Posted by Jeff Condon on March 5, 2012
Tamino has his crowd all whipped up about sea ice. He has done two posts now declaring how stupid I, Anthony Watts, and by association, all of you, are. Sorry folks, it was a drive-by incident! For him, I’m not enough of a believer and for others, I’m too much. Is it is a good sign when you get it from all angles? Either way, he has made deliberately erroneous claims in an attempt to discredit this blog, and WUWT, which I suppose means we have struck a nerve.
The first thing I would like to clarify is my opinion on sea ice in general. Like many readers here, I have read a large number of papers on the topic, unlike most, I have also taken the time to download and plot satellite Sea Ice data, replicated the trends and examined sea ice on a regional basis. With help, I have identified evidence of minor trend inducing error and will soon be looking at how the online satellite data is knitted together during transitions. From all of these many hours of time, I’m completely unconvinced that man made global warming is causing very much of the observed sea ice decline. I’m also willing to be wrong but the literature appears to support that a substantial portion of the Northern hemisphere decline is caused by a weather pattern change in the Arctic. This opinion is reasonably standard in the mainstream although it is often mixed with the claim that warming weakened the ice and allowed it to flow out of the polar region. The possibility that warming or weather are primary causes of the declining sea ice creates a need for disaggregation. Of course the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive so there is a lot of room for some combination of a variety of factors to be the cause. We also know that something the believers often conveniently forget is that not all warming is CO2 based.
So with all of that said, I don’t think that the effect man is having on the globe is detectable in the ice trend. Detectable being statistically differentiable. That is very different from whether a trend can be detected or whether a trend is caused by natural warming. In his recent two posts, Tamino (aka Dr. Grant Foster) mixes everything together in what has been a successful attempt to whip up his followers. Unlike the Air Vent and WUWT, his crowd is comprised primarily of non-technical readers who often jump at any statement they can find with literally zero understanding of why or what they are attacking.
So, if you have a region like the Arctic, where sea ice is often, but not always, multi-year and that ice is being affected by being either pushed out of the region and melting, simply warming and melting or some combination, and you want to understand the trend in ice levels for the globe caused by surface temperature warming, then disambiguation of the effects is necessary. Therefore measuring ice which melts completely and re-forms annually should provide a cleaner temperature signal than a region reacting to something else.
To that end I made the plot below from gigabytes of satellite data which identified 72 degrees North Latitude as the line where multi-year ice is nearly non-existent. Layman Lurker confirmed this latitude independently (and with less effort) before I finished. Now “nearly non-existent” is different from “completely non-existent” but not by much (see how that works!). Engineers and scientists often approximate things but some in Tamino’s crowd show their inexperience and called this as an error despite having no evidence.
So I then added up all of the single year sea ice south of 72 North latitude in the Northern and Southern hemisphere, plotted all of it including the pole-hole part left out, and referred to it as global single year ice. Unfortunately, the global ice didn’t have enough trend for Tamino (wasn’t quite 95% significant) and he completely wigged. (“Wigged”, is a psychiatric term used to describe the reaction of believers when they discover something is unhelpful to the “cause”. ) What he did to “fight back” was misrepresent the work and show a ridiculous annual refreeze plot in the North region implying that somehow that is equivalent. That was Grant Fosters trick on his readers, who were unwilling or unable to point out the deception. Several of them fell for it completely and their acerbic comments went uncorrected by Grant.
The north pole is a trapped region which freezes “nearly” completely every year. As multi-year ice vanishes, there is an increase in available open sea area and single year ice area naturally increases. Therefore if you want to isolate the effect of temperature on sea ice from weather effects on North polar ice, it is counterproductive to include anything from that region.
I have spent about an hour and a half now processing the data to see how well each region correlates to UAH NH temperatures. I took the entire NH temperature and correlated it to Northern hemisphere sea ice South of 72 degrees North latitude and sea ice North of 72 degrees. Of course, since we are using ICE, it is preferable to use only ice and temperatures from months where northern ice is present. I chose Jan – September from the video but it was pretty arbitrary. An estimate again! OMG.
Correlation of ice area to NH temperature:
South of 72 – 0.692
North of 72 – 0.593
So sea ice south of 72 correlated better to the NH temperature than that North of 72. It appears that the ice I’ve chosen is a better indicator of NH temp than ice north of that point. Of course it covers a lot more land mass than the other ice but it again confirms that the satellite sensors are measuring a real warming and the high correlation (for climate science) indicates that warming is having an impact on ice melt. It also confirms that the disaggregation of the data may not be worthless after all.
Lets see what Tamino’s crowd had to say about our collective stupidity-for daring to plot data:
“What Condon’s essay really illustrates is how fake skeptics fool themselves into thinking they have real evidence.”
“It’s my opinion that people like Jeff Condon are actually enemies of liberty.”
“It’s simple bootstrapping – it’s deliberate misinformation.”
“I cannot read much of Watts and other deniers – because too quickly I realize I am arguing with idiots. “
“Thanks very much for exposing this breathtaking piece of idiocy.”
“Every time I think I’ve finally become cynical enough to no longer be surprised by denier lies, something like this comes along and proves me wrong.”
“Watts’ comment was obvious. After all, he’s paid to say he’s not concerned. “
“This is typical of deniers. You start with the answer you want and then torture the data until you get enough evidence to believe it.”
“There is absolutely nothing justifiable from a scientific perspective in the ways Condon slices and dices the data”
“Cherry picking data to come to a conclusion the you already believed to be true, is the prime example of being a denier and not an honest skeptic.”
“Jeff Condon is anti-innovation, pure and simple.”
“Jeff is a moron.”
“Jeff got as close to the poles as he could without people noticing he was egregiously cheating.”
And that all is from the FIRST post. Tamino, who I believe realized his trick made him look bad, put up another post quickly attacking an older piece where I dared point out that sea ice level reached ‘average’.
And around the believers went again.