You ain’t seen nothing yet

arctic_AMSRE_29808.png This year’s Arctic sea ice minimum is now officially the second lowest in the record according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center in the US. On August 26, the ice extent stood at 5.26m km2, dropping below 2005’s 5.32m km2. The melt season still has several weeks left to run, and there are now suggestions that this year’s final minimum could be close to – perhaps even beat – last year’s record.

The NSIDC announcement has attracted a flurry of attention, and the media has been out trawling the usual suspects for quotes. The BBC reports:

Researchers say the Arctic is now at a climatic “tipping point”. “We could very well be in that quick slide downwards in terms of passing a tipping point,” said Mark Serreze, a senior scientist at the Colorado-based NSIDC. “It’s tipping now. We’re seeing it happen now,” he told the Associated Press news agency.

Adding to the interest, the European Space Agency released some interesting Envisat images of the state of the sea ice, and warned:

Following last summer’s record minimum ice cover in the Arctic, current observations from ESA’s Envisat satellite suggest that the extent of polar sea-ice may again shrink to a level very close to that of last year.

Meanwhile, Scientific American notes that the northwest passage is now open, and the Environment News Service does an admirable job of pulling all the info together – including recent work on possible rapid climate change around the Arctic. Earlier this month I was prepared to accept that I was going to lose my two bets on a new record minimum this year, so what’s been going on up north to change the outlook so dramatically?

Here’s one of the ESA’s interesting pictures – an animated graphic showing sea ice changes over the summer, which I’ve edited to include only the last two frames (full version is here). It’s pretty clear what’s been going on…

In early August there was a large amount of ice in the Chukchi Sea (near the top of the frame), which by mid-month had all but disappeared. You can also see that much of the ice near the top edge of the ice pack, especially in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska, and in a wedge running towards the north pole from Siberia is heavily fractured, with large amounts of open water. The same structures can be seen in the imagery at Cryosphere Today and the University of Bremen. How much of that goes over the next few weeks will determine whether we get a new record or not.

What’s been most unusual about this year has been the steep decline in ice extent during August, as this graph from the NSIDC shows:


2008’s extent was well above 2007 from the end of June onwards, but was tracking 2005 closely. Early this month, this year’s melt accelerated (see red arrow), and is now getting down towards 2007 (you can check the daily update of this graph at the top of the NSIDC news page). There’s a similar graph (based on different data) at the Japanese IJIS site. Interestingly, Cryosphere Today, which uses a different measure of sea ice – the area, not extent – seems to show that the melt is now slowing down. The next few weeks are going to be fascinating for ice watchers…

The fat lady is still in her hotel, enjoying some vintage champagne, and my money’s still in my wallet.

96 thoughts on “You ain’t seen nothing yet”

  1. ice melt = polar bears starving, drowning… this is so incredibly depressing. Despite what HTH might say, I think we all really would rather you lost all bets and the melt was nothing like the record low.

    Not forgetting that this was what was predicted for decades hence, not now.

    Any good news in sight? Any sign of strong climate legislation coming from ANY Government? Strong commitments to make the cuts we need to stop this madness? Any sign that bleating from big emitters is gonna stop any time soon?


  2. Same here Fragment,

    Having been off for a few weeks reconsidering all I know on this issue, I’ve lost that battle of reason in the last 2 days. I just can’t convince myself to take the idea that 2007 was a blip seriously anymore. This is very very bad, at this point it wouldn’t make me feel any better if William Connelly does win his bet. The actual extent/area is so close to last year that the state of the cap as seen by satellite and ice-chart is cast into a greater significance. There’s been loads of perennial loss again this year. Truly Awful!

  3. I may be wrong (I’m relying on memory, which is often a bad idea in my case) but I seem to remember that one of the possible factors contributing to last year’s extreme melt was the position of the polar jet stream, which was further south than usual. This abnormality also brought a lot of wet weather into the UK mainland, and caused a near drought in the Shetlands.

    This year seems to have been very similar, Dingwall was the sunniest place in the UK this August (and is the only place where sunshine has been above average). This is highly unusual, especially considering that it has happened for two years in a row.

    Obviously the lack of perennial sea ice has been a major factor this year, and there’s no denying the trend – I’m not trying to claim that his year’s melt is down to natural causes.

    But if the polar jet stream is a factor, then we might see a bit of a (very temporary) recovery in the next few years. Sadly, if this happens then the denialists will seize on it with gay abandon.

    Does anyone know more about this possible relationship with the jet stream, or how I could find out more? It’s a very tentative suggestion and I’d be happy to have it shot down in flames.

  4. There’s certainly some sort of link between the “pattern” of weather features and the changes in the Arctic. Sorting out cause and effect is tricky though, and ascribing two warm wet British summers to changes in the Arctic is drawing a long bow (at the moment – another one next year would be too much of a coincidence).

    The main effects are seen in autumn and early winter. There’s a lot of newly open ocean up there that has to to refreeze, and that releases a lot of latent heat into the atmosphere. Some escapes to space, but a lot doesn’t. All that extra heat and water vapour results in warming and changes in climate – most clearly seen, I reckon, in Scandinavia’s run of warm (and late to arrive) winters.

    More info here, including links to the first paper to discuss this sort of effect.

  5. S2,

    I agree with Gareth that 2 years is not enough, British weather is very variable. However whilst the La Nina seemed to explain last year, this year we (in the UK) have had another wet summer very like last year, without a La Nina!

    Next year will be interesting, if I were a betting man I’d go for a re-run of 2007/2008 – a wet and stormy UK summer. That’s because I think we are seeing the impact of lessening Arctic ice. This page from the met office gives a good general explanation of the atmopshere, see figure 5. The jetstreams that convey storms to the UK are caused by the boudary between the Polar cells and Ferrell Cells. It seems to me that the increased energy from latent heat in the Arctic may be causing the polar cell to expand. In a typical summer the Azores high will push the jet stream north over Scotland and towards Scandinavia, this year that’s not happened again so once more we have been in the track of the Atlantic storms carried by the jet stream.

    So I suspect that what is going on in the Arctic may actually be the cause of the changes in the Jet Stream, which means I don’t think it will assist a recovery of the ice-pack. It will be interesting to see how an El-Nino factors into all this, but I don’t think anything short of a massive plinean eruption or meteor impact can save the Arctic ice cap now. It’ll take years of above normal ice survival in September to bring the Arctic back onto the long term trend (in terms of volume).

    In any other situation I’d prefer to remain agnostic until real scientists speak. However I have to make my own judgment as best I can because I live in the UK and this affects me, and whatever plans I make.

    I am not a professional scientist, so people can ignore me if they want, that’s fine.

  6. Cindy. I have looked at the recording station data for areas in Siberia close to the Arctic – and there is NO warming. This is rather typical Do you all believe in Arctic air-warming without actually checking? I really don’t know how to put this any other way, it appears quite clear that the Arctic is getting warmer Atlantic waters that is causing melt (as has happened many times before) and there is clearly something going on with weather patterns – as the UK has received another rotten summer, just like last year (actually no summer). Is it coincidence that two years of Arctic ice melt happens at the same time as no UK summer? So, warmer waters, and no recording stations showing warming that would cause anything near permafrost melting. Do you people simply worry about anything and everything?

  7. Gareth, my point exactly! Can you give me the “measurements” from the Arctic recording stations around the entire permafrost area? Because I have been looking, and all the graphs I’ve seen so far are either stable or cooling. If, as you say, you are worried about measurements then you’ll no doubt have the station data that states warming. Otherwise, all you have is Arctic melt for an unknown reason – for which I suggest is Atlantic currents, not indicative of global warming. Thanks.

    Incidentally, you say, “two warm wet British summers”. But that’s not what we’ve been getting. June this year was the coolest for over ten years. The theory of global warming predicts “Hotter, drier summers”. But we’ve been getting wetter summers, from Hadley’s own site.

  8. More to back-up my statements above:
    Coolest summer on record in Alaska
    Even this (from GISS)
    shows 1 degree less warming than 70 years ago.
    For people like Cindy, could we please separate fact from fiction? Otherwise lots of people reading this blog will get the impression that climate change suddenly produced Arctic melt in 2007 and that it’s doomed hereon. These people will also believe that polar bears are dying (!). These people will never know (unless told, since they don’t have the mental capacity to go and look for themsleves) that there was severe Arctic melt in 1922. It wasn’t human-caused (as this one isn’t), and the Arctic soon recovered. 2009 will start with more ice than 2008 did. The BBC here in the UK reports some idiot in a kayak who thinks he’s going to paddle the thing to the North Pole. To back-up the mind-cruncing report theye even say that the Arctic could well be ice-free this year “according to scieetists”. I mean, for crying out loud! This is the kind of nonsense-science that will get pushed forward here if we let it. No matter what side of the climate change fence you’re on, isn’t it better that we educate people, rather than push ridiculous notions that have no basis in fact at all?

  9. Harry, you’re not even fooling yourself, let alone Cindy. None of those three links refers to the Arctic. But you did inspire me to have a look at the Anchorage Daily News site to see if there was anything new (since Arctic research is “local color” for them they have quite a bit of it), and up turned this interesting article (excerpting, with interesting Arctic metrics bolded):

    Ground here that for tens of thousands of years was frozen solid is terra firma no more.

    “I’m really glad it’s getting warm and not cold. An ice age would be really bad,” said Chris Luecke, a fish biologist from Utah State University who first traveled to the Arctic as a University of Kansas graduate student in the 1970s.

    “But the rate of change is alarming,” he said. “Species can’t adapt or keep up in an evolutionary sense because everything is happening so fast.”

    It’s futile to engage polar researchers like him on whether the planet is warming naturally or if mankind is to blame. You might as well challenge these biologists on evolution.

    They see the numbers that show temperatures rising more dramatically than ever before. Temperature changes have been most pronounced near the poles — double the global average. They see charts correlating precisely the steep rise in greenhouse gases to the industrial revolution, and they move on.

    Investigations here focus on what happens to the natural world when it’s thrown off course by the massing clouds of greenhouse gases.

    Researchers come to the Toolik Field Station because it offers a rare laboratory with virtually no interference from civilization. Ecosystems studies began here more than 30 years ago — on land that only became practically accessible on the highway used to build the Alaska pipeline — so scientists can compare results against decades of research.

    The site, which sits about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, lies over a vast permafrost area and gives a sort of hothouse look at ecological change.

    “The changes are all happening faster than the models had predicted,” said Syndonia Bret-Harte of the Institute of Arctic Biology, an overseer of work at the tents and trailers that make up the Toolik outpost.

    The spring day on which the last snow leaves Barrow to the northwest has crept from mid-June in the 1970s to early May. Ice cover in the Arctic Sea has dwindled more than 7 percent per decade since the late 1970s. And because ice reflects the sun and dark ocean water absorbs its light, less ice now speeds the warming process.

    Several models suggest there will be no summer ice in the Arctic Ocean in 60 years. Or maybe sooner.

    On land, even the temperature of still-frozen ground is climbing. At about 7 feet below the surface, temperatures have risen about 5.5 degrees in the last 20 years.

    Temperatures are changing most in northernmost Alaska near the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists say it would take dramatically lower air temperatures to reverse the ground-warming trend.

    Meanwhile, Vladimir Romanovsky drills his holes to see what’s going on below. The geophysicist from the University of Alaska Fairbanks finds less of the ground frozen. And what’s frozen isn’t as cold as it was.

    And he sees what scientists call a “positive feedback” — meaning changes become exaggerated over time like a rock picking up speed as it rolls down a mountainside — where warmer ground temperatures only beget even warmer ground.

  10. For Harry:

    June in the UK was the coolest since 2001 – not for ten years (and May and July were both warmer than average) – according to the UK Met Office.

    For the Arctic and its current warming, you could refer to the Arctic Climate Impact assessment published in 2004 (free download here, and to a recent update published by WWF, linked off this page. And you can follow Lewis Gordon Pugh’s attempt to kaya to the North Pole here. I doubt he’ll make it. I hope he doesn’t.

    As for the “severe Arctic melt in 1922” – care to supply a reference?

  11. Just as long as Hat says so, it must be true! I wonder why he gets so worked up as to visit this site everyday, if he does not believe anything that is posted on it.

    [Edited for politeness]

  12. Gareth. No, June in the UK according to the CET was the coolest since 1991 (not 10 years as I suggested) equal with 1999 We’ve had two equally awful summers here (and it’s unofficially over today – Sep 1). I’ll dig out the 1922 Arctic stuff, as I brought this up in answer to Cobbly on the Science Forums.

    AndrewW. Thanks, I’ll read those later when more time.

    Steve Bloom. Granted, but even you must have got my point. I’ll read that about Alaska later and reply. We all know there’s been warming, but as you’ll see from the news link, I was talking of late.

    Jonno. No, I pop back about 1-2 weeks to see what’s being said. Try and be nice Jonno. It costs nothing to spread a little sunshine!

  13. Re Alaska’s cool summer. It was preceded by an amazingly warm start to winter. From NOAA:

    From December 1-10, 2007, the average temperature has been +22.2 F (+12.3C) warmer than the long term average for December.

  14. Gareth.
    “The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth. Old glaciers have disappeared and land once covered with field ice is bare.”

    “The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

    The only thing is, this was 1922.

    AndrewW. I have pulled up many graphs of station data from GISS now (in my lunch-hour) and found absolutely nothing in terms of temperature to be alarmed about. One thing that keeps jumping out from the graphs again and again is 1941. Try it yourself and see. It appears that temperatures around the Arctic were warmer in 1941 than they are now.

  15. Steve Bloom. Using Andrew’s link I went and clicked on every station in Alaska that has records up to 2008. Guess what I found? Where’s the warming Steve? Try it for yourself.

  16. Steve. Since you highlighted Barrow, I looked there too. Guess what again? The temperature was higher in 1940 than it is now, and the trend is downward since the mid 1990s. Strange, ain’t it? But let’s leave that aside. What’s your position on current Arctic melt? Do you say it’s man-made warming, or Atlantic currents, or what?

  17. Here’s Barrow:

    What Harry says above is a great example of how denialists misrepresent the data. I wonder, does Harry actually believe that picking out individual data points as he has, is an honest representation of the graph, or is it all a political game, where we’re suposed to all be impressed with his efforts to deceive?
    As can be seen from the Barrow graph, 1940 was about 2C warmer than the average temperature recorded in Barrow throughout the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. There was a trend downward through the 50’s and there has since been a clear upwards trend in the temperature since about the mid 60’s.
    Harry’s claim of a downward trend since the mid 1990s is a lie.

  18. Gareth & CobblyWorlds,

    Thanks for your responses (and the links). I agree that 2 years don’t make a trend, I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise but maybe my wording was a bit ambiguous.

    I was particularly interested in CobblyWorlds idea that changes in the Arctic could be driving the jet stream, I hadn’t thought of that.

  19. CW, the jets have a huge amount of short-term variability, but the long-term trend has been for the climate zones and the accompanying jets to move poleward as the tropics expand due to warming. See this recent review paper (and also this).

    [Fixed the Ostro link for you, Steve]

  20. AndrewW. And here’s the first four I clicked on:

    You see? What I was attempting to get you and others to see is that there is no panic. Temps at these stations are lower than they’ve been before and/or show no alarming warming. Also, my “downward trend since the 1990s isn’t a lie at all! How bizarre?

    Sonny. Yes, I enjoy reading posts from swallowists such as yourself – it reminds me of how much religion, in all its guises, there is in the world: To blindly see something when, not only it isn’t there, but even when that’s pointed out to the believer, he still sees it! You and your fellows are deluded into believing something for which you have no evidence – that man has caused a surface warming by emissions of gases. Now that’s religion. The ‘hurricane’ that has struck the US is a classic example of what you are all going through. It was hyped up, and we were led to believe that the results were going to be catastrophic. As it hit land it was downgraded to a catagory 1 storm! I thought how indicative it was of the global warming hype.

    Anyway, back to my original point, which was that you are all getting worried over nothing with regard to the Arctic. Take a look here
    at the third graph down (1880-2004 temp time series). It graphically shows all three of my points:
    1. A rapid warming in 1922 – which, if happened today, would cause mass panic amongst the likes of all of you!
    2. Warming in 1940
    3. The fact that today’s ‘warming’ is less than 1940

    Steve. Disappointed that you didn’t acknowledge my points, and didn’t answer the question of where your belief lies on the Arctic.

  21. Jonno. Before you congratulate Steve for his link, perhaps you should have understood that the paper was for a study FROM 1951. Whereas my POINT was 1922 Arctic temps and 1941 Arctic temps. Then again, you have proved that you cannot read links Jonno. Seriously, I’d give it up if I were you.

  22. Harry, you’re hilarious! You should put a warning in your emails as I almost sprayed the keyboard with coffee. Dismissing thousands of credible peer-reviewed papers on the research as ‘no evidence’ is just too funny. But what really cracked me up was your assertion that science is a religion. This because my thesis subject was the cognitive estrangement created by the void between religion and science. Clearly, I was remiss in my literature review by not including your obviously learned opinion on the subject.

  23. Sonny. Perhaps you would like to give us your evidence…that the ‘extra’ release of carbon dioxide (above natural) into the atmosphere by human activity has caused a warming across the globe. You have backed yourself into a corner Sonny.

    And you’re beginning to show yourself in other ways too. I never said “science is a religion”. Given my love of science, I would ask you to retract that please. What I said is that what you believe is a religion, because it has no evidence to back it. Sonny I really don’t know how you managed to mis-read that, and if you’re writing a thesis on anything perhaps my advice to you would be to read a statement correctly first before you pass a comment like that! Jeez!

    Look forward to your submission of evidence for man-made global warming with great interest… Bet you don’t!

  24. Sonny.

    “There is no convincing SCIENTIFIC evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

    That’s from the Global Warming Petition signed by over 31,000 US scientists. Did you get that Sonny, ‘scientists’. This also serves to show there is no actual “consensus” as is so often pushed forward by the ignorant.

    Bristlecone pines (from one tree!), actual records nailed onto the back of proxy data, data from stations poorly sited, a bucket dragged behind a ship and then measured for its water temperature, and inconsistent results from several sources IS NOT science. Sonny, please try and understand what science actually is before you try making another comment.

    The facts are that we have been measuring temperature for a very short time. In that time, there is absolutely no correlation between CO2 levels and temperature. The key points that would indicate human-induced warming are not there. Finally, I would remind you that there is no one solitary piece of convincing scientific evidence to show that throughout the Earth’s history, CO2 has EVER led temperature. All the ice core data shows that temperature leads CO2. I accept that the current rise in CO2 levels is not natural.

  25. Gareth, in all seriousness I think it’s very sad that you’re still trotting out the word “troll” on your blog. I see you’ve learned nothing from other people’s blogs, and that’s why yours will never be as popular. Instead of abusing a contributor, try and engage in the debate with resourceful argument. At least you’re no longer recommending “reading a book”, but still sad that all you have is to call someone a “troll”. Cripes!

  26. That’s the go Harry, a show of hands That’s the way to settle it. But, I hate to tell you this mate ten of your guys have croaked. So we win. You’re really not holding your end up man, you can do better than that.

  27. S2. Have you thought that changes in the Jet Stream could be driving changes in the Arctic? The Met Office here in England have again blamed the Jest Stream for the worst August on record, and for the rubbish summer we’ve had. This is the same organisation that said we’d get “Hotter, drier summers” thanks to climate change. We haven’t, we’ve had wetter summers according to their own data. A lower-latitude Jet Stream allows a sunnier Arctic. Coincidental with melting? What do you think? I’m not sure myself, but would rather go with Atlantic currents.

  28. Gareth. Like I said, your abuse adds nothing to your blog, and is really rather sad. Read my above posts – full of information and links for others to read themselves. Still, none so blind as… Well, you know. If you read blogs (as I have) you’ll find that those bloggers who surround themselves with sycophants and abuse questioning posters don’t last long. It’s lively debate that makes the best blogs. Still, your choice.

    Laurence. Are you saying that 10 of the 30,000 have died. No, really? I mean, out of a group of 30,000, 10 have died!! Oh my god. Statistically, that must be just over .03% isn’t it? Laurence. Do 1 in 4 people make up 25% of the population?

    Sonny. The silence is deafening. Still waiting for your evidence that anthropogenic emissions of GHGs are causing the warming you worry about. While you’re in that corner Sonny, give it a painting. There’s a good lad.

  29. “The ‘hurricane’ that has struck the US is a classic example of what you are all going through. It was hyped up, and we were led to believe that the results were going to be catastrophic.”

    So Harry – were they wrong to evacuate New Orleans…what would you have done – sans hindsight.

  30. No Harry, what I’m saying is your 30,000 US scientist petition is Bullsh*t. If you really want to be taken seriously as a skeptic you need to make an effort. Now, you put it out there, see if you can come up a bit of actual climate science from some of these guys.

  31. Sonny. I’m still waiting… Even if you won’t respond to a troll, post the ‘evidence’ for all the others here to see. I ask you again, please post evidence that anthropogenic emissions of GHGs are causing the warming you worry about. In your words, “thousands of credible peer-reviewed papers on the research”. So there MUST be lots and lots of evidence. Please provide. Remember that you backed yourself into this corner. Remember I said “Bet you don’t”.

  32. Laurence. I don’t care if you or anyone else takes me seriously or not!!! Given the standard of contributors on here and abusive words from even the owner of the blog, why on earth would I care about that??? Bizarre!

    As to your point, would that be a classic diversion tactic of yours, or just desperation then? The Petition exists…deal with it – and it’s signed by SCIENTISTS, which is the point I was making. But tell me, when you heard the IPCC ‘scientists’ support AGW, did you ask the same of them? Oh, bet you didn’t! Do your own research to find out how many are climatologists and how many are ‘Policy Makers’. You’ve been sold a pup Laurence. Google it.

  33. Let’s go boating! Gareth, thanks for the link to the idiot who is trying to kayak his way to the North Pole – and is stuck 600 miles from it – and complaining about the ice!!! I laughed and laughed so much when I read it. I keep going back to the site to laugh! Priceless.

    So Gareth, I provided the link on severe Arctic melt in 1922, and obviously again in 1940 I would have thought, since the temps were higher in the Arctic then, than they are now. Yet still you have made no comment on it. How so?

  34. Cindy. That idiot has kayaked 1,000 miles and encountered 88 polar bears. The Arctic is 1 million square miles. How many polar bears do you think there are? Oh, and Cindy, he hasn’t apparently spotted any bear corpses floating. If he does, you can bet your house that the BBC will pay a $1 million for the photo. I think they won’t see one dead bear Cindy! Shame – great photo opp for the swallowists.

  35. Kayaking idiot is stuck at 80 degrees! Now where have I heard 80 degrees N before…umm…ah, I remember…

    “Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The expedition all but established a record, sailing as far north as 81 degrees in ICE FREE water.” And the source? Well if it isn’t NOAA!

    When was that exactly? Ah, 1922! Did you get that Gareth?

  36. From the site at Harry’s last link:

    All content on this site, being a mixture of parody, satire, and lame humor, is for entertainment purposes only. If any content is found to be offensive or objectionable in any way, please accept our apologies… but we also suggest that you get a life.

    Perhaps, Harry, you need to get a life.

  37. “I don’t care if you or anyone else takes me seriously or not!!!”
    Oh I think you do care Harry. Yah see, I don’t think you are a skeptic at all, I think you are an attention seeker who wants to be thought of as cool. You think the way to that attention is by being a contraire. The problem you have is you’re not the sharpest crayon in the pack and your work is almost always shoddy.
    Now I have been a lurker on this site for some time and I find the commentary, on the whole, to be sound, with links to some good science, and the posts for the most part to be thoughtful and well informed. And then there is you, what to make of you Harry, a sad case indeed.
    How about having a go at finding a halfway decent bit of skeptical science instead of your usual crap. Perhaps then, at least, you may be shown a little respect.

  38. Cheers gareth. At least YOU read it, obviously no one else did – although you didn’t quite get the joke, obviously. They do provide a little light relief in the environment debate.

    Fragment. The Cryosphere site. So perhaps you should check YOUR facts first, Fragment!

    Laurence. Umm, yeah…okay. My “work” isn’t shoddy because, if you check, you’ll see what I actually do is lift what someone far cleverer than me has said, like Pielke, McIntyre, Spencer etc. and then paste it. I actually don’t hold too many opinions myself, but prefer to listen to others and repeat it. Like I’ll link to a Hadley site, or a graph showing the opposite of what someone is thinking. What annoys me is that people ‘think’ something without checking. Now we all do this, but it’s done too much. Take current Arctic temps. People like Cindy have swallowed it whole. Others, like Gareth, Steve Bloom etc. make capital out of it. But what’s the truth? If you look you’ll see that Arctic temps were higher in 1940 than now – and that was natural, so why not now? You’ll also see my links to severe Arctic melt in 1922 – with no comment from Gareth at all – which speaks ironic volumes.

    “Cool”, ha! Get real Laurence! Ask my kids if I’m cool! I’m too old to want to be cool! And I’m certainly not the sharpest crayon in the pack, you’re right there. I haven’t lurked here for as long as you I suspect, and I admit that I find some of the comments high quality. But again, you’re mis-reading. It’s the contributors themselves I dismiss, not what they say. If you have the inclination, go back to when I first came on here. I am civil and polite to everyone until they are rude to me. From then on I treat them with contempt – although you’ll see that I take their rudeness on the chin.

    “Sad case”? Well, yes probably, but then I’m willing to admit it Laurence. Are you? And as for decent sceptical science; Laurence, you are on the wrong blog. That isn’t what this site is about. If you post the fact that the tropospheric hotspot isn’t there, or that there’s been no stratospheric cooling since 1993, or that there’s no linear corellation between CO2 and surface temperature, or combining proxy data with records isn’t acceptable, you’ll get no reply apart from abuse – because the people here don’t want to hear that. Nor do they want to hear that the Arctic has been warmer before, or that the permafrost never melted during the last interglacial period (which was warmer than this one), or that the Antarctic is experiencing record ice extent and has been cooling for at least 35 years, possibly 55 years. I’ve posted ALL the above in the past few weeks. So you see Laurence, actually posting scientific stuff is pointless. There are sites for that and I contribute on them. This was is just a talking shop. So Laurence, get real mate!

  39. “How many hurricanes do you think have hit that area in the past two hundred years?”

    You can build that in to your ‘model’ which should inform your answer to the original question….why not also consider…how much the city has grown since 200 years ago, the value of the built assets, the size of the population, the rate at which the city of New Orleans is sinking, the build up of sediment in the Mississipi, the state of the levees, the forecast for Gustav a few days ahead of landfall, the mayors career prospects for a wrong call.

    And then tell us. What would you have done, in his shoes, 2-3 days before landfall.

  40. {breaking my own rules – bugger…]

    If you post the fact that the tropospheric hotspot isn’t there, or that there’s been no stratospheric cooling since 1993, or that there’s no linear corellation between CO2 and surface temperature, or combining proxy data with records isn’t acceptable, you’ll get no reply apart from abuse – because the people here don’t want to hear that.

    If you post (and re-post) the same old sceptic rubbish that’s been endlessly debunked here and elsewhere, then you show yourself to be trolling. You are, in fact, a classic example of this internet phenomenon.

    Sometimes I curse that Cobblyworlds… 😉

  41. AndrewW. I appreciate what you’re saying. But the figure I was looking for was 1,200. He bowed to the advice, I give you that, and then said the hurricane would be “the mother of all storms”. He was wrong, his advisors were wrong. Hindsight, yes, admitted. But my point to you was that it was reminding of the climate change debacle. All hype about CO2 – which has not been proven correct. Here we are, years later – after Hansen’s Scenarios – and where’s the problem? That was my point. Where’s the expected warming? Same goes for the Arctic – because that’s the latest ‘worry’. When it recovers – which it will, the worriers here will move on to a new worry they perceive as something else ‘man’ is doing.

    New tropospheric data out for August today – you might want to take a look!

  42. Gareth. It hasn’t been “debunked”, that’s the point! It’s just been chewed over by realclimate – that’s not debunking Gareth. That’s not even trolling then Gareth, that’s trying to get the truth out and debated. Yet again you show you are not worthy of producing this blog, you don’t even know what “trolling” is. What we’ve seen over ‘climate change’ is a re-working of science. Just because someone – even peer-reviewed – says something, it doesn’t make it set in stone. That’s what science is about – forever shifting. We’ve had no convincing scientific evidence that our release of GHGs has caused, or will cause, warming that worries all of you. This was my point to Sonny, and I know I’ll wait a long time for him to produce the evidence he says is there, because we all know it isn’t. But he makes out it is. These things are not “debunked” at all. That’s the trouble. Wait and see what happens to the latest attempt ny Prof. Mann to get his hockey stick out. Why would he have another attempt if it’s all been settled Gareth?

  43. We’ve had no convincing scientific evidence that our release of GHGs has caused, or will cause, warming that worries all of you.

    So, go ahead Harry, make my day. Rewrite the laws of physics. Explain why adding CO2 will not warm the planet.

    A Nobel prize awaits.

  44. Gareth. You’re missing the point, as usual. The Earth has experienced a little surface warming of late. The causes of that surface warming are not clear. It would appear that there are a number of reasons, such as CO2, methane, land-use change, solar, etc – and a little urban island heat effect. Despite our emissions, temperature has not followed computer models (Hansen’s Scenarios) and natural forces appear to either override such forcing, or may even be part of the ‘problem’. In the past ten years, the global temperature has pretty much flattened according to HadCRUt – DESPITE(!) an increase in emissions, a lack of increased absorption by the oceans, and massive land-use change. How so? One is left with the reasoning that these emissions are a) not the problem, or b) not as big a problem as ‘experts’ thought they would be. It is only in the past decade that we have even begun to understand the Pacific Decadel Oscillation and its likely impact on climate. The ‘hotspot’ in the troposphere that would indicate global warming is not there. I have pointed out that stratospheric cooling that MUST take place as the troposphere warms, isn’t there either. There have been two step changes after eruptions, but cooling stopped in 1993 – this you know because you’ve seen the graph. The reason the stratosphere hasn’t cooled is because the troposphere refuses to warm. Again, how so? Ocean temperature has also showed no signs of dramatic warming, and the slight downturn is the reason for the dip in sea level rise. The Arctic is the latest contentious point, and I have gone to great lengths to get you to admit that there were warmer times around the Arctic in 1940, and less ice than even now in 1922 – both completely natural events. There remains no convincing scientific evidence that the release of ‘our’ CO2 and other GHGs in small quantities have, or will have, catastrophic effects on our climate. So I don’t need to “rewrite the laws of physics” as you put it, as it’s not incumbent upon me to do so. You are your fellows are the ones crying ‘fire’ so the onus is on YOU to show us the flames. But as I said, Sonny, nor you, nor Gavin Schmidt, nor Prof Mann can do so. The evidence you seek isn’t there. You can believe there’s a god if you want, and that’s faith, not truth. Similarly, you can believe in man-made warming if you want, but without the evidence it will remain a belief, not the truth. We’re screwing up the planet in different ways, and I abhor what we’re doing to the rainforests, to our rivers, and to nature’s infrastructure. I’m a vegetarian (for the past two decades) and one-time member of Greenpeace. But I’m also a realist who believes in the methodology of science and a rational and logical approach to anything and everything. Unless and until we discover that we are really warming the Earth then we should do nothing – we’ll only make it worse. Just look at what Sonny is referring to with the Royal Society’s proposals! Have you ever heard of such crass nonsense? Yes, there’s always the Precautionary Principle. But that pre-supposes that you know what you’re doing in the first place. We don’t. We don’t understand the climate system, and based on all what we DO know, it appears that the release of a tiny addition to natural levels of CO2 is not having, and will not have, the effects that you all worry about. From what I’ve read I would worry if we are indeed, as some scientists are speculating, heading for global cooling – it’s too horrible to contemplate. You will have noted, I hope, that I don’t go araound shouting, “It’s the sun”, or “It’s cosmic rays” etc. That’s because I don’t know. The trouble is, you all run around shouting “It’s CO2” even though you DON’T know either. The difference between us is that I would take the scientific approach: Idea-Evidence-Experiment-Conclusion. CO2=warming started off at 1, and never got past 2. Computer models have revealed themselves to be completely fallible for 3, but that hasn’t stopped all of you from going straight to 4.

    Laurence. If any of that is “shoddy” then it’s my shoddy work, as I didn’t lift any of it.

  45. Well Harry what can I say, I’m absolutely flabbergasted. And all your own work, you must be so proud. Just think, in years to come you will be able to point this piece of work out to your grand children and claim it as the turning point in the great climate change debate. Clearly I had you wrong, you’re a bloody legend man. A seminal work indeed.

    PS. Tell you what Harry, I’ll run this past the pointy heads at the CSIRO. Once they get a gander at this mate, they’ll be back peddling so fast we’ll be able to beat the Pommy cyclists at the next Olympics, in reverse.

  46. Feeling exceedingly generous, I’ll buy everyone here tickets because I for one would love Lovelock to be wrong:
    “The alternative is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.”

  47. Sometimes I curse that Cobblyworlds…

    Sorry Gareth,

    I breeze through your blog for while and unintentionally drag that ______ over here. Then breeze off to do something other than bang my head against the wall of his padded cell.

    The reason I haven’t been posting anything in reply to that ____ is that you wouldn’t like me making statements like:

    “____ ___ you stupid ___!”

    Tim Lambert had a similar problem, and if I remember rightly ended up making a seperate thread onto which all the troll’s comments were moved. You will not get rid of the troll short of stopping blogging, barring him, or doing what Lambert did.

    I left a
    messageboard (just after paying their annual hosting fees) to get some peace from him: After waiting for me to go back (as he’d said I would) he ended his membership and followed me over here….

    I’m reminded of Calum Gilhooley.

  48. Jonno. No, I don’t know! That was my point. The point you missed is that YOU don’t know either – but you make out that you do, that’s it’s CO2 from us! Do you see, or not Jonno? Probably not, I’d say. Jeez!

    Laurence. Masterful, wasn’t it? I mean, why this hasn’t been published all over the net in the past 24 hours, I just don’t know. I’m writing a book at this very moment listing all the great inventors, commanders and statesmen that have come out of Australia. Ooh, Ive finished!

    The above contributors (and lack of response from Gareth) beautifully proved my points. You can post scientific points about climate change here, but look at the response you get. I was fearing for a moment that the Sonny & Jonno Club would prove me wrong and actually come back with scientific points of their own. No chance. And I see you paid your subscription too.

    Bye for now, everyone.

    PS Laurence. I’m now starting to write a book on Great Australian Footballers. Well wouldn’t you know it, I’ve finished that now. I’ll start one on Great Australian Engineers…..Damn!

  49. Oh, oh Cobblyworlds. Do you flatter yourself, or what? I have tried to explain, although I can see why it won’t get through, that I was Googling for stuff on the Arctic when your name came up on this blog. I came here and contributed, but you MUST know that I’m on lots of other blogs under my real name too – and you’re not there! So don’t feel special Cobblers, because you certainly ain’t, old son. And you’re downright lying about the Science Forums too. Anyone here can check as the thread is still up. I had only posted a handful of contributions and backed you into a corner on the Arctic warming of 1922 (which you had no knowledge of). You then bizarrely lied that I was spamming you (insinuating that it was by private message). Other posters even commented that I shouldn’t have done that. I had to post an emphatic message that I had NOT contacted you. Get a grip, Cobblers. You’re losing it – and your memory too.

  50. And I didn’t follow you over either. I was still on there for at least a month if memory serves. I left because I called that climate change campaigner “an awful woman”. Given the politeness level on those boards I was ticked off for that comment (!). I left after conversing with the owner of the blog – as I proved that if I had called President Mugabe “an awful man” it would have been accepted. I found this to be double standards, and left on that.

  51. Before I go off for a month or so, would anyone – especially Sonny – like to offer empirical evidence of our small release of GHGs causing the small observed surface warming? Anyone? What I’ll do is take your inability to provide said empirical evidence as proof that your entire proposition and belief is false. But it remains open… Anyone…? Jonno…Laurence…Gareth…No? It’s been three days now Sonny – I mean, it’s getting to look ridiculous. You have access to the internet, so there must be something, yes? No? Point proven then. May I suggest Sonny, that you don’t make such ridiculous points in future, and that you stay in that corner you backed yourself into.

  52. Following my recent referenced post on methane clathrates, rather than a scientific counter-argument, Harry engaged in the textbook diversionary tactic of the ignorant: circumvented the topic by showering contempt upon the author. This precedent clearly indicates that any authoritative argument I might make is tantamount to painting a rainbow for a blind troll. Pretty, but utterly wasted. Perhaps a hug and a month’s holiday with a pair of blessed monochrome cotton socks will make him less irritable.

  53. Harry, and my point to you is that:
    a) Nagin made the right call given the information he had (and you know it)
    b) There is a direct corollary with AGW. The hype is a necessary tool to get the masses to do anything and the hype must be engaged before you actually know what is going to happen – There is absolutely no point in saying…”this might be the mother of all storms, but then again…….”
    c) The past is not always a useful guide to the future – especially when circumstances have changed.
    But as you said – you “appreciate” what I am saying.
    Conversely, I got your joke.

  54. “Anyone…?”
    Noooooo way Harry, not me, I wouldn’t dare go head to head with you mate, you’d have me by the short and curly in short order. Now you have a nice holiday, I’m sure you need the rest. Now that you’ve sorted out the climate change debate I’m sure the folks round here can tidy up the few lose ends without your expert guidance.

    BTW. We have managed to get the guys off the floor and just as soon as their ribs stop hurting we’ll have them on the bikes.

  55. Sonny. I think you’ve lost it all together now. Your comments above don’t mention methane clathrates – that’s a different thread I presume!!! ON HERE, you said “I ‘fess up. I enjoy reading the posts by denialists. They serve as excellent illustrations to my students on the subject of weak rhetoric and sloppy logic.”

    To which I replied, “…You and your fellows are deluded into believing something for which you have no evidence – that man has caused a surface warming by emissions of gases…”

    You then said, “Dismissing thousands of credible peer-reviewed papers on the research as ‘no evidence’ is just too funny.”

    So I said, “Perhaps you would like to give us your evidence that the ‘extra’ release of carbon dioxide (above natural) into the atmosphere by human activity has caused a warming across the globe.”

    And THAT’S what you have failed to do Sonny. Nothing to with methane clathrates!!! It’s YOU who’s employing diversionary tactics Sonny, and it’s YOU who is circumventing the argument, simply because (as everyone can see) you cannot provide the “evidence”. Sonny, please, please get a grip! Boy!

  56. AndrewH.
    A. Fair enough I suppose. As I said, I was talking with hindsight. It would have been a brave man to go against the advice he was getting.
    B. I’ve never accepted that. Let’s clean ourselves up for the right reasons! Back sometime ago on the BBC I was arguing that this is entirely the wrong approach. Simply because, if and when AGW is shown to be false, science will suffer an enormous amount of damage. ‘Scientists’ have told the people AGW is real. If and when it turns out not to be so, what do you think those people are going to say? Already, here in the UK, there are people suffering two rotten summers and laughing at the weathermen when they come on TV and still say that global warming is here. Global warming was supposed to give us “hotter, drier summers, and wetter winters”. It hasn’t. According to the Met Office’s own graphs we’re getting wetter summers and drier winters!
    C. Agreed, but what circumstances?

  57. Re: Steve Bloom 09.02.08 at 3:41 pm,


    Sorry to be late in getting back on this, I’d missed your signal in all the noise.

    Yes the general shift has been polewards. And previously I had thought that the loss of Arctic ice should increase that trend, so the jet should move north.

    However now I suspect I was wrong, latent heat (water vapour) in the Arctic may be causing a counter-intuitive effect: The extra energy in the Arctic may be pushing the polar cell (and hence the jet) south, against the previous trend. The Stru Ostro article was interesting, but in January I still thought last year’s UK summer was due to La Nina, so I expected a good summer here as La Nina was fading. That’s not happened, Wolter’s ENSO MEI index has been neutral and the weather has been very much like last year. I am anticpating a re-run of 2007 and 2008 for the UK in summer 2009.

  58. “what do you think those people are going to say?”
    Much the same as the people of New Orleans are going to say to Nagin…some will call him an idiot other will see that he did what he had to do. You are worried that AGW theory might be wrong, so you think we should do nothing. Other are worried that it might be right

    and C. for circumstances..Take your pick a) 1200 storms that don’t break the levees doesn’t mean that this one won’t. b) just because CO2 lags temperature in the past doesn’t mean it is now. c) just because the climate has been warmer in the past doesn’t mean this bout of GW isn’t anthropogenic.

  59. Fragment. I did post an apology to you some 12 hours ago, stating that I was incorrect, and you were right, I should have said area, and not extent. For some reason it never came up on this blog.

    Andrew. Science has struggled to defeat religious belief and superstition. It’s work is way from done yet. It must capture the minds of the young before they get brainwashed. In the US half of the people believe in angels. Religious belief there is like a disease. In the UK recently, a poll amongst Muslims found one third believe it right to kill for religion. That’s how important it is that science ALWAYS gets it right Andrew. The whole debacle of the climate change fiasco (if we sceptics are right) will crush science for a long period of time – make no mistake. I was a warmist, just like you. But when I looked at the step change in temperature around 1980, when I looked at how little CO2 and other GHGs we actually contribute, when I discovered that CO2 has NEVER preceded tempearture, when I saw the poor science that has got us into this ridiculous state, and when I saw temperatures NOT climbing as experts had predicted, I realised what a sham it all is. In my life I’ve heard about a coming Ice Age, nuclear war, acid rain will kill all plants and trees, the Millenium Bug, and now this. Sorry Andrew. View all the evidence, or rather the lack of it (eh, Sonny?), and it just doesn’t wash. It’s the biggest scam so far. We’ve contributed a little to surface warming. That’s it!

  60. Andrew. You need to read some books on 1980s politics to understand the scam that nuclear deterrent was. It’s very complicated and has everything to do with deep internal politics in Washington, the arms trade and government control of its people. Governments fostered the idea of nuclear war for its own aims. It’s very interesting actually! ‘The Politics of fear’ is a TV series that is excellent. Here in the UK a couple of years or so ago, the government put small armoured vehicles on the streets around Heathrow Airport during the time when we were at ‘code red’ for terroist attack. Why? What good would bloody armoured vehicles do??? But it wasn’t about that, it was about scaring the pants off the people in order to get bills through parliament on terroism and detention without trial etc. Make the people scared and they’ll agree to anything – ANYTHING! Fortunately even the BBC highlighted the silliness of it all. We could all see what it was about.

    Acid rain: Where do you want me to start? I remember being told that crops and trees were going to die all over the northern hemisphere. I didn’t believe that, and I don’t believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming either. It’s a scam by governments, bad science by some scientists, and woeful journalism. The climate has a history of changing abrubtly. It also has checks and balances too. For me, it would have been a gradual increase in temps with a gradual build in CO2. But that’s not what happened. It was pretty much a step change around 1980. Some econuts think that it has been gradual – since 1900. But then the cooling period for 30-40 years upsets all that. Sorry Andrew, just don’t buy into it at all. The Earth will cool over the next few years, and will always obey the laws of nature, not man.


  61. okay – nuclear deterrent as a scam – I’ll buy that.
    Acid Rain? can’t say I know a great deal about it, but wasn’t there some mitigation introduced in the 1980’s. Weren’t there global agreements to try and reduce S02 emissions?

    BTW I don’t think you were ever “a warmist – just like me”
    I don’t see a step change in 1980 – just some noise around a positive trend
    I know there is only a small proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere and I know that temperature precedes CO2 in the Milankovich driven cycles. And, I am comfortable with those facts.

  62. Andrew. I can assure you I was a real pro-Earther in my younger days, paid-up member of Greenpeace too, and most definitely a warmist. When it all first started I thought it would be something to do with nuclear testing!

    The step change I refer to is based on the graph of global temps. In the 1970s there was a real scare on global cooling. I remember that very well. It emerged on a TV programme here just two days ago that a group of scientists even wrote to the President of the USA in 1972 about it. In 1974 a major TV programme here also warned of global cooling, with experts appearing on it. Just two years later in 1976 we had reports of hot weather all over the world – and so began the scare on global warming. In any terms, that’s a step change. By late 1978 we began measuring temps with satellites. Looking at the graphs, you’ll see what’s cited as natural warming up to 1940 (ocean currents), then cooling to 1976, then warming higher than 1940 in 1983.

    Well, we each have our opinions. Certainly the next two years will be very interesting. Funny thing is, I was saying that with warmists years ago on messageboards – and there’s been none since! For how long do we have to have no warming before warmists chuck the idea in?

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