« ASI 2012 update 10: (wh)at a loss | Main | Similar melts from 1938-43? »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Rob re O/T:

Yes, "pablum" has been in regular use (as a noun) in English to specify something that is bland inoffensive and conventional. The meaning is derived from the cereal, which was thought by many to be just that - weak, boring and humdrum.

Its use in English is very much like the German loan word "ersatz", if that helps any.



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.

I like yours too but ..

I've been doing stuff for years and I haven't the time to list the climate scientists I've spoken to, had email exchanges with or met at the various meetings I go to. Sometimes I also get an opinion on the "official" scientists from other climate scientists and find out or come across which climate scientists are behind what organanisations eg. the UK Committee on Climate Change or the UN Natural Environment Research Council - these have very different flavours.

I have also spoken to several Secretaries of State and other government officials. Name me, say, ten prominent players (scientists/ officials / politicians) in the UK and I'll tell you which ones I've had what contact with.

It just takes a bit of sense and hard work. Twenty to thirty meetings a year for several years, lots of emails, some phone calls and lots of reading and commenting on blogs.

I don't particularly want this distraction or to be led into boasting which scientists I've interacted with - that gives them too much importance.. I have known better than some of them, often when they pontificate on things that are not within their speciality but I expect you can say the same.

I do try to argue from what Professor This or Dr That say because it's more powerful but it's clear lots of them were behind the game.

I can't find a mention of "most scientists" but my message is (as with others here) the "science community has serious problems".

I expect this will drive idunno mad. Sorry!


Watts removed my post. Something he claims he does not do. Did I get a little too close to the bone??

Seke Rob

Re dabize | August 28, 2012 at 13:25 [OT] Without the capital letter, yes. M+W has for "pabulum" as a 3rd meaning "something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland"... how the experience of a food starts to converge with the original word it was *borrowed* from. As usual the Italian/Latin dictionary being scoured for nice easy sounding words of foreign product. Next time you see "Vaio" on a laptop, know it means squirrel fur". The product branding developer who named this cereal likely was a joker, taking mock at the consumer.[/OT]

On the topic of ice, Atmos/CT is off the air... no area update to offer.

Seke Rob

Re NeilT | August 28, 2012 at 13:52

... well it shows, he's none in his back ;>)

Here's more on [irregular] Toninô dedication to him being dissected: http://wottsupwiththat.com/

Meantime, http://bit.ly/IJISMD on where we are for JAXA's decline in trend indication. If it falls it falls, had hoped that the 5M to 4M would have been a done deal, on same day as last year the 6M to 5M completed. Black reserved 1M as per request... how many nails have already been driven in the Aint True coffin... lost count.

Glenn Tamblyn

While Neven's away, the mice might play

I have an interesting speculation. Looking at Wipneus' graph of PIOMas data for each month over the satellite record, we can see the obvious declines.

However, something else strikes me, applying a high accuracy, mark 1 eyeball.

If we factor out the significant decline in volume in 2007 due to particular weather circumstances, and perhaps push 2007 up a bit to what it might have been without the special weather, what do we see?

From around 1998/2000, the curves (at least for the warmer 1/2 of the year) are showing a fairly strong and steady correlation with an exponential/geometric type trend. Whereas the 2 decades before that bounced around quite markedly.

It is as if the Arctic was only playing around with melting until the turn of the century. Then around the millenium, it decided to get serious about it.

It sure looks like (using a high powered eyecrometer) that somewhere around then there was a state change. What triggered it? Surely t couldn't have been the 1998 El Nino - that seems like too big a stretch. Then what?

Or did the Arctic just reach a tipping point? But it didn't happen this year. It happened over a decade ago.



In an article on the record low extent, the New York Times writes:

The melting does, however, offer some potential benefits, including new shipping routes and easier access to oil and other mineral deposits.

I get their point, but that seems a bit like saying, "My lung cancer does, however, offer some potential benefits, including the chance to spend more time in bed." Or: "My heroin addiction does, however, offer some potential benefits, including spending less money on food and personal hygiene products."

They don't get it. They simply don't get it...

Kevin McKinney

I see what you see, Glenn. And it does raise the question, "Why just then?" Not a question that I have an answer for...

And the decline continues. This morning IJIS has 3,947,500 km2, so we are provisionally under 4 million there.

By the way, sorry about that obvious spam comment--seems I don't have sufficient tools to get rid of it as a guest author. Damn 'mice'...


Glenn Tamblyn,

"Or did the Arctic just reach a tipping point? But it didn't happen this year. It happened over a decade ago."

When did the appearance of open water in the Arctic become significant? If around the turn of the century, then the comments in my post above may help explain it. I believe a tipping point was reached based on the number of self-reinforcing mechanisms Nature has incorporated in accelerating the decline of the ice cap as fast as possible.

Alan Clark

Glenn, I have also noticed that reduction in variability, but it is only in absolute terms. If you look at it in relative terms then I can see nothing significant. The variability should get smaller in absolute terms as the volume decreases, IMO, but the confidence limits on the graph don't do that.
So, I do not think there is anything strange going on.


Seke Rob

A similar thing can be seen in the Area Day's Off chart... for the Mark X eyeballers:


Got a few more charts that display the same regimen change. Part of the camels back broke around 1997-1998, and from thereon it's been limping along... who cares about the weather... my spine hurts.

Jim Williams

Noticing how remarkably warm the North Atlantic is:


The North Pacific isn't being a slouch this year either.

Just how much atmospheric mixing between mid and high latitudes is there this time of year anyway?

Matt Arkell

Glenn Tamblyn,

I'm not particularly confident in declaring a state change around 2000, but that's not to say there wasn't one. Given that an exponential is by definition caused by a constant growth rate, and we don't have enough data to confidently declare that, I think it's a fairly difficult claim to support.

To me, it looks as though around that time the signal (the rate of decline) began to rise above the noise, which could be a state change, or it could simply be that the noise has remained reasonably constant while the signal asserts it's rule over the decline.


Jim Pettit,

"I get their point, but that seems a bit like saying, "My lung cancer does, however, offer some potential benefits, including the chance to spend more time in bed.""

A better analogy would be the Pharma companies saying your lung cancer will help their sales of chemo drugs.

Seke Rob

How hot has GOM been, say 3 months ago?

On a different note, been looking for the Accumulated Cyclone Energy for 2012 [Pacific/Atlantic/Northern Hemisphere]. The places that were prancing around on it in 2010/2011 are remarkably silent, such as Ryan Maue giving updates on rolling totals and how they compare to base. Anyone able to give pointer?



Using your built-in senses to judge exponential curves has an historic record of failures. The most famous is probably the legend of the grain and the chessboard (google "grain chessboard" if you do not know what I am talking).
Or read We Don't Understand Exponentials.

I would be skeptical about apparent tipping points.


Hello Neven and Everyone,
I am thoroughly enjoying the discussion and insights you are all sharing. Added resources that you are citing, such as Maslowski et al's paper, are quite helpful. I have been quite interested (translate: alarmed at times) in the activities going on in the Arctic for many years, yet I feel I am quite behind in my scientific understanding of the feedback/reinforcing systems in play.
Thanks again, and please keep it up :)



IMHO, this a system response to an escalating ramp increase in total heat in the Artic. The response is slow in comparison to the input since the total new heat is very large but over a collosal volume.

I think we can agree that it looks like the Arctic has been converted from a net deep freeze to a net mere refridgerator by a warmer than normal Gulf Stream (strengthened by some other minor feed back loops).

At 150 sverdrops, if the Gulf Stream is only 0.08 degrees warmer than the dynamic equilibrium that kept the ice stable for so long, then it brings enough extra heat to melt 5000 cu km more Arctic sea ice - EACH YEAR. Not all that heat goes to melting the ice, but it stays in the Arctic for a long long time, and the changes in the ice due to year X Gulf Water are felt for a long time.

An exponential curve is a pretty good fit to the early stages of a ramp input to a system with large delay in the response.

The ice is going, and it is going for a long time.


Talking SST's, check out the DMI SST tool


Wind it back 28 days and look at Richards islands. Yellow is 18C. The anomaly chart at DMI can't cope with it as it only goes to 4C and >>> nothing beyond.

Talking about tipping points. I used to discuss this back in the 90's, about 96/97. I used to say that producing the CO2 the way we do was like pushing a large rock up a very high hill. Eventually we would hit the top (saturation) and then it would be a long downhill ride, getting faster and faster as it went and we would be behind it pushing all the way.

Seems to me like the Arctic rock went over the top of the hill around the turn of the century.....


Anu: Yes, Maslowski

Timothy Chase: Thanks for that link. Really looking forward to reading that.

PeteDunkelberg: Scared is not the right word. Too simplistic. Going through the grieving process is more accurate. 450ppm was something I held out hope for for several years. Now I honestly don't see that as being even remotely realistic, even if we collapsed right now, and emissions went to zero almost overnight.

"It is estimated that in 1997, peat and forest fires in Indonesia released between 0.81 and 2.57 Gt of carbon; equivalent to 13–40 percent of the amount released by global fossil fuel burning, and greater than the carbon uptake of the world's biosphere."

This quote and more on peat here:

If our emissions disappeared overnight, we would be removing aerosol masking, which would take warming up at least another 1 degree C within just a few years. We have probably 1 - 2 degrees C committed in the pipeline as of now, but not yet in the atmosphere. So there is 2 - 3 degrees additional that would show up guaranteed within 40 years if emissions ended instantly, on top of the about 1C that we have already seen. Total is 3 - 4C.

My quote above about the peat fires is to point to just some of the first little bits of feedback that started to show up back in the 90s. Now, very realistically thinking about the total amount of energy that 3 - 4C represents, do you think nature is not going to come up with vastly more interesting things than one season of peat fires in Indonesia? I sure do.

Yes, this is only imagination, but it is imagination that is firmly grounded in reality - the reality that the potential carbon stores that natural feedbacks can tap into are enormous. The fires above only scratched the surface of what is available to burn in Indonesia, and that is simply one of many peat sources. Add the permafrost sources (recent gigantic fires in Alaska come to mind). Still... only the beginning.

That is the problem. We are only at the beginning, the barest first start of the feedback cycles that are in store.

My scenario above is based on instant collapse where emissions go to zero. More likely in a collapse, all kinds of things would be burned for several years while we tried to hold on - more coal, more forests.

But collapse, if it were to happen and be sudden, is still probably just a ways off. More likely is we will manage at least another 20 years of decent emissions. Just add that to the scenario above, and then we are realistically looking at 5C minimum. Feedbacks will shred our known and comfortable ecosphere, and take that 5C ever higher.

We have unleashed the genie. My epiphany was in finally, deeply, understanding that the change in energy balance represented by our glorious fun with fossil fuels is an ecological state change of colossal proportions, happening overnight in geological terms. Given that many models tried and failed to account for energy shifts of this nature (just look at actual ASI results versus predicted) I think the scientists who modeled 450ppm were making an honest effort, but simply have missed many factors.

Seke Rob

[OT] NeilT, Someone reproduced a longer, excellent comment of yours from Toninô's place to Open Mind, with intended preservation in mind, in case it gets disappeared. Great post and will [ab]use it at the right time for other select Aint Truthers.[/OT]


Sometimes analogies are worth their weight in gold. I look at climate change like a boxing match. The fighters spar for a few rounds, both getting a little tired, then the aggressor opens up a gash over the eye of his opponent, or lands a blow that makes his opponent's knees buckle. That usually triggers a flurry of activity by the aggressor, with a higher frequency of punches, coming from all directions with all intensities aimed at all parts of the body. Many times, the end comes soon after.

That may be the message of climate change. For the Arctic, the gash over the eye is the appearance of significant amounts of open water. As I have tried to show in the posts above, many mechanisms appear to come into play when significant open water appears, similar to the flurry of activity in boxing.

However, focusing solely on the Arctic is like focusing solely on the boxer's head. The blows to the solar plexus are the increased duration and severity of droughts. The blows to the ribs are the increased extent and severity of forest fires. The blows to the arms are the increasing ratios of high temperature records to low temperature records. It is the sum total of all the punches that eventually put the boxer on the canvas. And, the blows tend to be self-reinforcing; blows to the solar plexus make the head more vulnerable and vice versa.

I believe the most important findings from this year's ice data will not be the ice records that were set. The first level of important findings will be identification of the myriad mechanisms that came into play and reinforced each other. The second level of important findings will be the general principles that Nature is using to effect climate change. If Nature is indeed operating like the boxer above after he has drawn blood, this is indeed an ominous sign. It means the past events may be a vast underestimate of what the future has in store, and we may start to see the flurry of Nature's punches far sooner than anyone is predicting.

bill kapra

Anyone else having trouble loading data sites? CT and Navy Hycom are both non-responsive today.

It could be the press announcements have increased traffic past their capacities. Also possible I'm just hitting their refresh cycles...

Seke Rob

Yup, CT is off [timing out since trying first time today at about 12:00 UTC (GMT Noon)


Rob, RE [OT]. Thanks for the heads up. You are welcome to use it and abuse it as much as you like.

Aaron Lewis

Glenn, Kevin:
Using Dr. Deming’s systems control statistics on various measures of sea ice, I found a clear signal of system instability by 1999, and it was up to 4-sigma by 2002. This suggested an out of control system with sea ice collapse within a decade.
I was told, “Such Alarmism is unhelpful!”, and “Read the peer reviewed literature!” by a wide variety of the top climate scientists. (I was retired Senior Scientist at a major engineering firm.)
However, Deming’s statistics are widely used by industry and had been validated against more physical systems than any climate model. The data is still on CT & other sites. Read Deming and do the math. It is much better than an eyeball.

Charles Longway

Anu said - “I'm sure the Planetary Leaders have detailed, wise plans to deal with the rapidly escalating situation”.
When I read this I actually laughed. The comment did, however, make me think about who these leaders might be. Anu, thanks so much for writing, I really appreciate your courage to post, and in the end I may have been wrong to laugh and you may be correct. I thank every last one who has posted, including Joe Smith, and those who have read and are listening to this thread.
So what leaders are taking us in the right direction? The first one that comes to mind is Neven. Yes, he has followers and raised $1K for the blog last year. Anu, don’t laugh, he really does have power. If Geoff Beacon right Neven’s site has power of a different kind, the strongest collective concentration of knowledge of the arctic in the world that is unshackled by ‘oversight’. However, the world is not listening, even with all our charts and graphs.
I have discovered the “Planetary Leaders” who have power but not of our kind, who have spoken out on the issue of global warming caused by human activity, urging action to avoid severe consequences such as arctic melting. Like our blog, few are listening to these leaders regardless of their positions. These are the world religious leaders who can’t be voted out of office. I was really surprised at what these leaders have already said. Here is an introduction:
His Holiness Benedict XVI, the green pope, influence 2000M Christians
He walks the walk having established the Vatican as the first state in the world that uses 100% renewable energy.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, influence 400M Buddhists
Has a full knowledge of the problem and also a solution, writes practical advice for non-Buddhists.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa, the green Mufti, influence 1500M Muslims
Issues environmental Fatwa’s, polemical on non-violence, works extensively with Christians. How is it that the media never picks up on this leader?
Reverend Dada J. P. Vaswani, influence 900M Hindus
Very active at 94 years of age, outspoken on the environment
So we do have ‘Planetary Leaders with wise plans’. These people have spoken and the world has not listened. Perhaps they need our power. For my 2 cents, if we invited these leaders to come to a place like Iceland and listen to Neven and several others who may be the best we have to share the meaning of the charts and graphs from this melt season, these leaders, and others of a like mind, might actually come, listen, and do what we have not the power to do. I for one need their help to forgive the “Planetary Leaders” who have not had such wise plans. If Neven should put forth a plan to wield his power of knowledge of the Arctic he shall have my 2 cents and more in support.

Bob Wallace

Glenn - there was a discussion here a few weeks back about when the system changed.

"Maslowski presentation from May 06 was that he identifies the "dragon king" year as 1997...."


Jim Williams

The system changed in the 1800s with the Industrial Revolution. Actually, it changed about 20,000 years ago with the Agricultural Revolution, but the effects from that were both slower and milder -- a major desert in Africa, mostly.

I still have no reason to believe that we've seen any significant global response to CO2 emissions less than 100 years old yet.

We might talk of Climate Science, but science is something involving repeatable experiments and replication -- so I believe Climate Science is an oxymoron.


The appended is from Bob Wallace's recommendation (20 July postings).

I spent a significant portion of my career in government, and was associated and familiar with many studies on myriad topics. I have never seen a government study on a politically sensitive or commercially sensitive topic that did not have a pre-determined agenda, and whose outcome could not be predicted once the charter, Chairman, and participants were selected. The IPCC studies by their very multinational nature will represent the ultimate in Pablum, and will not offend the interests of their most conservative participants. Aaron's experiences are not surprising, and the IPCC Report undoubtedly had as one of its objectives the scientific base for predicting costs more acceptable to the 120+ nations that now contribute.

Steve Bloom's comments about the IPCC are far too generous. I don't believe the conservative nature of their reports is accidental, and I don't believe their mainly underprediction of observations is by chance. Having said that, they are faced with the problem of having incomplete models, and not full inclusion of all the positive feedback terms. But, I am less than sanguine about the objectivity of any government report, much less a multinational one focused on the extremely sensitive topic of climate change.

Aaron Lewis: In 1991, I was doing climate risk assessments for large scale infrastructure engineering projects, and my baselines called for loss of Arctic sea ice by 2020, with accelerated sea level rise thereafter. Then, in 1993, the IPCC came out with their more “conservative” numbers and “I got assigned to other tasks”, as the project adopted the IPCC numbers because those numbers set a lower standard of performance and thus much lower costs.

Thus, I assert that from the beginning, IPCC estimates of global warming have understated the risks and costs. This understatement of risk and cost has permeated our public policy and planning.

There I was, the crazy! The only guy that did not drink the “Happy Kool-Aid”. Everyone else was willing to think that global warming was a problem of the 22d century. My position that we would be seeing major costs of global warming in our lifetime has not made me popular.

Steve Bloom: Generally, let's not be too severe on the IPCC. The large interval between reports is responsible for some of the problem, as is the fact that it's hard to say much about something that may or may not be natural variability in action. If the physics isn't understood and the trend is not crystal-clear (which in early days it pretty much can't be), it's hard to not go with the prior established understanding.


Actually Jim I think a lot of people get tied up in the whole physical sciences and forget about theoretical science. Climate change straddles the boundaries between physical science and the observations required for that and the theoretical science where scientists model the possible or potential actions.

Then physical scientists go out and try to repeat and confirm the findings.

It's not an oxymoron because we can, if we wish, wait 30,000 years for a settled climate and do it all over again.... Bit of a long game that one though....

Charles Craver

Seke Rob - I tried all morning, but it just came back online.

2.59m k^2. ugh.



Hilarious about Viao, and I learned something new about pablum.
Reminds me of the Swedish researchers who recently coined a term for a new kind of cellular vesicle secretion -exophagy - not knowing that it was 1) the technical term for cannibalism outside the family and 2) the name of a heavy metal band (who obviously knew about 1).

Back on topic - funny day for CT to take a holiday on SIA. I hope it doesn't mean that the numbers are so low that one of the computers doesn't recognize them - like my Mac telling me some of my old files were created in 2030.


Well that answers that.

2.59 is lower than any specific SIA prediction range I've seen online, except for the "less than 2.x" choices.

Artful Dodger

File this under the category "You are what you eat".

A new Study (in press, Psychological Science) explores the basis of climate change denial: Lewandowsky et.al (2012)

"NASA faked the moon landing - Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science".

View as pdf or html

From the Abstract:

"Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a vocal platform for climate denial, and bloggers have taken a prominent and influential role in questioning climate science. We report a survey (N > 1100) of climate blog users to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science."

Short-term solution? Stop eating garbage.


Just a short note: I've arrived, my wife allows me 1 hour of Internet in the morning (I sneaked downstairs to update my IJIS and CT graphs). The 56K modem isn't so great, but it's better than nothing.

In two weeks a new and improved Neven will do some post-melting season analysis. I want to give the mainstream media to do the right thing (from what I've seen so far, Andy Revkin failed the test, but he has two weeks to improve his attitude).

Thanks for all the comments so far, and the mails. Sorry about the spam. Sorry about the ice.

Jim Williams

There is Science, and there is Theory; which is a branch of Mathematics (Philosophy).

(Actually, I don't believe in Truth at all anyway.)

We can improve our ability to guess about the future, but in the end they are all guesses. Given the accuracy of the climate models so far, I'll assert that my guess is better than theirs. I guessed I'd still be alive when the climate underwent systemic reorganization (i.e. climate change) -- and I've had lung cancer.

Jeffrey Davis

Re: "Andy Revkin failed the test"

As in Revelations 3:16?

Artful Dodger

Neven wrote: "I want to give the mainstream media to do the right thing".

Oh, your are NEW, aren't you? ;^)

If fact, they always do the Right thing, because that's the direction their Corporate Overlords lean.

Now, go enjoy your holiday!



Jim Pettit,

Not to be unappreciative, because I really like your graphs. But, I was wondering if you could "finish" your bar graphs by putting the entire year into them. Perhaps use hashing instead of solid colour to show waxing ice. It would be nice to see the entire 365/6 days of the year and how much ice has to be formed. As you do with the min, you could use a special colour at the max so you don't have to show the wobble near the peak.

(All this so I have something fun to fret about during the winter.)

Thanks for considering



If our emissions disappeared overnight, we would be removing aerosol masking, which would take warming up at least another 1 degree C within just a few years.

Good reference to that Unger et. al. Attribution of climate forcing to economic sectors Figure 2 is what I refer to most often.

It's free to download.


Geoff Bacon,

I take back my previous remark. I had no idea of all the meetings you have attended, and consequently your sampling of scientists' views. I'm impressed and applaud your work. Your sampling may not be random, so I may not draw conclusions about "most "official" climate scientists".

All the same, my remark was made in ignorance of your sampling, and was wrong.


GeoffBeacon: Thanks. Just skimmed that from Unger. Looks like the money quote is: "The combined direct and indirect effects of aerosols exert a net cool- ing that may have masked about 50% of the global warming by greenhouse gases (6, 7)."

Does that mean 50% of the atmospheric warming that has already occurred, or 50% of the warming in the total system (including oceans)? First number would be about 0.5C, second in the range of 1C - 1.5C

Any insight here would be appreciated. The system lags are on thing I've been really trying to understand more lately.


Btw, I appreciate that including more direct citations for my arguments would be a good idea. I really am amazed at the level of professionalism on these boards, and the depth of knowledge. It is both inspiring and humbling.

I like the strong focus on science here and hope it stays that way. Given the implications of what we are talking about, and what Kev and Neven are inspiring us to think about with this article, some of the more personal reflections are very appropriate. That said, I am much more interested in the science, and in truly understanding what is going on in the many natural systems involved.

That makes me think of another thing. I believe we are only just another part of this natural process - including everything we are doing with fossil fuels. The only difference between us, and the lichens that weathered the rocks eons ago and made a major contribution to creating our present balance of atmospheric gasses (here would be a good place for a citation :) is that we can reflect on what we are doing, and know what we may be creating in the future.


Back at the open thread on the storm i asked if anyone had an idea about the effect kinetic energy[ of the earths rotation] might have. I thought it might be responsible for the early nd persistent anomoly over banks island/ mckenzie bay area. Well i managed to work it out and it looks to me that between 60N and 70N there's sufficient energy to raise sea temps by 3.5degc, 70N to 80N another 2deg. All the ice that passed through fram has been replaced by this water any evaporation the same. The bulk of the water heading south is too deep to be in the mix.
If there's anything in my speculation it could mean a very late freeze up and a vast reserve of heat in the CA.
There're three sites here to do the math, http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpenergykenetic/kenetic_energy_equation.php


Just received this link today.


The content of the first example presented is worth the price of admission. Think about the firmness of the data she describes, and the mountains that had to be climbed before real impact occurred. Place that in our context of focusing 'only on the numbers'.



Thanks for the great TED presentation, I couldn't agree with her more. Alas, I've found practicing that philosophy will have "varying results." I've really enjoyed the perspective exhibited by your comments the past week or so. In fact, I think we may have many similar "takes" on the cascading conundrums facing our and many other lifeforms in the all too imminent future. However, as expressed before, this probably isn't the place. Ergo, I hope you may find the time and inclination to drop me (golfwalker) a wee note via the "hotmail" service. (Indeed, the invitation extends to any and all commentators on these threads! :) I think we're all going to need more "luck" than exists in the universe to pull-off the "avoid-extinction-trick."


Why are Cryosphere Today images not updated with 8/27/2012?


NeilT, I saw your comment and reproduced it on my blog. I've also written a follow up since it disappeared about WUWT and censorship.

The denial over there is astounding and you are right, they grab whatever is expedeient to their loopy position regardless of whether it contradicts previous positions. It was the storm, the ice is growing, the Arctic has been icefree before, and now they are pushing the really crazy ice as an insulator keeping the warmth in the ocean so when it is gone all the warmth will be able to escape into space plunging us into an ice age. wtf? denial is a mental disorder.

Account Deleted

RE: Tropical Peatswamps - actually this is one source of emissions that we could do something about relatively cheaply.


Colin: Are you referring to changing land-management practices? Preventing human-induced fires during periods of drought? Certainly anything we can do now to slow a potential positive feedback is valuable. Since 1997, have land-management practices changed at all in SE Asia along the lines of what (I think) you are referring to?

Rob Dekker

Re WUWT, you guys will love this :


Any betting on the first date after the minimum that "Watt's law" or the Monckton conjecture will be applied on WUWT ?

Artful Dodger

Yuppers, who can forget instant classic "The Double Recovery of the Arctic Sea Ice"? Priceless satire, richly delivered ;^)



I feel very strongly that this summer's record low, interacting with Watt's Law, will trigger the Goddard Process. Once the feedbacks kick in there, the Monckton Perspective will take hold, and we'll have a mind-blowing record recovery.

MYI should be fully restored in Puget Sound by Feb 2013 at the latest.

Artful Dodger

Jay Zwally said in Nat.Geo Dec 12, 2007:

"Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012"

Right then, who's the Merry-andrew* now?

Tamino explains, in "Anthony Watts Breaks the Record", Aug 28, 2012.

*(Mer"ry-an"drew) n. One whose business is to make sport for others; a buffoon; a zany; especially, one who attends a mountebank or quack doctor.

Steve Bloom

We need the whole quote, Lodger: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions." Note *at this rate* (referring presumably to the drop from 2006 to 2007). So this is essentially the same thought as Maslowski's early (pre-model) one, both being similar to what Wipneus did with PIOMAS more recently.

Fairfax Climate Watch

Well the Goddard blog does state, "just out to have fun" or some such thing...so there you have it. A merry-andrew by self-definition.

But on a serious topic, if PIOMAS volume comes in as low as I think it might (close to 2,000km2), then I think we could see area keep falling… towards 1 million km2 area in early October, and extent just a bit higher.

Andy Lee Robinson

Well, this particular Andrew is not "merry" at the mention of those names, but this is not a blog for polemics.

Here's my PIOMAS graph in HD and 3D (to July 2012)

The Fat Lady has sung. Watts and Goddard go home.

Artful Dodger

Yes Steve, Jay Zwally was clearly correct in 2007. And Merry-anthony continues to be flagrantly, ridiculously wrong in 2012.

To take the cheap swipe at Jay, and then have his words blow up in his face so spectacularly, is priceless theatre.

"Where ignorance reigns, the fool is King".

Artful Dodger

Andy Lee, cool visualization! Say, would you have the technical ability to create a 3D version of Jim Petit's famous PIOMAS 2D "Death Spiral" graph?


My concept is to plot each PIOMAS data point in a 3D grid according to its spherical co-ordinates, as follows:

  • the Date being the height on the Z-axis, with the oldest date at the bottom of the grid range
  • the Day-of-Year being the angle from the Origin, Jan 1st
  • and of course the radial axis being the distance from (0,0) being PIOMAS Volume

Can you then animate the data, stepping forward through time as the data is painted on the 3D grid?

Just a thought! But I bet it'd look WAY COOL!


P.S. I mentioned this idea to Jim some time ago, but have not heard back from him.

P.P.S. Guess I'd better cross-post this idea over to the PIOMAS thread ;^)

Andy Lee Robinson

Thanks, Artful - I had it in mind to do for a while, but will need a couple of days.

(It's a few thousand lines of hand-written perl and povray scripts. It takes many hours to render, but is repeatable as new data becomes available.)


I have been trying to estimate the influence of this blog by global searches, wondering whether I had over estimated the importance of "the Ice Empiricists of Neven".

Using Google's advanced search set for the past month only, I used "neven blog ice -site:neven1.typepad.com" as the search term.

This produced about 5000 results. It is true that many of the results are from a friendly blog sites but some such as the Guardian and the New York Times are definitely mainstream. Are there other easy to use techniques?

No mention this month on the BBC website - actually the only all-time references I could find are in comments . I have been pursuing rather aggressive course with the BBC over the years. Theme - the're the best we've got but still terrible. They are not taking climate change as seriously as they should. My latest attempt is based on tweets and the test page is at Tweets to the BEEB

I'm not sure whether (polite?) aggression is the right approach for effective results. I'm opened to guidance.

I would like opinions on a piece by Roger Harrabin - Arctic sea ice 'melting faster'. I have criticised him for not mentioning drought and hunger. Surely "Melting ice is causing the Arctic to warm much faster than the rest of the planet" is a bit dodgy.

And thanks PeteDunkelberg.

Artful Dodger

2cool, Andy! I've fleshed out my concept a bit more, and made one correction, over here.


Artful Dodger

Hi Geoff.

Typepad embeds Quantserve.com tracking features in their client blogs. These stats are generally made available to the blog owner. I suggest that if you send an email to Neven, he may be able to provide some more background for you.


Rob Dekker

Re Revkin and the NYT :

If Arctic sea ice does not leave you cold, and you agree with Neven that Revkin at the NYT does not quite present the true significance of the 2012 Arctic sea ice melt (shattering the record with fairly average weather), or see problems with Revkin's arguments, or with the references he and many commenters make to WUWT, then do something with your opinion : leave a comment at the NYT ! :

While you are there, please also rate the comments. Currently, the highest rated comments are assertions that this is part of a cycle, that it's not much different from previous warming spells in the 1930's etc, and more references to WUWT and CA.

There are some excellent comments referencing scientific papers, point out problems with Revkin's cautionary statements, or debunk denier comments, but these comments don't get nearly the recognition they deserve (check "reader picks").

Also note the NYT "news" post from Justin Gillis, which has a completely different tone, explains more context and expresses more significance to the 2012 climate wake-up call from the Arctic, and rightfully so receives a lot more attention than Revkin's, "yes it's bad, but.." post :
Well worth a visit too, and again : leave a comment ! Express your opinion, and.....Remember that you read this from a scientific blog. Use science and reason, and be polite, have your evidence ready, and be rason-sharp, wherever you post.

Rob Dekker

Where "rason" can be read as a combination of "reason" and "razor", of course :o)

Artful Dodger

We all see, and are frequently insulted by, those snappy little global warming 'one-liner' memes. You know, the ones crafted to leave anyone cold?

Well, here's a short list of equally snappy come-backs, for the next time somebody throws a wet fish on your 'board ;^)

"It’s happened before" | "it"s happening again 1,000x faster"
"We don’t know anything" | "until we receive the bill?"
"It’s not warming" | "yesterday, where I live"
"AGW not proven" | "neither is Gravity"
"Warming is good" | "flood and famine is bad"
"Who cares" | "your mother, Gaia"



Who cares" | "I do"

Artful Dodger

Hi Andy Lee,

I've moved discussion of the PIOMAS 3D 'Death Spiral' Chart over to the PIOMAS August 2012 thread, since this 'cold' thread is such a hot topic ;^)


Artful Dodger

Hi Andy,

There's some canned Python code here used to create the graph above, if it's any help:

#! /usr/bin/python -t
# _*_ coding: iso-8859-1 _*_
# Last edited on 2009-05-03 18:12:55 by stolfilocal

PROG_NAME = "make-coord-system-figure"
PROG_DESC = "Generates an SVG illustration for the Wikipedia articles on coord systems"
PROG_VERS = "1.0"

<snip> yada, yada, ...


Andy Lee Robinson

Thanks Art, I had a look at hte python code. Povray has all the primitives and scene description language and transformations necessary. Perl helps with the data processing and animation. I'll have a go at it soon.

Artful Dodger

Awesome. Looking forward to it, Andy!

Jim Williams

Hi Lodger, I think you want cylindrical coordinates, not spherical.

Artful Dodger

Thinks move pretty fast on the ASI blog, Jim ;^)

See my comment | August 29, 2012 at 12:22




"I would like opinions on a piece by Roger Harrabin - Arctic sea ice 'melting faster'. I have criticised him for not mentioning drought and hunger. Surely "Melting ice is causing the Arctic to warm much faster than the rest of the planet" is a bit dodgy."

Within the bounds he appears to have established of limiting his comments to Arctic ice, it appears to be quite a reasonable article. He does not provide the larger context you would like, but that has been my problem with the present blog as well. Facts without full context are not 'information', and may also not be 'truth'.

There are two reasons I can see for limiting his comments to Arctic ice. First, he works for the BBC, and there may be politics involved in what he can present. I don't know who influences what the BBC publishes, but in the USA the influence of the mainstream media owners and sponsors/advertisers is such that even an article of this objectivity, limited though it may be in context, would be hard to find.

Second, in a number of politically and commercially sensitive issues, there appears to be a line of honesty and frankness that, once crossed, the believability (or maybe reader acceptability is a better descriptor) falls off a cliff. You see it, for example, in the EMF health effects literature. Lennart Hardell, perhaps the world's leading EMF oncology epidemiologist, shows that a decade of 'heavy' cell phone use can double the risk of certain brain cancers in adults and more than quintuple the same risk in people who start using cell phones as children (God knows what happens after two or three decades). That's too horrendous for most people to accept. They might accept that heavy use cuts concentration slightly, or increases anxiety slightly, but the hard truth is too overwhelming.

That's where we are with climate change. The reality is even worse than Hardell's cell phone predictions, but if Harrabin would lay out the stark truth, the credibility of the BBC on this issue would plummet, and he would probably be fired.

He also included the following statement:

"A recent paper from Reading University used statistical techniques and computers to estimate that between 5-30% of the recent ice loss was due to Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation - a natural climate cycle repeating every 65-80 years. It's been in warm phase since the mid 1970s."

My impression is that there are multiple heating and cooling cycles of different amplitude and frequency in operation, and he has selected only one. I remember seeing an article recently emphasizing that due to a solar activity cycle, we should actually be in a cooling phase, yet the observations are a heating phase. If true, why didn't he include this cycle. Including one piece of important data and omitting another is an example of presenting 'facts', but not necessarily 'information' or 'truth.'





There may be a few other good ones. Google "website traffic" "website statistics" and other related terms.

To do an estimate based on keyword search like above, you need lots of different variations, and need to compare the same variations across sites.

This search: neven sea ice -site:http://neven1.typepad.com/ gets 25,700 results.

I have done SEO as part of my gig for the last 5 years.


Mentioning this in regards my previous guesstimate that 1000ppm is a minimum guarantee, and 2000ppm a very reasonable long range forecast - incredible methane news from Antarctica:


It will take a long time, but Antarctica will melt. All the positive feedbacks alone, from here on out, will do the job. Massive geoengineering and some equally massive atmospheric CO2 removal are realistically our only chance at dodging this. I don't see either of those as likely. Hot house Earth might go some lovely tomatoes, we can hope.



"It will take a long time, but Antarctica will melt. All the positive feedbacks alone, from here on out, will do the job."

What do you see in the short term, say twenty years? Depending on which positive feedbacks kick in, we could have more GHG than just CO2. Based on what has happened in the Arctic since significant open water appeared, and Nature appearing to have pulled out all the stops since then, are we in for far more temperature increases than extrapolation based on past performance?

Alan Clark

This just out:

"Large volumes of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - could be locked beneath the ice-covered regions of Antarctica, according to a new study.

It says this methane could be released into the atmosphere as ice retreats, contributing to climate warming."


Alan Clark

Whoops! Missed Blackdragon's link.

Bob Wallace

Open these two in separate tabs, flip back/forth, and ask yourself where the red went....

July 28, 2012


August 27, 2012


Will there be any >3 meter thick ice left in one more month?

r w Langford

Geoff Bacon ; "the scientific community has serious problems" I agree and the fact that their models have been so conservative (ie wrong) will have them in a quandary. Were they conservative because of lack of data, politics, caution, analytical errors, or unknown factors? Whatever the reasons there will be a lot of scrambling to catch up to the reality of the what is happening in the arctic, atmosphere, oceans, groundwater and soils of this planet. I am reminded of something I read about economists having seldom successfully predicted the most significant financial events especially financial collapses. Predictions are based on known experience and knowledge. When things go past that envelope predictions become problematical. It appears that much is happening now that is beyond our capability to accurately predict. Climate engineering is significantly past that point.


Can anyone read the weather maps at:


Is that jumbled mush of lows looking like anything scary developing?

[Okay, okay, I've added Great Arctic Storms to my list of "Things to Be Afraid Of"]



Right as I was thinking about my answer to your question, I had Casablanca playing in the background, and Ilsa says "Oh, it's a crazy world. Anything can happen!"

Just looking at CO2, if rates stay at least where they are now at 2ppm increase per year, 20 years takes us very close to 440ppm. The trend seems to soon be heading a bit over 2ppm/year, so very likely at least 450ppm.

But as you say, we are looking at more than CO2 - methane seems to be popping up from under every recently defrosted rock in Greenland, bubbling up from all kinds of places on the Arctic shelf, and appearing in strange ways above the Arctic waters for no apparent reason at all.

Possible surprises within 20 years: One thing about the shelf is the huge area that is very shallow (about 50 ft range or less) and therefor very susceptible to warm water melt. Both clathrates and below-sea-level permafrost abound in fantastic amounts on these shallow shelves, and are kept in place by both pressure and temperature. Since pressure is not the main thing keeping the clathrates frozen at 50 ft, it seems likely they could be liberated through small increases in water temperature.

The various things coming together with climate, energy, the global economy, etc, are so completely chaotically interlinked that I personally have stopped thinking about what will happen short term. It was driving me crazy. I only know, things will happen, and then go on and enjoy my day.

The very long term is sealed. The fact our kids and grandkids will be living on a radically different, and difficult, planet is sealed. As I mentioned earlier, we have unleashed the genie. He is wildly more powerful than we dared imagine. We got our three wishes: longer lifespans, more technology, and more leisure time to play.

We got our iPads and our holidays in France without even thinking about it. Now it is genie's turn to play.

My thinking about why our fate is sealed has been all about understanding the true scale of things. Our atmosphere and oceans are tiny compared to what we imagined. The energy flows through all these systems are far larger than what we can imagine. These two facts are what allowed us to play with the fossil fuel genie without giving it a second thought.

Here is a cool link and chart showing the Earth's constant oscillation between ice house and hot house.

These wild swings over 2 billion years are based on slow, slight but accumulating changes in things like insolation, axial tilt, continental drift, etc.

Then we come along and BANG unleash a monstrous amount of carbon into this system, right when we are kind of hanging in an in-between state, not fully iced, bouncing around between more ice and less ice. This kind of bouncing back and forth is not representative of a system that is fundamentally stable.

Which way have we tipped this larger balance? Right the hell over into hot house. Now we are looking around, using the lighted match of fossil fuels in our formerly dark room, and saying "Wow, look, we are actually standing in an enormous pool of gasoline!" - all the organic carbon that Nature, that wild genie, is just dying to play with.

We just dropped the match.

Fairfax Climate Watch

great links above.

another one, http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.5445v1.pdf , the paper about a possible Arctic bifurcation.

quoting from it:

The detected ongoing destabilization of the summer-autumn sea-ice cover suggests that a further bifurcation may be approaching. Either the new low ice cover state is a transient feature and the system may revert to the normal ice cover state. Or there could be a further abrupt decrease in summer-autumn ice cover.


Possible correction: I couldn't find a reference for clathrates at 50ft or less, so I'll stick with Neven's comment in the article and say 50 meters or less for clathrates.

Below-sea-level permafrost is different, and exists in many areas of the shelf at 50ft or less, and is thus most susceptible to melt from slight increases in water temps being warmed by both less summer ice cover, and currents from surrounding oceans. That permafrost is simply frozen land that got submerged by the sea level rise since the end of the last ice age, and has remained frozen. (time to start my collection of handy reference links...)


What happened to the sea ice motion vector plots on the google sea ice plot page? I have the vectors for August in my ppt presentation on the link below but they have vanished off nevens graph link? Why, I need them back...



Since August 10th I have been predicting that the sea ice will be completely gone from the Arctic by the end of this years melt season. Here are presentations that lead me to conclude this...I post all this stuff in real-time on facebook (Paul Beckwith) and twitter (PaulHBeckwith); please friend and follow me. Note that the last link is a presentation I gave on Jan 17th this year discussing all the sea ice links to extreme weather, etc. and the imminent sea ice failure...










Fairfax Climate Watch


"I'm not sure whether (polite?) aggression is the right approach for effective results."

Aggression can sometimes achieve a desired outcome, but remember aggression generally only causes the other party to submit if they feel they would lose in an all-out conflict. This has nothing to do with their sense of being right or wrong. It’s just a physical ability to defend or attack. In the world of internet blogging, there can be no all-out physical conflict, unless you are able to actually shut the other blogger down. Meaning: hack his computer. And do it again when he recovers/rebuilds. Low-level hacking has apparently already started to happen to some deniers.

Rather than aggression, I think that volume, detail, and persistence can achieve the desired outcome; in this case, the BBC paying appropriate attention to an issue of the utmost importance.

I myself have been writing various news sources I feel are lacking, as well as ones who are doing good work. Polite, non-aggressive argumentation should be quite effective, especially considering the planet’s atmosphere has quite sufficient destructive tendencies on its own, to crush all parties concerned.

A lot of people out there, in the media, in academia, and everywhere, just don’t know how important this problem is. They just have no idea. Their deafness shouldn’t be harped on, after all, other people have other interests besides science and environment. When they hear an alarming story from the climate frontlines, they have no real organizational methods for storing the news in their memory or world view. And again, everyone is free to focus on different things in life, which is how we get such a rich and diverse human world today.

So the question is, how many times a day, for how many days do these other-focused people need to be interrupted, nagged, and generally reminded about the problem, before they decide that they either have to join your side, either because they think that will get you to leave them alone, or because they’ve actually become genuinely convinced you’re right. And which ways will be the most effective at conveying the importance of this time-sensitive problem.

But those people who require convincing will also need reminders after they join the right side. Otherwise, they’ll easily conclude that the problem has been resolved successfully, for example by policy action which sounds dramatic, like Obama mandating cars have 56 mpg fuel use rates by 2025.

I expect the struggle to raise awareness to be a very difficult one. Practically speaking, if you upset the person you’re writing an email to, it only takes one click from that person to never see another email from you again. But all approaches to raise awareness run the risk of being ignored in one way or another.

Regardless of the difficulty, we must intelligently push on – if we still have that fundamental instinct for survival.


I expect most of you will not be surprised by Arctic collapse dramatically increases global warming.

I was pleased to hear about it on BBC Radio 4.


Paull Beckwith:

In your August presentation you start with:

PIOMAS data indicated:
50% probability of sea ice vanishing in summer by 2015
>95% probability of vanishing by 2018
>5% probability of vanishing by 2013

I assume that you derive these conclusions from an exponential regression like the one I made: https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/piomas-trnd6.png

Now there are some assumptions that you have to make before you can take the fitting uncertainties into a prediction. But about that you say:

These numbers do not account for cyclones or increased advection of ice out of Arctic basin into Atlantic Ocean

I do not think it is correct to say that.
The exponential fit does not explicitly accounts any underlying cause, but implicitely it accounts all causes that lead to the observed pattern. I have no doubt that increased ice advection is one, impact of cyclones possibly as well.

We will know more next week when the new PIOMAS numbers are available. If those are within the range predicted by a exponential extrapolation, I would say that the mentioned impacts appear to be accounted for.

Philippe Terrier

" expect most of you will not be surprised by Arctic collapse dramatically increases global warming.

I was pleased to hear about it on BBC Radio 4. "

Link to the original article in Nature:




By your link our climate moving to something like this http://www.scotese.com/miocene1.htm What's so awfull in it?


I can't find one single IPCC warning anywhere that warns of a coming crisis that isn't riddled with "maybes".
"may", "could", "might", "likely", "probably" a climate crisis..................
Why can't they say; “it WILL happen”, not just might happen?
WHAT COULD BE WORSE? A COMET HIT? We deserve a “will happen” before we condemn our own children to the greenhouse gas ovens.
Scientists: exaggeration isn't a crime, yet.



"By your link our climate moving to something like this http://www.scotese.com/miocene1.htm What's so awfull in it?"

Intrinsically, it may not be that awful if climate were the only variable. But, a Miocene climate coupled with today's infrastructure, today's population, and today's regional population distribution is the problem. The amount of potential disruption and destruction is unimaginable.


President Romneycon will thank us for fear mongering and condemning our own voting base along with the voter’s children to their CO2 deaths “IF” they didn't vote Democrat. Nice job girls.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

You may still occasionally meet people that parrot these oft-debunked memes about the cause of Arctic sea ice loss:

  • It's the Sun,
  • It's the Pacific Decadal Oscillation,
  • It's the Arctic Oscillation
Well, it's not! and this graph proves it... IT'S THE CO2!

If they want more, tell them it's Fig.4 from:

Notz, D. and J. Marotzke (2012), Observations reveal external driver for Arctic sea-ice retreat, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L08502, doi:10.1029/2012GL051094.


Roman Polach


Interesting article: Arctic summer sea ice might thaw by 2015 - or linger for decades


Yale 360 has a nice piece by Fen Montaigne about "Arctic Tipping Point: A North Pole Without Ice",


Who'd have guessed? J. Curry says "that the next 5 to 10 years could see a shift in Arctic sea ice behavior, though exactly in which direction is difficult to predict.". She probably spoke with the Leprechauns.

BTW, I can't wait to see next analysis from Dr Inferno on DenialDepot!!


Parts of Arctic Siberia are releasing ten times more carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, a University of Manchester scientist and an international team of researchers have found.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)