I have often called the Arctic sea ice melt 'the slowest horse race in the world'. And what is the first thing people associate with horse races? That's right, betting. Every year numerous bets are set up between known and less known bloggers and commenters in the blogosphere. Which is only logical, because despite all the doom and gloom, it's a fun thing to be betting on.
This year for instance William Connolley, the man who controls Wikipedia, has challenged the readers of his blog to a bet. There is some heavy monthly betting going on over at Lucia's Blackboard. Robert Grumbine, the subject of my next 2010 SIE prediction (I hope), is also offering quatloos. And in the style of the biggest casino in the world, the stock market, you can even trade your bets on a website called Intrade (too complicated for my taste).
Even in a comment on my Alarmist's Dilemma blog post David Gould wrote he has been betting with Willis Eschenbach (I don't know the details). But how about WUWT's snow and sea ice expert?
Up till now Steven Goddard has confined himself mainly by replying his critics with very concise snark which prominently features the acronym FUD (which looks kind of funny on a site like WUWT), e.g.: "I expect a full apology from you in September for wasting everybody’s time with your perpetual FUD". Or just below it: "I continue to be astonished by the amount of BS being thrown around by some FUDsters here." It's quite interesting to read from a psychological point of view.
Lately Steven Goddard has been upping the ante in his WUWT articles on the Arctic sea ice. He's been challenging some of his regular critics by saying they should announce their firm belief that the record will be beaten this summer and that they even should be betting large sums of money on this happening in September.
He said this a few days ago:
If you really believe in PIOMAS, then you are going to have to get firmly behind the idea of shattering the record low this summer. You can’t have it both ways, though no doubt you will try.
And only yesterday he wrote:
I can’t imagine why anyone who trusts the experts, wouldn’t go out and bet a lot of money on a record minimum. Seems like a done deal, based on the wealth of informative comments coming from the leading experts.
His critics Phil., R. Gates, Tom P, barry and Anu come across as pretty smart guys and they know that even though everything looks set at the moment for a new record, a shift in weather conditions could still throw a spanner in the works. They can't possibly be 100% sure at this moment in time (although R. Gates has said he believes 4.5 million square km could be in the works). If they would commit themselves to a minimum extent record and it wouldn't come about due to some winds blowing the 'wrong' way all summer or some other phenomenon (like it did in 2008 and 2009 when the ice was exceptionally weak due to the 2007 melt), this would probably be spun to them looking silly. Now, who would want that?
Perhaps I would. It's not like I would invite it, but I wouldn't mind it so much either. I mean, I've never purported to know much about any aspect of climate science, so it wouldn't be a surprise if I turned out to be wrong. In fact, I don't mind being wrong. It keeps me healthy. There exists such a thing as advancing insight and one should always try to remain flexible enough to be able to change one's mind or opinion.
So why shouldn't I take up the gauntlet and challenge Steven Goddard to a small bet on the 2010 minimum Arctic sea ice extent? I'm pretty sure that if this summer's weather conditions come near those of 2007 the minimum SIE record will be broken. If we get clear skies, a positive AO, warm water streaming into the Arctic Basin, etc and the record would not be broken, my alarmism would probably lessen by a great deal (and I'd be greatly relieved).
Now if I would challenge Steven Goddard to a bet, I would favour the following conditions:
Goddard has repeatedly asserted that he is sure minimum sea ice extent will be above the 2006 level. I'm willing to say it will be below 2007. I would like to base this on the minimum sea ice extent as reported by IJIS. The absolute minimum SIE, not the average for September. The stakes would either be quatloos or an amount of 50 USD of which the proceeds would go to a good cause. If the minimum SIE ends above the 2006 absolute minimum SIE, Goddard wins. If it's below the 2007 absolute minimum SIE, I win. If it's somewhere between, the bet is off.
What do you think? Should I challenge Goddard to a bet (if only to hear on what dataset and conditions he bases his prediction)? Or will I subsequently be used as a tool in the Climate PR War? Please advise.