Sept. 18 News: Ice Expert Projects ‘Final Collapse’ Of Arctic Summer Sea Ice By 2016

One of the world’s leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. [Guardian]

In what he calls a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

“This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates”.

While the USA sweated through one of its warmest summers on record, so, too, did the rest of the globe, federal scientists from the National Climatic Data Center announced Monday. [USA Today]

After reading all the briefs, a judge ruled Monday that Michael Mann’s e-mail correspondence was exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and did not have to be provided to the American Tradition Institute, which was trying to delve into the discussions and data behind Mann’s conclusions that humans are causing the Earth to grow hotter. [Washington Post]

A liberal Democrat says House Republicans have summoned the spirit of George Orwell’s 1984 by dropping language about climate change from their bill to thwart regulations that affect the coal industry. [The Hill]

Wildfires hurt air quality across Oregon and Washington on Monday as forecasters issued a stagnant-weather advisory at least through Wednesday afternoon. [Oregonian]

A new 1,000-acre wildfire started in Utah’s west desert Monday even as crews fought another blaze southwest of Provo. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Russell E. Train, a renowned conservationist who played a central role in the creation of groundbreaking laws and effective enforcement in response to rising concerns about environmental protection in America, died on Monday at his farm in Bozman, Md. He was 92. [New York Times]

We have dramatically shrinking glaciers. We have compelling science. We have adorable polar bears treading water. But wouldn’t you know it, what really makes us fret over climate change is making it all about us. [Calgary Herald]

19 Responses to Sept. 18 News: Ice Expert Projects ‘Final Collapse’ Of Arctic Summer Sea Ice By 2016

  1. prokaryotes says:

    New Met Office paper on future climate change here

    There is a wide range of future greenhouse-gas emissions pathways that meet any given climate target.
    Whilst the AVOID programme has produced a large number of emissions scenarios and pathways to date, AVOID has not produced a systematic assessment of the different mitigated emissions pathways that are consistent with different climate targets. Such an assessment is desirable to inform decisions about the characteristics of emissions pathways that span a range of climate outcomes and approaches to mitigation of climate change such as doing “less sooner” or “more later”.

    This study develops over 150,000 plausible mitigation pathways and assesses their climate outcomes to examine the potential flexibility of emissions pathways leading to climate targets from 1.5 to 3°C above preindustrial levels. As well as a much fuller coverage and analysis of possible emission pathways than was available previously, the report’s analysis includes the possibility of large scale negative emissions technology later in the century, in line with the estimates of the land available for bio-energy from
    Committee on Climate Change’s 2011 report on Bio-energy and DECC’s estimates of potential efficiency of bio-energy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

    Probabilistic impacts projections for 2050 and 2100 are also presented from a new modelling framework developed under AVOID, to aid interpretation of the relative climate impacts at different levels of climate change.

  2. John McCormick says:

    Welcome El Nino! Collapse is in the bag.

  3. Carol says:


    What does “collapse” look like to you?

    Yikes this is depressing!

    Article from 8 years ago—– “A Chilling possibility”:

    Is this what we are now facing with the latest news from Dr. Wadham?

    I am sending out a plea to the scientists who participate in this forum:

    Please (in layman’s terms) explain what impact the Arctic melt will have on ocean currents. Short, simple . . . . probably rather bitter . . .

    If Professor Wadham is correct, does this guarantee shutdowns or major slowdowns?
    (operative word: major)

    If so, what is the time frame?

    Obviously I am not a scientist and need this in plain speak.

    Will this domino into the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet? Is this what “game over” looks like?

    I am terrified/sad/angry. I do not believe my reaction to the news related to AGW is coming from a place of neurosis but a natural reaction to the facts as they are presented.

    If you can present reassuring facts that could counter the aforementioned unpleasant emotions I would be most grateful!

    If not . . . . . I will continue to try and channel those emotions by working to effect positive change . . . even if it is too late.


  4. Spike says:

    Lots of useful stuff in there including impact studies. i was struck by the effects on projected agricultural yields in Mexico:

    “overall wheat production for Mexico is
    expected to decrease dramatically in 2100, with median projected decreases of 48% if global temperature increases reach 2°C above preindustrial and a 77% decrease if global temperature increases reach 4°C”

  5. John McCormick says:

    Carol, I’ll begin by mentioning I am not a scientist and cannot predict our climate future. And, since I do not know your age, I want to offer advice and not fear in this reply.

    I rely upon trends to give me some focus on a particular aspect of climate change. Increasingly warmer northern hemisphere where most of the earth’s land mass is tells me melting glaciers will recede and possibly receive more snow mass with higher moisture content in the atmosphere but Arctic glaciers but their mass will not return to that of a century ago. Sea ice melt means next summer’s melt will take out the first year ice and with an El Nino coming at us, that will be a certainly. Multiyear ice is losing its thickness from top and bottom. More exposed ocean and the El Nino bring more multi-year ice into the total of ice loss. Expose that much ocean to solar input and the prevailing westerlies will carry warmer air towards the west coast of Greenland land ice. More melt there. Land ice melt increase sea level. Sea ice melt distributes fresh and low salt content water around the world’s ocean currents. Enough of that and ocean conveyor belt (thermohaline circulation) is disrupted. Where that takes Western Europe is not clear but surely colder.

    Jet Streams of Northern Hemisphere are the engine that carries our high and low pressure systems around and produces our weather. Stall the jet streams and chaos ensues. Jet stream traveling further north disrupts massive amounts of weather and causes prolonged drought and intense storms; where each lands depends on land mass temps and position of the jet stream. Agriculture is hit hard when the jet stream courses become erratic and melted Arctic sea ice is the precursor.

    I am well over sixty and will assume you are younger. My advice, fortify your lifestyle, family, loved ones as much as you can. Become less reliant on status quo such as continued economic growth in the next two decades. Other huge economies (India, China, and Brazil) are less vibrant in a steadily warming world with all of its climatic consequences.

    Become as independent as you all can be. Prices of food will rise as will energy costs. Invest now in cutting back everywhere you can on consumerism, especially energy and find affordable ways to greatly reduce home energy needs without spending a fortune. Just be conscious of how you will be preparing for a lesser lifestyle while meeting all of your needs.

    Long term; that’s different. This massive climate system of our planet will sort itself out by moving heat from the tropics to the north and south. More storms, more violent weather, more unpredictability.

    Sea level rise will be gradual but stress on water availability and agriculture will dominate the next two decades. South West US is in the cross hairs. More fires, less water in the rivers and wells.

    I want to stress again, get yourself ready by redesigning your lifestyle and whenever and wherever, shout to people you know that the future aint going to look like the past and those who cannot cope will not.

    Personally, I am busy worrying about South Asia and I don’t know where that will get me.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Yes, very interesting indeed. I still have this open in my browser and read when i have time.

    You can possibly draw conslucion from past climate changes here too. There will be many “hotspots”. Though what will be different will be the impact from methane excursion, because those did not appeared in past “small” deglaciation. The rate of change is unprecedented and the volatile nature of this climate shift might render current agriculture practise impossible.

  7. Eric says:


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, comprehensive and sensitive response to Carol’s questions and concerns. They have been mine as well.


  8. Joan Savage says:

    Messaging messaging messaging

    In the Guardian piece on an ice-free summer Arctic by 2015-16, the climate scientist didn’t seem to have at the ready a ‘near and present danger’ list of what is likely to happen to humans as a result. He only said it would lead to more climate change, which is too general.

    Had he directed the reporter to ask Dr. Francis (at Rutgers) about the warmer Arctic’s perturbation of mid-latitude weather, then the readers could grasp the uptick of extremes of heat and cold, wet and dry, coming along as we slip-slide along towards 2015.

    We are running out of time to educate.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Exactly. This discussion is totally upsent from the climate “debate” in the media or from everyone else as far i am aware.

    The only people who seem to project future climate states when connecting the dots of climate science are a few blogs and the people who follow the science. And that is a tiny little margin of the overall population. Or that is a tiny amount of people who should be concerned.

    And we need more people to speak up who work in the field of Risk Management.

  10. Gingerbaker says:

    “>>>calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures….”

    What do you suppose he means by that?

    How about a Presidential edict to construct a solar installation so massive it would eliminate all need to burn fossil fuels again? Works for me.

  11. catman306 says:

    From your link:

    All of this being the case, it may seem odd that biochar isn’t a big part of the international conversation about staving off climate change. But despite its great promise, biochar isn’t quite ready for prime time. For one thing, the more waste you turn into biochar, the less you can turn into biofuels, and biofuels have a lot of proponents, too.

    For another, biochar works much better as a soil improver where the soil is poor to start with. “If you add it to an acid soil, like those in the tropics,” Amonette said, “you can improve productivity two to threefold. If you add it to Iowa soil, it makes no difference at all.”

  12. David B. Benson says:

    Biochar is one product of pyrolysis. The other are gases and liquids. The proportions of the three products is somewhat adjustable. The gases are usually burned to keep the pyrolysis reactor going. The liquids are similar to heating oil and are readily refined into biodiesel and bio-jet-fuel. The solid biochar, if it is not worth the effort to use as a soil conditioner, can be compressed into biocoal and buried deep underground.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Spike, all talk of what things will be like in 2100 is a type of soft denial. At the rate things are falling apart there is no way we will make 2050, let alone 2100.

  14. Carol says:


    Thank you so much for this thoughtful response to my questions.
    Yes, I agree with your suggestion to “fortify your lifestyle, family, loved ones as much as you can. Become less reliant on status quo such as continued economic growth”.
    Additionally I try to stay in the moment (a cliche at this point), focusing on the present instead of falling into an abyss that is roiling with fears of the unknown (an easy place to fall into these days!).

    In spite of the dire prognosis for the flora and fauna of our earth, I am grateful for the capacity to love—–and as such, wanting to protect ——the earth’s ecosystems. I am grateful even though with this reverence comes enormous grief due to the fact that humans cause so much harm and suffering.

    For many years I worked in the field of watershed protection/restoration and would often share this quote from Aldo Leopold during workshops or tours of nature preserves:

    “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
    This quote is from 1949!! What would Aldo L. say today?
    The wounds are much more visible and may not heal.

    I agree with Joan S. below that we are running of time to educate.
    The good news is that with forums such as Climate Progress one does not feel alone.

    I am grateful to Joe Romm for providing this forum and for people like you (and others who post here) who offer intelligent, respectful, thought provoking, educational responses to the many issues/questions raised related to climate change.

    Hopefully you are able to regularly set aside your worries about South Asia and the rest of the world and savor the beauty that remains here. There is still so much beauty in this world . . . .

    Carry on and be well,


  15. John McCormick says:

    Eric, thank you. We are coming close to that agonizing next step where we try to pull as many as e can into the lie boat knowing the carrying capacity of the boat and pushing away from people we cannot save.

    If that sounds sick, it makes me sick to say it. Future is what it will bring to us.

  16. David B. Benson says:

    Here one can find information on the status of all the many wildfires currently burning in the western USA:

    There are currently 6 or 7 of these which are impacting local air quality, depending upon which way the breeze is going.