the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Oops, we hit average.

Posted by Jeff Id on January 11, 2012

Apparently sea ice doesn’t agree with the global warming agenda.  I haven’t looked in months and would love to update the sea ice videos but I have to re-download the GB of data.   Today I took at the Cryosphere site (after literally months) and found this plot:

Sea ice is above average.   Despite my belief in CO2 global warming’s effect, I really don’t believe it has had any scientifically discernible impact on sea ice.  Nutin!!  Now we still believe ice does melt from warmth, at least I don’t think  Climate Science™ has changed that yet (apparently thermometers still have branches), but you need a lot more than a few degrees to melt an Earth pole. The same Sun hating environment that makes Star Wars planet Hoth look like a friendly beach resort.

I’m thinking that after I turn in the useless tax-payer sucking 501C we’ve been discusssing, to no useful effect, I’m going to write a letter to god and turn in the planetary poles for not listening to the government.  God put us on Earth for a reason, and if Earth doesn’t realize it we ought to do something about it.

Yup, still in a funk….

91 Responses to “Oops, we hit average.”

  1. Anonimess said

    Sometimes I wonder if I live on the same planet as contrarians. PIOMAS finds that the 2011 Arctic sea ice volume is down 5.7% from the year before, down 24% in 5 years, and down 49% since 1979.

  2. Jeff Id said

    #1, I suppose you consider me a ‘contrarian’ as though I exist to contradict a theory I agree with. Since ice extent won’t cooperate – you know albedo and all – we should use ice volume even though nobody has good numbers for that. Ignore the man behind the curtain!

    Believe what you will, but belief is all it is. The reality is that a couple degrees of warming cannot cause the polar cap melt. It is an ocean current change.

    Of course I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  3. M. Simon said

    Find a nice girl (your mate?) and share a funk with her. That usually picks me up for a day or two. Repeat as necessary.

    BTW for big long term problems you just have to keep grinding away. ;-)

  4. Anonimess said

    The reality is that you’re being intellectually dishonest by cherry picking this particular time to claim the ice is above average and ignoring the long-term trend. Everyone knows the relevant metrics fluctuate, and there has recently been a very strong La Nina and shift of AMO phase.

    The PIOMAS team works very hard to verify and improve their model. They recently published a paper on the calibration of their model. Go read it.

  5. Jeff Id said

    How can i be intellectually dishonest if I show the whole plot? The trend is barely significant on both poles. La Nina had nothing to do with it and PIOMAS is working hard because they have a lot of work to do. Read on my freind.

    ————

    I just called the WMO to adopt a polar bear based on a commercial by the WMO which said they are dying off. When they answered the first question was whether I wanted to symbolically adopt a tiger, I told them that I wanted to adopt a polar bear.

    He and then she both said that I can only symbolically adopt them so I wanted to know how much to really adopt them. No joy….. Apparently they frown on that.

    I explained that I didn’t know what I should feed a polar bear in my house to which they replied it is only a symbolic adoption. Disappointed, I asked what “they” would do for the polar bears and got the reply that they would save the habitat and feed them. Of course I had to know what they would feed to the polar bears. No food supplement definitions were forthcoming. Seeing that there was some skepticism of my sincerity, I asked to adopt ten polar bears. They said that I could adopt as many as I want – symbolically. My next question was how I could confirm that the polar bears I adopted were being fed. They gave me a phone number.

    I once kept an indian Direct TV representative on the phone for 45 minutes while playing darts. I put him on hold a half dozen times. This is the first time I initiated the mess. I was interested in the training and the involvement of the activists. It seemed that they really believe they are saving the polar bears. They didn’t have a clue that polar bears weren’t in trouble, they only were interested in helping.

  6. George said

    Arctic sea ice will take about 10 years to recover starting about now. My money is on increasing Arctic Ocean ice from here on out.

  7. Anonimess said

    What’s dishonest is to imply that a daily total “hitting average” is somehow relevant to the prognosis for climate, or that it implies anything about global warming. You don’t strike me as stupid — I’m sure you know what I mean, and I’m sure you know why short-term numbers are far less relevant than decadal trends. But you choose to ignore that knowledge for the sake of trying to score a point for your ideology.

  8. Tom Anderson said

    #5 Jeff, lol, that is something my wife would do. No concern on their part about all the baby seals you will kill by adopting that polar bear. Anyway, I think your therapy is is working. On a somewhat related line, I got a call the other day from a woman from India (the Country in Asia), she was soliciting money to help poor Indians (American Indians) on a reservation in Utah. I swear to God this happened. Please tell I am not the only one. Not that I don’t appreciate the hard work and entrepeneurial spirit of the Indians, but…

  9. Bruce said

    Chanting “Sea Ice Is Average 90% of the time and is above average today!!!!” is not going to get much int he way of grant money.

    I assume thats why anonimess is ticked.

  10. page488 said

    RE: #5

    You’re getting witty in your old age, Jeff ID. Didn’t they even offer to send yuou a picture of “your” adopted bear(s). What a gyp.

    I used to do stuff like that – maybe I’ll start back.

    Enjoy your bears……symbolically!

  11. MDR said

    No one can deny that five years ago the anomaly variability increased a lot. I can’t remember a study showing that the melt two years before the last El Niño caused a very strong melt that removed a lot of multiyear sea ice. It might be the cause. From then until now multiyear ice has been slowly recovering.

    * * *

    What I can’t get from the studies is that, if the warming is global, why the Antartic sea ice is increasing while the Arctic sea ice is decreasing.

    All of the above concerns the sea ice area. Here and there bloggers say the estimates about sea ice volume are highly speculative.

  12. Baa Humbug said

    @Jeff #5

    Did you offer to send a cheque in the mail…symbolically of course.

  13. Hi Jeff.

    We live in “interesting times.” So interesting the curious may work to exhaustion trying to figure it all out. I know; I too am looking at pieces of this puzzle with amazement and concern but no expertise to help society weather its crisis.

    For example prior to the 2009 release of Climategate emails and documents, I had no hint world leaders directed efforts to hide information on the origin, composition and energy source of the Sun (1971-2009).

    Now the public has no confidence in world leaders, as economic structures collapse with no sign of emerging leadership.

    My recommendation, Jeff, is the same one I apply to self: Take time each day to be alone and and quietly consider the Great Reality that surrounds and sustains us.

    Our talents may benefit society if we stay out of the “ego cage,” do the next right thing, and let go of the results.

  14. Manfred said

    #1,

    @Anonimess,

    it is actually you who is intellectually dishonest by cherry picking.

    JeffID was talking about global sea ice, you referred to arctic data. Antarctic volume obviously, must have increased considerably.

    Your reference point at 1979 was a cyclical high in sea ice.

    The little ice age has been a very significant multithousand year temperature low.

    Recovery from these cold events is what intellectually honest people would expect.

    And, 60 years ago, at the previous cyclical low, honest scientist saw a very similar 40% reduction in arctic sea ice.

  15. Hector Pascal said

    My understanding (I could be wrong, that happens a lot) is that the Arctic summer sea ice extent is a function of tides and winds as well as temperature.

    Specifically, if tides and winds push Arctic ice out from the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic via the Barents Sea, the ice loss is not melting from increased Arctic temperature. I believe this to be the case here. I’d like to see a 30 year reconstruction of wind and tide patterns.

  16. Paul Matthews said

    Anonimess, you cherry picked the Arctic and ignoring the Antarctic. Honest Jeff plotted both.

    Also, PIOMAS is a MODEL (that’s what the M stands for). “PIOMAS is a numerical model with components for sea ice and ocean and the capacity for assimilating some kinds of observations.”
    As any scientist knows, real observational data such as that from Cryosphere is better than a computer model.

    This is part of the increasing trend for Climate Science™ to switch from real data to computer models, now that the real data isn’t doing what they want it to do.
    Jeff has mentioned polar bears (good to see his sense of humor intact). At the time of the recent fuss over polar bear numbers it was interesting to see that claims of declining numbers were based on statements like “100% of PVA simulations resulted in subpopulation decline after 10 years”. From the Group that chucked out polar bear expert Mitch Taylor who dared to suggest that bear populations have increased.

  17. steve fitzpatrick said

    Hi Jeff,

    Lots of people get in a funk in January… especially those who live in the cold dark north! You’ll snap out of it when the days lengthen and temperatures increase by ~15C (every spring is sort of like global warming on a combination of speed and steroids!).

    WRT polar ice: I think it is very likely that the drop in Arctic ice is at least in part due to long term cyclical patterns (like the AMO), but I would not just dismiss the impact of rising average temperature on falling ice Arctic ice. The rise in Antarctic ice (at a lower rate) simultaneously with a fall in Arctic ice does strongly suggest a cyclical component (or a polar see-saw). At the same time, warming at high northern latitudes is also consistent with a fall in sea ice coverage; I don’t see how to separate these two contributions until we can see at least a whole ~60 year AMO cycle.

  18. Kramer said

    Anonimess said “The reality is that you’re being intellectually dishonest by cherry picking this particular time to claim the ice is above average and ignoring the long-term trend.

    Hey Anonimess, do you know the day when we started tracking Arctic ice area? 1979 according to NSIDC (that’s the beginning date of their ice area charts).

    Now take a look at the following graph and notice that the PDO shifted to the warm phase a few years before 1979.

    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/graphics/temp_dep49-09_F

    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html

  19. Jeff Id said

    Anonymess and Steve Fitzpatrick,

    I do agree that temperature affects ice, I don’t think it has had any measurable effect as yet. The reason for my skepticism is the strong differences in weather patterns which are visible from the NSIDC data between the 1970’s and today. Check out the video at the bottom of this post where I plotted all of the data for YouTube.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/sea-ice-update-2/

    I get a higher resolution version myself as my video making software was free and not very good and lost some resolution when uploaded to YouTube. You can see in 2000- 2007 when the weather pattern shifts to a strong positive flow from the Bering strait pushing the old sea ice out the other side of the Arctic. After I saw this video – hundreds of times – I realized that the temperature really isn’t the problem and is likely swamped by the flow. It is surface water pushed from the south which pressed the ice from the Arctic circle into warmer latitudes. The ice has plenty of low temperature time to reform every year.

    As to the polar bears, I’m not worried about them any more than I’m worried about sea ice.

  20. AMac said

    In November 2011, Kinnard et al. (incl. Lonnie Thompson) published a Letter to Nature documenting a new paleo-reconstruction hockey stick. This one is 1400 years long, it’s downward-facing, and it’s for sea ice. Tamino reposted the key figure here.

    The picture is so strikingly similar to an upside-down (heh) Mann08 graph that I find it hard to take seriously. But I haven’t even read the paper, so that impression isn’t worth much. Maybe — maybe — the proxies are solid. Maybe — maybe — the methods are sound. Maybe — maybe — the tight confidence intervals are realistic. Time will tell.

  21. Carrick said

    Hm… weighing in here, there is absolutely no doubt there has been a secular trend in terms of arctic sea-ice loss starting in the mid-1970s, and I personally believe that most of this long term trend in ice loss is associated with a warming climate.

    Looking at one days ice level is little different than trying to divine the climate by looking outside at todays weather. I think if you looked at the secular component associate with global sea ice, in spite of short-period fluctuations in the anomalized ice extent, you will find a statistically significant trend for loss of global sea ice extent.

    The fact that fluctuations in ice extent anomalies for the short term bring us back to “zero” on some scale just indicates that even over say 35 years, the annual fluctuation in anomalies is still large compared to the total ice loss from say 1975 to now.

    Note if you focus just on arctic sea ice loss, we are already at the point where the losses are large enough, that even multi-year annual fluctuations appear no longer to be able to break the magic “zero” value.

    Disclaimer: I’m only worried about polar bears when they are trying to eat me or somebody I care about.

  22. Carrick said

    AMac, did you notice that this reconstruction has less sea-ice during the LIA and more sea-ice during the MWP (an event that we know historically was associated with less sea ice, since it was that which allowed the Vikings to cross from Iceland to Greenland.)?

  23. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “Tamino reposted the key figure here.”

    AMac, I find nothing remarkable about that graph that Tamino shows of the reconstruction except for the thin line at the end with very narrow CIs. I do not know exactly where the reconstruction ends. It would appear on close examination that the observed and the reconstruction overlap to the very end in that diving straight line. If that were the case the uncertainty of the reconstruction would have to go to nearly nothing at that point and suddenly. Is that believable or does indeed the reconstruction end earlier than apparently indicated? I might have to shell out $32 to sate my curiousity.

  24. Brian H said

    @AMac;
    If Thompson was involved, the raw data, adjustments, algorithms, and filters will nevah, evah, see the light of day.

  25. Ruhroh said

    Jeff;
    When you get around to writing to that note to the Greatest Of Designers, maybe you could squeeze in a question; Are “teleconnections” a small-yet-miraculous way of making (certain) local trees into global treemometers?
    I mean, there must be something substantial underpinning “teleconnections” , substantial enough to overwhelm the ‘spurious correlation’ analysis, yes?

    Meanwhile, why does not Carrick devote equal energy to analysis of the southern ice situation? The G in AGW does refer to ‘Global’, yes? Oh, I see, responding to Amac…

    In one view, the initial commenter bags a successful thread hijack with just two sentences, despite Jeff rerouting us to his Global ice movies.

    The big question for me, is what is the mechanism for increasing southern and decreasing northern ice? Does that big rock in the middle play a role in the different behaviours?
    RR

  26. Carrick said

    Ruhruh:

    Meanwhile, why does not Carrick devote equal energy to analysis of the southern ice situation? The G in AGW does refer to ‘Global’, yes? Oh, I see, responding to Amac…

    I considered global, as in “G”. Why is that wrong?

  27. Carrick said

    By the way, RR, here’s the sea ice extent for Antarctica.

    Note that since 1980 Antarctica has been cooling, so again this is consistent with long-term secular changes in ice extent being driven by temperature change.

    It makes no sense correlating sea ice extent with global temperatures, since it is regional scale ones that matter.

    You can broach the question why it has been cooling—”negative polar amplification if you will”, but that is a separate issue than whether long term changes in sea ice extent are driven by temperature, and it’s not one that has any obvious resolution.

  28. Jeff Id said

    Carrick,

    I beleive the cause and effect are backward. The warming in the Arctic is a result of currents changing bringing southern latitude water into contact with the ice. This warms the surface air and creates the appearance of a high trend. It also has a giant effect on energy transport from the ice sheet. It isn’t AGW warming which heats the air that heats the water and melts the ice, it is the other way around. Warm water flows in and heats the local air. The Bering inflow melts the ice simultaneously driving it down the drain on the opposite side of the cap. If you say AGW caused the oceanic current change, I would not be able to argue against it but if you say that AGW caused the warming of the water which melted the cap, we have a difference that could be discussed.

    Again, it isn’t that AGW didn’t warm the water but the difference in water temp is too small to cause a difference equal to the observed magnitude of sea ice change and my guess is that it is too small to be measured at all in sea ice.

  29. steve fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,
    “The warming in the Arctic is a result of currents changing bringing southern latitude water into contact with the ice. ”
    Do you have any data/reference for a change in ocean currents warming the Arctic ocean? From the temperature/salinity profiles I have seen, the whole of the Arctic ocean is pretty strongly stratified, starting very close to the surface. Strong flows of Pacific water into the Arctic would seem (to me) to have the potential to upset this stratification.

  30. Jeff Id said

    #29 It is a surface flow. Several papers have discussed the issue regarding 2007. I don’t have their references for you now. You can see in the video linked above the sudden shift in winds which drove the ice. I also read an article which showed a similar effect in more recent years.

    Heavy winds driving right up the Bering strait melted the ice inward from that edge pushing the older ice out the backside.

  31. steve fitzpatrick said

    Jeff #30,
    I had already looked at the video twice, and I didn’t see anything that really stood out. Surface winds certainly could depress the area extent by compacting separated ice floes in a smaller ocean area. Let me know if you find a reference.

  32. Jeff Id said

    Take a look at the 2007 summer clouds. There are a number of papers on the subject which should be easy to search.

  33. Jeff Id said

    Here’s something Steve.

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html

  34. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “The “hockey-stick” shape of the history of Arctic sea ice is remarkable (smoothed with a 40-year lowpass filter):”

    From AMac’s Tamino link I think what I am looking at is the reconstruction with the pink wide bands representing the CIs up to year 1980 or so. That part of the curve looks much like reconstructions I have seen of temperature without the instrumental record tacked to the end of it – and nothing remarkable or striking with regards to the modern warm period. What I see beyond that 1980 time is the 40 year low pass filter red curve coinciding nearly exactly with the blue dotted line observed data. Extending below the red filter line I see a pink narrow line that I would assume is the reconstruction which would extent to nearly the year 2000. The tracking of the lowpass filter line of the reconstruction and the observed data line in being nearly coincidental would indicate to me that the calibration of the ice extent and proxies is nearly perfect. That would appear to be good to be true. Or am I looking at some deceptive graphing here again? The CIs have appeared to have dramatically shrunk in the later period or is it that it is difficult to see them with the steep decline of the line?

  35. Jeff Id said

    Kenneth, It looks like another regressomatic special. Might be fun to check out.

  36. Carrick said

    Am I the only one who thinks there’s something really wonky with that reconstruction?

    Am I reading it wrong and it really is saying there is more ice during the LIA and less during the MWP, or have they somehow gotten something flipped in their reconstruction? Because that sure is the what that figure looks to be saying to me.

  37. The world is in crisis today because leaders of nations and sciences lack the humility to see reality. Reality denies their inflated views of themselves and their importance.

    World leaders try to alter reality with money and Nobel Prizes, for Al Gore, et al.

    The two lives of Raymond Davis illustrate the problem:

    1. One Raymond Davis was born in 1974 and worked for the CIA. He was pardoned and released from prison on 16 Mar 2011 after payment of $2.4 million in Diyya:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Allen_Davis_incident

    2. Another Raymond Davis, Jr., was born in 1914, and received one fourth of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 for detecting solar neutrinos.

    In his autobiography, he says, “My opinion in the early years was that something was wrong with the standard solar model” although “many physicists thought there was something wrong with my experiment.”

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2002/davis-autobio.html#

    A later sentence in that same paragraph is factually incorrect (since solar neutrinos have not been measured at the source) and was almost certainly written by someone other than Raymond Davis, “the total number of solar neutrinos emitted agrees with the standard solar model prediction, but that two-thirds of the neutrinos change in the course of their journey to the Earth into other flavors (m and t neutrinos), a phenomenon known as neutrino oscillation.”

    Raymond Davis is the oldest Nobel Laureate to receive the award. I knew Raymond Davis, Jr. and his son, Andrew Davis, shown in this 2002 video interview:

    http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=511

  38. Frank K. said

    Anonimess said
    January 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    “The reality is that you’re being intellectually dishonest by cherry picking this particular time to claim the ice is above average and ignoring the long-term trend. ”

    I seem to recall some CAGW elites going bananas in 2007 for the “record low” ice extent, even though it was just ONE point in time. Remember “The Arctic is Screaming!”?

    Hold it! Anonimess – are you really Mark Serreze? C’mon – fess up… ;^)

  39. RomanM said

    #36 Carrick

    No, you are not the only one to notice this. The fact that the ice was supposedly lower in the LIA and higher in the MWP was quite apparent.

    I acquired the paper at the time it came out (I don’t have access to it at the moment because I am away from home) and as I recall the first PC they calculated was declared to be “temperature” and the second was “ice extent”. Interestingly, these two seemed pretty much opposites of each other with regard to increases and decreases.

    A good audit would be in order.

  40. Anonymous said

    I did a post on the Kinnard proxies trying to figure out where the stick came from. Not easy to pin down. The long ice O18 proxies don’t show a stick.

    The stick might come from splicing short and long proxies. There are some proxies (e.g. Svalbard) that dont go back to the MWP (perhaps because the glacier had melted off). These are very HS from the LIA on. My guess is that the series are spliced and the splice gives a HS.

    They use Yamal, needless to say.

    They had a pretty good archive of proxy data including a number of series that hadnt otherwise been archived,

  41. Anonimess said

    Global sea ice over the last 30 years is decreasing, at a rate that is statistically significant: 36 +/- 14 Kkm^2/yr.

    Source: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/monckton-skewers-truth/

  42. Jeff Id said

    Anonimess,

    As usual, you have to watch believers like Tamino. They would sell their grandma’s for AGW. He’s claiming heavy significance, in 2009 it looked barely significant to me.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/sea-ice-copenhagen-update/

    Whatever…

    We have fit a linear trend to a phenomena which appears decidedly non-linear. In my post, shorter trends showed higher significance meaning ONLY that the trend is measurable. This does not mean that it is unusual or dangerous. It certainly doesn’t bother me much.

  43. AMac said

    Carrick,

    I also noticed that the lack of correspondence of the Kinnard reconstruction with the historical record (MWP and LIA). The authors comment in two places on this subject. First, pg. 510 col. 2 (references omitted):

    Before the industrial period, periods of extensive sea ice cover occurred between AD 1200 and 1450 and between AD 1800 and 1920. Intervals of sustained low extent of sea ice cover occurred before AD 1200, and may be coincident with the so-called Medieval Warm Optimum (roughly AD 800–1300) attested in numerous Northern Hemisphere proxy records, but the pre-industrial minimum occurred before, at about AD 640 (T3 in Fig. 3). Two episodes of markedly reduced sea ice cover also occurred in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (T2 in Fig. 3). However, by the mid-1990s the observed decrease in sea ice cover had exceeded the lower 95% confidence limit of these prehistorical minima.

    Second, near the end of the Letter, they note (pg. 511. col 2):

    The pronounced decrease in ice cover observed in both our terrestrial and oceanic proxy-based reconstructions between the late fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries occurred during the widespread cooling period known as the Little Ice Age (about AD 1450–1850). Reconstructed Arctic SATs show episodes of warming during this period (Fig. 3f), but according to our results the decrease in Arctic sea ice extent during the Little Ice Age was more pronounced than during the earlier Medieval Warm Optimum.

    Interestingly — and perhaps contra the “all AGW” alarmism of the article — Kinnard et al. go on to offer speculations similar to those offered by Jeff Id upthread (or perhaps Jeff got this idea from the paper ;-) ):

    A recent climate model simulation of the fifteenth-century Arctic warming (about AD 1470–1520) suggests that it could have been solely driven by enhanced southerly advection of warm air into the Arctic.

    …Similarly, the pre-industrial minimum in sea ice cover at about AD 640 occurred at the beginning of the Dark Age Cold Period (about AD 600–900) under overall cold conditions but was accompanied by increased northward advection of Atlantic water (Fig. 3h). These observations suggest that at multidecadal to centennial timescales, the Arctic sea ice cover during the pre-industrial period may have varied primarily in response to the advection of warm Atlantic water into the Arctic, perhaps as part of internal coupled ocean–atmosphere–sea ice oscillations. Similarly, heat transfer to the Arctic by warm Atlantic water has been shown recently to be unprecedented over the past 2,000 years and may be the main driver for the sustained loss of Arctic sea ice over recent decades.

    The figures in Kinnard et al. can be downloaded as this PDF (note that the link will rot in about two days). In a sign of progress as regards transparency, the paper is accompanied by lots of Supplemental Information, at nature.com.

  44. Carrick said

    JeffID:

    As usual, you have to watch believers like Tamino. They would sell their grandma’s for AGW

    You have to watch anybody who starts a post with an ad hominem…. usually that means they’re trying to convince you they have a stronger case than they do. Another is to claim authority and make an overarching statement, rather than demonstrate knowledge. A third (also demonstrated by Tamino/Grant Foster) is to become irrationally angry when somebody merely is questioning what you are saying—challenging your authority. This leads in Tamino’s case of banning perfectly reasonable people like Lucia—all of the sin of pointing out that his model violated the first law of thermodynamics.

    As with Tamino, he can ban somebody from his site, but that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to insult them when they are unable to respond (this happened in Lucia’s case). That of course is just rank cowardice (and it got him in trouble with Donald Rapp over terms of service, as people may recall).

    Tamino also occasionally “disappears” old, wrong posts without explanation, which is intellectually dishonest.

    Anyway, I have no doubt he’s a very smart guy, I find myself wishing I could admire him and be able to trust what he says without a careful read to catch all of the nuances he’s pushed under the rug, but I’m afraid I can’t. He’s not a reliable source.

    in 2009 it looked barely significant to me.

    Actually there’s a trade-off between number of years of observation and noise. This is my estimate of trend error as function of interval for temperature, just for purposes of an example… one could do the same for arctic temperature. Obviously if you look at just one year to try and estimate significance you’re going to end up with a much noisier estimate than if you do a 30 year one.

    We have fit a linear trend to a phenomena which appears decidedly non-linear

    Meh.

    That’s like trying to argue that average speed is meaningless because the car does’t really go at a constant speed, or average MPG is meaningless because the car consumes more gas when it’s accelerating than decelerating, etc.

    Linear trends are perfectly reason ways of measuring rate, even when the underlying phenomenon isn’t varying linearly. The only limitation they have is, if the underlying phenomenon aren’t varying strictly linearly, you have to specify the start and end year.

    (For comparison of rates, e.g. between GISTEMP and HADCRUT you must keep the start and end years the same, otherwise it’s an error.)

    In this case, it’s a way of separating “weather noise” from the long term secular term.

    Jeff ID (from an earlier post):

    The warming in the Arctic is a result of currents changing bringing southern latitude water into contact with the ice

    Without assuming an external forcing of temperature, I think that may explain a short-period component fluctuating component of arctic ice extent, but I’m pretty sure if you took this beyond a hand-waving model, you’d find long-term it has no net effect on the mean ice extent.

    Now if you want to argue there is a warming of the oceans, and the warmer ocean currents in contact with the ice sheets are accelerating melting and ice extent loss, and I would agree that this is a possibility: But in this case, you are just providing another mechanism for polar amplification, rather than a separate mechanism for secular (long term) ice loss.

    This is also testable, because there are really just a few places where ocean currents interact with the arctic ice. There are ice extent data for the different sub-regions of the arctic, one could analyze the trend in each of these… if this is a dominant mechanism for ice loss, it should show up as “hot spots” where the ocean currents are in contact with the sea ice.

    [Anyway, the general consensus is that, on years with greater ice loss such as 2007, wind-induced mechanical shear is the dominant mechanism for ice loss via transport of ice out of the high arctic, where it simply melts.]

  45. Carrick said

    AMac, if the ice extent were greater during the MWP, how did the Vikings manage to cross from Iceland to Greenland?

    A recent climate model simulation of the fifteenth-century Arctic warming (about AD 1470–1520) suggests that it could have been solely driven by enhanced southerly advection of warm air into the Arctic.

    Actually I think Jeff was theorizing about warm water currents.

    I give this paper about a 1 out of 10, it should never have been published.

  46. AMac said

    > AMac, if the ice extent were greater during the MWP, how did the Vikings manage to cross from Iceland to Greenland?

    I’m pretty sure they walked. (That must be in the Kinnard et al. SI, somewhere…)

  47. Jeff Id said

    Carrick,

    “Anyway, the general consensus is that, on years with greater ice loss such as 2007, wind-induced mechanical shear is the dominant mechanism for ice loss via transport of ice out of the high arctic, where it simply melts.”

    I agree with this but what is also visible is the leading edge melt from the Bering strait in response to very heavy winds which undoubtedly drove warmer surface water into the Arctic ice. Looking at the video, a similar pattern started in around 03 (from memory) and has repeated to lesser degrees in recent years. You can see the flow in the shadows of the sea ice plots. I believe that it is actually cloud opacity affecting the sea ice estimates but the opacity shows the flow direction and rate of the prevailing winds. This is the reason that I don’t really like the linear trend in this case, the ice melt seems to be more of a step function when the weather pattern started. Since the ice is generally thinner, it takes time to recover. I didn’t mean to suggest that the fitting of a line was somehow invalid though.

    Tamino is one of my least favorite bloggers. He has often been dishonest in his dealings on line and I too have witnessed the covering of tracks. I’ve got mountains of mistakes in public view here, it doesn’t bother me one bit if people think it makes me stupid. I keep up pretty good for an engineer.

  48. Jeff Id said

    Carrick,

    “Without assuming an external forcing of temperature, I think that may explain a short-period component fluctuating component of arctic ice extent, but I’m pretty sure if you took this beyond a hand-waving model, you’d find long-term it has no net effect on the mean ice extent.”

    I think you underestimate the energy transport created by flowing water. It has also been repeated in the literature from observations rather than hand wave models as you assert but it might be fun to download SST data and insert it into the sea ice melt plots. The flow information is probably more important than the temperature in this case.

  49. Carrick said

    Jeff:

    I think you underestimate the energy transport created by flowing water. It has also been repeated in the literature from observations rather than hand wave models as you assert but it might be fun to download SST data and insert it into the sea ice melt plots. The flow information is probably more important than the temperature in this case.

    Actually I’m referring to temporal content here. Regardless of magnitude, it seems to me, absent a shift in SST, I think sea ice extent is going to oscillate about a mean value (and the offset won’t change over time).

  50. Jeff Id said

    “I think sea ice extent is going to oscillate about a mean value (and the offset won’t change over time).”

    Yup, I agree. The time though where we see a springback hasn’t come yet. First, the weather pattern needs to revert and as you pointed out before, it may simply be an effect caused by polar amplification.

  51. Carrick said

    Jeff:

    Yup, I agree. The time though where we see a springback hasn’t come yet

    This is a non-falsifiable hypothesis!

  52. Jeff Id said

    Carrick,

    I think the weather pattern is readily apparent but wouldn’t have a clue how to test it. It is why I wrote in #28:

    “If you say AGW caused the oceanic current change, I would not be able to argue against it ”

    This effect is real, how long the pattern lasts or has lasted or how unusual it is are all up in the air. I just noticed it in the video a long time ago and studied it for quite a while. In several years this century – especially 07, you really can see the leading edge at the Bering strait melt much faster and the thick multi-year ice dump out of the back side at increased rates. Thus, the majority of the effect is ice falling down the drain and melting but there is a powerful melting at the leading ice edge as well – especially at the mouth of the strait which indicates at least surface level waterflow. The air isn’t confined to the strait.

    I don’t think my point is as much handwaving as you assume above but as you well know, I’m wrong a lot. It seems obvious to me that basic AGW surface warming did not cause the ice reduction directly but rather the increased Arctic warming – especially in the summer is caused by the pressing of southern surface waters into the region and the subsequent exposure of more ocean surface. If the weather pattern change is due to AGW and polar amplification, this is also not currently a falsifiable hypothesis. I would not even attempt to disagree with it except that I would wonder about the provenance of one’s certainty that AGW caused the problem.

  53. Carrick said

    Jeff ID:

    If the weather pattern change is due to AGW and polar amplification, this is also not currently a falsifiable hypothesis

    This is testable, because you’ve assumed a specific cause for the weather patterns to change. If you can show that the long-term changes in weather patterns are unrelated to temperature change, in principle you’ve falsified the hypothesis.

    The problem with your model is that the period over which the “rebound” has to occur is indefinite, therefore not testable. However, there probably are other related hypotheses that can be tested (I mentioned a few above, like comparing sea ice extent changes in regions that have known large sea current interactions with regions that don’t).

  54. Jeff Id said

    “The problem with your model is that the period over which the “rebound” has to occur is indefinite, therefore not testable.”

    If the ice does rebound despite continued warming, I suppose then you have in principle verified the hypothesis right. ;)

    In the case of weather patterns, they are sort of obscure things to quantify. When does that circulation pattern switch to something definably different? It seems apparent visually that the pattern changed. It seems that similar events occurred on other years but they were weaker. Were these similar events actually part of the same pattern or are they independent events? Are they statistically different from other years in some definable way? As I wrote, I don’t know how you would define them statistically in a convincing fashion. Maybe weeks of wind speeds above x between these directions? It seems impossible to me.

  55. Anonimess said

    Jeff wrote:
    > As usual, you have to watch believers like Tamino. They would sell their grandma’s for AGW. He’s
    > claiming heavy significance, in 2009 it looked barely significant to me.
    > http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/sea-ice-copenhagen-update/

    The very first thing I notice about your graph, Jeff, is that you give the slope to 9 significant figures. That right there makes me wonder if you are really competent. It’s a precise summary of why I don’t trust bloggers — their standards are low.

    The other reason is your use of the words “barely significant.” Whatever does that mean?

  56. RomanM said

    #19 Anonimass:

    Your comment regarding the slope actually reveals your own lack of experience with mathematical programs.

    It is quite evident that the graphs were generated completely by a script which automatically inserts the results of calculations into the graphing process – they are not typed in by the user. Of course, Jeff could have spent some extra time programming the computer to round these values for people like yourself who have difficulty doing that themselves, however this is a blog not a paper for publication so frankly I don’t see any problem with this. If you wish, just tell us how many places you would like and I am sure that someone meeting your “standards” can be found to do the work for you.

    With regard to “barely significant”, if you could describe your own level of competence in statistics, we could explain what cards in the deck you are missing. ;)

    Surely you can come up with something more substantial than your puerile attempts at casting aspersions at people … on the other hand, maybe not.

  57. Anonimess said

    RomanM said
    It is quite evident that the graphs were generated completely by a script which automatically inserts the results of calculations into the graphing process – they are not typed in by the user.

    No, you are wrong. The user has control over the precision displayed. It is an important factor, for it connotes competence.

    And if the program does not allow the user to have that control, then have the intelligence to get another program.

  58. Anonimess said

    RomanM said
    Of course, Jeff could have spent some extra time programming the computer to round these values for people like yourself who have difficulty doing that themselves,

    If you knew much, you would know that the user cannot decide how the numbers should be rounded, since that depends on the input.

    It’s sloppy, and incompetent, to present numbers to 9 significant figures when they aren’t known to that precision. I see that you agree that bloggers do not meet the standards of professional scientists.

  59. RomanM said

    Don’t be so didactically anal! This simply reflects the informality of the blog world. Some people actually have a day job and limitations on their time so take shortcuts. It has nothing to do with competence.

    If you knew much, you would know that the user cannot decide how the numbers should be rounded, since that depends on the input.

    OUCH! I guess I should have paid more attention in statistics class! I had sooo hoped to become a “professional scientist”.

    Try addressing the issues raised in the blog instead of irrelevancies. You don’t have to be a professional scientist to do that.

  60. Anonimess said

    RomanM: that’s exactly the problem — the bloggers *do* have day jobs. So they do not have the time to study the science as do the real scientists. So they put crap up on their blogs, like Jeff did.

    9 significant figures is comical. It tells me all he can do it make a spreadsheet. But he can’t think about what it means.

  61. Anonimess said

    “Oops,” the part-time doctor said. “I didn’t mean to prescribe 59.332564 mg of Lovastatin. Silly me. I only meant 50 mg. I have a day job, you know, so I can’t be expected to get everything exactly right…. No harm, no foul, right?”

    “Um, sure,” said the patient, taking the new prescription. “Maybe I’ll see you next month.” Or maybe not, he thought to himself.

  62. Carrick said

    Anonimess, you are an idiot.

  63. Carrick said

    JeffID:

    As I wrote, I don’t know how you would define them statistically in a convincing fashion

    It really doesn’t seem all that difficult to me… average temperature, average variance of temperature within a lat-long cell, covariance within the same cell or across cells, etc.

    If you can’t find a difference, after a while you have to accept the Geneva Conventions and stop torturing the data.

  64. Anonimess said

    Carrick said
    > Anonimess, you are an idiot.

    And you, Carrick, are witty beyond compare.

  65. Carrick said

    Seriously dude, you are coming off as an prat.

    We all understand about significant digits here, you don’t need to go on and on for our sake. Move off the science 101 gooberisms and try addressing something a bit … substantive.

  66. RomanM said

    A….mess, I have explained to you how the digits got there and the relative lack of importance for not rounding the values to fewer decimals. It creates no impact on the results shown in those graphs.

    From my extensive experience with statistics students over the years (more than 6000), the ones who fixated on irrelevant issues were not only the ones who knew the least about the subject, but also were the ones most firm in their ignorance. You seem to fall in that category.

    Your defining someone as a “professional scientist” based on whether they always present their results with a number of digits determined by a semi-arbitrary rule is a joke. For the record, there are surprisingly few climate scientists whose statistical expertise rises to a level of competence required to properly apply the methodology that appears in many of the papers. But of course, the number of digits in a result is always just right.

    Enough time wasted with your nonsense. I have a plane to catch in the morning.

  67. Carrick said

    I have seen more real problems with people prematurely truncating the precision of their intermediate results than I have from people leaving the final answer with two many digits of precision. True it looks a bit silly in a publication, but in a relaxed environment like this, it’s little different than holding a calculator display up for somebody to see the result…and having it show nine digits of accuracy.

    Really it’s not a BFD.

  68. Carrick said

    *** too many digits of precision.

  69. AMac said

    Here is a tutorial on the use of significant figures. Link.

    I don’t think any of tAV’s regular readers would benefit from it; nor would Anonmess. With that covered, back to the topic of the post.

  70. Jeff Id said

    Anonymess,

    I’m very much unsure the exact amount of truncation to give to a dataset with literally gigabytes of information having an undefined distribution. I really did compile ALL of the NSIDC satellite data into a single trend. I do understand how many are required to communicate the result but the guys have been accurate in telling you how the graph was created. Of course they read the computer code in about 20 seconds. Until now, nobody I recall has asked for the correct number of significant figures.

    Here is a question which now that we are getting to know each other, should send your head spinning. If you have a perfectly precise temperature measurement to two significant figures and you take billions of measurements over some time period, to how many significant figures do you know the average temp? Feel free to choose your own exact values.

    If you can answer that correctly, I will update and reproduce an accurate version of Tamino’s plots from the raw data with openly available values.

  71. Frank K. said

    Carrick said
    January 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

    “Anonimess, you are an idiot.”

    Actually, I thought he/she was the comic relief. In any case, here is Pi to a bunch of digits…

    3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196

    On no!!!! To many numbers…too many numbers…my brain…my brain…aiiigghhhghgh!!! :^)

  72. toto said

    Yeah, we just hit “average”. After the longest below-average stretch on record. The same average that was above the curve for 1917/6033 days in the first half of the record, and 4277/6033 days in the second half.

    But hey, we’re at “average” right now! And the (horizontally-extended) curve looks flat-ish – if you squint hard enough to disregard the horizontal line superimposed on it! So clearly that shows that global warming does “Nutin!” to sea ice!

    Next time an old bore tries to tell you that eyeballing a graph is not enough, or that you really need to run some actual tests before claiming that “Nutin” is going on, be sure to refer them to Jeff. He’ll teach’em.

  73. RomanM said

    #72 Toto.

    I presume that you have heard of a simple random walk. What is the expected return time to zero for random walks? Do you think that records are an uncommon occurrence for that process?

    Also, you might consider learning about the arcsine law which describes the percentage of time such stochastic processes spend above zero (or equivalently below zero). Close to fifty percent most of the time? I doubt it.

    The monthly anomalies do not form an independent sequence, even when the changes in the anomalies do. By all means, suggest what you think is a suitable test (for whatever hypotheses you think are appropriate).

  74. Jeff Id said

    Toto,

    I really don’t believe the ice loss in the Arctic is related to AGW warming directly as I have written above. I believe it is a weather pattern change – not significantly related to global temperature increases. Sure the warming helps a little, I think it is mostly wind and currents driving warm water (which exists even without humans) into the region and driving ice out. The change in sea ice is too drastic for the couple C change in temp and the Antarctic has not shown a similar change. Even enough handwaving to get lift has a hard time explaining the differences.

  75. Jeff Id said

    “I believe it is a weather pattern change – not significantly related to global temperature increases.”

    Should say

    I believe it is a weather pattern change causing heat to enter the Arctic– The heat from lower latitudes exists normally and is not significantly related to global temperature increases. You can argue that the pattern change is AGW related, I can’t disagree.

  76. toto said

    The change in sea ice is too drastic for the couple C change in temp

    OK, got it. That’s not exactly the impression one gets from your post though. The way you phrased your post, it seemed to suggest that the sea ice change is too small with regard to the supposed amount of AGW. That seems to be how Bruce or Anonimess took it.

    and the Antarctic has not shown a similar change.

    Well yes, but as Carrick pointed out, it’s not warming much in the South.

    Yet.

  77. curious said

    76 – when are you expecting it to start?

  78. Jeff Id said

    I didn’t mean to give that impression. The global sea ice change is small, Arctic is not that small. The Antarctic has primarily a circumpolar thing going on so not much change either way – as I believe we should see from such minor global warming. The ice vanishes nearly completely and comes back in the Antarctic leaving a lot less possibility for trends. Looking at the Arctic, we see a complete coverage of the ocean every winter. This is driven by ‘robustly’ cold temperatures so there is little to no chance in my mind that we will see the ice free summers that the advocates propose any time soon. Ice levels can get lower but the trapping effect of sea ice by the features opposite the bering strait are hard to overcome. Lesser ice extent – no problem – but there is a limit to what we can expect for a melt.

  79. Jeff Id said

    Carrick,

    I have the best video of sea ice that I’ve ever messed around with. I found some better free video software on line and have improved the R code. I don’t know how to show anyone but you can drag the sea ice timeframe forward and backward at huge frame rates so you can really visualize flow.

    Very cool!

  80. d55may said

    Jeff, Cheer up. What you are doing is important. Smile winter always makes me feel low.

  81. MIkeN said

    You’re leaving out that the two poles are different. Particularly that it is too cold in Antarctica for global warming to melt the ice, but global warming would warm surrounding water that leads to more precipitation and more ice in Antarctica.

  82. Layman Lurker said

    What does that have to do with sea ice Mike?

  83. Brian H said

    LL;
    Nothing much, but sea ice doesn’t matter much. Except that it interferes with shipping.

    Don’t sweat the polar bears. They’ve survived everything except high-power rifles.

  84. MIkeN said

    Layman Lurker, I missed that part. It’s still possible the same effect holds.

  85. Richard said

    One thing that I think no one else has mentioned is the amount of ice made each year.

    This graph from Cryosphere Today http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2010.png is worth considering.

    Although most seasons of year show a decreasing trend, the Winter (JFM) is much more resistant. This means that year on year the Arctic is producing more ice. I am not sure if this is due to the water being different in salinity or different in temperature though.

  86. Sam King said

    Oops, you missed average:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/how-fake-skeptics-fool-themselves-part-2/

  87. Jeff Condon said

    #86 – We shall see. Thanks for the link.

  88. Jeff Condon said

    Left for Tamino:
    I see it is time to move on from the last incorrect argument. Good call.

    “Could it be that he already had an opinion about sea ice, one based on faulty reasoning”

    As though it were my first cryosphere work eh? Yes, Virginia, I do have opinions on sea ice. I also think it is you who has the faulty reasoning. Sorry doc, but your case is not very convincing. You have mixed the presence of a detected trend with the cause of that trend.

    Could it be that you already had an opinion about sea ice based on faulty, over stiff, models and confirmation bias?

    Deech56
    “Was his post tongue-in-cheek?”
    Not quite but close. Meeting average means near-nothing, if you read the thread, my readers know that. I was grumpy about the believer groups getting ridiculous passes on free use of taxpayer money for of alarmist stuff. Sea ice variance, like paleoclimate, is greater than can be realized in a 30 year trend. Tamino appears convinced that it has never been lower in thousands of years.

    I really like the fact that of all the posts I have done on sea ice, Tamino picked the one designed to tease his sort.

    From my reading and study, I think most of the Arctic ice loss was from a weather pattern change after 2000. Plenty of mainstream stuff on that. You can actually see it in the video’s I’ve produced. However, Carrick was unconvinced by the video and sent me back to the data.

    My guess is that in the near future there will be a springback of Arctic ice to some levels but I really don’t know. I have repeatedly made the point that CO2 warming is real but I don’t think it is responsible for the trend in sea ice. I could be wrong, but that is a sensitivity question which is nowhere near as settled as the good Doc posits. The presence of a trend mixed with the claim that it will continue (and that will show me) shows Tamino has already concluded the matter in his head.

    Pot and kettle?

  89. Gillian said

    Boy! Tamino left you looking like a fool!

    Either —

    > you are ignorant and can’t tell the difference between noise and trend.

    Or

    > you are deceitful and deliberately misrepresent the issue.

    Or both.

  90. Anonymous said

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  91. There’s certainly a lot to know about this subject. I really like all of the points you have made.

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