More good news about the climate, giving us a priceless gift.

Summary:  Today’s post shows more good news about our climate, about ice. The good news gives us time to act. Unfortunately both Left and Right prefer that we squander this gift of time. The Left denies the pause; the Right considers it a “stop”. Neither supports the climate science research and political organizing necessary to build a coalition capable of acting on the scale necessary. But we need not listen to them. {1st of 2 posts today.}

“Ask me for anything, except time.”
— Attributed to Napoleon.

Ice cubes


  1. The most valuable resource
  2. Polar Sea Ice
  3. Greenland’s Ice Cap
  4. News coverage from hysteria to journalism
  5. For More Information


(1)  Our most valuable resource

Time is the most valuable of resources. It gives us the ability to do research, to mobilize the public and build political coalitions. With time we can prepare; without it we can only react.

Nature has given us the gift of time in the pause of  the atmosphere’s warming since roughly 2000. Most forms of extreme weather have followed by stabilizing or improving: hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires (see links at the end). Even the “sea level rise slowed slightly in the past few years” (Columbia Earth Institute). And now even the sea ice and rate of Greenland glacial melting have stabilized (the subject of this post).

Both Left and Right have adopted science denial as their preferred tactic, using selective citation and exaggeration of science — filtered through activists. Yet we have time to act if we can break free of the ideologues that surround us.

Now to another update on the data.

(2)  Polar Sea Ice

The polar ice caps are sensitive indicators of the global climate. They’re influenced by a wide range of factors and have opposite trends. The good news is that the global sea ice area has been at 1979-2008 average for the past 2 years. See these graphs from the NSIDC.


NSIDC: arctic sea ice trends

Antarctic sea ice extent

The Antarctic sea ice trend is unambiguously up during the 19 years since 1996. Arctic sea ice is, like so many other climate trends, taking a pause. A recent study in Nature Climate Change (gated) explains that pauses are not unusual and can last from years to decades. For details see this article at Climate Lab Book by Ed Hawkins (NCAS at U Reading):

Short-trends in arctic sea ice
From: Climate Lab Book

“Observations of Arctic sea-ice extent in September. The dashed line represents the long-term linear trend and various deliberately chosen 8-year linear trends are shown in colours.”

For more information see Cryosphere Today’s interactive maps allowing comparison of the current year’s sea ice extent with past years going back to 1979:  northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere.

(3)  Greenland’s Ice Cap

Two years ago Greenland had an unusually big melt season. Alarmists declared this the beginning of the ice apocalypse. That’s how they play the game. For details see the NSIDC and the NOAA reports on this year’s Greenland melt. NOAA describes this year’s anomaly as “negligible compared to all previous years since observations began in 2002.” Greenland’s rate of melting looks flattish for the past 13 years:

NIDC: greenland melt season
Source: NSIDC

They also mention that Greenland’s ice is growing darker (per NOAA: darkest since records began in 2000). “The darker snow absorbs more sunlight, leading to earlier melt onset and overall more melting”. This has many causes, with the soot from coal (think China) a major factor (see the studies listed below for details).

(4)  News coverage from hysteria to journalism

“So screwed, we truly are.”
— Charles Pierce (journalist), Esquire, 12 May 2014.

We depend completely on experts for information about our changing climate, most of which we get through journalists. Unfortunately, they vary greatly in quality, especially in politicized matters like climate. Here we see the range in how they report about the cryosphere. I’ve found reliable articles tend to put the news in context using the findings of the IPCC.

Hysterical:  “West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning“, NBC News, 12 May 2014. Also see “Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn“, The Guardian, 12 May 2014 — “Two separate studies confirm loss of ice sheet is inevitable, and will cause up to 4m of additional sea-level rise.”  Worst case scenarios highlighted, with no mention of the contrary IPCC findings or scientists who disagreee.

For a more reasonable view see thge NYT: “Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt“.

Debunking the hysteria: “Consider Clashing Scientific and Societal Meanings of ‘Collapse’ When Reading Antarctic Ice News“, Andrew Revkin, blog of the New York Times, 12 May 2014.

Polar Ice Caps are melting

(5)  For More Information

(a) Reference Pages about climate on the FM sites:

  1. The keys to global warming.
  2. Studies & reports, by subject.
  3. My posts about climate change.
  4. See all posts about the pause.

(b) Good news about the climate:

  1. Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now.
  2. Scientists explore causes of the pause in warming, perhaps the most important research of the decade.
  3. One of the most important questions we face: when will the pause in global warming end?
  4. Some good news about our changing climate. Enjoy it, for it might not last long.
  5. Prof Botkin gives us good news about our changing climate.

(c)  Some of the research about effect of soot on the ice:

  1. List of articles, with links, about black carbon deposits’ effect on climate, AGW Observer.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan and G. Carmichae, Nature Geoscience, April 2008 — Free copy here.
  6. Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers“, Baiqing Xu et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 29 December 2009.
  7. Climate change and forest fires synergistically drive widespread melt events of the Greenland Ice Sheet“, Kaitlin M. Keegana, Proceedings of the National Academies, 13 June 2014.
  8. Contribution of light-absorbing impurities in snow to Greenland’s darkening since 2009“, Nature Geoscience, July 2014— Science news article.

(d)  Factors affecting antarctic sea ice:

  1. A non-technical explanation see “How wind helps Antarctic sea ice grow, even as the Arctic melts“, The Conversation, 12 March 2014.
  2. Interpretation of recent Antarctic sea ice variability“, Judith Curry et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 22 January 2004.
  3. Modeling the Impact of Wind Intensification on Antarctic Sea Ice Volume“, Jinlun Zhang, Journal of Climate, January 2014.
  4. The ocean’s role in polar climate change: asymmetric Arctic and Antarctic responses to greenhouse gas and ozone forcing“, John Marshall et al, Royal Society A, 13 July 2014 — Wind and ozone.
  5. Evidence for elevated and spatially variable geothermal flux beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet“, Dustin M. Schroeder et al, Proceedings of the National Academies, in press — article here.



3 thoughts on “More good news about the climate, giving us a priceless gift.

  • Gairman, it is not just their computer models that fail (and which are rigged to get the forecasts that the UN’s IPCC wants). They also falsify data to support their theory. They hide or “lose” other inconvenient data. They shut down weather stations far from urban heat islands. They censor, in whole or in part, every intelligent comment on their climate blogs, leaving only comments by those critics which can be easily refuted. The IPCC is run by the UN’s non-scientist political appointees. Scientists who reach “the wrong” conclusions will not see their funding renewed. They get activists installed as editors of all but one peer reviewed journal and then discuss among themselves (see the climategate emails) how they can discredit that one journal. Occasionally they call for the imprisonment or execution of “deniers.” Research funging goes overwhelmingly to scientists who are willing to “toe the party line.” They avoid debating their informed critics in open and honest debate. They blame increasing weather variability on “global warming” even though any standard geology text which addresses the question will explain that variability increases with climate cooling and decreases with warming, for the same reason that summer climate is generally less variable than winter: a widening difference between tropical and temperate-arctic zone temperatures makes the weather less stable and more extreme, while a narrowing temperature difference does the reverse. They openly go on the record saying that they don’t care whether the CO2 theory of climate change is right or wrong so long as it facilites their larger political agenda, and then they turn around and accuse their critics from across the political spectrum of being secretly motivated by a “right wing” political agenda, even though “denialism” is vastly more politically diverse than AGW theorists, and even true-to-life right wingers like me never say “it doesn’t matter whether the theory is true or not so long as….” Even a child should be able to see what is going on here. The truth is not always found in the middle. My own views are firmly with the solar theorists, and during the next 15 years I fully expect the gradual global cooling trend of the last 10 years to descend precipitously, during the next solar cycle, into bitterly cold winters and sometimes unpredictable growing seasons. (I should note that many of my fellow “deniers” are still on the fence at this point, not yet convinced of the importance of solar cycles). Hopefully, I’ll still be around in 2030 to see whether the jackals-and-jackasses coalition that screams ad nauseam “The sky is warming!” is still trying to explain away the natural if sometimes brutal climatic cycle with this nonsensical blather about a “pause” which NONE of their computer models predicted.

    A million years hence, if Judgement Day does not arrive first, as the Pleistocene finally ends when the earth emerges from a small Milky Way arm through which we have have been passing since 2.8 million years ago, we shall have real global warming, with temperatures returning to their pre-Pleistocene norm, which was warmer than the worst case IPCC scenarios. Until then, not.

    The only thing I will agree with the j&j coalition about is that today, unlike 15 years ago, the science really is settled, at least around one point: atmospheric CO2 is definitely not the driver of climate change (although NASA, in spite of promoting the AGW theology, has uncovered evidence that CO2 works as negative feedback in the upper atmosphere to *cool* the climate–oops!). The Russians, at least, know the truth, and that may be why that nation of net food importers in a northerly latitude are trying to re-annex the net grain exporter to their south. Only vast sums of grant money and scientifically illiterate journalists and lawyer-politicians are maintaining an illusion to the contrary in the West. Let us see whether that illusion can survive the 2020’s.

    My advice: if you can’t move to the tropics, stockpile food and get ready to pay more–a lot more–for oil and natural gas, and be aware the politicians might try at some point to ration the fuel (as they did with transport fuel in the 1970’s) or the food or both. I expect the sort of weather we haven’t seen since colonial times, when CO2 was still at pre-industrial levels.


    • John,

      “A million years hence … we shall have real global warming, with temperatures returning to their pre-Pleistocene norm, which was warmer than the worst case IPCC scenarios. Until then, not.”

      Both Left and Right sound quite similar when talking about climate change. To mention one similarity, both make outlandishly confident statements that they have no qualifications to make. Both sides are chaff in the debate about this vital issue. Fortunately we can ignore these people and listen to actual climate scientists, like Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Sr, for guidance in these matters.


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