Contemplating Arctic sea ice collapse

Wed, 2010-06-30 14:43Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Contemplating Arctic sea ice collapse

Wondering whether weather indicates climate

The latest graph tracking un unprecedented plunge in Arctic sea ice measurements raises once again the question of when you can look at a weather event - a dramatic and unprecedented weather event - and make a relevant and reasonable assumption about what is happening to the climate.

Given the enthusiasm that the denier community brings to challenging assumptions at the contestable edge of science, I’d be wary about saying, unequivally, that this graph shows climate change in action. It’s only part of one year’s data. Admittedly, it’s compared to an average over a much longer time, but it’s still just one year. That’s why you might want to look at the next graph:

Average Monthly Arctic Sea Ice Extent 1979-2010

There’s a trend line, clear as day. Now, ideologically blinded polemicists like Lawrence Solomon may be able to look at a single month’s data and decide that trends are unhelpful by comparison - especially when that single month seems to make his point. But anyone who chooses to be both thoughtful and honest - and to bring even a touch of scientific rigor to his or her considerations - is going to look at these longer time-series graphs and say: you know, that looks like climate. In fact, that looks like climate CHANGE.

Given the obvious domination of ideologues in power (in Canada, at least), this also can be interpreted to suggest that we’re all in a lot of trouble. But hey, on the eve of Canada day, let’s join the deniers - for for 24 carefree hours - and pretend. I’m sure it will be fun, and the ice really won’t care whether we miss it or not - just for a day.

Comments

Volume is also an important way to measure arctic sea ice decline.

Have you seen the arctic sea ice volume chart at http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100608_Figure5.png

The anomaly for 2010 May was 3 standard deviations below the trend line.

See figure 5, the last chart at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

The second graph fits nicely with the 30 year PDO which went into it’s warming phase in 1978. Now it’s about to change again.
Melting sea ice does not contribute to sea level change. The Antarctic ice cap, which holds 85-90% of the world’s ice is getting thicker.

You are sooo last year!

Richard C
Is that the best scientific argument you can come up with?

Ok, so I realize that “you are so at least two years ago”, doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Anyway, your name is new, so are you a newbie troll or one of the old, haggard ones repackaged? Either way, you popped onto a PR/politics site, made some wild assertions without a shred of evidence and demanded a scientific rebuttal.

Now if it were my site I would tell you to go away, and the second word would be “off”, however, to spare our host’s sensibilities I will instead suggest you go away and do some homework, come back if you manage to find some evidence. I’ll even give you a place to start, http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-Pacific-Decadal-Oscillation-the-Smoking-Gun.html

By the way being understandably wrong once, totally wrong twice more and including a completely fanciful prediction in only four short lines is impressive, you must have practised!

As with the emails, insults and deprecating remarks seem to be the modus operandi of many alarmists. Tell me that you still believe the climate sensitivity/feedbacks used in the climate models is 2.5 to 5. Lindzen, Spencer and others have shown that it is one or less. As Spencer says,”It turns out that a fundamental mistake has been made in previous interpretations of the satellite data. The radiative balance and temperature variations are due not only to feedback, but also to forcing. In other words, the behavior of the data is affected not only by temperature causing a change in the energy balance, but also by energy imbalance causing a temperature change. And since the variations in energy balance are dominated by cloud activity, what this usually represents is a mix-up between cause and effect when analyzing clouds and temperature variations”. In his book, The Great Global Warming Blunder, Fig. 26 shows that Satellite observations of radiative forcing of the Earth from 2000-2008 suggest that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation causes natural cloud variations of a magnitude that a simple climate model indicated would be sufficient to explain most of the temperature variation during the 20th century.
He asks, “Why is there so much resistance to the study of potential natural sources of climate change? Judging from the IPCC’s history, one can only conclude that it is driven by political motivations and desired policy outcomes”.

As a meteorologist, MS MIT,I agree that clouds play a much more important part in climate change than anyone thinks.

“Yawn”