Well, another month has gone by since I’ve taken a look at the Arctic Ice Extent. Actually, another month has gone by since taking a look at just about anything.
Why the low post output, you may ask? And what’s up with the Forex posts?
1) First, the Forex posts are just a little fun experiment with trading gold, and it involves numbers, and it’s really pretty easy to summarize my trading every couple weeks and throw up a post. I link to this from an actual trading site, so I kill two birds with one stone. I figured some of you would find it a little interesting and the rest of you would ignore it.
2) Gotta admit, life’s toils are taking a toll on free time and free time pursuits. My major issue is really the fact that I have numerous interests and only so much free time. As much as I love science and math and trends and climate/weather and stuff, I also try to find time for family (the big one), music (not as big as I’d like), writing (non-blog type of stuff), sports/exercise, I like to read other non-newsy stuff occasionally (both fiction and theological) and then there’s always that pesky work that needs to get done. You see, if I were a one-trick pony, I’d put a lot of effort in here and maintain consistency. Quite honestly, I go in spurts. In a way I get bored, but it’s more than that. I get frustrated. I get tired of the same arguments. I get tired of looking at data and seeing the obvious, only to be told otherwise by the experts, and then in three years when my childlike predictions are spot on, I’m told that I still don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m not a climatologist. Oh, it’s fun for a while, but then I hit a wall and just really want to think about something else and spend my time elsewhere.
3) I am in charge of a department of 2.5 people. (Hours-wise… it’s really a full person sitting there for half a day) I had a baby. The other full-timer had a baby. Then the half-timer had a week’s training. Then this volcano kicked our butts (travel insurance, you know). Between work and family, I have been swamped.
OK, enough of that… let’s look at some ice extent.
The latest ice extent reading says that 2010 is now slightly below 2009. This is a new development, as the 2010 ice extent over the last couple weeks of April was at its highest level on the chart, which is the plot of satellite readings since 2003 (2002 started later in the year).
I started following the ice extent after the 2007 minimum, followed by the winter rebound. I argued at the time that due to all the physics and stuff regarding the thermal retention of water and yada yada that we couldn’t expect the minimum to just go from an all-time low to normal in the course of a year. I predicted that 2008 would exceed 2007 and 2009 would exceed 2008, and that both years would still be below normal. Earlier this year, I predicted that 2010 would be near normal. My predictions weren’t based on fancy models, climatology, or anything else. It was, I thought, common sense.
Well, to date I’ve been right. It’s either “blind squirrel finds a nut” syndrome or it means that common sense has a place in the world even when fancy models are saying otherwise.
But let’s move on to the current situation. In one respect, the ice extent measures to date for 2010 have been somewhat remarkable. Global temps are up over the last few months, driven by El Nino and AMO, and even a rebound in the PDO. And yet, ice extent has been at a higher level than the past few years. So, now we hear about “volume,” which nobody seemed to care about until ice extent and area charts seemed to lack cooperation in the great global warming debate. We have been led to believe in the past that the global temperature rise is the reason for lower ice area. But it’s clear that there’s more to it than that. Jeff at The Air Vent has fairly convincingly promulgated the idea that it’s largely about the wind, baby.
So, here we are. What do I expect? Well, I’m sticking to my thought that the 2010 minimum comes in above 2009, and will be in the more cluttered area of the chart. I ran a simple mathematical model to predict this year’s minimum based on the ratio of icea area per day in relation to the year’s minimum. Running that model for 2003 – 2008 from January 1 to May 3, the results are anywhere from 5.0 million square km to 5.3 million square km. Last year’s minimum was 5.25 million square km. I personally think we’ll see things come in a little bit higher than that, even. 5.3 million would be about the level of 2005, but in order to get back to 2004/06 levels, the minimum would need to be about 5.8 million square km. I’m thinking we’ll land somewhere in between that, say at 5.5 – 5.6 million. Just a guess.