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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. 301
    LG Norton says:

    Re: 274, 278, 283, 284

    Looking at the slope of the melt data, it looks like 2008 is like 2007 except only about 3 days behind. Around the end of July last year, the melting slowed down. This year, I expect that curve to keep at a steep slope for a while longer, as the ice will be very thin and in poor shape.

    I find it hard to believe however, that all that 6 meter thick multiyear ice that hangs around the north coast of Greenland and Elsmere Island is all gone. Does anybody have an updated multiyear ice map ?

    On a climate note, I have a question. In the mid northern latitudes, the warmest week (based on long term historic records) occur about 5 weeks after the summer solistice. Does the same apply at high latitudes (ie is the warmest week the last week of july for the North Pole, statistically speaking) ?

  2. 302
    Eli Rabett says:

    wrt 236 and gavin’s comment. There is no observed effect on the TSI at earth’s orbit. End of story.

  3. 303

    #285, Phil , http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/circulation.html

    some ice circulation now is exactly opposite near the archipelago. Meaning
    its badly broken ice, succeptible to winds, prevailing momentum and tides. The old ice is taking a beating, also the apparently more closed Russian shoreline is explained, look at Russian side buoys heading towards Russia….

  4. 304

    #296 The climate world does not rotate around the Galapagos Islands! As some may recall, there was unusual clear skies in the North American Arctic sector during the long night and spring, triggereing very cold surface temperatures, to the joy of contrarians, who as their habit dictates, had to demonstrate their lack of knowledge about basic climate equations:

    lack of clouds in darkness = cold
    lack of clouds with sunshine= hot

    Canadian Arctic Spring was warmer due to lack of clouds, oblivious to LaNina.
    Average climate is the combination of all regions, not just the one by Peru.

  5. 305
    cce says:

    Re: 296

    My decades are made out of 10 years, as in “the last El Nino this strong was in 1988″
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/

  6. 306
    cce says:

    Re: my post in 292, which was truncated.

    It should be:

    In the thread linked by mike in 288, the weather guy points to this chart of global temperatures going back 4500 years. http://www.longrangeweather.com/images/gtemps.gif

    I’ve seen that graph before, but this new one takes the cake.
    http://www.longrangeweather.com/images/chart.pdf

  7. 307
    Phil. Felton says:

    Re #303

    #285, Phil , http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/circulation.html

    some ice circulation now is exactly opposite near the archipelago. Meaning
    its badly broken ice, succeptible to winds, prevailing momentum and tides. The old ice is taking a beating, also the apparently more closed Russian shoreline is explained, look at Russian side buoys heading towards Russia….

    Yes looking at the IAB maps the Beaufort gyre (a source of multiyear ice) has almost gone, the transpolar drift is apparently running close to the north american side. As you say that explains the Siberian and Laptev sea behaviour this year.

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

  8. 308
    cce says:

    Re: 305

    Of course that should be “La Nina” not “El Nino.” Sorry.

  9. 309

    Re: #293

    Dear Nick,

    Sorry, I did not repeat what I had already written in #284 about the multi-year ice north of Greenland. Sure, it went out the Fram.

    What’s left of the multi-year ice is some tiny fraction of what was already a very small percentage of the total sea ice.

    Paolo Morelli just sent me a new link to images that show a different picture than even the Bremen or the UIUC graphics — see here:

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/amsr.n.ice.20080704.gif

    and

    http://www.seaice.dk/iwicos/latest/amsu.n.comb.20080704.gif

  10. 310
    B Buckner says:

    Tenney #309
    Can you describe how it is that you differentiate between new and multi-year ice when looking at the satellite photos?

  11. 311
    Abbe Mac says:

    Re #236 where mike say:

    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?

    ….

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

    To answer your question, they are talking about solar tides.

    Just as the earth has tides from the sun and the moon, the sun will have tides from the Milky Way and its planets. The major planet is Jupiter so it will provide the main tide, and combined with that of the glactic centre could account for the 11 year solar cycle. Saturn is also a giant planet with a 30 year orbital period, and the two planets will produce high (spring) tides when they are aligned with the sun every ~22.3 years, and when they are aligned in the the center of the galaxy as well every 178.7 years.

    We know that the solar cycle (main tide) does not have a profound effect on the climate, although it does have some. If the solar cycle is the result of a Jovian tide, so it is unlikely that the lesser effect of Saturn could account for the global warming that is now occuring.

    HTH,

    Cheers, Alastair.

  12. 312
    Gary P says:

    This arctic sea surface ice anomoly is just noise. Please don’t worry so much. In a few years it will not be an issue.

    Everyone was so excited about Atlantic basin hurricane activity 3 years ago and were sure it was AGW caused. Now, hardly anyone talks about hurricanes because the number and intensity in the Atlantic basin has dropped to below normal for 2 consecutive years. And the TC that hit Burma developed and travelled over waters that were below normal in sea surface temperature.

    Everyone was so excited about new records being set in global average temperature, but with no record setting global averages in 10 years, ho hum.

  13. 313
    mike says:

    re 294Citing 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.

    Hank, I agree completely but this weather guy is the most influential weather guy in the state of Alabama. He’s influencing a lot of people and spreading a lot of bad info. I am not a scientist but would like to help balance the scales.

  14. 314
    Tom Dayton says:

    Wow! cce dug up a diamond in #306:

    In the thread linked by mike in 288, the weather guy points to this chart of global temperatures going back 4500 years. http://www.longrangeweather.com/images/gtemps.gif

    I’ve seen that graph before, but this new one takes the cake.
    http://www.longrangeweather.com/images/chart.pdf

    The “climatologist” and “meteorologist” who run the “Harris-Mann Climatology” company predict that between 2019 and 2045 the cyclic return of hot and dry climate will cause more nudism, murals, schizophrenic art, caricatures, depression, and death camps, to name just a tiny subset.

    For sheer entertainment, everybody should click on the second of cce’s links in the above quote.

    Context: The “weather guy” that cce refers to is TV weather person James Spann in Alabama. The 4500-years temperature graph that Spann cited as the truth, is the distorted one in the first link above. Spann also wrote:

    I tend to throw out all on the extremes of the argument; lots of fringe lunatics out there on both sides of the issue. I welcome all opinions, and explore them all except for the extremists.

    So apparently Spann does not consider the folks who produced that first chart to be fringe lunatics nor extremists. We can see where Spann sets the bar on fringe lunacy and extremism, by looking at the chart in the second link above, produced by the same stable, mainstream, well-grounded folks.

    (Spann was spouting in response to an op-ed piece by University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology James B. McClintock, in the Birmingham News. Spann’s credentials seem to me to be just a tiny bit less appropriate: Spann claims to have completed a Broadcast Meteorology program at Mississippi State. That program’s web site has a disclaimer: “This program is not designed for those looking for federal government positions in meteorology. Those positions require several high level math, physics and chemistry courses that are not required in the on-campus program.” Spann got some national media coverage (guess which shows?) in 2007 comments about The Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen.)

  15. 315
    David B. Benson says:

    Gary P (312) — Remember we are concerned about long term averages, not just a few months or even a whole year:

    http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_browse.html

  16. 316
    Eli Rabett says:

    The difference is that sea ice has a memory. Multi year ice (ice that has survived through a few or more summer and is thick, is much harder to melt than new ice, formed during a single winter.

  17. 317
    Gary P says:

    David B. Benson (315)

    Such alarming figures. It is amazing what colors can do. Why not use 1900 for the baseline, then all the globe will be dark red.
    I prefer plotting my own data. try the following:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:6/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:6/plot/uah/mean:6/plot/rss/mean:6

  18. 318
    Joe Hunkins says:

    Nick Barnes: Looks like I’m about to lose our November 07 bet on sea ice minimum unless things cool down fast up there.

  19. 319
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gary P., Gee, anomalous years for hurricanes, superstorms like that in Burma, record ice melt–sounds like a lot of strange weather events. And you’re right, any one of them could be just weather, but all of them, and as parts of long-term trends–that’s climate change. You’re making a pretty good case for it.

  20. 320
    Clarence says:

    Re #301:

    The North Pole has no warmest week. Temperatures stay close to 0 °C from end of June to end of July.

    I made temperature plots from the reanalysis 2 (NCEP/DOE) data for the North Pole (actually a zonal mean at 88.5° N; there’s no grid point at the pole) and for the zonal means at 85° N, 81° N and 75° N (excluding land and the last also excluding the always ice-free parts of the Atlantic).

    Individual years are gray with darker colors indicating more recent years, 2008 is black and 2007 red; blue is the 1979-2007 mean, green the 2003-2007 mean. All values are running means from the 00Z, 06Z, 12Z and 18Z 2m temperatures. Alignment is corrected for leap years (note that nominal dates in 2008 are 0.75 days behind the seasonal cycle when compared to 2007 because of the leap day).

    The multi-year ice isn’t all gone. What has melted in the Beaufort Sea is mostly ice that has been rotating in the Beaufort gyre; only a smaller part came from further east. The NIC ice charts show still a broad strip north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago with 80+ % multi-year ice. (I’m still looking for an easier to read multi-year ice map with current data.)

  21. 321
    Hank Roberts says:

    >312, Gary
    Is there a function for timespan trends, like the illustrations that Atmoz and Stoat provide?
    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

  22. 322
    Chuck Booth says:

    An interesting article about Arctic sea ice, polar bears, and U.S. politics:

    Politicizing the Polar Bear

    By Richard Ellis
    Truthdig.com (Posted on Jun 30, 2008)

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/page5/20080630_politicizing_the_polar_bear/

  23. 323
    llewelly says:

    Ray Ladbury, for a combination of extreme weather events and their relationship with climate, see NOAA’s CEI:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cei/cei.html
    Unfortunately, it is US only, and I know of no explicit attempt to determine its relationship with AGW specifically. However, see this graph which seems to show a significant rise in recent years.

  24. 324
    sidd says:

    for those interested in such tings, i have now a rotating melted greenland at http://membrane.com/sidd/greenrockturn.html

    1.5M animated gif, so pliz be kind, cache with attribution
    server is old and crotchety, and may fall over (like me)

    i may, as time permits, rotate unmelted greenland, will let yall know.

    sidd

  25. 325
    John G. says:

    Symbolism. A little water at the North Pole.

    Extinction is forever, sure, but as long as we don’t all perish during MY lifetime, then I see no reason to fret. –Quite a few million of us are thinking this, but there’s no sense in saying it out loud.

    Picture the last two humans on earth. They are carrying an empty gas can, as they go in search of some place where they can get some more fuel for their empty Hummer.

    As they are the very last of their species, there has been no infrastructure or communications network for quite awhile–so it is totally impossible for them to know they are the very last.

    They both agree that there used to be an Exxon-Mobil station just over the next hill. They have no idea at all that they are both already well over the hill, in terms of tomorrow.

    But as they walk, we can hear them arguing. One is quite concerned that the gas station may not be there any more, as he has observed that gas stations are declining in number. His friend thinks he’s an idiot, and tells him so: “You and your trends. I’ve got plastic. What you’re about to see, my pathetic friend, is exactly how well money talks. You’d still be riding a bicycle if it weren’t for me.”

    The good folks studying polar ice were thinking, just several years ago, that this North Pole ice-free event would come, say, sometime after 2050. Amusing ourselves reading this thread and sipping a good latte, we might wonder just when our last two heroes set out between their Hummer and eternity. Sometime after 2050?

  26. 326
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #277 Phil Scadden: “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.”

    The only living person named Goddard you’ll find in the scientific literature w/publications related to climate is a Steve Goddard, at UNL. I’m pretty sure he’s not the same fellow. The real Goddard coauthored a paper on improving the quality of longitudinal temperature datasets in the U.S., which ironically is related to the pseudo-Goddard’s gripes, but nothing else seems to indicate any relationship.

    I’ve asked “The Register” as well as the ghostly version of “Steven Goddard” for a CV, to no avail. Apparently there’s something drastically wrong with it?

    It also appears that “The Register” is taking a rather aggressively protective stance toward “Goddard” and his “analysis” in article comments, as public requests for his CV are moderated out, as well as at least some criticisms of his writings.

    What’s even more annoying about “Goddard” than the ample grist he’s providing to the mill of deception are his accusations of scientific misconduct against James Hansen. All potshots taken from behind a cloak of anonymity, of course.

    Perhaps if “The Register” is peppered with requests for a CV they’ll get either get tired of publishing Goddard’s slander or they’ll cough up his identity. I personally think they’re being punk’d so they’d be doing themselves a favor either way.

  27. 327
    paulm says:

    Is there any comment on this article?
    It needs a reply/response I think…
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/03/goddard_polar_ice/

  28. 328

    Alastair writes:

    the sun will have tides from the Milky Way

    Huh? The Milky Way is the galaxy we’re in.

  29. 329
    LG Norton says:

    Re:320

    Thanks for the plots. The center of the above freezing period is around the middle of July, so the north pole is still warming 3 to 4 weeks past solar maximun.

    If we had 200 years of daily climate records for the north pole, like we have for the mid latitudes, then the curve would be smoother, and a warmest week could be picked out, if it does not simply plateau.

    It appears that the mid point of the warmest period occurs a little earlier than mid latitudes. I would expect, with global warming, with the ice melting earlier, this date would move forward for the high latitudes, and should also cause the date of minimun arctic ice extent to move foward also.

  30. 330

    Re: #320

    OK, Clarence, you have access to much better data than I do — those egg codes got beyond me last night. Maybe after I have another cup of coffee, I will try again. In the meantime, I will have a go at your other links — thanks for all the effort!

  31. 331
    Mark says:

    328.

    Huh? The Milky Way is the galaxy we’re in.

    Yes, and the earth includes the water that is showing a tide.

    Hopefully that jarred out out of complacency and made you think about your misconception.

    The Sun is not the entire milky way. It is not at the gravitational centre (where it would see no or little gravitational variability). It’s out on the bondooks.

    Where the greater mass is moving about quite fluidly and its density-per-light-year is malleable to a large degree. The Sun’s density is not that malleable, it must obey hydrostatic limits.

    So the Sun has its surface moved about because the average gravitational pull keeps changing magnitude and vector based on the changing locations of the rest of the milky way.

    Just like the waters of the earth respond to the changing gravitational vectors from the Sun, the moon and the other planetary bodies.

  32. 332
    Ray Ladbury says:

    #331, Mark, keep in mind that gravitational force decreases as the inverse square of distance, so about the only object in the solar system that has any influence would be Jupiter–and that is probably negligible. Beyond the solar system, gravitational influences are infinitesimal. I look on this theory as an exercise in numerology.

  33. 333
    Hank Roberts says:

    Mark, would you cite your source on what you report you know about how the sun behaves? Where are you getting this information?

    What I find says so little is known that models use many estimates, not yet observations.

    Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
    Volume 69, Issues 1-2, February 2007, Pages 3-17
    Challenges to Modeling the Sun-Earth System, a Workshop, Huntsville Workshop 2004 “Challenges to Modeling the Sun-Earth System

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2006.07.017

  34. 334
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #327 PaulM,

    The article you referenced…

    1) Steve Connor did not report “The North Pole will be ice-free this summer “for the first time in human history,” he reported:

    It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

    This may seem pedantic, but that article does not support the use of the word “will”, read Connor’s arcticle and it will be seen that there are plenty of qualifications that make clear this is not certain (“would be” “may well have”). The denialists are just trying to make a straw man here. “On course” does not mean you will get there, it means on course.

    2) What relevance are small areas of open water in 2000 (or earlier) given the loss of over 2million km^2 perrenial ice since then* (on a 3.6M km^2 baseline)? None at all, given the volume losses in that subsequent 8 years.
    *Nghiem 2007 “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice.” (meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Nghiem/rapid_reduction_of_Arctic_perennial_sea_ice.pdf) and subsequent findings of perennial loss over this last winter. I said small; well 10 by 3 miles is about 77km^2, and we’re talking extent measured in millions of km^2.

    3) “Summed up over the entire earth, polar ice has remained constant.” Why sum over the entire earth if the author is talking about the Arctic??? An obvious trick designed to avoid awkward facts. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.jpg
    How about we start discussing 20th century U.S. temperature trends using global datasets?

    4) Selecting a 1984 paper by Hansen that uses a mixed ocean depth of only 65 metres. i.e. picking superseded work using early models that didn’t fully account for damping due to ocean heat content. Something improved by later research.

    Try something more current, where Antarctica warms much less than the Arctic: http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/research/climate/highlights/GFDL_V1N6_gallery.html Again either the author is aware that the current models don’t support their propaganda, or they should bother to educate themselves to avoid spreading their lack of knowledge. Whichever way you look at it, it doesn’t look good.

    5) Soot is still a human impact. The collapse of old (millenial) ice shelves along the Canadian Archipelago suggests the warming now is actually having more of an impact than past warming, as does the permafrost melt impact on buildings/infrastructure. And temperatures went down after the 1940s, anyone foolish enough to claim that’s going to happen in the Arctic?

    6) The wind driven outflushing of perennial ice is likely linked to the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Changes in the mode of the AO propagate down from the stratosphere. Shindell and other researchers find that GHG driven stratospheric cooling affects the AO mode – favouring such outflushing. Yet again, with the denialist advocates, what is more interesting than what they tell you is what they omit. Shindell at el abstract: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/1999/Shindell_etal_1.html

    7) The author is a gift to a dodgy used car salesman: He can’t even be bothered to look under the bonnet (‘hood’ for those in the US):
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/2007_seaiceminimum/images/20070822_oldice.gif from NSIDC 22 August 2007 figure 4.

    Current AMSRE concentration plots suggest he’s bought a rust bucket that’s been polished up by the car dealer’s nephew: http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/arctic_AMSRE_nic.png

    8 ) Re the Northwest Passage, see my post #41 above, point 2 under historical evidence. Amundsen’s transit was not at all comparable to conditions last year. Real sceptics do their research, others just read a single line that tells them what they want to hear and they run with it.

    9) It is also notable that the caveats given by the researchers, such as the angle of incidence of insolation at the pole and weather related uncertainty have been completely overlooked by the author! Once again, the author is building a straw man argument, claiming “they said “X” will happen”, when “they” are actually saying “there is a realistic chance “X” may happen”. Anyone with any knowledge of the Arctic would not claim an ice free North Pole is impossible. Some will claim they were right when it was just a serendipitous correlation between their prejudice and reality.

    A real sceptic would trash that article.

    Denialists will swallow it hook line and sinker.

    The public will be left in doubt – which is exactly what that sort of stuff is all about.

    Rant over. ;)

  35. 335
    Mark says:

    “Hank Roberts Says:
    5 July 2008 at 11:20 AM

    Mark, would you cite your source on what you report you know about how the sun behaves? Where are you getting this information?”

    Astrophysics.
    Take a course.

    I did.

    Or do you have a theory about the distribution of matter in the galaxy inconsistent with the spiral galaxy placement?

    Do you know any different theory about stellar lifecycles than the hydrostatic equations used to discern the construction of the sun?

    Please, if you know of any theory, let us know.

    If you don’t take a look at any standard textbook on stellar formation.

  36. 336
    Mark says:

    [# Ray Ladbury Says:
    5 July 2008 at 11:13 AM

    #331, Mark, keep in mind that gravitational force decreases as the inverse square of distance, so about the only object in the solar system that has any influence would be Jupiter–and that is probably negligible. Beyond the solar system, gravitational influences are infinitesimal. I look on this theory as an exercise in numerology.]

    True. However, the density of the stellar atmosphere is a lot less dense than our water.

    There are also a lot of stars out there.

    The magnitude isn’t part of the explanation of 328′s query. That asked nothing about magnitude, just indicated incredulity that the sun, being part of the milky way, could feel tidal forces from the rest of the milky way.

    The explanation I gave was HOW the sun could feel tidal forces from the rest of the milky way.

    PS: note that the gravitational attraction of the rest of the galaxy is enough to cause the sun to move in an orbit. If the magnitude of force was negligible, then the sun would be travelling in a straight line.

    Think on that for a while.

  37. 337
    Mark says:

    CobblyWorlds, PaulM also trolls the Register website for anti-AGW stories to support. See the other comments from people about Steven Goddard to show what PaulM likes to hear.

  38. 338
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #327 paulm:

    The casual issuance and acceptance of accusations of scientific misconduct in that article reveals the real problem with making progress on modifying our habits to reduce our unacceptably large contribution to climatic instability.

    To a greater or lesser extent government and industry are responsive to popular pressures. If popular pressure in the form of a response to a perceived risk is rooted in solid understanding of that risk we may expect popular pressure to move government and industry in the direction of mitigation of whatever risk may be at hand.

    Unfortunately Goddard’s article reveals the author’s deep ignorance of scientific inquiry and how it operates in the modern world. Comments by the consumers of Goddard’s article indicate that a sizable slice (I would argue the majority) of our populace probably have no true understanding of the “scientific method” or how it has come to be implemented.

    In fact, we take for granted that we all understand the word “science” when in fact most of us do not.

    Taken on the whole, our populace is unable to discriminate opinions or feelings from a linearly coherent and self-consistent body of knowledge. Without being able to make this discrimination we (I mean the collective body responding to any given perceived risk) are highly vulnerable to manipulation by special interests.

    Hence “the debate” over global warming. Or, for that matter the “debates” over a plethora of issues that are contentious not because of underlying facts but because remediation of these issues threatens various interests.

    The article and particularly the comments on “The Register” and myriad other loci of discussion (for instance, NY Times climate blog) tell us that until we can improve our collective understanding of science as a concept we can expect to encounter a lot of friction in any attempt to make progress in public and industry policy responses to GW. Indeed, as we’ve seen there’s enough intellectual drag on the GW response that it’s quite arguable we’ll end up with far too little response, too late.

    RC and other similar sites might be well advised to always include and prominently advertise a standard treatise on what we actually mean when we say the word “science”. We assume that word and all it conveys are understood, but it’s clearly not the case, as evidenced by “Goddard” and his unwitting readers.

  39. 339
    CobblyWorlds says:

    #330 Tenney Naumer.

    And anyone else interested…

    NIC’s Arctic page http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/arctic/index.htm
    The Egg Code: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/egg_code/index.html
    Ice Codes: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/egg_code/page2.html

    Open up the Ice Codes.
    Now open up this page: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/East_Arctic/Hi_East/2008/hiea080630color.pdf I’ve chosen Hi East Arctic because that’s the one that covers the pole.

    Area B is the biggest, looking to the egg code for that area you can see…
    8-10
    8 1
    4 1.

    The top line means there’s between 8/10 and 10/10 ice coverage.
    The second and third lines are read together, to read them you need to refer to the Ice Code. The second line is the fraction, and each figure below is the type of ice for that fraction figure.

    Bear in mind that for any number that has a dot, you carry the dot over to all numbers to the left. So from the third line “4″ isn’t ice type “4″, it’s ice type “4.”.

    So using fraction amounts and the respective ice codes are B is:
    8/10 of 4.(thick first year ice), and 1/10 of 1. (medium first year ice).

    Area I is just along the Northern coast of Greenland, seperated from area B by area F, it is 8/10 old ice that’s survived more than 1 year (perennial). That’s the sort of stuff that shows up bright white on the QuikScat images.

    If you want to see the difference between this year and last check out this: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/East_Arctic/Hi_East/2007/hiea070702color.pdf
    This time last year the largest area (G) was 8/10 perennial. With a bite out of that (A) being 1/10 perennial, 8/10 thick first year.

    And here’s the same time in 2000: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/East_Arctic/Hi_East/2000/hiea000703color.jpg Solid 8/10 perennial. The trace of 1/10 first year is because the ice cap, even as it once was, was mobile so subject to cracking. Those cracks would freeze over with first year ice.

    Which reminds me: With regards the 10 mile by 3 mile crack in the Arctic (my post above point 2): Nare’s Strait seperates Ellesmere Island from the West Coast of Greenland. At it’s narrowest just before it opens into the Arctic it’s some 14-16 miles wide.

    #337 Mark, thanks, I have noticed other people touting that article.

  40. 340
    Mark says:

    CobblyWorlds et al

    I’d also put your attention toward a recent El Reg discussion about the LHC. The level of deliberate ignorance is very similar to AGW denial. And by deliberate ignorance, I mean that the only argument they have is “you could be wrong, so let’s assume I’m right”. They don’t even want to think, they just want to tell someone what to do because they’re right.

    I have asked El Reg respondants on how AGW is a conspiracy to pop over to the 11/9 conspiracy debunking sites and tell them that they have absolute knowledge of a worldwide conspiracy: AGW science, so they cannot say a conspiracy cannot exist about the twin towers, because they have a real life example there.

    I also suggested that the ones thinking that a very small chance of something going wrong in the LHC being enough to stop it go to the AGW denialists and tell them that even a small chance of catastrophe MUST be avoided.

    In neither case did they do so.

    Probably because their beef wasn’t with the science or the probabilities but with scientists ever considering themselves right.

    I suspect some of the more rabid god squad are riding the pony so we’ll stop making the gaps we don’t need god to explain bigger.

  41. 341
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re Steven Goddard, he says this about himself in comments:

    “I am an independent scientist/engineer who has taken the time to analyze the data.”

    There you have it. Apparently that’s all it takes to write columns for The Reg.

  42. 342
    sean egan says:

    Re #139
    Thanks Phil Felton
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200804_Figure4.png does show the difference 2007-2008. I take it the units are in metres of thickness – only asking as the US is less metric than here in France.
    However by eyeballing it, I can not see if the overall thickness is less and if so, is it down enough to make the volume less that 2007? I can not see any text with the diagram to tell us what we are seeing, and nothing in National Climatic Data Center monthly report or NSIDC.

    Re 246 – I take you point that weather as well as climate was a factor in the 2007. However, there will be unfavourable years, and … So it is good to see some recovery in the extent – hope it lasts to become a multiyear recovery. However, without a better handle on draft I can not see if volume is up or down. From Fig4 it would appear there is the current data available to do a monthly volume. I would like to see a running graph of volume.

  43. 343
    David B. Benson says:

    Regarding the sun and a supposed 178.7 year climate period: I used a periodogram technique for finding quasi-periodic anomalies in the GISP2 ice core temperature proxy by Alley, but just for the Holocene. While my method suggests there may well be some quasi-periods between 45 and 90 year intervals, there certainly are none to be found by this method at any longer intervals, up to 300 years.

  44. 344
    paulm says:

    327 paulm :

    I posted this comment as I have a Google alert on Ice Sheets and this showed up in it. There will be many others monitoring the news like this, trying to figure out what the latest is. Many have read his article – It is the no. 1 read on the Reg in the last 24 hrs.

    On reading it I found it very convincing that it was compelling science. However, I know that this is not the case and so I place my post requesting a reply to this. I hope that one will be sent to the editors at the Reg and also posted in the articles comment section.

    If we are to convince the general public that there is danger around the corner then contributors to Real Climate and such like have to get the news out to the public. This means disseminating it through appropriate channels. The general public does not come to Real Climate, RC has to go to them.

    The challenge of current Climate Change will not be over come until most of us understand and accept the changes required, empowering our leaders to act.

  45. 345
    dhogaza says:

    If the magnitude of force was negligible, then the sun would be travelling in a straight line.

    Well, no, it would simply be travelling along a very large orbit. Just how tight is the sun’s orbit within the galaxy, BTW? Equivalent, say, to the diameter of Mercury’s?

  46. 346

    Mark, the tidal differential on the Sun from the Milky Way galaxy is negligible. Want the math?

  47. 347
    llewelly says:

    sean egan (#342) :

    Thanks Phil Felton
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200804_Figure4.png does show the difference 2007-2008. I take it the units are in metres of thickness – only asking as the US is less metric than here in France.

    That is not a graph of thickness. It’s a graph of ice age. The units are not meters – they are years. Older is generally thicker – but I don’t know anything more about the relationship.

  48. 348
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Galasyn, perhaps the general public requires a translation for the term “independent scientist/engineer.” Near as I can tell, it means somebody too dumb to get grants or meaningful employment.

  49. 349
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mark, I second Barton and suggest you do the math on this one. Consider the fact that we are ~2.5 x 10^20 meters from the Sun, while the galactic mass is “only” 5.8 x 10^11 solar masses. I get an acceleration of about 0.2 nanometers per second^2.
    And if we are talking about tidal forces, we’re talking inverse cube dependence. I think you’ll find that despite having smaller masses, the planets exert much larger forces on the Sun, albeit still probably negligible.

  50. 350
    Mark says:

    Ray,

    Not that simple.

    Why does the Moon have nutation (where it wobbles from side to side, showing us slightly more than half the moon surface)? Because it isn’t even.

    Again, the query I was responding to was how the sun, being part of the milky way could feel any tidal forces FROM the milky way.

    I explained how.


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