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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. 251
    pete best says:

    Re #249, Polar bears did not exist 125,000 years ago I believe.

    There is always war and that is where peak oil will exacerbate climate change in regard to prices, resources and impacting the so called globalised economy.

  2. 252
    Andrew says:

    Re 247:

    It depends on what surface melting means.

    Does it mean surface temps of 32F, the presence of liquid water or visible ponding?

    Also, snow doesn’t even necessarily melt at 32F.
    If the humidity is low enough, it will sublimate instead.
    So, maybe the dewpoint needs to be 32F.

  3. 253
    l david cooke says:

    RE: 233

    Hey Pat,

    Actually, what is happening of late is critical. Based on the NOAA data set for the number of days the low temperature has exceeded the freezing point for brine water has certainly increased such that the 1998 and the stretch from 2002 to 2007 have exceed the normal high of near 205 days, with maximums of 241 and 247 days. When you look at the former record in the 1939 (+/- 3 years) the current records are definitely outside of the standard deviation of the record.

    Here is the data set access I used to reach this conclusion:

    Another interesting point is that the warming of surface air temperatures above 15 Deg. F is not all that remarkable. It is not until you get to to 0 Deg. F that the really interesting data begins to show up. What was fun was when walking down the thermometer from 32 Deg. F to 0 Deg. F was the plateau that I reached at 15 Deg. F. The average days change actually flattened out requiring a strong downward change to get the average to change.

    The interesting thing is how much the trend data seems to be different from the data here:

    Well I am hoping I have stirred up a hornets nest over on UKww with this observation and I want to thank you for your observations and taking the time to share your research with me. Hopefully, we will talk again soon.

    Dave Cooke

  4. 254
    David says:

    hang on Ray (232), geothermal heat can’t stay in the deep ocean; if it did, the deep ocean would be hot, just like the continental crust is at a depth of 3 or 4km. Convection carries the geothermal heat to the surface. If we call the deep ocean the bottom 3km, then, were it not for convection carrying the heat to the surface, the total geothermal heat flux of about 20TW would raise the temperature of the deep ocean by 1K every 4000 years or so.

    [Response: You need to compare that heat flux with the flux associated with the overturning circulation and associated processes. For a rough estimate, downwelling water to the deep ocean in convection zones is about 40 Sv (10^6 m3/s), assuming that comes in with say 2 deg C, and leaves (through upwelling, isopycnal and diapycnal diffusion), that is a heat flux of 320 TW, thus at least an order of magnitude larger than the geothermal fluxes. Model estimates of the effect of geothermal heating on the ocean temperatures and circulation have shown small effects – a few tenths of a deg C in the deep water (i.e. Adcroft et al, 2001 – they used ~18 TW of geothermal heat into the bottom of the ocean). – gavin]

  5. 255
    floodguy says:

    With UAH and RSS mean temps for June out, can anyone offer why the carbon warming b/n 1979 and the present has only increased about +0.05*C and +0.285*C, respectively. I would have thought that over the last 29 years, we would have had more warming.

    Then considering the lack of solar activity over the last several months, I wonder how that will affect the global mean temp for the coming months, and eventually sea ice.

    Curious to read some viewpoints here about that. Thanks. Happy 4th.

  6. 256
    maikdev says:

    Re: 247, 252

    OK. Now I understand that the onset of surface melt is not the same thing that the onset of pools or visible ponding. The pools are the second phase of melting.
    But these pools are very easy to see in the webcam pictures. Search&Results: In 2003, the first pools appeared at 07/04. * 2004: 07/05. * 2005: no pictures. * 2006: 06/28. * 2007: lag of pictures.
    * 2008: 06/29.
    According to the NSIDC,s Figure 4 ( ), the onset of surface melt in 2006 was later than in 2008. But pools appeared then one day earlier than now! Lag of effects of the earlier first onset of surface melt of 2008?

  7. 257
    l david cooke says:

    RE: 255

    Hey Floodguy,

    Actually, since we do not have a great handle on the mechanics yet probably not. If I were to take a SWAG I would suggest that the relationship between what we are seeing the last two years are likely linked to the 1960’s dip.

    It is more likely that the lighter colored aerosols being added to the atmosphere by emerging industrial powerhouses are driving the deviation we see today. As to actual data you may want to search on the recent data regarding the surface accumulation in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic by NASA and the NOAA US Western coastline aerosol detection stations regarding aerosol precipitation fallout being detected there. Here is a link to a recent NASA satellite study:

    Dave Cooke

  8. 258

    RE no ice at the North Pole or other symbolic, localized effects of GW that might inspire us to action. For me it was the droughts in the Sahelian-Sudanian belt in Africa featured in the film, IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? (1989?). I had been aware of droughts and famines there since the 1970s and Biafra. Once I made the connection that I might be contributing to these droughts and famines, that spurred me into action.

    So I think single effects in localized regions could play a great role in getting people involved. Sometimes the entire basket of harmful GW effects might be too overwhelming to handle for beginners in GW awareness and mitigation. They might just throw up their hands in a sense of helplessness.

    RE all this talk of FLAT. Here’s some bad flat — flat-screen TVs, which (except for Toshiba apparently) use nitrogen trifluoride in their manufacture, a 17,000 times more potent GHG than CO2, which remains in the atmosphere 550 years — according to an article based on a new study (see )

    I have an old clonker TV that I assume didn’t use that GHG, but I was thinking of perhaps buying a new TV once the digital conversion goes into effect next year, so now I’ll have to be sure it doesn’t involve nitrogen trifluoride in its manufacture. I can do that!

    If we focus on one or two things at a time people can do, then it doesn’t seem so impossible. It helps foster an “I can do that,” can-do attitude. It’s the LITTLE WAY OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALING. According to Mother Teresa, our love and concern for that single localized GW harm makes our tiny, drop-in-the-ocean efforts infinite. She said she wouldn’t have helped over 35,000 destitute people, if she hadn’t gone out to that first dying man in a Calcutta street. One step at a time adds up, as long as we don’t see it’s a Mt. Everest of needed action we’re climbing, and get paralyzed.

  9. 259
    Ray Ladbury says:

    David, Of course things don’t stay in the deep ocean indefinitely, the question is timescale. The deep ocean and surface water don’t overturn because of differences in density, so the exchange is via global circulation. My point is that a volcano could be going off 4.3 km below your feet at the North pole and you’d never have any indication. The heat would dissipate to the general volume of the ocean–so, no, the deep ocean would NOT be hot. The volcanic flux is about 3 orders of magnitude smaller than that coming in from the surface.

  10. 260

    256 Malkdev, You need to travel on sea ice like people in the Polar regions do. One spot may be like winter with strange looking sublimated or jagged snow (as with the NOAA picture), the other very wet with water pools everywhere, nothing is uniform, everything depends on everything else, ice thickness for example, the NOAA webcam shows a very small area, most likely chosen for its thickness (they dont put things on thin ice). Sleeping in a tent on the ice, even late spring feels like…….. sleeping on ice!

  11. 261

    RE #217 & “But if you’re already biased against capitalism and the West…”

    You really got me pegged, I’ve been against capitalism and the West for a long time, since I was a kid — and I was reared in a staunch Republican, patriotic family! The reason is I’m a Christian, so I guess that says it all. I took Sunday school very seriously.

    Then I went to the East, and found out they’re not any better than us — maybe just bad and good in different ways. So I stopped looking for paradise and started working on making myself a better person. But I keep back-sliding, keep picking myself up and dusting off the dirt, and keep on trying again. So now I’m not so disgusted with capitalism and the West as I used to be, bec we all have problems we have to work on, and it’s really hard getting out of our bad, GW-causing ways and other bad habits.

    BTW, I think I have found paradise afterall. Just give “doing the right thing” or “random acts of kindness” a little try, maybe when no one is looking, so you won’t be lumped in with those social-ists or bleeding-hearts.

  12. 262

    RE 217 & “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?…

    You’ve really brought up a very important point. Nature can do us a lot of harm. I understand there are volcanoes under the Antarctic ice — the more dangerous type.

    But the way I see it is, we can only do what we can do. We can’t stop volcanoes, but we can reduce our GHGs, at least 2/3 of them in cost-effective ways that save us money and make us richer. And for the bleeding hearts, we can reduce even more with a bit of sacrifice.

    We wouldn’t want to add insult to injury by causing GW on top of natural disasters and problems. It might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s those last few inches of flood water over the levee or the last bit of storm intensity that can cause the most harm.

    And since we can’t control natural harms, it behooves us all the more to reduce as much as possible our own contributions to harms against humanity and nature. We need to redouble our efforts, considering all the other harms out of our control.

    P.S., there’s a good novel about GW in conjunction with volcanic eruptions under Antarctic ice, THE RISING, JOURNEYS IN THE WAKE OF GLOBAL WARMING by Tom Pollock and Jack Seybold (see ). Maybe the scientists here could talk about whether this scenario is possible.

    I’m also thinking that melting glacial ice on land masses can cause local earthquakes. I’m wondering if massive melting of ice on Antarctica — once it gets really under way — might actually trigger some earthquake activity and possible (yikes) volcanic activity.

  13. 263
    cce says:

    Re: 255

    RSS shows warming of 0.17 degrees per decade of the lower troposphere since 1979 (the most of any temperature series). UAH shows warming of 0.13 degrees per decade since 1979 (the least of any series). Current temperatures are depressed due to the strongest La Nina in decades.

  14. 264
    Timothy says:

    [224] – “It would be foolish to “rule out” solar forcing completely…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.”

    Climate Science is not that young. Solar forcing is not “ruled out”, but it is weighed and measured alongside the other forcings. The conclusion is that, at most, it contributes less than one-fifth of the net anthropogenic forcing.

    So, it’s not irrelevant, but the important thing is that there isn’t anything we can do about. What we can do something about – CO2, CH4, deforestation, etc – has a greater effect already, which will only grow if we don’t stop emitting the stuff. This simply isn’t in doubt anymore.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t good science that can be done to investigate Sun-Climate interactions, whether current or past, but it does mean that there is no chance of the Sun giving us a free pass so that we don’t have to take responsibility for what we are doing to ur climate.

  15. 265
    Mark says:

    “K Johansen Says:
    3 July 2008 at 6:54 AM

    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. ”

    No, I think the Polr Bears will go somewhere else, rather than sit on the dwindling ice until they drown.


    Oh, Alaska mainland.

    Where there’s food to eat.

    Unfortunately, there are already humans there. Ah well, more protein for Mr Bear, eh?

    What? A cull of these dangerous animals!

    The death of the Polar Bear will be because we’re already on the land they would have to move to and, greedy buggers that we are, we’re not letting go. So we’ll eliminate the competition.

  16. 266
    maikdev says:

    247, 252, 256
    Re: 260
    Thank you for your answer.
    You say: “the NOAA webcam shows a very small area”. OK, but that area is representative of a bigger area (maybe a 5% of the arctic ocean?) And in that area (the triangle between Greenland, Svalbard and the north pole) there is no agreement between the webcam pictures and the NSICD´s Figure 4. And I continue without understanding that fact.

  17. 267
    Mike Donald says:

    #1 Andy, Gavin

    Yep this “it’s the volcanoes under the Arctic” looks like the stock phrase at the mo but that Andy Revkin ala NYT is on the case.

    No offence intended but also time for realclimate to step into the breach dear friends? I’d appreciate an authoratitive post on it.

  18. 268
    Paul Melanson says:

    RE: #248

    I didn’t assume anything, but the people I was quoting did. If I wanted to make such calculations I would go back and study my geophysics first, then consult with people who knew what they were doing. However, unlike those who think that propaganda trumps reality, I am more than satisfied to let special-ists study this and let me study in my field. Just like I go to see an MD if I’m sick instead of trying to cure myself using calculations on the back of a napkin.

    The reason I quoted this garbage was because we’ll all be hearing it ad nauseum in editorials and on the Internet. Like “vineyards in Greenland” it will get a life of it’s own. Besides, I figured everyone here could use a laugh…

    P.S. Hyphen to defeat spam filter

  19. 269
    David B. Benson says:

    pete best (251) wrote “… Polar bears did not exist 125,000 years ago I believe.” I seriously doubt that.

  20. 270

    #266, Not even 5% , I’d say something like .000001% . 1 square kilometer of say 10 million square Kilometers. 1/10X10E6 =.0000001 for the picture, Hard to say how many “dry” spots there is for the entire Arctic Ocean remaining ice , something like 30 to 40%… If you want to disprove a big league outfit like NOAA you need big league proof. Extrapolating from one litle camera shot is not the way to find errors.

    Happy 4th for American readers, wish that they could remember our 1st of July Canada day though…

  21. 271
    K Johansen says:

    As for the polar bears you are missing my point: it’s just as important that several million other species are threatened by extinction. It’s far more important that fx. Cyprus now has to get water shipped in from Greece, Barcelona is making plans getting water from the Rhone in France etc. But of course you see no pictures of that on your TV. Polar bears are cute, water isn’t. Nonsense is selling nonsense, facts are not… The globe is warming, but everything looks fine on your TV, and soon you can even ski there, or at least look at the celebrities apparently chosen by some god to do it.

    (BTW I’m really not able to understand why anyone can admire a god like these mideastern tyrannic types, because as Albert Camus said around 1945: “If god exists, he must be evil”.)

  22. 272
    pat n says:

    Re: 253,

    Alaska stations at Barrow, Bethel, McGrath and Norway show mean annual temperatures which contradict statements made on the AK annual mean on the ClimTrends webpage.

  23. 273
    Maikdev says:

    Re: 270
    My 5% (and perhaps more) was refered to the triangle between NE Greenland, NO Svalbard and North Pole. Maybe, the conditions showed by the webcam could be extrapolated to that zone. (NOAA reports “extrapolating” from the webcams: )

    Curiously, now I´ve seen a change in the Figure 4 of the NSIDC june report: now it is updated at july 1. And now the green colour in “my triangle” has disapeared…
    The “new” onset of the surface melt is shown at that location in blue and dark blue, at late june: as the webcams showed (and very near to the past years).
    I think this new update clarifies all. The onset of surface melting in that concrete sector of the Arctic hasn´t been earlier than past years.

    [Response: The updated figure is indeed significantly different from the first version. This one probably makes a little more sense. – gavin]

  24. 274
    Jim Cripwell says:

    Ref 234 from Gavin. I routinely visit the NSIDC site. I notice that the 2007 and 2008 curves for surface overage are diverging, with more and more of the sea surface being covered this year than last. I know that this year’s ice is much thinner than last year’s. So that, while the surface area may be greater this year compared with last year, the volume of ice in the Arctic this year is probably already less than at the same time last year. I gather from the NSDIDC site that the forecast is that before the summer has finished, there will be less surface coverage in 2008 compared with 2007. This must mean that some time within the next 60 days or so, the 2008 surface coverage curve is going to take a huge change of direction and head very rapidly downwards; far more rapidly than on July 1st 2007. I searched the NSIDC site for a discussion of this, but could not find any. Can someone confirm that my reasoning is correct, and give me an idea of when the sudden change in 2008 ice surface area is likely to occur? TIA.

  25. 275
    Spyros says:

    Goodness what a lot of hot air hyping this. Enough to fry some eggs on people’s faces considering that this year’s melting is now behind 2007, and 2006 and 2005 for that matter in spite of all that thin thin ice.

    You think maybe lower global temps have something to do with it? Or do people not care about that data anymore?

  26. 276

    #273 Malkdev, Gavin, I agree that the preceding map was a little too green over much wider area, spotty melting pond zones notwithstanding.

  27. 277
    Phil Scadden says:

    Another example of half-truths etc. at

    I was considering whether I had time or energy to comment, but wondered if anyone knew who Steven Goddard is and what the “policy based evidence making” is about. Its disappointing seeing the cheering in the comments which just me despair.

    [Response: “ice free up to 81N” gosh! Possibly it’s worth pointing out that even above Svalbard you could have sailed past 82 N in ice free conditions last year, and approaching from Siberia, you could have gone to past 84 N. – gavin]

  28. 278
    CobblyWorlds says:


    What will happen in the coming months will happen.

    This must mean that some time within the next 60 days or so, the 2008 surface coverage curve is going to take a huge change of direction and head very rapidly downwards; far more rapidly than on July 1st 2007. I searched the NSIDC site for a discussion of this, but could not find any.

    Funny, when I read “Early onset of melt” and all below, I immediately realised why they made a such a bold estimate.

  29. 279
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #269

    I would seriously suggest that your doubts aren’t that well founded.

  30. 280
    Hank Roberts says:

    Compare and contrast:

    “… Figure 2 indicates that on a daily basis, sea ice extent appears slightly higher than 2007 for most of the month. This apparent contradiction arises because of the monthly averaging calculation and because some days may have areas of missing data. … June sea ice extents in 2008 and 2007 are essentially identical, and near the lowest values for June ever recorded by satellite for the Arctic….”

    “… sea ice concentration (SIC) data* of AMSR-E standard products are used for area calculation.
    * Usually, sea ice extent is defined as an average of several days in order to eliminate calculation errors by data deficiency. However, we adopt the average of two days in this site for the purpose of rapid release.
    … we are applying the AMSR-E sea ice concentration algorism developed by Dr. Comiso in NASA/GSFC.
    … The numbers of sea ice extent in this site are estimates calculated by certain algorism.

  31. 281
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #275

    Spyros lower global temps don’t matter much, local temps are far more important and they haven’t been that low.

  32. 282
    Nick Barnes says:

    It seems to me, from looking at the 500m- and 250m-resolution MODIS pictures, that the whole arctic ice pack, barring a very narrow strip along the archipelago coast, and the channels within the archipelago, is broken into floes with sizes ranging up to around 8km, separated by leads most of which are narrow but which range up to a few km in areas. All of this counts as solid “extent”, of course, but observing “area” graphs at CT might give a more reliable impression.

    This pattern of broken ice includes essentially all the perennial ice along the archipelago coast. Almost none of it is fast to the coast.

    All this broken ice is in motion, and some is flushing out (mostly out of Fram Strait, but also through the very constricted Nares Strait). By watching the motion of individual floes one can estimate the overall speed through these straits – my attempt at this came out at one or two knots.

    Curiously, very little of the ice seems to be moving west along the archipelago, towards the Beaufort sea polynya, which I would expect from the action of the Beaufort Gyre. Almost all that ice close to the archipelago coast, which I believe to be the perennial ice, is instead heading east towards Greenland and Fram Strait.

    Looking at MODIS archives, it was not like this in early July 2005, early July 2006, or even early July 2007.

    The other really noticeable contrast with previous years is that this year there is almost no cloud cover on the ice pack.


  33. 283
    Clarence says:

    Re #274:

    AIUI, the assumption is that most of the first-year ice will melt, and much of it is located around the North Pole this year, so it will melt late (if at all) because of less insolation at high latitudes. Also, it’s almost completely surrounded by multi-year ice (except towards the East Siberian Sea), so there won’t be much open water around it soon that could assist melting. Probably it highly depends on the weather in August and September.

    BTW, does anybody know an image like figure 4 of the June 2008 NSIDC sea ice news (multi-year ice percentages), updated to current conditions? It’s possible to extract the information from the NIC ice charts (updated today), but it’s hard to see the whole picture there.

  34. 284

    Between April and June, I looked at the IR satellite photos of the Arctic, every day, as they updated every few hours.

    The multi-year ice was located in a rather restricted area off of northern Greenland and the northern islands of the Canadian archipelago.

    In April, the multi-year ice to the west of Ellesmere began its move to the south, along with the ice before it. That multi-year ice moved down to the Beaufort Sea and melted.

    The multi-year ice off of northern Greenland went out that strait by Svalbard.

    Thus, the multi-year ice is gone, all gone.

    Any curve that represents the sea ice extent this year cannot be compared to last year’s curve — it would be comparing apples to oranges.

    If you go to the site of the University of Bremen, you can see from their graphics that the remaining ice is melting out from the middle of the Arctic Sea.

    How can anyone think that the remaining ice is going to last through this summer?

    See here:

  35. 285
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #282
    Wayne has said that the flow has been different this year, the buoys program shows a strong trans polar drift but the gyre seems rather weak.

  36. 286
    Lawrence Brown says:

    RE:#243 Tamino asks:” 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” …

    I have to question about what his definition of scientists is, since Mr. Peden later states in a comment in a at the same sight
    that: “consider the theoretical possibility that Sen. Inhofe, myself, and the 32,000 other scientists who have come forth in protest are correct.”

    My question is what field of science does he think Senator Imhofe specializes in? Oh wait a minute- I forgot –Political Science! I wonder how many of these are included in the 32,000 “scientists” he mentions.

  37. 287

    Clarence, on a different thread ( )

    in comment #168, posted this animation of images from Bremen University of the Beaufort Sea area, from May 1st through the end of June roughly.

    It shows how the multi-year ice went south to the Beaufort Sea and melted there.

    What didn’t move south just melted right where it was, as there was a record-breaking heat wave for a few days there in northern Canada on the coast of the Arctic Sea.

  38. 288
    mike says:

    RE 244 Mike, cite please? You’re apparently quoting something. What?

    Hank, Is this what your looking for?

    Comment #77

  39. 289
    Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is running a pool on when the NW passage will open. First prize is a blue bunny (magnet).

  40. 290
    Eli Rabett says:

    How 32000 people with some sort of science degree (maybe), have been hoodwinked

  41. 291
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #284 Tenney Naumer,

    Check previous years of QuikScat. The internal structure of the ice is always masked in the summer, it’s due to the amount of water vapour and surface melt. It does not mean the multi year ice is gone. The NIC charts clearly show there’s still multi-year ice in there. Just much less than last year.

    A massive melt to come is by no means certain, although anyone who thinks it isn’t at all possible needs to consider that weather uncertainty acts both ways.

    Re my #278
    Now NSIDC have radically changed figure 4, it doesn’t seem to me to support a very atypical melt. Which makes me feel a bit happier.

  42. 292
    cce says:

    In the thread linked by mike in 288, the weather guy points to this chart of global temperatures going back 4500 years.

    I’ve seen that graph before

  43. 293
    Nick Barnes says:

    Tenney @ 287 : my observations (not current, but looking back at the MODIS archive) don’t agree with yours. Much of the ice off Banks and Prince Patrick islands does seem to have gone west and melted after the big fracture on about 7th May. But the ice off Ellef Ringnes, Axel Heiberg, Ellesmere, and north Greenland does not seem to have moved west. A coastal polynya opened in mid May, then closed again a few days later as the ice was pushed back against the archipelago. Neither has this ice melted in place, although it has certainly broken up. The 60-day buoy tracks make it clear that this ice has moved around 500km eastwards, towards the Fram Strait, during May and June, and continues in that direction at about 5-10km per day.

  44. 294
    Hank Roberts says:

    >239, 244, 288
    “Is this …”
    I asked you your source — is that where you got what you pasted in?
    It might be. I pasted that line you quoted into Google — it’s posted on upwards of a dozen blogs, I quit counting after the first page of hits. I was asking you your source, hoping you had an original source.

    Try the same exercise, paste some of the stuff you’ve quoted here into Google and get a feel for how it’s being circulated. Repetition isn’t credibility. Citing to “some guy on a blog posted this” isn’t either.
    Chasing those is whack-a-mole stuff, not worth the effort after a while.

  45. 295
    pete best says:

    Re #269, Well the oldest fossil is under 100,000 years old although they state that the species is around 200,000 years old but the jury seems to be out on that one. However I stand corrected if that is indeed true but they do state that its between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago which is rather a large gap although evolutionary changes do indeed take a long time.

  46. 296
    Nylo says:

    Re 263

    Strongest La Niña in decades? La Niña episodes in 1999 and 2000 were stronger that this one. How many years are your decades made of?

    [Response: Ummm, no. the commenter is actually right. check your facts before pronouncing someone else wrong. By standard measures such as the Multivariate ENSO index (“MEI”), this recent La Nina was the largest in two decades. – mike]

  47. 297
    Timothy says:

    [274] – That wasn’t quite how I read the NSIDC piece. They said that all the preconditions were there for a record melt, but that it would now depend on the winds and cloud (ie the weather). They also noted that 2006 was poised for a record melt (compared to 2005), but there wasn’t one because of the weather that year.

    That said, the preconditioning is so strong that even with cloudy weather it looks likely that the ice will fall below the 2005 level and be the second lowest on record, even if it doesn’t exceed the record melt last year.

  48. 298
    Peter Ellis says:

    This may seem a silly question, but what are the upper limit estimates for sea level rise by (say) 2030 / 2050? Worst case emission scenarios, extra methane release, the works. Is there a value X such that we can say “Sea level will not rise by more than X metres”, or do we just not know enough about ice sheet dynamics to make that estimate?

  49. 299
    Mark says:

    [Re: #277: I was considering whether I had time or energy to comment, but wondered if anyone knew who Steven Goddard is and what the “policy based evidence making” is about. Its disappointing seeing the cheering in the comments which just me despair.]

    Worse, those not cheering get in based on whether “Dr” Stephen Goddard is moderating at the time.

  50. 300

    #286, & “consider the theoretical possibility that Sen. Inhofe, myself, and the 32,000 other scientists who have come forth in protest are correct”

    I’ve considered it, even tho it is a very remote possibility now. It would be the great false positive bonanza! Assuming that we are trying to avoid the false negative (that we avoid doing nothing when GW is actually happening), and we become very energy/resource efficient/conservative, that will solve lots of enviro, political, and economic woes, and will be great in and of itself, even without GW happening.

    So, either way — whether GW is happening or not — we really need to mitigate it, and in the process reap all the other wonderful benefits such actions yield. And most importantly, avoid the (increasingly great) chance of a FALSE NEGATIVE SCENARIO in which we do nothing to mitigate GW when it really is happening — which is a very dire scenario, opposite the happy scenario of mitigating GW when it is not happening.

    OK, is that clear now?