the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Much Ado

Posted by Jeff Id on May 27, 2010

Some have written that skeptics don’t cover sea ice in summer, that’s not how it works here.   Lately, we’ve seen a bit of consternation in the news and on blogs over the rate of drop in Arctic sea ice.  As usual it’s nothing scary to me, but if it continues, the headlines are going to provide a bit of entertainment by September. According to the NSIDC data collected by UIUC, the Arctic is 1 million sq kilometers below what would make the polar bears happy.

A higher resolution but shorter time period dataset for the Arctic (AMSR-E data JAXA) for this year (red line) started a few months ago above the 8 previous years but has crossed all but 1.  What I find interesting is the difference in slope between 2010 and previous years.  The melt rate appears fast.

The warm Atlantic surface water may have something to do with it, again a bit of waterflow causes a big change.  Another interesting feature of sea ice globally is what’s going on in the Antarctic.

While the Arctic ice plunged the Antarctic sea ice has launched vertically growing 1m km in a very short period.  Looking at the graph, it doesn’t appear unheard of but it’s a pretty fast climb rate.   All this excitement leads to a global sea ice anomaly level of–

About zero..

In fact all of our global warming has currently lead to 0.08/20 = 0.4 percent loss of sea ice, of course the sea ice varies by 25% every year so I wonder what percentage of that 0.4 is due to natural vs man made warming?

Of course amongst all that huge melting, we get stuff like this.

Last message from Arctic

It looks like the Arctic is sending us one last message. One last warning about the effects that mankind would face because of the external abuse of the ecosystem and the arrogance that humans show regarding such an important issue.

I placed the link on the period of ‘this’ above, to prevent inadvertent clicking on the article this nonsense quote came from.  That way you can’t sue me for the guaranteed loss of IQ points if you read it.

25 Responses to “Much Ado”

  1. Tom Fuller said

    Good to see you back. ‘Nother 30 years we might know what’s really happening at the poles…

  2. GregO said


    Thanks for the quick summary and thanks as usual for reading all the nonsense AGW stuff so I don’t have to. Perhaps I don’t get it but polar ice-melt status just doesn’t strike me as something to get too terribly upset about as the warmistas are wont to do. Dependent upon season, ice melts; dependent on season, ice forms. Our satellite records cover an infinitesimally small geologic time period. So far as we have measured, said ice has melted and reformed about an amazingly small range of values.

    I personally find it all very interesting from a sociological standpoint as polar ice melt has become iconic to the CAGW view and the clear lack of real crisis actually quite interesting to follow.

  3. timetochooseagain said

    I don’t think that “melt rate” is quite accurate. What we really need to understand what’s going on are some wind fields. It used to be textbook information that the ice concentration is principally dependent on how much gets blown out of the basin.

  4. Has there been “much ado” about this latest drop? I haven’t seen it. The one quote given was about something different.

  5. Chuck L said

    Nick Stokes said
    May 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm
    Has there been “much ado” about this latest drop? I haven’t seen it. The one quote given was about something different.

    The AGW cabal has been trumpeting that the areal extent of the Arctic ice is now less than 2006. Joe Bastardi from Accuweather predicted earlier this year that the ice extent would be less than that of the last few years but expects robust (sorry,I had to say it) ice growth this fall and winter and much less melting next year.

  6. Re: Chuck L (May 27 19:49),
    “Trumpeting?” Again I haven’t seen (or heard) it. Links?

  7. Jeff Id said

    Ah, Nick ever the skeptic.

    on and on and on etc..

  8. Jeff Id said

    The last link is the best headline.

  9. Hal said

    “With the disappearance of the sea ice, polar bears have begun to show up around inhabited areas looking for food and shelter. They contend with hunters for their kills and often end up being slaughtered because they supposedly pose a threat to human communities.”

    Polar bears looking for shelter? That would be a threat to me.

    They want to move into your condominium, probably will also check your refrigerator for Coca Cola!

    Jeff, you’re right, I felt quite a few braincells committing suicide while reading this.

  10. Jeff Id said

    #9 Warned ya didn’t I?

    Here’s Serrez

    Mark Serreze of the center forecast the ice decline this year would even break 2007’s record.

    I like to bold the best comments here…. “Even break the huge 2007 record!!”

    compared to the rest of the 30ish year record.

  11. Jeff #8,
    Well, yes, but also it’s the only quote you’ve given that actually refers to the current melting spell. Even Serreze’s prediction does not seem to be based on that.

    The reason for my scepticism is that I don’t think people should get excited about every little up and down in the ice plot, and on the whole, I think sensible people don’t.

  12. Jeff Id said

    #11 I’m just playing a bit. It’s camping weekend and I’m getting wound up. I agree with you, the big story with sea ice is the fact that there isn’t one. That’s what makes the headlines so much fun. It’s not like glaciers where there is visible evidence of limited yet progressive recession in so many. The Arctic and Antarctic are just too cold to show much change — but that doesn’t stop the scientology crowd from waiving their cardboard signs and declaring the end of the world.

  13. Chris1958 said

    Arctic sea ice extent at this time falls within a very narrow range and hence I wonder how we can make meaningful predictions.

  14. timetochooseagain said

    9-I kinda thought when I saw that quote, not of the “shelter” aspect as the threatening part, but the food. See, it suddenly occurred to me I am food. And I kinda think that everyone will say “your not a seal stupid”. Yeah, but these bears are allegedly starving. If people don’t protect themselves, these bleached Grizzlies will maul and eat them.

  15. Retired Engineer said

    Wait a minute. If the arctic is 1m km^2 below what would make PB’s happy, that would put it well above anything measured on the AMSR-E chart. And that’s NSIDC’s own data. Something not right about that.

  16. DeWitt Payne said

    I didn’t understand the optimism (Hurrah, global warming is over!) about the ice extent being “normal” in April and I’m not excited about the current string of record low days (for the date)for Cryosphere Today Arctic area. The AMO index has been positive for months and the UAH LT NoPol anomaly has been quite high as well. Does that mean we’ll see a record low for the minimum this year? Who knows. I certainly don’t. The ice is going to do whatever it does and everyone will come up with explanations after the fact and spin them according to their biases. The loss rate has been much higher than average for quite some time now, but a higher rate is usually followed by a lower than average rate. I’ll bet quatloos at The Blackboard on the JAXA monthly averages, but not real money.

  17. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Retired Engineer (May 27 23:21),

    Nitpick: Lower case m as a prefix means milli (0.001) not million. mixing prefixes isn’t standard practice either. It’s 1,000,000 km2 or 1 Mm2 (megameter squared).

  18. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: DeWitt Payne (May 28 01:28),

    Sorry, I should have addressed that to Jeff.

  19. Geoff Sherrington said

    11 Nick Stokes. We agree again. I am left cold by the antics of Arctic Ice extent, area, thickness, melt rate, under-ice temperature, Beaufort gyre, and so on. It’s about as interesting as the ice I make in the freezer for dropping into drinks. Sometimes it melts faster than others, but then many of the drinks have high CO2 concentration that needs to be considered.

  20. BarryW said

    As far as I can see, the present arctic sea ice extent nor the max tells you much about what the minimum will be. July is when things start happening (look at 2007). I’ve only eyeballed it but the trend at that time seems to give some indication of where things are going. Earlier than that there’s no real differences in the trends.

  21. DeWitt Payne said

    Late June, early July were when things started in 2007, but 2008 didn’t really start to go bad until August and 2009 was later than that. Maybe 2010 is starting early and maybe not. But starting June at record low area is not promising.

  22. Russ said

    WOW DeWitt, your back, are you still a chemist like you say you are?

  23. Russ said

    Or is like you say here?

    DeWitt Payne said
    May 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm
    I always judged my conference trips based on the quality of the food at the restaurants where I had lunch and dinner (or maybe dinner and supper in your neck of the woods). I don’t much care about the papers, tell me what you ate (if it was any good, that is).

  24. Russ said

    So is that you think I won’t be here this long DeWitt?

  25. Russ said

    I really don’t think you are a chemist, if the chance you are, you are not a very good one, *plonk*.
    That was what you said the last time? *plonk*, “poor quality” is what you are, I know that, and so do you.

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