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dorlomin

How does he calculate this and what are the parameters? What I mean is "this will be like" or "this is like" two different things.

Artful Dodger

Yes, I'd be interested in seeing the calculation as well. First off, we know 20 years of man-made C02 is about 20 x 32 Gigatons, or about 640 gigatons. This could be roughly +44 ppm CO2. What is the expected warming from that? And, doesn't the distribution matter, since all the new heat is concentrated in the Arctic ocean?

Then, given that the world's remaining carbon budget to avoid 2C warming is about 565 Gt, we have less time than that, just 17 years, to effectively de-carbonize the world economy. My instinct is that we'll still be negotiating how to begin talking about whether there's a problem...

Maslowski talks about "absorption and redistribution" playing increasing roles. We saw that in 2012. Beaufort SST's +5C anomaly, GAC-2012 mixed the warm water into the ice pack, SSTs briefly return to normal, then after two weeks of additional solar heating, SSTs were on the rise again.

The Tipping Point in a Nutshell.

Cheers,
Lodger

Lennartvdl

See this post for Wadhams' calculation:
http://arctic-news.blogspot.nl/2012/07/albedo-change-in-arctic.html

No idea if this is correct/close.

k eotw

I saw the newsnight episode on TV. The arctic ice story was given a low priority behind other stories and came near the end.

First they showed a 5 minute segment explaining the arctic situation and let Professor Wadhams talk. Then they had a "green activist" and a "prominent climate skeptic" (didn't catch his name) in the studio to talk about it.

Typical scenario: climate skeptic gets away with false claims unchallenged (arctic warmer with less ice in 30s) because the "green activist" has no idea about the subject.

The climate skeptic began by attacking Professor Wadhams as a "well known alarmist", complaining that his claims were not peer reviewed and insisted that we should be trusting the IPCC projections, even quoting them to claim sea ice won't be gone until at least 2070. No this isn't a joke - the skeptic really did praise the last IPCC report and say we should follow that, attacking the BBC.

The green activist was clueless and kept fumbling answers. I honestly have no idea why she came on the program unless she was a ploy to discredit the science.

Even when Paxman (the presenter) challenged her by saying (paraphrase) "so if the ice is going to disappear in a few years what is the use of cutting CO2?" (ie we can't cut emissions in time if the arctic is ice free in a few years) she fumbled around for the obvious answer, before saying it would be good for jobs and the economy. Seriously.

Paxman quite rightly pointed out that had nothing to do with climate. Only then did she murmur something about it would get worse.

She should have pointed out that the initial loss of sea ice in summer will only be the beginning. After that the ice-free period will expand possibly covering many months (refer to the distant past).

If these green activists want to defend the science on TV they need to learn it. They need to read all the stuff on skepticalscience. Ideally Id prefer it if a non-green activist was on the program to counter the climate skeptic. Even a climate scientist might not be good enough. You need someone familiar with the subject AND familiar with skeptics.

Espen Olsen

K eotw,

I 100 % agree with you, I mostly have hard times listening to Scientists and the "Greens" when interviewed by the press, because mostly dont understand how to present the important information, and the result in public views will continue to be as it is now!
I always stay informed what the "opposition" tells, I know a lot of commenters on this blog never would do that!

Paul Butler

Sadly, that green activist is the new leader of the UK Green Party. If there's one bit of science she really needs to keep up to date with, it's climate science - and since she must have known what the piece was about, she had no excuse for not getting properly informed.

It was frustrating seeing Peter Lilley (a Tory cabinet minister from long ago) getting away with citing the IPCC models as if they wern't yesterday's news. If there is one thing that would strongly justify a green activist's 'alarmist' position on climate change, it's how much the projections of Arctic sea ice have changed in a mere 5 years - and she completely passed on that opportunity.

What a shame.

Neven

It's too bad my piece on consequences didn't make it in the Guardian (I had some help, but never received a reply). That UK Green Party leader might have read it.

They need to clone NASA's Tom Wagner so he can do all the interviews on Arctic sea ice and Greenland Ice Sheet melt worldwide. That guy is so awesome.

John Mason

Lilley's new "if events prove worse than IPCC projections, then go with what the IPCC said!" theme did not go unnoticed and will feature in a post at a website near you soon!

Al Rodger

k eotw,
The 'activist' was Natalie Bennett, the very recent replacement of Caroline Lucas as Leader of the UK Green Party. As the Green Party try to be a broad party with policies on non-green matters, she had to start on about jobs, housing, pet care or whatever. I felt Paxman weighed in from the start asking denialist questions like 'if we're all doooomed, why bother with your silly policies?' (I paraphrase!) which wasn't good.

The skeptic was Peter Lilley MP, a has-been Thatcherite. He has recently been published by the lunatics at GWPF (many of whom are ex-colleagues). I don't think he actually agrees with the IPCC. He was wriggling & just took that line for the programme. You will note the contrast in questioning. Following Bennett's defence of an agressive Paxman, Lilley was effectively aske "Well. What do you think to that then?" Lilley still got himself in knots but sadly, at the points were he was about to say some really silly stuff (the sort that would have provided a classic clip for the web-browsing folk), Paxman changed the subject.

On the subject of the global warming due to an ice-free summer arctic, the Wadhams calc linked by Lennartvdl looks far too simplistic. Yet the 20-year's-worth of warming that the programme linked to ice-free summers (but not to Wadhams that I remember) would yield 0.53Wm^-2. (You could make this lower by saying the years are future ones not the last ones, but last ones were mentioned in the programme.) Hudson 2011 came up with was 0.3Wm^-2 for an ice-free summer & 0.7Wm^-2 for ice-free all-year. So it is the right ball-park. It is also the same ball-park for TOA energy imbalance which is 0.7-0.9Wm^-2 (?) which sort of perhaps maybe could justify the lead paragraph of the BBC item.

And did you spot Susan Watts's PIOMAS animation that then went 3D so as not to hide the decline? The BBCi player link is below, between 35-48mins (not available outside UK I'm told)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mmx7q/Newsnight_05_09_2012/

Paul Butler

Al

I think you're being too kind to Bennett. She knew what the subject was, so she had no need to waffle about general political stuff. This subject really should be meat and drink to the Green Party leader, and if she'd been well informed she would have made it absolutely clear to Lilley that he was talking rubbish.

It's frustrating, because Newsnight is a prime current affairs program, and the audience could have got some important science out of it, about how rapidly things really are are changing.

Seke Rob

FYI for UK participants on ASI: "Currently iPlayer TV are available to play only in the UK". Why: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/outside_the_uk/outsideuk . This cross border rights control stuff is getting worse and worse.

Karl

No matter the merits of the speakers or their political views, it is such a pity that 'this' site has seemed to become more and more political and less scientifically neutral. So much so that the political and ultra alarmist commentators seemed to have taken over what was a site well regarded for the reporting of the facts, with the occassional AGW comment from Neven which is fine, after all it's his hard work that makes this all happen. But it would seem that this site has come over all Joe Rommish recently. No doubt I will be shouted down for just wanting to see and hear about the science. But to be honest, for me, the politics is just so much hot air!

dorlomin

Lilley was absolutely seething at the BBC piece. How dare they use current data rather than 5 year old models.

Jim_pettit

It's disheartening to see that the British media lazily fall into the same "he said/she said" attitude that the American media do when discussing subjects such as this, as if science doesn't consist of fact but rather only fuzzy, subjective interpretations of the data. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it in their book It's Even Worse Than It Looks: "a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality".

Shamefully balance-minded program host: "Gentlemen, I'd like each of you to answer the following question: is the world a sphere, or is it flat?

A thousand scientists: "Oh, the world is definitely a sphere. Centuries of exploration and research, combined with decades of space photos, prove that to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt."

A lone "skeptic" of the Spherical Earth Theory: "Wrong. The world is definitely flat. After all, if it's a sphere, why doesn't it roll away like a ball? And why don't people on the other side of the world fall off? Huh?"

Shamefully balance-minded program host: "As you can see, folks, scientists are still heavily divided on the controversial topic of the earth's shape. Which is it? It's obvious after today's debate that we may never know the truth!"

Extremely frustrating, it is...

Al Rodger

Hi Paul Butler,

(I should warn that we do here stray into an area of my expertise as I am involved in party politics.) I would say the mistake the Green Party makes is in trying to become a mainstream political party. They thus find they are unable to be as frank about climate as they otherwise should be. (In the 2005 General Election, the Greens were rated less 'green' than Lib Dems! In 2010, a similar comparison was cetainly made but (see end of final box here) the disclosures did not include the Greens for some reason.)

So how often does the Green Party leader get onto a programme like Newsnight? This would have been her big opportunity to show that the Green Party is not all sandle-wearing beardies & hippy chicks. Given this political reality, and Paxman's input, and Bennett's recent promotion, in my assessment her performance wasn't so bad, not good, but not dire.

So I think I'm inclined to agree with Jim_pettit and rate the BBC's interview as being the real disappointing performance of the show.

Bellemisc

Neat! The calculation I was trying to do. I came up with an "annual Barrow solar gain weighted effective albedo change" for the arctic sea ice, and then distributed that over the full earth. I came up with 0.00067 for the earthwide effective albedo change, and a solar forcing of 0.23 watts/m2. I thought that was too big to offer up, so I've been re-analyzing. Not sure why Wadhams is about 5x higher, but bottom line: either number is a huge jolt to the climate system.

GeoffBeacon

Loger

Then, given that the world's remaining carbon budget to avoid 2C warming is about 565 Gt, we have less time than that, just 17 years, to effectively de-carbonize the world economy.

Where did you get that? I suspect its the Trillion Tonne Hypothesis, which I've been worrying about for a few years now. I understood it was based on models that have feedbacks missing. This past month or so we have found out there are even more missing feedbacks.

We haven't got 17 years to decarbonise the economy. Decarbonising alone is not enough. We need a plan B. e.g. Tax and extract

dabize

Jim,

I feel your pain (I watched Bill C wow them last night), I really do.

But the Flat Earth Society helps to keep me sane
http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/

as my sense of humor is a bit Pythonesque. It's satire, and it's fun.

As for Wadhams' 20 years calculation, I fear that it will only move those who buy the idea that increased CO2 levels are a bad thing to begin with.

The rest of them need some more Hellfire(TM) weather in their back yards..................

Alan Clark

"The rest of them need some more Hellfire(TM) weather in their back yards.................."

Many years ago the comedian Marty Feldman did a sketch on TV in which he seems to be a rabid hellfire preacher, going on about how "the fire shall encompasseth the Earth" etc, but he ends with "....and the rest of the day will be mainly fine, with a few scattered showers."

It somehow seems appropriate to the present situation. Unfortunately I cannot find it on Youtube :-(

Lanevn

>> GeoffBeacon

If someone really wanted to spray sulphur into atmosphere or it is just theoretical?

Thereoncewasawindmill.wordpress.com

If Lennartvdl's link is actually Wadham's calculation, then I'm afraid this may be an own goal.

From the Arctic News article:

Professor Wadhams estimates the present summer area of sea ice at 4 million square km, with a summer albedo of about 0.60 (surface covered with melt pools). When the sea ice disappears, this is replaced by open water with an albedo of about 0.10.

From Atmosphere, Weather and Climate
Written By: Chorley, Roger G. Barry and Richard J, chapter 3:

A large proportion of the incoming solar radiation is reflected back into the atmosphere without heating the earth’s surface. The proportion depends upon the type of surface (see Table 3.2). A sea surface reflects very little unless the angle of incidence of the sun’s rays is large. The albedo for a calm water surface is only 2 to 3 percent for a solar elevation angle exceeding 60° , but is more than 50 percent when the angle is 15° .

Boa05att

@GeoffBaeacon

Those numbers come from Bill McKibben's article in Rolling Stone magazine.

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

Boa05att

RE Wadhams calculations.

These two papers were useful:

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011JD015804.shtml

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n3/full/ngeo1062.html

Both suggest large changes in radiative forcing are associated with loss of the sea ice, but the values do appear to be smaller then those Wadhams calculates.

Djprice537

Artful Dodger

"And, doesn't the distribution matter, since all the new heat is concentrated in the Arctic ocean?"

Could this mean that the warming as the result of the equivalent of 640 gigatons of additional CO2 will be predominantly in the polar region?

Superman

Dorlomin,

"Lilley was absolutely seething at the BBC piece. How dare they use current data rather than 5 year old models."

When was the actual work done for the 2007 IPCC Report? Usually, there are substantial lag times between when research is conducted and when it is published. I would suspect that in a report of this sensitivity, which involves over 100 countries, much more time than usual is required before a go-ahead decision is given to release to the public. Are we really talking about work that was conducted in 2005 or 2004, based upon even earlier data?

Artful Dodger

Hi Geoff,

The 565 Gton carbon budget originates with Bill McKibben of 350.org fame. His article was originally published in Rolling Stone Magazine, but here is an excellent discussion/analysis by Joe Romm of Climate Progress:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/23/565751/mckibben-must-read-global-warming039s-terrifying-new-math/

Cheers,
Lodger

Superman

Geoff Beacon,

"I understood it was based on models that have feedbacks missing. This past month or so we have found out there are even more missing feedbacks."

Look at Maslowski's review of Arctic sea ice published this March. Even the best models have not included many of the feedbacks, and are therefore underestimating the rate of ice volume decline.

I have examined different nonlinear dynamical systems in the past. Depending on the nature of the system, the decline can be precipitous. When I look at the Arctic system, especially after the appearance of significant amounts of open water, the number of different self-reinforcing positive feedback mechanisms appears staggering to me. Obviously, I haven't done the calculations that include all these positive feedback loops acting in concert (and neither have any of the modelers), but based on intuition and what I have seen with other nonlinear dynamical systems, we are in the midst of a catastrophe.

But, when I try to convey that to my neighbors and acquaintances, at best I am met with indifference. We live in one of the mid-Atlantic states in the USA, and it's difficult to see any life-altering weather/climate changes over the past few decades. Maybe there are a few more days in the high 90s rather than the mid-90s, and maybe some foods have increased in price moderately at the store, but there are no catastrophes that are visible immediately. So, unless we can effectively link the Arctic tragedy to daily life, all the BBC broadcasts in the world won't make one whit of difference no matter who the pundits are.

Superman

Thereoncewasawindmill,

"The albedo for a calm water surface is only 2 to 3 percent for a solar elevation angle exceeding 60° , but is more than 50 percent when the angle is 15° ."

So, considering the Sun's angles of incidence during the Summer, and variation of solar heat flux with incidence angle, what is the result when doing the integration? How different is it from Wadhams' estimate, and is this difference significant in the point he is making?

Peter Ellis

Superman: The ocean surface isn't calm. Moreover, on cloudy days the radiation is diffused by the clouds and comes from all directions anyway.

Case in point:
http://icefloe.net/Aloftcon_Photos/index.php?album=2012&image=20120906-0601.jpeg

If you can't tell where the Sun is, the sea can't either :-)

wayne

Protege, Quite normal except they are more frequent.

wayne

Speaking of protege, Peter Wadhams was either appointed by or very much respected by...... Margaret Thatcher... That should blow up some contrarian head.

Robertscribbler.wordpress.com

A roughly .5 watt additional forcing is huge. I what the added forcing for all Arctic feedbacks are? (albedo loss from sea ice plus land ice plus snow melt, methane release, other carbon release)

Just a general comment on the so called alarmists. Most of them have been listening to James Hansen for years. And Hansen has been stunningly correct. The fact that the models are lagging and the IPCC has become a fall-back for skeptics, I would think, would be cause for a rational increase in the level of concern.

Concern, in this case, is not political unless you happen to politicize it. But I think what is most polarizing is the fact that a certain set of political views has decided to ignore the problem entirely.

If this were not the case, then we would be having a lively discussion over how fast the ice would melt and, likely, what were the best options for response and mitigation. Instead, we have to deal with the wretched fact that some have stepped off the planet, ignored the problem entirely, and sought to demonize not only those people who are concerned about the problem, but those who are providing the data as well.

This is not a healthy response.

Last of all... The demonizing of political figures who seek to raise awareness of the problem is not helpful. You may disagree with Al Gore's politics, but his public service presentations raised awareness of an issue that should be beyond politics. Joe Romm falls into the same boat. And if there were no political leaders concerned about this issue, then there would probably be nil in the way of backing for research and science.

All that said, the separation of science from opinions, as much as it is possible, is critical. But doing this does not require anyone to take nonscientific views from one political faction or another. Nor does it mean that someone studying science cannot offer an opinion or observation based on the data they've studied.

For example: "Our best models show that we could be nearly ice-free within about 40-50 years. However, the models have tended to lag observation and, just by looking at trends, it seems we could see ice-free conditions much sooner, perhaps within ten years if current conditions persist. Further, feedbacks and other non-linear elements of melt are difficult to model, which may be one of the reasons why models have lagged observation."

This is not 'alarmist' this is realistic and should be a part of the scientific dialogue.

Now... Arguments over policy are entirely different. And those, by their very nature, are political. So a scientific site would probably stray from making policy assertions unless the situation were pretty amazingly dire. A science site, however, would not stray from pointing out where skeptics have erred. Again, that is not alarmist.

And it is worth noting that most who have studied the science have tended to advocate stronger and stronger policy positions to deal with the problem of global warming. I think that, in itself, is a reflection of the power of the scientific data itself. The potential worst case is pretty amazingly bad and people tend to want to avoid that. Call it natural human aversion to pain...

Artful Dodger

Djprice537 asked:

"Could this mean that the warming as the result of the equivalent of 640 gigatons of additional CO2 will be predominantly in the polar region?"

Certainly it does. Thermodynamics tells us that heat always moves from a warmer area to the cooler.

Where the area gaining heat in the North remains cooler than Southern areas, the heat does not migrate, it stays in the Northern region. This is exactly the case until ALL the sea ice is consumed. Then the Arctic Ocean starts to warm quickly, and heat will spread South in the Summer.

So for now, until the sea ice is all gone, the effect of the albedo flip will be much more apparent in the Arctic than is obvious from Prof. Wadhams' estimate.

Cheers,
Lodger

Lennartvdl

According to the two links provided by Boa05att:
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011JD015804.shtml
"[T]he globally and annually averaged radiative forcing caused by the observed loss of sea ice in the Arctic between 1979 and 2007 is approximately 0.1 W m−2; a complete removal of Arctic sea ice results in a forcing of about 0.7 W m−2, while a more realistic ice-free summer scenario (no ice for 1 month and decreased ice at all other times of the year) results in a forcing of about 0.3 W m−2, similar to present-day anthropogenic forcing caused by halocarbons. The potential for changes in cloud cover as a result of the changes in sea ice makes the evaluation of the actual forcing that may be realized quite uncertain since such changes could overwhelm the forcing caused by the sea ice loss itself, if the cloudiness increases in the summertime."

And:
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n3/full/ngeo1062.html
"[C]ryospheric cooling declined by 0.45 W m−2 from 1979 to 2008, with nearly equal contributions from changes in land snow cover and sea ice. On the basis of these observations, we conclude that the albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere falls between 0.3 and 1.1 W m−2 K−1, substantially larger than comparable estimates obtained from 18 climate models."

Wadhams apparently says:
"[A] drop in albedo of 0.0039 is equivalent to a 1.3 W/sq m increase in radiative forcing globally. The albedo change resulting from the snowline retreat on land is similarly large, so the combined impact could be well over 2 W/sq m."

Hopefully Wadhams can comment.

Artful Dodger

So, let's assume Wadhams' 1.3 w/m^2 stays in the Arctic ocean until all the sea ice is gone. Then it becomes about 50 watts per sq. m forcing. That's what melted the ice this summer:

1.3 / ( 14 / 540 ) = 50.1

Note that Eisemann & Wetlaufer (2009) estimate it will take an increase of only 30 w/m^2 to force the Arctic into a perenially sea ice-free state.

Then the place'll start to REALLY heat up.

Cheers,
Lodger

GeoffBeacon

Hi Lanevn

If someone really wanted to spray sulphur into atmosphere or it is just theoretical?

We do it with power stations and marine diesel &etc already. See Unger et. al.Attribution of climate forcing to economic sectors


Hi Boa05att & Loger

Bill McKibben says in Rolling Stone

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.
I think "Scientists estimate" may be based on the work of Allen et. al. or Pierrehumbert et. al. They both did a Trillion Tonne thing. I think the missing feedbacks criticism stands if this is the case. Also I agree with Maggie Zhou's comment in the Rolling Stone article.


And, all those models agreeing with each other means NOTHING! They all suffer from the same omissions and simplifications, they all don't model dynamic processes including Arctic methane feedback, ice sheet breakups/non-linear melt feedback, ocean biological feedback including response to ocean acidification, land ecosystem feedbacks to changes in temperature, precipitation, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle, other human impacts, etc... All the biggest feedbacks that are likely to produce dramatic sudden changes (for the worse) are not modeled, simply because they're not well understood. So, scientists who say we can still "safely" emit
565 more gigatons of CO2 is irresponsibly optimistic.

Hi Superman.

Yes. It's terrible.

David Vun Kannon

Is there a time series of data on AO albedo?

I was looking at the supplementary material for the NatGeo article referred to above - Fig S6 has a really large value for seasonal radiative forcing over the Arctic for JJA.

First time posting - this site is great!

Artful Dodger

Yes, Geoff. And even the 2C target itself is suspect. It was a round number agreed upon at Copenhagen, when the advice was actually 1.5C as a safe upper limit.

We're already seeing just how unsafe 0.8C is, and there's probably already that much more warming in the pipe due to delayed equilibrium.

It's clear that we will not even attempt to avoid 2C. I think were fighting over 3C vs 10C now, if we let feedbacks take hold.

Personally, I'd much rather live in a +3C world than an even warmer one. But when you're in a hole, the first thing you must do is stop digging.

Sphaerica.wordpress.com

I'm concerned that the calculation is inadequate.

First, it doesn't seem (at first glance) to consider the angle of incidence, the length of day, and most importantly the distribution (sparsity) of sunlight over a larger land area near the poles.

Second, and more importantly, it doesn't appear take into account the time factor. Is ice gone by August, July or June? I've said in various places that we will soon switch from watching minimum extent (which will always be near zero) to minimum extent date (which will become earlier and earlier in the year). The length of time that the ice is gone will be important.

Or does this calculation presume that all ice is gone all year, in which case we are still (I hope, please I hope) some time away from such a scenario?

Boa05att

Hi Geoff,

I think the 565 figure comes from the Carbon tracker initative:
http://www.carbontracker.org/

Though I think you're right and that it is similar to Meinshausen et al 2009 / Allen et al 2009 / Sokolov et al 2009 ideas on carbon budgets.

You have a point about not all the feedbacks being included (as James Hansen points out they never could be), but the 565 Gt figure is crucially important if only because it shows how far off track we are even with aiming for that.

As the work of Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows (2011) or that of Schellnhuber et al (2009) for the German Advisory Council on Global Change shows us:

http://www.slideshare.net/DFID/professor-kevin-anderson-climate-change-going-beyond-dangerous

http://www.wbgu.de/en/special-reports/sr-2009-budget-approach/

Al Rodger

Sphaerica,
It is probably best not to go into the Wadhams calculation. Up-thread I generously called it "far too simplistic." Given its short-comings, I cannot see how it got the answer it did.

Boa05att up-thread linked to Hudson 2011 & the abstract of Flanner et al 2011. The paper as a presentation pdf is here-
http://www.wcrp-climate.org/conference2011/orals/B11/Flanner_B11.pdf

Jim Williams

Hi Lodger,

"Where the area gaining heat in the North remains cooler than Southern areas, the heat does not migrate, it stays in the Northern region. This is exactly the case until ALL the sea ice is consumed. Then the Arctic Ocean starts to warm quickly, and heat will spread South in the Summer."

I'd disagree with you about the "in the Summer" at the end there.

"So, let's assume Wadhams' 1.3 w/m^2 stays in the Arctic ocean until all the sea ice is gone. Then it becomes about 50 watts per sq. m forcing. That's what melted the ice this summer:

1.3 / ( 14 / 540 ) = 50.1

Note that Eisemann & Wetlaufer (2009) estimate it will take an increase of only 30 w/m^2 to force the Arctic into a perenially sea ice-free state."


I'm unclear on what you are saying here. Is that 50+30 for a total of 80, or are we already 20 over the 30 needed?

Jim.

Mtobis

Please everybody, when you are doing your back-of-the-envelope calculations, do not confuse tons of CO2 with tons of carbon. This is a very common source of confusion. These measures are directly proportionally related with a scaling factor of 3.69, but they are not interchangeable.

Please take care as many people are getting things badly wrong because of this.

Superman

Artful Dodger,

"Yes, Geoff. And even the 2C target itself is suspect. It was a round number agreed upon at Copenhagen, when the advice was actually 1.5C as a safe upper limit.

We're already seeing just how unsafe 0.8C is, and there's probably already that much more warming in the pipe due to delayed equilibrium.

It's clear that we will not even attempt to avoid 2C. I think were fighting over 3C vs 10C now, if we let feedbacks take hold.

Personally, I'd much rather live in a +3C world than an even warmer one. But when you're in a hole, the first thing you must do is stop digging."

What concerns me is that climate change is, by far, the defining problem of our time, and the data we're using is as soft as jelly on a Summer's day. My impression of these articles that talk about 'safe' limits of CO2 emissions/atmospheric accumulations is that they relate these CO2 emissions to temperature increases based on past experience, and assume these temperature increases will 'hold' when making their impact estimations. But, we know people today and even yesterday are observing positive feedbacks, and some of these feedbacks are increasing signicantly. So, what makes us believe that a temperature increase of even 1.5 C is 'safe' or 'acceptable', or can be stabilized, in the absence of any fully coupled models that include positive feedbacks?

I suspect that if you assembled Wadhams and Barber and Hansen and others who have many years of actual observation and/or modeling experience in an Irish pub, and plied them with a few high-hop Guinness Stouts, they would raise serious questions about whether what we have generated up to this point can be stabilized, much less what we would generate in another five or ten years at the present rate of CO2 emissions. Intuition alone would dictate we have gone over the brink, and without fully coupled models that include all the major feedbacks to offer any possibility of disputing intuition, I have zero confidence that we can avoid the climate change bullet.

Prove me wrong!

Peter Mizla

well said Superman
we will not avoid 2C above the PI level- we will very likely not avoid 3C- we will probably go to 3.5-4C perhaps a bit over.

The climate is shot now- at just 0.8C above the PI level the polar ice cap will be gone.

double that to 1.6C- wanna guess what will happen- it will not be linear- it will be exponential.

the fact is this country is in very deep trouble-its only a matter of time before the whole structure caves in. As for the rest of this civilization? Worse. This countries 'isolated' geographic location will save it from some of the hell in the future globally- but not stop the chaos from within.

Robertscribbler.wordpress.com

Superman --

That's really a serious concern and one we should be talking about publicly. A worst case, if you will. IF that is the case, there need to be serious emergency measures to prevent/mitigate the problem.

First steps would be reductions, then cessation and, if we're sliding off the edge, atmospheric capture (then hope to goodness it works).

What's insanity right now is total denial of the problem. No response makes your dark assessment more likely with each passing year.

It says enough to me that Hansen is out there protesting coal plants.

Lewis Cleverdon

Before any rational boundary can be drawn around what is appropriate for discussion here as science and what is politics and thus beyond the pale, we surely need to identify how much of what passes for science is actually applied politics. For instance:

- doing the scientific research and analysis may be pure science, though the field chosen is a highly political decision - how many scientists are now serving the expansion of fossil fuel use via resources once considered impossibly polluting ? Stepping aside from liability for the outcome of ones actions while claiming that an amoral stance is respectable for scientists - is an entirely political decision that some adopt.

- Then there is the issue of just whom one tells about the research findings - is it just the elite in government, or in commerce, or is it just in pay-walled scientific papers with press releases to commercial media, or is it the general public by every means available ? Again, this is a fundamentally political decision.

- Then there is the issue of what level of response one proposes as mitigation of the identified problems - while the military are expected to provide a worst case scenario on which strategy can be based, it appears that science has been co-opted into a degree of self-censorship where only the fully evidenced case may be considered respectable, and those insisting on applying the precautionary principle are attacked and marginalized as alarmist. Again, just how much of the uncertainty within the findings is declared as warranting a response is a fundamentally political decision.

The notion that scientists should somehow refrain from politics is plainly ludicrous in light of these points. Moreover, it is a direct censorship of their right of free speech. Furthermore, it would be simply absurd to propose that those who know most about the scientific findings should be excluded from discussion of what is to be done about them.

It is only the scientists within the relevant fields that can evaluate whether parties' overtly political proposals of mitigation are commensurate with the problem, and this is a pivotal prerequisite contribution to political debate. It is only they who can define what are the feasible effective targets for emissions control, albedo restoration and carbon recovery that the climate problem ever more obviously demands.

To exclude scientists, or convince them to exclude themselves "for fear of science becoming politicized" is merely the latest in the long effort by ideologues to disempower science from playing its proper role in public debate. It would leave the field wide open to the partisan nonsense proposed by the pseudo-scientists calling themselves economists, most of whom will gladly serve the party line of whomsoever is paying best this year.

As to scientists' proposals of the requisite political structures for mitigation, there is a risk of the 'home-plumbing' syndrome (any intelligent person can do that) as Hansen's early suggestion of a remedy showed. His idea was that the US should write a climate treaty, require a few allies to sign up, and then coerce the rest of the world into compliance under threat of a trade war. (With that threat working reliably for at least 50 years . . .) To his real credit, having seen the deficiencies he's apparently dropped the proposal and continues to search for something workable.

The problem was not that he was a scientist making a political proposal, but that he had not concerted his ideas with those scientists who study the functioning of society's systems of governance.

We urgently need scientists to coalesce around those viable proposals that are both necessary and sufficient to be considered commensurate. And that requires much more discussion by scientists of overtly political proposals, not less. The recent academic support for Global Commons Institute submission to the UNFCCC concerning "Contraction and Convergence" is perhaps a case in point. (See www.gci.org.uk ).

Where I fully back those in opposition to scientists participation in politics is in their entering the futile US party-political non-debate. Scientists should instead in my view be evaluating the strong evidence that Americans are actually being fed a circus of denial and rebuttal that supposedly disables the president from even mentioning the wedge-issue of climate, despite over 70% polling support for action;
- when the reality veiled by that circus is that since 2000 a bipartisan US policy of a 'Brinkmanship of Inaction' with China has been rigorously pursued - with the objective of halting China's rise to global economic dominance via the climatic destabilization of its regime due to mounting food-price unrest.

This perspective needs keen minds' impartial evaluation and dissemination if effective strategy to achieve commensurate political action is to be developed. And if science is not about contributing directly to the achievement of commensurate political action, it seems fair to ask, just what is it for ?

Regards,

Lewis

Twemoran

Lewis

Regarding 'Brinkmanship of Inaction', I understand the concept well enough, but is there any indication that this policy was ever debated, or even brought to the table at a national level?
I have no love for either Bush nor any of his regime, but always assumed their policies were driven by personal greed, as opposed to a policy who's motivation at least could be construed as being of benefit to America.
If they really did consider this as a way to destabilize China for the good of the West, they'd at least not be acting entirely in self serving ways.
I've never given them that much credit.

Terry

Noley

I don't mean to be cynical here, but Superman is largely correct, IMHO. The facts are that no one without an interest in this stuff considers the scientific evidence for AGW and a melting Arctic with any critical thinking. "Besides," most people claim, "climate has always changed, and AGW is all theoretical anyway."

The media is useless because they don't understand climate change. So they treat it like weather, except for the inevitable evening news question, "Gee Dr. Climate Scientist, is this [bad storm, drought, whatever] due to global warming?"

The general populace thinks (thanks to the media and a meager understanding of science) that climate change is the same as weather. They all just want a nice weekend.

The deniers know most people are clueless, so they cater to ignorance and say everything will be OK...because they know that's what people want to hear.

Governments mostly don't want to think about it because they don't know what to do, can't agree on anything, or afford to do much anyway.

Then there's the fact that a lot of the really big changes we'll see and feel in our respective countries are long term, so many of us won't have to deal with a hotter planet. But our kids and grand kids will. So why worry?

It's a sad fact that climate change/AGW had it's 15 minutes of fame with Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Now everyone else has moved on.

And the planet keeps warming up.

None of this is good. As people (and mostly non-scientists) who realize the consequences of a warming Arctic and planet, WE have to do what we can to keep quietly informing people about what's happening. Write your local papers, give a talk at a local library, get people thinking. We probably won't be able to keep the CO2 level from getting to 450 in the next decade, but maybe we can get people thinking more and at least get it to slow down.

Best,
Noel

Jeffrey Davis

In 5-10 years, there will be a hit movie or a best selling book with a plot the involves assassins from countries beset by climate change. The assassins will come disguised as legitimate immigrants but will really be in search of the powerful deniers: industrialists, politicians, media figures, and academics. They will pursue a "little fish first" strategy and it will take some time before the phenomenon (Death Visits the Climate Denier Community) is acknowledged by the public. At that point, paranoia becomes a political force with a consequences-beyond-tomorrow effect. By the end of the book/movie, the hero -- a straight arrow, do-your-duty kind of guy -- will realize how compromised he has become, but he'll save the big target -- a foul, morally-bankrupt billionaire industrialist -- anyway. Because that's what straight-arrow, do-your-duty heroes do. Then, he'll kiss his Prius and drive off into the sunset.

At that point, we'll do something about climate change. Because there needs to be an attractive model for action.

Timothy Chase
Intuition alone would dictate...
I thought it was "Logic alone would dictate..." but I suppose if one has really keen intuition, who needs logic or argument for that matter?
... that we have already gone over the brink...
The brink of what? Ten million lives, a hundred million, a billion, things could pretty much always be worse.
... and without fully coupled models that include all the major feedbacks...
Do you know where we might get one?
... to offer any possibility of disputing intuition...
Well then, no need for one, is there?
... I have zero confidence that we can avoid the climate change bullet.
Good thing we have you on our side, then, Superman.
Prove me wrong!
So it isn't up to you to actually provide any support for your position, the burden is entirely upon us to disprove it. That intuition certainly comes in handy, doesn't it?

Honestly, I appreciate genuine participation in the discussion, but dramatic grandstanding and empty rhetoric isn't helpful on any level.

Espen Olsen

What is Healy trying to tell us with this drawing? http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=NEPP

Jim Williams

I'm here to watch the change, not to wallow in the mire of angst over change. Since I joined ZPG in the 70s I've held that there are too many of us -- and that opinion hasn't changed.

There are plenty of other sites busy crying and not actually paying attention. (And no, I don't see the change as either good or bad. It's just what we've done, and nothing more.) I'm back to watching the ice.

Twemoran

Since media seem driven to give "both sides of the story", what would happen if we promoted some over the top "alarmist" stooges.

If the discussion now that the 'Arctic may melt out in 20 years with possibly grave consequences' is opposed by the 'Arctic will never melt, and if it did think of the economic benefits' - we get the results we've been seeing.

What would happen if we had another "spokesman" saying that - 'The Arctic will melt out in 5 years releasing deadly clouds of methane that will choke the life out of every one north of the equator.'

Would media feel obligated to giving this person air time, would the debate move from where it is now toward the realistic scenarios now envisioned by science.

I have no idea whether such a strategy would prove effective, but I do know that what we are doing now is not.

Terry

Superman

Robertscribbler,

"Superman --

That's really a serious concern and one we should be talking about publicly. A worst case, if you will."

That's the problem; I don't view it as a worst case. If we generate a probability distribution of all expected outcomes, with a weighting on each outcome based on observations, model predictions, understanding of model limitations, and, most importantly, understanding of basic physics, I view the case presented as the most probable outcome. We have been led by the Press and their 'denier' handmaidens to believe that anything more than slight temperature increases due mainly to natural variability are the norm, and anything substantially beyond that is alarmist or doomsday thinking, and is to be disparaged. To me, the extremist views are what the mainstream Press presents as the norm; they have the greatest deviation from what I view as the most probable reality.


Lewis,

"we surely need to identify how much of what passes for science is actually applied politics."

As I have stated previously, and for which I have received a barrage of criticism, I believe all 'science' and 'research' is 'cherry-picking'. One can call it 'applied politics', or whatever, but it represents a process of 'objectivity' firmly imbedded in a base of 'subjectivity'.

Think of the etiology of the research process, at least in the USA. Typically, a funding agency or foundation or company program manager issues some sort of Request for Proposal. This RFP sets the bounds on what will be funded and, depending on the research area, will reflect political/commercial considerations to differing degrees. Proposals are submitted, and those aspects will be emphasized subjectively that will provide the greatest probability of winning the grant. In the conduct of the study, subjective decisions are made as to which databases to use, which sources to cite, which instrumentation, which variables and parameters to select, which output data to select, which type of analysis to do, and how to present the results. Now, within those subjective decisions, objective actions can be performed, but in reality, the whole research process is highly arbitrary and subjective.

Now, some apolitical and acommercial areas like Cosmology may contain less subjectivity and more objectivity, but when we get to climate change, every step will be highly political.

In the end, when all is said and done, there are few, if any, incentives for the program managers and the research performers to arrive at the hard truth if it will oppose powerful commercial and political interests. In fact, there are many strong disincentives, and the only counter is having a strong moral and ethical compass for doing what's right, in spite of the negative consequences that will result from telling the truth. How many Peter Wadhams or James Hansens or Michael Manns are there, who continue to persevere with the truth for decades despite all the accusations hurled against them?

AmbiValent

Espen,

it looks a bit like a man with wings... Icarus flew too close too the sun and his wings melted, so he fell to his death...

Superman

Timothy Chase,

"So it isn't up to you to actually provide any support for your position, the burden is entirely upon us to disprove it. That intuition certainly comes in handy, doesn't it?

Honestly, I appreciate genuine participation in the discussion, but dramatic grandstanding and empty rhetoric isn't helpful on any level."

I have provided you all the support for my position that I can. I examined Maslowski's most recent review of Arctic models. They do not incorporate key feedbacks, each of which by itself would exacerbate the situation, and in concert form an extremely powerful self-reinforcing positive feedback loop. Many people have stated that Maslowski's NAME models are the most credible, and these model runs have predicted ice-free days in a very few years.

So, I start with the model results, consider all the positive feedbacks that appear important to me and are not incorporated in the model, intuit how much additional temperature/GHG increase would result by combining the two, and that's how I came to that conclusion. I can't give you anything more definitive, since the tools do not yet exist that will give harder numbers. If you want to take the 'denier' position that since we don't have hard numbers as backup, let's do nothing, that is your prerogative.

But, let me tell you what I have found after years of research in myriad disciplines. There is good research published, poor research, and 'manufactured' research. Sometimes, especially for very complex problems, it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In addition, sumperimposed on the published work are the intent and pre-conceived agendas of the authors, and they are usually unknown by the reader. In the end, to make any headway, one has to rely on experience and intuition as to which of the myriad documents to believe, and what is the best way to move forward. From what I have read in the climate change literature so far, there are a handful of people I would trust, when I take all the considerations above into account.

Devi869

Things are gonna get ugly but there is also stability in the system as well as instability. There were times in holocene that the arctic sea ice had almost completely gone (~2million sq km minimum), the Larsen A and B were gone. During that time around 6000 K years ago the world was not that different from today. And not any significant feedback loop started (methane clathrates etc). Just the globe reached another point of stability after the melting of the North american ice sheet. Now having ice free arctic in June and July, this is gonna be eventually nasty...

Superman

Twemoran,

"What would happen if we had another "spokesman" saying that - 'The Arctic will melt out in 5 years releasing deadly clouds of methane that will choke the life out of every one north of the equator.'

Would media feel obligated to giving this person air time, would the debate move from where it is now toward the realistic scenarios now envisioned by science."

Well, let's look at history. The USA Surgeon General's Report on smoking came out in 1964, and made your claim above for smoking. And, what happened? According to experts who followed tobacco use since then, the Report had little, if any, impact on convincing the 42% of the adult population who smoked to stop smoking. What cut smoking down to its present 21% were the economic penalties and mandates imposed by government. One reason I believe that government was able to get away with this much is that there was a considerable fraction of the population who despised smoking, and was willing to support tough measures to eliminate it, or at least restrict its use in public where others could be affected.

There is the problem we face in climate change. Rather than 42% of the adults involved in intensive energy use, as was the case in smoking, it's more like 98%. And, the other 2% would like to become fossil fuel addicts if they could afford it. There is very little popular support for giving up our fossil fuel addiction. So, despite whatever messengers we send to television or the Internet, the message won't have traction because it's not the message the audience wants to hear.

Fufufunknknk

Superman, Now you sound like a denialist re finding a radical spokesman: a lot of blah blah blah rhetoric and then the conclusion that it won't work.

To hell with that, someone needs to step forward and be the alarmist whip. This passivity is just cowardice if we believe the threat is real.

Timothy Chase

Superman, nearly the substance of your argument in your earlier post after you "quoted" Artful Dodger at length (but with an overly economical use of quote marks that made it difficult to see where what he said ended and what you were saying began) was:

What concerns me is that climate change is, by far, the defining problem of our time, and the data we're using is as soft as jelly on a Summer's day. My impression of these articles that talk about 'safe' limits of CO2 emissions/atmospheric accumulations is that they relate these CO2 emissions to temperature increases based on past experience, and assume these temperature increases will 'hold' when making their impact estimations. But, we know people today and even yesterday are observing positive feedbacks, and some of these feedbacks are increasing signicantly. So, what makes us believe that a temperature increase of even 1.5 C is 'safe' or 'acceptable', or can be stabilized, in the absence of any fully coupled models that include positive feedbacks?
I don't see anything in there that I especially disagree with, although the 1.5°C was expert opinion, after all, and last I knew, even Hansen was publicly in support of 1.5, whatever your personal suspicions. But the rest of what followed was almost entirely empty rhetoric, which in my view is not helpful.

You write:

If you want to take the 'denier' position that since we don't have hard numbers as backup, let's do nothing, that is your prerogative.
I don't think that either taking the IPCC position 2°C or what Artful Dodger tells us is the actual expert opinion of 1.5°C is the "denier" position, and to suggest that it is treads rather closely to ad hominem.

I would consider myself closer to the 1.5°C than the 2°C given the effects that we are already seeing with 0.8°C. Frankly, I believe that drought will be the most serious consequence of climate change in this century and that even with current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, given the time that it will take for the planet to achieve radiative equilibrium, things are going to get considerably worse. So there really isn't that much distance between my position and yours. However, I stand by my criticism that the rhetoric you followed with was excessive and of very little substance. I don't find that helpful.

NeilT

Over the last 17 years or so of digging into the whole arena of AGW, I have noticed one thing to be true.

That those who think laterally and allow themselves to envision what "might" be, as opposed to what can be calculated using existing techniques, have come out with estimates far exceeding the established norm.

Not the wild imaginings of devastation, but calculated esitmates of possible impact or consequences.

I've noticed that those people are right far more often than those who use only the existing material/techniques and analyse these data to death.

It's not very scientific on my part, however it has no less validity. I surmise that Waddham is closer to the truth than many would like to believe.

Eventually we will have a full model system with full feedbacks and known interactions. That is becuase the way we are approaching this today ensures that we won't be able to limit the impact and we will get to experience it first hand. All we need is enough instrumentation to record it all.

Then perhaps another version of our society may actually be able to avoid this mess in the future. Given that we are able to keep the science from being lost. Because they will have a truly scientific answer. That of replication and the ability to match to known data.

Chris Reynolds

I agree Tim, drought is probably going to represent the primary impact that people will feel as we move into this century.

It's not such a major issue for us in the UK, we're going to experience the Arctic's impacts on the Jetstream. Although indirectly we'll be hit by food prices.
But for the US, as for much of the world...
http://earlywarn.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/latest-drought-science-alarming-for-us.html

Djprice537

TC

"I believe that drought will be the most serious consequence of climate change in this century...."

I think it will depend on where and when. England has crops that are rotting in the field from a Summer that included clouds and rain nearly every day. Meanwhile, experts studying the Juniper forests in the Southwest say that they expect the entire forest to die. Millions of trees have already died in New Mexico. Since the forests are what prevents soil erosion in the Southwest, it is expected that enormous amounts of soil will erode or blow away.

Haboob will be a term that all Americans will become familiar with over the next 20 years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W4Cx44XKZ4

Djprice537

Hmmm.....Arctic cyclone forming north of Greenland and we've got this monster crossing the Aleutian Islands and moving into the Bering Sea.

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/archives/11253

Wind gusts clocked at 130 mph in Anchorage last night.

Timothy Chase

PS

My apologies, that last post was in response to Djprice537:

"I believe that drought will be the most serious consequence of climate change in this century...."

I think it will depend on where and when. England has crops that are rotting in the field from a Summer that included clouds and rain nearly every day. Meanwhile, experts studying the Juniper forests in the Southwest say that they expect the entire forest to die...

Timothy Chase

PS PS No, it hasn't come through. That is alright. It was probably too long, anyway.

But the substance is that we are seeing increases in both flooding and drought, that it is often a case of whiplash from one year to the next to which even England is not immune, at least judging from the past decade. Furthermore, these extremes are affecting agricultural output, global plant productivity has actually decreased this last decade, and although this took place primarily in the southern hemisphere, given the changes in the Arctic we should expect similar decreases in productivity in the Northern, and drought will likely have the greatest effect. Furthermore, given international trade and the increase in prices that we are likely to see, it is unlikely that any country will be left unaffected.

Peter Mizla

We are perhaps already a few tenths of a degree above the Holocene maximum, and the system seems to be in the early stages of rapid change. It is widely expected Arctic sea-ice will be totally lost in summer with a few years to a decade or so, perhaps at less than 1C or warming. Very few scientists think Greenland would be stable in an Arctic with little or no summer sea-ice, and opinion is split as to whether it is past its tipping point already.

It is hard to argue that anything above the Holocene maximum (of about 0.5 degrees above the pre-industrial temperature) can preserve a safe climate, and that we have already gone too far. The notion that 1.5C is a safe target is out the window, and even 1 degree looks like an unacceptably
high risk.

Benjamin Franz
@NeilT: I've noticed that those people are right far more often than those who use only the existing material/techniques and analyse these data to death.

There is actually a good reason for that. The published estimates by the IPCC and other major organizations are deliberately conservative. They make statements based on things they can 'prove', not what they they suspect. For example, the estimates for sea level rise by the IPCC omitted any significant acceleration due to ice dynamics. And they said so.

In general, you will find that the IPCC estimates are nearly always optimistic vs actual events simply because there are more 'known unknowns' with the potential to make things worse than 'known unknowns' with the potential to make things better.

Account Deleted

djprice

Sea level rise is the really major issue with the majority of human population and immovable industry clustered in areas reasoanably close to coasts. According to the IPCC, Greenland melt is scheduled to happen in a couple of centuries. Seeing as the Arctic sea ice melt has been fast-forwarded by 70 odd years, significant Greenland melt can legitimately expected this century.

Artful Dodger

Superman said "Prove me wrong!"

  • All men are fallible
  • Superman is a man
  • therefore Superman is fallible

Seriously, prove it yourself. This is a science forum, not a philosophy club.

Look at how you have hijacked this thread. There are 10,000 words here now off topic. Further, your posts continuously suck in first-time commenters with long political rants.

As Neven, and many others here have repeatedly expressed to you, that IS NOT THE PURPOSE of the is blog.

Seriously, either stay on topic, or get your own blog. This is the Arctic Sea Ice blog.

Boo!

Apocalypse4Real

Lodger: Thanks for the protest. It is deserved.

djprice: The Bering storm imagery is impressive, and the Anchorage winds I had not seen reported. We will see how intact the storm is in the Beaufort and impact on ice in the next day or so. From the Polarmet OSU imagery it seems to move over the Canadian high Arctic and sits and spins in place.

http://polarmet.osu.edu/nwp/animation.php?model=arctic_wrf&run=00&var=plot001

I have not yet looked for buoy or water temp data to estimate ice pack impacts.

NeilT

@Benjamin

It is true that IPCC is conservative and it has to be due to the political nature of the IPCC releases. But it is not only the IPCC which is conservative. Something which comes over time and time again. Hansen is trying to change this trend and the language used, but it's hard going for a community which would rather understate things than be found, even once, overstating them.

You can see the trend here. Peter Wadhams says we'll introduce 20 years of CO2 emissions and most people immediately think he's gone too far, hasn't done his math, is overstating and start trying to prove that his calculations are wrong. It will probably prove out that he has not gone far enough. But time will tell. I guess it all depends on exactly how we think the ice will break up, when and what new feedbacks kick in with the loss of the ice cap in summer.

LRC

@Espen: That is the track the Healy took in its science mission in the Arctic. If ypou look at the chart you will find each leg of its journey. See here about its mission: http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/uscg-cutter-healy-to-begin-first-of-three-2012-arctic-missions.

Chris Biscan

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/31853-2012-global-temperatures/page__st__945


Today on Americanwx(I am frivolousz21) I couldn't as well as others duplicate Bob Tisdale's North and South Pacific sst's.

Not that I am saying he manipulated them, but can anyone help us out? Am I missing something or is the error on his part?

gnumb

Most or all of the commenters here know much more about ice and climate than I do, so I try to keep my mouth shut, but.

I'm not sure why Al Rodger says we shouldn't examine Wadhams' calculation.

As pointed out by

Al Rodger at 18:27
Sphaerica at 18:18,
Thereoncewasawindmill at 15:10, and
Peter Ellis at 15:53,

his calculation is "far too simplistic", due to
1. basic geometry
2. the way the reflectivity of water varies with angle of incident light
3. clouds
4. probably many other complicating feedbacks I haven't thought of.

The geometry is exactly the same geometry that makes the Arctic colder than the tropics: on average over a year, the Earth's surface in the Arctic is much more oblique to the Sun's rays, so less light reaches the surface in the Arctic. The "present summer area of sea ice" may be 4/510 of the Earth's area, but the light falling on that ice is less than 4/510 of the total light falling on the Earth. A change in the albedo of the Arctic would have less effect on the Earth's radiation budget than an equal albedo change over an equally large region located elswhere on the globe. Much less effect, I think, though I doubt I could do the calculus.

So I think it's a mistake to use Wadhams' numbers as a basis for further calculation, as in Artful Dodger at 16:55.

I think Wadhams, at least in this case, is an example of what Twemoran at 21:40 suggests we need: an alarmist. Wadhams is wrong, but he got headlines.

(P.S. it would be much more convenient to refer to other people's comments if they were numbered. Neven?)

Glenn Tamblyn

Just to put some numbers into perspective wrt safe levels.

The previous interglacial, the Eemian, saw average temps maybe 1/2 C above the current for perhaps 2000 years, 1/2 of Greenland was lost and ppart of the WAIS. Denmark didn't exist and the rest of Scandinavia was an island.

HGo back about 3-5 million years ago, to when CO2 levels were around 400ppm, the entire WAIS became unstable, collapsing & recovering over timescales of 1000 years or so.

Go back further, 30+ million years ago when the East Antarctic Ice Sheet began to form. CO2 levels then where around 600 ppm. However if we take account of the weaker output from the Sun in the distant past, the comparable level today is around 520 ppm. At current emission rates, that is about 50 years from now.

Jim Williams

Glenn, it's only going up about 2 ppm/yr. (392.41 as of 5-Sep-2012)

What's your source on the WAIS taking on the order of 1000yr to collapse?

Lewis Cleverdon

Terry -
in answer to your question, yes, there are numerous indications of the policy of a ‘Brinkmanship of Inaction’ being adopted from the outset of the Bush administration, but, given its amoral nature, there is of course no published documentary evidence of its discussion at a national level prior to adoption. The same can be said of Obama’s unforced adoption and advancement of the policy.

In Bush & Cheyney’s case the motivation might have been the personal greed you refer to, but a deep conditioning to nationalism and American supremacy doesn’t conflict with that motivation. US dominance is a primary condition for the corporations enriching the very wealthy to continue their current profitability. For example, where would Halliburton be if its Chinese equivalents made major inroads into its market share ?

For all the maintenance of global dominance has been the paramount priority of US govts. since WW2, it is notable that with China’s economy now on track to exceed that of the US before 2020, the only visible means of countering that threat is the prospect of the climatic destabilization of China’s regime. Thus until the policy has either achieved its aim or has been recognized and overturned, commensurate action on climate will be obstructed.

Regards,

Lewis

Artful Dodger

Hi Glenn,

Does the past Sun output you mention take into account Milankovich Cycles, or just the Sun's energy output? I'd love to see some references on the topic if you have any recommendations.

Hi Jim,

The figure you quote is August seasonal data from MLO. In July, it peaked at 397. The detrended value is closer to 394 right now.

We do know however that C02 partial pressure is rising at an increasing rate. Here is the MLO history by year, with decadal averages.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo_anngr.png

So it's not unreasonable to guess 520 ppm by 2062, and this is just from human emissions w/o assuming accelerating carbon release from thawing permafrost and methane clathrates.

A larger unknown is the time required to reach an new equilibrium. At 520 ppm, forcing may indeed be sufficient to destabilize WAIS, but the question is how fast will it collapse.

Of course, if we can not halt C02 increase, there will be no equilibrium, and we risk crossing multiple tipping points in the climate system.

Cheers,
Lodger

Aaron Lewis

Any increase in water vapor over the Arctic changes global atmospheric circulation in ways that affect globa
l industrial agriculture.

Since the behavior of water vapor is very nonlinear near 0C, and we now have a lot of water near 0C, we are about to see just how nonlinear the system is.

As soon as the sea ice is gone, then heat collected by the open water will go to melting the GIS, and then we will see real sea level rise.

Chris Reynolds

Gnumb,

I get the impression Wadhams may have a tendency to speak before being able to rigorously prove his case, in any other area of academia this would be considered an idiosyncrany. Indeed it can be useful in getting fresh ideas into the mix.

He jumped on the Bryden et al results as showing the MOC was on the verge of callapse - it wasn't, the MOC was just a lot more variable than previously thought. But that doesn't have any bearing on whether he's correct about a rapid transition of the Arctic. It's a whole different process.

Indeed there's something akin to the weak anthropic principle at work here. Faced with a rapidly accelerating process, perhaps it's only those willing to apply a lifetime's experience and shoot their mouths off that will call it right. While the more cautious types wait to see what happens.

I keep meaning to blog about why I've changed my mind and now expect sea ice free by 2020, previously I've said around or more probably after 2030. But I'm being held back by my caution over that, and my concern that Wadhams may be right and I might be being too conservative.

Frank Pennycook

Re - 520 ppm. I agree with Artful Dodger's points about seasonal trend and increasing rate. I'd go further, there's every reason to expect 520ppm CO2 by 2050 or even sooner.

The rate of increase is increasing pretty steadily, I've done a projection based on a quadratic fit with an acceleration of 0.0235 ppm/yr/yr. This gives the best fit for the period 1980 - 2012.

On this basis, we reach 520 by 2050. But the future course of CO2 levels is very dependent on what populous developing countries like India and Brazil do - if they follow China to European levels of output then the rise will be quicker. And that's not to mention any natural feedbacks or other GHGs either.

dabize

Lewis,

The US dominationists aren't smart enough to make that calculation about the PRC (although they are admittedly evil enough). They are just trying to ride the tiger (aka Joe Sixpacks's limbic system) as long as possible so they can stay in power and in the money. Nothing else matters to them.

I don't think that an ice free Arctic by 2020 per se will change this.
What WILL be effective are the consequences of the resulting 50+ ppm CO2 rise in the next few decades, as is being discussed here. Eventually, this will drive a paradigm shift. I fear that this dynamic is going to mean that we will indeed have to start exploring geoengineering approaches to the problem, despite their obvious drawbacks.

Apologies for the O/T.

Chris Reynolds

I've just had a pleasant surprise over at the BBC.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19508906

The comments at the BBC used to be so frutrating - indeed I got banned for saying the same things over and over again to different deniers who as group kept repeating the same carp. I was told I was spamming the threads.

Now we have this:

254.Albert 7 Minutes ago @204"Reading the posts here, it looks like those believing in global warming have become the new "climate change deniers", since they seem to feel they have a right to deny anyone who doesn't believe in it the right to an opinion."

You're entitled to any opinion you like. If you want to think the sky is pink, go ahead. Just stop demanding scientific fact take second place to your opinion.

Ahhh, poor, poor, denialist troll, diddums having a bad time?

Better get used to it, whacko! :)

The process of AGW is underway, and it's headed in one direction.

It's worth noting here that the acceleration of the Arctic and the Global Weirding of the weather has been happening whilst we're still between solar cycle maxima and while global average temperature has taken a pause due to the colar cycle, aerosols and ENSO. Once the warming gets back on trend it looks like there will be no place left to hide for the deniers. The deniers have been spinning this hiatus as the end of AGW. They thought they were being clever, in reality they've been digging a deep hole.

Lewis Cleverdon

Artful -
"A larger unknown is the time required to reach an new equilibrium. At 520 ppm, forcing may indeed be sufficient to destabilize WAIS, but the question is how fast will it collapse.

Of course, if we can not halt C02 increase, there will be no equilibrium, and we risk crossing multiple tipping points in the climate system."

I have a problem with the proposal that halting anthro emissions would generate an equilbrium. Taking a more radical goal of near-zero anthro emissions by 2050, we'd face 0.8C realized, plus say 0.6C already in the pipeline, plus say 0.7C from output by 2050, summing to 2.1C. Then there is the accompanying loss of the sulphate parasol, which the median of Hansen's finding puts at a 110% increase, raising 2.1C to 4.41C. With a 20 to 40yr timelag after 2050, this would give a realized warming in say 2080 of 4.41C.

In the intervening 68 years, the seven interactive mega-feedbacks would enjoy greatly intensifying warming above the 0.8C at which they are already accelerating, and would do so for over two 30yr timelag cycles, and so should presumably be expected to add substantially to that 4.4C of realized warming. Moreover, post 2080, their acceleration of self-reinforcing warming would be unobstructed.

So short of running out of carbon stocks to outgas, at what point would an 'equilibrium' be reached ?

I don't assume this position is beyond redemption, but I don't yet see how disdaining the albedo restoration and carbon recovery options could provide the requisite mitigation via even a very radical emissions control treaty.

Regards,

Lewis

Frank Pennycook

There was also this one:

Hopefully global warming will cause sea levels to rise, and with a bit of luck, all those foaming liberals that want us to live in powerless hovels eating insects will drown. Might go some way to solving the population problem.

I like that. Concise and to the point.

wayne

"Ice free" summers are in effect right now to a huge quadrant of the Arctic Ocean, what remains of sea ice still has an important impact over weather. It essentially centres the cold temperature North Pole quite often next to Northern Greenland. The CTNP is an area where the coldest atmosphere lies, which everything else turns around it. It use to wobble a whole lot more, now it is in a fixed area by the surviving sea ice. This in turn guaranties more stable weather further to the South. I think summer sea ice will keep on playing a role for a few more years, then only Greenland will cool the atmosphere, hence a Greenland centric CTNP will take place having consequences quite unlike current weather. There will come a point in time when sea ice extent will have no impact , this comes before there is no sea ice, the way to know this is by observing a nearly fixed in place CTNP. This summer the CTNP varied in location from Greenland to almost near Novaya Zemlya, Sea ice still has a role, it gives the steadier weather you have right now in the NH once irrelevant a different steadier weather pattern will persist.

Jim Williams

Lodger: "A larger unknown is the time required to reach an new equilibrium. At 520 ppm, forcing may indeed be sufficient to destabilize WAIS, but the question is how fast will it collapse."

Yup. How long it will take to collapse is a known unknown. I think most of the "1000 years" predictions came out of the slow change hypothesis; which has been largely discredited. I would like to know if we have any real data on how long it took last time.

Chris Reynolds

Wayne,

You may find this blog post of interest and the discussion below it.
http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/summer-daze-2012.html

Artful Dodger

Hi Lewis. I agree, we're probably SOL. Most of us, anyway.

Hi Jim. Moi aussi. Il peut arriver dans une vie.

Santé!
Lodger

wayne

Chris

Read it, very good stuff. It basically means that the UK will have consistent wet and cloudy weather during summer, wider weather variations during winter. Exacerbated much wetter during El-Nino periods somewhat more variable during La-Ninas. You already have had a taste of it recently. Bracing rain for years to come! Because a High will be more often than not Greenland centric, Decembers will have a greater chance to be colder than average, white Christmas for London a more common thing for a few decades....

Chris Reynolds

This Greenland centred anomaly is really fascinating. I meant to have an evening off watching a film. But ended up examining these anomalies using 500mb means and anomalies.

Basically what's happening is that as you get closer to the Arctic basin the geopotential heights (GPH) go down, OK so far - the air over the pole is colder and denser so the top of atmosphere is closer to sea level than in mid latitudes, TOA is at max in the equatorial regions.

The jet stream forms at the boundary between cold Arctic air and warmer mid latitude air. When you plot GPH as mean for JJA you can see the rough trajectory of the jet by following the curves of the boundaries between different layers of GPH.

This high pressure anomaly over Greenland is actually the result of a GPH ridge extending northwards from the mid latitudes, Due to the dominant wavenumber of the rossby waves, wavelength and speed, they set up a semi permanent standing wave that creates this ridge over Greenland.

This is exactly what Dr Francis was talking about in her paper on patterns in the jet stream getting stuck! The relevant pattern of the jetstream is even printed in one of the figures.

And I didn't think to connect the two patterns.

Stupid!

Bellemisc

DOH! "I came up with 0.00067 for the earthwide effective albedo change, and a solar forcing of 0.23 watts/m2." REVERSED albedo and absorbed energy in the final calc. I now get solar forcing of 0.56 watts/m2 and an albedo change of 0.0016

Fairfax Climate Watch

If I can make a slight (or not) jump in topic, what will happen to this blog if the sea ice doesn’t exist (year-round)?

Twemoran

"If I can make a slight (or not) jump in topic, what will happen to this blog if the sea ice doesn’t exist (year-round)?"

Neven gets a longer vacation?

Terry

Artful Dodger

Hi Wayne and Chris,

The earth's atmosphere is thinner at the North Pole because of both the colder air mass, and the earth's rotation.

This is one of the reasons why Summer insolation is so strong in the high Arctic, because the optical depth of the atmosphere is less than either the temperate or tropical climate zones.

You can spot this boundary on wx maps fairly quickly by looking for the polar jetstream. It forms at the Ferrel and Polar cell boundary.

This Summer, we saw the polar jetstream move to 70° N latitude in Siberia, where it contributed to the formation of GAC-2012. I expect this to be the new normal as we continue to lose the "world's air conditioner", the Arctic sea ice.

Cheers,
Lodger

Artful Dodger

Hi Mike,

I think you'll be commenting while wearing rubber boots, and walking up hill ;^)

Cheers,
Lodger

Neven

Neven gets a longer vacation?

Not so morbid, Terry! Things might turn out okay. :-) :-(

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