'Unprecedented' melt sinks hope for Arctic ice recovery

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The Canadian Ice Service is warning that the disintegration of Arctic Ocean ice cover may be worse this year than last - which, until now, was the worst on record.

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reports :

Arctic sea ice extent on August 10 was 6.54 million square kilometers (2.52 million square miles), a decline of 1 million square kilometers (390,000 square miles) since the beginning of the month. Extent is now within 780,000 square kilometers (300,000 square miles) of last year's value on the same date and is 1.50 million square kilometers (580,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

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Just like the 1930s.
How cyclic.
Meanwhile Antarctic ice sets new records.

And this new study is also timely.


GW not causing more storms.
again… hmmmmm

That’s great. I really hope that soon you also might start addressing the topic at hand, or providing links relevant to the points that you’re making.

“Like the 1930s”: I don’t see that in any of the CIS or NSIDC material.

“Cyclical”: I don’t see that either, but perhaps you’re holding something back.

Antarctic ice records: a link to THAT source might be helpful.

And the as for your Tropical Cyclone paper, it’s inconclusive.

What’s your point? 

Took less than one second to find.

Actual news paper article from 1922.
Looks familiar doesn’t it?

The entire AGW theory is inconclusive.
There is not one shread of evidence or proof that can be regarded as conclusive for any AGW claim.

Basically it comes down to:
My computer simulation that I wrote and based on my assumptions says it will get a little warmer if I fudge the CO2 sensitivity enough.
And since I have a political mandate to prove GW is man made, we will stand by that assumption, Facts be damned.

AGW has NO conclusive anything to support it.

… have been known for ~150 years. They are better known now and conclusively known. Only a fool would claim that there is no reason to believe that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere shouldn’t be expected to enhance the greenhouse effect.

PS. I’m from Alberta, Gary, and still have nearly all my right-leaning tendencies in tact. I’m aware of them. Are you aware of your political biases?

Political bias?
Absolutely. I firmly believe socialism is the worst thing that could hapen to any country.
I am quite centrist in most of my thinking except for AGW.

Seems I am not alone>

Bad new for the greenie agenda.

BTW; your comment about greenhouse effect?
If you have ever read anything I have posted you would know that I agree with that statement.
The problem is (as usual) in the detail.
The effect of CO2 on the Greenhouse effect dimishes exponentially with the concentration. (look it up).
Therefore, its ability to cause warming decreases at the same rate. Add that to all the many other natural factors and you have a maximum remaining forcing worth less that half of one degree at most. probably less.

Not much to get excited about.
But don’t take my word for anything (you wouldn’t anyway)
Go look it up. It is all easy to find.

First, I read about it on realclimate long before I ever read one of your musings. More importantly, scientists have known this since long before you were born. It doesn’t change the facts. Search this:

“The breakthroughs that finally set the field back on the right track came from research during the 1940s. Military officers lavishly funded research on the high layers of the air where their bombers operated, layers traversed by the infrared radiation they might use to detect enemies. Theoretical analysis of absorption leaped forward, with results confirmed by laboratory studies using techniques orders of magnitude better than Ångström could deploy. The resulting developments stimulated new and clearer thinking about atmospheric radiation.”

The problem IS in the detail. And the detailed problem here is that you oversimplify, obfuscate, cherry-pick, and repeat ad nauseum what are essentially lies. “AGW has NO conclusive anything to support it.” Keep telling yourself that mr centrist-antisocialist, but stop trying to spread the lie to others.

Second, there are feedbacks that you like to ignore (surprise!). Look it up.

Looks like Gary didn’t want to learn anything.

Here, read this:

Tiping points are just another AGW scare point. They are extremely unlikely.
I was about to say impossible, in reality nothing is impossible.

You’re acting like a ninnie – did you want to learn about CO2 or not? Now comes a silly argument against positive feedbacks (supported by a link to argument for negative feedback by clouds by Roy Spencer). Groan. If you believe in solar and albedo, then you believe in the potential for positive feedbacks. If you believe in forest fires and black carbon, then you believe in the potential for positive feedbacks. If you believe in Spencer’s negative feedback effects with respect to clouds then I think you’re at odds with the cosmic ray idea.

The accuser is just as biased as the accused. You know that your very biased as well. You’d be a fool to spit in god’s face and lie in his presence.

Gary: I would have said that there are three rock solid facts that we can depend on:

1) We are responsible for all the recent rise in CO2.

2) Co2 will absorb and then re-emit longwave radiation

3) An object that receives more longwave radiation will either warm or cool less quickly.

SO taken together it is impossible to argue that there should not be some warming.

Regards, John

I am just making a comment in passing that you should pay no attention to Gary whatsoever. Been there.
Fern Mackenzie

Impossible to argue?
The individual points are valid as stated.
Bus as has been pointed out SOOOOOOO many times.
There is one hell of a lot more to it than that.
If it were that simple, there would be no debate, no 50 Bilion in funding to find a proof and after 30 years of trying there would be some certainty.
Impossible to argue?
Dispute these facts:
The world has warmed and cooled in similar cycles for milenia.
Most of the warming of the 20th century happened in the first part of the century.
The earth cooled during the fastest increase in man made CO2.
The earth has not warmed (cooled by many figures) since 2001 while CO2 has continued to increase.

All indisputable. All only slightly relevent.

The real story is Much more complicated.

Look up greate climate shift cycles for one of the issues.
Then factor in bad measurements. Add the warming from cleaner skys post 1960. The factor in solar infleuence.
Then just for fun caculate the effect of the sun warming the oceans more than usual becaus of reduced clouds.

etc. etc. etc. There is NO SIMPLE explaination.

Gary said: “Meanwhile Antarctic ice sets new records”.

That is not what is being reported by the scientists working in the field. Ice extent in the Antarctic is equal to last years and also equal to the 1979 to 2000 average.

Nice graph here, Gary, since you have trouble understanding actual words:


Ian Forrester

You guys are not going to keep a streight face and claim you don’t know all about the Ice melting of the thirties and the FACT that the Antarctic has been setting records for Ice coverage all year?

Are you really that uninformed? Its been documented pretty much everywhere.
I thought for sure I would not have to provide the increadibly obvious.
Do I really? Are you really going to admit you have no idea?

Every kid knows that when you go out in the morning on your way to school after a cold night, there is a skim of ice over the puddles, in the creek, on the river – wherever – just BEGGING to be stamped on and smashed into a pile of shards. It’s thin, it’s light, and by noon it will all be gone. It comes & it goes as the season gets established. Thin ice means NOTHING. Oh wtf. I am going to bed & leaving you to your delusions of scientific competence.

BTW Richard, I have been following your posts with interest. Nice to see the voice of reason being sounded out there in the Darkness.

Fern Mackenzie

Fern…. really, that it?
Have you even looked at some of the data on antarctica?

Not only is the area increasing but satilite data shows the thickness is increasing as well.
Go look it up. I would link it but as usual Ian or VJ would simply pronounce my perticular source as invalid because the author drove a car once.

The antarctic is COLD and it ice mass is GROWING.
Look it up and them explain it.

Conditions in context (from NSIDC)

“Ice extent has begun to decline sharply. The decline rate surged to -113,000 square kilometers per day on August 7 and as of August 10 was -103,000 square kilometers per day. This compares to the long-term average decline of -76,000 square kilometers per day for this time of year. Normally, the peak decline rate is in early July.

“Many of the areas now seeing a rapid retreat saw an early melt onset (see July 2, 2008); this helped set the stage for rapid retreat (July 17 and April 7). However, the more fundamental issue is that these regions started the melt season covered with thin first-year ice, which is especially vulnerable to melting out completely. Thin ice is also vulnerable to breakup by winds; the last ten days have seen a windy, stormy pattern that has accelerated the ice loss.”

Fern Mackenzie

Based on this rapid ice melt, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School* in California says that the computer models he has been running this year appear almost prophetic…. They indicate that the Arctic could be ice free during the summer months by 2013 - with serious consequences for the planet. Of course, that hasn’t happened in all of human history.

From The Guardian:


*A school known for its socialist propaganda and alarmist theories, Gary will argue.

Will the NEVER learn.
so far those models are batting 0.
Nice try.
We will see the actual results soon enough. And it won’t be supportive of the leftie agenda.

BTW: I saw an article the other day that typifies the thinking of those guys:
It claimed that Global Warming was causing Thicker Ice in the Arctic.
Anything and everything is caused by Global warming.

Will the insanity ever end?

This is my last message. Read more carefully. Accept that you do not know everything (and neither, btw, do I). There are people out there more intelligent then you or I. They have done the work, and they are not driven by the kind of ideological pathology that you assume at every turn. They know the science, they have done the research. And they are very, very worried.

“And if Einstein’s scared, I’M SCARED.”*

Fern Mackenzie

* “Talking Atomic Blues”

I agree completley with everything you said.
I would add that there are people out there more intelligent then you or I that have done the work, are not driven ideological, that know the science, have done the research And they are not at all worried.

More than 31000 of them in fact.

Virtually none of the 31,0000 (OISM signatories) of whom you speak are qualified climate scientists. The only qualification necessary to be added to that OISM petition is a BA/BS degree in some field of science.

And a BA in science does not a scientist make.

I am far more than qualified to sign that OISM petition, and I am not a climate-scientist by any stretch of the imagination.

And as for you? You are nothing more than a Dunning-Kruger poster-child.

That’s hilarious:

“have done the research… More than 31000 of them in fact.”

31000 is becoming a key word, like “ancient astronauts”.

Google 31000 and feel the power of myth.


And before you go off on the source being a denier or some other lame BS excuse for not looking:
Just google “antarctic setting ice record”
You will get dozens of links.
Pick one, they all say the same thing.

Fact is the Anticarctic is very cold and the Ice mass is growing. And it is NOT going to melt with any 2 or 3 degree warming.
And since it holds most of the ice mass of the planet, there is no chance that we will ever see Hansen’s fabled 23 foot sea level rise.
No surprise to any informed person.

That is what I have been saying all along.
Thank you for your support.

Blah, blah, blah, says Gary. Nothing worth reading in any of his posts.

Gary is wrong again. The Antarctic is *losing* ice mass – this has been confirmed by high-resolution GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite measurements.

See http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2006/86.html for details.

Note: My post here is not addressed to Gary. It is addressed instead to lurkers who might otherwise be misled by Gary’s continuing stream of misinformation here.

You will find that the myth of Antarctic ice decline is just that. A myth put out in a desperate attempt to hold onto the dying AGW agenda.

Good try though.

Gary’s antics aside, I suspect there is good reason to be skeptical that the Arctic polar ice won’t recover. The first point to make is that what’s important from a ‘tipping point’ perspective is how much light gets absorbed by the open ocean instead of reflected by ice back into space. Well, this rather late acceleration of melt is happily happening after the angle and amount of sunlight are changing to less damaging values. The heat budget is more (directly) affected by the amount of open sea at the peak of summer than by the amount at the end of the summer.

Of course, the amount of sea ice at the end of the summer melting is important with respect to the amount of ice (thickness and extent) that will shield the North come next melt season (and therefore how much absorbtion occurs at the height of summer). I think this is where the second point should be made: there are things other than temperature that affect the amount of ice at the end of the summer. If temperature was the only important factor, then any current discussion about ‘tipping points’ for the Arctic sea ice would be moot (there’s still lots of warming in the pipeline). But if you read the articles, the main reason for the current rapid melting is the thin ice left over from last year. The other factor mentioned is stormy weather involving southern winds. It’s not clear to me that the latter condition is obliged to occur, and it seems quite likely that the former condition is not going to be as bad at the start of next year as it was at the start of this one. Thus, in the short term, I don’t think we can give up on Arctic sea ice recovery.

That’s not to say that I think Arctic sea ice is going to make a great come back. I strongly suspect that, in the longer term, global temperature increase will overcome natural negative feedbacks (increased precipitation, etc). But for now, at least, I think a good case can be made for skepticism regarding the immediate demise of Arctic ice.

Some of you may wonder, “Why should I give a crap what this guy thinks?” You shouldn’t – I’m just a fish biologist trying to understand the world in which my study organism exists. Please feel free to critique my reasoning.

Don’t forget to look up the effects of soot, (black carbon deposits) on the Polar ice over the last years due to the forest fires in Siberia as well as the soot cloud from the california fires.
The look up the unusual winds (NASA papers) that blew the ice farther out to sea than usual.

The 2007 ice melt was completley natural. relax.

Where’s Frank Bi when you need him? Gary, did you just say that black carbon is a very important factor and then tell everyone to relax because the 2007 melt was ‘completely natural’? Pffft.

Forest fires are completey natural.

It can blow black carbon up to the Arctic from forest fires in California but the wind somehow doesn’t blow black carbon from more proximal anthropogenic sources. Right. (Nevermind the problem of whether or not the forest fires have an anthropogenic component to them.)

That the Ice melt in the arctic was not the result of runaway heating from evil globull warming.

Interesting. Making progress Steve. keep going.

When I make fun of perversely illogical statements, I assume the facts as presented are correct. That way, even somebody with distorted views of facts can see that their argument is garbage.
Having said that, this new comment of yours relies on another bit of illogical reasoning, so I’ll be as plain as possible:

If you could demonstrate that the wind somehow discriminates against transporting black carbon from anthropogenic sources to the Arctic, while moving black carbon from ‘natural’ sources in California all the way up there, then I’ll consider the possibility that the melt in 2007 was largely caused by black carbon from natural sources. But you can’t overcome the “if” at the beginning of this paragraph.

This exchange exemplifies your willingness to latch on to any notion as long as it implies a reduced role for AGW. It also exemplifies your willingness to earwig (confidently pronounce an incorrect conclusion).

Direct quote from above article:

== “Extent is now within 780,000 square kilometers (300,000 square miles) of last year’s value on the same date … ” ==

This is absurdly alarmist news propaganda. Ice extent is, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, 780,000 square kms higher then last year at this time.

This is bad news how??

Paul, please let’s hear how this is propaganda, but Exxon’s messages via Heartland weren’t expensive enough to qualify as propaganda.

Paul shows his disdain for his own ‘positions’ which are so insincerely held that he hardly notices when he contradicts himself.

For more information on how the sea ice story fits into the broader picture of Arctic Climaticide-related events and news of the last couple of weeks, check out my latest post at Climaticide Chronicles:


“My True Religion Is Kindness” – The Dalai Lama/—/Do you know why
350ppm is important?

Steve L. The main reason for the current decline in ice extent is, in fact, weather. There have been a number of deep low pressure systems over the Arctic around the beginning of August. These have generated storms that has broken up and dispersed some of the new ice formed from last year (see NDIS site). These storms have brought warm air from southerly winds into the region causing accelerated melt of the thin ice formed from last winter. Sorry fellas, global warming has nothing to do with it. Of course it will take a few years for the ice to recover the resiliency that it had prior to 2007. It doesn’t happen overnight.

As for 2007 being the worst on record, that just means from 1979 when the satellites first started measuring the ice extent. Given that the polar regions have been there for a few billion years, saying that 2007 set a record in a 29 year time series should be treated as an interesting diversion and nothing more.

BTW I too am a fish biologist and so climate change is important for me also.

Richard, if the spawning stock of some commercially-important species declined steadily from the time when good techniques were actually applied to estimate abundance, showing a strong negative trend over a 30 year period, would you say, “it’s an interesting diversion” ? No, and you wouldn’t rule out commercial use of the species as a contributing factor to the decline just because the weather had also changed.

An interesting animation of the Arctic sea ice images:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S6oyTdkOWc http://www.homerdixon.com/download/arctic_flushing.html

Will Desmog Blog agree to discuss the global challenge posed by the human overpopulation of Earth with the kind of concentrated and sustained attention this looming threat to humanity deserves?

The widely shared and consensually-validated belief in the overall decline in absolute global human population numbers in our time, leading to population stabilization worldwide in 2050, is simply and straightforwardly a specious, inadequate product of preternatural thought as well as a colossal misperception. Many too many powerbrokers inside and outside the manmade global political economy have determined to condone the espousal of an unrealistic belief in population stabilization because it has proven to be politically convenient, economically expedient and supportive of their selfish interests.

According to new, unwelcome, unchallenged and apparently unforeseen scientific evidence of the human overpopulation of Earth, we can understand the growth or decline of the population numbers of the human species primarily as a function of global food supply. This means that human population dynamics of the human species is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species. From a global or species perspective, more food equals more people; less food equals less people; and, in any case, no food equals no people.

Please consider this request. Could someone at Desmog Blog ask top-rank scientists to carefully and skillfully examine the emerging science of human population dynamics and report their findings?



Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on the Human Population, established 2001

Thanks, Steve, for the request, which seems to suggest that you think our voice would be important in the overpopulation conversation. But for the time being, I have to tell you that our hands are full dealing with one particular symptom.

Personally, I have long been convinced that the explosion of human population is issue Number 1. We look just like rats, overwhelming our food supply - overwhelming ALL of our resources - multiplying happily and using our (perhaps overrated) intelligence to tell ourselves and those around us that everything will be okay.

The biggest, most successful businesses in history spend incalculable fortunes (hiring trolls like Gary) to tell us that we’re an adaptive species that will continue to expand its capacity even as the ocean collapses as a food source and as we continue to burn up our principal source of fertilizer (fossil fuels) for the pleasure of driving longer distances in bigger cars.

If you were a little cavalier about this, you’d take Gary’s advice and “relax.” In the long term, nature will restore a balance to the world, whether humans participate in the planning or not. In the libertarian version, we’ll continue “thriving,” making money and expanding our consumption right up to the tipping point. Then, we’ll start squabbling among ourselves and through war, famine and natural calamity, we’ll thin out the human population nicely - maybe catastrophically.

My problem is that I have contributed to the world’s population (and beyond my allotted quota; I have three boys). So, I don’t like the libertarian outcome.

I think that, as a species, we should get a clue, trim our consumption to a sustainable level and shift our economic model away from one that demands constant growth. Then, we should concentrate on building capacity in the developing world to the point that THOSE populations also peak and perhaps even decline because women start choosing to have fewer babies, not because whole populations are being wiped out in war and pestilence.

Call me a romantic.

But the necessity of thinking about good long-term planning doesn’t remove the urgency of putting out raging house fires in the meantime. Of all the really stupid things that humans are doing to the planet, I am convinced that changing its climate precipitously is the most reckless. And the most vile, reprehensible and colossally idiotic sideline is the campaign to deny that the world’s best scientists are onto something important, something worthy of public attention and global action.

It doesn’t really matter to me whether the Garys of this world are ideologically blinded boneheads or scum-of-the-earth industry hacks, I think that what they are doing is criminally stupid - is, in fact, tantamount to a personal attack on my children, your children, and all of their children.

So, I am going to continue to use what time I can find to criticize, condemn and expose the self-destructive imbecility of their position. And when we win this fight - when we put out this fire - call me again, and I’ll be happy to turn my attention more directly to population - which, again, I admit is the underlying problem.


I wish I’d said that! I’m going to print that up and keep it handy for the next time someone accuses me of hating humankind & advocating eugenics etc etc etc.

Fern Mackenzie