Summary: Every day brings a new warnings in the news media about the coming climate catastrophe. These go beyond known science, and often contradict well-established research. Despite that, they’ve terrified many people. For example, comments on leftist-friendly websites team with resigned predictions of doom for humanity — and even the biosphere. Today we again join the fight to show the truth.
- Ominous words in The Economist about the coming doom.
- See for yourself the changes in sea ice extent
- The major short-term factor affecting arctic sea ice extent: the wind.
- Soot, another major long-term factor melting polar ice.
- Apocalypse delayed — about melting of the ice caps.
- Other posts about melting sea ice.
Note: As usual on the FM website, we show only part of the large climate literature — the part that the news media tends to hide because it breaks the narrative of a consensus of scientists about anthropogenic and catastrophic climate change. Some of the journal references below are from Watts Up with That.
(1) Ominous words about the coming doom
From “The vanishing north”, The Economist, 16 June 2012 — “There are benefits in the melting of the Arctic, but the risks are much greater”. Excerpt (emphasis added):
Between now and early September, when the polar pack ice shrivels to its summer minimum, they will pore over the daily sea ice reports of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre. Its satellite data will show that the ice has shrunk far below the long-term average. This is no anomaly: since the 1970s the sea ice has retreated by around 12% each decade. Last year the summer minimum was 4.33m square km (1.67m square miles)—almost half the average for the 1960s.
The Arctic’s glaciers, including those of Greenland’s vast ice cap, are retreating. The land is thawing: the area covered by snow in June is roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s. The permafrost is shrinking. Alien plants, birds, fish and animals are creeping north: Atlantic mackerel, haddock and cod are coming up in Arctic nets. Some Arctic species will probably die out.
Perhaps not since the 19th-century clearance of America’s forests has the world seen such a spectacular environmental change. It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.
(2) See for yourself the changes in sea ice extent
Scientists have tracked sea ice extent at both poles since satellite data became available in 1979. See for yourself! Here are graphs from the National Sea Ice Data Center and The Cryosphere Today of the Polar Research Unit of the University of Illinois. There is no trend in the northern total since 2000; there is little change in the global total since 1979.
The first two show % changes in sea ice extent vs. the 1979-2000 average. The third graph shows total global sea ice area, and (at the bottom) the difference vs. the 1979 – 2008 average. Click on the graphs to see the full images.
(3) The major short-term factor affecting arctic sea ice loss: wind
Wind strength and patterns cause much of the annual variation in the area and extent of the arctic ice. The 2007 and 2010 declines in polar sea ice resulted mostly from winds.
(a) A major factor is The Arctic dipole anomaly, as explained by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, June 2010:
The record low ice extent of September 2007 was influenced by a persistent atmospheric pressure pattern called the summer Arctic dipole anomaly (DA). The DA features unusually high pressure centered over the northern Beaufort Sea and unusually low pressure centered over the Kara Sea, along the Eurasian coast. In accord with Buys Ballot’s Law, this pattern causes winds to blow from the south along the Siberian coast, helping to push ice away from the coast and favoring strong melt. The DA pattern also promotes northerly winds in the Fram Strait region, helping to flush ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the North Atlantic. The DA pattern may also favor the import of warm ocean waters from the North Pacific that hastens ice melt.
June 2010 saw the return of the DA, but with the pressure centers shifted slightly compared to summer 2007. As a result, winds along the Siberian coastal sector are blowing more from the east rather than from the south. Whether or not the DA pattern persists through the rest of summer will bear strongly on whether a new record low in ice extent is set in September 2010.
(b) For non-technical explanations of the effect of wind on ice:
- ”Winds, Ice Motion Root Cause Of Decline In Sea Ice, Not Warmer Temperatures”, Science Daily, 20 December 2004
- “NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007“, NASA, 1 October 2007 — “Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds..”
- “Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds“, The Guardian, 22 March 2010 — “New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline.”
- Report from the Alfred Wegener Institute, 8. June 2012 — “North-East Passage soon free from ice again? Winter measurements show thin sea ice in the Laptev Sea, pointing to early and large scale summer melt. … these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind.”
(c) Samples of the large body of research about wind’s effect on the arctic, often ignored by the news media (against the narrative):
- “Fram Strait Ice Fluxes and Atmospheric Circulation: 1950–2000”, Torgny Vinje, Journal of Climate, August 2001
- “Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation” by IGNATIUS G. RIGOR, Journal of Climate, 2002
- “Arctic decadal and interdecadal variability” by Igor V. Polyakov and Mark A. Johnson, American Meteorological Society, 15 September 2002
- “Variations in the Age of Arctic Sea-ice and Summer Sea-ice Extent”, Ignatius G. Rigor & John M. Wallace, Geophysical Research Letters, 8 May 2004
- “Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea-ice variability“, Ola M. Johannessen et al, Tellus, August 2004
- “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice“, S. V. Nghiem, Geophysical Research Letters, 4 October 2007 — Free copy here.
- “Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan, Nature Geoscience, August 2008
- “Summer retreat of Arctic sea ice: Role of summer winds“, Masayo Ogi, Geophysical Research Letters, 18 December 2008 — Free copy here.
- “Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent“, Masayo Ogi et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 2 April 2010 — Free copy here.
- “Recent wind driven high sea ice export in the Fram Strait contributes to Arctic sea ice decline“, L. H. Smedsrud, et al, The Cryosphere Discussions, 5 May 2010
(4) Soot, another major long-term factor melting polar ice
(a) For non-technical explanations:
- “Soot’s Dirty Hand in Global Warming“, Scientific American, 8 February 2001
- “Soot More Culpable in Climate Warming Than Expected“, Scientific American, 23 December 2003
- “Impure as the Driven Snow“, Scientific American, 8 June 2007 — “Soot is a bigger problem than greenhouse gases in polar meltdown.”
- “Best Hope for Saving Arctic Sea Ice Is Cutting Soot Emissions, Say Researchers“, ScienceDaily, 28 July 2010
(b) Samples of the large research literature about the effect on climate of soot (black carbon) deposits:
- “Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos“, James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 January 2004
- “Climate response of direct radiative forcing of anthropogenic black carbon“, Serena H. Chung and John H. Seinfeld, Journal of Geophysical Research, 1 June 2005 — Free copy here.
- “Aerosol organic carbon to black carbon ratios: Analysis of published data and implications for climate forcing“, T. Novakov, Journal of Geophysical Research, 8 November 2005 — Free copy here.
- Present-day climate forcing and response from black carbon in snow“, Mark G. Flanner at al, Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2007 — Free copy here.
- “Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan and G. Carmichae, Nature Geoscience, April 2008 — Free copy here.
- “Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers“, Baiqing Xu et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 29 December 2009
- List of articles, with links, about black carbon deposits’ effect on climate, AGW Observer
(5) Apocalypse delayed– about melting of the ice caps
(a) How fast is Greenland’s icecap melting? How much does that raise global sea level?
Answer: 18 thousandths of an inch per year. From the abstract of “Partitioning Recent Greenland Mass Loss“, Michiel van den Broeke et al, Science, 13 November 2009:
Mass budget calculations, validated with satellite gravity observations [from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites], enable us to quantify the individual components of recent Greenland mass loss. The total 2000–2008 mass loss of ~1500 gigatons, equivalent to 0.46 millimeters per year of global sea level rise, is equally split between surface processes (runoff and precipitation) and ice dynamics. Without the moderating effects of increased snowfall and refreezing, post-1996 Greenland ice sheet mass losses would have been 100% higher. …
(b) Slowing of Greenland melting
1. Greenland’s glaciers have stabilized (for now; eventually they will resume their retreat — or advance), as reported at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union – “Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In“, Richard A. Kerr, Science, January 2009
2. “A reconstruction of annual Greenland ice melt extent, 1784–2009“, Oliver W. Frauenfeld et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, 19 April 2011 — “Recent melt is similar in magnitude but shorter duration than 1920–1960 melt. Record 2007 melt is not statistically different from 20 other melt seasons.”
3. “A new, high-resolution surface mass balance map of Antarctica (1979–2010) based on regional atmospheric climate modeling“, J. T. M. Lenaerts et al,, Geophysical Research Letters, 21 February 2012 — “We found no significant trend in the 1979–2010 ice sheet integrated SMB components, which confirms the results from Monaghan et al (2006).”
4. “Twelve years of ice velocity change in Antarctica observed by RADARSAT-1 and -2 satellite radar interferometry“, B. Scheuchl, J. Mouginot, and E. Rignot, The Cryosphere Discussions, 15 May 2012 — “”the ice streams and ice shelves in the broad region under investigation herein have not been changed in a significant way in the past 12 yr, which suggests that the ice dynamics of the entire region does not have a strong impact on the mass budget of the Antarctic continent.”
(6) Other articles about melting sea ice
- About that melting arctic ice cap, 17 April 2010
- Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
- It’s time to worry (again) about disappearing arctic ice, 8 June 2010
- Should we worry about 2010′s near-record melting of sea ice?, 10 July 2010
- Climate Armageddon postponed (again): the melting polar ice, 9 October 2010
- More about the forecast for flooded cities in the late 21st century, 16 October 2010