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1000 mile wide truck is a better analogy! A lot of people will have to move away....

The correct way to deal with them is to say that the truck is moving at 1 mph and it will hurt if you don't move away from its path.

Yes. I would use a slightly different setting: You forgot you parachute and have already fallen 900 of the 1000 meters from your plane, you can see the Rocky Mountains approaching fast. Holding your smartphone you can either like a status from the Blue Party or the Red Party. Before crashing into the rocks.

Every similar or unsimilar form of politics at this point — including trying to explain anything at all to (fake) skeptics — is as pointless as that final like. Having the best available estimate for when the Falling Man will hit the rocks — or SHTF — is slightly less pointless. At least in our case we can choose to use that information to move to higher ground or more rural areas.

In general, I think way too many people worry way too much about 'the debate', the debate is insignificant. At least at this point it is, ref the 900 meters already fallen. If we can just stop worrying about the debate, we perhaps focus on a better estimate for the inevitable?

Robert S

Vidaloo: I love the 1000 m fall image, but what I think we have to remember is that probably the majority are not going to "like" the status of either party... they're going to take a selfie, or call home, or in some desperate cases watch a cat video. These are the people that are needed to make change start to happen... and in fact recent history says that these are the only people likely to make it happen.

What's needed is very real, grounded analysis of the risks and how they could impact everyday life. Pointing out the possible impacts on weather systems of an ice free arctic is part of that. Exaggerating those risks for effect is where we get to alarmism - and that could risk backfiring, since people are pretty sensitive to certain sorts of manipulation - see for instance the recent New Zealand academic with his "people could be gone in 10 years" schtick. That guy is as much a part of the problem as your basic denier.

Bill Fothergill

@ Robert S "... New Zealand academic with his "people could be gone in 10 years" schtick. That guy is as much a part of the problem as your basic denier."

When I watched that video clip, my initial reaction was "I must have fallen asleep for 17 or 18 weeks, and it's now April Fool's Day"

The amount of absolute crap shoehorned into less than 10 minutes was truly astonishing. Leaving aside the "all humans will be gone within 10 years" bollox, we also had stuff such as...

"3 million years of the human experience",

"only microbes, bacteria and fungii will remain",

"We're heading for a temperature within that span that is at or near the highest temperature experienced on Earth in the last 2 billion years"

If I was employed as a strategist by the Koch brothers, or Exxon, with the remit to dream up ways of discrediting AGW, something like that crap would definitely be near the top of my "to do" list. Look for some opinionated professor who has recently gone emeritus, and get him/her to spout outlandish drivel which can be easily discredited.

Makes me want to vomit!!!

Bill Fothergill

@ Neven - all the very best to you and yours.

I might start a book on just how long the sabbatical will last. ;-)


Thanks, Bill. And good luck with the book. ;-)


Me too Bill...


I'm not so sure I like the fall analogy. It hints at some kind of rapid level of change which will be immediately deadly.

I much prefer the truck. 1mph, one thousand miles wide. Humanity, on foot, stuck In the middle, between the truck and the sheer cliff face, ignoring it.

Until the day that humanity wakes up and realises that they only have one day left.

At which point they have to run 500 miles in one day to escape it. Slow, inevitable and, ultimately, totally deadly.

The other analogy I liked was from a Clive Cussler book.

The way we work today, if there were an algae growing over the sea, smothering all sea life and doubling in size every day, nothing would be done until it covered half the oceans of the world.

At which point Humanity would have one day to fix it.

But that is too fast for me. I still prefer the truck moving at 1mph. It says it all.

I might start a book on just how long the sabbatical will last. ;-)

I shall avoid the topic of how long, but must admit I find the concept very literary. But then everything is when you write. I have a protagonist in my cli–fi who's writing a cli–fi novel but worries mostly about his readers — a complete no–no for any author, but I guess natural for a cli–fi writer — and about getting his book out there in time for their to be living beings with reading abilities. Another figure, maybe his brother, may be trying to take a break from the ice, like the swells crushing it and the dipoles flushing it out the Fram he tries to flush all of it out of his mind. Perhaps only to find he spends more time trying to not think of ice, than he use to spend thinking of ice and abrupt climate change.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"I still prefer the truck moving at 1mph. It says it all."

I like that too, because it brings to light the fact that people are like the hare, running around fast doing all sorts of things, while the problem slowly lurches towards them like the tortoise. Few in our society (except the climatologists collecting data) ever pay attention to something happening slowly? Everything is an obstacle in the pursuit of tech nirvana entertainment. By the time it's too near to ignore the panic will be palpable and because the tortoise/slow moving huge truck was ignored, hilarious.
"Oh, please, first watch this funny video clip on my IPhone."
"No, we have to go now!"


The solution is to first stop digging, surely.

Talking about mobile phones and social media likes strikes to the very heart of the conversation: we have the power to stop this... the mining companies and the banks own the lions share of everything, however.

Wall Street is stealing our kids kids kids blue-chip multi-year sea ice in the Arctic.

Personally I've always felt youtube comments could be spammed... or bustops!

(Ooooops, shouldn't have said that...!??!)

Relating back to the 1000 mile wide steam roller: the banks and the mining companies own the lions share of any stockmarket! It's all Jevons paradox as inefficiency pays the bills and keeps people off the streets: or so it was in the dark ages.

Question: what is the solution?

Allen Stotz

Thank you Neven


I think the solution is fairly simple. The consternation on my Grandson's face when I said to him "I won't see the full impact of Global Warming in my lifetime but your generation is screwed".

These are the people who need to be engaged, to understand and to lobby for change. Because 50 years from now they are the one's who are going to be living the nightmare.

They will also be the next generation of CEO's and Directors.

Whilst it's important to get the message out now, it is far more important to communicate the "slow moving disaster" to the generation who are going to have to deal with it.


Neil, I must say I too like the parallel of the 'slow moving truck' very much. I just don't believe in it, because the data say otherwise. Hence the 100 m left of the fall against the rocks, and the clicking of 'likes' on the iPhone for either Donald or Hillary.



"They will also be the next generation of CEO's and Directors."

I am not so sure. Even though you and I - and maybe others - have lured ourselves into thinking that this will be the case, I have heard from reliable sources, that the recent US tragedy has led to depression amongst those well educated youngsters, whom you have such high hopes for.

What do you do, when they do not know enough about sea ice, but know too much about previous world wars? If they see the patterns from WW I and WW II repeat themselves in front of their own eyes, what would your advice be under these circumstances?.



The biggest chance of Global war is when 1 billion people are on the move due to inundation from the sea and hunger from crop failures.

If they want to avoid WWIII they want to avoid the pressure.

There is fairly solid evidence that one of the key triggers for the Arab Spring was the price and availability of Flour following the Australian droughts, US crop failures and the Russian fires.

If they want to have a liveable biosphere and a lack of war, they need to reduce the pressure. That means we have to stop modifying out climate to one that can't support the 7 billion we have today, let alone the 10 billion it will be in 2050.

That's the message I'd give them.

It's not a difficult message. But like all education, it needs to be consistent and delivered in a way that makes the recipient think.

Cue Grandson. After our discussions I can guarantee he will be researching the scale of the problem. The trigger? My amusement about the fact that I'll be dead and he'll be the one left with the choice of fix it or suffer.

Much of my amusement was about his generations attitude to the problem.

It's how you get the message over.


That is a fine massage for a grandson, but when it comes down to your own son and the shit will hit the fan just around the corner, things may look differently.

Part of the problem is that my son recentlly finished his education, but right now is beginning to realize that his education did not prepare him for neither the Trump-isolationism nor the Arctic sea ice vanishing at record speed.

Bill Fothergill

@ P-maker

I think we are agreed that AGW represents a hands-on problem, but I wouldn't necessarily go as far as you have in suggesting that it is "... a fine massage for a grandson ..."




since the brain is just a big muscle, it could somehow benefit from a massage from time to time. I think I meant message above, but you got the point anyway.

Cheers P


Ah but my Grandson is 21... :-) Supported Brexit and is still looking at his options post education.

He just needed a prod to go and look it up and find out the truth.


Thank you Neven for all you have created!

You leaving at this crazy time feels similar to John Stewart leaving at the peak of US election season.

Enjoy your sabbatical, may all good things come your way!

Martin Gisser

He created a beloved blog about the melting Arctic. But it got harder and harder to write

By Chris Mooney


Glenn Tamblyn


Thank you for all the hard work, and yeah, the emotional burden is something we all carry.

Just a thought to consider, something that might allow the blog to continue without the toll it takes on you. Open it up to a larger author community. A number of members of the Forum certainly have the chops to produce good quality posts.

This is the approach John Cook took with Skepticalscience many years ago, created an author community that generated most of the content. You are a member of that authors community so you know how it works.

Might the same thing work here, so that the blog can continue and you can get the rest and re-centering you need and richly deserve.

Sou Bundanga

Just want to add my heartfelt thanks for all your work over the years, Neven. You are a true inspiration. I wish you and your family well - make the most of your sabbatical. Life is precious.


Martin, thanks for linking to Chris Mooney's article about Neven and the Arctic Sea Ice Blog. The article is rich with well deserved accolades for Neven and the entire Arctic Sea Ice community. Never also seems to have a much wider sphere of influence that I realized.

As Glenn says, possibly some of the most knowledgeable members of this community can make some guest posts to continue this wonderful education experience for the readers/members of this blog.

There are 2 appropriate quotes that come to mind about Neven and the Arctic Sea Ice Blog:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

So, in that vein, Neven, may you time away from this blog be productive and fulfilling. You deserve a break. The education of this blog and the Arctic Sea Ice Forum will continue.


In the third line "Never" should be "Neven" I need to turn off autocorrect.



Poof it is gone! The first potential massive Trans Continental Arctic Ocean winter Anticyclone buildup was stopped in its tracks , was slowly weakened, is now gone. In 5 days, in part because of current sea ice conditions with of course a lot of open water. In the other part because it is unusually warm on the North American side of the Pole, the high pressure vanished with its at first almost seasonal colder temperatures.
The locations with the strongest summer warming where the barriers stopping the Siberian assault.


Thanks again, everyone. It was a real honour and pleasure to be interviewed by Chris Mooney, and to read the nice things people have said about me and the blog. Just that alone has recharged my batteries half way.

Not to worry, Arctic sea ice loss will still be there when I return. Hmm, maybe 'not to worry' is not the right expression.

Either way, as said, I won't be gone completely. And lately there has been so much media attention for Arctic sea ice loss that I think it is really entering the collective consciousness, and will soon be part of common knowledge.

In the meantime I'm thinking a lot about the time after ice-free conditions have been reached. About the consequences, about the effect it will have on public opinion, but most of all about how we need science to monitor its comeback. Because we are going to get it back.

Read my keyboard strokes: We are going to get Arctic sea ice back.


Neven - I have lived next to Arctic sea ice every summer for the past 42 years studying seabirds. In 2002 IBM wanted to use me in an ad campaign with the theme "Where do you do your best thinking?". Told them I would do the ad if it said:

"On ice that may not be here in one hundred years"

They went with it and the ad ran in many U.S. magazines and newspapers. Now it seems I was being optimistic.(Ad now up on my Twitter account)

But came here mainly to let you know that, when I am not on my Arctic island with no internet, I have regularly read your blog and have benefited greatly from the information I obtained and the sense of community with those who share my concern for the cryosphere.

Thanks much and enjoy your sabbatical.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"We are going to get Arctic sea ice back."

Neven, glad to hear your batteries are half way recharged. By what process do you see Arctic ice coming back?


I don't know yet, Hans! :-P


"Make Arctic winter white again!"

I'd vote for that president in 8 years.


Yes Neven, but you didn't say when.... Was that 10,000 or 15,000 years from now? :-D

Personally I had to take a step back and analyse my thoughts on the whole situation. The ability to undo what we are doing to the climate is fraught with danger. If we step in and try to overturn the current inertia we run the serious risk of driving ourselves into the opposite of what we have now, namely an AGC.

I think, personally, that we're going to have to work smarter and not harder. Namely managing the solar input to the planet whilst we sort out the gas balance to keep a liveable biosphere.

As I keep trying to say to people who are talking about "stop" this and "stop" that. We need to "start" doing smarter things more than stopping doing bad things. We need to make a technological leap in power production, power storage and environmental climate management. Which will, in the longer term, stop us doing the bad things.

Making LED light bulbs won't promote these things, it will prolong the old and reduce options. A forward moving technological approach to creating the power we use gives us options. Trying to restrict the dirty power we use does not.

That, as I see it, is the way to get our ice back. Through a breakthrough leap forward, not going back to the 1800's where we burned coal to produce steam because we didn't have electricity.

Planting forests too of course.. :-), which is about as low tech as they come. But rapid and focussed forward tech is my take. Until we accept that what we are doing is unsustainable to the population at large (lots of dead humans), we won't invest the time, money and effort to do it.


Persistent shift of the Arctic polar vortex towards the Eurasian continent in recent decades)

The wintertime Arctic stratospheric polar vortex has weakened over the past three decades, and consequently cold surface air from high latitudes is now more likely to move into the middle latitudes1, 2, 3, 4, 5. However, it is not known if the location of the polar vortex has also experienced a persistent change in response to Arctic climate change and whether any changes in the vortex position have implications for the climate system. Here, through the analysis of various data sets and model simulations, we show that the Arctic polar vortex shifted persistently towards the Eurasian continent and away from North America in February over the past three decades. This shift is found to be closely related to the enhanced zonal wavenumber-1 waves in response to Arctic sea-ice loss, particularly over the Barents–Kara seas (BKS). Increased snow cover over the Eurasian continent may also have contributed to the shift. Our analysis reveals that the vortex shift induces cooling over some parts of the Eurasian continent and North America which partly offsets the tropospheric climate warming there in the past three decades. The potential vortex shift in response to persistent sea-ice loss in the future6, 7, and its associated climatic impact, deserve attention to better constrain future climate changes.

source: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n12/full/nclimate3136.html

Hans Gunnstaddar

"I don't know yet, Hans!"

Until such time and with Christmas upon us, we can always sing...


Bill Fothergill

@ Hans

I'll never be able to look at reindeer in the same way.

Robert S

Neil: while I agree with you that (hoped for) massive technological change is critical, I disagree with the idea that changing lightbulbs is not productive, One of the biggest things we need to accomplish is changing mindsets, and if someone changes a lightbulb with the intent to reduce impacts, that's a huge step. Technological change without human change is an incomplete solution... and anyhow we need to reduce impacts while we're still on the way to the technological change.

But planting trees... definitely. That's been my life for forty years.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Yeah, Bill, were those reindeer well trained or what? - lol.

Meanwhile couldn't help but notice the article linked below that suggests no connection between GW & increasing number of tornados per cluster, and if there is it's happening in a way they don't understand. Uh, wouldn't 2,427,096,500 and rising number of Hiroshima equivalent energy packs added to the biosphere since 1998, be a good place to start to understand the increase in energy needing to be released? Nah, that's too obvious. There must be a more nuanced explanation that exonerates human induced GHG emissions.

Be sure to ck. out the graph.


Hans Gunnstaddar

The following is information most have already recently read about, but some excerpts are here if you haven't.


"According to new, conservative estimates in a scientific study led by Dr. Thomas Crowther, increasing soil respiration alone is about to add between 0.45 and 0.71 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere every year between now and 2050."

"Sadly, soil respiration is just one potential feedback mechanism that can produce added greenhouse gasses as the Earth warms. Warming oceans take in less carbon and are capable of producing their own carbon sources as they acidify and as methane seeps proliferate. Forests that burn due to heat and drought produce their own carbon sources. But increasing soil respiration, which has also been called the compost bomb, represents what is probably one of the most immediate and likely large sources of carbon feedback."

"That the world could, as an outside risk, see as much as four times the amount of carbon feedback (or as much as 2.7 ppm of CO2 per year) coming from soil if respiration is more efficient and wide-ranging than expected. If a larger portion of the surface soil carbon in newly warmed regions becomes a part of the climate system as microbes activate."

"The upshot of this study is that amplifying carbon feedbacks from the Earth environment are probably starting to happen on a large scale now. And we may be seeing some evidence for this effect during 2016 as rates of atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation are hitting above 3 parts per million per year for the second year in a row even as global rates of human emissions plateaued."

Glenn Doty

I thought I'd add my voice to the chorus and say "thanks for providing this space Neven."

I'm a long-time lurker, and I've learned a great deal from Neven and the extraordinary voices that participate in the blog, while I usually just read.

As for "We will get the Arctic ice back"... It isn't really so hard as you would believe. We just have to reduce our net emissions. Nature has natural sinks that will gradually reduce the higher-than-sustainable concentrations of GHG's if we would only stop pumping the stuff out at such a high rate. Right now we're pumping about 35 GT of CO2e into the atmosphere per year, and concentration is going up ~2 ppm/year. But 8 GT ~= 1ppm. The other half of our net emission is being absorbed by natural sinks. We just have to slow our emissions, and things will begin to correct themselves.

That means as much nuclear power as we can invest in, as much wind and solar as we can invest in, and as much efficiency technology as we can invest in as fast as we can invest... It will take half a century, but we'll get to the point where GHG concentrations begin to reduce. Another 100 years after that, we'll be back to ~350 ppm.

That's bleak, and the amount of damage done will be extraordinary... but that timeline starts when the world really begins taking this seriously, so every year until that happens just represents that much more damage done...

But I think Neven is right, our grandchildren's grandchildren will see the cryosphere begin to be restored... or maybe their grandchildren.
(We are, after all, moving into a typical phase of glaciation with regard to the Milankovich cycle).

As for "We will get the Arctic ice back"... It isn't really so hard as you would believe. We just have to reduce our net emissions. [...] We just have to slow our emissions, and things will begin to correct themselves.

Glenn, Nature also has a huge amount of very strong positive feedback loops, making the 'Make Arctic Winter White Again' campaign an uphill battle. We've tried Wishful Thinking and oligarch controlled fake democracy for half a century. It didn't work. Sadly, humans aren't all that creative on a species level, and we're out of options when those two methods didn't work.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I agree, viddaloo, and would toss in that even in the case of renewables, in some cases it reduces carbon emissions while in other cases it simply gets added to the overall energy mix, due to the economic need for growth. In the case of nuclear I think growth in that form of energy is slight due to concerns over what happened in Japan, and the idea that if fusion becomes viable it will replace it, so why spend all that money on something that may soon become obsolete.

If fusion gets developed soon enough on an global scale, it can be used to replace fossil fuels, economic growth and would potentially be cheap enough to use for carbon sequestration. I would then invoke a moment of silence for any remaining species (other than ours) larger than a mole because of the massive increase in population and construction that would follow.


A BIG THANKYOU from me too, Neven. And a "hear hear" to echo the various comments above.
We all need to take time out at various points in order to strengthen our resilience on various/all fronts. And not necessarily CC-related ones. So for that reason I am pleased to read this is what you are planning, for yourself and your whanau!
Just maybe you can put the up the occasional post on the Forum Walking the Walk thread to update us on progress with the garden etc?!


Say you inherit €9 million and carelessly spend €100,000 a month, you will eventually run out of currency. Your calc app says 90 months which is 7 ½ years. In the Arctic we have 9.77 million km² annual average extent (AAE) of sea ice, and we're "spending" about a 100,000 km² of this "inheritance" each month. We can spend or lose AAE all year round because it's an annual average, and an annual average removes seasonal variation. Therefore a rapid collapse with monthly 100k losses can last from July to October (2007), or August to October (2012), or indeed from October to December (2016). Going from melt to refreeze during such a lasting plunge (2007 & 2012) is NOT problematic for the Arctic (only problematic for debaters if they did not still learn the basics of an annual average).

In the Arctic we got 9.77 million km² annual average extent (AAE) of sea ice, and we're "spending" about a 100,000 km² of this "inheritance" each month. Calc app says we've spent it all after 97.7 months. This is 8.1 years, and from today that takes us to 2025.

What this calculation means is AAE would be 0 km² in 2025. But because AAE for a specific date is the average for the 365 days ending with that specific date, the start of that very first 365–day period of no sea ice at all would be a year earlier, in 2024. This is why the blue column for November stops at 2024. The loss per quarter (red) is slower and leaves winter ice lingering until 2028. Loss per half year (orange) lets ice last to 2034, and per year (green) to 2042.

[For volume the outlook is even darker: 2021, 2022, 2023 & 2024 for monthly, quarterly, halfyearly & yearly, respectively. Extent collapse trends are merely catching up with ice volume collapse.]

What happens when we've spent all the ice we inherited?

Click graph for full blog post, or here for the youtube teaser.


viddaloo - that's a good analogy. May I suggest a modification suggestive of albedo change, namely inflation.

Say you inherit €9 million and carelessly spend €100,000 a month, and inflation is running away so that each month you need x% more money. The exact rate of inflation, which in any reality is fluctuating, determines the point in the death spiral when your last beer token is gone.

Now, you could complicate matters further by adding in a nice bit of oscillation as e.g. daily tidal forces modified by lunar time, but let's not carried away. :-)

Glenn Doty


I don't dispute that it would be hard. You'll note that I assumed a ~150 year timeline from the point that the planet begins taking the issue seriously.

But I think that the assumption that there will be no refreeze in the winter after 2034 is... well... farcical.

The blue ocean event is coming soon, and it literally could occur any given year at this point.. but that will be a matter of hours of blue ocean at the North Pole. The average of the number of hours of blue ocean will then gradually increase each year, but it's going to be a very long time before winter refreeze doesn't happen. The warmth of absorbed sunlight will be absorbed by heating deeper water and melting the giant ice-block of the Greenland Ice Sheet (completely terrifying to contemplate), but it's unlikely that the average water temperature in the Arctic will rise much in the next hundred years.

I was merely saying that once our emissions drop below the point of natural absorption, the atmospheric concentrations will begin to reduce very gradually, and eventually we'll see the number of hours (by then in the thousands) of blue ocean at the North Pole start creeping the other way slowly.

I don't disagree that it will be hard. I think it will take us ~5 decades of dedicated effort to get to a point where our emissions are reduced below the point of natural absorption. I find it nothing short of absurd that, given the difficulty of such an endeavor, we're delaying the effort and just letting the problem get further out of hand...
We do agree on most of this.

I'm just saying that if you take the really long view, I believe that the gradual reformation of arctic ice is possible.



The problem you are overlooking (or at least not mentioning here) are the "emissions" that are built into the planet's carbon storage tanks that may be released even if we get a handle on our CO₂ emissions from energy production. Methane is stored in the Arctic tundra and in methane clathrates in the oceans (in continental shelves). We don't know enough to know whether our warming the geosphere will begin feedback-enhanced release of those enormous storehouses of methane. Once they begin to significantly contribute to greenhouse gas increases, the so-called 'tipping point' has been reached and controlling CO₂ emissions becomes moot insofar as halting further warming is concerned for many decades. Then your other implicit assumptions come into question. Does the technological progress needed for long-term emission decreases stop when the rate of sea level rise grows by an order of magnitude? How about when agricultural production crashes because the world's bread baskets are desertified? How about when refugee flows make today's refugee problems pale in significance? If we are seeing right wing demagogues thrive today, how will it be then?


-FishOutofWater here-

The problem with getting back sea ice is that the radiation balance of the planet is way out of equilibrium. The oceans have been taking up heat and there is still a huge amount of cold water stored in the deep oceans that will continue to cool the planet. Now, that's a good thing for all of us, but it hides the effects of GHG's. It means that there's a huge amount of potential warming baked into the system because the system has a huge amount of inertia.

Increasing the carbon content of our soils, planting trees and restoring ocean ecosystems can help build up the natural systems that reduce CO2. We should all be doing that because using these natural systems will probably have the fewest unintended consequences.

We know from the history of volcanic eruptions that disastrous consequences like "the year without a summer" can happen when there is a change in the radiation balance caused by increasing the albedo of one part of the planet's atmosphere. Thus I think that engineered solutions could have disastrous unintended consequences.

Just maybe you can put the up the occasional post on the Forum Walking the Walk thread to update us on progress with the garden etc?! :-) Clare

Thanks, Clare! I will definitely put up an occasional post on the ASIF. In fact, I've considered many times to start a second blog to present the house (its strengths and flaws) with some numbers attached, and then do the same for the garden. Coming up with ideas never seems to be the problem. ;-)


There are consequences with respect to current domination of Cyclones with lesser thinner Arctic Ocean sea ice:


Wait a bit, they will say in a few days, it will be very cold in North America. Perhaps Trump will tweet something stupid about it, but we forget so easy even the recent past, but music and brave fishermen have a story to tell, beyond politics transcending time, forever marked by lore.



Bravo. Many of us, like you, are transitioning from worrying about the coming calamity, or even from trying to prevent or lessen the severity or speed with which the calamity hits us.

Now we must focus far more locally on doing what we perhaps can for ourselves and those we love. A blog where you and we can share what works(ed) and what doesn't (didn't) is a grand idea. Lessons learned from the front lines of transition. How to become independent of all of society to the degree we can. Power, heat, cooling, food and water rank high on that list. Being able to share and store that abundance locally come next.

There is already a huge base to start from that began in the 1970s and has continued through the present.



"I've considered many times to start a second blog to present the house (its strengths and flaws) with some numbers attached, and then do the same for the garden." --Neven

I have followed your blog since its inception and the educational value to me has been very substantial.

I look forward to a blog about gardening. I have been organic farming since I was a kid and that was back when there was talk about global cooling that was not coming from wing-nut jobs. I have done both dairy and gardening; I have taught high school horticulture for the past 16 years so I have hopefully learned a few things. There are many things yet for me to learn about gardening, however, my garden has been very successful over the years. Hopefully I can contribute in this area a bit.

A blog about the house would also be great. I want to add solar power and make some other improvements as well. It would be nice to see by example how to be more environmental friendly.


Hi Neven,

Another longtime lurker here. I also want to thank you for your past efforts and hope you come back to regular posting soon.



Robert, whilst I do not deny that any reduction is a good reduction, my problem is that we, humans, organise into societies so that we can solve the problems which each person, or small community, cannot solve on it's own.

Food, Security, Defence, Technology. The list is long. However the point is this. We give up our personal freedoms and a portion of our income to gain these benefits.

So when a global catastrophe comes along which the individual cannot do anything about, because the technology s/he uses on a day to day basis only makes the issue worse, where is the government in which we have invested this power?

Giving us low power light bulbs.

Yeah, right!

Glenn. There is a time when I might have gone with what you say.

So answer me this. From the end of 2013 we, humans, finally reached a peak in our CO2 emissions. They have not dropped but they have stopped growing.

So why did 2015 see a huge jump in CO2 ppm rise to 2.9 and why will 2016 see something more like 3.2 or 3.3?

Yes there was a HUGE Nino, but at the same time our emissions growth stopped.

Next year will tell. The Nino is gone. If CO2 ppm continues to grow, year on year, then we know it's already too late and the planet has taken over where we left off.

Even then, what it would take to get us even to a level where we are no longer adding into the system will take so long that we'll already be at 450ppm or more. 450 is considered to be the gateway to self sustaining warming.

If we even drop to an increase of 2.2ppm growth p.a. until 2050, we will see nearly 480ppm. If it remains at 3ppm (remember we only stopped, we have not reduced), then we breach 500ppm by 2050 alone.

I see absolutely nothing to encourage about the situation in terms of "getting the ice back".

This is all in a scenario where the Ocean absorbs fully 50% of the CO2 we produce. If that were to break down then we'll see 600ppm long before we are in a position to even being to rectify it.

Yep, light bulbs. That'll do it...

The entire Sahara and all of inland Australia, watered by Nuclear and solar desalination and planted with trees, would only put a dent in it.

Of course, then we might overshoot, in a hundred years or so, into an ice age....

Light bulbs..... :-(

John Bilsky

Ahhhh yes.... Love the topic of self sustainability as much as is possible in today's world. As changes happen, be they in world finance, energy needs or AGW with associated consequences in each, we all need to follow the Boy Scout Motto... ie... "Be Prepared". In that vein, the one book in my library that absolutely NO ONE gets to take from the house is Carla Emory's "The Encyclopedia of Country Living." Indispensable if only for the gardening knowledge ... but there's so much more!

Andy Lee Robinson

I can fully understand how Neven feels, having suffered from burnout too. Pushing against an intransigent industry and media that really really does not want to do anything about the problem and controls so much of modern life can be soul destroying.

Over the last few years, I lived off an inheritance that has now all but gone - it supported me while I battled in comment sections and made incredibly time-consuming graphics, but I got too involved and forgot how to make a living!
I really have to start building a career again, or I'll lose my server and find myself on the street! Crunch time.

Meanwhile, the latest PIOMAS data have just been released, and I've made another death spiral:


The figure for November is just astounding. It's less than what Septembers used to be just a decade ago!

Neven, hope you'll be able to find the time and motivation for a short post on it soon!

Hans Gunnstaddar

Here's some dramatic news from the other pole:


'Massive Rift in Antarctic Ice Shelf Spotted in NASA Photograph'

"An ice shelf in Larsen C close to breaking off. New images taken by the space agency taken on November 10 reveal a crack in the Antarctica ice shelf that is growing in size and depth. It is said to be 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and approx. a third of a mile in depth.

"The crack completely cuts through the Ice Shelf but not all the way across - once it does it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware," stated NASA in a press release.


Andy says: "I can fully understand how Neven feels, having suffered from burnout too. Pushing against an intransigent industry and media that really really does not want to do anything about the problem and controls so much of modern life can be soul destroying."

Ditto. As a lifelong sufferer from depression I found it impossible to keep up my Arctic watching while at the same time trying to cope with two very time-consuming legal problems.

Hans: understanding Antarctic ice loss is as easy as A B C -

From a NASA press release about Larsen B -

"NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing."

And then along comes a US President-elect who denies the reality of global warming ...

Hans Gunnstaddar

"And then along comes a US President-elect who denies the reality of global warming ..."

PLM, probably just a political ploy to pretend to have listened to the person the right dislike the most on the topic of GW, then later reject everything he said, but Trump met with Al Gore on GW.


John Christensen


In agreement with the many comments above: Thank you very much for having managed this great blog with an even-keeled approach to understanding and communicating changes for the Arctic sea ice.

Wishing you well and good luck with the continued house project!

Kind regards,


The updated PIOMAS graph is here (you might need to refresh):


It might be useful if someone were to post just a headline, or a headline with one sentence or one paragraph, occasionally, for people to comment under.

Bill Fothergill

The PIOMAS graph to which D_C_S kindly provided a link (above) is also available at ...


This alternative link gives a variety of graphs, along with some limited commentary from the Polar Science Centre team at the University of Washington.

Daily volume figures below the - 2 Stnd Dev range is not a pleasing thought.


I have just published a new blog 'Something is wrong in the Arctic'. Neven's followers are specifically invited to exchange comments over at science20.com while Neven is taking his well-earned sabbatical.


Yes, NeilT, changing light bulbs are hardly going to make much difference to our predicament. In any case, not everyone will or can change, making it almost a futile gesture in overall terms, though I do feel better by doing so. Indeed, light bulbs illustrate the dangers of concentrating on one predicament, thus allowing others to worsen. As I understand it incandescent to CFL to LED in progressing up the toxicity ladder in order to progress down the GHG emissions ladder.

By the way, I'm fairly certain that we haven't stopped growing CO2 emissions, though the estimated growth has been very small in 2014 (about 0.6%, I think) and 2015 (perhaps even lower). Aside from that, emissions of other GHGs are growing faster. We're now above 485 ppm CO2e in the atmosphere and that is what counts, so we don't have to wait for 2050 to get there in CO2, as we're already there in CO2e.

Glenn Doty


I'm not sure if you'll see this, but if so, you have to remember that movements in our society are non-linear. Once we really start taking this situation seriously (at this point it's pretty obvious that will not begin until the blue ocean event at the North Pole, probably later), we will begin putting real investment into the issue.

I'm in the U.S., as you may be able to tell from my optimism (even in the face of the recent election of an idiot fascist in my country). If the U.S. were to begin taking the issue seriously, we could invest $300 billion in subsidies per year into low carbon emissions energy production, and $200 billion in subsidies per year into efficiency technology. Assuming the subsidies cover 50% of the install costs:

That would result in the construction of ~20 GW of nuclear reactors that would be constructed within a decade (85% cf, ~150 TWh/year), ~50 GW of wind power that would be constructed within 2 years (35% cf, ~150 TWh/year), and ~40 GW of solar power that would be constructed within the year (~16% cf, ~56 TWh/year)...

We would be increasing our generation capacity by ~350 TWh/year/year, plus adding all of the transmission upgrades, pumped hydrostorage facilities, dam uprating on hydropower dams for load following flow release, etc...

At 350 TWh/yr/yr, it would take less than a decade for us to make the required investments to fully transition our energy into low carbon options. ONE SINGLE DECADE, and at a cost of less than half of what we pay for our military today. It will take longer than that, of course, because the load demands will grow, and transmission issues will increase with distance, and switching our heating needs to work with renewable and combined power and heat generation will take time, while then transitioning into synthetic fuel made from recycled CO2 will also take time...

And of course the industrializing countries will take far more time than the U.S.

That's why I said it would take ~5 decades after we really take it seriously.

We can do this, we just presently are not taking it seriously. When we do, it will take ~50 years. Then it will take a while for the planet to re-balance... and we will probably have to work towards sequestration...

Elisee Reclus

I apologize if my recent comments have contributed to the conversation here drifting away from commentary on, and interpretation of, new climate data. I will refrain from further disruptions until we have more real numbers to comment on. And let me add my voice to those in praise of Neven. (Come home, please, your contribution is incalculable!)

But forgive me one last Parthian shot.

The opposition to AGW science is not solely due to stupidity or even ignorance. I believe those in power and of influence who toil ceaselessly to discredit or silence those of us concerned about climate change do not necessarily fail to disbelieve the evidence.

On the contrary. I think they know exactly what is going on, and they feel that they are in a good position to profit from the coming chaos. It is in their interest that our current state of indecision and conflict be prolonged indefinitely. They may not necessarily anticipate an uninhabitable planet or a deterioration of world civilization due to climate disruption. But they do foresee a world in which they can exploit the crisis for their own financial and political gain. They are convinced they are going to make out. It's what they like to think of as an "opportunity".

There is little we can do to convince or educate these people. They are the same folks who sold repeating rifles to the Sioux, and who defended the pesticide merchants and the tobacco companies. These people do not (privately at least) dispute the fact the polar ice is melting away. They just see it as a way to be able to drill for oil and gas cheaper in the Arctic.

People who live in gated communities patrolled by armed guards need not fear food riots and civil unrest. Shortages of any kind, whether they be of energy, privacy, clean air and water, housing, credit, medicine, education or freedom never threaten everyone simultaneously.

And they're betting that by the time the troubles work their way up to their socio-economic strata, either a magic bullet will materialize and slay the bogeyman, or they will be dead anyway. When people like that believe those things, it really makes no difference to people like us whether they're right or not.

Ivanka says 'so long'!


I think that after performing a public service, you are doing a good thing to remember your local community, your family, your spouse especially. Supporting her is important. Informing others is truly a life's work, but we need those physical connections, with the people around us. Best of luck to you. I also homeschool my child, so I was tickled to see that you are homeschooling your daughter, too. May she grow up happy and may all our children grow to see a better world.


Thanks, Hsofia. And the same to you and yours.


After being interviewed for the Washington Post, I have had the honour of being invited to talk on the Canadian radio (a CBC program called The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti), the audio of which was posted yesterday:

'Like watching a train wreck': Blogger quits writing about climate change

I don't particularly enjoy talking about myself (the ego rush makes me insecure), and it's harder for me to talk English than to write it, but this turned out pretty well, I think.

Jim Hunt

Some "Sabbatical" Neven!

I think it "turned out pretty well" too, certainly in the sense that the alleged "insecurity" was inaudible.

Not to mention top billing above Sir David Attenborough!

Susan Anderson

Lovely clip, thanks.

The headline "quits writing" is not accurate.


Congratulation to Neven, wow. Eso es muy chido.

On another note: what if I was to say that Antarctica has only been off-colour for just over a month?

Would this not give the skeptics a point?

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