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Chris Biscan


apparently the ice in the Beaufort wasn't 1-2 meters thick still or it wouldn't have been compacted out that fast.


Nice poem.

Could anyone tell me what the average summer ice thickness is nowadays? My understanding is that it used to be 2 meters thick at the peak of summer.

Tony Duncan

I read it while listening to the song. Very well done!
But Goddard just posted that "It appears that there will be a large increase in the amount of MYI relative to last September, as I forecast during the spring. Is that accurate?
He usually calls me an idiot or moron when I question his claims. Hopefully you folks will be nicer.


Tony, you moron! ;-)

Ask Goddard: How thick is your (multiyear) ice?

Seke Rob

Given the slush-puppy phenomena, it will be a sandwich with spread. :O)

Wayne Kernochan

@D: crandles (iirc) gave me a superb thickness spreadsheet up to this June. In 1979, thickness at minimum area (early Sept., imho the best time to measure) was about 3 meters. In 2005, it was approximately 2 meters. In 2010, it was approaching 1 meter. You have to bear in mind that as area at that time decreases, thickness actually should increase slightly, all else being equal, because what melts first is the thinnest ice and what's left is thicker. So I believe that looking at average thickness actually slightly underestimates the decrease in the ice year to year. Volume is best.


But seriously: What Steve does, is one of his nifty little propaganda tricks.

The first-year ice that remains at the end of a melting season, is multiyear ice the next. Or second-year ice to be more precise.

What Steve is saying, is: Look, there is more turquoise in the ACNFS map (formerly known as PIPS) than purple in in the NSIDC ice age map!

1) We haven't reached the same stage yet as that NSIDC map, so expect about half a million or more square km of that turqoise to go.
2) If you watch his blink comparison closely, and focus on the shape of the multiyear ice (ie that which is not turquoise or purple) you already see that this year has less multiyear ice than last year. And unless we get some really bad weather, some of that multiyear ice is going to go missing too in the next 2-3-weeks (melted or compacted).
3) Even if multiyear would increase, what would you compare that to? Read this recent blog post on how the oldest ice (3 years or more) has been faring.

So at best Steve could be right that there is slightly more second-year ice next year (which he niftily labels as multiyear ice), but it will be very difficult if 2011 turns out to have less area, extent and volume than last year.

I hope that answers your question a bit, Tony. And please, do me a favour: only link to Goddard's blog when absolutely necessary. :-)


Because of your link I just had to go and comment there, but it's a complete waste of time. They don't like skeptics over there. So please, no more links.


In this case good thing I commented, because I was wrong about the second-year ice being part of multiyear ice. NSIDC has a special category for 1-2 year old ice.

I think it all depends how much of the yellow and green in the ACNFS map will be counted as multiyear ice and how much as second-year ice. We'll know when NSIDC shows a new ice age map come October.

Chris Biscan

that Navy thickness map is way off.

Daniel Bailey

Neven, You should encourage those linking to SG or AW's sites to use the "No Follow" code:


If we look at all of the ice at the end of the melting season we get a very stark picture. Since 2007 the final ice area has been close enough to 3MSqK to call all years even. This year looks to end just around the same value. In 2007 PIOMAS estimated just over 6CuK of ice left. This year PIOMAS will drop under 4CuK. Since 2007 the average ice thickness has gone from just over 2M to 1.2-1.35M. I suspect the mean value is less than the average. So 4 years and a loss of 65-80 centimeters.
8 to 9 years from now at this rate of loss the ice will be negligable. Perhaps this ice loss will simply stop at some point before zero but the ice is crashing very hard right now.


Thanks, Daniel. That's a good tip.

Andrew Xnn

Thinner ice can probably spread out more easily. Could be explanation for why extent has "recovered" during part of the year.

michael sweet

In the August 2 NSIDC update they say there has been a lot of MYI melt this summer. Since then the Beaufort sea and other MYI ice has melted out. Goddard is comparing graphs from two different sources, this is a common trick of his. It is comparing apples and oranges. He wants to get out the word to deniers that MYI is increasing before the NSIDC reports a new record low.

Tony Duncan

just got this site from SUYTS (who has not banned me) on ship locations throughout the world. Took me a few minutes to figure out how to use it, but thought you folks would find it interesting

Chris Reynolds

Whoever linked to Steven Goddard earlier in the thread - Damn You! ;)

Due to 10 minutes Goddard-exposure my IQ has dropped so much I can't even remember who you are.

Rob Dekker

Chris, you are joking around of course, but note that Goddard-level of scientific competence and debate goes all the way up to policy makers. And in case you thought that you can avoid debating these guys by staying away, they will come to your own blog, as Neven has just experienced (side thread).

My point is this : science and reason is under relentless attack from opinion and preconceived beliefs, and so far is not pushing back much. Will we ever ? or will we let the bigots and sociopaths and cherry-pickers define what reality is ?

Chris Reynolds

Yes I am joking.

As for what the best response is....

The denialists want to create the impression of a debate about the reality of AGW and it's implications.

When we argue with them what are we doing?

For ourselves as individuals we may see ourselves correcting lies. But for most people who've browsed onto that blog they see an active comments section - so there really is a debate. Thus the denialists win. Their main aim is to have their position taken seriously.

Let's try something. I'll choose a statement that's just as stupid as saying that AGW isn't happening.

"The moon is made of cheese."

Now what's your response to that assertion?

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

LOL Chris: The moon is made of cheese !!! That's good news !!! I am so glad we made it to the moon so my supply won't be lost :D !!!

Rob Dekker

Chris : "The moon is made of cheese."

Now what's your response to that assertion?

For every statement made by anyone, there is always some answer that has the best impact and does not create new openings that can be used for a counter-attack.

It's a learning process, that I've gone through the hard way (being active on various denier blogs and alt.global-warning for a couple of years).

For this one, I would suggest "Thanks for a good laugh", just like what I posted when Goddard claimed

"The Arctic is clearly recovering. The ice is much thicker and older than 2008."

Rob Dekker

Of course, depending on a lot of factors (such as who you are dealing with, how much evidence you have against the statement, how much evidence you know the other will have for the statement, how moderated the site is, and the level of competence of the audience reading the site).

A very safe way to respond to a rediculous statement is always to ask for evidence.

The more confident you feel that you have strong evidence against the statement, the more sarcastic and harsh you can become in your response.

Deniers are sensitive to evidence, and DO back off if you close every path in their reasoning, but are masters in finding ways out of tight corners.

It's a process..

Rob Dekker

Chris, regarding this point of view :

For ourselves as individuals we may see ourselves correcting lies. But for most people who've browsed onto that blog they see an active comments section - so there really is a debate. Thus the denialists win.

As I said before, if you don't find them, they will find you. At least if they think you have a blog that is relevant to them (hurting their point of view).

Their main aim is to have their position taken seriously.

Isn't that everyone's aim who posts anything on line ?

Timothy Chase

Regarding the "skeptics" Rob Decker writes:

As I said before, if you don't find them, they will find you. At least if they think you have a blog that is relevant to them (hurting their point of view).
He then quotes Chris R. who wrote:
For ourselves as individuals we may see ourselves correcting lies. But for most people who've browsed onto that blog they see an active comments section - so there really is a debate. Thus the denialists win. Their main aim is to have their position taken seriously.
... and Rob responds:
Isn't that everyone's aim who posts anything on line ?
I suppose the way that I would have said it is:
Their main aim is to create the appearance of a scientific debate, in order to justify delay until the issue has been "decided," where they are determined that we put off the "deciding" indefinitely.
People who are just passing through, people who haven't already spent some time studying the issues likely won't take the time needed to analyze a given disagreement. Not to the point that they will realize that all of the evidence and science is on one side and what is driving the other is ideology and money.

These are the people for whom the "skeptic" performance is intended. These -- and I suspect the people who are themselves "skeptical" rather than skeptical, but not quite so hardcore about it as the performers themselves.

When you argue with a "skeptic" it is often like arguing with a troll. Judging from the manner of argument, oftentimes it seems their conscious, deliberate strategies are the same. And you are giving them oxygen, a stage, spotlight and an audience.

Now some of the people who come through and argue may not be so hardcore. Others may simply be dupes of "skeptic" propaganda, or actually believe, for example, in some sort of international zcientist conspiracy.

You may want to see if these people can be educated. In other cases educating them simply be impossible, more trouble than it is worth, or a diversion from more important tasks. There may be times when it is actually productive to argue with a "skeptic", for example, if you can quickly spotlight their dishonesty, then move on.

But typically I think we give far too much oxygen to the nuts who don't know any better, the ideologues who should but refuse to, and those who given their financial incentives simply don't care. And at that point it is time to talk around them and let the conversation move forward to something more productive.

A troll needs only a single person to argue with them in order to maintain a foot hold. A "skeptic" is pretty much the same way.

Chris Reynolds


As usual beautifully put. The only place I would vary is in trolls vs denialists. Any true sceptic won't disagree with AGW, they'd have done their research and realised that the evidence is strongly in favour of the fact that the planet is warming and we're causing it.

There are a minority of professional denialists in the background. For the majority their denialism is a pathology driven by the same miscellaneous motivations as your average common-or-garden troll.

For what it's worth; I used to think I was sceptical of AGW. I wasn't, I was just being lazy and swallowing other's lies and distortions. I corrected that by becoming a sceptic, analysing the evidence, accepting what the evidence showed, and changing my opinion accordingly.


I'll continue blogging about what the science shows. If that draws in denialists, so be it. I've got ample experience of dealing with them from the past and will apply it as necessary. But I agree with Timothy - we're feeding them, supporting what they want to achive (sowing doubt), and worst of all: We're allowing them to dictate the debate.

Skeptical Science is a stunningly well designed site. Perhaps this would be worth trying...

Denialist > [Long paragraphs that amount to - ] CO2 has nothing to do with GW, it's internal variability.

Answer > "Incorrect. See #29 & #160 here>."

The passers by don't see a hot debate, they see someone babbling on to be dismissed with numbered answers (i.e. it's old hat), that seem to address the points made (as far as the passer by can be bothered to read).

Chris Reynolds

Actually I may well do some blog posts to deliberately attack the lies being spread. It would supplement Skeptical Science's resource.

Ned Ward

Chris R writes: Denialist > [Long paragraphs that amount to - ] CO2 has nothing to do with GW, it's internal variability.

Answer > "Incorrect. See #29 & #160 here>."

Yes, Skeptical Scienceis one of the best climate sites on the web. I don't spend as much time around there as I used to, back when the site and its user community were smaller, but it's a great resource and I refer people to it all the time.

Patrice Monroe Pustavrh

Well, I have personal experience with somebody doing exactly this. The answer from a denier was: Skeptical Science is political oriented site and I will not feed myself with AGW ideology.

Ned Ward

That's OK. You're not really trying to change that person's opinion; you're pointing all the undecided bystanders towards a useful source of good information.

Daniel Bailey

As to the "proper way" to handle a contrarian: whatever way works best for you, I suppose.

The path I follow at Skeptical Science is the same I used here with SM: Challenge the falsehood directly with a visual graphic (whenever possible) plus a link to the source. Try to use impersonal or 3rd-person tense whenever possible, as such as SM will never admit to being wrong or own up to their dissembling agenda.

Remember: the interested readership which seldom adds a comment (like an iceberg, they vastly outnumber the actual participants in a blog forum), is the one you are trying to show the true context to. "Skeptics", dissemblers, obfuscationists and denialists: whichever term you use (really, they are interchangeable), they all are forcing reality to conform to their world-view, either by only presenting a cherry-picked portion of the data (thus lacking context) or they serve up hand-waved blandishments that seem tasty-sweet (and thus reassuring) but are utterly devoid of factual background and will not offer up a link that actually supports their position. Like SM, when brought to task, completely ignored my exposure of his falsehoods.

A point-by-point rebuttal, in the tone of a medical examiner explaining to a medical intern, is the goal.

Daniel Bailey

OT, but apropos:

“Never teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work, and it annoys the pig.” ~ Mark Twain


I'd like to bump this thread a bit because I think the discussion earlier today is important. Scientific understanding is not well represented in the blogosphere and it is valuable, even essential, to have more of the scientifically literate venture into the climate denialosphere.

I agree in particular with the comment from Timothy Chase above. I have been posting comments about the Arctic Sea Ice on a denialist dominated discussion forum for several years now and have learned a few things.

If you should choose to go here, first thing (as Timothy mentioned), do not focus simply on your antagonist, but realize, when venturing into this lion's den, you will encounter an the unending stream of objections. But remember, any number of people click into such discussions to learn (on the forum that I frequent, the ratio of views to posts is 5 or 10 to 1).

Consider; civility can score you points with the audience you really need to reach.

Also, don't presume that logic is king. Denialists have a twisted logic all their own. Evidence and knowledge, however, do accumulate over time. Persistent participation adds up.

It would definitely be useful to increase the knowledge content of any number of internet forums.

I would conclude; this is not a task for the thin skinned, overly emotional, or easily discouraged, but getting informed content out on the net could have an important impact.

Tom Z

Rob Dekker

Daniel, there are wise words, and not even OT considering the implied subject of this thread (opinion versus facts).

Chris, Timothy : "to engage or not to engage, that is the question". By all means, Chris, please continue your blog. It is excellent, and maybe because of the absense of denier trolls, still void of political influence and thus open to true scientific debate.

The point that I'm making is that the wider 'debate' is already dominated by politically motivated forces, going all the way to Congress and Senate Members.

So the question becomes : are we (at the bottom of the 'shit' tree) going to just sit there and let the bigots take over all of public's perceptions of reality, or are we going to stand up and confront them with scientific evidence and put them in the place that they belong ?

As Ned mentioned above, even if you simply are pointing at evidence on skepticalscience.com "you're pointing all the undecided bystanders towards a useful source of good information". Heck, point them at your own site if you thinks it clarifies the issue better.

Life rewards action. The 'contrarians' understand that and dominate the (internate) debate. But, as Tzupancic1 states "logic is King". When do we start using that ?

Rob Dekker

Here is another advice : slow them down. Don't respond to what you think they imply, but instead relentlessly grill them on the first idiotic this they said. If their aim is to be taken seriously, then make fun of their first idiotic statement. It works.


I've decided to stay away from all things pseudo-skeptic, because I lose my temper too fast. As Tom Z says this easily negates all the logic and good arguments you bring into a debate. At best I say what I have to say and then bow out as soon as I feel frustration getting the better of me.

I greatly respect the people who have the patience to enter the fray. I'd like to be like them, but I'm not ready for it yet. But I will be soon.

Rob Dekker

Neven, I think you are doing quite alright. In your recent reply on Goddard's post (comparing MYI estimates) you very clearly pointed out that he was comparing apples and oranges. Goddard had no good reply to that, and that will stick with any readers.
Without your reply, Goddard would have had another one of his contrarian assertions go uncontested.

Keep them coming !

Ned Ward

Neven writes: I've decided to stay away from all things pseudo-skeptic, because I lose my temper too fast. As Tom Z says this easily negates all the logic and good arguments you bring into a debate.

Me too. I guess we can't all be John Cook, who seems to have the politeness and the patience of a saint...

Kevin McKinney


Yeah, I tend to post mostly on news-sites, which I think have a higher percentage of regular (ie., undecided or 'neutral') readers. Semi-thick skin, I guess.

Rob Dekker

Neven, in this regard, maybe we can change the song to "how thick is your skin" ;o)


Rob Dekker's comments are much appreciated.

And Neven, your contribution via this blog is quite substantial.

Independent of the thickness or extent of the Arctic Sea Ice there is a context where events are evaluated and interpreted. What I am suggesting is that this context becomes dominated by uninformed voices.

Why? Are the knowledgable reticent?

Chris Reynolds


One problem I find is that I know enough to understand the complexity of the issue and often find myself frozen in the face of that complexity. At present I have five blog posts virtually written but there are always details that I don't understand as fully as I feel I should. So it takes me ages to get round to posting them. I also have problem that before I say something factual I need to go off and check my references, despite knowing it.

Goddard and WUWT are quite clearly not bound by such concerns. It's all too apparent from the c--p they publish. Frankly if I realised I'd been writing such c--p for as long as they have been I'd curl up and die of embarrassment.

Tamino has skillfully called Watts so many times now and conclusively shown him to be not just wrong, but painfully, embarrasingly, toe-curling, inept. Yet Watts carries on regardless.

It takes a special mix of arrogance and stupidity to do that.

Daniel Bailey

Chris, Watts may be a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them. Nor is Goddard stupid.

There are those actors in stage dramas that are forced to take on the role of the bad guy.

Then there are those like Watts & Goddard that embrace the role of the villain with eager glee and plumb the depths of the role.

Chris Biscan

Watts predicted 5,750,000 min this year.

Watts is an actor. He has nothing at stake. He is completely irrelevant to the"real" scientific community.

I've spent to many hours the last 3 days reading his site. And he is a B list actor at best. With a long list of cronies that he tells them what they want to hear.

On Nevens blog our most alarmist if you want to call it that is talking about data inconsistencies if there is any to find out the bottom line of it.

On Watts they talk about ice breakers helping the decline. That is insane talk.

We only accept strong peer reviewed work as consensus and allow the free flowing ideas to go here but question it, allow everyone there individual opinion without much crassness and disrespect.

There peer reviewed science can be crapped on for ideology.

We are like the Federation they are like the Borg.

If you notice most skeptic blogs are loaded with primary conservative American's and most sites in reality have a mosh of people from all over the World.

I personally have encountered a couple times here where someone from a country that may not have had recent access to the data like an American has. Because of the reach of high speed internet and the timeline of it. I have been to quick to judge and have been in error of being the "Arrogant American". I don't even consider myself American. I am human.

Neven has put together a nice community here. Everyone brings their own individuality. Free thought and opinion matter. But it doesn't take down peer reviewed scientific accepted fact or theory because of bias.

Watt's hasn't posted a Sea Ice Update in a long time.

Americanwx.com has deserted the sea ice thread after months of posts and mostly insults for me. Those people are gone, silenced in shame. Watt's threads for sea ice have all went silent as well. Don't worry at the next sign of ice recovery or a cold period where it does well. They will light up and tell us how stupid we are.

How sad.

the tiny tiny minority will fight this to the bitter ends. And will feel the horrible guilt when the cascade effect of an ice free arctic impedes on our ecosystem.


Chris, Watts may be a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them. Nor is Goddard stupid.

Based on the discussion I had with Goddard last year about CO2 freezing at the S Pole I beg to differ. His behavior then got him chucked out of WUWT!



apparently the guy who made the absurd prediction was:


Not Watts..I apologized.

Watts could have laid that out better..I wasn't the only one who fell for it.


Frivolousz21, it wasn't Anthony's quote. After last year's fiasco he now gladly hides behind the predictions of nutters like Pierre Gosselin.

You see, this is what happens when you get mad. Anthony now has a gotcha on ya. :-P

You could retort with this, but it's not hard proof of anything and I'd rather not have you link to this blog over there.


Last year's fiasco.

Arctic recovery crock of the week.

Don't put too much energy in these guys. They are ideologues who will lie and distort if they can get away with it. The day will come when they see what they have been responsible for.

Rob Dekker

I admire your courage, but remember that these guys know their s..t, and they know exactly what they say.

You can't overstate anything, you have to check everything you say before you say it.
You got off alright out there. Your apology was good. But if there would be a lot of supporters wondering around, you would have been chewed up and your bones spit out.
Be careful out there...



nice clear picture of ice thickness.

side view of a floe right in front of Healy.


and here is a nice picture of a floe stacked on top of another so you can clearly see how thin it is.
my guess is 60-80cm for both pictures.


That poll over there is quite funny though. Somebody just asked:

We’re voting no the final minimum sea ice extent number, right? Or did I get that wrong?

And isn’t the current sea ice extent below 5 million km^2? So why are people still casting votes for over 5 million km^2?

I’m sure there’s something obvious I’m overlooking or misunderstanding and am hoping someone will point it out to me.

Indeed, why?

Ned Ward

The poll's language is just horribly confusing.

My assumption is that they're voting on the monthly value, not the daily. That would match the parameters of the SEARCH contest. And the September mean SIE could be larger than the 31 August SIE, if the minimum is reached early. It's unlikely to happen, but not impossible.

Alternatively, they really are voting on the daily minimum, and the people voting for options > 4.9 are a bunch of idiots. At WUWT, that is always possible.

Rob Dekker

The poll's language is just horribly confusing

It is, Ned. And it seems that the readers are also confused (considering that somebody just said "So I am going with 5.3 to 5.4"). They have no clue what they are talking about.

The interesting thing is that Anthony does not spend any effort clarifying what this poll is really about. Instead, he just mentioned ARCUS (which mentions the monthly average IIRC) as the source. That shields him from taking responsibility and moves it to ARCUS. Very clever way of spreading disinformation (or non-information in this case).

Rob Dekker

Sorry to post this, but I can't resist:
Example of what we were talking about (how thick is your skin) :

Recently, Andy Revkin at the New York Times in a blog about Arctic sea ice:
quoted this post by Lubos Motl:

I confronted Lubos about some of the statements he made regarding CO2 - Sea-ice correlation and his opinions on Arctic wildlife, and Lubos went bezerk, calling Arctic sea ice decline "breathtakingly idiotic propagandistic proclamations ", calling me names and claiming that I hold a "obsessive religion - which is as hostile and dangerous as the radical Islamism".

Check the comments in Lubos post. Since he threatens to ban me, I may not be able to post there any more. Feel free to (1) see how not to behave as a blogger and (2) ask for some evidence for the statements he is making, and then admire the civility here at Neven's.

Mike Constable

Cryostat 2 has given very high figures for ice thickness - silly question - have they allowed for the density of the lens of fresher water under the ice. If not, that might account for sea-level being higher, and that would make the surface of the ice higher. A 10cm error would be multiplied by about 10, giving an increase of 1m in "measured" thickness?

Artful Dodger

Rob | September 06, 2011 at 12:22

It's all about "confirmation bias" and "motivated reasoning". See:


You see textbook instances of this here on this blog. Evidence is ignored, the preferred result is pursued doggedly. Facts are conjured to support the Commentator's world view, and justified ad nauseum.

It's quite a remarkable process (and a cynical methodology employed by paid disinformers), but ultimately it is a psychological issue and lies outside the boundaries of climate science.

Often the best way to handle these situations is summarized within the folksy wisdom:

"Please do not feed the Trolls"

Ya can't change their minds, and it just gives the appearance of a Debate to a casual Reader. Better to spend the time with family and friends!


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