Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

It’s Melting! It’s a Travesty! It’s Warm Up There! It’s… Uh… never mind. move along… nothing to see here…

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on March 30, 2010

So I just had to post the following picture from IJIS:

The North Pole is Not Cooperating

OK, so this is a linked image that will change. I am posting this on March 30, so take a look at the red line just before the April tick mark.

What do you see? Here, let me give you some options. Feel free to select more than one:

a) Joe, I see a tragic decline in Sea Ice, which is perfectly explained by the GISS super-duper increased temperature anomalies at the North Pole
b) Joe, I see Armageddon. The trend I see keeps me awake at night, as I picture a worldwide flood from all the melting ice.
c) Joe, I’m confused. Hansen and company tell me it’s really hot up there, but that red squiggly line is increasing. The graph is clearly wrong.
d) Joe, you and your denier friends are all the same. I will not address this chart because you’re obviously a denier hack who loved Bush and is more concerned with killing baby seals than getting to the truth about climate change.
e) Huh. I see the highest level of sea ice for this time of year on the chart. Looks like it’s increasing. Weird.
f) Joe, I’m scared. Does this mean we’re all going to be frozen in blocks of ice? If I do what climatologists do and extrapolate the trend of the last few days forward, it looks like the whole world will be covered in ice, I estimate, in about 13 weeks.

OK, I’m having fun here, but seriously… can the rebounding ice at the North Pole get a little mainstream media love? Isn’t this great news for Polar Bears and stuff?

We’ve done it, people! We’ve solved the climate crisis! Give yourselves a round of applause.

(Yes, I know the danger of a post like this is that the whole thing suddenly melts and it makes me look like a fool. I’ll take my chances.)

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4 Responses to “It’s Melting! It’s a Travesty! It’s Warm Up There! It’s… Uh… never mind. move along… nothing to see here…”

  1. I did it my self, by lighting up my farts to covert from methane gas to co2.
    everyone knows how much more dangerous methane is over CO2!

    what ever…..lol

    you don’t need to thank me, i be humble.

  2. Paul Brand said

    Joe, which Arctic weather stations is showing cooler than normal temperatures? The issue with GISS is with regard to whether to use 1200km smoothing or 250km smoothing + hemispheric averaging like what CRU uses. It’s kind of dubious to assume temperatures are similar to a hemispheric average, when the closest surrounding stations are 5-10C above normal. A strong negative Arctic Oscillation has brought significantly warmer than normal temperatures in the Arctic (and this is evident in the satellite records, not just the surface records), but the -AO also keeps ice from moving south and melting in warmer waters. Furthermore, Arctic temperatures, even though they are above normal, are also below freezing levels, and so looking at ice extent in March is not usually a very interesting exercise. Warmer winter temperatures is also correlated with more snowfall. How much this impacts ice extent, I’m not exactly sure. There is much larger variability in September, and is a better indication of regional temperatures. (That being said, I don’t know the full extent of a winter -AO in the latter summer).

    By the way, have you thought about why ice ages are brought about by a declining angle in the Earth’s axis? (Hint: winters are warmer, summers are cooler when this happens). I think this is a relevant issue.

    Anyway, just saying that unlike what Watts and Bastardi think, March ice extent and Arctic temperatures may not even be positively correlated.

  3. The Diatribe Guy said

    Paul, good to see you again. I’m having difficulty remembering, but didn’t you just have a kid too? Or maybe you are expecting? In either case, congratulations.

    Anyway, quite honestly, I was just having some fun with the post. I was just looking over a few things last night and happened to click on the IJIS link to see what was going on up there and was actually surprised to see the uptick in the Sea Ice. So I thought I’d just link to it and take a couple light-hearted jabs at people.

    I don’t think you’ll get much argument from many people that things are much more complex than “temperature perfectly correlates to sea ice.” Climate is complex. I agree that the axis tilt matters. I agree that the AO matters. I believe the sun matters. I believe other Oceanic Oscillations matter. I believe geomagnetic strength matters. I believe volcanic activity matters – both undersea and ash-spewing explosive land-based volcanos. I believe that the Packers matter, though I admit this theory gets a bit out there… suffice it to say that EVERYONE should be rooting for a Packers Super Bowl victory next year or it may be too late for all of us. I agree that a lot of things matter. This really has been the entire basis of my confusion over the simplistic hysteria over the Carbon Dioxide correlation since day one.

    But here’s the deal… I’ve been hearing about how the entire freakin’ pole is going to melt, and I’ve always heard of that in the context of temperature increase. It’s been presented as cause and effect. So, it behooves me to point out what I’ve been pointing out since we started talking about this shortly after the 2007 minimum and subsequent winter rebound. I believe my predictions even at that time have been pretty accurate. What did I say? I said that 2008 would be low, too, but higher than 2007. We couldn’t expect all the energy inducing the melt to get diffused immediately. Then I expected 2009 to be low, but higher than 2008. Over time, more of the 1-year ice becomes 2-year ice becomes 3-year ice, and so on. Further, I expected this year to do the same thing again, and we’ll probably end up a little above 2009. This could find us in the middle of the pack of the last decade’s readings. At some point, people have to recognize it as a trend and stop saying “but 2007 was really low and the last couple years were below average.” Well, I suppose they don’t ahve to do that, but they probably should.

    So, my post is not meant as any great scientific exercise. Just a visual. Ice is back, baby! Let’s just be happy.

  4. Paul Brand said

    My wife and I are expecting in September, so I’m not totally void of spare time… yet.

    You won’t draw much argument from me that ice is extremely variable. I think the long-term trends are important, but I do suppose there may be some multidecadal influences in there as well. I don’t know. I do know the long term trend is toward less summer ice. I expect this trend to continue. I don’t expect every year to be record breaking, or even every other year. I don’t fully understand it, but I think polar anomaly trends (i.e Arctic vs Antarctic) are negative correlated. I think this is evidence in paleo records for Greenland and the Antarctic. So, perhaps the Arctic will cool down in the near future, but I would suspect a rebound in the Antarctic if this were to happen.

    I think the point of all the scientific research being done in the Arctic is to understand what the heck is going on. I think CO2 has a role (as do most climate researchers), but it may not be the only relevant variable on a decadal scale. If it was just CO2, then there would not be need to do all this research in a region that has warmed more than expected.

    And I agree that more ice coverage is a good thing, especially when the sun is shining in the north. Some more recent studies suggest 1-2m sea level rise over the next 100 years. The last time the Earth was 2C warmer than now (i.e. ~100k years ago), sea levels were 5m higher. 50 million years ago, around the time that India came crashing into Asia, sea levels were ~60m higher, but I don’t think there was any ice on the Earth at that time, and it is unlikely that we would return to those temperatures in the next million years. Interesting though, that the sun has been getting hotter over the last 50 million years, but the Earth is getting cooler. I think I’ve read that CO2 concentrations were roughly 1400 ppm back then (which is theorized to have something to do with the India plate moving very quickly across the Indian Ocean.)

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