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Jim Williams

Convenient article for this...

I just caught part of the first hour of On Point: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/09/24/a-new-low-for-arctic-ice

I'm sure that once I figure out how to hear the podcast it will be worth hearing the whole thing.

Chris Reynolds

And so it begins...

Karl

Ah well, it had to happen eventually. A site that was great for science has morphed into a full blown warmist propoganda blog. Truly a great pity!

Tim

I need a clarification of terminology. What is a "warmist"?

Is a "warmist" someone who regards the scientific consensus on the nature, seriousness, and rate of global warming as something to be worried about? Are the people who wrote the IPCC reports* "warmists"? Are the climate scientists shown in this video "warmists"?

* You know, the reports that have so far seriously underestimated the rate of Arctic sea ice melt.

Twemoran

Karl

Any site looking at Arctic Sea Ice through scientific eyes is going to see warming, perhaps even alarming warming.

We've just had a month where the Arctic ice extent has been lower than ever before experienced by civilized man, and no one knows what effect this is going to have on food production, extreme weather, drought or flooding.

Anyone that isn't alarmed just doesn't understand what is happening.

Terry

Jeffrey Davis

People who use contrived memes self-identify as [appropriate language omitted].

Chris Reynolds

Hello Karl,

I used to be a sceptic up to the point where such a position was still just about tenable - about 6 or 7 years ago. The fact is it's not tenable now.

In correcting my scepticism about AGW I had to learn a lot of the relevant science, and read a lot of papers, the result is that I now read the science about the Arctic as a hobby. I had to specialise and picked the area of study that's turned out to be the most exciting.

If you don't think humans are causing AGW, and that this isn't in turn driving the changes in the Arctic, and that both AGW and the changes in the Arctic are likely to be a significant problem - you have a big problem: You're badly out of touch with the real world.

You too can correct this problem, as I did, by spending long hours getting up to date on what the science actually shows. So I suggest you shut up, stop whining, go away and learn.

Chris Reynolds

Back to the real world...

While cooking my dinner earlier I let that video run. What Neven has actually done is linked to a playlist of Peter Sinclair's videos.

I can heartily recommend letting it run.

I've said this before but it bears repeating: I spend so much time, not just obsessing over the tree in the forest that is the Arctic, but obsessing over the tiniest details of specific branches. Watching/listening-to those videos was like standing back and appreciating the scale of the forest.

Dan P.

I'll add my wholehearted support to Sinclair's videos - he's one of the best. Chris nailed it that they remind you of the big picture.

Karl

Hey Chris, I need a break from all you whinging Warmists anyway, far too much to do on my doctorate than waste time here. It's got old and stale and besides I can find the data minus the bias elsewhere. As for your advice well you know where that belongs!

[So long, Karl, and thanks for all the fish. N.]

Klon Jay

Karl,
Does your doctorate perchance have anything to do with showing that the commonly accepted radiative transfer physics of CO2 are incorrect?

Tim

Karl,

Pretty much the same question as Klon Jay: I see from your recent comments that you think CO₂ is not the origin of climate change. (e.g., "AGW driven by CO₂ is just not looking logical with the factual information we have") Does that mean we'll soon see a groundbreaking paper from you that fleshes the idea out a bit - with conclusions actually supported by data? If so, what journal are you submitting to?

Frankd 1977

A question to my fellow bloggers:
I just found out that I am a "Warmist" and have no idea whatsoever how to conduct myself. According to Karl I am supposed to be spreading something called "propaganda". I have no idea what that is. Is it some kind of fertilizer?

As for Karl's doctoral thesis, I would guess it involves the very high positive correlation between people who interrupt other people's serious decisions while drapped in the anominity the internet provides; with people sufering from microphallus.

Kris

@Tim

Don't feed the trolls!

And remember trolls usually are behaving on behave of people with many,many bucks.

Donald

Friends,

I started coming to this site recently, because it contains timely and informative information about what is happening in the Arctic and what the prognosis is for the future. I am not a professional in the field, but about two months ago came to realize that global warming was not a 20 year problem but more like a 2 to 5 year problem, and accordingly requires immediate attention.

If I might offer advice on dealing with denialists of any stripe, I suggest do not bother. Besides being a waste of time, it detracts from the value of the site to folks (like myself) who find our way here to learn.

Thanks, Donald

Raymond Duray

The Guardian has a video on Life in the Land Formerly Known as the Great White North:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2012/sep/24/ice-melt-life-greenlanders-video

Chris Reynolds

Why do denialists always claim to have PhDs or be working on doctorates? Probably because they're so used to lying to bolster their delusions one more lie doesn't seem to matter.

Perhaps rather than claiming to study for a doctorate they'd better employ their time by really learning the science.

Given the changes in both sea ice and climate, alongside the rising levels of CO2 (which causes warming). What the denialists really need is a short course in basic climate science from The University of the Bleedin' Obvious.

Conrad Schmidt

Anyone know why Stroeve hasn't posted to the "ice edge" blog?

Peter Ellis

Because the cable companies have been unacceptably remiss in providing broadband access north on 80N.

Rob Dekker

About this new climate state...

After this jaw-dropping mega-melt of Arctic sea ice, which drops to almost 2 sigma's the projections of the latest CMIP5 models (see Stroeve et al 2012), the much-less-talked-about, but even more important decline in spring snow cover over the Northern Hemisphere finally seems to get some well-deserved attention.

On NPR today :
http://www.npr.org/2012/09/24/161701420/as-arctic-ice-melts-so-does-the-snow-and-quickly

Which puts some scientific evidence behind Neven / MA Rodger post in early July :
http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/the-untold-drama-of-northern-snow-cover.html#tp

Here is the scientific publication in GRL :
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2012GL053387.shtml

With the interesting quote :

The rate of loss of June snow cover extent since 1979 (-21.5% decade-1) is greater than the loss of September sea ice extent (-10.8% decade-1) over the same period.

In other words, snow cover reduces at twice the rate that ice cover reduces.

Since snow cover anomaly occurs early in the melting season, when the sun is still high in the sky, it warms the Northern Hemisphere much more than ice cover changes. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the June 2012 snow anomaly has added some 1000 TW to the early melting season, causing extensive wild-fires in the Boreal forests in Siberia (see Siberia on fire), as well as contributed (possibly very significantly) to the 2012 mega-melt of Arctic sea ice.

Interesting is also that, just like for the Arctic sea ice anomaly, this snow melt anomaly also drops well below the CMIP5 models projections. From the paper :

Analysis of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model output shows the marked reductions in June SCE observed since 2005 fall below the zone of model consensus defined by +/-1 standard deviation from the multi-model ensemble mean.

And the June 2012 snow cover anomaly (6 million km^2) is close to 2 sigma's below the CMIP5 projections, just like the Arctic sea ice deviation from CMIP5 models.

It looks like models have a hard time keeping up with the rapid changes of the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere that are unfolding as we speak.

I start to wonder if maybe the changes we cause to our environment may unfold more rapidly than the improvement in the models that we need to project these changes.

Misfratz.wordpress.com
It looks like models have a hard time keeping up with the rapid changes of the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere that are unfolding as we speak.
Isn't there a bit of a danger that we're making too simplistic a comparison between the model projections and recent observations, in a similar way to that made between recent global surface temperature observations and model projections by the other side?

If you look at the individual model projections in detail, rather than the multi-model mean, you can see that the models do project periods of rapid sea-ice decline, followed by temporary stabilisation - an inverse of the pattern seen with increases in global temperature.

This is not surprising, because we have a situation where you have natural variability imposed on a trend. Sometimes the natural variability will act to exaggerate the trend, and sometimes it will act to hide it - as we are recently seeing with global surface temperatures.

It's not implausible that the Arctic will see a period with relatively modest further declines in September sea-ice extent, if some facet of natural variability (the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, perhaps?) acts in a contrary sense to the trend.

Jim Williams

Conrad Schmidt: "Anyone know why Stroeve hasn't posted to the "ice edge" blog?"

Because she's back home. Listen to her in the podcast I linked to in the first comment above. She's on for 5-10 minutes somewhere in the first half.

dabize

"It's not implausible that the Arctic will see a period with relatively modest further declines in September sea-ice extent, if some facet of natural variability (the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, perhaps?) acts in a contrary sense to the trend."


I'd agree with not impossible.

It IS implausible, given that the Arctic has begun absorbing MUCH more energy in the past few years due to the onset of significant melt-out in the Arctic basin during the period of maximum insolation (late May-beginning August).

Misfratz.wordpress.com
It IS implausible, given that the Arctic has begun absorbing MUCH more energy in the past few years due to the onset of significant melt-out in the Arctic basin during the period of maximum insolation (late May-beginning August).
The trends for June are in the lowest half of the trends for each month. See:

ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Jun/N_06_plot.png

Compared to September:

ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Sep/N_09_plot.png

I don't think that the ice-albedo feedback has started properly, given the much lower trends in June.

In any case, we know that local feedbacks cannot be overwhelmingly strong, because otherwise Arctic sea-ice extent would never have been all that stable, as random fluctuations wouldn't have become self-reinforcing, leading either to a complete lack of sea-ice or a new ice-age.

The most important factor is external forcing to the Arctic basin, and I'd have thought that some fluctuation in the external forcing could lead to an apparent, temporary, slowdown in the trend.

I'm not saying it's likely, just that it's a possibility. I'd give it a probability of roughly 10-25%.

Before this melt season I'd have given it a probability of 25-50%, but seeing as how the massive melt happened this year despite unfavourable atmospheric conditions, it's now looking less likely.

I'm just providing a realistic scenario to try and keep the hyperbole under control.

Misfratz.wordpress.com

Oops! There's a sentence above that should read:
"...as random fluctuations would have become self-reinforcing..."

Jeffrey Davis

The animation which shows the thinning of multi-year ice near the start of Sinclair's piece is an amazing bit of work. It shows the decline and the process of decline. It's like watching a fuse burn down.

wayne

Karl:

"Ah well, it had to happen eventually. A site that was great for science has morphed into a full blown warmist propoganda blog. Truly a great pity!"

No scientific stimulation but a bleeding contrarian slogan. So you are trying to turn this blog into what you lament, not clever!

Bruce Worden

Rob Dekker,

Thanks for the heads-up and the link. This is something I've been following for a time now, and I'm glad to see others taking note.

If you look at Flanner et al. (2011), they were seeing about 0.45 (up to 1.1) W/m2 forcing from snow and ice albedo change -- as of 2008. That was before the big snow melt records (and recent ice records) were set. I'd estimate that we're now looking at at least 0.6 W/m2, probably more.

Pretty terrifying when you consider that ALL of that heat is being dumped into the Arctic over the course of the summer. That's a lot of heat to warm the ocean, permafrost, and air.

I'm beginning to think that the methane "alarmists" may have a point. Not to mention how is Greenland going to react when everything around it looks like the Mediterranean?

Ugh.

Jimboomega

The big problem with models is that few are designed with an open water arctic in mind. They talk about a warmer arctic, ignoring the water side of the equation. There's a caveat in that I haven't dived into the actual way the models are built, but I seriously doubt a "wet" arctic could be modeled, since there's no precedent or easy comparison.

The "party line" seems to be that a warmer arctic means a weaker polar vortex - less temperature gradient to feed it, so that makes sense. That weaker polar vortex means a meandering, weaker jet stream, which means weather systems move slower, the jet plunges farther. Fair enough.

But I never hear about the effect on the water side of the equation.

When the winds blow over the sea ice, they pick up very little water through sublimation. Blowing over open ocean, they pick up a fair amount more - both heat of evaporation and the moisture itself.

This is part of why we see the rapid winter refreeze. While more ocean is exposed, the winds absorb water (and heat) as they whip over it, cooling it more quickly than they would cool the equivalent ice, producing some negative feedback.

But this extra heat and moisture can be quite significant. If the water is significantly above freezing, and takes many months to freeze - and if this heat is being ventilated to the atmosphere throughout the summer, in much greater scale than before.

On earth we have vast "polar deserts", where pressures are very high and very little precipitation falls. The air at the poles is cold and dry, blowing as it does over ice (sea ice, or deep snowpack). If one of those deserts was over open water, especially in the winter, pressures would be anomalously low and conditions would be wet. The arctic ocean would be a source of heat and moisture, and the climate would be significantly warmer in a way that the atmosphere would really feel.

That would create all kinds of weird weather patterns we likely haven't seen anything like before. I can't imagine how models could handle that. Air that's a little warmer is one thing, but 10C, humid air near Barrow in October? It could happen.

And if it does, what would happen? I almost feel like we'd see our traditional 3 cells (hadley, ferrel, and polar) breaking down for a 2 or 4 cell regime.

That's something you can't reasonably model. It's a black swan type event. The effects on the Siberian High and (in particular) the North American High would be huge, and that'd ripple throughout climate all across the hemisphere.

I can't say that the effects would be bad. A warm ocean in the north would probably bring warmer and wetter conditions...

In any case, the models probably are assuming an ocean and atmosphere that is a few degrees warmer than the past. They probably account for albedo effects. But they don't address the fundamental question: what is the reality of an open ocean in the far north? It's almost as though an ocean has appeared where they used to be a small continent. In summer ice extent, we've lost an area half the size of Australia. An ocean of that size "popping up" is not something I most climate models take into account. How could they?

Lewis Cleverdon

Rob -

"It looks like models have a hard time keeping up with the rapid changes of the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere that are unfolding as we speak.

I start to wonder if maybe the changes we cause to our environment may unfold more rapidly than the improvement in the models that we need to project these changes."
_______________________________

The rate of summer snow cover loss may well be as relevant to arctic warming as sea-ice loss, not merely in raised summer heat output from immense areas of warmed land to passing air-masses and rivers, but also in the similarly rising destabilization of sub-surface carbon stocks with high methane output potential.

Yet I'd differ somewhat with your account of the modellers' predicament. Firstly, modelling isn't having a hard time keeping up, it has patently failed, drastically, to reflect the accelerating destabilization of arctic ice and carbon stocks. What is more, under the "anything-but-exponential hypothesis" the fact that decline trends show exponential rates is still conventionally dismissed as 'mere curve-fitting', while the objective is still seen to be defining the interactions of the underlying drivers and eventually building a usefully predictive model.

Given the decades that modelling has failed in that attempt at defining interactions, and the lack of a maths capable of doing so even if the initial conditions could be observed down to the requisite resolution, it seems like a dangerous hubris to pursue models at the expense of acknowledging the observed obvious exponential changes now under way.

That approach is not a victim-free error - for two decades it has misinformed the UNFCCC negotiations as to even which century would see fundamental destabilization of arctic norms and the consequences thereof, thus robbing the issue of its real urgency, leaving untold millions vulnerable to lethal climate impacts, not least on global food production.

Yet there is one manner in which modelling might both acknowledge and transcend the reality of its deficient maths and sporadic data on a meta-complex system, which is to title the gap between conventional forecast and current observation of arctic warming as reflecting 'Observed Unquantifiable Feedback Interactions' [OUFIs] and to extrapolate that data as the indicator of the risk of uncontrolled arctic-wide self-reinforcing warming.

That risk indicator approach may be much less than reductionist science would aspire to (and will of course pursue) but it is exactly what is required by society as a basis on which to negotiate commensurate action.

At issue is just how long scientists will take to facilitate this advance in society's response capacity.

Regards,

Lewis


Misfratz.wordpress.com
The big problem with models is that few are designed with an open water arctic in mind. They talk about a warmer arctic, ignoring the water side of the equation. There's a caveat in that I haven't dived into the actual way the models are built, but I seriously doubt a "wet" arctic could be modeled, since there's no precedent or easy comparison.
Can I recommend that you take some time to read about how global climate models are constructed? A good place to start might be the climateprediction.net introduction.

The way climate models are set up they would automatically account for the change in the Arctic, as it warms up and the sea-ice disappears in the model simulation. Of course the models are not perfect, so their response to this change could be wrong for some reason - for example errors in the way the model represents cloud could lead to the model producing too much/little cloud over the newly wet Arctic - but the model would at least be having a try.

Just as an example, as part of CMIP5, the same models that are used for 21st century simulations are also used for paleo-climate simulations, where the boundary conditions are altered to those of the last glacial maximum, so one can see how well the models recreate those conditions.

Karl

Chris, I am a Doctoral student at a leading UK teaching university, Before that I was an engineer in industrial measurement and process control for 22 years with a BSc (hons) as well as a BA in History and a Master of Education. I teach science teachers, mainly physics, part time and study and research the rest. So your comments were not only hurtful but also I would suggest libelous and as such warrants an apology. I do not accept CAGW but rather see natural cycles as being the main driver of climate change all powered by the main power source available, the sun. I also believe we are also squandering vast amounts of money on CAGW that should be spent on real environmental problems as well education and caring for the poor.
So you come over as rather foolish, especially as Neven knows that I have constantly commented on his drift towards more warmist advocacy on this blog and less science reporting.

[Karl, there is no drift. I'm entirely transparent about my views and opinions; see 'Climate Disclaimer' at the top in the right hand bar. I do not believe we can discount the possibility that what is going on in the Arctic will have (big) consequences. I also believe the emission of greenhouse gases causing the warming of atmosphere and oceans has something to do with it. I don't think that's a crazy position.]

FrankD

The brief audio of RADM David Titley @ ~3:20 reminds me to note that he retired from the Navy a few months back (we probably all knew that already, but I hadn't seen it remarked on here).

I have no idea whether his public comments on the state of the Arctic and its likely future played a part in his exit (he had been eased away from climate change activities last year), but Navy's loss is

FrankD

sorry, busted tag. Should read:

...but Navy's loss is NOAA's gain. Either way, the US armed forces have lost a great advocate for reality-based policy-making.

Jim Williams

Lewis: "Yet there is one manner in which modelling might both acknowledge and transcend the reality of its deficient maths and sporadic data on a meta-complex system, which is to title the gap between conventional forecast and current observation of arctic warming as reflecting 'Observed Unquantifiable Feedback Interactions' [OUFIs] and to extrapolate that data as the indicator of the risk of uncontrolled arctic-wide self-reinforcing warming.

That risk indicator approach may be much less than reductionist science would aspire to (and will of course pursue) but it is exactly what is required by society as a basis on which to negotiate commensurate action.

At issue is just how long scientists will take to facilitate this advance in society's response capacity."

I like the approach Lewis, but I'm not sure that risk analysis should be the climate modeler's or climatologist's job. I think the real error here is in presenting Alchemy as Science, and that isn't the fault of the people trying to create the Science. It's the fault of people taking their attempts not for what they are and presenting unverified hypothesis as as uncontrovertible fact. The problem is the Scientismists, not the Scientists.

The risk analysis is a function more appropriate to the military, or to some other body charged with decisionmaking in the face of unknown risks. It isn't appropriate for the people charged with reducing the quantity of unknowns as it will inappropriately color their analysis.

Chris Reynolds

Karl,

I'm old in the tooth in this subject and what I said was a pattern is a pattern. If in your case you do indeed have the background you claim then I apologise for including you in that set. But you must appreciate the pattern I outline is very frequent.

As for cycles and the sun - been there done that. It was my final bastion and it doesn't add up. Believe what you want.

Bruce Worden

Karl, you post insulting, inflammatory rhetoric and then whine and demand apologies when you get back in kind. Is your "doctorate" perhaps coming from the Anthony Watts School of Pretended Outrage?

I doubt anyone here is impressed with your alleged credentials. What is impressive is that despite the massive balance of evidence to the contrary you assert that global warming is the result of "natural cycles." Whether that is actual ignorance or ideological stubbornness the answer is the same (as Chris put it): "shut up, stop whining, go away and learn."

Chris Reynolds

Misfratz,

I'm currently reading Hadley Centre Technical note 91:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/p/i/HCTN_91.pdf
Which is a review of the situation in the Arctic and likely impacts.

They state: "The disadvantage of ice-ocean models that are forced by reanalysis data is that they do not fully capture the interactive nature of the coupling between the ice/ocean and atmosphere and assume that this coupling is appropriately represented in the reanalysis." PIOMAS is forced by reanalysis.

You are correct in asserting that the models do include, ice, ocean, and atmospheric physics. Indeed in a modelling study Watanbe found an AD like behaviour and the Pethoukohv Semenov Barents Sea pattern, found in a model study, causing cold outbreaks in Europe happened this year in early February. Due to low sea ice in Barents/Kara.

However as Overland 2012 note, the GCMs may not be reproducing some of the small scale detailed processes leading to patterns like the early summer Arctic Dipole. As that pattern has led to very low AD index (high pressure on N American side) in all years post 2007 it has likely had a role in the more rapid ice loss over summer leading to the enlarged seasonal cycle in those years. I've never read of such a pattern in the model based literature, as such work has not been referenced by Overland/Francis/Wang/Hanna, it's safe to assume they haven't either.

So whilst there is rather a lot of ill informed dismissal of models on this blog at present, I do think they're missing at least one atmospheric feedback (the early summer AD).

The Met Office statement I quote misses a crucial point: That what PIOMAS gains from using reanalysis are precisely the atmospheric feedbacks that may not be present in the GCMs. If there is feedback from ice/snow to atmosphere it is happenening in the real atmosphere and being included in reanalysis products by default. This means PIOMAS may not be of much use in studying the atmospheric changes, but that is a small price to pay for showing greater fidelity with the realisation of climate that matters: The realisation we're living through.

I should add that I know Maslowski cites greater resolution for his model as the reason it shows such a volume decline. But PIOMAS “has a horizontal resolution of 40 km X 40 km, 21 vertical ocean levels, and 12 thickness categories each for undeformed ice, ridged ice, ice enthalpy, and snow.” NPS “is configured using a horizontal, rotated spherical grid covering 1280×720 cells at a 1/12 degree (approximately 9km) resolution. It has 45 vertical layers” in the ocean. NPS is 9km square, PIOMAS 40km square. So I really doubt if this is the reason for their rapid volume losses.

The common factor that puts both models together against the GCMs is use of reanalysis data to drive the atmospheric behaviour. I'm suspecting more and more that the atmosphere is playing a pivotal role in the acceleration of sea ice loss, and that the GCMs aren't picking this up.

dorlomin

One big smash of the record could be written off as a fluke, a second 5 years later now requires something pretty substantial to justify holding onto any position other than we are probably experiencing a very rapid change in the climate of the Arctic.

Espen

Cant we stop this arguing non sense, and do what we are best at.
And that is watching, reporting and theorizing about the sea ice and the Arctic Sea, we are not scientist, thanks, we got the right and freedom to speak out what we think, most scientist do not have this right for many different reasons, unfortunately!

Please use you right to inform the world about the serious problem we have up north, and stop acting like the kids on other sites!

Espen

And too add to my message above, I dont actually know why we really have this dramatic and serious situation up north in the Arctic Sea.
Whether it is created by humans or it is natural, but if it is natural, it must be supernatural, and why is that?

Chris Reynolds

Lewis,

"Given the decades that modelling has failed in that attempt at defining interactions..."

Whoa! Hold on there!

That is precisely what the models are good for!

If the modellers are doing a bad job and the models are useless, then perhaps you could help with two questions I've posed to denialists running the 'models are useless' line. They're what I mentioned in my response to Misfratz above. To date I have had nothing but evasion from the denialists on this.

In this post I discuss Feb 2012's cold outbreak in Europe, and the Petoukhov/Semenov pattern.
http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/cold-winters-from-theory-into-practice.html

There's a link to the actual paper in the para above the first graphic.

And in Eiji Watanabe et al, 2006, "Arctic dipole anomaly and its contribution to sea ice export from the Arctic Ocean in the 20th century." The authors find an AD pattern in model output. They use MIROC V3.2 with "56 vertical levels in the
atmospheric part, and is 1/4deg zonally and 1/6deg meridionally with the North Pole rotated to Greenland in sea ice and
ocean parts. The ocean has 48 vertical levels. The sea ice model adopts 0-layer thermodynamics [Semtner, 1976] and
elastic-plastic-viscous rheology [Hunke and Dukowicz, 1997]." As an aside compare the resolution of that model and that for PIOMAS and Maslowsi's model in my previous post.

They find the AD in both model (K1) and reanalysis (NCEP) - "The second-leading
mode, which accounts for 19% (K1) and 14% (NCEP) of the variance, displays an obvious seesaw pattern between the Atlantic side (Greenland-Canadian Archipelago) and the Siberian side of the Arctic region in both the K1 and the NCEP. There are two action centers with opposite signs - one center is located over the Greenland Sea, the other exists over the Laptev Sea. This structure is defined as the DA [Wu et al., 2006]."

So I'll ask you the same question I asked of the denialists - If the models are useless and aren't able to reproduce what is going on then how do these model studies produce details of atmospheric behaviour that are seen in the real world?

Yes the model projections of sea ice loss are unbelievably behind events. But that does not mean what the modellers are doing is futile. And it does not mean the models are useless. All models are wrong, the question is are they useful. And the answer to the is a resounding - Yes.

www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawn4S99JJRLrNfgA838BLqx0pzoN7lqRBgI

As for "natural cycles", where they exist, they have causes.
So which "natural cycle" is causing Arctic sea ice to reduce below that seen since before the last ice age?
"Natural cycles" is not an explanation it is a symptom, every climate cycle is the result some underlying change be it orbital mechanics or solar output or something else.
What is the attribution of THIS "climate cycle"

Syddbridges

Quoting Karl:
Chris, I am a Doctoral student at a leading UK teaching university, Before that I was an engineer in industrial measurement and process control for 22 years with a BSc (hons) as well as a BA in History and a Master of Education. I teach science teachers, mainly physics, part time and study and research the rest. So your comments were not only hurtful but also I would suggest libelous and as such warrants an apology. I do not accept CAGW but rather see natural cycles as being the main driver of climate change all powered by the main power source available, the sun.

Really? I too have several degrees (MA and PhD in Chemistry, Diploma in Computer Science and a Masters in Epidemiology), and worked in the engineering industry for 25 years. So my opinion is probably at least as good as yours. The sun had maxima in the fifties and the eighties and it's output has been slightly lower since. see
http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Solar_vs_temp_1024.jpg

Solar irradiance and global temperature have diverged increasingly since the 1960s and the very hot year of 2010 corresponded to the longest solar minimum in many years. So explain how lower solar output causes rising temperatures.

The physics of the greenhouse effect were explained well by Arrhenius in 1896. Since then we have had Planck's radiation law and the quantum theory which explain why greenhouse gases absorb and emit IR. Measurements of incoming and outgong radiation show the Earth is in heat imbalance. Optical pyrgeometers measure the DLR from the sky and show greater emission lines from CO2 and other GHGs. How can this extra radiation not warm the Earth?

When you post showing that you actually understand the theory and put up legitimate arguments as to why you are roght and the scientific community is wrong then we may take you seriously. As it is, I think you are a buffoon suffering from "Mockton Syndrome." Put up and prove me wrong, or shut up.

Lewis Cleverdon

If it blathers unlike a duck
- its due to natural cycles -

and it boasts unlike a duck
- I teach science teachers, mostly physics -

and it smears unlike a duck
- a full blown warmist propaganda blog -

and then it whines unlike a duck
- your comments are hurtful and libellous -

then it ain't a duck it's a troll.

The error is in feeding these parasites with any attention whatsoever, as it only encourages confidence in them
(and in the commercial sponsors of paid shills)
that they can distract significant sites' attention away from questioning just why commensurate action is blocked,
and away from the pivotal scientific and political issues of just what the science indicates is needed as that commensurate response to anthropogenic climate destabilization.

Regards,

Lewis

Neven

Okay, let's leave it at that (unless Karl wants to have the last word, which we'll grant him).

Seke Rob

In the news Greenland Ice Quakes nearing record... domino 13: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/greenlands-ice-quakes-may-set-a-record/

Syddbridges

Thanks for that post on the Greenland quakes, Seke Rob. I'm awaiting/dreading the GIS ice loss this year. I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but this makes it look less likely.

Lewis Cleverdon

Jim - thanks for your response.
"I like the approach Lewis, but I'm not sure that risk analysis should be the climate modeler's or climatologist's job. (---)
. . .
The risk analysis is a function more appropriate to the military, or to some other body charged with decisionmaking in the face of unknown risks. It isn't appropriate for the people charged with reducing the quantity of unknowns as it will inappropriately color their analysis."

I don't quite follow this, as it is only scientists who could credibly put together the required OUFI projections, and risk assessment is surely a large part of standard reporting, right down to how:
"Doubling airborne CO2ppm would cause a warming of between 1.5C and 4.5C"
The probability is assumed by the listener to be highest between the two, with a lower probability of either of the tail values, thus giving a basic risk assessment.

A scientist such as Prof Bill McGuire, who runs Aeon-Benfield Hazard Research, and is entrusted with providing the policy advice on vulcanism-risk assessment by the trillion-dollar re-insurance giant, Munich Re, clearly has no problem with this clouding his judgement on vulcanism research, in which field I gather he is considered quite eminent.

Or am I missing something ?

Regards,

Lewis

Noley

I know I'm not the only one bothered by the insults (veiled and otherwise) being tossed about in this thread. It brings down the nature and spirit of this wonderful blog.

The majority of us here have a deep interest in what happens in the Arctic and its ramifications for our planet. Meanwhile some in this particular thread are acting like trolls, rolling out credentials and deliberately tossing stones at others. IMHO, it lowers the tone of discussion that is normally excellent.

There's no need to get into a pissing contest over credentials. The mutual respect we've always had here should prevail. And as tempting as it may be, it's usually best not to feed trolls--it only encourages them.

Just sayin'.

Kevin O'Neill

" I think the real error here is in presenting Alchemy as Science..."

Who is presenting alchemy as science? Does the fact that scientists lack perfect knowledge make them alchemists? Sounds like rhetorical crap.

Anyone - *anyone* - that dismisses modeling in general, and climate modeling specifically, simply doesn't understand what they are talking about. Climate science is a synthesis of virtually all other sciences combined. Off the top of my head I can list oceanography, atmospheric physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, biology, meteorology, geology, paleogeology, glaciology, metrology, and statistics. My apologies to the probably dozens of sciences I've neglected to mention.

On many denier sites its not uncommon (and quite irritating) that many don't even realize the 'data' they're using (often to criticize models) is itself the output of a model. Weather forecast? Model output. DMI temps? Model output. Satellite temps? Model output. Sea ice extent? Model output. Sea ice area? Model output. Sea ice volume? Model output.

Every model is both an hypothesis and a tool. Each makes assumptions, has limitations, and carries an associated uncertainty. The idea that any of this is alchemy posing as science is so far from the truth that I'd expect it from someone on Watt's or Goddard's site - but not here.

Forgive me for being cranky, but I've never had much patience for stupidity.

NeilT

Over the years I have noticed that there are a group of people who use sites, like this one, to report the information that they wish to present.

So long as you only present raw data and avoid the analysis and impact of the outcome of said data, then those people, usually with an agenda of their own, will be happy. If you shift to analysis of these data, potential causes and impacts, they will bemoan that shift.

Why will they bemoan this shift?

Because when you include the analysis and the impact, you set the tone of the site. i.e. that this site is recording changes in the cryosphere of the planet as a result of human changes in the balance of climate warming gasses.

Thus it is significantly more difficult for said group, with an agenda, to link people to this site. Because they don't want those people to get true ananlysis of the numbers, they just want people to be able to refer to the numbers for their own analysis without having to read the viewpoint and analysis of those who do believe in human driven climate change.

Anyone who uses the acronym CAGW, immediately loses all credibility in my esimtaion and is immediately put on a BS list. Because that acronym is a politically generated scare phrase to try and sway people who have no interest in the science or the changes currently under way.

Neven, I believe you have a choice here and others who have been here much longer than me also need to embrace this choice.

Either you can simply cruch numbers and produce pictures. Which can then be used by poeple in any way they want.

Or you can observe, analyse and report the drivers for these data, trends in the change and likely impacts as a result of these changes. In order to do this you also need to report opinions and discuss the likely scientific grounds for belief or the political controvesy surrounding these data.

All change is a choice. However I'd have a long hard look at the agenda of people who want to drive your choices.

Lewis Cleverdon

Chris - thanks for your response.
"So I'll ask you the same question I asked of the denialists - If the models are useless and aren't able to reproduce what is going on then how do these model studies produce details of atmospheric behaviour that are seen in the real world?

Yes the model projections of sea ice loss are unbelievably behind events. But that does not mean what the modellers are doing is futile. And it does not mean the models are useless. All models are wrong, the question is are they useful. And the answer to the is a resounding - Yes. "
________________________________

Given that I haven't, and wouldn't, suggest that "the models are useless" or futile, since such a position would be absurd as you suggest, I'm unclear why you pose these straw questions.

We're agreed that the models (of sea-ice loss) are as you put it "incredibly behind events", which was the basis of my observation of the need of a pro-tem OUFI model expressing the extrapolated advance of observed arctic warming beyond that modelled off global warming - that could be attributed, as a working hypothesis, to feedback interactions.

That numerical indicator of the growing risk of uncontrolled self-reinforcing arctic warming has no cogent scientific expression at the moment, and this forms a critical gap in the advice provided to the global negotiations, on which they are mandated to proceed.

So no, I don't suggest that modelling is futile - it is absolutely central to the advancement of climate science - yet approaches that are as far off as the mean of sea-ice models cannot yet offer useful predictions - quite the contrary, they have turned out to have been seriously misleading. As I remarked, their improvement will of course be pursued, but with rising complexity of increasingly diverse interactions, no one could propose a delivery date on a reliably predictive comprehensive model of arctic warming. Hence the proposal for a fresh approach that will inform society in timely manner of the risk that it is wading into full steam ahead.

Hoping this clarifies my position so that we may avoid further misunderstanding,

regards,

Lewis

Syddbridges

Does anyone know whether the individual N_daily_extent_hires.png images of Arctic ice extent are archived by NSIDC? I have been downloading them daily on my laptop, but now it refuses to turn on. They always have the same file name when I download, so I've been changing it to the date to save them.

Thanks.

GeoffBeacon

Rob Dekker

Thank you for pointing us to Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections.

Am I right in thinking it is too late for consideration for the IPCC AR5 so will not influence the IPCC for nearly a decade from now?

Im trying to get the European Union off its IPCC hook. I sent this a week ago

Dear Commissioner,

Following last year's correspondence, I would like you to look at:
"Note for Connie Hedegaard, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action" http://bkuk.com/eu/

I'm looking forward to a comment from you or your office.

Best wishes

Geoff Beacon

I'm trying to get my MEPs to encourage a reply. I hope some of you with MEPs will take up the same points.

Perhaps I'll try Kriton Arsenis MEP too. I was very impressed by his comment that Greek wildfires in 2007 counted as economic growth.

Apocalypse4Real

I have posted the CH4 359 hPa imagery for Sept 11-20, 2012 vs 2011.

https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realmethane2012/home/2012-vs-2011-airs-ch4-359-hpa

Also the comparison with Dr. Yurganiv's 600 mb imagery is available for Sept 11-20, 2012.

https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realmethane2012/home/2012-Arctic-CH4-AIRS-359-hPa-vs-IASI-970-600-mb

Chris Reynolds

Lewis,

In your earlier comment you said:

"
Yet I'd differ somewhat with your account of the modellers' predicament. Firstly, modelling isn't having a hard time keeping up, it has patently failed, drastically, to reflect the accelerating destabilization of arctic ice and carbon stocks. What is more, under the "anything-but-exponential hypothesis" the fact that decline trends show exponential rates is still conventionally dismissed as 'mere curve-fitting', while the objective is still seen to be defining the interactions of the underlying drivers and eventually building a usefully predictive model.

Given the decades that modelling has failed in that attempt at defining interactions, and the lack of a maths capable of doing so even if the initial conditions could be observed down to the requisite resolution, it seems like a dangerous hubris to pursue models at the expense of acknowledging the observed obvious exponential changes now under way.
"

Which I summed up as meaning the models were useless. They're not.

Chris Reynolds

Forgot to add - yes your further statement clears up any misunderstanding.

Espen

Oil giant Total of France, believe the risk of oil exploration in the arctic is too high.

http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/total_arctic

P-maker

Geoff B

Your prayers have been heard. This piece of text appeared yesterday in the Danish newspaper “Jyllands-Posten” – you know the one with the infamous cartoons a couple of years ago.

Under the headline: “Extreme weather is the new norm”, Commissioner Hedegaard wrote:

”Forskerens kuldegysninger
»Selv for mig er det svært at tro, at klimaændringerne rent faktisk lever op til vores værste forventninger,« udtalte en klimaforsker , da nogle Nasa-satellitter i sidste uge viste, at havisen omkring Nordpolen var på sit laveste niveau. »For at være helt ærlig, er det begyndt at give mig kuldegysninger.« Et andet eksempel på ekstreme vejrforhold er tøvejret i juli i Grønland , hvor satellitdata viste, at 97 pct. af overfladeisen på Grønlands indlandsis er ved at smelte .
»Var det virkelig rigtigt, eller skyldtes det bare en fejl i dataene?« spurgte en forsker i Nasa.
Desværre var dataene korrekte.
Alle disse vejrrekorder afslører, at det globale klimasammenbrud foregår hurtigere, end de fleste forskere havde forventet.
Klimaændringerne finder sted, og de gør en lang række andre globale problemer værre og fører til større usikkerhed i en allerede usikker verden.”

I will let Google translate it for you, but basically she says, that unforeseen changes in the Arctic give researchers the shivering and that the whole thing is a “global climate breakdown”.

Jim Williams

Kevin O'Neill: "Who is presenting alchemy as science? Does the fact that scientists lack perfect knowledge make them alchemists? Sounds like rhetorical crap."

"Anyone - *anyone* - that dismisses modeling in general, and climate modeling specifically, simply doesn't understand what they are talking about. Climate science is a synthesis of virtually all other sciences combined. Off the top of my head I can list oceanography, atmospheric physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, biology, meteorology, geology, paleogeology, glaciology, metrology, and statistics. My apologies to the probably dozens of sciences I've neglected to mention."

I'm afraid it is you who is presenting Alchemy as Science, and I have not rejected weather modeling as Alchemy as it seems to have become Science in recent years.

The difference between Alchemy and Science is the experimental basis in Science; which Alchemy has not for one reason or another developed. In the case of climate modelling the reason is simple. We do not have a supply of extra Earths to use to compare competing theories. The alternative to extra Earths is what Meteorology did to become a Science, long repeated observation. After a few ice ages Climatology should become a Science too.

My objection here is to the way people are attempting to use these models. Not to the models themselves. What they predict is meaningless. What they demonstrate about our understanding is priceless.

Also, please read the comment immediately above yours.

wayne

The big player about lack of snow is indeed sea ice, one has to remember the days when sea ice was more expansive. Islands of snow as soon as temperatures hit below zero. The interconnect between land and sea ice is drifting snow going both ways. Even without snowing, pack ice may be a source of snow. Now that the ice is very much shrunken so does the snow cover. But there is also a relation between open sea water and the lack of snow cover. Its essentially the same thing as drifting snow. If the sea surface is +2 C, the invisible heat flux drift makes
the land surface unlikely to have snow cover. I've noted several remelts this September, it snows all right, but the over all temperatures eventually are simply too warm making snow sublimation quite rapid in any given wind. This may hold true for even colder places like top of GIS. Sublimation is a strong factor denuding the surface of snow, another feedback exacerbated even by the very low sun whenever it shows. Finally near and below 0 C partial pressure of water in air is so low, there is the natural "desert" effect making the Arctic drier than any arid zone further south.

Kevin O'Neill

Jim, you're just wrong. Meteorology suffers from the same lack of experimental earths to play with - they use models instead. In the chapter Simple Models of Climate Change from Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming we can find:

"Meteorology is a branch of physics," a weather expert remarked in 1939, "and physics makes use of two powerful tools: experiment and mathematics. The first of these tools is denied to the meteorologist and the second does not prove of much use to him in climatological problems." So many interrelated factors affected climate, he explained, that you couldn't write it all down mathematically without making so many simplifying assumptions that the result would never match reality. It wasn't even possible to calculate from first principles the average temperature of a place, let alone how the temperature might change in future years. And "without numerical values our deductions are only opinions."

What advanced meteorology wasn't repeated observations - man had been recording the weather for centuries without making any significant advancement in forecasting weather. No, what changed was a better understanding of the global atmospherics, oceanic couplings, and radiative transfers AND the advent of computers powerful enough to crunch the numbers. GCMs were instrumental in many of these advances.

Along with the chapter on Simple Models of Climate I highly recommend you read the chapter on General Circulation Models of Climate.

GeoffBeacon

Thanks P-maker

I've followed up the email with another.

Jim Williams

It's sad the lack of education in the Philosophy of Science.

Apocalypse4Real

The upcoming impacts on ice includes the winter storms. The SLP expected to move into the CAB is likely slow refreeze and compaction.

The CICE forecast depicts this well:

http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arc_list_arcticicespddrf.html

Bruce Worden

A4R: "I have posted the CH4 359 hPa imagery for Sept 11-20, 2012 vs 2011."

Ouch.

wayne

Continuing on the lack of snow on the ground bit with one more item. Without sea ice on a massive scale the lower atmospheric structure loses boundary layers, inversions are scarce next to the Arctic ocean now a days. This renders the flow of air purely adiabatical, increasing sublimation a great deal.

Darren Wood

Hi not a regular poster as I have little to add given the quality of the posts on here!

Could there be any correlation between the last record minimum and the flooding in the UK in 2007 (june /july) and this years record minimum and the current UK floods?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_United_Kingdom_floods

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19725625

bluesky

This is my first comment and I do not have the knowledge that most of you have, there seems to be another interesting article on the impact of record low snow cover in May/June:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/arctic-snow-melt/

with Overland and Francis inferring that there might be a connection between the low snow cover and AD, bringing warming air over the Arctic. Apologies if this has already been posted

Darren Wood: I think ECMWF is looking at this kind of correlation:
http://www.ecmwf.int/publications/cms/get/ecmwfnews/1347007442577

Werther

Darren, Hi,
Your question is in my mind too. I’ve been busy tracing effects like hemispheric weather change since beginning of September. The fall weather shift should reflect consequences, triggered by so much ice loss.
In my post Werther | September 26, 2012 at 11:44 I summed the bad positioning of a sequence of Rossby troughs over the British Isles. It is an observation. I am not sure it could be one of these consequences on its own.
I am intrigued by the behaviour of TS Nadine. It seems as if it is constantly blocked to curve out north by a ridge stretching into Greenland. A lot of energy is anomalously transferred along southwestern Europe. The Netherlands had a sweep of that last Monday, mostly wind. The UK took the brunt. The link could be the blocking pattern.
All that moisture trails on to Lapland and the Barentsz Sea. We’ll see what it becomes… to be continued?

james cobban

Hi, first time posting. A heartfelt thanks to all the contributors here who have put so much effort into crafting such excellent and informative posts.

Here's a program from Alex Smith at Radio Ecoshock that some of you will likely be intersted in. My apologies if it has been posted before. Its about the government's muzzling of climate scientists in Canada and the US. While the situation in the US under Obama seems to be improving, that in my country, Canada, has grown far, far worse since the development of the tar sands. The Canadian gov't doesn't want any pesky climate scientists educating the public:

http://www.ecoshock.info/2012/02/free-climate-scientists.html

From the intro:

"Dr. John Mashey investigates right-wing billionaires & corporations who pay alleged "charities", bloggers, & old weathermen to deny climate science. Canadian journalist Margaret Munro on government muzzling scientists, plus update by UCS Francesca Grifo on science freedom in U.S.

The fossil fuel industry have teamed up with very wealthy idealogues to make you doubt global warming is happening, or that we are forcing big changes in the climate.

For years, we guessed and partly knew that a small group of Right-wing think tanks, weathermen, and bloggers, and even a couple of low-grade climate scientists, were being paid off. We just couldn't see through the corporate veil of deception.

Now we know many of the same people hired by the tobacco industry to create doubt that smoking killed millions of people, found a new source of funding, and a new cause. They are attacking climate science, and the scientists. Hidden money fuels a campaign of lies, inuendo, fear mongering and fake science."

Darren Wood

Werther, Bluesky thank you. It seems as though climate change is not really something that needs debating anymore but more of something that needs preparation for.

Kate

We get good coverage of the Arctic ice melt in Australia - here is the latest from ABC News website - a graphic showing loss of ice since 1984.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-27/arctic-sea-ice-maps-before-after-1984-2012/4283418

Thanks again Neven for your outstanding blog and thanks to the other very informed contributors.

Apocalypse4Real

Sea ice melt, global climate change and costs are all addressed in a Sept. 25 Guardian article, estimating global climate costs are $1.2 trillion per year.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/26/climate-change-damaging-global-economy?newsfeed=true

Apocalypse4Real

The full 331 page report is found here:

http://download.daraint.org/CVM2-Low.pdf

Bruce Worden

"We get good coverage of the Arctic ice melt in Australia - here is the latest from ABC News website - a graphic showing loss of ice since 1984."

I like the graphic, but I get frustrated with all of this talk of the "average." I know that one needs to establish a baseline, but when that baseline is a declining trend, the average value misrepresents what is happening. And then you compare this year to the average and you leave the impression that "wow, yep, that's different from the average," when the real story is a long-term and increasingly rapid decline.

Colorado Bob

A Japanese team in Greenland this summer. ..........


One surprising feature of the glacier was the reddish brown and gray stains on the icy surface. Some spots were black, like ink. The discolorations were caused by microbes living in the snow and ice.............. The Tokyo Institute of Technology and Chiba University have been observing cryoconites since the 1990s and have reported that they accelerate the speed at which ice melts.

Professor Nozomu Takeuchi of the Faculty of Science at Chiba University thought that "microbe populations may be growing in the polar regions due to warming," so he analyzed past satellite imagery of Greenland.

He says the area covered by the blackish ice has been spreading inland from the coasts over the years.

"There's no doubt the stains are from microbes. I think it's only a matter of time before they cover the entire ice sheet," said Takeuchi, who has visited the ice sheet. "Changes in the ecosystem on the ice could significantly alter the Earth's environment."

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201209280006

Seke Rob

hmmm, on top of it being less cold, do these beasties like elevated CO2 levels and or CH4.

Bruce Worden

So we have microbes turning the ice black, and now mining:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/science/earth/melting-greenland-weighs-perils-against-potential.html?hp

I can't imagine how much soot large-scale mining is going to spew onto the ice. Not to mention the industrial heat and the glee with which the mining companies will shred the ice while chasing new deposits.

And farming activity has been increasing for years now, which means more animals, which means more local atmospheric methane. (And any local CO2 reduction from the increased plant life is going to be offset by the CO2 spewed by mining, farm machinery, and increased population.)

I'm starting to think that the ice sheet might melt a little faster than we expect.

Kris

Professor Nozomu Takeuchi of the Faculty of Science at Chiba University thought

We could wonder if the professor isn't a bit reinventing the wheel.

We know since 1887 ice and glaciers could be full of living organisms.
For example, at Mount Everest at 6000 m ice has reddish spots full of alge.
On glaciers in Alaska and Canada are evolving ice worms (which you better don't touch) as a special attraction.
The Artic icecap's surface is full of bacteries breeding in summer. In the fresh water produced by the melting of the ice. And of which the future looks grim.

For sure the phenomena is there. But it's not something new, on the contrary.

Chuck Yokota

Kris, it doesn't seem to me that he thinks he is discovering new organisms, but interested in the the extent and albedo change, in much the same spirit as the NSIDC tracks the extent of sea ice. One of the photos shows a colleague measuring how varying microbe concentration affects the rate of ice melt.

Timothy Chase

Kevin O'Neill wrote:

On many denier sites its not uncommon (and quite irritating) that many don't even realize the 'data' they're using (often to criticize models) is itself the output of a model. Weather forecast? Model output. DMI temps? Model output. Satellite temps? Model output. Sea ice extent? Model output. Sea ice area? Model output. Sea ice volume? Model output.

Every model is both an hypothesis and a tool. Each makes assumptions, has limitations, and carries an associated uncertainty.

Sounds a lot like 19th century philosophy of science to me.

I am thinking along the lines of the essay "Quelques reflexions au sujet des theories physiques" by Pierre Duhem circa 1892, published in the book "La Theorie physique: son objet et sa structure" in 1906, translated into English as "The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory" in 1954.

I approve.

LRC

@ Kris, Chuck: Thanks for bringing to light evidence on how organisms work on deteriorating ice. I had brought up the possibility (probably poorly worded) that they could have a greater impact on rotting the Arctic ice, but was put down quite hard for that idea so I did not pursue it.

TenneyNaumer

The moniker "warmist" just doesn't do it for me -- not after this summer and all the days in the 90s and 100s. The future is going to be very hot, not warm. I prefer "climate realist."

Kevin O'Neill

Timothy if you are referring to Duchem's inseparability thesis:

"a physics experiment is not simply the observation of a phenomenon. . . . It is the precise observation of a group of phenomena, accompanied by the interpretation of these phenomena; this interpretation substitutes for the concrete given, actually gathered by observation, some abstract and symbolic representations which correspond to the given by virtue of the physical theories admitted by the observer"

It is undoubtedly true that many modern measurements cannot be observed directly; they require sophisticated instruments that rely upon other theories for their construction and operation, and for the
interpretation of their results. Scientists understand this and when hypothesis (models) and observation disagree it has often been found that it is the *observations* that are incorrect - not the hypothesis. So Duchem's main thesis and it's corollary of falsifiability are definitely applicable.

Timothy Chase

Kevin O'Neill wrote:

It is undoubtedly true that many modern measurements cannot be observed directly; they require sophisticated instruments that rely upon other theories for their construction and operation, and for the interpretation of their results. Scientists understand this and when hypothesis (models) and observation disagree it has often been found that it is the *observations* that are incorrect - not the hypothesis. So Duhem's main thesis and it's corollary of falsifiability are definitely applicable.
Yes, I am speaking of Pierre Duhem's inseparability thesis, his empirical holism, where tests of modern scientific theories almost inevitably require appeal to other scientific theories which must be assumed to be true if the theory in the foreground is to be tested by means of experiment.

The only amendment I would make is that we should be concerned with testability, not falsiability, at least in the strictest as Karl Popper conceived of it, as he in essence argued that individual scientific hypotheses (and later amended this to theories) could be tested in isolation from one another.

He states:

Now in my view there is no such thing as induction. Thus inferences to theories, from singular statements which are 'verified by experience' (whatever that may mean), is logically inadmissible. Theories are, therefore, never empirically verifiable...

But I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. These considerations suggest that not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation. In other words: I shall not require of a scientific system that it shall be capable of being singled out, once and for all, in a positive sense; but I shall require that its logical form shall be such that it can be singled out, by means of empirical tests, in a negative sense: it must be possible for an empirical scientific sytem to be refuted by experience. (Popper, "The Logic of Scientific Discovery," 2nd ed., 40-41)

The argument I provide argues against that sort of falsiability and in favor of testability by means of an empirical holism that implies epistemic justification as a matter of degree.

Chris Reynolds

Jim Williams, further up thread in response to Kevin O'Niell:

"It's sad the lack of education in the Philosophy of Science."

Oh! The irony!

Jim Williams

Chris, it seems to me you are an extreme latecomer to the realization that climate was changing. Maybe you should consider that fact.

Frankd 1977

It's not just the bacteria lowering the ice's albedo that will cause melt. They produce heat and their waste inhibits ice crystallization. Also, some bacteria have polypeptides which inhibit ice crystal to form both within them and on their cell walls.

http://mic.sgmjournals.org/content/150/1/171.full.pdf

I would image that the additional melt factors I have mentioned are not as great as the lowering of albedo. But even an additional +1mm/year contribution to ocean levels would be significant in the long run.

Chris Reynolds

Jim Williams,

Irrelevant.

Jim Williams

Thimothy, questions of truth belong strictly within the realm of Philosophy, even if within the Philosophy of Science -- not within Science. Popper's Third World and the notions of fallibilism he proposes more so than most notions of Truth, as he is basically proposing a Spook World where ideas reside waiting to be thought. It's fine to have a metaphysic of a spooky plain where Truth resides, but to impose such notions upon the world as we find it is simply a religion. In this case the religious belief that the Universe is knowable.

Within Science we have merely the invention of experiments which might tend to confirm or tend to deny a philosophical hypothesis, the execution of those experiments, and their repetition. Any notion that the results are somehow True is outside the realm of Science and in the Spook World of belief.

Science only tends to Confirm or tends to Deny. It never proves anything. Leave proof along with pi in the magical and fanciful world of infinite mathematics and get on with the practical business of approximation.

NeilT

Karl wants us to test our climate to destruction in order to prove that the models got it wrong by xxx% and needed to be better.

Very good science I'm sure.

Hardly a lot of common sense in there though is there?

I remember Gavin Schmidt commenting on the "statistical analysis" of Michael Mann's data, by a bunch of statisticians.

In the end their output was complete and utter gibberish and could have been interpreted in many different ways. Gavin was clear. When people are relying on the output of a model, you have to find somewhere to stand in order to create a result.

It may well be (almost certainly), that the standing position will change over time as our knowledge grows. Yet at least our knowledge will grow.

With Karl's approach, no knowledge grows, society dies instead.

This is not difficult. It doesn't require game theory or involved equations. Just a large portion of simple, old fashioned, common sense.

Jeffrey Davis

I've never understood the "cycles" people. Where does the energy from the extra greenhouse gases go? It seems to me that you would have to deny the Greenhouse Effect to be a "cycles" person. The amount of energy from the increase in greenhouse gases can be calculated, and that energy has to do some work.

Timothy Chase

NeilT wrote:

It may well be (almost certainly), that the standing position will change over time as our knowledge grows. Yet at least our knowledge will grow.
Generally, theories cannot be tested in isolation from one-another, but rather, later theories rely upon earlier more well-established theories in terms of the design of the experiments and instruments with which they are tested, such as when we relied upon the theory of electromagnetism in order to test Special Relativity, optics in order to test General Relativity, or rely upon a correspondence principle that requires more advanced theories to arrive at the same results as earlier theories where those earlier theories were applicable. For example, we know that classical mechanics works well at velocities well below that of the speed of light, and therefore Special Relativity had better arrive at the same answers within that domain, and in weak gravitational fields, Newton's gravitational theory works well, therefore Einstein's gravitational theory should arrive at the same results within that domain. Schwarzchild relied on this principle to arrive at the value of a final constant in his solution to Einstein's field equations. (For those who are interested, I would strongly recommend Peter Gabriel Bergmann's "The Theory of Relativity.")

Additionally, the justification for a conclusion supported by several independent lines of investigation is generally far greater than that which it receives from any given line of investigation considered in isolation. If the conclusion were supported by only one line of evidence and that support were removed the conclusion would no longer be supported. But if it is supported by multiple lines of evidence and all but one were removed it would still have some support. In this way it is a bit like redundant systems in a spacecraft where so long as some work the mission can still be completed. If each line of argument is fully independent of the rest and each in isolation would provide an equal amount of justification, then the probability that the conclusion is false drops as an exponential function of the number of lines of justification. This is what sometimes gets referred to as the "consilience of arguments" that more often gets discussed in the context of evolutionary biology but which is of course applicable to all empirical science.

For example, the basis in physics for explaining the greenhouse effect is essentially the same as that for describing photovoltaic devices, or that which Einstein used to suggest the possibility of lasers. The same principles form the basis for our ability to perform calculations in chemistry and biochemistry at the quantum level. It is how we are able to understand and predict the behavior of tunnel diodes. In fact, the physics behind the greenhouse effect is essentially the same as that which cooks your burrito in the microwave oven.

So long as someone can pretend that the reason why we believe adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will result in global warming is due to mere correlation they can make the case for anthropogenic global warming appear weak. But when you realize the extent to which it follows from our understanding of physics and that this is the same physics that underlies so much of the technology we rely upon in our everyday lives you realize just how absurd it is to deny that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide will increase the average global temperature. Similarly, if one were to try and argue that something other than an enhanced greenhouse effect is responsible for rising temperatures (e.g., climate cycles of some sort), not only would they have to argue for that other mechanism, but they have to explain what is preventing an enhanced greenhouse effect from raising temperatures given the rising concentrations of carbon dioxide.

Chris Reynolds

Beautifully put Timothy.

In your final two paragraphs you sum up exactly why I have so little patience and respect for the denialists, and why I find the claims of some to having a scientific background so hard to believe.

From my understanding of the science, those claiming that the current AGW has nothing to do with CO2 emissions appear as utterly ridiculous as someone claiming the moon is made of cheese.

dabize

I second Chris's comment.

Denying the heat-trapping effect of accumulating atmospheric CO2 is a bit like saying that you don't believe in the p-orbital. No amount of obfuscating argument about the details of heat transfer can restore credibility to the person who does it.

colincr

I, too, would like to commend T. Chase's statement and exhibition of reason! Alas, that seems to be a faculty that is rarely developed or nurtured in our species. Nonetheless, it reminds me of a 'state geologist' I saw/heard in Randy Olson's Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus a few years ago. This, ahem, gentleman allegedly/supposedly had 1 or more degrees in the science of geology and was employed by one of the so-called "Bible-belt" states. Despite that he is on film stating plainly that the Earth is only 6K yrs old and dinosaurs coexisted with humans!?!? Can anyone explain how someone is able to pass all the required learning to obtain such a certification/position with such an abject belief? Just how "messed-up" are "our" institutions and methods of "education?" Makes one go, "Hmmmm."

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