Why An Ice Free Arctic Won’t Happen Any Time Soon

30 08 2010

Following the record minimum in 2007, experts began a fun process of trying to outdo each other with their “ice-free Arctic” forecasts. I am going to explain here why they have it backwards.

Dr. Olav Orheim, the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat, remarked in 2008 :

“If Norway’s average temperature this year equals that in 2007, the ice cap in the Arctic will all melt away (in 2008), which is highly possible judging from current conditions”

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School forecast an ice free Arctic by the year 2013.

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007..  So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

Dr. David Barber from the University of Manitoba has forecast an ice free summer by the year 2015.

“Things are happening much faster in the Arctic. I think it will be summer ice-free by 2015,”

These forecasts are ridiculous, but they are worse than it seems.

The 2007 record minimum was caused by southerly winds, which compacted the ice at higher latitudes and melted it at lower latitudes. The PIPS2 video below shows the thickening of the ice as the summer progressed.

A good analogy is shoveling the snow in your driveway. You decrease the area, while increasing the thickness. The last place the snow melts in your yard is the pile of snow next to the driveway. Same thing in the parking lot at the mall. The graph below shows the relative thicknesses of the ice over the last five years. In September, 2007 (during the record minimum extent) ice thickness was at a maximum.

Now consider the geographic location of the ice. The thick ice was at high latitudes near Canada and Greenland, where temperatures are coldest and the melt season is the shortest. In summary, the ice was piling up thicker in the locations where it is also least likely to melt.

In order to have a ice-free Arctic, we would have to see the opposite pattern occur – i.e. the ice would have to spread to lower latitudes and thin.

Forget about seeing an ice-free Arctic. It isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Heavy Snow Forecast For The Alps

30 08 2010

As part of Hansen’s “hottest year in history,” there is heavy summer snow forecast for the Alps over the next three days.


Meanwhile, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina also enjoy heavy snow – as their special way to celebrate the world’s hottest year.


It must be that new kind of hot snow, caused by too much CO2.

Sea Ice News #20

29 08 2010

Arctic Ice (red line above) has dropped just below my June forecast (dashed line.) Over the last two weeks, strong southerly winds reminiscent of 2007 have compacted and melted significant amounts of ice. The modified NSIDC image below shows ice loss over the last week, in red.

The break in the weather can be easily seen in the DMI temperature graph, as a sharp upwards spike two weeks ago.

The NCEP forecast calls for colder and calmer weather during the next two weeks, so ice loss should drop off quickly.

The DMI 30% concentration graph has already flattened, and is running even with 2009.

The modified NSIDC image below shows ice gain over 2007 in green, and loss in red.

PIOMAS continues to overestimate (red) ice loss by a substantial margin. Green shows areas where they underestimated ice loss.

It continues to look like my June forecast will be close to correct, though as we have seen – this contest is a crap shoot. It all depends on the wind.

Julienne Strove from NSIDC asked last week what it would take to be convinced of man’s influence. I will respond with a question of my own. What does it take to prove that changes in the wind are driven by changes in CO2?

Extra bonus : Does anyone see a familiar pattern (below) in Greenland temperatures? What year did satellites monitoring the Arctic come on line?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Cherry Pick Of The Week

26 08 2010

Tamino has named me “Mr. Cherry” for picking start dates of graphs which are different from the ones he chooses to cherry pick. For instance, he considers 1975 to be the start of “the modern global warming era.”

Living up to his high standards, I declare August 16, 2010 to be the start of “the 2010 La Niña cool down”.  Since August 16, UAH channel 5 global temperatures have been dropping at a rate of 1,554 degrees per century.

If the trend continues, the earth will reach absolute zero in about 15 years.

Ridiculous, of course. But based on similar logic to picking a start date of 1975 for measuring the global temperature record.

Arctic Mid-Week Update

24 08 2010

NCEP has changed their forecast, and it now appears there will be above normal temperatures over the Beaufort Sea for the next few days.

This will cause continued melt of the low concentration ice, and a downwards drift of the extent line. Daily loss has been declining steadily over the last month, but not enough to keep extent above my 5.5 million JAXA forecast.

Looks like it will be close at the finish line between 2009 and 2010 for JAXA 15%.

The DMI 30% concentration graph looks like 2010 will probably finish ahead of 2009.

Average ice thickness is highest since 2007 and 10% higher than 2009. Hinting at a 10% increase in ice volume next spring relative to 2010.

Barring 2007 style winds, next spring should see a third straight year of recovery since the winter of 2007-2008, when much of the thick ice blew out of the Arctic and melted in the North Atlantic.

Remember the “rotten ice” in 2008, which led to Mark Serreze betting on an ice free North Pole that summer? Looks like we have come a long way since then. Here is what the North Pole looks like today :

GISS 1998 Gymnastics

23 08 2010

h/t to reader “Phil.” who lead me to this discovery.

In a previous article, I discussed how UAH, RSS and HadCrut show 1998 to be the hottest year, while GISS shows 2010 and 2005 to be hotter.

But it wasn’t always like that. GISS used to show 1998 as  0.64 anomaly, which is higher than their current 2005 record of 0.61.

You can see this in Hansen’s graph below, which is dated August 25, 1999

But something “interesting” has happened to 1998 since then. It was given a demotion by GISS from 0.64 to 0.57.


The video below shows the changes.

Note that not only was 1998 demoted, but also many other years since 1975 – the start of Tamino’s “modern warming period.” By demoting 1998, they are now able to show a continuous warming trend from 1975 to the present – which RSS, UAH and Had Crut do not show.

Now, here is the real kicker. The graph below appends the post 2000 portion of the current GISS graph to the August 25, 1999 GISS graph. Warming ended in 1998, just as UAH, RSS and Had Crut show.

The image below superimposes Had Crut on the image above. Note that without the post-1999 gymnastics, GISS and Had Crut match quite closely, with warming ending in 1998.

Conclusion : GISS recently modified their pre-2000 historical data, and is now inconsistent with other temperature sets. GISS data now shows a steady warming from 1975-2010, which other data sets do not show. Had GISS not modified their historic data, they would still be consistent with other data sets and would not show warming post-1998. I’ll leave it to the readers to interpret further.


BTW – I know that you can download some of the GISS code and data, and somebody checked it out and said that they couldn’t find any problems with it. No need to post that again.

Snow In Russia

23 08 2010

Russia has seen it’s first snow accumulation of the season.


According to Rutgers Global Snow Lab, Russia doesn’t normally receive snow until the second week in September.


More is forecast for the next week, as well as in Norway and Sweden. Southeast Greenland is expecting heavy snow.


Much of The UK and Ireland are expecting cold weather during the next week, as is Moscow. Temperatures on the Greenland ice sheet will be dipping down to near -25C. Nice August weather!


No doubt the news media will be talking about the Moscow heat wave for at least two more weeks. Absolute, undeniable proof of “global” warming.


The Russian heat wave is estimated to have cost their economy $15 billion. Put in perspective, the US national debt increases by more than double that every week.


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