the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Arctic Sea Ice Not Following Consensus

Posted by Jeff Id on September 18, 2009

From the NSIDC, Sea ice reaches it’s annual minimum extent growing by 370,000 square miles over 2007.  An area 1 1/2 times the size of Texas.  The recovery is 220,000 sq miles above last year alone yet the NSIDC claims below that the scientists don’t consider this a recovery.

They cite younger thinner ice again and a lower level than the 30 year mean as the reasons this is not a recovery.  I have difficulty ignoring a near 400,000 sq mile increase in ice level.  So I hope they don’t mind if I do consider it at least a partial recovery.

From a post on CA SteveM posted a graph from the NSIDC’s compiled 2008 projections of sea ice by the different ‘experts’ in the field.  Since 2008 minimum is clearly marked and 220,000 sq miles is equal to 570,000 sq kilometers of increase.  We can determine where on the NSIDC graph the actual Arctic sea ice turned out.

All I can say is, be glad you’re not an expert on sea ice.  The linear trend is actually closer than the majority of the experts.


Various "expert" predictions of 2009 sea ice minimums. Green Line is Actual

Original graph from ARCUS link HERE


NSIDC version below:

September 17, 2009

Arctic sea ice reaches annual minimum extent

Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the third-lowest extent since the start of satellite measurements in 1979. While this year’s minimum extent is above the record and near-record minimums of the last two years, it further reinforces the strong negative trend in summertime ice extent observed over the past thirty years.

map from space showing sea ice extent, continents
Figure 1. Daily Arctic sea ice extent on September 12 was 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. <!–Please note that our daily sea ice images, derived from microwave measurements, may show spurious pixels in areas where sea ice may not be present. These artifacts are generally caused by coastline effects, or less commonly by severe weather. Scientists use masks to minimize the number of “noise” pixels, based on long-term extent patterns. Noise is largely eliminated in the process of generating monthly averages, our standard measurement for analyzing interannual trends. Data derived from Sea Ice Index data set. –> —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Overview of conditions

On September 12, 2009 sea ice extent dropped to 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea ice has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling. The 2009 minimum is the third-lowest recorded since 1979, 580,000 square kilometers (220,000 square miles) above 2008 and 970,000 square kilometers (370,000 square miles) above the record low in 2007.

The 2009 minimum is 1.61 million square kilometers (620,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum and 1.28 million square kilometers (490,000 square miles) below the thirty-year 1979 to 2008 average minimum.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 2. The graph above shows daily sea ice extent as of September 15, 2009. The solid light blue line indicates 2009; dark blue shows 2008, dashed green indicates 2007; light green shows 2005, and solid gray indicates average extent from 1979 to 2000. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Conditions in context

This year, the minimum extent did not fall as low as the minimums of the last two years, because temperatures through the summer were relatively cooler. The Chukchi and Beaufort seas were especially cool compared to 2007. Winds also tended to disperse the ice pack over a larger region.

While the ice extent this year is higher than the last two years, scientists do not consider this to be a recovery. Despite conditions less favorable to ice loss, the 2009 minimum extent is still 24% below the 1979-2000 average, and 20% below the thirty-year 1979-2008 average minimum. In addition, the Arctic is still dominated by younger, thinner ice, which is more vulnerable to seasonal melt. The long-term decline in summer extent is expected to continue in future years.

average monthly data from 1979-2009 for July

Figure 3. This image compares differences in ice-covered areas between September 12, 2009, the date of this year’s minimum, and September 16, 2007, the record low minimum extent. Light gray shading indicates the region where ice occurred in both 2007 and 2009, while white and dark gray areas show ice cover unique to 2009 and to 2007, respectively. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center
High-resolution image

Comparison of the 2009 and 2007 September minima

The spatial pattern of the 2009 minimum extent was different than that of 2007, partly because of differing wind patterns. Compared to this year, 2007 had substantially more ice loss in the central Arctic, north of the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas because winds pushed ice in these regions northward. However, this year the Arctic lost more ice in the Beaufort Sea than 2007 because of southwesterly winds pushing the ice edge toward the northeast. Overall, the pattern of ice loss is similar to 2008 (not shown), although it resulted from different atmospheric circulation patterns.

Once again this year, the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Siberia opened. Although some ice remained in certain regions, two German ships managed to navigate the passage with Russian icebreaker escorts. Russian vessels have traversed the passage many times over the years, but as ice extent drops there is more interest from other nations. As in 2008, the shallow Amundsen’s Northwest Passage briefly opened, but the deeper Parry’s Channel of the Northwest Passage did not. In 2007, both channels were open.

A word of caution on calling the minimum

Because of the variability of sea ice at this time of year, the National Snow and Ice Data Center determines the minimum using a five-day running mean value. We have now seen four days of gains in extent. It is still possible that ice extent could fall slightly, because of either further melting or a contraction in the area of the pack due to the motion of the ice.

For example, in 2005, the time series began to level out in early September, prompting speculation that we had reached the minimum. However, the sea ice contracted later in the season, again reducing sea ice extent and causing a further drop in the absolute minimum. When all the data for September are in, we will confirm the minimum ice extent for the season.

Final analysis pending

In the beginning of October, NSIDC will issue a formal press release with full analysis of the melt season, and graphics comparing this year to the long-term record. We will also announce the monthly average September sea ice extent, the measure scientists rely on for accurate analysis and comparison over the long term. We will continue to post analysis of sea ice conditions throughout the year, with frequency determined by sea ice conditions. The near-real-time daily image update will continue each day

Do you have questions about Arctic sea ice? Read NSIDC’s Frequently Asked Questions to find the answers.  For previous analyses, please see the drop-down menu under Archives in the right navigation at the top of this page.

69 Responses to “Arctic Sea Ice Not Following Consensus”

  1. Antonio San said

    Of course what else, two years in a row, with a more important growth in the area recovered from 2008 to 2009 than from 2007 to 2008, is no recovery…

    The atmospheric circulation changes that so called prevented the record low in 2009 in fact did create it in 2007. It’s nothing to do with CO2. They do not answer the reason why the decline of arctic sea ice extent started from the mid 1960s-1970, quite brutaly and regularly…

    NSIDC staging of this is advocacy not science, including their reference to Kaufman et al. 2009 on Sept. 8…

  2. Jim P said

    Why call it a “recovery”, like it was sick and is getting better? There is nothing to suggest that the fluctuations that we see in recent years are anything other that natural cycles.

  3. DeWitt Payne said

    2009 is not behaving like 2005 at all. It’s pretty safe now to call the minimum because we’ve had an increase in extent of nearly 100,000 km2 since the minimum. Nothing like that happened in 2005 until after the minimum had been reached. We’ve also seen the minimum in area on 9/8/2009 with an increase in area of 200,000 km2 since. The area minimum in 2005 (Uni-Hamburg data) was reached in late August and stayed fairly flat until late September. While I don’t trust the absolute values on Arctic ROOS, they also show a definite area minimum about 9/8 as well.

  4. Matt Y. said

    Given the expert projections, how long before they claim the situation is “worse than we thought”?

  5. Antonio San said

    Matt, probably just before Copenhagen…

  6. The Diatribe Guy said

    Prediction for next year:

    “Even though the 2010 minimum is above the level of the three previous years, it lags the historical average. This lower than average level is likely attributed to increases in global temperature that are not evident any more in the data, but nonetheless exist. We realize that most of you don’t take us seriously anymore, but that is not going to stop us.”

  7. JLKrueger said

    All this is simply a pre-Copenhagen delaying action. Nature isn’t cooperating with the narative so to stay “on message” inspite of awkward facts, they spin.

    It’s really pathetic and really hurting science. The backlash is coming, but not soon enough, and then it will be difficult to justify funding legimate research through the government.

  8. BarryW said

    2009 is still below the linear trend so I don’t think you can say there is any “recovery” yet. I think you’d need a few more years of increase in the minimum before you could justify saying the trend was no longer valid.

  9. […] Jeff Id The Air Vent, September 18, […]

  10. There is No Such Thing As Global Warming, What? That Will Save The US Tax Payers Trillions of Dollars. The Only Thing That Can Change The Climate is “The Sun”.

  11. ZEE said


  12. jaguar6cy said

    We all know that scientists are experts and should not be doubted. But I am still confused. Experts have unanimously concluded that the earth has experienced between 10 and 100 previous ice age events. They don’t seem to agree on exactly how many, but they are experts so they must be right. Scientists also assure us that we are not experiencing an ice age today. I would tend to agree so far. This means that there have already been between 11 and 101 global warming periods, all of which occurred prior to mans existence on the planet. I’m not an expert, but I suspect the “experts” and “scientists” must have another agenda in mind when blaming global warming on anthropocentric causes. Their views are certainly caused by the need for government grant money, and many have political motives, but none seem to be very clear in their thinking.

  13. RiverRat37 said

    Huh! You nonconsensus people cry foul when some use ‘weather’ where ‘climate’ should be used. But here you are seeming to say the ‘climate’ has changed …. IN ONE YEAR. You don’t get to have it both ways. Instead how about using some science and stop wasting everyone’s time with the dumb statements like: ” … so they’re scientists, so they must be right”. That’s dumb and you know it. We’re trying to figure out how much trouble we’re in, why, and what we can do about it. It would make a lot more sense if you came up with your own (testable) science to support your hypothesis, instead of just puffing out your chest and strutting around because you proved to yourself that you’re right. Tiresome.
    If you think you’re doing such a brilliant job of interpreting what’s happening, then how about you put it up for peer review (oops. ‘peer’ in this case means: submitted to others legitimately in the field (not your personal buddies) and let them try and shoot holes in it. That’s the scientific method (remember, from 8th grade?)
    If you doubt their work, why not submit your thesis and see how they respond?
    Continuing to blather about what you think and just putting down the guys spending full time on it …. well, it makes you look pretty silly. Simliar to S. Palin, if you get my drift.
    As to Jaguar6cy and the comment about “grant money”. A lot of grant money in this country means you get to lead a far better life. It’s grant money that figures out how to fight fires better, improve our medical solutions, keep our food safe, make buildings safer and more efficient, improve weapons systems. invent new technology, design better bridges, ….. good heavens, I could go on for hours and hours. Sure some of the grants issued don’t come up with good results, but that’s how science works. You hope (and there’s no worry there) that more will be successful than not. You get a lot for that investment — a heckofa lot! Quit your wining and do something useful, will you, please?

  14. brittany said

    I don’t understand this article? Is the ice melting or not?

  15. Ken J said

    I found a site that lets you compare satellite photos of the polar ice cap on specific dates between November, 1978 and December, 2008. It is really fascinating look at the Ice Cap on 9/1/1979 vs 9/1/2008, …. and now look at the polar ice cap 3/1/1979 vs. 3/1/2008

    Don’t let the scientists and political hacks push you around. Look at different dates and see what conclusions you reach.

  16. HARRY said


  17. Jeff Id said

    #16, We can read your comment without caps just as well.

  18. Ken J said

    I thought the discussion was about the size of the Polar Ice Cap. A shrinking polar ice cap supports the scientific theory of Global Warming while a growing polar ice cap is counter to the theory. This discussion starts with Jeff suggesting growth in the polar ice cap over the last two years is the beginning of a trend. This isn’t what I see when I look at the satellite images nor the way I interpret the article Jeff included. But I have a great deal of respect for Jeff’s opinion. Why don’t you look at the satellite imagery (reference my previous post) and see what you think.

    But to your point on Global Warming….This is a short hand label for a scientific theory which suggests human emissions of greenhouse gasses increases the earth’s temperature. This theory emerged to explain the data being collected by weather satellites. Unfortunately, there is only 30 or so years of satellite data available. As you suggest, using 30 years of data to make predictions 100+ years into the future is a bit presumptuous. Land and weather balloon observations are available for a much longer period of time. Reaching global climate conclusions from this data, however, requires considerable massaging…and since the global climate is a very complex and only partially understood, any massaging of the data is subject to debate. It is possible the warming observed in the satellite data is a cyclical phenomena but few who have studied the data concur with this explanation. In comparison, there are a lot of windbags (e.g., politicians, TV Commentators, and bloggers) who argue this cyclical explanation. So study the data, reach a conclusion based on that data, then point us to the data so we can reach our own conclusions. Until then, your opinion is really just more of the noise.

  19. Ken J said

    Although I was teenager/young adult in the 70’s, I don’t remember discussions of global cooling. The internet though is wonderful and so I was able to investigate. The wikipedia entry on Global cooling,, is fascinating and provides a substantive, historical perspective to the climate change discussion.

  20. River Rat said

    Why did I just get a notice of a “new” post that’s dated September 18, 2009? Anyway it quotes Wikipedia. Hate to burst your bubble, but Wikipedia is known to be suspect. Entries are made by anyone and others challenge them. I’m sure many entries are good, but many are not accurate and some are fraudulent. It’s well known that some major entries about Abraham Lincoln, for instance, were changed and changed again and changed back and changed ….. you get the idea, I’m sure. it’s been a battle between opposing camps. I’d be mighty careful about using Wikipedia to support any particular argument. Wikipedia also just recently laid off about 1/2 of it’s staff to cut costs. This isn’t going to work to improve the site. Now … back to global climate change … or not.

  21. River Rat said

    #14, The ice IS melting. Around the world, not just at the N. Polar cap. Antarctica, Glacier Natl Park in Montana (and Canada), all over Alaska. In the Alps, the Andes and Himalayas. This is no secret; Google it. You’ll be inundated with references and pix. It’s real.

  22. Ken J said

    River Rat…in my world, all sites, including Wikipedia and this one, are “known to be suspect”. Read the listing referenced and form your own conclusion about its voracity. As stated, I found it fascinating, informative, and adequately referenced, i.e., useful. Of course using wikipedia assumes you are not “Crazy Miranda” and do not “follow newsprint where ever it leads”.

  23. Jeff Id said

    #22 Agreed. It’s not trust it’s science, verify for yourself.

  24. River Rat said

    Ken J: Thanks for your response re: Wikipedia and Global Cooling. I don’t take any issue with the article and it sounds good. But here’s a problem … There was a reference to a TV program; PBS Nova’s “Global Dimming”. I saw this report and it was amazing. The essence of it was that multiple sites around the world discovered a lessening of global dimming immediately after Sept 11, 2001. It seems that the “ground stop” of all airline flights in N. America had a dramatic and immediate effect on global dimming, which evaporated (no pun intended) when the flights were restarted. (This was an amazing scientific moment that would never have occurred otherwise). I’m bothered that this didn’t make any waves in the Wikipedia Global Cooling discussion. It’s an important discovery.
    And to those of you wondering …. it seems that our airline flights are polluting the air with contaminants that dim the sunlight from reaching land. This should ‘cool’ the planet. If so, why are we experiencing warming? Answer: Because (brace yourself) if we shut down all flights we WOULD experience a greater global warming than we are! So we can thank the airlines for preventing an even greater and quicker warming than we’re experiencing now. Let’s just hope we don’t suddenly pull all the planes from the sky — results could be, shall we say, interesting? Oof.

  25. Amber said

    #24 RR, by “ground stop” and global dimming, are you referring to condensation trails or just general exhaust pollution?

  26. River Rat said

    #25 That, I suspect, remains to be seen. They only realized well after the event that their test beds had shown this spike in temperature — they had no idea why. When a few of them discovered each other (Israel, US, Russia, etc) they realized that something important had happened globally. It took awhile to put 2 + 2 together and realize that the event was surrounded by the ground stop. Then it was abundantly obvious. Hopefully (I guess) it was a one-time event.

  27. Chris said

    I was growing up in the 70’s also, and I do remember quite a few mentions of global cooling and a coming ice age. My memory is obviously better than Ken J’s.

    Wikipedia has a big time warmist moderating anything climate related so assume anything you read there is at best slanted and otherwise often very inaccurate or fabricated. Dissenting information that gets posted is quickly deleted. If you have questions about the extent of the belief and the predictions check out Time and Newsweek articles from back then, and more importantly find the link to the CIA report from 1974 on this topic. Bottom line is that up until about 1976 the scare was cooling, but interestingly all the dire predictions (except sea level rise) were about the same as for warming.

    As a kid in WV I also remember extremely cold winters in the late 70’s. As a kid it was great and I enjoyed playing in the snow that lasted for months. Now that I’m an adult and I’ve had enough snow, and I have to pay the heating bill in the winter, a few degrees of warming is a good thing.

    The big picture bottom line is that even if the Arctic sea ice were still receding we have zero evidence that this is man caused, and we have little or no evidence it’s a bad thing (No the polar bears aren’t endangered, their population has increased.) or is out of the long term ordinary. We do have considerable evidence warming and higher CO2 levels are a good thing however, as plant (think food) growth is increased.

    For those of you monitoring the ice in other areas look for the stories of the retreating ice uncovering previous forests and man made structures. It puts a whole new context on the glacier melt scares. Of course the glaciers over the former Viking settlements in Greenland (during the Medieval Warm Period) haven’t melted yet. Anybody got a satellite photo of the Arctic ice extent back then? Anybody know of speculation/simulation as to what the ice extent was then?

  28. Ken J said

    Are you surprised that the Wikipedia entries on climate change are moderated by someone who accepts Global Warming? The overwhelming majority of those who study global climate accept Global Warming. The experts who believe otherwise are in a serious minority so one would need to question Wikipedia’s bias only if they engaged someone who was out of step with his peers.

    As you rightly point out, however, just because it is the consensus doesn’t make it right. Good quality data on global climate is only available for maybe 50 years. Although the quality declines, we have some global observations going back maybe a couple of hundred years. There are selected observations, e.g., Viking settlements, that extend back further. With such limited data, skepticism is certainly rational. Asserting they are all incompetent, however, takes considerable hubris and pride comes before the fall.

    Now let’s take a moment and think about what the US proponents of global warming are suggesting… they suggest “cap and trade” or a “carbon tax”. Have you considered the implications of such actions? Isn’t the likely result to be a reduction in US reliance on foreign oil? I don’t know about you but I consider reliance on foreign oil to be a significant security risk. It seems to me by agreeing with these folks and carefully amending their “solutions” we can do more good than by arguing about something like global warming…where there simply isn’t enough data to reach any answer with certainty.

  29. Brian B said

    –Good quality data on global climate is only available for maybe 50 years.–

    Considering everything we have learned in the last few years can we even make this assumption anymore?

  30. Ken J said

    Brian B,
    It is one thing to create spin. It is another thing to be suckered in by spin. Which are u; the spinner or the sucker? Unfortunately, I can’t find the hacked emails or I would point you to them. What does exist is a lot of noise from obviously opinionated individuals who are more interested in the spin than the facts. As near as I can conclude from these claims and counter claims, the email writers claimed power they didn’t have (e.g. suppressing articles they disagreed with…articles which were subsequently published and included in the discussion) and integrating old data (before the 60s) with new data. They clearly chose an integration technique which favored their preformed conclusion that the earth was warming.

    To me this whole tempest appears to be spin created by the 100s of millions of dollars Energy companies are spending to influence US Energy Policy….but this whole discussion is about the size of the polar ice cap at the end of summer. IMO the satellite photos are rather persuasive….but that doesn’t prove Global Warming. We simply don’t have enough data to prove Global Warming beyond doubt. Many, perhaps most, climatologists fear we will be dead before there is enough data….and people acting out of fear are not very persuasive.

    So here are the options:
    1) Do nothing until we know for sure (reminds me of the Ostrich)
    2) Pursue reductions in carbon emission (perhaps this is chicken little)
    3) Seek out new technical approaches, e.g., whitening the clouds by distributing salt into the water vapor?

    Me I want to see a reduction in the US reliance on foreign oil and I don’t want to use coal..I remember the coal fired boiler we used when I was a child. Secondly, I want the US to be a leading producer of energy and energy technology. Given what Europe and the third world believe about global warming, given what has been happening to price of these technologies, it looks like this will be solar and wind supplemented by natural gas.

  31. Justin Deshed said

    I’d feel a lot happier if those who promote global warming and man influenced climate change were brighter than they obviously are.
    The main advisor to Gordon Brown is not re-assuring, he states that unless an agreement is reached and ”immediate action’ taken, 8.5 billion people will die. (World pop currently 6.7 billion).
    Or how about the canadian scientist who claimed that the local unexplained flora and fauna deterioration was almost certainly caused by global warming/climate change. It later emerged that the whole area had previously been dosed with insecticide.
    These people are stereotypical of those one would expect to be taken in by the psuedo science of the likes of Johathan Porrit and Chas Windsor. If I remember rightly Porrit was the main instigator of the global ice age scare many years ago.

  32. River Rat said

    As Bill Collins of our Lawrence Berkeley National Lab said:
    “We’re running an uncontrolled experiment on the only home we have.”

    I would add to that: “How lucky are YOU feeling today?”
    Kurt Vonnegut had a hand lettered sign over his desk that read:

    To Future Generations:
    We Apologize,
    We were roaring drunk on money.

  33. River Rat said

    Chris, you say in #27: “…a few degrees of warming is a good thing.”
    Think of it this way. Your bodily temperature rises a few degrees, say, to about 102F (that’s 3.4 degrees above ‘normal’). Try and it and then get back to us, OK.
    And keep in mind that it’s about the same thing for mother earth.

  34. Jeff Id said

    #33 yeah, yeah, yeah, unless we pay more tax right?

  35. Ken J said

    Personally I feel a lot more secure when tax revenue and government expenditures are approximately. Unfortunately, the only political choice seems to be between “tax and spend” Democrats and “borrow and spend” Republicans. Looks like somebody has been studying Latin American history….look where the “spend and spend to elect and elect” philosophy got them.

  36. River Rat said

    #34 Jeff Id. Sorry, but I don’t get your reference. Huh? I wasn’t talking about money, I was talking about temperature. You OK?
    #35 Ken J. So, it’s all about the money, right? Everything boils down to ‘how much money do I get’, right?
    For me it’s two things: 1) Taxes are just fine, it’s just the ones that are wasted or stolen that bother me. I like my police and fire service, I like the National Institutes of Health, the National Park Service, etc. I even like many of the ‘earmarks’. What I don’t like is when an earmark or tax is solely for the benefit or a single entity that is the sole benefactor of said tax. Or when it’s used to socialize their losses (like big banks and insurance companies). Or when it’s primarily used for re-election purposes. 2) We have a democracy. And it works. The failure is in the electorate. They haven’t been acting in their own self interest much. They like the lies the candidates tell them and can be steered like a bunch of sheep. They don’t try to find out what’s really going on and demand better of their representatives. They mostly whine and blame the Congress. They can fix it any time they want.
    Yup. We found da problem. It’s us!

  37. Unconvinced said

    #33 River Rat – Say you’re suffering from Hypothermia, (think: Little Ice Age), and your bodily temperature rises a few degrees, say, to about 98.6F (that’s about a 3.6 degree rise from “Hypothermia”). Try it and then get back to us & let us know if you’re at a better temperature now or not, OK.

    And keep in mind that it’s about the same thing for “Mother Earth”, when she’s going thru her normal Cyclic Climate Changes.

  38. Dirk Faegre said

    Sorry “Unconvinced”. But I am so dumb that your brilliant response to me (4:03 PM today 12-22), makes about as much sense as the deniers arguments. That is, no sense at all. But I’m sure it’s me. Take me thru this:
    You say: “Say you’re suffering from Hypothermia” (that means I’m really seriously cold — maybe even in a life-threatening situation, right?). It would seem that you’re trying to make a parallel to my thought about raising your normal body temp by 3 or 4 degrees, no?? So you want me to go out and jump in the river outside my house (thankfully it’s not frozen over yet) and get really cold (sort like, SICK cold). Hoo boy, this is really making sense, now. I’m getting it.
    So our mother earth is just starting to get sick – but she’s not really there yet — (only about .7 degrees too hot so far but gaining quickly). Ooops. Hold the phone. Houston (that’s you “Unconvinced”) we have a problem. You want RiverRat to go all the way instantly, but mother Earth is only just getting started. There’s something wrong here. The test I had suggested showed what the difference is between feeling OK and being pretty sick. NOW I GET IT!! YOU’RE RIGHT you old fox you! How brilliant! You’re demonstrating to me how big a difference THREE DEGREES makes. What a coincidence! That’s just what I was trying to demonstrate to you, too! We’re just like peas in a pod. It’s so satisfying to me that my example was so wise that you picked up on it in only 10 days. Well, no matter. The good thing is we agree that moving 3 (or so) degrees is a BIG deal. A VERY BIG deal. With my hypothermia I could have died. And so can mother Earth’s species, if she gets too warm (like, say, 3.6 degrees) Nice job, Unconvinced. Come to front of the class for a red (like in HOT) star.

  39. Unconvinced said

    #38: Dirk Faegre – Sorry Dirk, but you completely flunked the test. You missed the reference completely, and instead tried to spin it into something completely different than what I’d either said or intended. Trying to spin it into something more suited to your liking, I suppose… much like the Pro-GW crowd try to spin everything their way as well. Which I suppose explains your reaction to me here.

    I hate to have to take your little hand & walk you through it, step by step… so perhaps you’d like to try again? Maybe you can have an actual “Adult” reaction this time, if that’s not too overly difficult for you, that is.

    By the way, just because I only came across this posting today and then commented on it, doesn’t mean that it took me 10 days to pick up on & understand your attempted comparison. But go ahead & make that “assumption” too… as making “assumptions” seem to be your forte.

  40. Mark T said

    River rat: your analogy is not even remotely apt for this situation. The earth is not “alive” and even if it were, equating a few degrees rise in the earth’s temperature to a few degrees rise in a human is simply silly. The simple fact is that life flourishes in warmer temperatures. Colder weather is the bane of life. This applies to humans, as well, and the food they grow.

    Unconvinced: your analogy in response was not really all that good, either, for the same reasons. The earth is not alive, nor human.

    Dirk: your reply was even sillier than the original strawman, and, assuming you are River Rat, hardly a surprise. You’re going to need to drop this Gaia thing if you want to ever have anyone take you seriously. Really.


  41. Unconvinced said

    #40: Mark T – Sorry, but you apparently missed it too. No, I’m not claiming that the Earth is “alive”, nor attempting to equate a person’s temperature changes to that of the Earth. At least, not in the way that either you or “Dirk” or “River Rat” seem to think, anyway.

    River Rat’s attempted analogy seemed to be one in which a rise in temp for a human, from “Normal” to something higher, automatically translates into a symptom of a deeper illness & typically requires treatment of some sort. However, that POV “assumes” that the earlier temperature was the approved “norm” for that person, in that time-scale & under those circumstances, and that ANY change is an abnormal thing.

    But… what if their “time-scale” was on a much grander & longer duration? What if previously they’d simply been too cold instead of “normal” & when their temperature rose a couple of degrees they were in fact only now returning to something closer to “normal” for them? What if their temperature was able to fluctuate to a much greater degree than a human being, and in fact it did so on a regular basis, without it being a symptom of any kind of an illness at all?

    After all, when a person goes to bed at night, their body temp can sometimes drop anywhere from 0.5 to a full degree or so, “normally”. It’s a well-known fact that “normal” body temperature for a human being not only varies between individuals, but also flutters up & down for the same person, changing with both the time of day and/or their age, usually varying between 96.9°F and 100°F.

    Get it now?

  42. Dirk Faegre said

    #39. What a wasted transaction! You dumped your feelings but you never offered any meaningful info. You finally got going forward in #41, and thanks for that. I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

  43. Unconvinced said

    #42. Dirk, the fact that you failed to make the connection on your own didn’t make it a “wasted transaction” at all,… as that fact, combined w/ your reaction, revealed much about you.

    Oh & btw, no – I haven’t “dumped my feelings” in here whatsoever. You, on the other hand, did so to an amazing “degree”, in your post #38. I’d guess that was about “3.4 degrees above normal” for you?… Perhaps a sign of the onset of some sort of “illness” maybe, yes?… I think that you should cut back on your CO2 there a bit, as it’s “obvious” that MUST have been the cause. ;^)

  44. Dirk Faegre said

    Could we get back on track???? You know, as would any halfwit, that referring to the Earth as alive is a perfectly good interpretation and you don’t need me to wander around describing flora and fauna to make the point. We want to stay alive and we need a few zillion species to remain viable too, for us to exist. Can we move on?

    As to #42 and my reference to you as “dumping your feelings” in #39. How would YOU characterize this piece of childlike prose? “I hate to have to take your little hand & walk you through it, step by step…” Believe me, about the last thing in the world I need is you holding my hand. Yuk. And you might point out to my feeble mind what it is in #39 that brings any value to the discussion. If it’s there I can’t find it.

    So let’s get back to the original premise: There was a post complaining that 3.6 degrees of climate change didn’t amount to something worth worrying about. I obviously used the body temp change of 3.6 degrees to make a point. What appear to be small changes in one light can amount to deadly changes from another. Everybody (even young children) know we can get by nicely with 10, 20, 30, 40 and more temp changes external to our body. Our planet can too. But a change of, say, 5 or 6 degrees of sustained internal temp for our bodies can be (and often is) deadly. I would maintain that it’s accepted science that the same holds true for climate. And, in fact, we have pretty good proof of that from past worldly events.

    Do we have agreement here? Or do we have to slog thru this also?

  45. Unconvinced said

    #44: […”You know, as would any halfwit, that referring to the Earth as alive is a perfectly good interpretation”]

    – On the contrary, Dirk, IMO only a halfwit refers to the Earth as being “alive”. It is not. Does the earth “metabolize” anything?… No, it does not. Does the Earth “reproduce” on it’s own on in conjunction with another of it’s species?… No, it does not. Does the earth engage in either conscious, subconscious, or instinctual functional activity of any kind?… No again. Sorry, but simply possessing mass, plus chemical, thermal, or geophysical reactions, are not enough to qualify something as being “alive”. Now, does the Earth have living things that exist in or upon it?… Yes, that’s true. But any old rock, rain-puddle, or pile of dirt has that as well, and no they’re not “alive” either. Sorry, but that “Gaia” theory of yours is more of a child’s fantasy story than anything else.

    […”As to #42 and my reference to you as “dumping your feelings” in #39. How would YOU characterize this piece of childlike prose? “I hate to have to take your little hand & walk you through it, step by step…” Believe me, about the last thing in the world I need is you holding my hand. Yuk. And you might point out to my feeble mind what it is in #39 that brings any value to the discussion. If it’s there I can’t find it.”]

    – Dirk, I would characterize my phrase about “taking your little hand” as reacting in a way that’s just as ridiculing TO you, as you were being TO me. It’s a case of illustrating a point. If you don’t LIKE it, then might I suggest you don’t START it. As for pointing out to your “feeble mind” (as you said, not me) what in that post brought any value to the discussion, might I also suggest you try re-reading this part of what I’d posted?:… “You missed the reference completely, and instead tried to spin it into something completely different than what I’d either said or intended. …so perhaps you’d like to try again? Maybe you can have an actual “Adult” reaction this time, if that’s not too overly difficult for you, that is.”

    – As for my comments on bodily temperature changes Dirk, no – they were NOT in regards to “external” changes, so nice try to “spin” that more to your liking as well. But no, that’s not what I was referring to at all.

    Nor would I consider that, in the life-span of a planet that’s roughly 5-6 BILLION years old so far, and which is expected to exist for yet ANOTHER 5-6 BILLION years more, and which has (to the best of our current knowledge) experienced VAST temperature changes FAR in excess of what we’re experiencing today… That an extremely minor & natural temp change of roughly .5C – 1C degrees or so (which all that it’s turned out to be) over the course of 3 tiny little decades in the total lifespan of Earths’ existance, is as “deadly” to the Earth or us as you’d like to try to “scare” me into believing it is.

    And I quote:… “NASA’s NOAA Satellites show that as of Nov ’09, the latest Global Temp. Anomoly = ONLY +.5 deg. C (since 1979)”

  46. Mark T said

    Unconvinced said
    December 22, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    #40: Mark T – Sorry, but you apparently missed it too. No, I’m not claiming that the Earth is “alive”, nor attempting to equate a person’s temperature changes to that of the Earth. At least, not in the way that either you or “Dirk” or “River Rat” seem to think, anyway.

    No, I did not miss it. You should have immediately pointed out how stupid River Rat’s analogy was and left it at that. He’s continued with some even more outrageous statements as if the comparison to how several degrees in a human is analogous to the earth. It is not.

    I would maintain that it’s accepted science that the same holds true for climate. And, in fact, we have pretty good proof of that from past worldly events.

    Do we have agreement here? Or do we have to slog thru this also?

    And you would be wrong. The planet flourishes when temperatures are warmer. More species existed when the planet was warmer. This is rather well known – you should spend a bit more time doing your homework. There’s nothing to slog through.


  47. Mark T said

    The second quote, obviously, should have been attributed to Dirk.


  48. Ken J said

    Is the Earth alive?….An interesting question. To answer the question, you must first define what you mean by being alive. On this topic, the most sophisticated discussions I have seen, suggest the answer is maybe. The key test that leads to this conclusion is reproduction…can/will Mother Earth reproduce?

    But this is not relevant to the discussion of global warming. IMO the relevant questions are:
    1) Can life as we know it survive if the average temperature rises 4 degrees C? 8 degrees?
    2) Is the increase in average temperature observed since 1979 due to human activity?
    3) Will the increase in average temperature observed since 1979 continue? accelerate? reverse?

    There are 20 or so computer models which predict long term, global climate. Because computing power is not infinite, these models must simplify the real world. Climatologists spend their time debating whether these simplifications lead invalidate the results. Much of the “fear” about climate change is based on these models.

    These models suggest the answers are:
    1) 4 Degrees C is the upper limit on rise in average temperature.
    2) Greenhouse gas emissions are the primary reason for the rise observed since 1979.
    3) The increase in average temperature will be greater in the next 10 years than it was in the previous 10 years.

    These models do not suggest policy options.

    It is arrogant (and stupid) to deny these models because I don’t like the policy recommendations derived by a politician from the models. Studying the models and suggesting alternative policies appears more productive. For example, someone suggested we pursue technology to make clouds more reflective. Are there other actions we can take? This kind of creativity is much more likely to be successful than denying the science.

  49. Mark T said

    Ken J said
    December 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    This kind of creativity is much more likely to be successful than denying the science.

    I’m sorry, the models are not science, they are toys.

    Why not simply adapt?


  50. Unconvinced said

    In #48 – Ken J. said:

    “There are 20 or so computer models which predict long term, global climate. Because computing power is not infinite, these models must simplify the real world. Climatologists spend their time debating whether these simplifications lead invalidate the results. Much of the “fear” about climate change is based on these models.”

    “It is arrogant (and stupid) to deny these models because I don’t like the policy recommendations derived by a politician from the models.

    (I hope I got that “cite/quote” function on this board correct. Sorry if I didn’t, but I’m still somewhat new on this particular forum)

    Ken, you are right in that there are just over 20 Computerized Climate Models that the vast majority of the Global Warming predictions are based upon. And it would indeed be wrong to deny them simply because one didn’t like the policies derived from their predictions. However, it would NOT be wrong to deny them if they are indeed faulty in & of themselves.

    And I would do exactly that.

    Approximately 2 yrs ago a study by four well-respected Climatologists was done on the accuracy of the 22 top Computerized Climate Models that the IPCC’s “Global Warming” reports have all been based upon. The results of that study, after 1st being peer-reviewed, were then published in the highly-respected “International Journal of Climatology”.

    And what were those results?…

    All 22 Computerized Climate Models FAILED their accuracy tests!!

    …”But, HOW was this test done, and HOW did they fail?”, you might be asking yourself…

    Well, they were tested by feeding them the actual climate data from 25-30 yrs ago, and then asking them to PREDICT the next 25-30 yrs of temperature trends to bring them up until “today”.

    The result?… ALL 22 of the IPCC’s top Climate Models predicted warming trends of AT LEAST 100-300% HIGHER than what actually took place over that same 25-30 yr period. In some cases they even predicted warming trends when cooling trends actually took place.

    (again, I hope I get the “cite/quote” commands here correct)

    Computer Models Fail to Predict Climate!

    Computer models that form the basis for future global warming predictions have projected significantly more warming in recent years than has actually occurred, concludes a comprehensive new scientific study.

    A Comparison of Tropical Temperature Trends with Model Predictions,” published in the December 2007 International Journal of Climatology, is the latest study to cast doubt on the efficacy of climate modeling. Climate scientists David H. Douglass, John Christy, and S. Fred Singer analyzed 22 climate models and found their predictions at odds with actual warming over the past 30 years.

    Douglass and his colleagues write, “Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs.” …{in other words, above 8 km the models predicted a (+) warming trend, while over those same 30 years a (-) cooling trend actually took place!… The exact OPPOSITE of what “CO2 Greenhouse Warming Theory” demands happen in the atmosphere!}…

    Christy, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contributor, noted in a December 6 press statement, “Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater. Satellite observations suggest that greenhouse models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide.”

    Dr. Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, says the models used by the IPCC and other alarmists assign too much warming resulting from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, rendering the models’ predictions inaccurate.

    Singer writes, “Dire predictions of future warming are based almost entirely on computer climate models, yet these models do not accurately understand the role of water vapor. Plus, computer models cannot account for the observed cooling of much of the past century (1940-75), nor for the observed patterns of warming. For example, the Antarctic is cooling while models predict warming. And where the models call for the middle atmosphere to warm faster than the surface, the observations show the exact opposite.”

    “Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? It seems that the answer is no,” summarized Douglass in the press statement.

  51. Unconvinced said

    Hmmm… apparently I used the wrong “cite/quote” commands above. I ended up with all italics, instead of indented block quotes where I wanted them. My apologies.

  52. Mark T said

    Note that the cite=”” is uneccesary, though it will enclose the quotee’s name if you use it.

    I agree, Unconvinced, it is perfectly reasonable to reject model results based on their lack of predictive ability. Furthermore, until they truly nail down* all the physics involved any “hits” will be suspect, IMO, as accidental.


    * What reasonably constitutes “nailed down” is certainly subject to debate, but I’m pretty sure we’ll known when we are there. Right now, we know for certain we are not there.

  53. Ken J said

    If you view models as toys and not science, then you are dismissing all weather forecasting. Performing science “in silico” has been the most significant advance in this generation.

    Thanks for the articles. They discuss the failure of these models to predict temperatures in the tropical troposphere. One of the articles you cite,, recognizes the gap between predicted and actual tropical troposphere temperatures but goes on to say the “…climate models forecasts came out almost like the actual surface trend in the tropics” I interpret this as indicating the models are useful for predicting some behaviors but need considerably more work before they can predict all climate behaviors. The second article describes the discrepancy with more precision. This second article appears to be an attempt to aid the modelers in calibrating their models.

    Obviously, models which accurately predict surface temperature trends and tropical troposphere temperatures is preferable to these models. If such a model exists, it would be foolish not to use it. As I understand it, however, our choice is accepting these models or accepting someone’s untested (and untestable) opinion that everything will be just fine. Given a choice, relying on models which can be validated, back tested, and enhanced over time seems wiser….and these models suggest acting now will be a lot less expensive than acting later.

    Perhaps Douglas, Singer, and Christy will be able to provide a superior model in the near future. When this model becomes available, we will certainly want to include it in our consideration. Until then, we must consider their efforts as attempts to enhance the reliability of the existing models.

  54. Unconvinced said

    You’re welcome, Ken J. However, perhaps you missed a few v.important distinctions here. Please allow me to point them out for you.

    #1) The 2nd item I linked in wasn’t just an “article”. It was the actual peer-reviewed scientific paper which had been published in the International Journal of Climatology.

    #2) No, it wasn’t simply “an attempt to aid the modelers in calibrating their models”. It was a Validation Test, which revealed not only that the current models are faulty, but that they’ve been producing highly exaggerated “predictions” that far exceed the actual “Reality”. Thus, your assumption that we have to act as if there really IS a “crisis”, when that “assumption of crisis” is based primarily on the predictions being made by those very models that have been proven to be so faulty, would be rash & foolhardy indeed.

    #3) One of the primary points made in the paper is that the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) requires that those tropospheric temperature trends must exceed surface temperature trends by a factor of at least 2-3 times as much, meanwhile the exact opposite trend is what’s being detected via the true observational data.
    — And I quote again:…
    “Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater.”

    This would tend to indicate fairly clearly that the current minor temperature fluctions that we’ve seen are NOT the result of a “Greenhouse Gas Effect” taking place. No “Cause and Effect” relationship can be scientifically established, if the “Cause” in that equation requires certain circumstances to be present… and they’re not.

  55. Unconvinced said

    Hmmmm… again I see that I got the italicizing wrong. It started when I wanted it to, but then it didn’t end where I tried to make it end. Once again, my apologies for that mistake.

    It would appear that my “posting model” still needs work, as well. ;^)

  56. Dirk Faegre said

    Thanks for the fun all …. but this is useless. Mark T. and Unconvinced are right about everything and nobody else knows anything. They don’t appear to have any interest in doing other than putting everyone down who disagrees at any level and to lecturing the community on HOW IT IS. If we don’t like it, we can go pound sand. Any scientific data or reports that don’t agree with their denying global climate change are deemed faulty or worse. Anything that says they’re right, is gospel. It’s tiresome. I’m going elsewhere, where people want to exchange ideas and challenge one another reasonably and realistically … and where I might actually learn something of value. Bye.

    Ken J. Thanks for your post, it provided real value / but it got shot down as all wrong … as is guaranteed from those guys. Discussing a point with them will net you nothing.

    [ and now you all can sit back and watch the slams and putdowns heaped on this missive ]

  57. Unconvinced said

    Dirk, if I could post an image in here, right now I’d put up a mirror for you to look in, and then suggest that you go back & re-read your own post @ #38 while you do it.

  58. Tony Hansen said

    53.Ken J said
    If you view models as toys and not science, then you are dismissing all weather forecasting….

    Just how good do you think the weather forecasts are?

  59. Mark T said

    Ken J said
    December 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    If you view models as toys and not science, then you are dismissing all weather forecasting.

    Not true at all, and quite the red herring. Weather forecasting models are designed to provide insight about weather patterns a few days in advance, not decades in advance.

    Performing science “in silico” has been the most significant advance in this generation.

    And trust in model results as “data” has been one of the most damaging impacts to our society as well.

    Dismissing climate models (in particular) as “not science” does not mean I don’t think they have use. They are not science because, quite frankly, they are not falsifiable (at least, not easily), and are certainly being used long before their results can be tested.


  60. HARRY said

    remember the story about six months ago of mars getting warmer………..simple solution……ban their suv’s and kill off all their cattle..

  61. Ken J said

    Believe it or not, weather forecasts are a lot better today than when I was in college….but they aren’t perfect …. and the climate models are even less perfect. I am merely asserting the climate models are better tools than what we had before…just like the weather models.

    Obviously you are entitled to your opinion. Your opinion differs with the majority of climatologists, so it is unlikely anything I say will change your opinion. It has, however, been my experience that ignoring expert advise generally leads to the consequences predicted.

    I expect humanity will change its behavior before destroying our climate. I hope Americans lead the way but that depends on whether we listen to the scientists and engineers, like we did early in the 20th century, or the politicians and bankers like late in the last century and during the first decade of this century. If America doesn’t lead the way, its dependence on foreign oil will prevent it from leading the world.

  62. Mark T said


    Obviously you are entitled to your opinion. Your opinion differs with the majority of climatologists, so it is unlikely anything I say will change your opinion. It has, however, been my experience that ignoring expert advise generally leads to the consequences predicted.

    Exactly how do you know what my expertise is? I’m curious, too, when argument by authority gained some official status as something other than a fallacy? Climatologists can call models “science” all they want. That does not make them scientific, nor science. It is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of definition.


  63. Mark T said

    I think you need to do some investigation, Ken J, into what “science” actually consists of – I’d start with the definition of the scientific method. Models are nothing more than useful tools, simulations of the real, often used to aid in scientific endeavors in hopes of teasing out some otherwise complex phenomenon that may not be obvious (perhaps just elusive), but they are not “science” in and of themselves. Their outputs are not data, nor are their results evidence of anything, they are just tools.


  64. DeWitt Payne said

    George E.P. Box: “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

    Weather models have been shown to be useful for short term forecasting.

    Climate models have not been shown to be useful for even decadal forecasting, much less centennial. The very large range in sensitivities to ghg and aerosol forcings between models does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy about models. Not to mention that the economic scenarios used to drive the centennial projections (even the IPCC refuses to call them forecasts), are total garbage.

  65. HARRY said


  66. RiverRat37 said

    #65 Harry: Perhaps you could be a bit more definitive? …. and quote with some exactness the “billions being spent on research and grants” that you feel are being wasted. Help us follow the money and show us just where the books are being cooked. It would be a big help.

  67. Ken J said

    And while you are following the money, look at the expenditures of the coal, oil, and electric companies. Compare the salaries scientists get on government grants with the salaries scientists on the company budgets get….then see if following the money gets you to the same conclusion.

    If Al Gore is the reason you don’t believe in global warming, you are politically and not scientifically driven.

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