235) and was unable to find what the offending word was (the message explicitly said that it was a spam violation). It told me to email ‘them’ if I thought it was a mistake, but no address given.

    [Response: contrib – at – realclimate.org – gavin]

  43. 243
    tamino says:

    Jim Peden:

    I’d love to hear your response to Ray Ladbury’s question. Can’t wait.

    But I have to wonder: why would you solicit information from a website which you yourself have described elsewhere as “a staged and contracted production, which wasn’t created by “scientists” …

  44. 244
    Hank Roberts says:

    Mike, cite please? You’re apparently quoting something. What?

  45. 245
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Brian Dodge #238 (and all those before him): that’s all for a volcano producing a cubic mile of hot rock, coming into direct contact with sea water, Krakatoa style. I have nothing against theory, on the contrary, but what about the small empirical matter of observability of such a beast on a planet instrumented to see kiloton events wherever they might happen? ;-)

  46. 246
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #230 Sean,
    From Jeff Masters:
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=880&tstamp=200712
    Under “This winter’s jet stream pattern.” 17 Dec 07.

    The missing sea ice between Russia and Alaska has also brought unusual storminess and low pressure to the region during November and December. This may have deflected the position of the jet stream, bringing colder conditions to North America than the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. The current La Nina event and natural variability are also involved, and it is difficult to say which effect is mostly responsible for the current jet stream pattern.

    From now on any list of candidates for odd largescale northern hemisphere weather should initially (at least) include the Arctic.

    Jim Peden
    Pop it on your website then.

    If it’s already there I can’t find it.

  47. 247
    maikdev says:

    NSIDC Arctic sea ice news and analysis, 08/07/02 update: “Satellite data shows us that surface melt began earlier than usual over most of the Arctic Ocean (see Figure 4) http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200807_Figure4.png

    In the area between Greenland, Svalbard and the North pole where the NOAA webcams are located, the NSIDC´s Figure 4 shows surface melt beginning earlier than 2008/06/10.
    But, the webcam images don´t show the same: 2008/06/10: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2008/images/noaa1-2008-0610-151907.jpg . I don´t see surface melt
    2008/06/21: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/2008/images/noaa1-2008-0621-211904.jpg Surface continues whitout melting.
    The Figure 4 seems to be incorrect, at least at that location.

    What do you think about??

    Thank you.

  48. 248

    Paul Melanson,

    You’re assuming the heat in the lava is all evenly distributed. It isn’t. The lava isn’t perfectly spread out so as to melt ice. Most of it is in huge lava flows, and the surface solidifies long before the center. The center can take years to cool down. So all the heat isn’t instantly transferred to the ice.

    Air, on the other hand, circulates.

  49. 249
    K Johansen says:

    The main media idiocy in this case is as usual concentrated on the americanized and germanized etc. subject “polar bears” which are feared to dissappear. They didn’t dissappear during the Eem warming ca. 125000 years ago and during the climatic optimum ca. 9000-5000 years ago, when it was warmer than it is now (or was it? We’ll never know before it’s far too late.)

    The knowledge, that mankind is threatening itself by among other things threatening millions of species is of course not very popular, because it’s more difficult to grasp and more unpleasant to understand. Media is what they call entertainment (Zbigniew Brzezinski called it “tittytaintment” back in 2001, when asked what the according to him 80 pct. unnessescary members of mankind should be doing in 2050. How enlightened. Brzezinski is the main adviser to Obama).

    TV is idiocy, but TV, as the internet, is a product of certain types of human beings and their endless need for escaping reality and replacing it with “virtual reality”. As I see it, this is merely an expression of their deathwishes – they find life as it is unbearable. TV etc. is the “modern” form of religious nonsense, as usual used by psychopaths (“power-seekers”) to manipulate others. Every evening the citizens do their own brainwashing in front of their TV-sets. Modern totalitarianism is driven by “free will”.

    I think mankind is incapable of solving the problems concerning global warming, as it has shown itself incapable of solving any other real problem coming towards it during the socalled “history”. Mankind is completely unable to control even it’s most elementary parts of it’s “inner pigdog” as it was called around 1933-45. Almost everyone wants to own their own 25 square kilometers flatscreen TV and then have one in their cabin(s) too, then in their car(s) and so on and so forth, they’ll all have children even the ones who can’t and so on and so forth. And there’s no end in sight. The flat earth society is bigger than ever.

    Mankind is in itself a global catastrophe. But I think the earth will survive us, even if it’s far easier for it to survive the termites or the volcanoes.

  50. 250

    Those interested in why ice is complicated , may want to study this:

    http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/maps_daily_arcticbasin.html

    Many buoys are moving opposite to “average” or “normal” drift…..


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