(Cryosp)here today, gone tomorrow

There’s a new kid in town, blog-wise, showing maps of Arctic sea ice concentration and thickness, called apocalypse4real (seems to be an appropriate name). It shows that all the ice thicker than 6m is gone from the Arctic (click the graph for a larger, clearer view):


Ice thicker than 6m would show in black (but there isn’t any), red is 6m thick, dark blue is open water.

Furthermore Neven’s caution that the storm in the Arctic might wreak havoc with its sea ice seems to be premonitory. Both extent (from NSIDC) and area (from Cryosphere Today) have taken a nosedive lately, setting new record lows for this date (click either graph for a larger, clearer view):

The alarming fact is that this year’s minimum sea ice extent is already the 6th-lowest on record — and there’s still about a month to go in the melt season.

Meanwhile, this year’s minimum sea ice area is already 5th-lowest on record — and there’s still about a month to go in the melt season.

At this point, I think my prediction that this year’s minimum would be close to, but wouldn’t break, the record will turn out wrong. I expect we’ll set a new record low for sea ice extent, area, and volume.

If you believe that we can do this to the earth and not have consequences, you’re a fool.

In fact there’s an interesting presentation by Rutgers Univ. researcher Jennifer Francis about possible consequences of the rapid decline in sea ice.

Meanwhile, here in the USA we’ve just had the hottest month on record and the hottest 12-month period on record. The heat and drought gripping the nation have devastated the corn crop, with fears that the shortfall will cause a crisis in food prices.

Consequences.

I can’t help but wonder how Anthony Watts and other fake skeptics will spin this. I can’t wait to see his next “Sea Ice Update.” I wonder what WUWT reader “Smokey” will have to say.

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94 responses to “(Cryosp)here today, gone tomorrow

  1. This is of course a truly historic summer of melt for the Arctic with obvious implications that an ice-free summer is going to happen far sooner than most had thought (most, but not all).

    But regarding how WUWT will spin this. Here is the obvious sign that this is a group of deniers and not honest skeptics. Had this summer gone the other way and we’d seen very little melt of sea ice with the area 3 standard deviation ABOVE normal, you can believe that they’d be crowing about it every day. It would be non-stop. They would be having regular posts by their hero Joe Bastardi telling how it was all returning back to normal. As it is, this remarkable summer melt and unusually large and intense Arctic Cyclone this past week has barely gotten any notice from WUWT. It is conspicuous by a lack of coverage. Sadly conspicuous. I had actually hoped for more from Anthony (hope springs eternal). But as it stands, it is a clear sign that there is not a neutral skepticism, but the fake-skeptic variety. You can be sure that the record low summer Arctic sea ice will be spun by most deniers as “unusual weather conditions” totally unrelated to global warming and anthropogenic climate change.

    One final note: WUWT did lose a long-term moderator, Robert Phelan to an apparent heart attack today, and as I pretty much am not welcome on that site unless I reveal my true name and identity (a special rule just for me apparently), I did want to express my honest and sincere condolences to Robert’s family and his friends at WUWT.

    • He will wait til the percentages come out and declare “huge increase in first year ice”

      lay your bets

      • Ricardo Mullez

        Well, it will be a huge increase, and it will cast doubt on all this not long gone ice.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Apparently he has decided to ban me also, because I wouldn’t reveal all the headers, sigs, etc. from an email I got in reply to a query to the NCDC about how the CONUS averages are calculated. I’m sorry, but I won’t reveal my work phone, my work physical address, my work email… to that crowd of braying idiots.

    • Anthony Watts (ab)used the thread about the death of his moderator to slag off ‘alarmists’. He posted three comments in the thread – two were hitting out at ‘warmists’. In one of his three comments he is almost suggesting that it was an ‘alarmist’ who brought on the heart attack. In another he complained that none of the (unwelcome or banned) ‘alarmists’ posted condolences. (His third comment was backpatting himself for being the first to break the news.)

      A very unsavoury character.

      • I seem to remember some rather unseemly commentary from some of the WWWT (and other) denialatariat when Steve Schneider died, and that there was a rather less-than-concerted effort to keep it in reign, beyond cursory tokenism. At least that’s the impression I got from the brief snippets of reading to which I subjected myself at the time: it’s possible that there were braver attempts at other times.

        I certainly hope so, else Watts’ (and others’) apparent takings of advantage of an unfortunate event is nothing more than base grubbiness.

    • I think it’s sad to see Watts taking the opportunity to turn this farewell to a friend into yet another attack, especially when remembering the reactions of his commenters to the death of Stepehen Schneider (“My condolences, BUT ….”).

      Anthony Watts says:
      August 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm
      I notice none of the prominent warmist denizens have offered anything on this thread. On another thread, “LazyTeenager” just called us all “schizophrenic” so I’ve given him a week time out to think about his humanity. If the situation were reversed, I think Bob would do the same, but maybe not have been so curt. I’m pretty upset right now, so let this be a warning to anyone who wants to act like children and hurl insults this week. My tolerance level for this sort of stuff is subzero right now. When things settle down, I’ll do my best to be more tolerant.

  2. Rattus Norvegicus

    You should just check out his spin on the “July is hottest month” announcement from NCDC the other day.

    I believe the word “idiot” as well as a word I shant use in in polite company apply.

  3. Sorry, OT. But if you have a chance I’d be very curious to get your take on Prof. Cliff Mass’ use (or misuse) of statistics in this recent post attacking Hansen:
    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/08/climate-distortion.html

    Particularly the second half were he talks about bell curves and Hansen’s comments on three sigma anomalies.

    Back on topic: I agree it looks very likely a new record will be set this summer. Especially if the arctic dipole makes another appearance soon as some are forecasting.

    • Good grief.
      Prof. Cliff Mass states, speaking of the trend in ANNUAL temperature anomalies in Texas since c.1896 to present (graph), “the global warming signal due to human-emitted gases could not possibly be more than 1F, and is probably much less. Yet the heat wave last summer, expressed as monthly anomalies, reached 7-8F over large portions of Texas and Oklahoma.”
      From which he then concludes, “in July of last year, at least 7/8th (87%) of the warming was due to natural processes, and the truth surely was well over 90%.”
      So, if the regional annual temperature trend since the nineteenth century is X, and the region then experiences a monthly anomaly spike of Y, then the global warming contribution to that spike is X/Y*100 %? Yea, right.
      I don’t think it needs a Tamino to recognise this as complete bonkers.
      Sorry, I didn’t get much further than that.
      It will be interesting to see if this pile of nonsense gets washed up on WUWT’s shore.

      • “It will be interesting to see if this pile of nonsense gets washed up on WUWT’s shore.”
        I see it already has done so. Ho hum.

      • And, speaking of ‘piles of nonsense,’ Goddard has revealed the stunning rebuttal to the ‘alarmist record warm’ meme: US stations with records going back to the 1930s show *declining* numbers of record highs over their lifetimes! Therefore, all those alarmists are lying and cherry-picking!

        http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/unmasking-the-record-maximum-scam/

        Oddly, he neglected to consider the evolution over time of cool-temperature records at those same stations…

      • How is it complete bonkers? Not that I disagree with you: Mass’ approach here seems sketchy, and the commenters there made some good counterpoints.

        For me it seems he doesn’t take into account other global warming-influenced factors, such as the possible increase in blocking events due to slowing of the jet stream. This could have caused the drought without much reference to local temperature trends. But this is a fairly new line of research.

        My gut sense, like yours, is his attribution approach is way too simplistic at a basic, misuse-of-statistics level. But it’s been a while since I had a graduate statistics class and I can’t put it into words. So again, how is it bonkers?

      • Douglas: declining records is the nature of the beast. In year one, you set both a high and a low record. In year two, you have three possibilities: a record high, a record low, or a tie (of both). Ignoring ties for the moment, in year three you could easily set a record high or low, but not necessarily – it could fall between years 1 and 2 (assuming they weren’t tied). In year four, setting records becomes less likely again, and on, and on, and on. In a normal distribution, it’s a 1/sqrt(n) process (IIRC).
        I won’t inflict Goddard’s site on myself, so I haven’t looked at his analysis, but a proper look at this compares the number of high records to the number of low records over time. IN a constant system, they’ll stay in a 1:1 ratio (over a length of time). In global climate, the ratio is increasing (with high records more frequent). That the absolute number is declining is not a surprise and doesn’t mean anything on its own – it’s the ratio that is informative.

      • Clearly and succinctly stated, Mr. Loblaw…

      • Very true Kevin and Bob. But I’m not sure how that relates to Cliff Mass’s argument (subject of my post)?
        http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/08/climate-distortion.html

      • Well, my comment is in response to the one about Goddard and the declining number of record highs. The blog format has a limited number of levels of nesting of comments, though, so the best I can do is place it at this level, which leaves it a bit hard to follow who is responding to who. On closer reading, I see that you are bringing the topic back to Mass’ work, and your question of “How is it complete bonkers?” must refer to comments on Mass’ work, not Goddard’s.

        …but with regard to Mass, I haven’t read it, and I haven’t seen enough information about it here to think that I’d gain anything by doing so. Feel free to say more (although it may be getting too far off topic).

      • My fault, Douglas–I blatantly changed the subject. Haven’t read the paper, either.

  4. Musings:
    So, this sort of thing happens on a year with no El Nino and when the phase of solar 11-year cycle is still on the rise.

    Could it be the northern Indian Ocean reservoir of heat has found another way to the Arctic? The Pakistani floods were connected to the high temps in Russia by some (Trenberth?) after the fact, but has this sort of adiabatic warming been happening on a smaller scale all year round warming Siberia -> warming rivers -> warming surface layer -> generating elevated temperature differences within Arctic Ocean -> giving possibilities for increased and intenser cyclone formation?

    My guess is a cyclone of his sort becomes a yearly (or more often) occurrence, happening between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. The winter time Icelandic Low is a well known phenomenon, are we seeing a birth of summertime Beaufort Low (extension of Aleutian Low)??

  5. Meanwhile, over at Steven Goddard’s site, the wingnuttery runs even deeper. Apparently the Chukchi and East Siberian seas are full of slabs of multiyear ice, and the fresh snow dropped by the storm is going to bring a premature end to the melt season. One of the commenters suggests it could even be the start of a new Ice Age. I shit you not.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/shortest-arctic-melt-season-on-record/#comments

    • Well, it’s good ol’ Triple-Point Goddard, after all. Like Poptech, he’s never wrong about anything–which means he never learns anything, either.

    • Thanks Peter, that’s the best laugh I’ve had all week.

    • Goddard’s declaring that 2012 may be one of the shortest melt seasons ever (date of minimum minus date of maximum.).

      You think melt seasons are short now, just wait until we start getting ice-less summers. As the ice-free date moves earlier and earlier, the length of the melt season will keep getting shorter.

      Just another nonsensical way for Goddard to declare success.

    • Off Alaska there’s a cruise ship preparing to go through the Northwest Passage — somebody had better warn them off — they might be stuck there for years.

  6. One can expect that if there is a new record low, Watts will publish a story about how cold it is somewhere, anywhere. In fact he might even publish a story about how cold it was somewhere, previously. He’s done that before.

    I’ll be very interested to see how this “death spiral” animation that I made will look come the end of the melting season:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPqC6fNBQhE

  7. For those who missed it, Professor Inferno nailed it in June
    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/double-recovery-of-arctic-sea-ice.html

  8. I have repeatedly offered bets to Goddard based on HIS constant postings that the ice is recovering. He is offering $1000 to anyone that will bet on a record low jaxa extent this year. I am not willing to take the chance of some unusual weather preventing the minimum from going below 4.25, but I, like Tamino did not predict a record low this year anyway. If there are any people here that are confident of a record low, go over to his site and see if he is really crazy enough to take that bet.

  9. To the editors at WUWT, I have prepaired a press release on this matter.

    Headline: Tamino admits he’s wrong an climate change.
    “At this point, I think my prediction will turn out wrong.”

    go on, gizza job.

  10. Mr Watts will declare that it is all the fault of the storm and that anyone touting this years sea ice level as an indicator of anything is guilty of confusing weather with climate. He will then further declare that by pointing to this years sea ice level the pro-science faction are all easily exposed as dishonest while he, the ever misunderstood and pick upon hero for exposing their shinanagans and all round patriotic American understands that you cannot make claims about sea ice trend based on one year with unusual weather. He will offcourse ignore all the times he has done exactly this to declare a recovery underway and any attempt to point out the naked hypocrisy by showing examples where he done so will be dismissed as ‘snark’ and ‘trolling’ .

  11. Those pathetic sites should come with sick bags and mental health warnings. :(

    Their dedication to continually churning out their misrepresentations and slanderous opinions can only mean that they are either paid handsomely or held hostage. What normal person with a life would be that bothered?

    • Bryan Stairs

      On the contrary. Whenever I am feeling down about the state of the world, I take a visit to those sites, have a very good laugh. I tell you it makes me feel sooo much better.
      Note: These sites are strictly for comic relief and NOT for educational purposes.

  12. Does anyone know how to get the rest of this into print? Listening and typing is hard for me.

    “But I do believe it’s important to keep some distance between the science and policy advice if you like because while certain types of damaging weather events may be getting more likely as a result of global warming other types of extreme weather events may be becoming less likely so it’s important not to jump to the conclusion that just because something’s changing it’s automatically bad.

    Myles Allen talking to Richard Black on the BBC’s Science in Action: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00wbjp5/Science_In_Action_10_08_2012/

    I have had it on good authority that Myles is someone the UK Government take seriously.

    Myles on sea ice found here: http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/fast-and-super-fast-the-disappearance-of-arctic-sea-ice/

  13. Jim Pettit ("Neapolitan")

    Well, of course the mindless army of lockstepping WattsBots™ will declare that the only reason new records were set this year was because of this week’s storm, and everyone knows that storms happen all the time.

    They will announce victory since a few brave souls several years back speculated that the ice could be gone by this September, and since that didn’t happen, we “alarmists” are clearly lying.

    They will breathlessly announce October’s and November’s daily six-figure increases in ice area and extent as “proof” that the ice is “recovering”, and therefore scientists are idiots. Or socialists. Or both.

    They will announce that even if all the ice melts, it really doesn’t mean anything, because a Navy submarine surfaced somewhere in the Arctic in 1942 or 1956 or 1967 and therefore the North Pole has been ice-free before and therefore what’s the big deal?

    Watts will put another vacation on hold to rush release a preliminary draft of his new “paper” on Arctic ice measurements which a) proves that none of the satellites are properly calibrated or located, and b), based on anecdotal “crowd-sourced” reports from his WattsBots™, the ice is much thicker than any of those idiotic, socialist scientists say it is. The MSM, doing their job in the name of “balance”, will thus follow every mention of the disappearing ice with an “offsetting” warning of how “a scientific paper from a prominent researcher says that we shouldn’t worry”.

    In other words, it’ll just be more of the same denialist blather we’ve all come to expect. Sigh…

    [Response: Perhaps Richard Muller will launch the "Berkeley Arctic Ice Volume" project -- since all those who have already measured it are such incompetent frauds.]

    • W Scott Lincoln

      Sadly, I think this is a perfect premonition of what is to come. It’s so predictable, it’s sad.

    • Jim, Anthony is very impressed, and wonders if you’d like an (unpaid) position as a strategist?

    • Horatio Algeranon

      He’d prolly call it “RAiVE” (Richard’s Arctic Ice Volume Evaluation) or something to that effect (to be in keeping with his humbleness)

    • Response: Perhaps Richard Muller will launch the “Berkeley Arctic Ice Volume” project

      Ah, that would most likely be the Berkeley Longitudinal Arct-ice Volume/Extent project.

    • Susan Anderson

      WattsBots™ – got it.

      One thing about having all this .thoughtful science around is there hasn’t been much time wasted on the loonies masquerading as referees.

      I’m hoping there will be a good feature at NYTimes Sunday. It baffles and mystifies how someone with access to all this expertise will continue to temporize conclusions like a zombie. “not outside the range of normal” my a**.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      My vote goes for Berkeley Longitudinal Arctic Thermal Effects Report — BLATHER!

    • And if the entire greenland ice sheet melts away they will declare that the Piri Reis map shows that the same thing happened 500 years ago so it’s all part of a natural cycle.
      Look at alternative medicine. Scientific medicine has delivered everything from open heart surgery to the elimination of smallpox, and yet a substantial portion of the population believes it’s all a conspiracy and the answer to all medical problems is magically prepared water (homeopathy) or some other such nonsense.

    • Is “MSM” a generic TLA that I don’t know? Would it include the BBC? I’ve been tweeting them about coverage e.g.: @davidshukmanbbc When Attenborough or whoever says climate change is certain, is the BEEB person under orders to say “Not by everybody” ?

      In the UK they could make a big difference. I think it’s worth letting them know. Help?

      • “MSM” is “mainstream media.” I believe it’s most current with liberticons–the sort of folks who think Rush Limbaugh et al. form a preferable ‘alternative.’

  14. By the way, cool pun Tamino…

  15. Tamino -

    The climate blogsphere is crying out for your take on the recent kerfuffle over Hansern’s work. It is fascinating to see “skeptics” quoting you just about every time the discussion comes up. Will you run another post on Hansen’s analysis?

  16. Over at the Air Vent they have just found out there was a huge Arctic summer storm. God, they’re fast.

    Goddard calls it a winter storm. Desperate spin.

  17. Hmm, Jennifer Francis was clear (starting around 1:13:00) that the Arctic waters are highly stratified (“so far”), but those waters appear to have gone through a little “shaken, not stirred” storm.

  18. I have prepared my own sea ice forecast, based on five years of data, in answer to the question posed in your last paragraph.

  19. I can’t help but wonder how Anthony Watts and other fake skeptics will spin this.
    ——–
    Obvious really. It’s not global warming, it’s ever increasing global wind.

  20. Given the trajectory of Arctic sea ice melt, it might be entertaining to run a similar thread to this one, but canvassing predictions for an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean. Granted, there will be a problem with the exact point at which the water goes from ‘slushy’ to ‘effectively-ice free in a climatological context’, but there are a range of criteria that could be employed – it would be interesting to get people’s various definitions o this too…

    I’d also be interested in hearing what people think about who should be the first to appear live in front of a camera at the North Pole when the Arctic Ocean becomes effectively ice free. I’m guessing that there will be a tumultuous furore of media foaming at the mouth to report that story (assuming, of course, that they actually cotton on…), and the impact of the initial message may be significantly affected by who reaches the landmark occasion first.

    • Please let it be Geraldo, swimming at the north pole, only to be devoured by a swimming polar bear.

      I would say Rush, but I wouldn’t with that on a polar bear.

  21. Oh, it gets better. Goddard originally came to fame by doing pixel-counting on various images produced by PIP2, Cryosphere Today etc. This he does using software he wrote himself – image processing is a field of software development he claims to do professionally, see http://www.real-science.com/ushcn-maps .

    Now he claims he can’t count “blended colours” and so can’t use it to do basic sanity-checking on the new ACNFS outputs.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/guardian-shock-news-sea-ice-is-as-thin-as-it-was-in-1940/#comment-113565

  22. It appears that some of the regulars here think that Anthony Watts is using the death of a long-time friend (and WUWT moderator) Robert Phelan to press a point against “warmers”.

    If anything, Robert Phelan proved how a well moderated site should be run.

    Think of HIS life, the next time you mis-treat a guest to your “open minded” forum.

    But why should anyone pay attention to someone else’s grief – considering the odds are good that this comment will never see the light of day – at this site.

    [Response: My sincere sympathy goes out to his friends and family on his passing.

    I didn't know him, but I suspect he deserves a lot better than to have you or anyone else (including Anthony Watts) use his death as an excuse to denigrate "warmers" or this blog or anyone else.]

    • Please, cut the victim-bully crap.

      RIP, REP.

      [Response: Apparently he and Watts were close friends. Those in grief often act irrationally. Let's not add fuel to the fire.]

    • Rob Honeycutt

      [edit]

      [Response: We'll have many opportunities to discuss moderation practices, and in the future I will not discourage that. For now, let's set the issue aside -- surely it can wait.]

  23. I’m sure that the family and friends of [REP] appreciate the expressions of sympathy – it’s surely a hard time for them.

    But while some people might say angry words in their grief, others say angry words because the moderation of a site allows that:

    “…Those pathetic sites should come with sick bags and mental health warnings. :(

    Their dedication to continually churning out their misrepresentations and slanderous opinions can only mean that they are either paid handsomely or held hostage. What normal person with a life would be that bothered?…”

    Different sites, different styles of moderation…

    [Response: Do you actually believe that the WUWT blog doesn't allow, even encourage, angry words? In my opinion, misrepresentation and slander is a hallmark of Anthony Watts and his blog. I suggest you direct your criticism there.

    To everyone else: even if you feel that criticism is justified, show some respect for the dead. Leave it alone.]

    • “To everyone else: even if you feel that criticism is justified, show some respect for the dead. Leave it alone.”

      Second the motion. With so much on the line, it’s easy to be bitter and sarcastic about those who refuse to take the problem seriously. (I should know, I’ve been bitter and sarcastic myself on this issue.) But it really doesn’t help, does it?

  24. [edit]

    [Response: For the moment, the less said the better.]

  25. What, no mention of the polar opposite or the conditions at the true north pole in 1884?

  26. Philippe Chantreau

    Meanwhile, the Arctic sea ice is looking worse than at any time in the satellite record, including 2007. The CT pic shows how little of the 75% or more coverage is left, it is a lot less than in September 2007, with another 4 weeks to go. Even the ice of Northeastern Greenland is getting more fragmented. The end of summer Arctice sea ice, live. Not even that slow a process…

  27. Christoffer Bugge Harder

    “I wonder what WUWT reader “Smokey” will have to say.”

    While I have only educated guesses to offer about the fate of the sea ice, I do think I can provide a safe guess about the general outline of “Smokeys” answer:

    Sea ice isn´t melting anymore than it did in the medieval warm period, when grapes grew in England, dinosaurs roamed the Great Plains, and Erik the Green discovered Greenland. Besides the warming has stopped in 1934 as shown by Anthony on multiple occasions, so clearly any rising temperatures since then must be because of other reasons than warming. BTW the warming is probably completely natural anyway, and CO2 is also a natural gas, so thinking that we small humans could possibly separate out our own breath from fossil fuel CO2 is just another of the usual hubristic lies and conspiracies so typical of you elitist CAGW believers, and while I´m at it, let me tell you a couple of things about your mother [snip]

  28. Philippe Chantreau

    You’re totally off Christoffer. It’s the cycle. In a moment of weakness, I deviated from my rule of not wasting a moment of my life on this pathetic excuse of a propaganda site, and I read it from a WUWT commenter: “the cycle continues.” There you have it. The cycle.

    Can’t make this stuff up…

  29. AlaskaHound wrote : “What, no mention of the polar opposite or the conditions at the true north pole in 1884?”

    AlaskaHound wrote something similar over at Real Climate (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/08/arctic-sea-ice-minimum-2012/comment-page-1/#comment-243063), albeit only mentioning the 1884 date. Can the 1884 data be provided, for the “true north pole” or the Arctic as a whole, so that a comparison can be made ?
    Would it be best if I didn’t hold my breath ?

  30. Seems ironic I was mountaineering in British Columbia doing my own personal research on glacial retreat and what should be up at Real Climate and Open Mind when I’m back but a discussion of ice loss. The route I’d climbed several years ago is “no longer practical on account of glacial retreat…”. How ‘bout that. Don’t argue Climate Change with a mountaineer.

    Nice work on the sites and links!

  31. A couple of high profile articles on this new Cryosat data and no response from our friends. I wonder if they are beginning to feel hemmed in by previously bullish proclamations on the sea ice? Its been such a strong theme of theirs for a few years, they have been most unwise in the strength of their statements.
    Now facing a pretty strong melt season they seem reluctant to go blasting on about this volume measurement. “Cycles” will work for the committed hard core but they may be beginning to realise what they write this year will be around for a good many melt seasons to come.

  32. Or perhaps with the Petermann calving, the all Greenland melt, the near record low and now the volume measurement they have just been over run with bad news? They have staked a great deal on laughing at PIOMAS, writing it off as a model. Everyone has had moments in their life when they see something and just genuinely hit denial “no, cant be true”.

    Nothing clever to respond with, letting a news story out in the media without a talking point. They are getting slack.

  33. AlaskaHound is presumably joking about the North Pole in 1884. That is the year Nansen started planning his Fram expedition, which set out hoping to be first to reach the North Pole. The Fram left port in 1893 and spent much of the next 3 years (intentionally) frozen in the pack ice. Realizing the transpolar drift would not take them close enough to the actual pole, Nansen & Johansen set out by sled in 1895, but their progress was stopped by endless difficult pressure ridges. Over the next year the pair traveled by sled, foot and folding to reaching Franz Joseph Land. Their journey is one of the all-time great explorer epics, beautifully told by Nansen in his book Farthest North.
    http://www.amazon.com/Farthest-North-Modern-Library-Exploration/dp/0375754725

    Today’s ice conditions are a whole ‘nother world.

    • Which you can also find at gutenberg.org. IMO ranks with the Shackleton 1914-17 story.

    • Sadly not: he’s [edit] read the headline (and ONLY the headline) of a newspaper clipping from another [edit] website. I’m sure you can guess whose.

      http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/62141834

      I quote the text below:

      THE NORTH POLAR SEA SOMETIMES FREE FROM ICE.
      DR. KARL PETERSON, of the Tromso Museum,
      maintains that from the experience we have
      gained of late, it may safely be assumed that
      the Polar basin is not during the whole sum-
      mer or autumn covered with continuous ice.
      It is, in fact, evident that the sea shows large
      tracts of open spaces during these seasons.
      These are the reasons advanced : The ocean
      ice north of Spitzbergen is then always in a
      constant — at times even violent — state of
      drifting in the most varied directions. At
      times, too, the ice has been found to drift in
      a direction contrary to those of currents and
      winds. North of Spitzbergen there must,
      therefore, during certain periods of these sea-
      sons, be large tracts of open water which are
      capable of receiving the enormous ice masses
      in the drift.

      As you can see, it’s a simple logical deduction – since the ice near Svalbard sometimes moves North, it must be going somewhere, so presumably there’s at least some open water North of there (leaving aside pesky things like compression ridging). All it proves is that it’s not one solid contiguous ice cap. But this pair of idiots just read the title and concluded that the entire ocean was ice-free in 1884.

      Yes, the “opposition” really is that stupid.

  34. The death-spiral animation is cool but it would be even better with sound. Can you add a tone with a pitch depending on the distance from 0km2? This would make it world-class…

  35. Horatio Algeranon

    “Imagine”
    (This will undoubtedly seem like blasphemy to some. Horatio can only offer his sincere apologies to John Lennon, RIP)

    Imagine there’s no warming
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell in summer
    Above us cloudy sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today…

    Imagine there’s no greenhouse
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to cut or change for
    And no real CO2
    Imagine all the people
    Emitting carb’n in peace…

    You may say I’m a denier
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will emit as one

    Imagine no ice melting
    I wonder if you can
    No need for Cryosphere or JAXA
    The brotherhood of Mann
    Imagine all the people
    Burning all the oil…

    You may say I’m a denier
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will emit as one

  36. Susan Anderson

    That is just amazing. A perfect nastiness in response to a work of original genius, fit for Romney and Ryan and all their ilk, the compleat liars, endangering us all.

  37. DMI close to a record.
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

    Amidst all the bluster, the climate keeps changing.

  38. I think sea ice area just reached a record low, August 18, according to the plot in Cryosphere Today!

    [Response: Not quite yet (according to the numbers) -- but it's extremely close.]

  39. Geoff Beacon:

    This is Science in Action, I’m John Stuart.
    One of the most frequent questions we get is: Is extreme weather linked to climate change?

    [News headlines on heatwaves]
    Unprecedented being a key word there. Thats headline making news from last years drought in Texas and Oklahoma in the US, the 2010 Moscow heatwave and the 2003 heatwave in France.

    And when we ask scientists if climate change is to blame, we usually get some sort of safe answer like: “We can’t be sure but global warming will increasee the chance of this sort of thing.

    Well now one very well known climate scientist has come out and said that recent heat waves and droughts are because of the changing climate. But his assessment is proving controversial. BBC enviroment correspondant Richard Black has the details.

    [Ricard Black]Well this week saw publication of a paper that goes well away from that faithful answer you alluded to there John, and it pins extreme weather specifically on climate change. The paper was published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences comes from the renowned and respected but also outspoken Nasa climatologist James Hansen. And what he is basically saying is that the hot summers we have seen in recent years just wouldn’t have happened without global warming.

    [James Hansen] There is a connection to these extreme weather events that we have been seeing. The probability of these unusually hot spells, forrest fires, and extreme droughts has increased substantially over the last few decades.

    [Ricard Black] What Professor Hansen has done is to turn the often asked question “Are these hot Norther Hemisphere summers being caused by climate change?” on its head instead he asks: “Did we have these extremely hot summers in the middle of the last century, in the decades before man made global warming really took hold?” Well the record shows that we didn’t, we see them now he said so climate change must be responsible. Using simple statistics rather than computer models he showed that the frequency of these extreme anomalies has increased about tenfold. Well the paper goes a lot further than many scientists are comfortable with according to Professor Myles Allen, an Oxford univerity climate modeller who has spent ten years or so developing the science of climate attribution as it is called. Well, I started by asking him whether he thinks Jim Hansen is right.

    [Myles Allen] Well obviously there is a close link between extreme hot weather and global warming and nobody is arguing with that and Jim Hansens results are very much in line with other papers that have been published on this topic recently. What a lot of scientist worry about is this idea that these events would not have happened without global warming or in the words of his paper would have been extremely unlikely without global warming because it is very very hard to say what the climate was like or what the risk of these extreme events would have been like 200 year ago or in a hypothetical climate where we hadn’t increased greenhouse gass levels. Pinning down absolute risks of climates we can’t even observe is very hard. So what we tend to focus on is just how much of the risk’s changed how much they have gone up. On that we completely agree with what Jim Hamsen is saying, they have gone up very substantially as a result of global warming.

    [Ricard Black]You see I sense a certain impatience in Jim Hansen’s paper with the waiting. In fact I have never seen a scientific paper where the rational for producing it is so throroughly couched in terms of the need to change the public mood. He says “The question of this is important because of the need for the public to appreciate the significance of human made global warming.

    [Myles Allen] I think it is very important that we do understand better than we do and that we do communicate to the public better than we do how climate change affects extreme weather because it is extreme weather that people actually care about.

    So, I understand where Jim Hansen is coming from but I do believe that it is very important to keep some distance between the science and policy advice, if you like. Because while certain types of damaging weather events may be becoming more likely as a result of global warming, others types of extreme weather event may be becoming less likely. So it is important not to jump to the conclusion that just because something is changing it’s automatically be bad.