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Arctic sea ice minimum discussions

Filed under: — gavin @ 1 September 2011

Here is a continuation of the last Arctic sea ice discussion as we get closer to the 2011 minimum. All figures will update continuously.

JAXA Sea ice extent and area:




Cryosphere Today sea ice concentration:



Estimated sea ice volume from UW PIOMAS (updated every month):




143 Responses to “Arctic sea ice minimum discussions”

  1. 51
    Susan Anderson says:

    Chris R@46 or 3:27 pm

    Rutgers has a wonderful potpourri of satellite images which includes CONUS and GOES, as well as a variety of perspectives.
    http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/site/sat/sat.php

    I particularly enjoy the northern hemisphere water vapor animations which are centered on the north pole. It gives you a picture of how earth’s circulation:
    http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/site/sat/sat.php?sat=nhem&url=../imgs/wv_nhem_anim.gif

    I’d love to understand the physics of all this, but as an artist I find it ravishing, and at times it even helps me understand at the level of my necessary travels to care for my family, going back and forth from Boston to New Jersey (near Princeton) which often involves crossing the Jet Stream.

  2. 52
    Hank Roberts says:

    Neven links to other sites that update sea ice area graphs daily, here:
    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/08/area-graphs-3-million-km2-mark-passed.html

    “There are some other SIA graphs that are updated on a daily basis, such as the one by Arctic ROOS which uses SSM/I data provided by NERSC …

    There are some differences in the details of course, which is to be expected as different sensors and algorithms are used to record and process the data …”

  3. 53
    Geoff Beacon says:

    A bit off topic – I can’t see how melting sea ice can cause earthquakes but can someone comment on:

    There were more earthquake­s at the end of the last ice-age as the Earth responded to the weight of the ice being removed. Now climate change is possibly taking 300 billion tonnes of ice off Greenland and 200 billion tonnes off Antarctica each year:

    http://www­.indianexp­ress.com/n­ews/antarc­tica-risin­g-by-5-mil­limetres-a­-year/8256­17/

    Look at the graph of increasing earthquake­s since the 1970s:

    http://www­.earth.web­ecs.co.uk/

    Perhaps some earthquake­s are climate related.

  4. 54
    arcticio says:

    @Lars Kaleschke

    The signature of melting ponds on Envisat’s radar images is eventually inaccessible to algorithms, but the human eye can easily recognize the flaked pattern of a low concentrated ice pack.

    So, here again the radar zoom one day later:

    http://www.arctic.io/zoom/qIMt/0.45;0.3;1.37/Envisat-Radar-2011-09-03

    not all swaths are updated…

    It is a shame that an instrument flying on a polar orbit, having a resolution of 30 meters and the ability to look through clouds is not used to its full extent to document the vanish of one of Earth’s most popular features visible from the moon with a naked eye.

  5. 55
    todd arbetter says:

    The thing about ice thickness and ice volume is that there are not nearly enough in situ observations of thickness (meaning man with ruler drilling a hole and taking a direct measurements. So I am more inclined to believe the statements from the scientists at the North Pole; the Russians maintain an ice camp there. (I know they are true because they are using CRREL buoys and I am the data manager for that project. To be clear, there is only one buoy there, but the Russians are making measurements of sea ice thix using other techniques.)

    Submarine tracks only measure the sail of the ice, maybe the draft, but there are not a lot of tracks (at least not enough declassified tracks) to make any broad statement.

    Ice draft (the thickness of ice from the ocean surface downward, about 90% of ice thickness) measured by satellite or
    aircraft haven’t been fully validated over the whole Arctic to the point where the error bars are satisfactory. Moreover, models such as PIOMAS haven’t been fully validated against ice area, ice extent, and ice draft.

    It gets worse. Data such as NCEP comes from the inclusion of weather station data, but those are all on the coast or inland. Not over the ocean where we need them.

    Don’t get me wrong. We’re losing ice extent and ice area, and using the buoy and manned ice camp data it’s clear we’re losing ice thickness. Hence, the volume is decreasing. But PIOMAS and other models have huge error bars on them. My point is that you can’t really use the numbers with any certainty to say we’ve lost, e.g., 43% per cent of the volume since 1979., or that the volume today is what the model says it is. You can say qualitatively that volume is decreasing, and you can say the models or ensembles agree on the trend. But filling in an actual number for volume? We’re not there yet.

    But ice is never uniform, it is a patchwork of floes and ridges of various thicknesses and also leads (open water or very thin ice). Even on a scale of 500 meters, there can be a great deal of variability.

  6. 56
    todd arbetter says:

    Sorry, the last paragraph of my post is non-sequitur to the rest of my point. There was another statement I wanted to make about ice thickness distribution. Since the ice is variable even at local scales, the footprint of the aircraft or satellite measurement is going to give you a mean thickness, mean area, and/or mean extent. PIOMAS and other models have to get that correct too. And the guys in the ice camp would have a lot of work to do to get a representative sampling of just their local area.

    The models need to get past conditions right before we can look at future conditions quantitatively. And understanding the model’s sensitivity to changes in forcing is key. Forcing will have errors too. If a temperature is off by half a degree, that could have a huge impact. Caveat Emptor.

  7. 57
    Chris R says:

    #49 Susan Anderson,

    So I presume CONUS stands for CONtiguous US.

    Rutgers is also the home of the snowlab, with snow data over various timescales and periods.
    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/
    Northern Hemisphere daily should be useful for those watching for Siberian snow cover this winter.

    #53 Todd Arbeter,

    Thanks for your clarification and for the work of you and your colleagues – from all nations and institutions. IMO you’re working in the most exciting area of science today.

  8. 58
    R. Gates says:

    I think one of the most important and interesting things about this year is that it proves that 2007 was not just a outlier event, caused by some very unique set of events unrelated to general global climate change. Many climate change skeptics were keen to celebrate the “recovery” of the sea ice in 2008 and 2009 after the steep summer decline of 2007. Then along came 2010, which did not continue that “recovery”, and now we have 2011, which is challenging 2007 for record lows.

    Why is this important? It’s important because it completely shatters any notion of a “recovery”, and skeptics can only move on to other “proofs” for their skeptical positions. But 2011 is scientifically important because 2007 and 2011 had such different melt dynamics, and it shows that the total enthalpy of the system must be considered when looking at melt dynamics. Wind, waves, water temperature, ocean current speed, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, salinity, early season melt and open water, etc. are all part of the enthalpy of the system and the mixture or combination of them will determine each season’s melt dynamics. 2011 proves, conclusively that 2007 was not an outlier, even though each had a different melt dynamic. More importantly, it proves that the total enthalpy of the system is trending in the direction the GCM’s would indicate (i.e. upward). Based on the long-term trend line, which has deflected significantly downward off the 30-year trend line in the past 5 years, there is a high degree of probability that at least one of the years between 2012-2015 will significantly dip below 2007 & 2011′s low marks in area, extent, and volume.

  9. 59
    CM says:

    Geoff Beacon #51, re: historical earthquake graph:

    Evaluate the reliability of your sources. Check out whose site that is—it’s a telecoms consultancy, not a seismology department. Look at the interpretation beneath the graph, particularly where the science talk starts segueing into Bible quotes and stuff gets a little weird.

    Read the fine print. Weird or not, that page does caution, rightly, that the graph includes small quakes which we’ve got better at detecting. In other words, the graph doesn’t show more quakes happening, it shows more quakes being recorded.

    They go on to argue, plausibly I think, that one can deal with the bias by limiting the discussion to large quakes (magnitude 7 and up). The obvious next step would be to do that to the USGS NEIC data I presume was used for the graph, but instead it looks like they switch to a USGS list of “selected earthquakes of general historic interest”. We’ve recently been over why this looks like a bad idea (http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=7897, see comments by Prokaryotes, Piotr and myself, starting at #100).

  10. 60
    Tony O'Brien says:

    Geoff Beacon @ #53

    I do not know of any relation between sea ice loss and earthquake activity, but there is a body of work to do with the loss of land based glacial ice correlating with geomorphic response (Volcanoes, eathquakes ect).

    One place to start. http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3659701/Huybers_FeedbackDeglaciation.pdf?sequence=1

    I believe it was Kevin Hall who first hypothesised the relationship in 1982

  11. 61
    Hank Roberts says:

    >earthquake

    Hm. If each earthquake frees up a burst of available hydrogen for the deep biosphere organisms that live on it,
    http://www.google.com/search?q=hydrogen+deep+biosphere
    that should be a selection pressure favoring forms that change their environment to favor more earthquakes, given sufficient time.

  12. 62
    ccpo says:

    This has been an interesting year for the sea ice with it rocketing down from the winter highs then running into a cool/normal August. looks like a mix of records, near records and 2nd places for sea ice extent, area and volume.

    I think the reports from direct observations indicate things areworse than the numbers can show us.

    Update: http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2011/09/current-state-of-arctic-sea-ice-arctic.html

  13. 63
    p says:

    #32
    You’re trying to compare T1279 ECMWF to ERA40 baseline. It’s very bad idea.

  14. 64
    p says:

    #32
    You’re trying to compare ECMWF T1279 to ERA40 baseline (DMI charts) – it’s a very bad idea.

  15. 65
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Geoff Beacon,
    One must distinguish between loss of sea ice and loss of land ice. Loss of land ice changes the weight over a given point of land. The crust adjusts isostatically as a result. The only way you could see an effect due to sea ice loss would be if it were sufficiently large to change the geoid of the planet.

  16. 66
    Geoff Beacon says:

    CM @59

    Thanks.

    I’m glad I missed the discussion between Prokaryotes, Piotr and yourself at the time – it looked very intense.
    It’s a pity that the link to Climate Progress no longer works.

    I take your point about the climate science amateurs of webecs.co.uk but I’m rather more sceptical of professional climate scientists than most of you – and modestly sceptical of professional scientists in general. (see e.g. Food: Scientists vs amateurs, http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/?p=250)

    I do have respect for nearly all the scientists in climate related fields but they are under pressure – the need to publish, the need not to be wrong, they need funding and they must wish for less abuse. Thus they are sometimes unreliable sources.

    Superficially the example of the USGS, does not change my outlook. They make the statement

    We continue to be asked by many people throughout the world if earthquakes are on the increase. Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/increase_in_earthquakes.php

    … but on a related page give data that shows there is an increase.
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/graphs.php

    Perhaps there is small print somewhere that resolves this.

    But on the question of sea ice, my experience of climate scientists has found them behind the curve and not just the ones mentioned in my last year’s piece, Fast and Super-fast – Disappearing Arctic sea ice, http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/?p=45.

    I will do some more checking on a recent piece I wrote that contains a quote on the climate models that are being lined up for use in the IPCC AR5 process. This says

    four years ago the model teams decided not to include the permafrost carbon feedback
    in their IPCC AR5 projections due to the lack of data. We are making great progress, but the current round of simulations to support the IPCC AR5 do not include the permafrost carbon feedback. Nevertheless, we know enough now to recommend solid action.

    Is this still true?

    Will it too be lost in the small print that politicians and government departments can ignore ?

  17. 67
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Tony O’Brien @60. Thanks that looks very interesting.

    Hank Roberts @61. That’s too deep for me.

    Ray Ladbury @64. Yes of course.

  18. 68
    Dr. Geophysics says:

    Thank you for this post and web site. The trend in the minimum sea ice areas over the last decade is unsettling. Mean while at the linked-in AGU site they are still debating whether sea level is rising or falling. Your site is a great resource. Keep it up.

  19. 69
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Geoff Beacon,
    I’m sorry, but I can see no basis for you distrust of scientists than ignorance of how scientists work, and to move from that to distrust of the science–a product of tens of thousands of dedicated scientists with competing interests, pet theories, etc…. well, that is sheer folly.

    Geoff, science works. Why not learn why it does?

  20. 70
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Ray Ladbury @68

    “Science works”. What does that mean?

    Which model/methodology of “Science” are you following?

    Carnap, Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Braithwaite, Quine, Lakatos, Bridgeman or my favourite Post?

  21. 71
    Didactylos says:

    Geoff Beacon, those USGS graphs do not seem capable of showing the “increase” you claim. The available dataset is much larger than that.

    If you look at magnitude 8.0 and greater, there are an average of about 8ish per decade for the last century. The 1990s had 6, the 2000s had 13 – hence the non-existent “trend” you see. It’s just one decade below average, and one decade above average.

    We can be fairly confident in the data about major earthquakes going back a century, but, obviously, smaller earthquakes were not so well recorded in the past.

  22. 72
    wili says:

    Does it strike anyone else that the PIOMAS ice volume graph no longer fits a linear model? How consistently does it have to be beyond two standard deviations for it to be clear that what is going on is not linear?

  23. 73
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Ray Ladbury @68

    My previous post was a bit petulant. Sorry.

  24. 74
    Didactylos says:

    wili: I think the question is: when does another model perform better, and how can it be justified?

    The linear model is conservative. I don’t think anyone is claiming it to be predictive – not the “cycles” optimists, not the doom and gloom “plummet” types, and not the rest of us reality-based types, either. The best expert opinion still favours an accelerate-decelerate model, as far as I know.

  25. 75
    CM says:

    Geoff #65,

    I’m a total amateur, so trust me! :-) (That’s not something you want to hear from your pilot. Or your brain surgeon. Is it?)

    I don’t want to go on about quakes on a sea ice thread, so I’ll stop after this. But I’ve looked at the USGS page you linked to and I’ve also downloaded a longer worldwide record of big quakes (magnitude 7.0 or above, 1973–2010). I’d describe it as a steep decline from the mid-1970s to 1989, followed by a sudden step change to a high plateau since 1990, and a big outlier in 2010, with lots of noise in between. I get a linear trend of nearly two quakes per decade since 1980 (seemingly highly significant, though more modestly so if the 2010 outlier is excluded, and I haven’t adjusted for auto-correlation). In the full record since 1973, though, the trend is barely one quake per decade, and not significant. Perhaps this explains the conflicting impressions you got on the USGS pages.

    The record is noisy, confusing, possibly incomplete, and a cherry-picker’s delight, so you really should listen to what the professionals say. Not to me. (And certainly not to the webecs page with sensational claims like the “six-fold increase” they claim under “trends since 1986″—on inspection, it turns out to be more of a one-sixth increase!)

  26. 76
    greyfox says:

    Geoff Beacon;

    I am concerned that the insidious notion still gets introduced that climate scientists are, (because of the pressure of needing funding and grants), likely to shade their results. Why is this not raised as an issue for all other fields of science, many of which are more profoundly dependent upon these monies than climate science? Don’t you find it odd that only this particular batch of researchers gets singled out? I do. In fact, I’m sorry to say that this particular ‘qualm’ that keeps popping up seems more a tactic than a genuine opinion. If you have evidence that proves this phenomenon, then by all means present it. And, while you do, add any and all similar studies and results viz all other scientific disciplines so that we may compare. I am unaware, probably due to my being raised in Kansas, of any propensity for the discipline of climate science towards waffling on data.

  27. 77
    greyfox says:

    Re: Geoff Beacon:”…take your point about the climate science amateurs of webecs.co.uk but I’m rather more sceptical of professional climate scientists than most of you – and modestly sceptical of professional scientists in general. (see e.g. Food: Scientists vs amateurs, http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/?p=250)

    I do have respect for nearly all the scientists in climate related fields but they are under pressure – the need to publish, the need not to be wrong, they need funding and they must wish for less abuse. Thus they are sometimes unreliable sources.”‘

    Pardon me for saying so, but why would climate scientists be any different from, say, anthropologists, or astrophysicists, or…
    The way this particular subject keeps getting introduced produces a whiff of a variant of that old tried and true (but false) debate tactic, ‘the complex question’.
    You reversed the order but have the same end. The fact that this method of attacking the veracity of climate scientists keeps showing up, sans any proof or corollary evidence about other scientific disciplines, gives me a rather strong sense of being, (again, my pardon) rather deliberately disingenuous. Had you somehow come to this conclusion independently by virtue of some overt, widely known evidence, and had access to similar studies about all the varied scientific disciplines, I would be inclined to at least listen. However, there aren’t any that I am aware of…including the so-called climate-gate, which has been exonerated by several different official sources. Is there something you know that I don’t (and, being from Kansas, I might just be a tad slow) that you could share? If I have been rash, I will gladly apologize.

  28. 78
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Didactylos @70

    What I counted was the number of earthquakes in 10 year bins ending in 1991, 2001 and 2011. I got this from their figures (with no adjustment for the incomplete year 2011).

    For 8 to 8.9 earthquakes: 3, 8, 13

    For 7 to 7.9 earthquakes: 109, 142, 136

    For 6 to 6.9 earthquakes: 1102, 1518, 1632

    It looks like a plausible indicator for increased earthquakes to me.

    However I now note the USGS does say

    According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 – 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.

    My (late night) calculations give 0.8 “great earthquakes” per year over the past 30 years and 12.9 earthquakes per year for “major earthquakes”. The “17 major earthquakes in any given year” seems very high compared to the 12.9 average I get for the past 30 years. Perhaps they are cherry picking years?

    As a fig leaf to the current topic would a cheap an cheerful proxy for the loss of mass from the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers be the change in sea-ice volume. But perhaps someone has done some proper work on examining the loss of actual mass and seismic activity.

    P.S. How many earthquakes did the Three Gorges Dam create?

  29. 79
    Geoff Beacon says:

    CM @74

    Thanks. Just noticed your post.

    But we should be sceptical of “the experts”. Several got sea-ice wrong and I’ve had years of assurances on methane feedbacks … Let’s hope that Russian trip does not find anything too worrying.

  30. 80
    wili says:

    Since the ‘e’ word is being bandied about, please consider taking a look at a nicely articulated piece from NYT on “The Exterts and Global Warming”:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/on-experts-and-global-warming/

    And it sounds as if there was already something pretty darn worrying and ‘dramatic’ that all those scientists had to be hustled up there ‘on short notice.’

    (recaptcha: neoclassic usmini)

  31. 81
    Geoff Beacon says:

    greyfox @75

    Pardon me for saying so, but why would climate scientists be any different from, say, anthropologists, or astrophysicists, or…

    I would trust anthropologists, or astrophysicists more because they are not under such commercially driven political pressure. Climate scientists are pretty good – they come above bio-chemists and way above drug-scientists.

    As if to prove my point the use of the hypenated word had caught the spam filter.

  32. 82

    Geoff Beacon: scientists on the whole tend to be very careful about making claims without evidence. One reason for this is that other scientists are generally very quick to criticise claims that are insupportable. This does create a bias: anything that may seem very alarming takes a long time to scientists generally to acknowledge. Example: James Hansen for some years has been warning that the geological record shows multiple metres per century sea level rise is possible. Despite this the IPCC’s 2007 report left out the contributions to sea level rise of land-based ice melts because the numbers were too uncertain. More recently research supports Hansen’s view. Given that more than a metre of sea level rise by the turn of the century would have massive economic consequences, if climate scientists really were labouring under the pressures you describe, they would be talking this up rather than developing a case slowly and patiently over many years.

  33. 83
    CM says:

    Geoff,

    One last OT comment just for completeness’ sake: I think you can disregard my earlier caveat about auto-correlation. As for quakes over 8.0 that you mentioned, the 1973–2010 trend is up, but it’s significant only because of a high 2007 outlier. Buried somewhere in the June thread I think is a reference to some expert commenting in this vein, that it’s hard to discern any trends but some argue for a rise in the very biggest quakes. My layman’s guess about all this is that it’s plausible for anthropogenic ice-sheet melting to affect earthquake activity, but way too early for it to show up in this record.

    I’ll shut up now, but I’d welcome corrections to any of the above, as my ignorance of statistics is only rivaled by my ignorance of seismology.

  34. 84
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Geoff Beacon, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Poisson. The “trends” you report are not significant. You can demonstrate this to yourself by putting together a toy monte carlo (even Excel will do), running 10000 events and seeing how often you get a trend as significant as the one you are touting.

    Moreover, if there were a significant effect, we would expect it to manifest nearest where the mass changes are greatest. It doesn’t.

    Where we do see an effect is in small quakes near the places of large glacial melt as the ground isostatically adjusts.

    Also, the melting of sea ice and of glaciers are very different processes. I doubt they would correlate exceptionally well.

  35. 85

    Geoff,

    This is OT, but I found this comment of yours disconcerting and important:

    I do have respect for nearly all the scientists in climate related fields but they are under pressure – the need to publish, the need not to be wrong, they need funding and they must wish for less abuse. Thus they are sometimes unreliable sources.

    Since this site is actually run by climate scientists, I’d be curious about their responses to these “accusations,” that is, how influenced do they feel about your purported pressures, or rather, how much greater are these pressures on them than any other scientists at any other point in history. How are they different?

    In particular, I think the funding reference is a favorite WUWT style red herring.

    You later say:

    I would trust anthropologists, or astrophysicists more because they are not under such commercially driven political pressure.

    Same thing. Exactly what commercially driven pressure to you think climate scientists endure? Again, this sounds like a Wattsian or Moncktonian confabulation.

    I’d be curious to see how Eric, Ray Pierre and others would respond to this rather flippant charge.

  36. 86
    Clippo (UK) says:

    Just to stir things up a little, I believe Peirs Corbyn can now predict quite accurately when (& where ?) large earthquakes occur as well as standard weather and record storms.

    I don’t believe him a bit – but he has good following in the AGW denialati because he is one himself. (Oh, & Geoff B, Corbyn is a well qualified astrophysicist I believe. Still trust him?).

  37. 87
    J Bowers says:

    Geoff B, you really should read these posts by a climate scientist on funding.

    * Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part I
    * Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part II

  38. 88

    85, J Bowers,

    Awesome posts. Thank you.

  39. 89
    David Miller says:

    Geoff says:

    I would trust anthropologists, or astrophysicists more because they are not under such commercially driven political pressure. Climate scientists are pretty good – they come above bio-chemists and way above drug-scientists.

    Lets try analyzing that statement….

    I would trust anthropologists, or astrophysicists more

    OK, Geoff likes these scientists better. Lets see why….

    … because they are not under such commercially driven political pressure.

    Commercially driven political pressure? Surely you jest. I understand commercially driven pressure by the likes of CEI, AEI, and all the other think tanks funded by fossil interests. I understand political pressure in some settings, but don’t see it in climate science. A primary reason for that is the influence on the government by commercial interests. See, for example, the Bush’s attempted muzzling of Hansen for “political pressure”.

    The union of these two subsets is extremely small in general, and definitely does not favor climate scientists.

    … Climate scientists are pretty good – they come above bio-chemists and way above drug-scientists.

    So after casting aspersion on the motives of climate scientists Geoff wants to seem reasonable so throws out a back-handed compliment.

    Geoff, if you want to convince me you’ll need some evidence. What I see is a theory (increased GHG result in higher temperatures) being confirmed by many lines of directly observable evidence. I see a lot of dedicated scientists working for peanuts under very unpleasant conditions. To accuse climate scientists of pandering for grants so they can take vacations in exotic locales like, say, antarctica, is just silly.

  40. 90
    ccpo says:

    Re: Geoff.

    May I apply the KISS principle? Geoff, where does your doubt of climate science, as opposed to your trust of all other areas of science, come from?

    Does it come from myriad research projects leading to large doubts about the viability of the science, vs. co-reinforcing, reproducible studies supporting what our naked eyes can see?

    No.

    Does it come from observations contradicting research, or vice-versa?

    No.

    Does it come from corruption trials showing climate scientists stealing money from us?

    No.

    Does it come from credible accusations of selling out to renewable energy companies?

    No. (Though there is ample history – not accusations, but history – of climate deniers taking money from the FF industry, among others, which doesn’t seem to bother your sort in the least.)

    Do we see massive avoidance of issues brought up by deniers?

    No. We see study after study refuting the poor science of denialists, though.

    Naomi Oreskes found years ago that exactly zero studies she reviewed to determine the balance of the climate debate in the mid-’90s supported a primary non-anthropogenic cause of warming. Since here study, I know of no paper that challenges this 1,000 – 0 finding.

    If denialists had something to say about climate, don’t you think it would be wisest for them to prove it scientifically?

    KISS it.

  41. 91
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Thank you to all.

    I would like to point out that I am not a climate change denier as some of the responses indicate. I think the situation is almost certainly worse than the picture that the official science appears to paint. (Isn’t that what this thread is about?) I say “appears” because I understand that there is small print in the various reports that is missed or deliberately ignored by main stream media and politicians and government departments.

    The pressure on climate scientists makes some reluctant to express opinions that are well judged and based on facts. There is self-censorship.

    I believe we have a problem that with climate scientists who won’t say what they believe unless they have a very strong chance of being right because of the chance that they will be wrong and damage their careers.

    At a time when it appears that much of official climate science has been found to be underestimating the dangers ahead, there is also the other problem: admitting previous inadequacies also damages careers.

    Another problem is that some climate scientists make judgments about what is possible in politics and adjust what they have to say to meet what they feel are political realities.

    One of the UK’s leading climate science journalists told me “They knew but they didn’t tell us”.

    I agree.

    It’s true that most climate scientists tell us climate change is happening.

    But they don’t tell us how bad it is.

  42. 92
    flxible says:

    You’re talking aboutopinions Geoff, opinions are not science – they may be based on facts, but they are still opinions, not themselves verifiable facts. Science is about reproducible numbers, not beliefs, and certainly not about “political realities”. You need to be complaining about your politicians not listening to the climate scientists, not about what the scientists are very clearly saying.

  43. 93
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Philip Machanick @82

    This does create a bias: anything that may seem very alarming takes a long time to scientists generally to acknowledge

    I agree.

    CM @83

    My layman’s guess about all this is that it’s plausible for anthropogenic ice-sheet melting to affect earthquake activity, but way too early for it to show up in this record.

    Perhaps Intrade can help quantify our guesses. What odds would you take?

    Ray Ladbury @84

    Moreover, if there were a significant effect, we would expect it to manifest nearest where the mass changes are greatest. It doesn’t.

    The mass change is moving mass from the ice-caps (and surrounding ocean due to the gravitational effect). I think the mass is moved to the equator.

    Sphaerica (Bob) @85

    Exactly what commercially driven pressure to you think climate scientists endure?

    Ask Phil Jones or Michael Mann.

    Clippo (UK) @86

    You’re cherry picking.

    J. Bowers @87

    I agree with Sphaerica (Bob) @88 . Awesome post. But what’s that to do with me.

    David Miller @89

    Geoff, if you want to convince me you’ll need some evidence.

    If my previous post gets through moderation you will see it’s anecdotal with few specifics.
    I try to limit my “Dr. X was wrong” comments.

    To accuse climate scientists of pandering for grants so they can take vacations in exotic locales like, say, antarctica, is just silly..

    Who accused whom?

    ccpo @90

    Geoff, where does your doubt of climate science…come from?

    Experience.
    As this thread is pointing out, climate change is worse than we have been told.

    as opposed to your trust of all other areas of science

    No. They are certainly better than several other groups of scientists.

    Does it come from observations contradicting research..?

    Yes. e.g. didn’t IPCC AR4 predict zero Arctic summer ice woul not occur until near the end of the century?

    If denialists had something to say about climate, don’t you think it would be wisest for them to prove it scientifically?

    Could you call me a denier for thinking that mainstream climate science is underestimating climate change? I admit, “mainstream” is hard to define. I distrust the IPCC process because of its governmental influence.It is after all an “intergovernmental” panel. e.g. What happend to the Arctic climate feedbacks in IPCC SAR(1995)? They may not even be in IPCC AR5(2013).

  44. 94

    Really stunning present Arctic lack of ice, not only over the Arctic Ocean , everywhere I looked on my way back from the South I saw it. In particular Fox Basin devoid of sea ice, the capital of the world for Walrus devoid of ice pans. Literally all small glaciers are gone, or very little is left of them, so it is the beginning of a new Arctic look, thinner ice in winter giving no ice in summer. i think it lucky that the AO has switched of late. The last
    thing left, Arctic Ocean ice, survives by the grace of the winds and the reflection from summer clouds..

  45. 95
    Geoff Beacon says:

    My posting @91

    I sent the wrong version. I had rephrased the references to careers to be less strident. Climate scientists can have a hard time. I’m glad I’m not in their shoes.

  46. 96
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hm, pardon a double post, but I posted this in the ‘unforced variations’ thread then realized there might be some relevance to Arctic sea ice:

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0904/full/climate.2009.24.html
    “In 2007, scientists scouting the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean began to notice some troubling signs….”

    Coincidence, perhaps, that after a long stretch of no change, atmospheric methane started to rise in 2007. Same summer the ice was so reduced. Is there a correlation between the year’s sea ice and the year’s observations of methane bubbling out of the shallow seabed?

  47. 97
    Paul S says:

    Geoff Beacon – Yes. e.g. didn’t IPCC AR4 predict zero Arctic summer ice woul not occur until near the end of the century?

    The relevant statement in the SPM is ‘Sea ice is projected to shrink in both the Arctic and Antarctic under all SRES scenarios. In some projections, arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st century. {10.3}’

    As you say there is a tentative forecast concerning the ‘latter part of the 21st century’. However, following the reference to 10.3.2.4 it becomes apparent what they’re talking about is not extent at the minumum but that over the July-September period.

    The July-September AR4 projections may be behind the curve but that’s not immediately obvious. Maybe someone could do a quick analysis.

  48. 98
    wili says:

    Hank,(96), I think you are on to something. Not only do longer periods of open water allow for more warming of the surface waters, more open water also allows for bigger waves and that turbulence helps mix the surface warmth the few meters to the shallow sea floor of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and adjacent areas.

  49. 99
    Clippo (UK) says:

    Geoff @93
    Re: Clippo 86, You’re cherry-picking

    Yes I am, and to continue to do so I mention Willie Soon is also an Astrophysicist – do you trust him?

    I suggest you made a silly generalisation about ‘trust’ earlier – you need to examine your own personal criteria for judging who are real ‘authorities’ on subjects.

    And this is where I get the brownie points – I consider the independently peer-reviewed publishing Climate scientists, such as many who post here and run this site, to be real ‘authorities’ on various aspects of Climate Change.

  50. 100
    Holly Stick says:

    Here is a disturbing article about how spilled oil would behave in Arctic ice conditions:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/oil-exploration-under-arctic-ice-could-cause-uncontrollable-natural-disaster-2349788.html


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