Must See TV: Ice Ice Maybe (not)

iceflow.jpgDo you want the latest data — some not yet published — and the best post-IPCC scientific predictions for the stunning collapse of Arctic ice and unexpected shrinking of the Greenland (and Antarctic) ice sheets? Then you should definitely watch (UPDATE: this C-SPAN video) of yesterday’s American Meteorological Society seminar (see note on link below).

The seminar is by three of the world’s top cryosphere experts: Dr. Mark Serreze (NOAA), Scott Luthcke (NASA), and Dr. Konrad Steffen (CIRES) — full bios and program summary available here. I will post their presentations when AMS puts them online (which will be here).

I have spent a great deal of time studying the ice and sea level rise issue (see links below) and still found the presentations informative and startling. It is very safe to say the Arctic Sea will be essentially ice free by 2030, and I’d personally bet on 2020 — any takers?

The most interesting presentation to me was the last one, by Konrad Steffen, who made a convincing case that the IPCC is “underestimating the rate of sea level rise” this century significantly. He expects one meter or more by 2100. The modelers are busy at work trying to account for ice dynamics in ice sheet collapse — but it may take 4 or 5 years for them to do that. When they are finished, sea level rise estimates for this century are likely to double or triple.

So watch the full video as soon as you can, since I don’t know how long the link provided above will be good.

[Note to C-SPAN: Please set up permalinks — rather than making people go to and click on the Featured Topics — Energy — and hope the desired video is still there!]

UPDATE: I have revised the link, which may be a permalink — I’ll check back in a month and see if it is.

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6 Responses to Must See TV: Ice Ice Maybe (not)

  1. Ron says:

    Didn’t NASA have another explanation for the loss of ice? Something about unusual winds… Can you refresh me, Joe?

    On the bet: What do you mean by ‘essentially’ ice free? And are you saying ice free year-round?

    Let’s get the details straight and I might take you up on a very sizable bet. My 401k isn’t doing so hot. I could use a substantial retirement fund.

  2. john says:


    As I remember, you’re a single dad — don’t take this bet. It’s a sure loser for you. Even the more extreme melting scenarios look conservative when examined against observed melting from geologic records. By the time they’re done, I’d bet scientists are pegging sea level rise by 2100 at 3 or more meters.

  3. Joe says:

    Ron — watch the video, and your first question will be answered.

    I mean that by the end of 2020, the lowest recorded Arctic Sea ice extent (typically in September) will be under 10% of the 1979 to 2000 average.

    But Ron, listen to John: You have kids to send to college and retirement to think of — so I don’t want your money.

  4. Lou Grinzo says:

    This is the one aspect of global warming and peak oil that scares me the most: The uncertainty over just how much human and environmental impact we’ll see from a given level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Right now, it looks like reality is racing ahead of the science, meaning we can’t really say with any confidence how bad things will get, whether from CO2 already in the atmosphere or that which we’ll surely emit over the next few decades, even under the most optimistic of scenarios.

  5. Ron says:


    The bet Joe proposed was on Arctic Sea ice, not sea level rise. But you’re right, I can’t really be betting like that. I just wanted to see the details of what the proposed bet might look like. None of us are in a position to personally verify anything about it anyway.

  6. Bill says:

    Every Fourth of July probably speeds up the melting progress by at least a few %’s