Arctic Death Spiral 2010: Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”

Disinformers get it very wrong and Inaccuweather’s Bastardi absurdly asserts sea ice trend is “leveling off and will turn the other way”

Ice Age 9-10

Researchers often look at ice age as a way to estimate ice thickness. Older ice tends to be thicker than younger, one- or two-year-old ice.

The death spiral of Arctic sea ice continued this year, according to both observations and modeling.  The figure above comes from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  In September, NSIDC’s director Mark Serreze said, The volume of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month” and “I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover.”

Also in September, a first-of-its-kind analysis by an international team of 18 top scientists found “less ice covers the Arctic today than at any time in recent geologic history” and this ice loss isunexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.”

In November, Rear Admiral David Titley, the Oceanographer of the Navy and the Director of Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, testified that “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower” — and that it is headed to zero in the summer.  You can read his testimony here.

Peter Sinclair has an excerpt of his testimony in an excellent video that shows just how wrong the discredited disinformers from WattsUpWithThat were in their sea ice projections this year:

I noted in September that the anti-science crowd at WUWT have been insisting that the ice is getting thicker and, as recently as mid-August, asserted that we would see a ‘recovery’ in Arctic ice to 2006 levels (see “WattsUpWithThat breaks own record for fastest overturning of a prediction by reality“).  Subsequently, Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard tried to rewrite history and game the sea-ice prediction contest run by SEARCH, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change.  I discussed their revisionism in September and Tamino eviscerates their laughable November revisionism here.

The whole episode demonstrate that the deniers  are in an alternate reality devoid of science and actual observations — and they will never admit they were wrong, even for the most blatant mis-predictions that can be checked by anyone with access to the Internet.

Unfortunately, while the disinformers appear to have the upper hand rhetorically and politically — since it is easier to sell inaction with clever lies than it is to sell action with the unvarnished truth — the ice has no political agenda, as geophysicist Henry Pollack says in the video.

Ice volume is what matters most, of course, since it determines long-term viability of the summer ice.  The University of Washington’s Polar Science Center reported that based on its data-driven modeling, “Monthly average Arctic Ice Volume for Sept 2010 was 4,000 km3, the lowest over the 1979-2010 period … 9,400 km^3 or 70% below its mean for the 1979-2009 period.”

Rear Admiral Titley says he has told the Chief of Naval Operations that “we expect to see four weeks of basically ice free conditions in the mid to late 2030s.”

On Sunday, Joe Bastardi, Inaccuweather’s chief long-range forecaster, asserts (at 3:30 in the new video) of the Arctic sea ice trend:  “My idea, though, is it’s leveling off “” and will turn the other way!”

Bastardi 12-10

Obviously, the near-term trend matters both for the future of humanity and more mundane matters like the national security planning by the Navy.  I think it’s safe to say that Rear Admiral Titley knows what he’s talking about and Bastardi doesn’t (see Long wrong Joe Bastardi cooks the books to smear NSIDC:  National Snow & Ice Data Center explains Bastardi can’t read graphs and “is unclear as to how standardized anomalies are derived”).

For the record, Tamino — who called the September sea ice minimum more closely than just about anyone else — has a great graph of the key trend in sea ice area:

The chances of Bastardi being right are, unfortunately, zero.  Even more unfortunately, many people listen to him.  I suppose I should challenge Bastardi to a bet on this — perhaps the subject of a later post.

Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School has the most aggressive prediction (see Arctic death spiral: Naval Postgrad School’s Maslowski “projects ice-free* fall by 2016 (+/- 3 yrs)”:  But in the land of make-believe, Watts and Goddard say: “Arctic ice extent and thickness nearly identical to what it was 10 years ago”):

Maslowski SMALL

*This projection is based on a combined model and data trendline focusing on ice volume.  By “ice-free,” Maslowski tells me he means more than an 80% drop from the 1979-2000 summer volume baseline of ~200,00 km^3.  Some sea ice above Greenland and Eastern Canada may survive into the 2020s (as the inset in his figure shows), but the Arctic as it has been for apparently a million years will be gone.

The death spiral is real — and quite consequential for humanity.  The international study by 18 scientists cited above concluded:

Reviewed geological data indicate that the history of Arctic sea ice is closely linked with climate changes driven primarily by greenhouse and orbital forcings and associated feedbacks. This link is reflected in the persistence of the Arctic amplification, where fast feedbacks are largely controlled by sea-ice conditions.

A 2008 study led by David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) concluded (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“):

We find that simulated western Arctic land warming trends during rapid sea ice loss are 3.5 times greater than secular 21st century climate-change trends. The accelerated warming signal penetrates up to 1500 km inland”¦.

In other words, if it continues, the recent trend in sea ice loss may triple overall Arctic warming, causing large emissions in carbon dioxide and methane from the tundra this century (for a review of recent literature on the tundra, see “Science stunner: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting; NSF issues world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming”).  Indeed, Lawrence himself said, “Our study suggests that, if sea-ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate.”

The time to act is a while ago, but now is better than later.


62 Responses to Arctic Death Spiral 2010: Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2010) — Southampton researchers have estimated that sea-level rose by an average of about 1 metre per century at the end of the last Ice Age, interrupted by rapid ‘jumps’ during which it rose by up to 2.5 metres per century. The findings, published in Global and Planetary Change, will help unravel the responses of ocean circulation and climate to large inputs of ice-sheet meltwater to the world ocean.

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    The fact that more force is used to suppress free speech and stuff like copyright infringement and not to shut down Co2 emissions says it all.

    Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change

  3. peter whitehead says:

    A number of locations in Greenland are warmer than we are here in the UK. Prinz Christian Sund airport in the south of Greenland is 8degC today (see Weather Underground) – we are below zero C here, day and night.

    Tonight, the central belt of Scotland is paralysed by snow. The motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh is closed and snowbound. Local police senior officer says worst conditions in his 26 years service. People trapped in cars on many Scottish roads. This is a major weather event here. So far in the English Midlands we are in our 3rd week of temperatures well below average, and this is forecast by the Met Office to continue until early Jan at least. A few days of above zero days are forecast for end of this week, but return to v. cold early next week.

    Of course, the UK media think this is the end of global warming. Ho hum.

  4. Steve Bloom says:

    Speaking of the sea ice loss-enhanced warming penetrating inland, we see this new paper (press release) in Nature Geoscience:

    “Northern wildfires threaten runaway climate change, study reveals”

    Read it and weep.

    I wonder where this leaves the assumption that permafrost can be expected to melt relatively slowly? Can such fires set off the compost bomb early?

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Richard Branson, delivered a message to the negotiators at the U.N.’s climate change meeting, COP 16, in Cancun, Mexico, which continues this week: “Just do it, for God’s sake. Get off your a**es and get on with it.”

  6. Michael T. says:

    November 2010 Sea Ice Extent second lowest in the satellite record

    December 6, 2010

    Slow ice growth leads to low November ice extent

    “Arctic sea ice grew more slowly than average in November, leading to the second-lowest ice extent for the month. At the end of November, Hudson Bay was still nearly ice-free.”

  7. Neven says:

    This post kicks ass. It is in your face, but entirely accurate as well. Cannot be spun, cannot be denied, cannot be wished away. My compliments.

    [JR: Thanks, though the deniers can deny gravity if it suits them.]

  8. Steve Bloom says:

    Oh yeah, there was also this (press release) study from a few weeks ago finding more intense fires in the coastal tundra zone in Alaska:

    “As Arctic temperatures rise, tundra fires increase, researchers find”

    The first study seems to be talking about farther inland, although there may be an overlap between the two.

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    That’s a nice sentiment, Neven, and maybe you’re right about the spin, but “cannot be denied, cannot be wished away”? Dreamer…

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    Steve Bloom @ 4 –
    In September, 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire burned more than 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska’s North Slope, doubling the area burned in that region since record keeping began in 1950. A new analysis of sediment cores from the burned area revealed that this was the most destructive tundra fire at that site for at least 5,000 years. Models built on 60 years of climate and fire data found that even moderate increases in warm-season temperatures in the region dramatically increase the likelihood of such fires.

    The satellite shot from 2007 –

  11. Wit's End says:

    Neven, I share your accolades to JR, but let us not forget how many people deny evolution and believe in creationism!

    Earlier attempt to link, that appears to have been swallowed, and NPR story, quite flawed:

    BUT it did have a link to JR debating Morano…

    and being interrupted repeatedly! It can’t be easy to let fanatics like MM savage rational discussion, and I admire JR for being one of the few experts willing to stand up to such bullies.

    The NPR story is reporting a rethinking of strategy, away from distant (in time and geography) impacts of CO2-caused climate change, to shift the emphasis towards immediate and current disasters – floods, droughts, crop reductions, etc.

    I think this emphasis on local, visible effects is essential if we can even hope to just delay the worst impacts of climate change, and maybe buy some time while other, as yet unimagined solutions may be developed.

    That is why I think that it is so critical that the experts start to inform people that the world has NEVER known any significant tropospheric ozone, other than very minuscule and isolated intrusions from the stratosphere from lightening strikes. Vegetation on the earth -including agricultural crops and indigenous trees – that is now exposed to levels that have doubled since pre-industiral times is not suited to absorb its toxic impacts…and is dying on a global scale, at rates that are accelerating.

    Most of this dieback is blamed on insects, disease, fungus and weather…but the underlying weakness for plantlife to survive naturally occurring sources of stress is exposure to the toxic effects of ozone. Don’t expect the USDA, Forestry Service, EPA, or any other government agency to broadcast this, because they are all just as infected and beholden as our “elected” representatives to industry, which is dominated by energy corporations, and also by petroleum based agriculture and timber consortiums.


    Good Night, and Good Luck.

  12. Colorado Bob says:

    More heavy rains in India 181 dead , Amounts up to 7 inches.
    This system is affecting the Maldives as well.
    Greece has been hit as well.

  13. Neven says:

    That’s a nice sentiment, Neven, and maybe you’re right about the spin, but “cannot be denied, cannot be wished away”? Dreamer…

    Let me put it this way. People who keep denying or wishing away the current situation in the Arctic, will look like disingenuous fools to more and more people. Bastardi makes these mistakes all the time, and the way Watts tries to cover for him is so transparent that only the staunchest WUWT inhabitants fail to look through it.

    The next melting season will be extremely interesting. Everything is possible.

    [JR: Well, 2011 is likely be only a very hot, top 10 year. But Hansen says 2012 may be the chart topper.]

  14. Steve Bloom says:

    Plus the former Yugoslavia and northeastern Australia, Bob.

    FYI, the study I referenced in #8 is the same one you mentioned in #10.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    The video below shows an example of the results of extreme rain. A mudslide in Maierato, Calabria, Italy results as the soil becomes saturated with rain. Liquefaction of the land occurs – the earth, rock and soil flow like a river, carrying trees, homes, anything on the surface down hill. The video is visually astonishing.

  16. Steve Bloom says:

    Joe, it seems that the main thing needed for big melting of Arctic sea ice isn’t so much record temps globally as it is the Arctic dipole anomaly (=> high pressure => reduced clouds) kicking in during the June-August peak of the melt season.

  17. Colorado Bob says:

    Steve Bloom –

    Like South America , numbers are hard to come by in the reports out of the Balkans. I have yet to see any report that mentions just how much has fallen in the Balkans.

    The Extreme Rain Events of 2010

  18. Prokaryotes says:

    As always excelente climate crock from Peter Sinclair.

    One thing i’m missing though in all the arctic ice lose messaging, is the effect on the earth energy budget, once the ice albedo is lost.

    How much temperature rise will be contributed to the global average temperature from the northpole, once the albedo is gone?

    Further consider:

    **** How are the projections on the warmer waters at the pole and the impacts on the gulf stream?

    **** How will warmer water react with clathrate hydrates throughout the northern ocean sediments or affected currents?

    *** What will the impact we from different water chemistry on waves, coastal erosion, winds and shore permafrost/peatlands around northern latitudes?

    I guess it will result in total chaos for the human civilization, because of potential sea slides with tsunamis, faster ecological breakdown, breakdown of affected ocean biosphere, potential release of huge quantities of methane.

  19. Another headline might be:

    “On the eve of Pearl Harbor day, Congress ignores another warning from the military on dangers of global warming”

  20. Wit's End says:

    Remember, Colorado #15 –

    The roots of plants are shriveling from the effects of pollution – acid rain and dry deposition and ozone deplete vegetation, diminish both the availability and production of essential nutrients.

    There is less to hold the soil in heavy rainfall.

    Not to mention which, dying and dead trees are fuel for wildfires.

    We will see much, much more of both devastating landslides and wildfires.

  21. Excellent summary of the current ice situation Joe. Truly an amazing thing we are witnessing.

    The fact that so many follow/believe the junk science on WUWT is confirmation that American K-12 science education is now 48th in the World.

  22. PeteM says:

    A variation (or maybe a repeating) of the question from Prokaryotes (#18).

    Would it be fair to claim that the effects of warming are being ‘held back’ because there is a significant heat transfer when the Artic ice melts.

    If so , what are the likely consequences once there is limited ice to melt ( ice free seasons ). I’m speculating that there will be an acceleration in temperature increases.

  23. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    When denial gets harder, deny harder. Problem solved.

  24. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Climate Progress is much too cheerful. Try this when you are laughing too much.

  25. Sunday night past saw about 3.5 inches of rain in one hour in Rio de Janeiro. Downtown Rio is very prone to flooding. Hill slides during rain events are becoming more common in Rio, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, and other cities in Brazil, especially in the rain-soaked state of Minas Gerais. Houses just slide down off the hills.

  26. Villabolo says:

    Thanks for the laugh and the link Pete. Nothing surprises me anymore. :-( :-) :-o

  27. Villabolo says:

    Are we having a NAO event right now; and if so, is that a major reason for the Arctic ice cap being unable to recuperate what little ice it possibly can when you consider GW factors?

    And to what extent, if any, is this particular intensity of NAO due to GW no matter how “indirect” the connections may be?

  28. Chris ODell says:

    Tamino’s “fit a quadratic” models seems to predict an ice free arctic by 2029 (at least that is what I get when I do the fit to the NSIDC September Ice data, This seems somewhat later than Joe’s bet of an ice-free summer by 2020, which now requires slightly faster than a quadratic decline. Anyway, it certainly seems to fit the data nicely, but I agree with Joe overall that the system is unlikely to be linear (or even quadratic), with feedbacks and nonlinearities likely to kick in and push the final result around.

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Tenney Naumer says, “… other cities in Brazil”

    July 2010, Brazilian mayor: Floods have flattened entire town

  30. Leif says:

    I wrote this in response to a denier comment in our local paper.

    “The science is intuitive but since you obviously dismiss science I will attempt to use your statement as a teaching moment for others that may wish to explore the issue deeper.

    When the Arctic is covered with ice the Arctic area cools down faster than the surrounding continents. 24 hour night happens first the furthest north. This allows a pool of arctic air to stabilize in the vicinity of the Arctic circle with minor polar out breaks sweeping thru the continental regions from time to time. Most of the cold stays safely pooled above the Arctic Ice. However, remove a lot of the ice in the summer and something all together different happens. The open oceans collect more heat as the summer sun is not reflected by the ice but adsorbed by the darker water. This delays the fall ice formation as the ocean must give that heat back to the atmosphere before it can refreeze. As winter continues on the continents are able to cool faster than the Arctic open waters. Warm air rises and cold air sinks. Warm being relative to the cooling continents. This sucks warm air from the lower latitudes to replace the freezing cold air pressing southward over the land masses. Think not? The end of November the temperatures in northern Greenland were warmer than San Francisco. At the same time there was an unprecedented rain event thru Alaska from Anchorage to Barrow on the north slope. In the last week of November! Likewise above 71 degrees north latitude in Norway temperatures rose above freezing. Look on the maps and see for yourself. If cold is sliding down over the land where does the replacing air mass have to go to get north? Recall that when a body is in motion it tends to stay in motion. You now have a huge air mass not flowing in a circular pool but two cold masses flowing south and two warmer, MOIST masses flowing north , cooling and replenishing the southerly flow. One more thing. What does cold moist air do in the winter? SNOW! And lots of it.

    So instead of crowing about See it is cold and snowing your global warming is a hoax you need to see that it is all one destabilized system. Climatic Disruption! Earth in transition! You are not going to like what you see.”

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    Villabolo says “And to what extent, if any, is this particular intensity of NAO due to GW no matter how “indirect” the connections may be?”

    -0.442 ? Beat it the last year record?


    Quote Comment #36 Chris says “Is the cold weather being caused by (1)low solar activity or (2)lower than normal Arctic sea-ice cover?

    On the BBC recently on of their Weather staff stated that the early onset of a hard winter in the UK was due to the La Nina, so we may have 2 effects currently – early onset due to La Nina, with a low AO due to cause 1 and/or 2.

    Last February the AO index was -4.2, the lowest monthy index since 1950, the start of the series. I’ll be watching the coming years’ AO index to see if we have any more unusually low AO index figures.

    If the Arctic Dipole Anomaly (reduced sea ice) is playing a significant role in last winter (and possibly this one), then it’ll be amazing to follow. We may actually be seeing an ongoing shift in climate – I stress the “may”.”–-not/

  32. William P says:

    Doesn’t this Naval report indicate the IPCC predictions were way off – too conservative about when Arctic ice would be gone?

    Isn’t it time to shift to thinking about adaption strategies or pure survival strategies?

    We seem to be frozen like the deer in the headlights, locked into merely measuring and recounting each new event moving us rapidly toward disaster.

    Another wasteful activity we engage in is listing, in dismay, the latest astonishing Denier or Dis-informer statement.

    Someone or some organization needs to step up with a bold plan for adaptation and survival. We need to shift gears and it needs to happen very soon.

  33. Will G. says:

    The “painfully obvious point”, or the tipping point in public opinion toward climate action, may be sooner than we think. If 2012 is a “chart topper” then I’m thinking as ’98, ’05, and ’07 are left in the dust we’ll get some people to awaken. Our job as climate hawks is to make sure the tipping point in public opinion precedes the tipping point of climate positive feedbacks.

  34. Neven says:

    William P, here is such an organisation. Their plan is pretty bold as it aims to replace what is at the core of our society and culture, the instrument that is causing all global crises, not just AGW: the concept of infinite economic growth.

  35. Colorado Bob says:

    Queensland Dec. 7 –

    AgForce vice-president Ian Burnett, who flew over the region yesterday, says large tracts of farm land have been affected by the downpour with parts of the central highlands drenched with up to 300mm (11.81 inches) of rain in the past three days.

    Meanwhile, open-cut coal mines in central Queensland resemble dams, with production delays expected to cost billions.

    Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche says there have been huge disruptions to mining and the rail transport system.

    “Coal pits are looking more like dams … some mines have been inaccessible due to flash flooding,” he told ABC radio today. “You’re talking about $3 billion every month that we have these disruptions from unseasonal wet weather.”

    Read more:

  36. Colorado Bob says:

    “In recent years, coal companies have been living in a bit of a fool’s paradise, we’ve had more than 10 years of drought,” he said.

    “The older, wiser heads, that knew about how to set open cut mines up with water management … have retired,” he said.

    Mr Pierce says mining companies have set unrealistic targets.

    “The double whammy is that they don’t have their mining operations set up to deal with the wet weather,” he said.

    “So they not only lose production, but they also lose time having to clean their operations up and get them back into running order before they can get back into production mode.”

    A major environmental risk is the run-off from flooded mine sites.

  37. Stefan says:

    Re. Maslowski

    If I read his graph correctly, then this year’s September low of 0.4*10^4 km^3 has already reached the bold green line signifying an 80% drop from the long-term summer baseline (20% of 2*10^4 = 0.4*10^4). Even if I’m wrong and mistaking summer ice with September ice, Maslowsky’s projection may still turn out true. What interesting times we live in.

  38. A face in the clouds says:

    A little help here, please. Sorry to go off topic, but I was wondering if anyone out there can clarify the reports of Homeland Security’s heightened interest in a new drought in the U.S.? A news report in Austin, TX., (the state capital) quoted a Texas Homeland Security official who strongly cautioned residents to closely monitor long-term drought forecasts. A drought has been building across a good deal of Texas since Tropical Storm Hermine passed through in early September, but this one seems to be surrounded by an unusual air of urgency. The concern appears to extend beyond Texas.

  39. Raul M. says:

    It could get hot in spring during the coming
    Year. Thy some energy star paint to the top
    Of a 10 gal. Hat. It could help you to stay
    Cool when out in the hot sun.

  40. Raul M. says:

    Sorry, that should be energy star radiant
    Barrier paint to the top of that hat, good luck.

  41. MARodger says:

    I always find the US NSIDC graphs of multi-year ice a bit lacklustre. A bar chart presents the data more truthfully & plotting it onto the declining summer ice extent is more illustrative than simply plotting percentages.
    My own humble effort at it should be visible down this link (although my history with links is not good).

  42. Steve Rankin says:

    Joe, I want to bring to your attention another climate change story that the media is missing. They are reporting on this story but they aren’t linking it to climate change. There are cities around the Great Lakes getting hammered by lake effect snow. For example in my area, London (Ontario) could see a record setting 60 inches of snow by the time it winds down later tomorrow. Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are also under the gun. The mayor of London is considering declaring a state of emergency. According to data from Environment Canada’s buoy in the western basin of Lake Erie, water temperatures had reached a record 27 C by mid-August of this year. That is warm enough to spawn a hurricane. Indeed all of the Great Lakes recorded record warmth this past summer. This energy in turn is fuelling the snow machine currently unleashed across the region. If this isn’t bad enough another hyper-storm is forecast to hit the Great Lakes region this weekend. It would be interesting if someone could tally the cost of lost productivity, economic activity, accidents, property damage, etc, and present it as a before and after comparison using the mid 1970’s as a baseline.

  43. Esop says:

    Why don’t the GOP attack the Navy and their planning for a warmer and more unstable climate. According to the GOP/deniers, the warming will not happen (ice age imminent), so having the Navy spending huge amounts of money preparing for it would seem like a waste of taxpayer money. Strange that the GOP is not pursuing this, almost seems like a double standard.

  44. John McCormick says:

    RE # 32

    William P. your comments are always right on point. Especially:

    “Someone or some organization needs to step up with a bold plan for adaptation and survival. We need to shift gears and it needs to happen very soon.”

    We are miles past the tipping point station and picking up speed. The warnings have been posted. We know the bridge collapsed into the river. Yet, we hold steady on the throttle because we don’t know how to stop the train. Can’t jump off. So, maybe we passengers try to decouple the cars from the engine. That might slow us down enough to avoid catastrophe…at least it would buy some time.

    I have always said we cannot adapt to a moving target but next generations must have those essential goods and services that will help them adjust even if the long term means extinction. I have children as do most of us. We, US and UN, have to start being serious about how to accommodate the chaos we are bringing to our children.

    John McCormick

  45. Aaron Lewis says:

    How things change. In 2003, I used Dr. Deeming’s “system control principles” to calculate that the Arctic sea ice was “out of control” and I predicted that within a decade we would see significant loss of Arctic Sea Ice. Prominent experts in Climate Science then told me I was “alarmist” and they said “such alarm-ism was unhelpful”.

    They did not bother to look at my math, they simply trusted their GCM models. Arctic Sea Ice is one question where we have a clear standard whereby to evaluate the performance of GCM, and they flunked.

    However, polar conditions are essential to calculating atmospheric circulation. The failure of the GCM on sea ice means that the GCM also get almost every other aspect of atmospheric circulation wrong (after the sea ice melt event of 2007).

    We are much farther down the track of AGW than the GCM and its priests tell us.

  46. John McCormick says:

    RE # 45

    Aaron, post as much as you can on the calculations you did and any correspondence with climate scientists.

    They can be a hard bunch to confront. I know. Busy people too busy, too cautious to listen.

    John McCormick

  47. Sasparilla says:

    Excellent article and analysis Joe.

    Extremely good point about the deniers and how they won’t change their denying just because mother nature is proving them wrong. While the deniers probably automatically includes the fossil fuel industry that’s been fighting any action on climate change we should probably lump their lackies, the Republican party in that group as well. Just because the Arctic goes ice free in the summer we shouldn’t expect a change in GOP’s stance on climate change.

    #13 Neven makes an excellent point – as the climate change continues it will become more and more obvious to more and more people (even in the US) that it is real and happening and we need to do something about it. At some point that will overwhelm the votes the fossil fuel industry can buy with the Republicans and US government in general. Seems like that is a ways away at this point, but as Neven said, these days anything is possible.

  48. Leif says:

    Joe Bastardi’s Monday Global Sea Ice Report graph shows what Joe says is a transition to normal times with a ten year plot yellow trend line as proof that all is well. A Quick glance to my untrained eye sees a number, (4, perhaps even 5), of “cherry picked” similar short term, ~10 year, trend lines starting at the very beginning of the plot. The obvious fallacy is that each is lower than the last.

    “Climate” not “weather” Mr Bastardi!

  49. John McCormick says:

    RE # 48

    Lief, Mr. Bustardi has to respond to your comment and tell us he knows the difference…..”“Climate” not “weather” Mr Bastardi!”

    Your comment put his crazy coal company infomercial together for me. He was talking weather.

    John McCormick

  50. Richard Brenne says:

    I suggest we feed Anthony Watts, Inhofe and all other deniers only a diet of pizza and cookies that correspond to the current area and volume of current sea ice relative to the 20th Century average.

    The pizza and cookies would have lost area but so much more volume that they’d be almost paper-thin in comparison.

    To focus on area in Arctic or any other sea ice and in glaciers while ignoring volume means that one is cherry-picking, and cherry-picking in this way is simply lying. It is fundamentally dishonest. It proves that one has no interest in truth, but only in ideology, and in trying to win an argument.

    Okay, so you’ve won the argument. Your prize is the premature death of everything on Earth. Congratulations.

  51. Ed Hummel says:

    Here’s another line of evidence concerning the effects of a warming Arctic. Even with a general northwest flow across New England during the autumn we still ended up with above average temperatures for Sept, Oct, and Nov whereas 20 years ago we probabaly would have had a very chilly fall with many instances of early snow and an early ski season. Now that we’re into December, the continued surge of Atlantic air into the Arctic around Greenland is keeping the entire east coast of Canada way above seasonal normals while any relatively cold air that manages to dribble into New England has to come by way of the plains since the only really cold air development over North America continues to be over the continental areas of northwest Canada. With the continued stuck pattern causing all the warm surges up the Atlantic to Greenland, I think we’re going to sea a lot of freezing going on across the US Southeast now that we’re getting into winter. Inhofe and the other dangerous dummies are going to have a field day with all the cold and snow events that will most likely occur there over the next few weeks, at least. Leif #30 had an excellent summary of what the circulation pattern over the Northern Hemisphere has been doing and we’re seeing a similar flip-flopping from normal patterns happening over Eurasia for basically the same reason that they are occurring over North America. And meanwhile, the rain keeps falling over the tropics, etc., etc. I think that we’ll be seeing some really dramatic things happening this winter as the Arctic Ocean tries to figure out what to do with its extra energy. Jim Hansen is starting to look more and more right about 2012 being a real record breaker as many forcings tend to converge. Another Pearl Harbor moment?!?!

  52. ses kayıt says:

    Just because the Arctic goes ice free in the summer we shouldn’t expect a change in GOP’s stance on climate change.Inhofe and the other dangerous dummies are going to have a field day with all the cold and snow events that will most likely occur there over the next few weeks, at least. Yet, we hold steady on the throttle because we don’t know how to stop the train. Can’t jump off. So, maybe we passengers try to decouple the cars from the engine…

  53. Ric Merritt says:

    If you get that bet going, with Bastardi & Co, I’d like to get $100K of the action, assuming suitable measurements and timeline.

    Alas for my retirement fund, these guys always cut and run before money hits the table.

  54. Aaron Lewis says:

    Re: 46
    Some parts of the exchanges are in the archives of RealClimate.

    The math was a very straight forward use of Excel to express the sea ice extent terms of standard deviation. The rule of thumb developed by Deming was when an equilibrium system accumulates 6 standard deviations on one side of the mean without crossing the mean, then the system is likely out of control and likely to seek a new equilibrium point. Thus, if an equilibrium system goes 6 periods at 1 SD below the mean or 3 periods 2 SD below the mean, or goes 2 period at 3 SD below, or 2 SD for a period plus 4 SD the next period – then the system will tend tip and seek a new equilibrium in the direction that it has been tending. (I am sure everyone with a statistics background is screaming with rage at this point. They should go read Deming.)

    We used the rule in industrial instrumentation to start shutting the system down before the system tipped and everything went bad. It is not “Brainy, Sexy Science.”

    I started getting the “soon to tip” signal in 2001 on some data sets, and by 2003 I got “soon to tip” signal on almost every Arctic sea ice measurement series I could find on the internet.

    I still talk/cross post with some of these guys, so I am not going to release their names/emails.

    And, I am pleased to note that NOAA is starting to publish the standard deviations of some data series. That the kind of thing that requires extra budget, so they have to go to congress. . . These guys are trying.

  55. Esop says:

    # 30 (Leif): That was an excellent theory of what is going on with the circulation patterns!

  56. John McCormick says:

    RE # 51

    Ed Hummel, you have rapidly become my favorite commenter.

    Now, I want to award you with the first “Call to Action” trophy.

    You said:

    Inhofe is a dangerous dummy…among others.

    I’ll send a $100 check to any legitimate web address that promises to make a million FREE bumper stickers that read:

    “Sen. Jim Inhofe is a dangerous climate change dummy”

    Yes, I know, it is a clumsy message but anyone got something better; please edit?

    He is dangerous and should have the opportunity to read how we feel about his stupidity and complicity in our grand childrens demise.

    It is not civil disobenient to call an idiot dangerous.

    And, what would prevent us, any of use, from picketing the US Capitol with signs that read:

    “Senator Jim Inhofe is a dangerous dummy.”

    All he could do is deny it or punch us. Either way ‘we got him’.

    Take it to the next level. We’re on a collision course with nature.

    John McCormick

  57. Leif says:

    Great metaphor Richard, @ 50: What is the ice volume loss now? About 70% comes to mind. A nice big taco shell could be the first year ice a vainer of tomato sauce for second year ice and a salting of meat for multi- year ice. All served with strict representation to proportions. It might even make the news cycle. Everyone knows what a good pizza looks like and they sure don’t look like what Inhofe et al will get. Some one back on the east cost has got to do it.

    Thank you for the “Atta Boys” Folks…

  58. William P says:

    Neven #34

    The Casse organization is trying to do something important by educating us on the folly of ever expanding economies. Good for them. I respect them.

    But the power of making a buck seems to trump all. The powers-that-be are ready to cut the last tree in the name of making money. And they are ready to use their phony cry to cut that tree – “it will create jobs!”

    We humans are highly likely to go over the water fall we see ahead (or shoot off the downed bridge into the river). That’s not defeatism, it is being realistic after having accessed human behavior.

    We need to be ready to take immediate, effective action if hit by a deadly tip of our world (in 2012?). But even after such an event, I could see the Denier forces and their economic backers regrouping and telling us to take no action “…because of remaining scientific uncertainty.”

    It is time to plan for the worst. (Green projects can still continue.) Most likely will be, initially, food shortages and the panic, chaos and disorder they will quickly create. Damage from large storms can be repaired. People can flee coastal inundations. But we can’t create food when supply outstrips the need.

    Possibly DoD is doing such vital planning, but I cannot locate the unit doing it. Perhaps it is secret work anyway. Again, somebody needs to start some serious and effective, large scale planning and preparations for a major lethal tipping point. Its an ugly thought and the mind wants to dismiss it (I was going to use the word “deny”). But we should not.

    Climate Progress could play an important role to get it started.

  59. Dean says:

    Prokaryotes at #5…

    I find it fascinating that Branson is associated with Burt Rutan on the SpaceshipTwo/Virgin Galactic Project…I had no idea Rutan was such a rabid denier until I saw this video if him ranting and raving at the EAA AirVenture show:

  60. Artful Dodger says:

    William P #54

    “somebody needs to start some serious and effective, large scale planning and preparations for a major lethal tipping point.”

    It exists. See the “Svalbard Global Seed Vault” project, here:

  61. William P says:

    # 60 Artful Dodger

    Thanks for the Seed Vault information. I knew about that. But what if the seeds just sit there – forever – with no one to plant them?

    Its the people I’m thinking about. We need some kind of a “Seed Vault” plan for people, too. If we are hit with sudden, widespread food shortages due to radical tipping of weather, and panic sweeps the globe, what do we do then?

    With no planning and no resources ready to fill the gap the situation will become chaotic. Things got pretty scary during the gasoline shortages in the 70’s, and that was gas for our cars. Imagine running out of food to feed your children.

    The focus now seems 100% on reducing CO2 emissions through legislation and treaties, or devices like solar and wind generators.

    But if one does the math regarding the growth of CO2 generating sources like coal burning power plants and autos for India and China, and compare that with tiny progress in green initiatives, the gap is enormous. The gap is growing each day.

    Its time for some alternative thinking about what we do, when and if, the world systems no longer support the 7 billion of us. How far are we from that day?

    We need planning to save some people to plant those seeds.

  62. Juice says:

    So in one part of the video above, it is argued that what matters most is sea ice area. The more sea ice area, the more light is reflected. The more exposed water, the more light is absorbed, increasing warming.

    Then, for some reason, the video keeps hammering on the point that what matters most is sea ice volume, because, well, it just matters a lot.

    [JR: Uhh, area matters to the feedback, but volume ultimately determines long-term viability and hence area!]