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Jim, thanks for the guest blog.

It is refreshing to hear an important politician rise up against the Trump policies and set policies to combat climate change. Governor Jerry Brown from California tells it as he sees it, and explains his policies to reduce emissions of CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gasses and pollutants. The video is 21 minutes long. Jerry Brown is definitely going to be a thorn in Trumps backside.


Hans Gunnstaddar

How many deviations from the average is global sea ice area in that GRAPH! Saints alive godfrey, reef the sails we're going into bad weather...

Scnell! Schnell! Warning! Caution! Danger!


Jim, I am sure I am not alone, I get easily bored by who said what, the petty politics in general, the stories behind the fighting (should I say straight trolling) of denialists on forums and other social webs etc. So while I thank your contribution I sorely miss Neven's stuff.
Neven, about time Viddal wont be using your excellent blog to push his... whatever


And just to clarify, by petty politics I don't mean the current struggles scientists particularly in the US are immersed on.



I don't know the basis of the grey bars shown in the plot. If the grey band (barely visible) is the +/- 2 sigma error band for earlier times, then the current trend line appears to be about 3 sigma below the -2 sigma level, so 5 sigma in total. If the grey band is the +/- 1 sigma band, then the trend line appears to be about 2.5 sigma below the mean for earlier times. Either way, that is huge. At 5 sigma, well it is shall we say - significant.

Which ever it is, the Arctic ice numbers are well outside the band and bode ill for the start of 2017s ice year. But then too, as the climate has shifted it has also become more erratic in any given year we can and should expect surprises in any direction. Last year early in the season I couldn't see any way that we would end up with as much ice as we did.

At the same time, the quality of the ice was dramatically different and worse than in any prior year. It was immensely fractured and dispersed. As a result, the metrics that we all rely on to point us toward what to expect in the future all became highly suspect. The fundamental foundations of the definitions of ice edge and area became highly weird and uncertain.

Almost uniformly they indicted more ice than our eyes showed us was present. The early definitions intentionally erred toward conservatism (in this usage - overestimating the amount of ice). But the relative potential error that introduced was small as the edges were small compared to the massive size of the ice sheet.

Last year that became decidedly untrue. The edges were everywhere. The ice was shattered and dispersed. As a result, the mean tendency for the values of area and extent became misleading and highly uncertain. The error introduced by the definitions became very important, though generally unnoted and generally unevaluated.

Even now we have the same problem, though it is largely concealed by the relatively thin first year ice that has formed at much higher temperatures than usual for winter in the Arctic.

With these and other metrics and values having their own problems then being input into the ice volume models, those as well are more questionable. One measure of that is the very large differences between the various models about the thickness of the ice from place to place across the Arctic. The distributions often look quite dissimilar.

Personally I have given up trying to estimate what the extent, area and volume metrics and model results may say. I am confident that they are each over estimates, though I have no confidence in assessing how far off they may be from whatever the real values are. Even that is subjective depending on definitions (just as the metrics are subjective based on definitions).

About the only things I am confident in are the general trends to less and less ice, to the acceleration of those trends, and to the inevitability that those trends will reach zero in the relatively near future.

I tend to think more in the decade to century or millennial time scales than the annual to five year scales. Looked at in this longer scales, the decline is quite abrupt and will cross zero almost immediately.

Once that happens, all bets are off. We then enter a new regime where we have more guesses than knowledge. The potential consequences of some of the potential paths we then take are in a word terrifying. But collectively we seem unwilling to consider any of those, as they are too terrifying to consider. And so we blunder forward. Worse even than that, a large part of our global population with vested interests in the answer being different than what we see coming simply rejects that and works instead to destroy the messengers warning of impending disasters.

What they miss of course is that ignoring the warnings or opposing the messages (and messengers) about what is cmiing does nothing to change the reality. Reality ultimately prevails. Reality is funny that way.


Jim Hunt

Vaughn - My pleasure, if you see what I mean. It's not pleasant to report that sort of news.

More from Jerry Brown at AGU:

If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite. We're going to collect that data.

Jim Hunt

Hans - I can't claim to have personally verified the calculations, but "seven sigma" has been bandied about. Including in The Grauniad.

For those who aren't ancient Anglo-Saxons like me, once upon a time in a land far far away The Guardian was famous for its misprints.

Jim Hunt

Navegante - I'm sure we all miss Neven's stuff, but he has a PassivHaus to finish building amongst many other things to get on with. Walking the Walk!

I feel sure that more "techie" stuff will arrive here in due course.

I also feel sure that in the "current climate" the political dimension should not be ignored. The "denialism" ain't "petty" no more. Allegedly it will be in The White House in the not too distant future.

Jim Hunt

Sam - The "grey band" is on the individual Arctic/Antarctic graphs. You can argue until the cows come home about how legitimate it is to lump the two together.

For more on the current state of the "Arctic art", hot off the presses from AGU, see also:

Arctic Sea Ice News from AGU

Navegante may wish to peruse that too? No politics, until you get to the comments at least!


Robert Scribbler has also written an article about GovernorJerry Brown's vow to fight Trump's war on science:

To Carry a Light into Darkness---California Governor Jerry Brown Promises to Fight Like Hell Against Trump's War on Science


Governor Brown is "right on."



Actually, I am not quibbling with how the grey band values were calculated. I presume that was done correctly and well. As you note though, inherently there are challenges to the validity of doing that at all (apples and oranges).

Still the calculation was done and the grey bar used. What I was commenting is that I don't personally know if this used the +/- 1 or +/- 2 sigma values. From appearances it is the +/- 2 sigma band.

Looking only at the Arctic plot with its +/- 2 sigma band we are easily at 5 sigma on the low side. And that is extraordinary.



Jim, re-reading my comment I realize it had a harsh sound I didn't intend at all, I am sorry for that, my intention was different. I really appreciate your inputs here and in the forum and acknowledge there is no pettiness in the strength the denialists will find in Trump very soon.


Sam, sorry about the confusion. The grey area is the +/- 2 sigma range. I have modified the legend to make that clear.

There are more graphs for those that want to look at the issue. In particular :

normalised anomaly (= anomaly / stddev) show the number of sigma's.

See this post and the following on the forum for the set of graphs:


Anyone else guessing that a new record low global sea ice area below 14 million is not unlikely in Jan/Feb 2017? Between temps staying high in the Arctic and sea ice cover having been very low in the first months of peak insulation in the south, I wouldn't be betting on either hemisphere normalising very soon.


Jim I don't doubt that it was a Guardianism with the 7 sigma. I seriously don't like their politics but their climate coverage has been totally spot on and consistent for more than a decade now.

I'm thinking that when we hit 7 sigma we'll be essentially ice free in summer and not a lot of very thin ice over the winter.

Something which should, in a sane world, make it totally clear to even the most unintelligent and obdurate person that we're in real trouble.

Sadly I'm guessing I will be overestimating the intelligence and underestimating the obduracy of our denialist un-friends....

Chartic is just about on track to catch up with 2010 right now, by year end, but the pacific side is somewhat reluctant to freeze. It is incredibly interesting, but I'm not that sure I feel privileged to live in such "interesting" times.

As to what will happen if the US opens the CO2 taps wide?

I recall all the arguments over smoking and cancer. All those court cases, all those smart lawyers, all those lies. It took forever to prove one simple fact.

When the UK recorded a 20% rise of smoking in young women, the medical stats started to record a 20% rise in lung cancer from young women.

Case closed.

Not quite to sure that I'd like to prove it with gasses that stay in the atmosphere from centuries to millennia, but, it is what it is.



Thank you for clarifying. And - wow!! The plot bottoms out at what appears to be -8.15 sigma. As a measure of this as part of the normal distribution the chances of this occurring are over 2 quadrillion (American measures) to 1. (1 in 2.25 times 10 to the 15th power).

We are in a new system now. Even at -5 sigma we are at 1 in 1.75 million.

Personally I have never seen 8 sigma in a data set before.



Correction... 2.25 trillion not quadrillion. 2.25 x 10^12

Jim Hunt

Neil - I tried to reduce Wipneus' anomaly graph to fit within the confines of Typepad, but it became illegible. I trust Wipneus numbers more than anything I see printed in the Guardian, and he does indeed reveal an "anomalous spike" to over 8 sigma. Remember this is global area, not NSIDC Arctic extent.


Yeah should have thought about that Jim.

I was thinking Arctic.

You know it will go back up to somewhere closer to normal, no matter how thin the ice in the Arctic and the idiots will do what idiots do and crow about re-growth...

I'm anticipating 2017. I don't expect to be disappointed.

Susan Anderson

Thank you Jim for stepping up to the plate (US baseball metaphor, probably not "correct" for cricket). I hope this will result in generous Neven being able to step back a bit more.

r w Langford

Thanks Jim. Good that Neven is having a well deserved rest and enjoying building his dream house. Hope he puts out a few photos and explanation of it later.


there is further evidence Jim!

There is of course the visual aspect of the subject, badly needed for depth and perspective, numerical simplifications are necessary, visual proofing much more revealing and conclusive:


Jim Hunt

Susan - The pleasure is all mine, and thanks for your kind words.

Is "Going out to bat" the metaphor you're searching for?

Wayne - Where are Young Werther and old A-Team when you need them?

Graphic graphic to follow if I ever have a spare 5 minutes!

Rob Dekker

The only way in which I see global sea ice area/extent dropping 8 sigmas below the average is that something profoundly spectacular happened at both poles simultaneously.

Something like a breakdown of the polar cells.

Is there any evidence for such an event ?


Note that even without any random variations, any trend will make the standard deviation differ from zero.
For that reason alone, this is not a Normal distribution, so 8 sigma does not have to have the same probability as that. There is no doubt though that the anomaly falls in some category labeled "crazy".

I have put the graphs together on a page with some brief description of the methods and the data sources:


There are two global sea ice volume graphs on that page as well, derived from GIOMAS. The graphs suggest that the current low area/extent are following big drops in volume earlier this year. Which makes sense of course.

Jim Hunt

Oustanding stuff Wipneus! Or should that be astounding? Snow White has endeavoured to spread the word:

#Wipneus explains his astonishing #Arctic + #Antarctic #SeaIce graphs. Now with extent & volume too: https://t.co/O3IfUgOacd #ASIF pic.twitter.com/UA01GmY8iS

— Snow White (@GreatWhiteCon) December 20, 2016

Hi Wipneus

The Arctic visual evidence I just presented confirms the high stats anomaly. "Normal" sea ice is in doubt, may hinge on the point when a new "normal" as we see on HRPT captures is starting, I would suggest working on buoy displacement speeds to physically confirm anomalous velocities matching the crazy extent and volume drop. At first glance , they look very swift.


I was wondering why we can't talk in terms of a "normal distribution"...

Jim Hunt

This article has now been referenced in the first paragraph of a Guardian editorial:

The Guardian view on climate change action: don’t delay.

Arctic temperatures have been 20C above normal. The ice cap is shrinking. And Trump and Putin may see it as an advantage.

Mapping the changes to the extent of sea ice over the last 40 years confirms that: on a graph, the lines are clustered together like threads in a hank of silk, warming and cooling in line with each other – until this year. This year’s line drops down like a thin thread dangling into the void.

Mr Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon Mobil and cheerleader for Mr Putin, as secretary of state is deeply worrying. Two friendly world leaders facing one another across a vanishing Arctic ice cap. The thawing of the cold war is no longer a metaphor.

Gerald Spezio

At this perilous time of DEADLY key science events & 5 - 8 sigma departures from normal, I despair when I hear calls for adversarial intervention from the legal suits.

Here is my take on Jerry Brown's legal solution.

Let's lawyer up & fight each other, as in D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

For the legally trained all disputes are legal disputes.

Serious disputes can only be solved by trained, impeccably dressed, highly paid, double-talking lawyerfish - preferably Ivy League trained lawyerfish.

Lawyerfish are trained in shadow boxing & dressing impeccably, BUT they know little or no science.

Hothouse heat death & near term extinction are "legal disputes" requiring legal expertise?

In his recent speech to the AGU Jerry Brown called on scientists and their ‘truth teller and truth seeker’ supporters to fight back. And, in doing so, he pledged the aid of California’s scientific and legal communities.

Brown said; “We’ve got the scientists and we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight back. We’re ready to defend.”

Jerry Brown is a Yalie trained lawyerfish, as are Billy Boy, Hilarious.

Lawyerfish axiom; "Get the fight going, keep the fight going, & milk lucrative lawyerfish fees out of the bamboozled combatants."

Due process is where lawyerfish in expensive suits get their DUE.


I am not a statistician, but shouldn't the numbers at the poles be viewed separately, then viewed in comparison and how likely the two graphs are to both have such negative sigmas? I don't think it is correct, exactly, to lump the numbers together. Of course, it's probably not the right test, but the Tukey test or something similar should be used, shouldn't it?


Tenney, I don't know about the Tukey test but give it another decade or two and the only test we'll need is the sphincter test... Very "tic".... :-)


Wouldn't a data point that's 8 SD below the mean actually be a 16 sigma event? If it's a normal distribution, the odds of seeing an occurrence 8 below should be the same of seeing one that's 8 above, for a total of 16 sigma.

I'm not a science guy, but I use statistics to model demand for capacity in medical facilities, and a lot of patient arrival and demand is described pretty well by a normal distribution. Every demand curve I've built for inpatient beds and emergency beds is almost always a normal distribution (the range of census levels is contained within +/- 3 SD from the mean). In 20 years, I've never seen a hospital that had a range of 8 SD, and that includes some really small hospitals (which have bigger swings).

Also, if I'm not mistaken, that's why the management tool 6 sigma is called 6 sigma. Every event would be expected to fall within + or - 3 sigma from the mean, for a total range of 6.

So, if we are off by 8, that's actually a 16 sigma event, which is even scarier than an 8. It's like an amplifier that goes to 11, but even more insane.

Hans Gunnstaddar


That link has a video of a 28 year loss of old ice in the Arctic. They cut it at 2005 to show something else then splice back in at 2010 so it loses some continuity, but it's still easy to see the trend, which most of us messaging here are familiar with.

Two other things are interesting, like the 30 second ad of a large SUV (got to wonder if they see the irony), and at the end it says if the trend continues the Arctic could be ice free as soon as (a very conservative and optimistic) 2050. Almost as if the hidden message is; 2050 is 33+ years off, so don't worry too much - get yourself a really big internal combustion engine that spews copious amounts of CO2.

Gerald Spezio

Scott, you really know how to rub it in, as if 8 isn't painful & ugly enough.


Gerald, what you say is logical and I would normally consider it sound advice. However, please consider the adversaries(I really want to say morons, however, they have an agenda of greed from chaos, IMHO.) That means there needs to be a type of interference in their agenda that costs them large amounts of money and might prevent the adversaries from doing much of what they want to do. I just don't see much to lose with this type of battle because the alternative, again IMHO, is disastrously worse.


Should we apply Occam's Razor to the whole situation?

Let's see.

Claim 1. Greedy climate scientists have falsified results and made grandstanding claims so they can.... Gain more research funding and get a higher profile on the world stage.

Claim 2. Greedy and unscrupulous mega business conglomerates are well aware of the impact of CO2 and what it will do to the livable biosphere of the planet and the lives of those who rely on that biosphere. However they have chosen to ignore it in the belief that they can continue to make obscene amounts of money and will be completely protected from the fallout of CO2 emissions due to that money....

I know which one works for me....


The North Pole temperature at or near 0 C is making the news all over the world. Note to some TV presenters, warm air at the Pole is not "pushing" cold air Southwards. Anomalous Cold Air has formed first over the Northern Continents, making a mini vortex or as part of the Polar Vortex one of many southwards vortices. To the right or East of these mini very cold vortices are jet stream snaking Northwards, direct North jet streams over the oceans warm the North Pole already heavily warmed by less or thinner sea ice "inviting" Cyclones to visit and stay longer, as opposite to thicker sea ice tendency in "repelling" cyclones by anticyclone genesis or persistent Highs over the Arctic Ocean.

Just before this current N.P. warming I wrote this:


The connection between thinner sea ice and North Pole +30 C above
normal is a positive circulation feedback loop, only to be broken by very very cold air moving Northwards!


The current North American Cold Temperature North Pole is about Disko Island West Greenland, -36.1 C (it was to the South and colder a few days ago), this is very close to the temperature of the entire troposphere at that location, from that point it makes sense that current 3 North Atlantic Lows are spun in a curvy way towards the North Pole. Looking in profile upper air winds over Spitsbergen are from the South, direct N.P. bullseye. Conversely if we go straight West from Disko Island, the dominant upper air winds are from the North. and so it spins from the Disko today :).



No, it wouldn't.

Jim Hunt

Somewhat hampered by Typepad's image width constraint, here Wipneus' latest graphic graphic:

and here's the latest Arctic temperature anomaly map:

According to Wipneus:

"Near century drops today:

Extent: -81.1k, Area: -98.5k"

Need I say more?


That was likely thin ice recently made....

Hans Gunnstaddar

"I know which one works for me...."

I'll opt for that one as well, NeilT

So Jim, dropping extent & area in late December! 2017 melt season should be quite a performance.

Then there's Scribbler's latest post on the gigantic glacier Totten melt in Antarctica.


It hasn't gone ballistic yet, but the underpinning and buttress ice is under siege from 220,000 cubic meters of warm water per second!!! I remember reading a while back that ice core samples indicated that geologic history indicates what happens in the Arctic also coincided in Antarctica. Looks like the delay in that occurring is over.


'A Flood of Warm Water the Size of 30 Amazon Rivers is Melting One of East Antarctica’s Largest Glaciers'

"Presently, because the ice shelf floats, this melt is not adding to global sea level rise. But the shelf acts like a cork that’s stopping the rest of Totten from flowing into the ocean. And when the ice shelf weakens enough, it will rift and break apart — leaving the massive glaciers behind it exposed to the inrush of warm waters and removing the last major barrier preventing them from bursting out."



Your link to 'robertscribbler' gives some hope that the importance of climate change and AGW is now on the 'global radar' of decision makers BUT gives no hope of a solution to the problem.

The reduction in emission of greenhouse gases will continue to increase the total of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because the rate of decay of these gases is less than the rate at which they are being added.

It amazes me that so much is written about the reduction of greenhouse gases and so little about the solutions to climate change and AGW. I repeat, the reduction of greenhouse gas emmissions will not prevent or even slow down the current rate of acceleration towards the inevitable events and consequences of runaway temperature rises and rising sea levels.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Agreed, D. Even though there has been an official acknowledgment of this being an emergency situation from most countries, the emphasis is still on BAU which means like you say, even though overall emissions may go down, the cumulative effect continues to rise. The only answer for this behavior is there is still a widespread denial attitude. The illusion to these people is it's far off in years like 2050-2100 when they will be old or gone. In other words the approach is to keep busy and hope for a better tomorrow. But hoping isn't the same as acting with determined purpose which probably needed to begin in earnest at least a couple of decades ago.

Once things really begin to unravel with large surges of sea level rise, the attitude will change to; "Ok, you liberal scientists, we accept there is GW. Now we're ready to do something about it. What do we do?"

"Ah fuggedaboutit. It's too late now."

"Well don't give up. You guys have been pushing this stuff all these years...hey where you going? Don't walk off now!"

Rob Dekker

Temperature above 80 N is going crazy again :

Link: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

Rob Dekker

OK That image does not show very well.
Please follow the link instead.
Temps above 80 N are again more than 15 C above normal, and as Wayne reported, close to freezing point at the North Pole.
What's going on ?
Is the polar jet stream breaking down ?

Al Rodger

Rob Dekker,
The image is viewable in all its glory simply by a right-click & View Image. Where I object to these annual DMI graphs is their lack of information on the variability of pervious years. Past variability is shown on this graphic from NSIDC's Andrew Slater which more than compensates for the this-year trace not being entirely continuous.
(Hopefully I can remember the code to link an image into the comment - I haven't posted an image with HTML for ages.)
Andrew Slater 80N+ Temperature Graph
This image looks like it will also require right-clicking & View Image as the size command doesn't do naff-all here. The Andrew Slater website with graphs for previous years etc is here.



Your last three lines...lol, you are so right but the scientists that have been 'pushing this stuff all these years' are not the guys who will be able to provide the solution to the problem. The new guys will be technologists and engineers who design, develop and deploy the sequestration and solar shade systems.

It will take catastrophic events before the decision makers act. This is probably the best we can hope for when geo-political differences are put aside to fight the 'global enemy' of AGW and its consequences. If this is what it takes to divert from the current madness going on in the world, so be it; the sooner we reach the catastrophic stage the better (how perverse can the logic of humankind become?!).

If the decision makers do not act with global solidarity, for this is what it will take, then we will have to get through the 'bottleneck' safely. Again, I promise to beat out the ancient rhythem in the sands for you a la Dune!

Rob Dekker

There is no market incentive for sequestration and solar shade systems.
Our best bet would be the market advantage of solar/wind/geothermal versus fossil fuel based energy (currently cost effective in many markets).
That is, as long as politicians don't de-incentivize renewables or subsidize fossil fuels.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"The new guys will be technologists and engineers who design, develop and deploy the sequestration and solar shade systems.
It will take catastrophic events before the decision makers act."

The point being, D, if I may, by the time it's widely accepted enough and understood just exactly how dire the situation is, the only quick enough and viable option is geo-engineering. The solar shade system is probably the best bet, because sequestration will work but take too many years. I suppose the Q is how much time would it take to engineer, develop, build, launch and deploy it to start a human induced planetary AC? Isn't it the 'La Grange' (also great song by ZZ Top), the gravitational mid-point between the Earth and Sun a sunshade would need to be deployed? Maybe that song should be played as a rebel yell, a call to action to initiate this international emergency operation.

Could make for a good movie, with sea level rising, forced migration, crops withering, scientists feverishly working out the kinks, news headlines, the quintessential family scared their progeny will not be carried on, red tides, the doomsayers vs. the positive thinkers debating if it will work, then the launch, but of course there has to be melodramatic near disastrous malfunctions, huge chunks of ice calving, people screaming, babies crying, birds flying farther north to get to cooler temps, inter-splicing these various scenes as the sunshade slowly opens, then suddenly the mercury slowly drops, people exhale a sigh of relief and all is well (for now). But of course operation La Grange must first get started and we are still waiting for full collective cognition to synapse from the first brain layer, the medulla oblingatta all the way up to the Neo-cortex, the 3rd most recent layer, the new brain. People, are we ready to use the New Brain?! LOL.


Jim Hunt wrote:

Nobody noticed!

Apparently nobody noticed too sea ice extent is shrinking again for two days in row:

ADS Japan sea ice extent



The amount of energy exchanged from open Ocean in darkness and or much thinner sea ice in darkness is huge:


, the longer we have these crazy warm anomalies the more energy will be released from the sea creating a certainty in coming less sea ice volume ever.

Jim Hunt

Au contraire Kris:

More anomalous heat entering the #Arctic caused #SeaIce area to fall yesterday. In the middle of winter! https://t.co/oUkR5cLhl4 #Wipneus pic.twitter.com/mpfNbmPskz

— Snow White (@GreatWhiteCon) December 22, 2016
michael sweet


michael sweet

this reference: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/geoengineering-could-cut-global-rainfall-study-finds-16699 summarizes a study that shows that solar shades will reduce rainfall worldwide. This is projected to cause the east Asian monsoon to fail. Perhaps a geoengineered solar shade would be bad for many people. You must consider all the consequences before you plan to deploy geoengineering for the entire globe.

Would you volunteer your part of the globe for permanent severe drought to help out the people who put all the carbon in the air?


You all seem to only see negatives or risks in geoengineering.

Just think how rich all the lawyers will get on all sides of the debacle.

And think about all the military spending to grab resources and the pride we'll all have in our brave troops sacrificed doing so.

/snark mode off/


The funny thing is that a sunshade in our atmosphere would be a monstrous engineering project.

In space it would require tin foil covered plastic inflated with a minimum of air pressure.

Something that light could easily be turned to provide on/off shading. A complete new level of science would be required to use it and when to activate it, but it is a real possibility and we have the technology to do it today. Just not the will or the development to make it easy....


From data gathered by IABP


N 84 47.400 E 165 4.200
14.64 n. miles NW (312°)

Buoy 48580 3 day displacement Russian side of the Pole, 5 nautical miles a day! Huge…

Further North:

N 84 18.000 E 81 59.400
25.59 n. miles W (259°)

buoy 48770 3 day displacement 25.6 nautical miles. Monster speed.

It looks bad if data and calculations are confirmed. Fluidity means lack of consolidation, implying persistent open water leads as sea ice moves swiftly.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays! And a special thanks to Neven and all the Regulars who keep this blog (and the Forum) relevant, and who make the pair a "must-read" meeting place for the Arctic.

Best wishes for 2017!



Rob Dekker

"There is no market incentive for sequestration and solar shade systems."

Rob, with the greatest of respect, your 'best bet' (renewables) is a guarenteed loss. You have completely missed the point.

The existing greenhouse gases responsible for accelerating ice loss and AGW are already in the atmosphere and will remain for the next 40 to 80 years. WE DO NOT HAVE THIS AMOUNT OF TIME.

Any reduction in the emission of greehouse gases still adds to the total in the atmosphere and thereby increases the current rate of acceleration for ice loss and AGW.

Indeed, if the emission of manmade greenhouse gases ceased today it would not stop the current rate of acceleration. A reduction or cessation will not prevent what is already in progress.

If financials are the determinant, consider the cost of a 'renewables policy' that will not prevent the inevitable (many trillions and untold human suffering) with a 'sequestration and solar shading policy' (many billions and limited human suffering).

Unfortunately, there are too many people who think like yourself, that reducing carbon emissions will solve the problem or give us enough time to find a solution and this is dangerous thinking!

Rob, this is NOT a personal attack on you but on what is unfortunately a far too common and erroneous understanding of the plight that we all face.



Solar shade location; gravitational balance point, maybe. Need it be in space, why not a solar reflective blanket for partial cover of the Arctic tethered to the ocean bed, perhaps best over methane areas for just long enough to reduce greenhouse gases by sequestration and allow the Artic ice to reform under the blanket? Somebody is bound to pick me up on this one pointing out all the considerations required and the cost but at the same time forgetting to mention the consequences and costs of doing nothing and with no viable alternative unless they think that the reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases is an alternative which, of course, is not a solution.

Sequestration option - Interesting link:-http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121004-fake-trees-to-clean-the-skies
and it is not the only idea in the market place. Might not take as long as you think. All at minimal cost compared with the alternative.

You have already written the script, brilliant! A sure-fire block buster..could the launch be timed to coincide with the reality of events, particularly the final scene? A News Flash appears after the credits at the end of the film. What a joyful cinematic experience that would be! Are you up for lead male actor (Director of Project Savior)? Oscar award(s) would be a cert.

You must have a medical background. LOL



Thanks for the link. Incredible data.

What chance that the Arctic Ocean will have an sea ice free event at some time during an Arctic winter when mushed-up sea ice will be flushed out through Fram Strait by a series of violent Arctic storms?


Merry Christmas D

yes, not only through Fram Strait but the Archipelago Straits by 24/7 tidal current, we've seen this last September, sea ice extent increased mistaken by a few as a freeze-up. Baffin Bay is where the ice jams up. Speaking of which, I am convinced Baffin Bay is the current model for the Arctic Ocean, having floating pack ice impossible to walk on for long during winter, then all gone during summer, higher speed kinetic ice dynamics being obstructed by narrower passages. Earth now enters into the not possible to venture on sea ice soon, if not now, until a solid refreeze really occurs.


Merry Christmas Wayne

I agree with everything you say Wayne,except possibly your comment 'until a solid refreeze really occurs'. What are your thoughts? Do you think a 'solid refreeze' will be seen again this year or any time in the future for that matter?

Rob Dekker

Regarding solar shields to reduce global warming, for those of us (like me) who like to crank numbers, a must-read is this study by Roger Angel here at PNAS :

Be prepared for the mind boggling tech (self-regulating micro foil space mirrors and a 2 km long 30 Tesla linear accelerator mounted on a 5.5 km high mountain) and huge cost numbers to get a solar shield installed that compensates for our current rate of CO2 emissions, or for a doubling in C)2, even if ground-to-space cost is reduced by a factor of 100 w.r.t. current cost.

It seems a lot easer and cheaper (per CO2e compensated) just to install PV solar on the surface.

Rob Dekker

D, I did not take your comment as personal in any way.
I just do not see a world where we are geo-engineering against global warming and meanwhile drive our SUVs around.
Merry Christmas guys, and lets hope that 2017 will not break any records.

Jim Hunt

Merry Christmas to one and all, or at least as merry a Xmas as possible in all the circumstances.

Santa's grotto is just around the corner from us here in Great White Con Ivory Towers. One of his little helpers just popped in to ask me to apologise to anybody who received their presents late. Santa was too busy mopping up his basement to set off on his rounds on schedule.

Here's the festive temperature record from buoy 300234064010010, a little way south of the North Pole:

Click the image to see the uncropped version, which reveals air temperature reaching zero degrees Celsius on December 22nd.

A bit further south buoy 300234064015020 rose to +0.8.

The BBC reports that an expert in such matters:

Was confident that [Santa's] sled would cope with the conditions. Santa is most likely overdressed though. Maybe in the future we'll see him in a light jacket or plastic mac.


A small area solid refreeze is possible North of Ellesmere D,

But none seen so far, that area is where the coldest air possible is created, but time is running out.


Xmass greetings Jim,

What happened to the buoy surface trace in blue? It seemed close to air at beginning and then unusually stable later, defective?

Jim Hunt

Wayne - The "surface" reading depends upon the design of the buoy in question. Perhaps in this case it's now somewhere near the snow/ice interface, whilst originally it was in air just above the ice?


True to current days circulation, extreme cold area, a Northwards moving piece from a High pressure from Siberia cools the North! Take 2, the first one lasted less than a week. What is additionally interesting is rest of the world weather, if winter is under assault from the North!? and the South, what about your weather?


Much Thanks Jim,

According to the first rule of sea ice horizon refraction, the first bit of blue is correct, represents the surface, the latter is buried deeper within sea ice or snow or has a defective thermistor. I take it you can read .dat files.... Very nice.

Artful Dodger

Hi folks,

We seem to rehash the idea of solar shade geo-imagineering here ever few years. Here's some highlights why it's a bad idea:

  • The L1 Lagrange point is unstable. Non-powered objects placed in that orbit will not stay there. So much for the $1 Trillion plan to place millions of 1 gram, 1 m^2 reflectors there; won't work.
  • That same $1 Trillion DOES buy about 2 TW of new terrestrial solar PV at current prices, about 17,500 TWh/yr or close to 10% of the world's current energy consumption. Think EROEI.
  • A solar shade that MIGHT mitigate the radiative imbalance part (~1.8%) of climate change also reduces solar PV output in proportion. Will your country chip in an extra $18B to make up the shortfall in energy production?
  • Solar shades don't mitigate energy imbalance in a linear way, they also change rainfall patterns and could interfere with the monsoon. Does India still have a strategic nuclear deterrence force on standby to respond to external threats?
  • Arctic amplification continues unchecked as the magnititude of the albedo flip of a open Arctic ocean overwhelms the piddling local reducion in insolation under the (too late to matter) solar shades

Orbiting solar shades in particular and geo-imagineering in general are specious arguments by the do little/do nothing crowd. "It's okay to keep burning shit because we have a get-out-of-jail card." It's the worst kind of magical thinging, it will not work, and it will not happen.

Instead we are like the mugging victums who have a gun to their heads, and are arguing about who is the best most affordable brain surgeon.

Here's an idea instead: Let's stop burning shit, and work with nature instead of against it. Yeah, let's talk about how we do that.


Artful Dodger

Pardon for the mal-formed link in my last comment. Here is a citiation to the full article, first published 14 July 2016:

Irvine, Peter J., et al. "An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 7.6 (2016): 815-833.




Thank you for taking my comments as intended, much appreciated.

1. Carbon Emission Reduction
Absolutely essential but only part of the solution and cannot by itself prevent accelerated AGW.

2. Sequstration
Absolutely essential but doubtful if this, even in combination with 1. above, could prevent accelerated AGW within the available timeframe.

3. Solar Shading
The re-establishment of a permanent Arctic ocean ice cap project.
A solar shading system could be deployed at sea level. Why deploy in space?
The location(s) could be selected to give maximum protection to regions of concentrated methane deposits. Possibly solar collectors could be used to generate electrical power. Also, the system could incorporate removal of latent heat to further induce and accelerate ice formation under the reflectors. Again, another potential source of electrical power.
When global carbon emissions have been reduced to an acceptable and managable level aided by a global sequstration programme then we will have a permament solution to the problem (hopefully).

If all man-made gas emissions stop today, an accelerating rate of AGM will continue. The polar sea ice will be lost, the ice shelves will disappear (viz Antartica), the glaciers will discharge directly into the ocean, sea levels will rise, violent storms will increase in frequenct and storm surges will damage or destroy coastal properties, facilities and infra-structure, global trade will be disrupted, crops will fail. This will all cost 'trillions' and does not include the cost of human misery and dislocation.

I am interested to know how you think the banning of SUVs will solve the problem?

Rob Dekker

Thanks D, but I'm with Lodger on this one.
Solar shields are not technically feasible, are way too expensive and won't work. Ground based PV solar is a much better solution.

And the SUV argument was just an example.
What I wanted to get across is that it does not make any economic sense to start building a solar shield (at trillion dollar cost) while we still use coal fired power plants and driving fossil fuel based vehicles around. Once again, PV solar or wind or geothermal are much more cost effective solutions to reducing CO2 emissions.

Finally, if you are right and we came to a point where we have reduced emissions to zero but the climate is still going haywire, then we can talk again, but I think we just have to mitigate unless we find a way to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Solar shields (even with the Roger Angel method) are just not realistic.

Rob Dekker

Oh. And we don't have to give up SUVs in the future. They will just run electric. Like Tesla's model X.


Merry xmas all.

Sorry I was being taken out of context.

Absolutely, we need to STOP burning crap right the hell now and change to CO2 neutral technologies.

That's step 1. But, we've already introduced 20,000 years of warming into the atmosphere and it will _NOT_ go away by stopping burning shit.

So we have to mitigate it or we're going to see the whole array of impacts already predicted by the climate scientists.

So regardless of whether we reduce CO2 right now or not, the survival of our societies, as they are now, depend on geoengineering in the long run. Whilst I say that foresting the Sahara, re-foresting areas of the Amazon and, potentially, central Australia and the Gobi, are likely to play a large part in this; in the end the fastest way to cool the planet is to stop sunlight getting in.

If you want to talk lack of monsoon and rainfall patterns changing, we're already there as far as the Horn of Africa is concerned and other areas in the world.

Or are we saying we're only concerned when that same condition hits more dangerous, powerful or wealthy countries? Because that would be a slippery slope.

I must admit that I often find myopia to be a big issue in the climate change lobby arena. Never mind Greenpeace and their "let's recycle glass" at 100 million tonnes of CO2e emissions over dumping it in Landfill and creating new glass.....

Greenpeace, will have the cleanest planet 2 Billion people have ever seen.

Time to break out of the tunnel vision and see the whole scope of the problem.

We're already screwed. Big time. What we need to do is stop AND fix it. Fix later is no option if we don't stop and stopping will not fix it. Just make it "slightly less lethal"


Greetings to all - lively discussion as usual.

We have indeed sadly passed the point where momentum will take us past key thresholds of CO2 which will cause massive changes in our climate. Similarly, we must act now to prevent the changes from being even more monstrous.

As pointed out we have a two pronged approach which must be followed - reduction in production of CO2 and mitigation to reduce its effects.

The path to reduction is quite obvious but has some nuances which bear examination. In particular reducing habitat destruction - which both releases carbon and reduces sinks - is something which must be pursued.

Mitigation is much trickier, as geoengineering on the required massive scale can have similarly massive and undesirable unintended consequences. In particular active strategies such as solar shields or carbon injection may have environmental consequences which could be as or more destructive than the CO2 itself. Compound that risk with the sheer scale of resources and energy required to implement them and they become far less attractive.

We do need mitigation, but my intuition is that will be by way of bio rather than mechanical engineering - as an example, organisms tailored to use photosynthesis to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere on a massive scale, but which themselves can be turned on or off by way of trace nutrients required for their growth.

It can even be more mundane than that; simply reforestation and active agriculture with the expressed intent of maximizing biomass production, most of which goes straight back into the ground from which we pulled carbon in the first place.

Sadly, it *will* take centuries to accomplish, either way, but hopefully fast enough to avoid the worst consequences of our current trajectory.



I agree with most of your points.

However consider please that nature already uses every trick it has to exploit every ecological niche to the maximum that it can. Finding some organism to do better than that is I am afraid a lost cause.

I agree that we have crossed many thresholds, points of no return to our current state (at least no return in biologically relevant time periods to humans). I also agree that we need to bend every effort to turn the corner on fuel burning as fast and as hard as we can physically accomplish such.

Unfortunately, most of humanity has no reasonable ability to play any role in that. They exist in a day to day struggle to survive and feed themselves. Their near term future welfare is directly dependent on having children to provide for themselves, and in the process the problem becomes worse. Unless and until they can get the breathing room to change that dynamic there is no answer to that problem save for ecological overrun, starvation, and collapse. Alternately, they can flee to someplace else as we are already seeing happen from Africa and the Middle East into Europe. The floor on problems that creates and the reactions that result are sadly all too predictable in broad terms, if not in specifics.

Worse, many of our brethren fundamentally do not believe, do not want to believe and cannot allow themselves to believe that this is a real and immediate threat. Instead, they see this as yet another assault on themselves, their beliefs, their culture, their values, their wants, dreams and desires. As a result, they not only are not on board with attacking the problem, they are actively pulling in the opposite direction. They are deeply trapped in the religion of growth and set beliefs that deny as even possible the very things that will destroy our societies and humanity.

Unless and until that changes, there is not only no hope and no possibility of hope, their is the antithesis of hope, there is certainty that it will get worse faster and faster and faster. And like the least able defend themselves, those of us with more resources are trapped too on a path to ruin that leads to ecological collapse and destruction on a scale seldom seen on earth. For us there won't even be the option of fleeing to some other ecoregion. We live in the final bastion.

But here too we have a problem. A deep part of our many cultures down through history has used fear to drive and motivate. In particular, many (most) religions rely on end times catastrophes as part of their mythos. We collectively discount any assertions of impending disaster. We've heard it all before and nothing has ever come of the warnings. Most people simply cannot reason at the technological levels required to understand how this time is fundamentally different from those and that the danger we face is very real and imminent. They must rely instead on what others tell them. And here too we are trapped, as the easy rhetorical arguments of the lack of a problem are desirable and easy while the deep technical arguments on the other side argue for austerity and pain. People cannot easily see that the later is the vastly better option, and that the former is nothing but a salesman's slick speech to lure in the suckers, an illusory dream.

Not long ago (a decade or two) a new phrase was coined - extinction level event - to describe the risks from asteroid impacts. The certainty (not risk -> we passed 'risk' a long while ago) is on that scale. This is a slow onset ELE. Before the bulk of people understand that it is already too late to avoid the worst aspects of the ELE, it's impacts are upon us and our potential choices become more limited with each passing moment. About all that I believe we can do at this point is to mitigate the trajectory, to try to save some parts of the biosphere and perhaps ourselves. But even that requires massive concerted effort.

I don't see how we can possibly get there. I wish to be utterly and completely wrong about this.

As to the ice. I'm afraid that we will not be able in anyway to slow the change before the ice goes completely. It matters little whether that happens immediately or in a decade, or in three decades. The momentum we have built into the system will carry us through to complete loss of the arctic ice before we can do much of anything to even put a dent in our trajectory.

I suspect that the same is true for the Greenland sheet. That should take 1 to 3 centuries to melt. I suspect it will completely melt far faster than we even imagine is possible. For a time, Greenland will likely be our temporary salvation for climate. But that will come with its own problems as a highly asymmetrical weather pattern develops with the cold pole situated far from the north pole severely distorting the polar stream and the jet stream.

And again - I stridently wish to be wrong in my evaluation.


Robert S

Sam: That is a great summary of the issues.

One point I would make, though, is that while you're right that natural ecosystems already utilize every niche, we can optimize those niches to suit particular high biomass production species... and in fact do so all the time, with agriculture.

Secondly, existing organisms are evolutionarily optimized for survival, not CO2 sequestration in highly controlled environments/niches. We can use evolutionary pressures to drive specific species to extremely efficient biomass production - possible target species are algaes and C4 grasses.

We can also optimize at an ecosystem level - for instance with N fixing species as keystone species. There is lots that we can do to increase bioremediation of anthropogenic CO2. Will it be enough to avoid catastrophic consequences? Likely not, but we can reduce the worst of the impacts.

In any case, I seriously doubt we are facing an ELE for humanity. Just a big ethically horrendous series of die offs, stabilizing somewhere at a lower population. Morally we have to do everything we can to avoid this outcome, so full speed ahead with reduction and mitigation.

Rob Dekker

Regarding solar shields versus PV on the ground, let us run some numbers :

How large of a solar shield would you need to install to mitigate the effect of CO2 warming of a tank of gasoline ?

Step 1) Doubling of CO2 will cause 3.7 W/m^2 forcing. For the face of the planet, that is 3.7 x 4 = 14.8 W/m^2. With a solar intensity of 1367 W/m^2 that means doubling of CO2 will require 14.8/1367=1.1% reduction of solar insolation. That requires a solar shield of some 1.375x10^12 m^2 (some 1.375 million square km).

Step 2) Doubling of CO2 (from 280 ppm to 560 ppm) requires 280ppm x mass of the atmosphere = 1.44 x 10^15 kg CO2.

Step 3) 1.44 x 10^15 / 1.375 x 10^12 = 1047 kgCO2/m^2 of solar shield. For a 14 gallon tank of gasoline, which will be producing some 154 kgCO2, that means every tank of gas requires 154/1047 = 0.15 m^2 solar shield to be installed.

Think about it next time you fill up.

And remember that that solar shield needs to be re-installed every 20-30 years (lifetime of the solar shield) for the effect to be permanent.

Next will be a calculation of the CO2 mitigation of a PV solar panel, and its effect on CO2 mitigation.

michael sweet

Even without seeing Rob's calculation of the mitigation effect of a PV panel, I can state without question that the PV panel produces useful electricity while the solar shield is useless expense.

Estimates of a Trillion dollars to put 1E12 meters squared of solar shield in orbit are grossly too low. Proponents suggest they can lower the cost of space flight by factors of 100 or more to get into the game. If this was in the newspaper it would be fake news.

Proponents of space activity have been claiming since I was a child (I am 57) that their scheme will lower costs by huge factors. Meanwhile it costs about the same to launch into orbit as it did 50 years ago.

Current cost to put material in GTO is $27,000/kg. If Robs' 1m2 solar shield weighed 1 gram it would cost $27 to put in orbit. About $5 per tank of gas.

It is invariable that proponents of geoengineering do not think their proposals through. If you do they rapidly fall apart.


Rob Dekker:

You don't need to include the water vapor feedback in the forcing due to added greenhouse gases because the shading would also have a water vapor feedback. Alternatively, if you include the water vapor feedback in the forcing due to added greenhouse gases, then you can divide that value by about 3 to get the corresponding direct effect of shading needed, to take into account the water vapor feedback from the shading.

Glenn Doty

First of all, you don't necessarily NEED geoengineering to counter CO2 forcing. You need to reduce continued emissions, and you need time.

So the question then becomes one of: "how much do we need to reduce emissions before we begin seeing the net concentration of GHG's in the atmosphere drop?"

The answer to that, near as I can tell, is ~20 GT-CO2e (20 gigatons of CO2 equivalent).

If we can get the global emissions down to 15-20 GT-CO2e or lower, then natural sinks will begin very gradually reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Obviously, the lower the better, since the natural sinks are reducing CO2 by ~15-20 GT/year, then we'd see concentrations reduce far more quickly by emitting 7 GT than we'd see if we were emitting 14 GT.

The second consideration then is feedback mechanisms and convergence to system balance. It will take at least 50-100 years of continued warming and sea-level rise for the system to stop warming after we stabilize the concentration of GHG's in the atmosphere... for reasons I imagine that most here understand.

So any question of geoengineering must then prove to be more cost effective than simply accommodating the projected warming from bringing a stable concentration into balance. (It's completely worthless to consider geoengineering until atmospheric concentrations are balanced).

The problem is cost, and the cost of geoengineering is extraordinarily high. The only geoengineering solution that I've seen that isn't farcical upfront is one of putting high pressure water jets facing one another to smash the water into extremely small particles, which would then be buoyed up into the stratosphere for high altitude cloud formation (forced shading). This in and of itself would still be absurd in terms of cost... but taking it a step further you come up with an interesting concept:

Imagine lining the coast of several of the Canadian islands East of Greenland with desalination plants and massive water jet arrays, powered by nuclear power plants. The (thousands of) arrays could then be used to produce high altitude clouds that would be blown over the Greenland Ice Sheet and some of the arctic ice cap. These clouds would provide shading and cooling during the summer and snow and mass building during the winter, and could be calibrated to balance the total global sea level rise... so the costs of building and maintaining the arrays would then mitigate the cost of rising seas (sea walls, storm damage, land area loss to salt marshes, etc..)

But that is the type of thinking that will be required. What are the cost considerations of something on the scale of geoengineering, and what are the costs of just accommodating to the climate change instead: choose the cheaper route.

I can guarantee that any answer involving jettisoning space trash is not an answer. The $30,000/kg is how much it costs to get space junk into a low-earth (and degrading) geosynchronous orbit. If you are thinking about shading the Earth, the space trash has to get to the L1 Lagrange point, which is ~6 times further away from Earth than the moon. I would doubt (highly) that the space trash could reach that point at less than ~$500,000/kg.

Rob Dekker

In my previous post, I calculated that a (space based) solar shield with 100% efficiency mitigates for about a ton (1000 kg) CO2 per m^2. Calculations based on 3.7 W/m^2 TOA forcing per doubling of CO2.

In this post I'll calculate the CO2 mitigation obtained by a similar sized (1 m^2) PV solar panel.

This map :
shows that in much of the US, a 1 m^2 solar panel, tilted at latitude angle, facing south, receives some 5 kWh/m^2 in sunlight per day.
With a 18 % average efficiency of (crystalline) PV panels, that is 0.9 kWh/day electricity generated. Over the lifetime (20 years) a 1 m^2 panel will thus generate 6,570 kWh electricity.

As for the fossil fuel that this PV panel replaces :
Coal power produces 2.1 lbs/kWh (0.95 kg/kWh), while natural gas produces 1.22 lbs/kWh (0.55 kg/kWh).

The 6,570 kWh of our PV panel thus mitigates 0.95x6570=6,241 kg CO2 if it replaces coal, and 0.55x6570=3,613 kg CO2 if it replaces natural gas fired power.

That is a factor 4-6 better (per m^2) than a similarly sized space-based solar shield.

Next is a calculation based on cost.

Rob Dekker

In my previous post, I showed that ground based solar PV is a factor 4-6 better than a space based solar shield in mitigating CO2.

In this post, I will look at cost.
Crystalline PV cells nowadays run a about 0.25/W. That is some $45/m^2.

For a solar shield of 1m^2 to be installed in space, Michael Sweet above calculated $27 launch costs, based on 1 gram/m^2.
However, Roger Angel has put a lot of thought into solar shields and concludes here :

"density of the complete flyer, to ρs = 4.2 g/m^2"

Which means that to launch a 1 m^2 solar shield into space will cost $27x4.2=$113/m^2.
Incidentally, that ($113/m^2) is (with 1,000 kgCO2/m^2) a good guideline for a carbon tax : $113/ton.
And Incidentally again, that is 0.15x113=$17 per tank of gas.

Think about THAT next time you fill up.

Now the good thing is that PV (at $45/m^2) is about a factor 113/45=2.5 cheaper per m^2 than a solar shield.

Since PV was already a factor 4-6 better per m^2, the 2.5 factor now makes PV ground based installation is a factor 10-15 cheaper than a spaced based solar shield for CO2 mitigation.

David Nemerson

Feel the need to add that continuing to burn sh*t while engaging in any sort of Solar Radiation Management (SRM) does nothing to address ocean acidification. It is hard to imagine that humanity won't embrace SRM as a license to keep on keeping on. The only possible hope is if some near-magical paradigm shift sweeps across the globe ushering in a post growth, non-materialist ethos. Unwinding our inherently unstable, growth-based global financial system is as wicked a problem as the technological issues around renewable energy, nonrenewable resource depletion, sustainable agriculture, etc.


Don't get me wrong, solar is absolutely needed. As is HDR geothermal, river (weir), based power and the whole gamut in-between.

Let me talk a little about unintended consequences of geoengineering. Take the water smashing project pushed into the high arctic. Great, in summer it will mitigate some of the heat. But in the winter it will create a heat loss blanket and we know that water vapour has a CO2e level far, far higher than CO2. By far the biggest impact in temperatures, in the arctic, seen so far, is insolation in winter and the winter warmth anomalies caused by CO2e which are preventing ice regeneration in winter to replace the loss in summer and by export.

I can't think of a much more damaging way of trying to "shield" the arctic than that. Especially this summer where we saw heavy cloud cover from storms but continued summer melting at high rates due to bottom melt from exceptional water temps due to early water exposure to the sun. Essentially due to weak thin FYI in spring.

Then the solar PV part. Great, if we create floating platforms it mitigates oceanic uptake. But because of the CO2e in the atmosphere, the energy not consumed and reflected back is still trapped, if we reflect more back and it does not go into the sea, then we could, effectively, cause a huge jump in atmospheric temperatures. We know that the oceans are sequestrating circa 90% of the heat energy which reaches the earth. If we reflect even 30% of that back into the atmosphere to be trapped by GW gasses, we could be in a lot more trouble than with slow oceanic expansion.

End game? Stop the heat getting in, gradually and you stop the warming. Not like flicking a light switch or permanent dimming, but with gradual shading which can be controlled.

Yep, we need ALL the mitigations on the gasses, but we also need to stop the energy coming in.

We have introduced circa 15-20,000 years heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere in 150 years. To believe that if we just stop now we're going to stabilise in 150 years is the worst kind of wishful thinking. You don't overwhelm the environmental systems of a whole planet then just switch it back in 150 years. It will take centuries, using biology, to just get out the heat we have already injected and the heat we will continue to inject over the next century.

That is with 0% emissions and 100% extraction at the full capacity of the entire human species.

As to a shield and escaping the gravity well. I wasn't thinking earth. Lunar Regolith is essentially full of the ingredients to make high strength low mass glass. The moon has no atmosphere 1/6th the gravity well of the earth and you could shoot mass of the surface with a linear accelerator. The moon also has zones which are, essentially, always in sunlight.

Glass requires heat energy to produce and solar on the moon, without an atmosphere, would be more effective than on the Earth.

If we want most of our humans to survive what is coming, we need to start thinking permanent colony on the moon and forward thinking engineering.

Everything I have said is viable with the technology we have today.

All we lack is the will and the vision.

Until people begin to realise that AGW is priced in billions of lives, they are going to be unwilling to foot the bill. Even then some will only foot the bill if they think their lives or their immediate families lives are at risk. Right Now. AGW simply isn't like that.

How do you get it over to some people that by the time they are in danger, right now, the time to do something to fix it was 100 years ago???


Neil, so you don't think that we as a species can survive by emitting, say, 50% of todays manmade CO2e?



"Neil, so you don't think that we as a species can survive by emitting, say, 50% of todays manmade CO2e?"

As a species we cannot survive by emitting 0% of todays manmade CO2e!!!

There is hope but much more than 'reduction' will be required in a global political effort that will be at an astronomical financial cost. The question is if the necessary committment will be made to develop and deploy global 'sequestration' and 'cooling' systems to solve the problem within the available timeframe?

To give more context, the timeframe is probably less than 30 years for development and deployment.


I'm with that.

For far too many people, time has already run out for action.

The more we fail to act the more likely I'll see the beginnings of the catastrophic changes in my lifetime.



"How do you get it over to some people that by the time they are in danger, right now, the time to do something to fix it was 100 years ago???"

A brilliant post.

I think that everybody contributing to or reading this Blog should copy and paste your message to their political representative and at least five friends with an impassioned message to read and understand the contents, then each to send to at least five of their friends with the same message.

Indeed, HOW do you/we get the message out?

Rob Dekker

D said :

As a species we cannot survive by emitting 0% of todays manmade CO2e!!!

Could you please provide some evidence for how you achieved that opinion ?


Rob D

I am with NeilT.

Waiting to see if reduction works and if it doesn't, then consider the options, is a luxury we do not have.

After reading many peer reviewed scientific papers, reading the lines and between the lines, my best summary of the timescale of events is:-
PHASE 1. 2020 + or - 4 years
The first sea ice free event (ok the first outlyer year has passed)
PHASE 2. 5 years later
The first sea ice free summer
PHASE 3. 5 years later
The first sea ice free winter
PHASE 4. The next 30 years
Relatively stable global temperatures at about 4 to 5 deg C above pre-industrial temperature level with much greater equality of the global temperature distribution
PHASE 5. Thereafter
Runaway global warming

The science and technology becomes more complex and the costs rise exponentially as time passes.

As we enter PHASE 4 the polar ice shelves will disappear and the land bound ice sheets will be disappearing very, very quickly.

The above scenario happens even if the emission of manmade greenhouse gases is reduced to zero tomorrow.


Rob D

Ooops...you must have posted while I was still typing. I assume that your question was addressed to me and possibly NeilT.

I will try to find at least one peer reviewed science paper that refers to each of the different phases of the timeframe that I referred to.


Rob D
By way of a 'quick answer' to your question...logic.

The causal effect for the current accelerating rate of ice loss and global warming are the greenhouse gases that are already in the atmosphere. Without the addition of any more greenhouse gases the present accelerating rate of melting and warming will continue unabated.

The existing greenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere, continuing to create feedback forcing events, after the threshold has been passed for runaway global warming.

The problem with reading science papers is that subjects are researched in isolation and it is only when you connect the dots that you see the whole picture. Beleive me, you have to do a lot of reading of very 'dry' material before the bigger picture appears.

Rob Dekker

Thanks, D.
The point I am making is that until we shut down the last coal plant and the last nat-gas driven plant, it makes no economical sense to invest in a (space based) solar shield. Every dollar available until 0% emissions occurs is better invested in PV solar or wind or any other renewable.

Also, I question your timeline on how fast global warming will develop. For example, you state :

PHASE 2. 5 years later
The first sea ice free summer
PHASE 3. 5 years later
The first sea ice free winter

Do you have any evidence that an ice free winter will occur 5 years after the first ice free summer ?
I look at this graph from NSIDC for March sea ice cover :
Which shows a decline of 2.7%/decade, suggesting that an ice free winter would occur after 1/0.027=37 decades. That's 370 years from now.
Why do you believe that it will disappear within a decade ?


Regarding geoengineering and the cost for space based solutions are SpaceX right now shaving a rough factor 10 of the cost with series manufacturing run more efficient then Boeing/Lockheed/Esa and first stages that can land and be reused. Another factor 10 should be reasonable by making the rockets larger and regular technological maturing making manny reuses possible. It still wont be easy or cheap and it must be maintained indefinately since the shadowing sattelites wear down and loose the ability to maintain position. It is a terrible argument for continuing business as usual for fossil energy use but it can be usefull for limiting the effects after climate change is irreversible.

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