Chance of ice-free North Pole wows Drudge

[I’m not sure this Independent story is quite that big a deal, but it got Drudge all globally hot and bothered with the banner headline and pic below, so at least the deniers and delayers will all see it.]






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19 Responses to Chance of ice-free North Pole wows Drudge

  1. Dano says:

    The denial industry can’t marginalize one of its important tools, can it?



  2. Uosdwis says:

    Notice (how can you NOT) that it’s a “claim.” We do have satellites that take pictures, you know. It will be easy enough to prove.

  3. paulm says:

    So the arctic ice is melting completely before our very eyes and we have people who cant accept that the earth is warming. It’s just sad.

    What is also amazing is that the consensus of climate scientist can’t even predict if the arctic ice is going to melt next year or in 5yrs time with a reasonable certainty. This is one reason why many people are skeptical about the climate change that lies ahead.

    Does the current rate of melting of the polar ice mean we are more than likely going to see multi-meter sea level rise no matter what we do now? I certainly think the data indicates this and I suspect so do quite a few climate scientist. I guess we don’t want desperation to set in. It is looking more and more this could be around the corner from the latest ice core analysis.

    It certainly looks like 2008 is the year we are all going to recognize how bad the situation is. Lets hope we can scrap through this.

  4. Paul K says:

    You have identified one reason why many people are skeptical about the climate change that lies ahead. It’s a new one to me.

    Another reason is misunderstanding the science. Sea ice melt has little to do with sea level. Put some ice in a bowl of water. Mark the water level. Let the ice melt. Check level and compare. You were probably thinking of Glacier melt, especially Greenland.

    Another reason for skepticism is the misapplication of correlation as causation. I refer not to the general AGW theory, but specifically to Arctic sea ice. NASA is the largest employer of climate scientists in the world. I’m sure you agree NASA is the source of the best current science According to Two NASA studies, decadal ocean oscillation is more responsible for sea ice loss than is global warming. Other equally reputable studies find that fine black soot and fortuitous wind patterns also have greater influence than AGW. Understanding of ocean oscillations is relative new. Fine soot is a perfectly good reason to replace fossil fuel.

    [JR: Paul — This is not a correct analysis for why the sea ice is disappearing. I will blog on this shortly.]

  5. paulm says:

    I am aware that sea ice melt does not result in sea level rise directly. I think you need to review the latest discussions on how sea ice melt has an indirect bearing on sea level rise.

    There is of course the direct link in that it indicates that the temp is rising and land ice will therefore also be melting. All much faster than most of us have been expecting.

  6. Mauri Pelto says:

    Paulm the unusually dramatic rise in sea ice loss versus expectations from scientific models, indciates the conservative nature of the models. We have seen the same for ice shelf loss occuring more rapidly in the Antarctic and in the increase in significant flooding events. This should makes us skeptical about the timing of changes. Remember scientists have been correct about the ultimate result. However, the trends have been more severe than the models in most cases, so fasten your seat belts.

  7. Greg N says:

    To be pedantic, melting sea ice probably does increase sea levels – because it removes the “plug” at the foot of the thousands of glaciers that reach down to the sea.

    Melt the sea ice plug and the glaciers flow faster, as seen on the Antarctic Peninsular and in Greenland.

  8. Mauri Pelto says:

    Greg N. Sea ice is not powerful enough to slow the flow of substantial glaciers significantly over the course of the year. Unstable ice shelves may be susceptible, but to date we do not see evidence of the impact of open water on the speed of Greenland outlet glaciers or large Antarctic glaciers. If there is open water for longer and the water is warmer this can play a role for ice shelves, but not for simple calving glaciers which have limited contact with the ocean. Our examinations of Jakobshavn Glacier indicate no seasonal velocity fluctuations at the calving front.

  9. Dano says:

    Uncertainty in predicting/projecting future global change should make us MORE concerned, not less. This is a failure of leadership, and of our educational system that makes this critical thinking failure part of our larger situation.



  10. Jon says:

    Melting sea ice does lead to sea level rise in the mundane sense, as the melt means the H20 is subject to thermal expansion, whereas it was not as ice, no? Also, the albedo change contributes to more warming and thus greater sea level rise as well.

  11. Will says:

    I sometimes think that one of the things driving the deny/delay crowd is simple fear of the unknown.
    They often cite words like “may” or “might” or “could” that appear in so many articles about all aspects of science. Then they conclude that using those words means that, since they indicate uncertainty, scientists simply don’t know. And in many respects, concerning global warming, they don’t.
    The detailed ramifications of global warming may be uncertain in many instances, but they certainly are scary, and many feel threatened by them. It might mean the end of a lifestyle, the McMansion, the big car, the frequent flights to holiday destinations. And the threat is so great that simple denial is much easier than trying to find answers.
    In the end, I suppose, people will believe what they want to believe, despite any evidence offered. But, of course, that isn’t the end.

  12. Just another citizen... says:

    A marginally related question to the specific topic at hand:

    Has anyone done studies on the potential impact of sea level rise and volcanism and earthquakes?

    My understanding that all of these are examples of “self organized criticality”–or systems that settle into states that are most always on the verge of releasing energy (except for just AFTER a major event such as an eruption or earthquake).

    With a sand piles always on the verge of an avalanche, a steady trickle of sand grains triggers small events at semi-regular intervals, releasing the potential energy of the sand pile in small bursts.

    But what happens when you quickly change the rate at which you are adding sand to the pile? Do we have any reasons to believe that a rise in sea levels will amount to a rapid change in the weight of water on the ocean floors, potentially triggering larger than normal events for a period till the geology settles into a new state of equilibrium? In other words, in addition to all the other hazards of global warming, are we risking a century of increased volcanic and tectonic activity in vulnerable regions especially around the Pacific rim? And then there is atmospheric feedback if volcanism increases, right? These questions have been nagging me for some time.

  13. paulm says:

    On casual observation there does seem to be an increase in earthquake activity recently. Is there a connection? I think it is possible there is some link. May be its Finagle’s Law or more accurately O’Toole’s Corollary of Finagle’s Law.

  14. Paul K says:

    I look forward to your analysis. Don’t know if it’s just a rumor, but the word is arctic sea ice extent is 1,000,000 sq. kilometers greater than one year ago today.

  15. Jon says:

    Paul K:

    This chart should show you why that is a meaningless margin of difference, and I give you some idea of what this year is looking like compared both to last year and the average.

  16. paulm says:

    … the unusually dramatic rise in sea ice loss versus expectations from scientific models, indciates the conservative nature of the models…

    Why are the models conservative? Why doesn’t historic observation, current trends, delta on current trends & model trends, and commonsense not have a higher influence on the models. All these things are indicating that all hell is breaking loose.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    paulm — The glaciologists have no data to calibrate their models, especially with regard to the ‘900 pound gorilla in the room’, WAIS. I find it completely conceivable that just a few more centimeters of sea level rise, together with a tiny temperature increase, will be enough to destabilize the meta-stable WAIS. This could easily lead to, say, 2 meter sea level rise in, say, 2 decades.


    Just another citizen… Yes. Redistributing the earth’s mass will tend to trigger shallow tectonic events. I don’t consider this to be a mjor consern, in of itself.

  18. Eli Rabett says:

    Everyone except Drudge is getting lost in the weeds. If the North Pole is ice free this year it sends a powerful message to the the non-obsessed in a direction that will make them more obsessed with the issue. The public basically does not care about the details, but gets its information and attitudes in sound bites (how much do you know about things you really don’t follow?). An ice free north pole is a huge sound bite. Film at 11.

  19. Josh says:

    So, was the North Pole Ice free last summer? Oh yeah – NO IT WASN’T. We can pretend all we want, but we all know that the sun ultimately calls the shots in this solar system in regards to heat, and as we globally warm, so do the other planets in the system. Unless our radio signals effect sun radiance or somehow we are slipping CO2 to the other planets through some kind of “Star Gate”, I doubt our ability alone to effect climate change with what we breathe out.
    Did you know that water vapor traps a lot more heat than CO2? Think about that the next day you’re sitting in Tennessee in the middle of August. Another thing to imagine is not having the day time for more than 2 days. Could you imagine how cold the earth would get in that amount of time?
    All of this reminds me of chicken little. The sky is falling and we’re all headed into a foxes den through our panic.
    BTW, I like your use of people tags, such as “Deniers” and “Delayers”. Sort of like: “bourgeois”, “Imperialist”, “NeoCons”. You guys are so creative in your bigotry of other people opinions! I really admire it!