« PIOMAS November 2012 | Main | Arctic methane: Why the sea ice matters »


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

Lynn Shwadchuck

Thanks, Neven for being on top of this so fast, in fact as fast as I could click on the link left here by idunno! I came back to ASI to search Judith Curry and here was this smart post.


Thanks, Lynn. Being Dutch, I knew this was coming for a while.

BTW, "skeptics" in the public comment section are pathetic so far.

David Chase

Standard shifting of the goalposts -- call the moderates "radicals", keep repeating that until everyone thinks Obama (nominally black, nominally Democrat, policies of a Rockefeller Republican) is a crazy socialist.


Neven, might s well post this here, you post faster than I can write :)

Judith Curry's Sea ice dissertation is amongst the worst ones I have ever read. She has a good grasp of the basics, and then really screws up the prognosis and projections.

First off the transpolar current really is nearly a constant, so exiting sea ice through Fram Strait over the last 20 years is a non news event, it will happen whether the AO is positive or Negative. Long term Animations seen here on Neven's site show that. The latest key shrill dismissive, the famous storm of early August 2012 is a non issue as well,

Here is Julienne Stroeve a real ice expert:

"Julienne Stroeve says:

August 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Theo, we don’t have the data/analysis in at this point to say exactly what the storm did (i.e. what sizes of floes did it break the ice-pack up into, what were the SSTs, how far were the ice floes transported, how much thick the ice was when it was broken up, how much melt happened as the ice pack spread out, etc. etc. What we do know is that the winter ice was thinner than last winter (from Cryosat) and that immediately after the storm, ice concentrations were already low in that region prior to the storm, and SSTs were colder than normal immediately after the storm, with warm water below. Then the SSTs increased later in the month.
I can’t quite understand the desire to ignore the fact that the ice is thin and prone to melting out. If you remember, 2002 was dominated by cyclones all summer. So why didn’t all those storms result in ice extent below 5 million sq-km?"

A CT comparison makes the storm result not impressive:


The CT threshold for ice was different than NASA,

Now pause on August 2 on this NASA animation:

So on one hand the storm caused open water (NASA), while CT shows open water where NASA didn't have.

Case closed, enough written, Judith Curry is some sort of representative for the contrarians, she jumped tribes, from the science one, to the pre 19th hysterical superstitious gang.
What she offers is not a dialogue but a slanted contrarian propaganda piece.


Wayne, all that you say about Curry might be true (in fact, I agree with you), but as soon as she admits that 50% of the decline is caused by an anthropogenic forcing, we're done and we can move on to the question: 'given the magnitude of this event and its rate of change, how do we start minimizing our contributions to it?'

You can then talk about troposheric hot spots and hockey sticks all you like, but nothing will change the fact that AGW is causing climate patterns to change up North and we better start thinking about the consequences.

What Curry does and why she does it, becomes irrelevant as well. In fact, focussing on Curry and her motives will only offer a way out from having to think about the implications of admitting that AGW is causing the Arctic to change radically.


Is Curry correct when she says the Arctic won't truly be ice-free in this century since the ice around the Canadian archipelago won't melt?


BenF, that's correct. It's all about the definition of 'ice-free'.


BenF, No she is wrong about many things, the question is when its going to happen, sooner than much later is the answer.

Neven, you are absolutely right, but somehow this Dutch organization thinks that Dr Curry offered the start of a dialogue, she does no such thing, but dishes out the banalities of uncertain confusions stirred by her new contrarian tribe, A dialogue is a back an forth exchange on facts, since her presentation has the now famous contrarian 2012 great ice melt excuse; the cyclone of 08/05, she is simply trying to dissuade reasoning away from the blatantly obvious. Dismissive and completely out of synch with reality, she offered a PR piece for the do nothings of this world. A dialogue would be that the melt of 2012 was staggering, massive,
incomparable with any in the past. Yet she hints the nebulous history from especially those Soviets, a chance that this melt happened before. However never in history has transpolar shipping being proposed away from the NW and NE passages strait through the North Pole as the Chinese are about to do.
You would think that she was writing in 1982 when the first polar satellites were out for a mere few years, not the 2012 that we all know so well. Blatant untruths do not create dialogues.

Chris Reynolds

Sorry Neven, but I have to agree with Wayne.

What dialogue is next?...

The Earth is flat dialogue?

The Moon is made of cheese dialogue?

The Earth is only 8000 years old dialogue?

Frankly I have more time to talk of shoes, ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings, than to waste time in circular dialogue with people who have a problem with reality.

One point I have to make having browsed the comments over there: It matters not a jot whether AGW is 25%, 50%, or 75% behind the changes in the Arctic. The pattern from so many different models - you don't get the trend of ice loss without anthropogenic forcing - means that such proportional attribution is as facile as arguing how much of a fire was due to the flammable contents of the building and how much due to the can of petrol and lighter the arsonist used. Yes, yes, we all know the Arctic is a region with strong feedbacks, and that these are probably playing an increasingly strong role. But in various models of different design and made by different teams the common pattern is - No anthropogenic forcing; no trend of ice loss. Then there's Notz & Marotzke's work (more here). I could continue but it's just going over old ground.

Real debate is interesting, useful, and can be fruitful, often making one examine assumptions, always leading to a deeper understanding. But what the denialists offer is far removed from enlightening debate, it's a complete waste of whatever time I have left.

Aaron Lewis

Thanks for bringing this up. I thought the Dutch were better informed.

I agree with wayne and Chris, I fear that site is a barrel of "red herring". The question is, "Who is put out the red herring?" Was Curry invited innocently? or did her friends set it up?

I agree, that the amount of additional global warming does not matter if we are not adapted to any additional amount of GW. (Our industrial agriculture production systems are not heat tolerant, and our cities are not sea level rise tolerant.)

Espen Olsen

As long as The Greenland ice sheet is connected to sea via glaciers and thereby calving, the Arctic Sea will in theory not be ice free. And that goes for sea connected glaciers anywhere else!

I thought the Dutch were better informed.

All it takes is a small group of white males, and they have those in the Netherlands as well.

If you feel able to write an overview, I think that it might now be timely.

There are a couple of things I have to write first (batteries half-full now) and then I might do an overview.


But to get back on-topic. The only reason I'm interested in Climate Dialogue is that they have kicked it off with Arctic sea ice. There is nothing new there for most of the ASI Blog dwellers. But what is interesting, I find, is that they obviously couldn't do better than Curry. There are zero fake skeptics in the cryospheric sciences. Arctic sea ice is a HUGE problem for fake skeptics.

And the one person they do manage to find (who has a fancy for collecting fake skeptics as fans) immediately says that half of the Arctic sea ice retreat is caused by an anthropogenic forcing. Which for me amounts to: AGW is causing climate change in the Arctic. That's the skeptic position. AGW is real and is (partly) responsible for millions of kilometres of sea ice to not be there in September.

You don't even have to spin it. You can just put it out and have fake skeptics go insane. It will not convince fake skeptics - nothing can - but anyone with a brain can put one and one together, look at the ice, think of potential consequences, and realize that business-as-usual is simply not an option.


Aaron wrote:

I thought the Dutch were better informed.

Some Dutchman are better informed, others aren't informed at all.
And I'm afraid in this matter tehre is no difference between America, Great-Britain, France, Italy, Flanders ecc.. ecc.

On the other hand, I do agree with you as well as with idunno and Wayne, this isn't even worth the electrons we are spoiling on it.
It's just about a self-appointed expert which deperately tries to put herself in the middle of interest.


I think certain people just don't want to listen. You will probably have the best chance to get to some of them if they're not from fossil-fuel-rich regions and tell them temperatures are going up, and it's best if they start developing green technology because in the future everyone will want them, and they'd get lots of jobs if they've got the best green technology.

If you like this petition, sign it and spread the word: http://wh.gov/Xg5R (Does not contain secession!)



For the rest I leave it to Neven, but IMHO things as

A whitehouse.gov account is required to sign Petitions.

aren't in place here.

Protege Cuajimalpa

I someone doesn'n know and it is interested, there is Al Gore in a "24 Hours of Reality" at Internet right now:


Neven has mentioned the need to get to what shall we do about it?
As I seem to have many very right wing friends around me (have no clue how that happened as I tend toward left myself), here are some of the issues that are going to be major road blocks to change.
1) As the world is in a major economic difficulty and all governments are under major debt problems we can not afford to spend any money on changing the status quo.
2) Everything that will reduce mans impact on the environment is not sustainable and therefore should not even be looked at.
3) The changes are going to happen anyway so why bother trying to make a difference.
I could go on for another thousand but it really comes down to I am terrified of change, change costs a lot of money, we can not afford to spend any money so let us just keep things as they are.
Unfortunately I am a pessimist about real action being taken until NY, London and/or The Netherlands get permanently drowned from high water levels which I fear could be a lot sooner then we care to think.
As to what needs to be done. radically change from global to local economies. Change our energy usage from carbon to renewables plus reduce the amount of energy we use by multiple factors. Help 3 world rise to 1st world level of living without going carbon route. Get agriculture off the use of the chemical industry. Get products off the use of plastics and being throwaway to easily repairable non plastic.
There are many more that can be added to it, but unless all these things are worked on at the same time the environment and therefore climate will not be in a position to have a chance to change. Only then can the world get to the point of working on repairing the damage. Unfortunately all I see will be the trying out of quick fixes that will all not work and just create a bigger mess to clean up because you have not stopped what is causing the trouble in the 1st place and the feedback loops will continue working off of that.
I know this sounds very depressing but I remember watching a documentary based on a study some historian did on the fall of empires and the conclusion was that it was not war, economic failure, lazy work life or anything of that nature, it was environment damage that got to a point that that empire could no longer sustain what it had.

Chris Reynolds


I do see what you're saying with regards Curry accepting an anthropogenic role. However I think we've already seen the start of this shift in the wider denialosphere. That's in the dismissal of CAGW instead AGW, CAGW being 'Catastrophic AGW'. As the evidence comes in the more intelligent end of the denialists have shifted; from 'no warming', to 'no warming because UAH doesn't show it', to 'yes, there is warming but it's not human caused' and the latest is 'yes there is warming, there is a human role, but it doesn't justify the alarmism'. A sure sign of the idiot end of the denial spectrum is the 'no warming since 1998' or 'nothing unusual in the Arctic'. Watching their death throes just bores me I guess.

I think you're referring to Jared Diamond. The civilisations he refers to are certain cases, e.g. Anaszi, Easter Island. Not all civilisations fell this way, e.g. Rome fell due to internal politics (mainly), not the environment.

Jim Hunt

One thought LRC.

The world is in a major economic difficulty and all governments are effectively printing lots of money.

Why not spend it on changing the status quo, instead of on maintaining the status quo?

After all the "next governor of the Bank of England" is calling for "unconventional economic policies"!



Without AGW we had Little Ice Age (snow cover in Paris till april and etc) and probably begining of the True Ice Age. Maybe you like this alternative but most of people no.

Jim Pettit

Such "dialogues" could be an effective mechanism by which the debate could be depolarized. But the debate doesn't exist because of conflicting views on the data that can be hashed out through presentation of facts and polite discussion, but because one side simply refuses to recognize those data in the first place.

On the one side: scientists with a rapidly-growing mountain of corroborated evidence that the planet is warming, and that our burning of fossil fuels is largely to blame. On the other side: ideologues and fossil fuel profiteers who fear a change in the status quo that could cost them politically and/or financially.

The latter side is never going to be convinced of their wrongness through being buried by facts from the former. Never. Even were the Arctic to fully melt out, and all the world's glaciers to vanish, and sea levels to rise five meters, and massive, year-round heat waves to suddenly develop, and so on, that side would still kick and scream and obfuscate and lie about what was happening. A hundred or a thousand dialogues could be convened to help prod them into accepting reality, but they would all prove to be as ultimately fruitless as the Dutch one--well-intentioned though it is--will be.

Artful Dodger

True, Jim. Since the 1950s, the real objective of these dialogues has been delay. They win as long as we believe talking is the same as doing.

Governments are as addicted to royalties as the fossils are to carbon. People, if you want a solution, you have to ween yourself off fossil fuels. Yes, you.

Think of it as a diet. First find a way to live well with less. Then find alternatives. Then show you neighbors how you did it.

As Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world. Your children's future literally depends on it.


Chris Reynolds

"e.g. Rome fell due to internal politics (mainly), not the environment."

This supposition has been documented as not true. Climate played a major role in the decline and downfall of the empire.

See: 2500 Years of European Climate Variability and Human Susceptibility, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/578 (paywall).

Science 4 February 2011:
Vol. 331 no. 6017 pp. 578-582
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197175


Climate variations influenced the agricultural productivity, health risk, and conflict level of preindustrial societies. Discrimination between environmental and anthropogenic impacts on past civilizations, however, remains difficult because of the paucity of high-resolution paleoclimatic evidence. We present tree ring–based reconstructions of central European summer precipitation and temperature variability over the past 2500 years. Recent warming is unprecedented, but modern hydroclimatic variations may have at times been exceeded in magnitude and duration. Wet and warm summers occurred during periods of Roman and medieval prosperity. Increased climate variability from ~250 to 600 C.E. coincided with the demise of the western Roman Empire and the turmoil of the Migration Period.

Also an important work on the final demise of empire and the beginnings of the medieval period shaped by climate, see:

The Years without Summer: TRACING A.D. 536 AND ITS AFTERMATH (Bar International), British Archaeological Reports (August 15, 2000), ISBN-13: 978-1841710747

Espen Olsen

IJIS a new record was set yesterday, it is the first time this late in the refreeze season seeing an extend less than
9.000.000 km2 at 8.704.063 km2.


New article on Sea Ice and Climate Change in the Huffington Post.


Chris Reynolds

Thanks A4R, I wasn't aware of that.


CT showing that coastal sea ice in the Kara Sea is struggling to return to peak achieved on November 6, prior to retreat.

Susan Anderson

Thanks as usual. RealClimate has a new post on this as well. But meanwhile, back at the ranch, "Climate Reality: The Dirty Weather Report" (another Al Gore 24 hours marathon) just addressed Arctic drilling and Arctic melt was cited as the top extreme event, rightly so IMO.

I know some people have bought the PR meme about Gore, but he's put together a terrific program, approaching hour 18 now.



We all have other areas we specialize in professionally. Part of my research and lecturing is on the early Roman empire.

I always am humbled by how much you know about climate science. So we each contribute to one another's learning.

Aaron Lewis

Ok, let me rephrase that, "During a recent trip to Amsterdam and Deft, the Dutch seemed more informed about environmental issues than the people around my hometown in California".

Repeating false statements tends to re-enforce the false concepts in people's minds. Summaries and overviews should only include correct material and not restate errors. And, the correct material should be tied to familiar metaphors and similes so that it resonates with the student. (e.g., Bury the "Red Herring". Do not drag it around town on a string.)

We are not writing formal science papers, we are selling ideas. It is the difference between the engineering documents used to design an automobile, and the glossy brochures in the sales show room. The engineering documents are technically correct, but they do not sell as many cars as less technical brochures. The technical documents of AGW are in the journals, but they do not sell to the public. Climate Science needs glossy brochures in the retail showrooms.

Dominik Lenné

Quite OT so I keep it short: one thing to do is support of the implementation and/or development of schemes to put a price to emission of GHG like an emission certificate system. Simply logical.

Hans Verbeek

The Arctic is a very inconvenient topic for skeptics. The next subject on Climatedialogue.org, whatever it may be, will be easier for the skeptics and more challenging for the warmist-side.
Let's give this initiative a fair chance.

'given the magnitude of this event and its rate of change, how do we start minimizing our contributions to it?'

< ahref="http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/1306494-you-can-t-say-that">Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute has a good suggestion:
"Yes, the most effective way to slow climate change is to shrink the economy. That statement is inconvenient as hell, but it’s true."

The new inconvenient truth is that you might have to give up driving, flying and the internet to stop climate change.

Steve Bloom

"The new inconvenient truth is that you might have to give up driving, flying and the internet to stop climate change."

Well, if it's that vs. cursing our descendants to a living hell, it's no choice at all!

Steve Bloom

Chris, Jim and Lodger, I wish it were the case that those folks were just on a short ride to the dustbin of history. Instead, the completion of that arc of "reasoning" is likely to be in advocacy for engineering the atmosphere. The danger of that course of action acquiring sufficient political support is IMO the greatest we face.


The new dialog is not off to an auspicious beginning. I see that the hoary old "the Antarctic Sea Ice" trope has already been excreted on as a public comment. What is the use of having "experts" if they're not going to moderate the "public" comments and require some modicum of truth (Judith Curry's silly "anthropogenic percentages" are bad enough. It is hard to believe she actually made such an idiotic comment - perhaps she could enlighten her colleagues by publishing a derivation of her percentage). At any rate, the Antarctic nonsense was debunked on this web site on Sept. 22.

Bob Wallace

"The new inconvenient truth is that you might have to give up driving, flying and the internet to stop climate change."

Perhaps flying. There's no need to give up driving or the internet, those can be powered with renewable energy. That's already happening.

If we move our moderate length flying to electrified rail we can cut fuel need for airliners significantly. We might need to increase the cost of flying so that it covered biofuel.

Jim Hunt

@Steve - Sounds like you're not a fan of AMEG style geo-engineering?! How about "engineering" designed merely to "suck" carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere?

@Bob - Given that "climate change" is already messing up global agriculture, where do you suggest growing all that biofuel?

Jim Hunt

P.S. Perhaps I should add that I've recently been reading some local research on "bio-engineering".


It even gives sea-ice a mention!


Hi all,

A new film is posted up by AMEG here...


...featuring interviews with Wadhams, Shakhova, Hansen and David Wasdell.

Hans Verbeek

Well, Steve Bloom, I think our children think a world without cars, planes and the internet is a living hell.
Just ask some teenagers.

Chris Reynolds

Steve Bloom,

I agree that the greatest danger is that once people accept the dangers of AGW their position will move to calling for geo-engineering rather than emissions reductions. Heinberg has a good grasp of the issue - the logical answer to both AGW and Peak Oil (or more broadly fossil fuel depletion), is to rapidly reduce consumption of fossil fuels.

However as Hans points out, many people are too wedded to the idea of continual growth. As an aside - I was talking to a chap in his twenties about the UK phone system. In my first job (early 1980s) when we wanted to phone London from Manchester we needed to call in the morning, by the afternoon the phone system was overloaded and you were lucky to get through. My colleague was staggered, he couldn't envisage a phone system like that.

I expect geo-engineering to be seen as a 'get out' to avoid doing what Heinberg correctly sees as the real answer - economic shrinkage. One could call that what it is - recession. But the term economic recession is itself so negatively loaded that advocating it will be seen as idiocy!

The fact remains, if we fail to do shrink our economies and lessen our impacts and consumption, then the world we live in will do it for us. Needless to say, a planned recession would be less painful than an unplanned recession brought about by impacts of AGW and reducing supplies of resources.

Albert Bartlett should be required watching for every single human being. The video 'Arithmetic, Population and Energy' shows the idiocy of our current path - that's before one introduces the AGW factor. Video here.

I strongly recommend every one who's not seen it (probably not many of you) to make the time this weekend - about 1hr 15mins.


I can also recommend the Bartlett video. Saw it twice. An entertaining mindblower. Another documentary I'd recommend (in fact I ripped the dvd and uploaded it as a torrent here) is called Blind Spot. Has some excellent speakers (James Hansen being one of them).

Chris Reynolds wrote:

However I think we've already seen the start of this shift in the wider denialosphere.

Yes, and that's progress, I guess. :-P

I'm not particularly interested in the fake skeptics themselves, but more in the uninformed that can still be swayed. In my opinion fake skeptics now need to be pounced with their conversion to 'AGW is real', with risk management (they will always lose that discussion), and they have to be asked continuously: : 'What if you're wrong? What if you're wrong? What if you're wrong? What if you're wrong?'

I'm going back to Climate Dialogue now and give it one last shot. I'll be quoting from this great article by Kerry Emanuel.


What's going on around Severnaya Zemlya? Ice along the coast of the Kara Sea has still not rebounded to its recent max on 11/6 when it began to shrink. Now the waters east of Severnaya Zemlya are opening up (seems to have begun just after 11/6)


Is this unusual?

Mary A Bein

Chris R. I agree that the powers that be (especially in the US) have already decided that geoengineering is the way to go; at least that is the very curious answer that P. Obama hinted at in his first press conference post election.


Thanks, idunno. I'm putting that vid up.

Chris Reynolds


I've never used a torrent site, when I try to download I just get a 13kb torrent file. That video was on Youtube - but the account was closed down for copyright infringement, were it on Youtube I'd just rip it from there. Do I need to open an account with that torrent site to download? Is it a DVD ISO file or .avi?

I agree that the denialists aren't the problem, it's the lurkers. That's why I started blogging. We need Google to show as many truthful blogs as denialist ones when people search for information. The good side of what's going on in the Arctic is that it looks likely to be so fast we can demand predictions from the denialists - showing them wrong in practice. People who make duff predictions, and can be called on them, don't stick in the minds of the undecided as particularly expert. In the case of the Arctic they've backed the wrong hypothesis - only anthropogenic forcing will drive the ice to extinction, natural cycles will lead to a recovery, which just isn't going to happen.


Being from the UK I didn't follow your election much. It's bad to hear that the US is drifting towards geo-engineering.

Not feeling up to much else, I've been spending a lot of time watching videos recently. On Youtube there's a video of Horizon's 'Global Dimming', here. It's a bit dated now. The catastrophic outcome at the end seems unlikely due to new work constraining the uncertainty about radiative forcing from sulphate pollution. However this is still a problem, as I blogged on last year, here. The scary scenario is this: Say we start deliberately pumping sulphates into the upper atmosphere as a geo-engineering solution, while allowing CO2 emissions to continue unchecked. This might seem to work fine, but it would be hiding the true impact of our CO2 emissions and the AGW that would otherwise result. CO2 lasts for centuries (and more) in the ocean/atmosphere reservoir, but sulphates rain out in weeks to years. So if, due to fossil fuel depletion, we found we could not afford to continue the geoengineering we could lose the cooling effect and face a climatic catastrophe (massive warming in a few years - too fast for any adaptation). Gail Tverberg over at the Oil Drum has written extensively about the economic impacts of fossil fuel depletion and the effects of decreasing energy return on energy invested. Given her forceful arguments it's hard to see how we will have the wealth to support geoengineering for the centuries needed. (Unless we crack fusion - but betting on that is like racking up huge debts on the expectation of winning the lottery)

On balance BAU scares me less than BAU + Geoengineering.

Chris Reynolds

DJ Price,

Here's my take on the ice edge there - in the Atlantic there's a constant battle between warm water and the ice edge who's balance is often tipped by the atmosphere. I don't think it's unusual. But as last year showed the ice edge and ice state in Barents/Kara is one to watch, especially if you live in Europe.


That Global Dimming documentary is what got me really interested in AGW. After reading fake skeptic sites I became fairly certain it wasn't a hoax. :-)

Chris, to download torrents you need a BitTorrent client. For instance, µTorrent which is a really small programme and is easy to operate. When you open the torrent file the client asks you where to download the file to. Et voilà. No need to be afraid of viruses either as long as you don't DL weird stuff or the latest movies that haven't been out on DVD yet.


Hi friends,

I had a sort of the discussion above, at work in the pause, today. I sensed the colleagues starting to dislike me, which I can perfectly imagine. I’m so sorry my tone is often ’know-it-all’, leaving no room for others to settle in.

I just can’t find the ease to get through the notion that having to let go of things doesn’t essentially change the value of our lives.
Times may be hard, yes. But they have always been through our collective history. Our ancestors didn’t quit. At least, not all.

In mainstream economics and opinion, I have seldom read any linkage between wealth and resources. Since the report of ‘Club of Rome 1970’, that linkage seems to be taboo.

As a consequence, I loose my feeble equilibrium any time I hear politicians, managers, editors promising growth after this crisis. Geo-engineering, building sea-walls, maybe even cap-and-trade, it’s all going to cost the last EROEI-surplus we made out of abundant use of fossil energy. And it’s not going to be effective in the not-so-very-long run.

What FI Heinberg repeats time after time, I admire that patience, is to allocate these remaining funds into the transition to sustainability.
I guess banks will fall, assets will dwindle in the process. But they will anyhow. For many, the regulatory involvement needed in the process would be seen as socialism. But in times of great danger it is leadership. To maintain free enterprise, we have to promote responsibility.
The greatest freedom lies in willingly accepting dependency.

Martin Gisser

Neven, thanks for the link to that "great article" by Kerry Emanuel. But it contains a toxic line,

"we have yet to establish a link to hybrid storms like Sandy"

Oh dear scientist, si tacuisses. Sandy has footprints of climate change all over. Weirdness - 'nuff said.

As a consequence, I loose my feeble equilibrium any time I hear politicians, managers, editors promising growth after this crisis.

The other day I saw that fellow from the Socialist Party moaning about how the government's policy would not spur economic growth. Left, right, liberal, socialist, none of them are getting it. This to me is an even bigger problem than plain denial of AGW.

Oh dear scientist, si tacuisses. Sandy has footprints of climate change all over. Weirdness - 'nuff said.

Hi, Martin, had to think about you the other day (I've met Martin once in real-life, before finding out he was also active as a commenter on climate blogs).

Emanuel is right, the link is probably there, but it's difficult to establish it and find conclusive proof. Anyway, that's what his piece is about: scientist's inherent (scientific) conservatism is not helping wrt society getting to grips with AGW.


But back on-topic:

The moderators have started to pick up good questions from the public comments (notably those of Rob Dekker who is really to the point and thus kicking ass), so I have posed two questions to Dr. Curry on Climate Dialogue (comment, not visible yet):

I have two questions for Dr. Curry, which I hope she'll answer if she deems them good enough:

1) You wrote: "models are inadequate", " I don’t have much faith in the climate model projections of sea ice" and "climate models, which have substantial problems in simulating the Arctic climate".

At the same time you write: "The first issue to debunk is that an ‘ice free’ Arctic is some sort of ‘tipping point.’ A number of recent studies find that in models, the loss of summer sea ice cover is highly reversible."

To a lay person there seems to be a contradiction there. Why do the tipping point models simulate Arctic climate better than sea ice projection models?

2) How does a cool PDO influence sea ice differently than a warm PDO? Isn't the word 'cool' causing misunderstandings? The definition seems to be US-centric, meaning that the PDO is cool or warm depending on SSTs off the Pacific coast. But looking at this image (left is warm PDO, right is cool PDO). If this image is largely correct there looks to be more warm SSTs near Bering Strait when the PDO is cool than when the PDO is warm.

But let's say that when the PDO is cool, colder water enters the Arctic through Bering Strait. Is that water really colder compared to the long-term average? Because if I'm not mistaken, the PDO is defined as either cool or warm after "the monthly mean global average SST anomalies
are removed to separate this pattern of variability from any "global warming" signal that may be present in the data" (source.

So, again, how will the PDO add to a slowdown or reversal of the negative trend in Arctic sea ice cover? If it's not through changes in SST, is it through changes in SAT or changes in atmospheric patterns (Beaufort Gyre, etc)?

I suspect the same question applies to the AMO, but I haven't looked into it enough.

Chris Reynolds

The issue of tipping points and reversibility in model studies seems to me to hinge upon reducing CO2 emissions (the major anthro impactor). Back in the real world there is scant reason to believe this will happen anytime soon. So the reversibility and possible lack of tipping points becomes a theoretical issue. The behaviour of the Arctic sea ice seems to me to be what I'd expect from a system undergoing a tipping point.

Then there's Livina & Lenton, A recent bifurcation in Arctic sea ice cover.


I've thrown in a remark as well, thinking 'what the heck':

I'd also make one more remark on the influence of CO2/GHGs on dimininshing Arctic sea ice over, and it has to do with semantics. When speaking of CO2/GHGs one somehow imagines the GHGs over the Arctic to trap the heat and reflect it back, melting the ice. Although this is one of the factors behind massive temperature anomalies during winter, it isn't accurately describing the process.

What we're talking about is the accumulated heat in the ocean-atmosphere system by greenhouse gases since the start of the Industrial Revolution. If I'm not mistaken, this heat or energy amounts to 2 Hiroshima bombs per second since 1960. Here's a good graph that shows the heating (from Nuccitelli et al 2012).

As Kwok and Untersteiner wrote in this 2011 article:

"The surplus heat needed to explain the loss of Arctic sea ice during the past few decades is on the order of 1 W/m2."

Now this heat is not going away, so the only way it cannot influence Arctic sea ice, is if it doesn't get into the Arctic to begin with. But as long as the North Pole is colder than the equator, energy will be transported to it.

Anyway, I thought it'd be better to talk of accumulated heat by GHGs than by just GHGs as an influence on the diminishing of the Arctic sea ice cover. GHGs don't melt ice, heat does.

I'm still keeping an eye on this, purely because it's about Arctic sea ice. Towards the end I'll try to reiterate what I've said: an agreement that AGW is contributing significantly to climate change in the Arctic makes any other Climate Dialogue irrelevant (except from the scientific perspective, for which we have the peer-reviewed literature, etc). From the perspective of society we need to move on to Policy Dialogue.

Susan Anderson

Well, si tacuisses aside, I am not going to remain silent, though inexpert at a level lower than that of most commenters here.

I am an addict of water vapor animations, and have watched a variety of them daily for the last few years. The Arctic cyclone and ensuing events have made changes clear in this outward and visible manifestation of climate change. And as I see it, Sandy was unquestionably in a direct line with the summer events. Its size and hybrid qualities would not, I believe, have been possible without the gigantic forces set in motion by the violence of the melt.

There you have it. I have no qualifications at all to express this opinion, but I saw it with my own eyes, addicted to pattern and in love with spirals and energy. The coriolis forces and the Rossby wave changes, the jet stream as explicated by Dr. Francis (Rutgers) are changing in just the way that would produce Sandy, and they did.

Scientists are required to be rigorous and support their opinions with finite means, but that does not cancel the outward and visible manifestations of our fabulous earth.

Steve Bloom

Neven, be aware that there's considerable confusion about how "tipping point" should be defined, so maybe state what you mean when discussing them. The thing with reversibility is that everything we can do to the climate system is ultimately reversible, which is why Judy's response is just a dodge. What's going on in the Arctic right now can perhaps best be described as abrupt change with major consequences for other parts of the climate system. OTOH it can be described as a tipping point, i.e. a state change with self-persistence given that CO2 does not decrease. I'm sure Judy thinks it's no such thing despite the blatant evidence (this is why she backed into the high natural variability view), and there is probably some value in drawing her out on that point. But as always with her, 'ware the cloud o' ink.

BTW, perhaps you've already spotted it, but note this new paper (article) showing past quick recovery of glaciers in the Arctic, which unfortunately demonstrates that the other thing is just as possible. As we used to say in the '60s, speed kills.

And aha, I see there's a related paper (press release), not quite as fine-grained but leading to the same general conclusion.

Perhaps these two papers are worth a post.


Some aspects of this are becoming intriguing. Here come the cavalry:


(read the comments)

Tonino did not post this until very close to 5p.m. Friday, Dutch time, so all of the ensuing comments will be held in moderation until Monday. By then, I presume that the majority over there will have moved on to a different target of their rage.

If you do read the comments, you quickly note a major disconnect between them and (my perception of) reality. I suspect that many other regulars here would agree with me.

But it does seem to me that there is an increasing ghetto-isation going on.


From WUWT, IMHO, a piece of nonsense:


From Tamino, a refutation of the above:


The really interesting bit being that there is no mention of the Tamino article, in the WUWT comments, until "adjustthefacts" (sorry, I can't help myself) himself eventually mentions it, in a passing aside, just to assure the flock that it's all nonsense and contains a minor error.

So if Climate Dialogue results in dialogue, this might be an improvement.

However, I suspect it won't. Comment from Jim Cripwell, "I sincerely hope that in the future, Marcel will take this blog so that it truly lies between Climate Etc and WUWT. Should this fail to happen, I wont be around at all."

Which just seems a classic illustration of the problem. Increasingly, the internet allows special interest groups, occasionally with extreme and irrational beliefs, to congregate together and self-reaffirm in an environment where their core assumptions will be further reinforced by all the other commentators, who share them.

A further example: yesterday, Al Gore broadcasts his thing. WUWT launches WUWTTV simultaneously.

How many people watched both, simultaneously?

(Is this Anthony's intention, to ensure that none of his faithful will even hear a word of Gore's broadcast? That saves him the trouble of critiquing it.)

Climate dialogue, with its various levels of moderation, is an interesting and well designed platform.


Neven, This dialogue brings out a couple of sea ice facts which I like, first they seem to agree that flushing has little to do with Oscillation cycles. They also hint that there is a somewhat diluted consensus about AGW affecting sea ice. But most salient points I raised were largely ignored. As dialogues go its on the light side of tame. Over all it will result in boosting the prestige of the contrarian. I do not like the lack of a diagnosis of why sea ice is disappearing so quickly. Reading from the statements, there seems to be no apparent sense that something big is happening. It sort is a reflection on the current world wide discussion on sea ice, bordering between a bit of interest to not a big deal.

Steve Bloom

No worries re WUWTTV, idunno. Page views were about 1000 to 1 in favor of Gore's effort.

I agree that CD is an interesting concept, but of necessity there will be many repeats of the current failure to get a full range of expert views, probably including people even less qualified than Curry on the "skeptic" side while continuing to ignore the likes of Wadhams and Maslowski. Consequently I predict a short effective lifetime for it, although the actual lifetime can be stretched out by reducing the post frequency.


Morning guys,

I might have continued on the "weird" thread, but I think what I'm about to write has some more exposure here.

Chris, Djprice, having continued the decadal analysis via Daily Composites, there is a rather unusual process active in the Kara/Severnaya Zemlya sector.
Chris, you're right that 'generally'there is nothing unusual in the constant shift of the ice barrier this time of the year.

What is specific is its location now.

The Geo 500 Mb/SLP pattern has shifted to a sort of donut shaped low circling Greenland. The Polar vortex is anomalously strong, albeit unusually small, over the CAA.
Because there is an anomalous high over the Laptev coast, strong winds on most tropospheric levels get into the Arctic. Right over the Kara region.

I can find some similarity November 2006. If there's any sense in that comparison, it doesn't bode well for next melt season.


Dr. Curry hasn't yet found the opportunity to answer my questions so far, but I've given it another shot:

It's an honour to have been mentioned by Dr. Curry, but it would've been even better if she had taken that time to address my two questions.

Something else Dr. Curry wrote, caught my eye:

Philip Bradley raises a very interesting point:

“The trend in the Arctic ice minimum extent is -8.2%/decade. While the trend in the maximum extent is -2.78%/decade. This means we are seeing both increasing summer ice melt and increasing winter ice formation (measured by extent).

This IMO points to decreased cloud cover as the primary cause of both, from increased summer insolation warming and increased winter radiative cooling.”

This might be a very interesting point until one realizes that 1) we're talking about extent here, whereas volume would be a much more useful measurement to compare the declines in maximum and minimum, and 2) the Arctic Ocean is constrained by land masses, otherwise we might see just as big a maximum decline.

Of course, sea ice experts realize this, which is why you won't see Dr. Meier or Lindsay bring it up.

I try to stay positive...


Neven, Its not really a dialogue, As you have stated , Dr Curry picks the questions she barely answers with some sense and the other experts hardly interject, and ask "say what???"
The salient points I've raised at the beginning of this dialogue which were quite important , for the most of them, untouched as well. Not that I will ask, but as a matter of interest, that the other experts are too busy to notice her errors or are simply to polite to point them out. The fact that contrarian Curry doesn't seem to be a little bit concerned about the melt of 2012 says it all. And yes she will never be able to answer why she is certain that 2012 great melt was greatly caused by the cyclone of 08/05 but is " My point is that I DONT KNOW with any high level of confidence what the sea ice will look like in 10 years or 100 years" . The two statements contradict each other, since cyclones are quite common in the Arctic, even in the summer, the future should be made clear that there will be at least great melts from cyclonic activities for decades to come.

10 years ago most sea ice scientists, Wadhams and many others would have said that the ice would be thinner by now. But then again Dr Curry knows erroneously why the melt of 2012 was great, but hasn't the foggiest about 10 years from now, come to think of it.... that makes sense in the context that she can't do a good prognosis in the first place. :) I do enjoy very much contrarian comedy.


Neven wrote:

This might be a very interesting point

And the point was:

While the trend in the maximum extent is -2.78%/decade...***cut*** This means ***cut*** increasing winter ice formation (measured by extent)

She doesn't talk about SIE but about the "increase" to the SIE
Neven, the real point is the lady tries to fool us and she probably has been paid for.

As, and as already had been remarked, the smaller SIE is at the end of Summer, the greater the "increase" will be in Winter. Even if the "increase" would lead to a record minimum of the maximum extend.

Bottom line, this is an insidious try to fool people. And, as it already had been proved in the past, tries like that always had been paid for.


I've worked for four governments (different levels / different countries) over 25 years and I've never seen anything that resembles their description of theirs of reference: "...Parliament asked the government ‘to also involve climate skeptics in future studies on climate change’...As a result of this, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment announced a couple of projects [including Climate Dialogue]."

Could any of our Dutch residents comment further about the background here? I assume the Minister instructed the Ministry to act, but what was her impetus - embarrassing questions in Parliament (from who?), a recommendation from a committee (composed of...?), a motion passed in the house(following a debate?)

I'm highly skeptical of the motivations at play here, and am curious about exactly how the parliament "asked" the government to include skeptical views.

Artful Dodger

In 1632, the Catholic church compelled (they would say 'provided the opportunity to') Galileo Galilei to write a book called the Dialogue.

Artful Dodger


The Church insisted this book was an opportunity for Galileo to write a balanced discussion of the two opposing views of the Cosmos, one Earth-centered and one Sun-centered.

Galileo did write the book, but to his great regret he focused on what the science told him, which supported only one view, and discredited the other.

For failing to provide sufficient backing for the current view of the Church, Galileo was imprisoned and threatened with torture by the Inquisition. It seems he got it wrong. But not about the science. Galileo was wrong about the politics.

Artful Dodger


Eventually, Galileo's world view was accepted by the Church, although long after his demise. For it's part the Catholic church still exists, still denies culpability in its treatment of Galileo (they still blame the messenger after 380 years), and quietly continues it's rich tradition of the acquisition of gold.

Artful Dodger


Artful Dodger


Today, there are even more rich and powerful forces who would have us dither in dialogue while they reap a fossil fuel bonanza. Except this modern cabal does not share the moral restraint of the Inquisition.

Artful Dodger


The irony is not lost on students of history that this latest effort at diversion is also called a dialogue. Nor is it lost on students of rhetoric, which inform the tactics of the other side.

Artful Dodger


So it's time to ask ourselves some questions.

Who do you think benefits from the dialogue? Do you really want to contribute to a dialogue with climate deniers? Or is there a better way to inform Society on climate science?

Simply put, can we trust science over greed? If your answer is 'yes', then swatting at yet another straw-man is simply a waste of time.

Artful Dodger


The rich and powerful have shown they are willing to hide behind rhetorical dialogue for centuries. Our liveable climate will be destroyed in far less time. You already have the science, as did Galileo. It's not about the science.

The real question is 'What can we do about the politics of climate change'? Or if you enjoy metaphor, how do we outwit the Inquisition? And how do we defeat the fossil papacy?

Your thoughts?

(fini -- #$%& Typepad!)


Neven Wrote
"Something else Dr. Curry wrote, caught my eye:

Philip Bradley raises a very interesting point:
“The trend in the Arctic ice minimum extent is -8.2%/decade. While the trend in the maximum extent is -2.78%/decade. This means we are seeing both increasing summer ice melt and increasing winter ice formation (measured by extent).

This IMO points to decreased cloud cover as the primary cause of both, from increased summer insolation warming and increased winter radiative cooling.”

This might be a very interesting point until one realizes that 1) we're talking about extent here, whereas volume would be a much more useful measurement to compare the declines in maximum and minimum, and 2) the Arctic Ocean is constrained by land masses, otherwise we might see just as big a maximum decline."

Volume may well be a more sensible measure but I think it is true even if you do use volume.

To me the obvious effects to explain this are 1. albedo feedback means that as ice reduces, the summer melt can be greater because of the extra energy captured. 2. In winter as the ice gets thinner, more heat can be lost through the ice allowing more ice formation.

These are not the only effects but they are the obvious ones. In view of this, how does Curry think that this points to reduced cloud cover? I think she is just pouncing on anything in order to suggest cloud cover as an explanation even when the argument doesn't really make sense.

Artful Dodger

... and that surprises you?

Jim Williams

I frequently follow links to research papers from here. I rarely, if ever, follow links to the crazy sites from here.

I've no problems with others going and arguing with them. Some people get their kicks arguing with idiots. I don't happen to be one of them.


Bipolar phenomena explained by simple physics

Adding to Neven’s note about increasing cloudiness, I would like to offer my thoughts in two parts (Thanks to Artful Dodger for pointing out the TypePad problem).

Spurred by the recent Holland & Kwok (2012) publication, I had a quick look at the Northerly wind anomaly map here: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/336912

Over the past 20 years, wind speed has increased in the Amundsen Sea off West Antarctica, in the Ross Sea, off Oates land, off Casey and off Queen Maud Land.

Comparing this pattern with patterns of marginal ice sheet thinning, it appears that Antarctic sea ice extent may have grown due to changing katabatic winds!

Similarly, changes in Arctic katabatic wind patterns have also been touched upon here (at Nov 1, 18:05).

Why have katabatic winds in both hemisphere increased over the past 20 years or so?. Is it due to global warming?

Let’s have a closer look at a handful of hypothesis, which may help to clarify this issue:

1) Albedo changes
2) Surface roughness changes
3) Surface slope changes
4) Air density changes &
5) Gravity changes




Ad 1) Excluding for a moment atmospheric and oceanic circulation changes, it is quite clear that stronger katabatic winds in both the Arctic and the Antarctic may have led to albedo changes ( shifting the sea ice/open water boundary), but nothing indicates that these albedo changes are causing changes in katabatic winds.

Ad 2) Since stronger katabatic winds have been observed over different surface types (ocean/snow/glacier-, shelf- and sea ice/tundra/shrubland), it is hard to tell, whether surface roughness has changed systematically in a smoother direction, which may explain stronger winds.

Ad 3) A number of studies in recent years (including air photography/laser altimetry & GRACE results) have shown increases in the marginal slopes of both Antarctica and Greenland (see example here: http://images.sciencedaily.com/2009/09/090923143331-large.jpg ). There is a clear pattern that areas with marginal thinning of ice sheets are closely related to areas of stronger katabatic winds off the coasts, which also affect sea ice extent. Observed glacier surface changes in the Melville Bay area in Greenland indicate that a 70 m lowering of the ice margin and/or a 1 km retreat of the ice front may lead to a 7 % steeper ice slope. This may help explain the larger polynia in the Baffin Bay in recent years.

Ad 4) Since warmer air on average contains 7 % more moisture per one degree C temperature increase, it is obvious that cooling air masses above the ice sheets must also have a higher density during nocturnal cooling episodes, thus leading to stronger katabatic winds off the ice slopes.

Ad 5) Finally, gravity changes as observed by GRACE (see examples here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Greenland-ice-mass-loss-after-the-2010-summer.html
and here: http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=33 ) points in the direction of weaker gravity fields, which should eventually lead to weaker katabatic winds.

We thus end up with two likely explanations for stronger katabatic winds, which may lead to larger sea ice extent regionally in Antarctica and larger polynias (and less sea ice) regionally in the Arctic. Both of these explanations may be closely linked to global warming through warmer and moister air masses above the ice sheets and thinning ice sheet margins caused by warmer ocean water and ice dynamics.

In summary, gravity seems to drive moister and denser air off steeper slopes in both Polar regions. Adding the two effects, we may see a 14 % increase in wind speed locally per degree of warming locally. If we erect high quality wind turbines in the right locations, we may be able to harvest the energy as we go along losing the ice sheets...


... and that surprises you?

Unsurprisingly, no.

Perhaps it was more Neven's comments that surprised me. Still true with volume and while land does constrain the ice it does so similarly each year and despite that the volume increase is increasing. So it seems to me that the counter should be this is what should be expected and we are clearly overwhelming this negative feedback.

Or maybe Kris's argument above is justified. I am just slightly concerned that it may look like it isn't really addressing the data raised which has simple explanations without invoking cloud cover.

Artful Dodger

Quite right, Chris. I think Joni Mitchell had clouds figured out by 1970. I don't see much progress since then.

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now (Live, 1970)


"It will be VERY interesting to what the max winter sea ice extent is for 2013, I suspect that it might be low as a result of the ocean mixing from the August storm." Judith Curry Nov 17

Yess especially since she doesn't have a clue about how to analyze sea ice and also no clue about the future.

Artful Dodger

Dr. Judith Van Pelt is now taking questions on Arctic sea ice. Whoops, nope!


Right on very Artful!


Perhaps it was more Neven's comments that surprised me.

Crandles, my point was that if you want to use the difference in decline numbers between minimum and maximum (-8.2 vs -2.87% for extent), it's better to look at volume. Because an ice pack at maximum can be 1 metre thick on average or be 2 metre thick, but extent can be exactly the same. I'm going to look at the PIOMAS numbers (unless someone has the numbers at hand for me), but I think the difference between minimum and maximum decline is smaller.

Furthermore, if the Arctic Ocean weren't constrained by land masses, the decline in maximum might be bigger as well, further reducing the difference between minimum and maximum decline.

So, my point is that it's useless to deduce anything from the difference in minimum and maximum decline numbers for extent. I'm not interested in the next step at all. The first step isn't adequate. Instead of pointing that out - as I believe any sea ice expert would - Curry goes: Interesting, interesting, interesting, clouds!


Didn't need to write much at CD Arjan van Beelen had great response and question to Curry's 08/05 statement:

"I find this statement quite puzzling. I can understand the process (lower heat content in deeper waters), but this might lead to more rapid freezing in this area in fall (do we have any indication that this has occured?), and later opening up of this area during spring. Maximum extent is reached WELL outside the regions affected by the storm. These areas are always frozen over near maximum extent!”

Of which Professor goes into long diatribe of lower warmer saltier sea water below brought up by said mega melt storm possibly affecting the refreeze above for the entire Arctic ocean. Problem with that answer, #1 During the said storm sea ice was still present, waves were attenuated, mixing not so strong as with much later when most if not all ice was gone. #2 The sea surface cooled in the wake of the said storm. #3 about salty waters, most of this years Arctic Ocean melt was with 1st year saltier ice. Next time Dr Curry goes in the Arctic she should try having tea with boiled melt water from first year ice (is a bit bitter). 2012 total melt Left the surface of the sea with saltier water surface. #4 thus the refreeze to date (she has not noticed) has been slowed compared to previous years, so estimate of coming maxima should be in large part built on sea water already saltier, not from said storm, but from wide open sea 3 weeks prior and 4 weeks from late September minima. #5 Maxima extent is largely uninteresting and will be quite near normal (Neutral ENSO begets). #6 On the other hand sea ice volume will be all time maxima lowest.

Artful Dodger



Dr. Curry answered some of my questions (or did she?), so I'm extending my stay at CD:

Dr. Curry, I apologize for the veiled sneer, I was just surprised by the eagerness with which you seemed to take up Philip Bradely's comment. I'm not disputing anything you say about cloudiness, as I don't know much about the subject. My point is that if you would want to say something about it by invoking the difference between minimum and maximum decline, extent is not the most useful metric to do so. Simple example: Ice cover at maximum can reduce from 2 metre on average to 1 metre, with extent hardly changing.

My other point concerning the Arctic Ocean being constrained by land masses: if the Arctic Ocean weren't constrained, maximum might have been much bigger before than it is now, meaning that decline in maximum would have been bigger too (read for instance this blog post from Tamino discussing the Eisenman 2010 paper). Or in other words, you would see similar big swings from minimum to maximum before 2007. And of course, ice growth gets bigger as ice melt gets bigger. It's called winter, and it's still around.

So my point was that if you want to say something by invoking the difference in decline rate between minimum and maximum extent (or area for that matter), you're going about it the wrong way. One of the commenters at the ASI blog looked at it from another perspective:

To me the obvious effects to explain this are 1. albedo feedback means that as ice reduces, the summer melt can be greater because of the extra energy captured. 2. In winter as the ice gets thinner, more heat can be lost through the ice allowing more ice formation.

These are not the only effects but they are the obvious ones. In view of this, how does Curry think that this points to reduced cloud cover?

Models and PDO in next comment.

Steve Bloom

Curse you for eating the Sun, Lodger. :)


Triggered by FrankD above…
I remembered this:

“Today saw the publication of a report on climate effects, ordered by the Dutch government……Let’s get to the culprit (of the report): “climate change perseveres, but is probably manageable in the Netherlands”.
Reacted Jul 25, 2012 op ASI 2012 update 7: steady as she goes om Arctic Sea Ice “

It just came to me that all the fuss in this thread is pointing me back to that entry I made on 25 July.

This Dutch “Climate Dialogue” initiative has no relevance whatsoever, guys.

It is a signal put out of a society that is thoroughly embedded in ‘Business as Usual’.

What is the line of command here? In ’06 multiple Dutch ministries and governmental organisations initiated a ‘National Programme on adaptation of land-use and climate’. The management for this Programme is one of these diffuse, typically Dutch, conclaves of officials from government related bureau’s (like KNMI) and business related science/education institutions (like Alterra, Deltares).
This has led to installation of the “Planning Bureau for Living Environment (PBL in Dutch)". One of the offspring-branches led to the Climate Dialogue.

I have no doubt the concern of most persons involved in all these initiatives is genuine (I'm quite naive). Why then I would think there’s no relevance?
I attended the presentation of KNMI’s four climate models for the future of Dutch policy summer ’06. The complex ‘resource depletion/climate crunch’ challenge was symbolized in: ‘Whatever sea level change (and we have measured no acceleration) may happen, we’ll counter that by shoving 20 million m3, and,if necessary, even 80 million, to the coastline’.

This is the reality accompanying the ‘Dialogue’. A technical approach out of a false understanding of nature, that just wastes precious time.


Okay, so I have put all the max and min volume data in my spreadsheet. Eyeballing this graph I made seems to confirm that the difference in decadal decline between max and min is smaller than the difference for extent:

Unfortunately I don't know how to produce the percentages. Could one of the smart folks here spare five seconds of his time and tell me?



this diagram also shows that the volume of 1st year ice is growing slowly in the Arctic in parallel with the slowly growing extent of 1st year ice in Antarctica.


Lodger, thanks for referring to 'Both sides now'.
How appropriate as a symbol of our scientific limits and our artistic insight.
It's one of these beauties accompanying the loss of self, once that unravels in my senses...wow...


The percentages are from the trends, so you need to produce a least squared error fit. Set two cells as your slope and intercept for each of max and min data. Use those cells ($Letter$number for absolute unchanging refs) to calculate the line, the errors, and the errors squared. Sum the square errors'.

Now you need solver installed as an add in. Use solver to minimize the sum of the errors squared cell allowing changes to the two cells used for your slope and intercept.

Now you can calculate your percentages.

Alternately estimate the linear trend by eye/ruler.

I suspect you should use the numbers for the straight line trend for 2012 and 2002.

i.e. (1-(2012 value/2002 value))*100 or something like that.

Ask if you are struggling with these brief instructions. (though your 5 seconds is beginning to run a bit low ;) )

It should be obvious that you cannot just take those 8.2% and 2.78% numbers and compare them directly - If the ice extent at maximum is double the minimum the the winter number would have to be half the summer percentage for the extent change to be the same.

With the volume down to 4k km^3 vs 22k Km^3 at maximum, the summer extent %decline per decade in volume may well be greater than for extent. That is irrelevant it is closer in volume change terms.

Have I lost you yet?

Anyway, a simpler exercise is to take things from
"This means we are seeing both increasing summer ice melt and increasing winter ice formation (measured by extent).


So just calculate typical change in extent and volume at min and max.

Have I lost you yet?

Yes, right after "Set two cells as your slope and intercept for each of max and min data". :-)

I like learning new things, but I think it's too late for stats.

I'm using Open Office Calc, I know how to make graphs, et c'est tout.


Werther, Naive is :

‘Whatever sea level change (and we have measured no acceleration) may happen, we’ll counter that by shoving 20 million m3, and,if necessary, even 80 million, to the coastline’.

That is .08 cubic kilometres, given a dike 100 K long that means a rise of .0008 Km, a mere metre, but there is probably more than 100 kilometres of coast line to worry about. I suppose they expect the model projection lower end of sea level rising. It is hard to fathom the Dutch so calm about such a serious subject.
I guess there is plenty of hard material to extract from somewhere.



Have I lost you yet?

Yes, right after "Set two cells as your slope and intercept for each of max and min data". :-)

I am not sure what you exactly would like to see, but look at Seke Rob's graphs her:




I think it might be already solved.


I have shared a spreadsheet with Neven. This now shows calculations of extent minimum reduction of -15.8% per decade. For maximum extent, -2.69% per decade.

2.69% is close to 2.78% but 15.8% is rather more than 8.2% in the original quote.

If you use last 10 years, you obviously get steeper slopes so that doesn't explain the discrepancy.

Probably neither of us is correct because NSIDC calculates -13 (+/-2.9)% per decade and -2.6 (+/-0.6) % per decade


(At least I am closer with both even if still wrong. Ho hum.)

Anyway minimum extent has declined roughly 3m Km^2 while maximum extent has declined 1.4m Km^2

In volume minimum has roughly declined from 15.5 to 4 a decline of 11.5 K Km^3.

Maximum volume has roughly declined from 32 to 23 a fall of 9 K Km^3.

As we were saying without the numbers,
3 is greater than 1.4 as Curry claimed and it is still true with volume because 11.5 is greater than 9.

So basically we have no disagreement with her "This means we are seeing both increasing summer ice melt and increasing winter ice formation"

I also agree with her that this is interesting. We disagree on causes.


Neven, you are a brave man, taking Curry's non answers, and pursuing the truth which will not be found there.

"Locally, the ice albedo feedback is somewhat of a driver for the seasonal cycle, but the local solar heating in the shallow mixed layer is quickly lost as the autumnal cooling begins. If there is a big storm that mixes down further, the solar heating isn’t so easily lost and warmer water below can be brought to the surface. Which is why i find that Aug storm to be so interesting. Again, what happens with the clouds is also a huge deal; if the open water causes more clouds, then less solar will make it into the ocean."

She is obsessed with the big storm of early August, later I will compile how many "big storms" over the wide open Arctic ocean
there was. Tisk tisk, no apparent knowledge that even limited pack ice extent reduces wave action is a sign of desperation, because she knows it does. And as I mentioned before, after the same mega storm the sea surface cooled!!!:...... " If there is a big storm that mixes down further, the solar heating isn’t so easily lost and warmer water below can be brought to the surface."

Always the big storm explaining everything is not a complete scientific explanation of the melt of 2012. Incidentally under the so called clouds she is calling for.

The Bastardi famous very cold PDO is surely not having an effect of the current great Arctic Ocean melts, neither does the sun at lowest sun spot activity in decades, neither is the clouds which vary not only because there is open water.

Having a contrarian do all the answers is fun for those who know better. But in the end totally anti-educational for those who know less.


Interesting to note that, on her own blog, Curry has moved beyond questions of melting ice, and is concentrating on the rapid industrialisation of the Arctic:



Finally Ron Lindsay commented on the early August storm:

"The storm last summer likely melted additional ice due to increased ocean mixing, but it is not clear that in the long run it made much difference…the ice it removed was quite thin and may have melted anyway. The volume anomaly in PIOMAS shows a downward blip when the storm occurred, but it does not show the September volume or extent was strongly affected by the storm."

Voila, a much needed rebuke. Not hard to do, but seemed to have taken forever.

"The point is that most of the Arctic Ocean mixed layer is close to the freezing point so the heat flux to the ice does not change radically. I don’t know if it is possible to measure any additional heat being drawn from the warm Atlantic layer below the cold halocline."

Another retort a hint that storms mixing up layered sea heat from below is questionable.

Besides I checked, the add on is to Curry's obsession attribution to the cyclone of 08/02-05. There were many such cyclones when much more open water existed in late Augusts all the way to mid October. There was a major cyclone over one sea or another, almost every day, compounding and dwarfing 08/02-05 to be meaningless, they had structured vortex and apparent big surface winds. The fable of a single storm doing much of everything needs more such exposure. In particular the "bringing up saltier warmer waters" bit. Closer observation of cyclone after effects , not just the one , but after all of them , suggests no such thing.


Wayne wrote:

Closer observation of cyclone after effects , not just the one , but after all of them , suggests no such thing.

Quite right. And finally something sensible to read.

The comments to this entry are closed.