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Discussion > Arctic sea ice loss

BB, you ask "is there a global energy imbalance (more energy in than out)?". Now you know perfectly well that the answer is "nobody knows". Why? Because climate scientists have not even scratched the surface of understanding the behaviour and effect of clouds for a start. All they can scratch is their heads, saying (for example) what a travesty this is. And if they ever do get clouds nailed there's the similarly intractable problem of the abyssal depths of the world's oceans to plumb. I'm not holding my breath.

Cheers, simon

Feb 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Simon, the question of an imbalance has nothing to do with clouds or abyssal depths. It involves satellite measurment of the energy coming out of the planet and the energy going in. I understood that such measurments do indeed show a difference - an imbalance. If there is an imbalance then the planet heats (or cools if the imbalance is negative).

Feb 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

@Feb 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM | geronimo

Geronimo,
I look at the DMI Artic charts on a regular (about once a month more frequently mid-winter mid-summer). I think I read somewhere that this data is generated using a number of sources. To your knowledge is there anything similar for the Antarctic? Taking into account that whaling from South Georgia and the number of bases built during the 1950s I would have thought there would be some raw/unadjusted data available.

Thanks
Sandy

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

BB, at least one of us is confused. (Answering) the question of (why there is) an imbalance requires an understanding of clouds, oceans, etc. Satellites enable us to measure the imbalance, and as you point out "If there is an imbalance then the planet heats (or cools if the imbalance is negative)". So which is it today, what was it yesterday, what is it likely to be tomorrow, and why? Measurement may help us to understand; it does not give us understanding.

Cheers, simon

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

@simon abingdon
Presumably we'd need to have continuous monitoring of both area and time to a much greater extent than currently available to confirm or deny an energy imbalance. As any monitoring is a recent event then we've no idea of even the simplest part of the process? I think that ENSO has been monitored by satellite since about 1984, which isn't statistically or historically significant. Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Thanks
Sandy

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Haven't checked this story from Investors Business Daily, but if true the story is really confusing.

If the alarmists are getting only limited cooperation from man, they are getting even less from nature itself. Arctic sea ice, which sent the green shirts into a lather when it hit a record low in the summer of 2012, has “with a few weeks of growth still to occur … blown away the previous record for ice gain this winter.”

“This is only the third winter in history,” when more than 10 million square kilometers of new ice has formed in the Arctic, Real Science reported on Tuesday, using data from Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois.

At the same time, the Antarctic “is now approaching 450 days of uninterrupted above normal ice area,” says the skeptical website Watts Up With That, which, also using University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research data, notes that “the last time the Antarctic sea ice was below normal” was November 2011."

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Simon, don't get distracted by the energy imbalance meme, it's designed to turn the thread away from the disappearance of the Arctic Sea Ice. At it's simplest, according to the models, there is a lot of heat missing from the ecosphere, and although ocean heat content is rising, the heat that should be there isn't. So what do they do in la-la land they say the heat is hiding in the deep oceans, and that the observations are wrong. I believe Lindzen and Choi 2011 deals with the energy imbalance by showing that as the temperatures have risen the OLR has also gone up with it. Harries et al 2001 found that the OLR in the CO2 range of 4 and 15 microns had been reduced, but what they, either didn't notice, or ignored, that OLR at different frequencies increased. No idea what mechanism is in play here, but others have also found the OLR going up with temperature. Anyway, the most likely scenario is that the heat is making its way to outer space. Although it could be hiding in the depths of the oceans waiting to cause untold damage, having evaded all the measuring methods for identifiying heat in the oceans.

We are dealing with a new type of science here, where professors quote websites as proof of their arguments and when the observations don't match the modelling outputs the observations are deemed to be wrong. It will end in tears.

Anyway I'd advise you ignore the BS about energy imbalance and stick to why the Arctic sea ice is disappearing given no change in temperatures during the summer months for 64n years.

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

BB, do you have a reference for the imbalance, from satellite data, over all frequencies and locations?

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Just to clarify Lindzen and Choi measured OLR in an attempt to measure climate sensitivity.

Feb 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@geronimo Feb 18, 2013 at 2:21 PM
I wrote to Jonathan Amos at the BBC pointing out these very things.

But he says:-
"The comparison between what is happening in the Arctic and the Antarctic is, on the face of it, a very interesting one. But I spend a lot of time talking to the scientists who study the cryosphere in depth, at both ends of the globe, and have my head in the literature. And I can assure you the analysis is a pretty uniform one. The Arctic and the Antarctic are behaving exactly as you would expect in response to forcing, with the former experiencing much more rapid warming with the consequent implications for its marine ice cover. This can be explained by the different geography in the two regions. If these scientists express any surprise to me it is that the changes in the north are happening far faster than they expected. "
&
"But even if you look at the latest NSIDC daily bulletin (see “daily image update” at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/), this AREA/EXTENT is still tracking below the long-term mean."

So we're still doomed.

It's good to know someone at the BBC has their "head in the literature." whatever that means.

Feb 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Simon, you are of course right that to understand the imbalance, clouds and oceans are important. My answer was in response to your: 'BB, you ask "is there a global energy imbalance (more energy in than out)?". Now you know perfectly well that the answer is "nobody knows".' , which I understand to be wrong. I have no refs (Roger) that qualify the imbalance (although see work derived from ERBE and CERES satellite data, probably).

Geronimo, you seem quite clued-up on some things and yet surprisingly credulous on others, such as the story about record ice gain. When the sun is absent for 6 months a normal person would not be surprised that the surface waters freeze; the record gain mirrors the record ice-loss inthe summer of 2012.

As I said before, your statement "... why the Arctic sea ice is disappearing given no change in temperatures during the summer months for 64n years" sounds authoritative. But there are numerous illustrations of the global temperature anomaly being significantly greater in the Arctic. There is no thermometer at the North Pole to check your assertion and the data-set you linked to earlier is a model. Is that your proof of no change in temperature?

Feb 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BB, in my post of Feb 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM I said "You know perfectly well that ....". I should not have have used those words. I did not intend what they might seem to imply. Sorry.

However, I still think the issue has yet to be convincingly resolved. You might for example care to read the abstract in http://judithcurry.com/2012/11/05/uncertainty-in-observations-of-the-earths-energy-balance/ for a different opinion.

Cheers, simon

Feb 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

geronimo, my recent exchanges with BB have diverted me from the subject of Arctic sea ice. Thank you for reminding me.

To restate my concern, is the recent considerable loss of Arctic sea ice evidence of worrying change (has the Arctic been warming quite unexpectedly) or are its year to year changes just manifestations of normal long-term weather variability?

We are seeing some interesting contributions.

Cheers, simon

Feb 18, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

@Geronimo
Do you have any references for why the post 2012 low recovery is about 20-25% greater than the post 2007 recovery?

Have you seen this post by Steve Goddard, always worth looking at the newspaper archives from the 30's or earlier on his site; with regard to loss of arctic multi-year ice during winter caused by unusual wind patterns. I guess in this case "unusual" winds are perhaps less dependent on satellites for detection?

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/what-happened-to-the-thick-ice-in-the-arctic/

Feb 18, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I made a comment at the end of this thread, partly directed at Geoff Chambers but also to draw people's attention to some good discussions at Lucia's Blackboard.
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/2/5/so-you-dont-have-to.html?currentPage=2#comments
I expect few saw the comment as the thread was disappearing off the front page, but it might be relevant again here, as the current top article there presents a hypothesis relating to natural ocean cycles.
http://rankexploits.com/musings/

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

E.g. see comment #110236 and subsequent responses.
http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/pseudo-cyclical-contribution-of-the-pdo-to-earths-recent-temperature-history/

P.S. captcha word for this post was "povergy" - the new name for renewables? :)

Feb 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

" I understood that such measurments do indeed show a difference - an imbalance."

Really? When did this happen?

Feb 19, 2013 at 1:21 AM | Registered Commentershub

SandyS

"...with the former experiencing much more rapid warming with the consequent implications for its marine ice cover."

Except it isn't, experiencing much more rapid warming, that is. The temperature of the Arctic according to the DMI has been remarkably stable since 1958. Of course if you use the GISS temperatures then there may be some warming. I'd like to know which scientists Jonathan has been speaking to, but I, metaphorically at least, have been speaking to the IPCC scientists and they say no such thing. From the AR4 SPM.

"Sea ice is projected to shrink in both the Arctic and Antarctic under all SRES scenarios. In some projections, arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st century. {10.3}"

Sorry Sandy, can't help you with the Antarctic historical temperatures, that's within purview of the BAS and they don't seem to have made them publically available. You'd have to guess that they don't show the required "science" so like so much else in this debacle are withheld from the public in case they get the idea that the empirical evidence doesn't point to global warming. Science is at a new low in this counrty, and will sink even further when it becomes evident that the people dying of energy poverty have been doing so on the scientific advice of zealots.

Feb 19, 2013 at 3:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

simon -
"Global temperatures have been "flatlining" ... and yet Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast."

I don't see these facts as contradictory. An analogy I might propose is to liken the ice volume to a business's bank balance. Assume that income (ice created in the winter) has remained constant, but expenses (ice lost in the summer) have increased, and now exceed the income. Even if expenses do not continue to increase -- i.e., temperatures remain constant -- the business is losing money every year on net, and its bank balance will decline year by year.

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:39 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

SandyS, the data on the record sea ice extent comes from the University of Illinois sea ice web site.

"http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/"

God knows why they haven't been infiltrated by now and their records "adjusted", my bet is they espouse the true faith while continuing to tell it like they see it. Which make it very difficult for the fanatics in the science community to point fingers at them. In fact I'd bet that's what most of the scientists in climate science do at an individual basis.

You may also be interested to hear that the Antarctic is also experiencing an increase in land ice mass. Thiis has to be caused by precipitation, which, of course, is a global warming signal, for sure. The Arctic Sea ice extent is to do with Arctic temperatures, although it could be affected by precipitation, that should result in an increase in the density of the Arctic land ice, unless of course this is magic precipitation that skirts the land masses - I'll have to look for that in AR5 when it comes out.

Feb 19, 2013 at 7:21 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Harold
What about this? Even if the custodian of the ice - surface temperature - was going about its business, if there is a thief - an unknown - stealing the ice, the blame would fall on the custodian.

Feb 19, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Registered Commentershub

@Geronimo
Thanks for the answers, confirms what I suspected for the most part.

Interesting information about the Antarctic land ice mass, as a corollary of the melting ice rising sea-levels then growing ice falling sea-levels.

Feb 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

HaroldW:

"I don't see these facts as contradictory. An analogy I might propose is to liken the ice volume to a business's bank balance. Assume that income (ice created in the winter) has remained constant, but expenses (ice lost in the summer) have increased, and now exceed the income. Even if expenses do not continue to increase -- i.e., temperatures remain constant -- the business is losing money every year on net, and its bank balance will decline year by year."

Here's the problem I see with the analogy, the DMI temperature record for the Arctic shows no warming, and pretty much the same temperatures over a 64 year period. So in another world, we'd assume that it's not warming that's melting the ice to the extent it's melting in the summer. The Arctic is pretty much below zero for all but 90 days of the year. Now there are various theories as to what could cause the Arctic Ice to melt more in the summer, for instance this year there was as massive cyclone in August which people claimed broke the ice up. Others have said it's warmer waters getting into the Arctic,black soot was arrested, read its rights and questioned, but seems to be out on bail, and yet others that it's associated with the various oceanic oscillations. The point is of course, nobody knows. But it's not warming according to the DMI records, and it should be according to the IPCC. A real mystery, but one that's being used shamelessly by some scientist, and all the environmentalists to push the idea that it's caused by human emissions. I'll repeat, nobody knows.

Feb 19, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

HaroldW
Steve Goddard's Real Science has a posting which indicates that multi-year ice in the Arctic has been lost during the winter due to "unusual" winds coinciding with a high ENSO between 1988 and 1996.

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/what-happened-to-the-thick-ice-in-the-arctic/

Loss of thick ice would surely make the extremes between winter max area and summer minimum greater by reducing the summer minimum.

Also at this site there is this article on NOAA sea-level gauges and an annual rise in sea-level of 0.7 mm or a quarter of the claimed value.

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/noaa-tide-gauges-show-0-7-mmyear-sea-level-rise/

.

Feb 19, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS