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Espen Olsen

Fast Ice:

Do we have any figures when it comes to fast ice north of Ellesmere Island, my low tech estimates of the remaining fast ice is 135 km or 85 miles, and number is including something is/was called Ward Hunt Ice Shelf?

idunno

Great article Kev 'n' Nev!

Off topic a bit, but I've noticed recently that we have several new commentators who wish to discuss US domestic policy issues.

I personally think that this is entirely counterproductive, for a long host of reasons that I would prefer not to go into. But I can write a thousand word essay if necessary.

Over here though...

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/26/745571/why-the-arctic-sea-ice-death-spiral-matters/

Is exactly the same article as above, on a site that is dedicated to US domestic political and energy issues; with lots of relevent threads for discussing communication strategies, wind versus solar versus fossil fuels.

A small warning: any new US conservative readers may find that the climate progress site in general betrays a distinct liberal bias.

Over on here, AFAIK, we're mainly just interested in documenting data. No bias.

Twemoran

idunno

"Over on here, AFAIK, we're mainly just interested in documenting data. No bias."

says it all.

We've developed a good reputation in a niche area. I fear that broadening our scope will dilute the message.

As it stands when I tell someone a horror story about the Arctic I can direct them to the site knowing that they won't consider it a left wing propaganda tool and ignore the data.

There are plenty of (good) political sites available, only one that "keeps it's eyes on the ice"

Terry

Chris Reynolds

When people take the attitude "so what if the sea ice goes" they're ignoring the warning light without the slightest conception that it is a warning light.

Steve Bloom

Don't forget that, in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

It's interesting how motivated ignorance, aggressively expressed, makes people afraid to discuss the implications of what's going on. My conclusion after some years of observation is that it's counter-productive to cater to such views (not that this site does).

At this point, it's entirely clear, I think including to the regulars here, that large-scale action is necessary, although of course the details of such action are open to debate (and I would agree are more suitable for discussion elsewhere).

Re Climate Progress, I think there's a clear distinction made between discussion of the science versus policy.

Superman

Idunno,

"Over on here, AFAIK, we're mainly just interested in documenting data. No bias."

You're kidding yourself. All research is essentially 'cherry-picking' of source data and analytical findings. There is almost an infinite amount of data available from myriad sensors and computer outputs, and a miniscule amount of that data is selected for posting. Someone selected those data points based on the purpose of their posting.

The best researchers 'cherry-pick' the most critical data that is reflective of reality. The climate change hacks like WUWT and Goddard 'cherry-pick' data that fulfills and advances a pre-determined agenda, usually political and economic. If those two hacks were posting articles here, there would be a completely different slant on what's happening in the Arctic, and its larger significance.

There is another class of 'cherry-picking' that I see in the climate change literature. Assumptions are made that will 'keep hope alive'. Even the most prominent chroniclers of climate change always offer a sliver of hope based on 'optimistic' assumptions. I understand this; it parallels the reluctance of an oncologist to tell an adolescent he has Stage 4 cancer. But, my intuition tells me the downstream implications of what we are seeing in the Arctic are far harsher than most are willing to admit.

NeilT

I like this presentation. However I also like the disccussions on Arctic ice loss and the wording on it.

The question is not whether or not the loss of the Arctic ice will impact the climate of the planet and change weather patterns. The question is "How can it not?".

As for cherry picking data? My take is that trend analysis is not cherry picking. Trend analysis is taking those "relevant" data and analysing them to determine the changes, "trends", over time. That is not cherry picking. Cherry picking is what people do to present a result which meets their personal goals, rather than presenting the actual true picture.

Something that everyone should understand clearly and most, clearly, don't.

GeoffBeacon

idunno

I do take your comment personally but not with resentment. I thank you for your polite obliqueness. You have a point, the tight focus of this blog, the quality of the writing and the expertise that Neven and the rest of you bring make it excellent material to refer to from the outside. Perhaps my response to the mention of carbon tax could have been better elsewhere. I think that was the sort of post you deprecate.

However, there are issues that may be best addressed here that aren't just ice thickness, weather charts, ice flows &etc. I think it must be said that “official science” and its influence on the policy makers is way behind what you have here. This should be voiced here.

Thanks for the warning. It would be a pity to dilute this blog with too much discussion of branding issues so I'll stop now.

Nothing-new-under-the-sun.blogspot.com

In a discussion elsewhere about a month ago I started to list the likely implications of a seasonally ice-free Arctic. I came up with precisely the same nine that Kevin and & Nevin did. So I feel pretty good about that!

1. Arctic ecosystem change/habitat loss
2. Arctic (human) communities culture/infrastructure loss
3. Albedo change to global energy budget
4. Permafrost melt acceleration
5. Methane clathrates destabilisation
6. Greenland ice sheet melt acceleration
7. Geo-political tensions over Arctic resources
8. Exploitation of Arctic fossil hydrocarbon resources feedback
9. Complex effects on NH wind/weather patterns via polar jetstream effects.

10. I considered a tenth, namely, a further disruption to the global energy budget from the freeing of the latent heat energy that previously was being used to accomplish the phase transition of ice -> water, though my back of the envelope calculations suggest that this is a much smaller issue than albedo change (I’d love to see some reputable work on this topic as I’m far from any kind of expert).

Now that I think about it a little more, I can think of a further seven issues that neither Neven&Kevin nor I mentioned. Some of these I’m very tentative about (esp ##15&16).

11. The release of persistent toxins and heavy metals that had become trapped in the ice.

12. The opening up of Arctic shipping routes which (a) reduces fuel needs of global shipping by cutting distances (negative feedback) but (b) brings more diesel fuel into the Arctic region, leaving black soot on glaciers (positive feedback). Not sure which is the larger effect.

13. Reconnection of marine ecosystems previously separated by ice with unpredictable ecosystem changes from invasive species. This is already occurring.

14. Opening up of Arctic fishing grounds to greater exploitation (and noise pollution).

15. Potential effects on thermohaline circulation. I haven’t seen any work on this related to seasonal sea ice loss, so I have no idea whether it is significant.

16. Potential effects on ocean acidification by increasing surface area for atmosphere-ocean gas exchange. Would this make any difference to ocean capacity to act as CO2 sink or rate of acidification? Maybe this is irrelevant. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere and is just an idea that came to me.

17 . Highly visual and difficult to dispute sign of climate change, representing a potential tipping point in public awareness and concern. If we are waiting for that, however, before we make any serious efforts to slash emissions (esp if it doesn’t occur until 2030 or later), we’ll already have so much warming committed that we’ll pretty much be toast. At best, therefore, this point might consolidate public support for massive rapid emissions reductions already underway. But of course, by here, we've moved out of the geophysical and into the political systems, and so I'll note the above comments and cease before travelling any further...

Superman

NeilT,

"As for cherry picking data? My take is that trend analysis is not cherry picking. Trend analysis is taking those "relevant" data and analysing them to determine the changes, "trends", over time. That is not cherry picking. Cherry picking is what people do to present a result which meets their personal goals, rather than presenting the actual true picture."

Obviously, my point did not get across, so I will re-iterate from a slightly different perspective. Let's assume the mission of this blog is the etiology of Arctic ice. There are myriad sensors in the Arctic undersea, on land and sea/ice surface, in the air, and in Space. There are many computers and computer models grinding out results, using different types of data inputs and different algorithms. The result is an overwhelming amount of source data and an overwhelming amount of computer output data. Someone has to make a determination of the objectives of the data presentation, the variables and variable/parameter combinations that best meet the objectives, and the appropriate data to populate the variables and parameters. Out of the quadrillions of data points available for final presentation, someone had to 'cherry-pick' the final relatively few points presented on this blog.

As I stated above, the best researchers 'cherry-pick' the most critical data that is reflective of reality. The climate change hacks like WUWT and Goddard 'cherry-pick' data that fulfills and advances a pre-determined agenda, usually political and economic. If those two hacks were posting articles here, there would be a completely different slant on what's happening in the Arctic, and its larger significance.

That's the context in which I used the term 'cherry-pick'. In your comments, you used the term 'relevant'. What is relevant to you may not be what is relevant to WUWT or Goddard or myself. If you were posting an article, you would 'cherry-pick' that data meeting your relevance criterion.

Superman

Steve Bloom,

"At this point, it's entirely clear, I think including to the regulars here, that large-scale action is necessary, although of course the details of such action are open to debate (and I would agree are more suitable for discussion elsewhere)."

There is a missing link between Arctic ice etiology and large-scale action that needs to be addressed. This link is the consequence of Arctic ice disappearance, it is mainly if not solely a technical issue, and it seems to me entirely appropriate to address here.

It is not the Arctic ice etiology alone that drives the interest in this site, it is the larger context of what the ice etiology means to the global climate. I could start a blog describing how the grass on my lawn is growing, and I suspect it wouldn't have many takers no matter how much data I presented. However, if I had a large Iowa corn farm, I could present a similar blog on the day-by-day trials and tribulations of my corn crop, and probably would have many more takers. The 'science' would probably be no more interesting than my lawn blog, but it's the larger context that would drive the interest.

I believe the technical/physical consequences of what we are seeing with the Arctic ice melting etiology are profound, but are not being treated consistently in what reaches the public. Any insights that are added here can only be beneficial, and constitute a valid output from this blog.

Steve Bloom

Just read this fascinating new post from weather historian Chris Burt re this summer's record melt in the Alps, including the first recorded snow-free conditions for several prominent peaks including the Matterhorn. Note that some of these records go back many years.

He also describes the current trends for Alps glaciers, which are I'm sure to the surprise of none here just worse and worse.

If the post is still timely when you read this, Neven, I think it's worth highlighting.

OldLeatherneck

Steve,

I also read Chris Burt's post yesterday and though it important to include the link:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=87#commenttop

The accelerated melting of glaciers across the globe, is going to contribute greatly to rising sea levels and the melting of permafrost, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. While not directly related to the arctic, this is another alarming piece of the puzzle.

GBKing

"Superman"'s radical concept of 'cherrypicking' seems odd to me and doesn't fit with what I understand to be valid processes of data consolidation or mathematical data analysis.

To apply "cherrypicking" to all kinds of data analysis simply makes the term meaningless. And what's the point in that?

Kevin McKinney

A very thoughtful discussion, which was one of my hopes in writing (I can't speak for Neven on that,)

To understate things a bit, it seems pretty likely that this season is going to mark a big milestone on the longer term trajectory of the ice--though I won't be surprised if next year is even worse. So, what does the milestone mean, intrinsically and symbolically?

This post was a bare start in addressing those questions. I imagine we'll all be working on them for quite a while.

Steve Bloom

Thanks, OL. I did hyperlink "post" but the contrast is such that many probably missed it.

opensheart

Superman

Assumptions are made that will 'keep hope alive'. Even the most prominent chroniclers of climate change always offer a sliver of hope based on 'optimistic' assumptions. I understand this; it parallels the reluctance of an oncologist to tell an adolescent he has Stage 4 cancer.

I would like to comment on this. I feel it is a true enough statement. But it has to be that way. I've been getting deeper and deeper into climate change for a long time. And I have reached some horrifying conclusions of my own. OK, I say it. I think we, the whole earth is headed towards a planet wide reboot or restart. Something the planet has done before, and will probably do again at some point in the future. Its just that this time there is the slight problem of we are living here while the planet goes down for a reboot.

I work with computers, when we want to keep a system up all the time we add redundancy. There are 2, 3, 4, or more computers working together. That increases the odds that at least one will be up at any given time. So I intuitively understand this from my career.

As I learned more about Climate Change, I realized that there were multiple systems that seemed to point to the same end point or similar enough end point. I suddenly had an 'OMG' moment. There is redundancy built into this planet reset process. In my mind that increased the odds from 'well it could happen like that, but it probably will not' to 'OMG someday one of these systems would find a way to finish the job.'

That knowledge has made me physically ill. I can't eat, sleep. Everything seems surreal around me. I have great difficultly focusing and completing tasks. And I know I have to back off.

I have asked to teach a class in church on global warming. Its a UU church so they are open to such things. And I am working and re-working what I want to present. I find myself watering it down. I have to. I have to keep it at the more popular, "Oh we will do something to keep it under 2 degrees and we will figure something out". I just have to. I can't go in there and convince a whole cluster of church members that humanity or civilization, at least as we know it, is going to end.

I can't carry or hold that information myself. I find myself needing to undo my OMG moment. And if it is too big for me, it is too big for others to. And it is wrong to spread a disease that makes others sick too. I'm saying I think this 'final outcome' knowledge/opinion/conviction is a disease. One can catch it. One suffer from it, one wants to find a cure for it, and one can pass the disease on to others.

So there is a build in, biological need. We have to hold that Glimmer of Hope position. Or at least somehow we have to trick our emotional/biological side into believing its not that bad; It may not happen that way; or what ever. So we can retain our full compliment of facilities.

While some compartmentalized, isolated portion of our intellect knows the real score and occasionally nudges our behavior based on that info.

Sorry if that is off topic and To-Much-Information.

idunno

Geoff,

I'm in no sense a moderator here. We've never had one, as far as I know. Let it all out, but...

I think that the most important bit of the site is probably the "Daily Graphs" bit, above...

In nullius verba...

Lots of information there for all-comers. Pick Your Own cherries. Of course, the satellite pictures might all be a hoax. Make up your own mind...

If you believe they put a man on the moon, man on the moon, the information there comes from the same firm.

Down here in the threads, we are just trying to interpret it as best we can. Probably not so well. We do our best.

Bob Wallace

""Oh we will do something to keep it under 2 degrees and we will figure something out". I just have to. I can't go in there and convince a whole cluster of church members that humanity or civilization, at least as we know it, is going to end."

There are points in between the two end points you set. Both of those points, I'm afraid, are suicidal.

There's the "If we get very serious and work hard to largely eliminate fossil fuels from our lives we might be able to avoid the worst case scenario".

And there's the "If we get very serious and work hard to largely eliminate fossil fuels from our lives we might buy enough time for someone to discover a way to pull the extra carbon out of the system".

Told short - "Get busy and bail like fools on fire. We might keep it afloat long enough for help to arrive".


Kevin McKinney

Well said, Bob.

opensheart

Sorry, if someone can delete my previous post I would appreciate it.

I could sum it up better by saying. in the effort to connect the dots and help people see the impact to them of Arctic Sea loss. We should exercise some caution.

If the threat is too grave, the hearer can have an emotional response that is not helpful to themselves or others. There has to be enough hope or action or escape possible for the hearer to be able to take it in and act on it.

Bob Wallace

I think the message has to be a call to action.

I don't see anyone around here thinking that if we continue as we are we'll be fine. I think the largest argument would be "How bad would it be at worst?". You know, total extinction for humans or only close to total extinction?

Humans are a very resourceful species. We've done things far and above what any other species has managed. Now we're about to be tested to see if we're advanced enough to survive.


Doug Bostrom

Kevin McKinney: To understate things a bit, it seems pretty likely that this season is going to mark a big milestone on the longer term trajectory of the ice--though I won't be surprised if next year is even worse.

It's interesting to look back at the available satellite record and see the gradual unveiling of more perfect hindsight: we've been steadily setting new records for low extent since the beginning of these* observations, while for some reason 2007 was the first to really seize our attention. Indeed, it seems the available satellite record doesn't even include a baseline "normal."

"Ice, we never even knew you."

A very simple bet would hinge on whether next year will set another record for low extent, or if we'll have to wait a bit longer for what's now clearly inevitable. Monthly records occasionally have back-back "lowest yet" but annual? Are there any, yet?

* See http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png for instance. What's "normal" in that record?

Louploup2.wordpress.com

idunno (August 26, 2012 at 19:56): "we're mainly just interested in documenting data. No bias."

Au contraire: Facts have a liberal bias.

GeoffBeacon

idunno

I think that the most important bit of the site is probably the "Daily Graphs" bit

Important but useless without discussion and interpretation. Here well informed, intelligent people assess the day-to-day, year-to-year evidence in a way that most "official" climate scientists don't because of their scientific reticence, their reluctance to throw away previously formed beliefs and the fact they are in a lethargic system.

I've heard it said that scientific revolutions happen when the old guard die off. We haven't go that much time.

By hard work, I do get some access to UK policy makers, scientists and journalists. Now they must be told many of the facts, theories and judgments revealed on this site. If they weren't here, I couldn't tell them.

The problem is that many scientists with big reputations are probably wrong. It helps that the "Neven clan of amateurs" make ideas and material public that are cutting edge and probably right. In my view, filling the gap that the official scientists can't or won't fill.

You should not underestimate the importance of what you are doing here. It's not just posting a few images. The eyes of the world are turning towards you.

I don't apologise for my intrusions - but won't make them too often.

P.S. I wish I could find a better way of naming you than the "Neven clan of amateurs".

Arcticio

I appreciate reading here there is more than ice in the Arctic and losing it will have a broad range of consequences. The Arctic is the symptom appearing first to show there is a global illness. If you look at thickness the Arctic will be ice free in a few hundred weeks - reduced from normal to zero within one generation.

Now same generation can not stand back and claim their role is only to deliver the data needed to understand and to adapt to catastrophes. This generation also leaves things of great cultural value and you have the choice to decide which are worth to survive and to remember of.

I see hundreds of well educated contributors active at this blog, who is telling you to shut up and stay quiet in your niche? I know many are looking back at a live full of work and have been promised a completely different story.

I'm sorry to discomfort you: The real work just started and compensation is not measured in Dollars. Instead you may receive warm appreciation from the next generation.

Years ago I asked my daughter to clean her room. Now she asks me to clean the planet and get rid of the mess.

And honestly, who else has the time, the money, the knowledge, the communication skills and the network needed to deliver this job.

I think, this is the right time to accept the challenge and to internalize: Failure is not an option.

Both the planet and our economy do not scale with human population and one or the other will collapse sooner or later. We know, if we are going to burn all fossil fuel available a melting Arctic is no longer on top of the list of concerns.

So, can we chart and enter a path into a future not based on exploiting carbon resources?

Anu

I agree that this site should just calmly discuss the details of Arctic sea ice and the science, measurements, theories, research papers and interpretations concerning this topic.

I'm sure the Planetary Leaders have detailed, wise plans to deal with the rapidly escalating situation as soon as a "trigger point" warrants action, so we don't have to argue about it here:


Peter Mizla

We have seen the amount of melting up north with just 0.8 degrees C above the PI level- and the other associated weather globally. We have another 0.8 degrees C warming in the pipeline- so we have baked in 1.6 degrees C above the PI level baked in. We have 5 years to peak out emissions, to keep us under 2 degrees C- so says the IEA. After 2016 we will have in place the infrastructure for 2 degrees and 450ppm C02.

GeoffBeacon

Peter Mizla

We have 5 years to peak out emissions, to keep us under 2 degrees C- so says the IEA.

Have you a link? What climate models did they use?

Peter Mizla

http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/news/2012/may/name,27216,en.html

24 May 2012

Global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This represents an increase of 1.0 Gt on 2010, or 3.2%. Coal accounted for 45% of total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011, followed by oil (35%) and natural gas (20%).

The 450 Scenario of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011, which sets out an energy pathway consistent with a 50% chance of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to 2°C, requires CO2 emissions to peak at 32.6 Gt no later than 2017, i.e. just 1.0 Gt above 2011 levels. The 450 Scenario sees a decoupling of CO2 emissions from global GDP, but much still needs to be done to reach that goal as the rate of growth in CO2 emissions in 2011 exceeded that of global GDP. “The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol.

Peter Mizla

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/11/09/364895/iea-global-warming-delaying-action-is-a-false-economy/

International Energy Agency: “On planned policies, rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”

“… we are on an even more dangerous track to an increase of 6°C [11°F]…. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”

The International Energy Agency has issued yet another clarion call for urgent action on climate. Their 2011 World Energy Outlook [WEO] release should end once and for all any notion that delay is the rational course for the nation and the world.

The UK Guardian‘s headline captures the urgency:

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will ‘lose for ever’ the chance to avoid dangerous climate change

Peter Mizla

Hansen Mann & others have basically reiterated what the IEA has said- after 2017 the infrastructure will be in place for 450ppm C02 and a rise of 2 degrees above the PI level. We still have time- but we must begin to reduce our emissions now at 55 a year, if we wait till 2020- that's 10% a year- we are just about out of time.

Peter Mizla

correction that's 5% a year starting now.

NeilT

The problem with communication in our society today, as I see it, is that the majority have become "disaster groupies". They feed on daily and weekly press about disasters and disastrous events. The media keep the people hooked on this by constantly reminding them and getting them to look again.

The problem with a disaster groupie society is that they cannot and do not recognise a slow moving disaster. They are conditioned to the quick disaster, some casualties and then move on to the next one. Any action taken is immediate and at the time.

In the case of Climate change this is a slow moving disaster of global proportions. Our go go go society of bite sized disasters cannot cope with this and does not have the focus to keep it in mind month on month, let alone year by year or decade by decade.

The required action is so large and the timeline is so long that humanity, as it has conditioned itself, is incapable of responding to the challenge.

It's not that we are unable to resolve this issue. More that we don't want to as it will force us to think far into the future and carry out climate activities through multiple governments, consistently with no changes.

People are going to be asked to change the way they live and make sacrifices. Not for a few days or even a few months, but possibly for half their life.

Nothing in modern society has prepared people for the challenge ahead. Those most capable of putting in the effort and the changes (agrarian societies which work on a different social pulse), are the lowest emitters and incapable of forcing the change back to stability.

It is a sad analysis, but the society we have today is going to be destroyed. All we can hope is that enough people make preparations to survive the outcome.

Fortunately our civilisation has reached the stage where it can survive, for the long term, off our home planet.

It's a sad reflection of where we are today, but true all the same. My personal view is that the more people I can make aware, the more chance those people have of preparing themselves and their families for the coming challenge.

For instance it takes time to locate yourself somewhere which is remote enough from cities, self-sustaining enough to give food and situated such that even the worst storms and weather can be survived.

To my mind sites like this give those who are interested the chance to understand and plan. The rest? They'll just have one more beer or one more vodka or one more WKD and party on to the end. Then they will scream about why their Governments didn't "fix it" for them, whilst forgetting that any government which tried to restrict their lives to "fix it" would have been removed shortly after....

Espen Olsen

Sufferance=nil,

Very true, but sad!

Superman

Peter Mizla,

"We have 5 years to peak out emissions, to keep us under 2 degrees C- so says the IEA."

On a topic as sensitive and politically charged as climate change, I would take the pronouncements of any person, or organization, with a grain of salt. The IEA is a forty year old organization with 28 member countries. I would suspect that any statements as sensitive as these would require consent from their membership. I can tell you from personal experience, to get agreement on mildly sensitive topics between two countries is like pulling teeth. What results tends to be the most conservative viewpoint, with an additional factor of safety built in. I would suspect the with 28 countries having to agree, you will get the most refined Pablum.

And this assumes the participants are being honest with the results. Look at the history of drug approvals in the USA. The FDA lied (or, should I say, 'cherry-picked' the data on which they based their decisions, which data has already been 'cherry-picked' by the Pharma companies applying for approval), and this has been the subject of testimony by FDA employees before Congress. The EPA and FCC are lying/'cherry-picking' when it comes to setting standards on allowable EMF emissions. I could go across the board with examples; they are due to the relationships between government and industry in the USA.

So, given the motivations of many of the member countries in the IEA to downplay the potential impacts of climate change, I would view their statements relating CO2 emissions to temperature increase as extremely optimistic. How optimistic? We won't know until we have fully couplied models that include all the positive feedback terms, and have a better understanding of the reserves of substances (such as methane) that can contribute to the temperature rise. But, almost every time I see these dire projections, they always end with the 'sliver of hope' I mentioned in a previous post. There're always these five or ten year windows where, if we completely reverse course on fossil fuel usage, we can escape the climate change bullet. Well, we can never rule out this possibility and, as some posters have stated, it's good policy and practice to do whatever one can to dodge the bullet.

Ac A

Hi folks,

everyone who (wrongly) believe that we can limit climate change to +2°C pre-Watt steam engine should check this link:

http://trillionthtonne.org/

OK, if that is not enough, I can remind you that during the biggest economic recession global CO2 decreased by 1.5 % (in 2009) and then increased by record 5 % - and the recession/depression in Europe/USA is ongoing... Alex

Matt Arkell

Sufferance=nil,

I'm afraid it runs a lot deeper than that. We are programmed to discount the future steeply. It's a survival mechanism that makes a lot of sense in a resource limited world loaded with immediate threats (e.g. African savannah).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbolic_discounting

Our brain wiring is set up in such a way to prioritise immediate concerns, because for most of evolutionary history, the only real threats to us were immediate threats such as starvation or predators (same holds for most, if not all other animals). We simply haven't had the time to evolve out that aspect of our nature, and in the mean time we've developed the means to do ourselves in.

In effect, science is our best effort at cancelling out these effects on the brain. The problem is, even the best scientists still have their biases and quirks (some much more dangerous than others, I'll grant). And scientists are the best trained people in the world to account for this in themselves. Correcting these biases over time is what makes science reliable, but it also slows it down and, unfortunately, prone to subversion by malicious actors.

When it comes down to it, it really is just another statistical process, just like the atmosphere. A small group of particles is relatively easily studied, while 7 billion can be observed only statistically. What we are seeing today is the macro effect of 7 billion particles all behaving as "programmed" (+ their ancestors).

Doug Bostrom

Further to 2°, truth appears to be breaking out all over:

Science adviser warns climate target 'out the window'

One of the [UK] government's most senior scientific advisers has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now 'unrealistic'.

Prof Sir Bob Watson said that any hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was 'out the window'.

He said that the rise could be as high as 5C - with dire consequences.

Sir Bob added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK's CO2 emissions.

He said: 'I have to look back on [the outcome of successive climate change summits] Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can't be overly optimistic.'

'To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.'

'I would say to George Osborne: `Work with the public sector. Work with the public on behaviour change. Let's demonstrate to the rest of the world that we can make significant progress here`'

Sir Bob is among the most respected scientists in the world on climate change policy.

More at BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348194

That's the Tory government's adviser speaking. Chancellor Osborne is out-of-phase, as are many politicians; Osborne is not going to look like a hero 20 years from now.

Peter Mizla

Superman

I agree that the predictions of the IEA are probably too optimistic- but they are still dire- however the public still remains in a state of inertia induced denial.

Redin

This forum reminds me a lot about the early days of The Oil Drum http://www.theoildrum.com/ its development is probably what will happen here soon.

ToDs comment fields gradually started to be more about angst, economy, solutions and arguments if solutions are usefull or worthwile. Great fun and I might have converted some people to the pro nuclear camp but the root posters and the discussions diverged.

ToD is also interesting since it now has a rear view image of peak oil, light, sweet, bountiful and cheap crude is well past its peak and oilsands and very expensive drilling is keeping the industrialised world turning wile CO2 emissions per litre of gasolene or diesel is going up.

ToD is fading as economical hardship is yeasterdays news and lights up now and then when there is a supply disaster.

You will probably be overrun with 400+ post discussions when the ice goes and this will settle down when no ice summers is the new normal.

Redin

ToD has not yet changed focus to peak coal and there are still a fairt number of top posters following the development in oil production.

I hope you will continue to be a focus for hobby researchers and brain storming, the ice will continue to freeze and thaw out but a lot of the public attention will change to the next dominoe, perhaps the thaw out of Greenland?

The number of weather nerds ought to increase as new weather patterns emerge.

dabize

Redin,

TOD is the only place where I find more depressing discussions than I find here.

I think they are (perforce) making the change in focus toward AGW as it becomes clearer that we will not survive maximalist approach to oil extraction, whatever there peak. Peak oil remains relevant to the COST of extraction, the price of oil and ultimately how much WILL be extracted and burned, so it's not going away........

GeoffBeacon

Ac A...

everyone who (wrongly) believe that we can limit climate change to +2°C pre-Watt steam engine should check this link:

http://trillionthtonne.org/

I understand the trillionthtonne.org results are based on models with feedbacks missing so, if the IEA rely on Myles Allen's trillion tonne hypothesis, Superman may be right - they are too optimistic.

We need to cut emissions of short term forcing agents as well as carbon dioxide, try some sensible geoengineering and also extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. See Plan A might fail … so we need Plan B.

I won't dare repeat again how this should be brought about but it's wrong to simply characterise my view as left wing. See what Tim Worstall of the Adam Smith Institute says.

Don't tell my friends but I rather like the Adam Smith Institute<\a>. They have a rational framework for discussion.

GeoffBeacon

To those that feel, as I do, that this is not really the place for save-the-world stuff (mea culpa) just think of this stuff as a reaction to the recent shocks.

It will die down and go elsewhere. Me? Apart from the usual rounds I'll be tweeting the BBC for their terrible reporting.

Ranyl

"The 450 Scenario of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011, which sets out an energy pathway consistent with a 50% chance of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to 2°C"

50/50 chance of avoiding 2C, well that's not reassuring.

2C lets think about that, that is another whole 1C warmer than now, just how far will the baseline mean for extreme heat events have shifted by then, we've already shifted by gone 1.5SD, so ~3SD, or 1:1000 years events every other year!

And the models there using draw down carbon far to quickly, don't have good ozone representation, the lowest possible CO2 release for warming and no permafrost releases, so that 50:50 is a hopeful misinformation in any case.

Not to mention a much delayed albedo acceleration as those AGW models don't melt the Arctic a smuch as now for another 30-50years at least.

What emissions reductions do we need to have a 95% of avoiding going over 2C?

And that still means 1.5C is a certainity!

Peak oil for me is somewhat irrelevant, we need to stop using all fossil fuels now, not encourage people to look for more as they think they're running out.

The only way of change is to adapt (mitigation included) everything to create a none growth fossil fuel free, equitable, eco-system enhancing,carbon sequestering and sustainable society and protect agiasnt the inevitable warming and extremes to come and face up to the tiny carbon budget (or shoudl I say debt) that we have.

That means an adaptation transformation, which is hinted in the SREX report initial chapters and including the adaptation thread into every decision we make as Eileen Shea (NOAA) stresses in her talk here,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1CySwdMW7w&feature=BFa&list=PL61B096B67AD0EE3E

I now its a pipe dream but faced with the what is happening we might as well try to make it happen in anyway possible?



ljgeoff

Sorry if this clutters the thread with OT!

@Joe Smith -- I hope that your heart-felt post does not get deleted, because it really spoke to me and how I've been feeling for several years, now. It calms me to know that other people are feeling this, that I'm not completely bonkers.

As far as a sliver of hope goes, my family is saving to build a small farm near the southern shore of Lake Superior -- looks like we'll be able to buy the property next year. We are putting all of our family resources toward it, all of our disposable income. My friends and my children's friends mostly think we're nuts.

It's like there are two realities, Alternative Universes, and I'm walking from one to the other. It is very disconcerting. So it is helpful to read that there are other people who are walking back and forth with me.

Snowy 91

Great blog, I really like reading the topic here. An article I read a while back did a good job of showing how really screwed we are.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

Doomcomessoon

"But ice loss has progressed at such speed that scientists now think 2030 might bring the first ice-free Arctic summer"

This is the kind of prediction one can not trust. As mentioned in the text, this prediction has allready been revised from "the end of the century", but because they have used much of the same moddels, only with different numbers, it is no reason to belive this new prediction is more accurate.

My guess is that the sea ice will probably be gone within 2016 and almost certainly within 2020. The sea ice might allready be gone next year if we see another 2007-like melt season.

And dont forget that IPCC and other scientists have said that the greenlandic ice sheet wont be gone before the end of the millenia. Is there any reason to belive this prediction is more accurate? Absolutely not, we shall be very happy if not most of the greenland ice sheet has dissapeared in 2100.

Seke Rob

Not really. How many cubic KM sit in the 1.7 million square, in places, 3KM thick GIS and how much energy is needed for that to melt. That's beyond rational... that's irrational.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet

Bob Wallace

"My guess is that the sea ice will probably be gone within 2016 and almost certainly within 2020. The sea ice might allready be gone next year if we see another 2007-like melt season."

2011 opened the melt season with 21,961 km3 of ice. 17,944 km3 melted away to leave 4,017 km3.

2012 opened with 21,906 km3 and we seem to be on route to melting out quite a bit more that last year. 19,000+ km3 would be my guess.

2013 could open with less than 21,000 km3 considering all the multi-year ice that has likely been destroyed this year. (And the Fram flush isn't over for the year.)

Another "2012" could be enough to finish things off. Most of the forces that drive the melt faster increase as the amount of ice decreases. It may not take the extreme conditions of 2007.

Jim Williams

The Greenland Ice Sheet is essentially ringed with mountains. It has to actually melt in place, unlike the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

I'd worry more that enough of Greenland melts to lift and lubricate the WAIS. If the WAIS dislodges and collapses then Greenland will shake loose and melt in short order -- but at that point it won't matter so much.

I've no idea how much rise would be necessary to dislodge the WAIS, but I do know that a lot of Scientists are scrambling to come up with a new theory on the matter. The movement of glaciers after ice shelf collapse doesn't fit any existing theories.

Aaron Lewis

I was trained that "facts" had a conservative bias. Conservatives did physics,and engineering. Liberals did the social sciences that were considered "soft".

In those days, environmental science students were lumped with "pre-meds" as being not good enough to be "research scientists".

Thus, the ChemE students knew a great deal more about global warming and ozone hole issues than the Environmental Science students that took "Chemistry for Science Majors" which they shared with the pre-med and bio. majors.

What the ChemEs did not understand was risk. In those days, the average life expectancy of an organic chemist was only about 55 years.

It was the Env. Sci. guys that introduced the toxics and hazardous materials laws that allow modern chemists to live a normal live span. The ChemEs fought those laws tooth and nail. Who was smarter?

Bob Wallace

Just a note on the "19,000+" guess.

The "Monthly Death Spiral" exponential trend line projects 3,000 km3 for the end of September, 2012. If that happens then the 2012 loss would be roughly 19,000 km3.

https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/piomas-trnd2.png

The way ice is melting right now I suspect September's data point is going to fall noticeably below the projection.

Bodhi Chefurka

@Joe Smith, ljgeoff

You're definitely not alone in these perceptions. Many of us have had our "OMG!" moments, and wondered what to do next. I've chronicled a lot of my own journey since 2007 on my web site. Some of my early screeds were published on TOD as well.

As I went along I realized that at every turn, on every level, in every dimension, there is no solution to this predicament. The conglomeration of wicked problems we have created, combined with our biological and cultural resistance, defy any the possibility of a "solution". Even mitigation is a very remote long shot - the latest Arctic Basin Ice Area graph showing the 2007 step function in the anomaly has been yet another confirmation.

So what to do? I went through 3 years of near suicidal despair until I realized that for me the only way out was to go in. Others have taken similar paths, but many can not choose that route, and that's fine with me. After all, here are 7 billion of us, each with a deeply personal view of what constitutes "right action". I do highly recommend a bit of Buddhism to everyone who wakes up to the depth of the problem. A bit of detachment goes a long way.

My take on our predicament is here:
http://www.paulchefurka.ca/50000_Foot_View.html

My response to it is here:
http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Postcard.html

I hope it helps.

Robertscribbler.wordpress.com

The reason the issue of arctic sea ice melt has become politicized is due to the fact that a group of special interests (fossil fuels) has managed to so dominate the political discourse on climate and global warming so as to prevent any effective response.

Providing facts in a way that doesn't descend to the level of politics is helpful. Very helpful because it lends a greater legitimacy to the issue of global warming and may well serve to make people across political spectrums reconsider their positions. This is the 'carrot' approach.

That said, there should be other places that apply the 'stick' and call out those who are preventing response to what appears to be a growing emergency.

And, at some point, we may all need to stand up and fight, as Hansen has. Because we certainly can't let business as usual roll merrily on...

Glacierchange.wordpress.com

Zachariae Ice Stream as Espen Olsen and I have been discussing has suffered quite a large area loss. I am still working on providing a total area lost and welcome other analyses from this capable community. This is quite an important glacier.

Josh Cryer

NASA is having a conference on the record breaking sea ice melt here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-news-audio

Should be recorded there for later if you miss it.

Steve Bloom

"The Greenland Ice Sheet is essentially ringed with mountains. It has to actually melt in place, unlike the West Antarctic Ice Sheet."

Jim, that assumes that the answer to "Can ice streams undergo rapid collapse?" is a definite no. Are you sure? Curretn observations (and follow Mauri's link just above) give me less than complete confidence in that regard. Note that as recently as ten years ago or so, glaciologists were saying that present observed behavior of the GIS would be impossible so soon.

Seke Rob

Re Josh Cryer | August 27, 2012 at 21:01

So the ear raising point was [so far] that 0.5M Km^2 (0.19M Miles^2) extent to go in their worst case scenario from here on to minimum. We'll see.

Ghoti Of Lod

I've been listening to the NASA telecon on the record sea ice melt and I am shocked at how badly they are explaining the situation. Very frustrating to hear experts unable to give a clear statement. Also 40 minutes into the explanation and nobody has uttered the words "climate change" nor "global warming"! Also no mention of ice volume.

Josh Cryer

Seke, that would put the melt stopping when, mid-September?

Ghoti, They don't want to make absolutist statements but Claire did chide one of the others for "downplaying." It was fairly early on when it was suggested it would follow a 2007-2008 recovery. The trend is clearly not the same though.

Also their audio quality is atrocious. :P

For what it's worth I do think there will be a recovery but the arctic is clearly not the same. I'm thinking first summer ice free by 2015-2016.

BlackDragon

First post here.

@Bodhi Chefurka - I very much like your 50,000ft view link above, and the rest of your site looks amazing - very well written. Looking forward to spending much more time reading there when I have some more free time.

Your point, in your "50,000ft view" post, about the interlinked nature of the various issues, and the resulting combinatorial explosion when it comes to dealing with any of these issues, just nails it.

After spending several years looking for a plausible way we could escape our fate, I have finally come to terms with the fact that we can't. I will do what I personally can to mitigate my own impact, and hope for a very large miracle or two, but ultimately the answer for me is just living life fully now, and taking what comes with the best possible attitude.

I'm very glad you made it through your 3 years of suicidal despair, and shared your insights on your blog. Currently I'm dealing with many of the same feelings, and seeing something so well expressed as your blog is heartening.

Hat's off to Neven of course. This site is just fantastic. I've become an addict since I started browsing here a couple of weeks ago. Good to know there are so many people willing to look at this honestly.

NeilT

I note the Greenland article talks about thinning OR lubrication. Nobody seems to be talking about thinning AND lubrication... Odd how vertical science can be...

Is it worth talking around another issue. When we talk about technical solutions to the issue, we always miss the obvoius. Energy.

Because in order to fix this whole mess we need to start at the ground and work up. The ground being the energy industry. Everythin we try, every single thing, will come down to how much energy we need to put into it.

We haven't even started on the groundwork. Which is 200% conversion of our energy generation to carbon neutral. Why 200%? Because we're going to need 100% for what we already do and another 100% to fix the unholy mess. We haven't even scratched the surface of the first 100% so everything we do is just shuffling chairs. Like EV on Coal. So it's cleaner. So what. It'll still kill us. It needs to be CLEAN

NeilT

grr, slow network, bad keying.

As I was saying. CLEAN not CLEANER. We have hardly begun.

Then factor in that the best and the brightest have been working out the best ways to extract and burn Cabron fuesl for 200 years. How long is it going to take us to extract all the carbon when we are still burning it like mad....

I don't feel confident at all...

When, not IF the Arctic becomes ice free in summer and the methan starts to really bubble, our best and brightest will be working out how to get the methane out before we lose it, so we can BURN it too and complete the job.

We're too stupid to survive as a society. However we might just be clever enough to survive as a species....

Seke Rob

Re Josh Cryer | August 27, 2012 at 21:52

Listening, they're still with both feet well within the box they know. Did not specify till when melt continues in that worst case scenario but several times there was mention of 2-3 week more of melt. Just looked it up in the NSIDC "final" file and they had 632,640 KM^2 going from August 26 to September 14, their minimum in 2007.

Superman

WHY WE NEED CONTEXT

The Arctic ice data on this site is extremely valuable, but as I have stated previously, it needs to be placed in context. Here's an example why. In the Appendix, I have placed an excerpt from today's WUWT, commenting on the new Arctic sea ice record. The spin, as expected, is the presence of the cyclone played a strong role in setting the minimum ice record, and the implication is that the record should be discounted.

Nowhere in the responses did I see an effective counter. If the sea ice data could be placed in larger physical context, it seems to me a ready counter would be available. In fact, it may be possible to use the presence of the cyclone to our advantage, not only for WUWT, but for a larger independent audience.

There is no rule or law that states what mechanisms must be considered for ice melting records. It is not required to constrain melting to solar insolation and convective top melting only. We obviously consider bottom melting as well.

Now, if we can show that increased open water contributes to accelerated melting by different mechanisms, all the better. We may be able to demonstrate the onset of a positive feedback loop, or multiple feedback loops, depending on how they are defined.

So, more open water, more methane release from the water column. The Russian-American methane teams have shown the increase in methane flux above cracks in the ice, demonstrating the methane comes from the water column.

In addition, more open water, more warming of the water, increasing the conditions for cyclone. That's a key assumption on my part. If true, then we have an interesting positive feedback loop(s). Faster melting because of higher air temperatures and thinner ice leads to open water. Solar absorption increases in the open water leading to higher temperatures near the surface. More open water with higher surface temperature leads to both increased methane release and greater probability of cyclones. Increased methane release leads to greater GHG and greater atmospheric heating, and greater probability of cyclones leads to faster ice breakup and accelerated melting. And so on.

The point is that the cyclone may be an indicator that the positive feedback loops have started, and far from discounting it as a factor in this year's record, it is one of many enhanced mechanisms that have been triggered and are contributing to accelerated ice melting. Far from being comforted by the cyclone, as WUWT seems to be, the presence of another ice melting autopilot mechanism should be very disquieting. The fact that "NSIDC didn’t expect this storm nor its effects,", as WUWT states, indicates that whatever models they were using may not have incorporated or considered this positive feedback effect, another indication that the models are underestimating the seriousness of the situation.

There may be other mechanisms in this cycle that are triggered and also contribute to the feedback loop, and anyone who can think of any, please post. Does the above cyclone argument hold water (no pun intended)?


APPENDIX - WUWT POSTING ON ICE MELTING RECORD
NSIDC made an announcement a few minutes ago, just as I started writing this post (and for that reason I’m publishing this post in two parts, see below):

Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era. With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, sea ice continues to track below 2007 daily extents.

Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).

Here’s the plot, annotation mine:

Predictably, Seth Borenstein is already practicing for the big story he’ll be writing any minute now, and, the money quote he uses is just as predictable:

Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC’s current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible. NSIDC said on August 14th:

As of August 13, ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record, with about five weeks still remaining in the melt season. Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss.

Unclear? Hmmph. Further down they dub it: “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012″ and provide this before and after image:


Figure 4. These maps of sea ice concentration from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) passive microwave sensor highlight the very rapid loss of ice in the western Arctic (northwest of Alaska) during the strong Arctic storm. Magenta and purple colors indicate ice concentration near 100%; yellow, green, and pale blue indicate 60% to 20% ice concentration.

Calling the reason “unclear” seems more than a bit disingenuous to me, especially when you don’t mention it again.

It should be noted that in the ARCUS sea ice forecast submitted on August 5th, both NSIDC and WUWT forecasts agreed at 4.5 million sqkm. Clearly NSIDC didn’t expect this storm nor its effects, because if they had, their forecast would have been much lower.

BlackDragon

OK, so if Watts implies that "unexpected" events mean we need to discount future results, I guess that means the only meaningful things that happen in the future are the expected ones. Sorry, the sure lunacy of this kind of reasoning, and pretty much everything else on WUWT, does not need to be refuted.

There is simply no reasoning with lunatics.

johnm33

Or anything to be learnt from them.

BlackDragon

But that said, I do agree it is extremely important to flesh out the connections between things like the cyclone and the other warming patterns. My point is that we are doing that because we reasonably believe all these things are connected, and play a role. WUWT and the fake skeptics are not interested in talking about such connections.

Klon Jay

Greenland may be ringed by mountains for much of the coast, but certainly not entirely, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Topographic_map_of_Greenland_bedrock.jpg
Those large areas of approximate sea level land leading into the shallow interior will probably not have 2km ice cliffs. Still, it's a lot of ice...

BlackDragon

I take back what I said: The insanity of Watts does need to be refuted, and I am very glad that many people and sites have taken the time to do so.

Some reason and awareness does seem to be taking hold in a larger way partly because of these efforts, and partly because of current events. I think I over-reacted when I saw a huge chunk of WUWT drivel posted in these comments. The larger purpose of putting all this into context is of great value. These kinds of things have immensely helped my own understanding.

Twemoran

Klon

My understanding is that the under ice topography of Greenland has some error bars associated with it, and that the structure of the base, in certain critical areas (bed rock vs a pile of stones) hasn't been determined.

If it's the latter I'd assume that large ice or water displacements could dig the troughs a little deeper quite easily. If the base of the ice cap were to be subjected to lots of nice warm Atlantic water, I'd assume melt would accelerate significantly.

Isostatic rebound will be acting against this possibility, but even at today's rates it's a relatively slow process.

Terry

Janne Tuukkanen

More disturbing graphs. This time from SkepticalScience:

http://skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1589#84063

NeilT

Watts is doing his usual and being economical with the truth.

My feeling is that we are still learning about the impact of climate change on the arctic. Nobody calculated the impact of this storm because we've never seen a full blown summer arctic storm with this kind of ice volume and extent before. As more and more of the extent becomes 15% ice it is much easier for a storm of this kind to overwhelm what is left. Hence Extent can fall much faster than area.

Now that we are clear about what this kind of storm does and the likelihood of another one coming, then it will be factored into the SEARCH submissions.

However it's a moot point. I'm pretty sure Dr David Barber is right and that we'll see <1m sq km by 2016. The damage is already too extensive, CO2 continues to rise and we hit the peak of the solar cycle next year.

Hardly a recipie made for more ice......

Superman

"The larger purpose of putting all this into context is of great value."

Placing these data into their larger technical context is of scientific value independent of whether it is used to refute Watts. However, if the technical arguments can also be used to refute Watts, so much the better.

Now, back to the request on my initial post. Any other potential positive feedback loop contributors in addition to those mentioned? What about better lateral transport of energy and momentum in the open ocean due to the absence of the no-slip condition at the ice-ocean boundary. Wouldn't that enhance bottom melt for solid ice sheets, and total surface melt when the ice fragments after a cyclone?

I suspect we can identify many self-reinforcing mechanisms for accelerating ice melting. The bigger picture is that Nature is pulling out all the stops to send a message to us. We're focusing on the symptom, but we need to focus on the larger message.

BlackDragon

An additional possible self-reinforcing mechanism would be increased open water causing changes in both local salinity and ocean warming, causing changes in Arctic circulation, which then cause changes in circulation in surrounding oceans, which could then pull even more warm water into the Arctic ocean.

Whatever the various mechanisms are that are underway, my very strong intuition, whatever that is worth, is that it is going to be a shockingly short step from seasonal ice free to year-round ice fee. Recovery from zero volume being the number one barrier to winter ice, combined with radical increase in fall and winter storms and wave action.

PeteDunkelberg

Kevin: "A very thoughtful discussion, which was one of my hopes in writing (I can't speak for Neven on that,)"

OK technically you can't but I doubt that he has anything against thoughtful discussion. ;)

But considering what came after you said that, cheese is priced! Thoughtful is one thing, let it all hang out is another. Oh well, perhaps an open thread is good once in a while. Or two types of open thread:

Open thread (sea ice) and
Open thread (catharsis)

The analytical threads must stay analytical. And I don't comment much if at all since I am not an ice empiricist and not trying to become one.
Which brings me to
Geoff Beacon: "P.S. I wish I could find a better way of naming you than the "Neven clan of amateurs"."

I think of them as The Ice Empiricists of Neven.
Since "Neven" is not known as a personal name here where I live, this has a nice sciency yet mysterious ring to it.
But Geoff, I like your contributions around the net, but in this case It sounds like you are making stuff up about "most scientists" - as if you could poll them by telepathy, and also somehow know better than they do. And I won't even touch some of the other conspiracy-sounding things posted today.

Ljgeoff - one word: Flood. As part of the bunched precipitation problem you're in a "more rain, and more concentrated in short bursts" zone.

Joe Smith - Calm down! Chill. Learn some climate science. Climate science is about as good as it gets for science buffs. First, it's planetary physics. It's all about how energy from the sun moves through our air and water, and moves them in turn before resuming its journey into the void. Then it's planetary chemistry (see for instance OA is not OK at Skeptical Science where you should be). Then it's geology. Then you notice that out in nature all the "subjects" run together. When it comes to "solving climate" even more things run together, from pine needles to the electric grid (see the current unforced thread at Real Climate). I'm guessing your specialty is none of the above. This can't be remedied over night. But if you want to teach a course, take at least one yourself first. Take David Archer's online Understanding the Forecast. The easiest way to find it is thru the link at Rabbet's. Get the first edition of the book - much cheaper. [RC has a thread for the course somewhere in case you have questions] Then read Archer's slightly more advanced little book The Global Carbon Cycle. The place for you to be online I suggest is Skeptical Science, learning.

You are somewhat on the right track in thinking of a bunch of planetary ecology systems or factors that are under stress (but they are not exactly redundant the your multiple computers are). There was indeed a paper in Nature with a bunch of these factors in a wheel shaped diagram of wedges, with OK for each one near the center, yellow caution zone farther out, red bad zone near the edge. I hope someone here remembers the title or author or something.

Amalgamated worriers: how high do you think CO2 will go? I think 450 or less. Here's why.
Bunched precipitation. As warming continues, arid areas grow even as total rainfall increases. Most rain falls back into the sea, but the land areas that get it really get it. Combining drought and flood there is a cumulative likelyhood of at least one very bad year for global agriculture aka famine. It seems that no one knows how to calculate this with any respectable error bounds. I purely guess that as you get to 2030 and beyond, it's much too high for comfort.

After that bad year, due to disruption & unrest aka war and more than a critical mass of survivors finally deciding that climate change is not a good thing, business can't or won't be allowed to go on as usual. Or some other shock will have the same effect.
QED

Kevin McKinney

"OK technically you can't but I doubt that he has anything against thoughtful discussion. ;)"

I'm sure Neven has a deep love for reasonable discussion, but that doesn't mean it necessarily was a specific hope when he was working on this particular post! ;-)

Speaking once again for myself, I think that "what's next?" becomes a very natural question, and that we probably need to turn more of our attention to considering it. Of course, there will still be melts and freezes to consider, weather patterns to assess, and all manner of interesting details to ponder. But as the piece says, there will be consequences to the epic change we are amidst--what? How intense? And how soon?

idunno

WUWT 2:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/27/sea-ice-news-volume-3-number-11-part-2-other-sources-show-no-record-low/

Perhaps though, I might suggest that all those with commenting rights at WUWT, make their comments on WUWT.

NeilT

I did. They don't seem to want to answer.....

BlackDragon

"How high do you think CO2 will go?"

I'll take a reasoned stab at that.

First, take a look at the Phanerozoic Carbon Dioxide (historical C02) chart on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_CO2

Eyeballing that chart, we were at roughly 500ppm about 60 million years ago.

About 30 million years ago, IIRC, the first waves of glaciation started. The CO2 lines start dropping on that chart. Around 3 million years ago with the more severe glaciation, things drop more swiftly down to pre-industrial levels.

During each interglacial, large amounts of organic matter have been created and sequestered in the Arctic regions and in various peat areas in the northern latitudes. Also ongoing during the steady chill has been organic sequestration in the tropical peats. Possibly also methane/CO2 that was liberated in the PETM was sequestered again in clathrates or other organic sinks.

Now, we have taken many many millions of years of stored carbon and released it back into the atmosphere in about 150 years. Much more coming. The various feedbacks and additional warming in the pipe have yet to enter the stage, and we will skip past 400ppm in just a couple of years.

Before 60 million years ago on that chart, atmospheric CO2 was at least 500pm and possibly up to 2000ppm or more.

Given that scale of carbon increase we are creating by putting our own emissions (millions of years of stored carbon) into the atmosphere, combined with the liberation we are likely about to see of millions of years of recently sequestered organic carbon, I think 1000ppm is the absolute minimum we are going to see, within some time in the next 1,000 - 30,000 years.

Next ice age? Back to hot house Earth much more likely.

I think it is reasonable to expect Earth would be back to 2000ppm minimum in a hot house scenario.

Account Deleted

I don't have posting rights at WUWT and even if I did I won't have an idea on where to start - as it is wrong on so many levels. This is not skepticism - it is denialism. I always wonder why the skeptic are silent when WUWT post rubbish such as this.

Timothy Chase

Janne Tuukkanen wrote:

More disturbing graphs. This time from SkepticalScience:

http://skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1589#84063

Even with the caveats, it does look rather dramatic, doesn't it?

But it really isn't saying any more than this...

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

... which is still fairly dramatic. Picking up an envelope and using it as a straight edge for my screen, it looks almost like the Jaxa trajectory has been more or less a straight line since the middle of June. Personally, I think it will begin to pull up within the next week or so, though.

Pekka Kostamo

Superman:

"The IEA is a forty year old organization with 28 member countries. I would suspect that any statements as sensitive as these would require consent from their membership."

I do not think this is true.

It would be frankly stupid to work like that. Anyone who wants to draw a benefit from science must leave free hands to the bona-fide researcher.

Otherwise the whole project boils down to finding support for the innate, incomparable wisdom of some political leader (or a company director in the private sphere). Hunches and opinions are not a basis for rational decisions.

However, I have to admit that many (if not most) actions are committed to on an emotional basis. A search for facts (cherry picking) comes later to justify the decisions. Man is not a very rational being.

(The IPCC process that results in the "Summary for decisionmakers" is an anomaly. It is an effort to deliver something actionable. However, I have to trust that also the Government representatives in that negotiation know their science, but they also know politics - the art of possible.)

Pekka Kostamo

BlackDragon:

Not that I am a scientist on this, but:

The Arctic Ocean used to be a very special place where the below-ice and above-ice processes were almost independent from each other.

Sea currents were slow and turbulence was little within a rather closed basin. Waters from different origins could be recognized oceanwide. A thin layer of low salinity water produced by inflow from the great rivers and the freeze-thaw process of ice stayed above a layer of medium salinity Pacific water siphoned off from the Bering sea by way of the shallow Bering Strait (depth 150 ft). Bottom water was of Atlantic origin and had highest salinity.

Open water means a whole new game. It very much strengthens the many couplings at the surface. Winds cause stronger and more variable currents and turbulent mixing increases in the uppermost layers. A special place becomes just another ocean...

Timothy Chase

PS

Here are some statistics on JAXA IJIS Sea Ice Extent...

Taking the data from Jaxa and going from May 30 through August 27th, I get an average loss of 85939.8 km^2 per day. Calculating the difference between the actual and its linear trendline for each day over this period, what I have is by definition centered over 0. The standard deviation of this difference is 97194.7 km^2. R^2 is 0.9981. A very good fit.

The data itself is a link in the webpage with the chart at the IJIS website -- in case somebody would like to do a better analysis. Statistics really aren't my strong point.

PeteDunkelberg

Black Dragon:
"Given that scale of carbon increase we are creating by putting our own emissions (millions of years of stored carbon) into the atmosphere, combined with the liberation we are likely about to see of millions of years of recently sequestered organic carbon, I think 1000ppm is the absolute minimum we are going to see, within some time in the next 1,000 - 30,000 years."

The projections I've seen from those who know the carbon cycle best indicate reaching a peak based on our emissions and then slowly tapering off.

"Next ice age? Back to hot house Earth much more likely.

I think it is reasonable to expect Earth would be back to 2000ppm minimum in a hot house scenario."

No wonder you're scared! And you're not the only one, even just in this thread. I glad that as far as I can see, you (and they) are pretty much imagining most of it past 450.

BlackDragon

Pekka: Thanks for that summary of the Arctic ocean circulation and layering.

Yes, the medium salinity, warmer layers coming in from the Pacific seem to be a recent big player as far as faster than expected bottom melt. I believe the navy researcher (can't remember his name) who has been the most consistently correct about predicting the earlier than expected melt has pointed to this mechanism (warm waters through the Bering Straight) as key.

Further mixing of the medium, warmer layers due to increased surface turbulence has firmly planted a vision in my mind: Ice free, stormy waters in the winter. Just another ocean, like you say, but darker.

I think the step from ice free summers to year round ice free will be ten years, max.

dorlomin

The Canadian Archipelago is where we are likely to see an increase in sea level rise come from.

A few years ago over on SkSci I had a chat with someone about defending cities from sea level rise. During it I had the epiphany that many big cities sit up stream of estuaries where the river water slows and spreads out to meet the sea. That rising sea levels will push these estuaries up the river to where the cities are. These have much more volume than the river passing cities so will need much more space, but the flood plains they should spread too are now occupied by some of our most valuable cities. Personally, living in East London, this is of more than academic interest.

The glaciers in the Canadian Archipelago are likely to be react quicker than Greenland as they dont have that huge bulk of thick cold ice to protect them.

Anu
Posted by: BlackDragon | August 28, 2012 at 06:04

I believe the navy researcher (can't remember his name) who has been the most consistently correct about predicting the earlier than expected melt...

I believe you're thinking about Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski

http://faculty.nps.edu/vitae/cgi-bin/vita.cgi?p=display_vita&id=1023568034

He has taken a real oceanography approach to Arctic sea ice melt, unlike many climate modelers - and he runs very high-resolution supercomputer simulations of the Arctic region (and tries to couple the boundaries to more mainstream full-planet GCM model runs), unlike the low-res GCM full-planet climate simulations most researchers run. Yes, turbulence, eddies and mixing of the halocline layers is very important at high resolutions, leading to much more sea ice bottom-melt than other simulations predict.

Timothy Chase

Responding to Blackdragon, Anu wrote:

I believe you're thinking about Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski

http://faculty.nps.edu/vitae/cgi-bin/vita.cgi?p=display_vita&id=1023568034

He has taken a real oceanography approach to Arctic sea ice melt, unlike many climate modelers - and he runs very high-resolution supercomputer simulations of the Arctic region...

Daniel Bailey recently pointed out that Maslowski coauthored a 2012 review of the state of Arctic regional modelling that may be of interest to both of you:

Wieslaw Maslowski, Jaclyn Clement Kinney, Matthew Higgins, and Andrew Robert (May 2012) The Future of Arctic Sea Ice, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 40: 625-654

Yves Minet

Hello,
Seeing the Kinnard et al. 2011 diagram, it seems that the reconstructed mean sea ice extent reaches a meximum during the medieval warm period, until shrinking during the LIA. Is this seemingly regional (Arctic) tendency, apparently inverted from the general hemispheric pattern, confirmed by other independent observations ?

Roman Polach

Interesting video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPNKXGIyQlc
"UD scientist sees Arctic ice loss firsthand"

Seke Rob

Subscribe to Open Mind [I've got a daily digest mail subscription with Tamino]... the boweling is depressing and entertaining at the same time: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/anthony-watts-breaks-the-record/ How fake that Tonino place is, a pretender of the lowest alloy.

Superman

Pekka Kostamo,

Re: IEA
"It would be frankly stupid to work like that. Anyone who wants to draw a benefit from science must leave free hands to the bona-fide researcher."

Well, I can only speak from my own experience in concluding multi-national science/technical agreements. The most countries with which I was involved was three, and each time, every word in the draft was haggled endlessly by all the participants. Given that each participant is a representative of his/her home government, the policies et al to which they agree will not be in opposition to the interests of the government. The way this is achieved in practice is that radical concepts and policies are the first to go, and only the most bland remain. Even with two or three countries, some useful but hard-hitting statements will go. I can only imagine what Pablum would remain for the 28 countries of the IEA, much less the >100 countries that contribute to the IPCC Reports. In the case of the latter two, there are too many countries who are more interested in 'drill, baby, drill' than protecting the civilization as we know it today.

Seke Rob

[OT]Has Pablum become a generic English word? It's a cereal brand according M&W, where Pabulum is [intellectual] food. Sorry, not native English speaker (Where they use Latin routinely is just 2 hours drive, 5 hours train-ride away from where we domicile).[/OT]

Superman

Kevin McKinney,

"I think that "what's next?" becomes a very natural question, and that we probably need to turn more of our attention to considering it.....But as the piece says, there will be consequences to the epic change we are amidst--what? How intense? And how soon?"

It would be useful to understand what has already happened. In my posts above, I've tried to identify the value of the Arctic ice cap as an 'anchor' to the Earth's climate, and the various feedback mechanisms that seem to have cooperated in accelerating the decline of the ice cap.

It seems to me there were roughly two phases in the decline. At the earliest stages, when the ice sheet had full coverage, relatively few mechanisms contributed to the decline. Once open water appeared, it seems to me that myriad self-reinforcing mechanisms were brought into play to accelerate the decline of the ice. Now, whether the appearance of the non-negligible open water is the 'tipping point', or the establishment of the CO2 level that would eventually result in the non-negligible open water is the tipping point, can be debated. But, it seems that after the 'tipping point' was reached, Nature has pulled out all the stops to remove the ice as fast as possible.

Arctic ice removal is but one symptom of climate change. There are many others. Is the pattern that has been set by the decline of Arctic ice the template for the exacerbation of the other symptoms? Will Nature pull out all the stops in increasing the other symptoms as well by inserting as many self-reinforcing mechanisms in the feedback process as possible? One cannot make a hard conclusion in the absence of fully inclusive models, but I would not be surprised if the most aggressive decline of these symptoms is Nature's Hamiltonian for effecting climate change.

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