In the heat of the (Arctic) night

LWOct2008.gif Time for an Arctic update and a bit of “original” research. There’s been quite a bit of polar news around, and a rapid freeze-up is underway in the Arctic – so rapid that some are declaring that the sea ice is “back to normal” for the time of year, based on this graph from the Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System in Norway, which shows sea ice area climbing up towards to the average for 1979-2007, within one standard deviation (the grey area). On the other hand, if you look at the equivalent graph at Cryosphere Today, you’ll see that ice area is 1.25m km2 below the average – which in CT’s case is 1979-2000. So the ice is approaching normal, only if you define “normal” as including the significant ice reductions over the last seven years. How encouraging. But this autumn’s freeze-up has been pretty rapid. Does that mean that it’s been unusually cold up there? I thought I’d take a look…

My tool of choice for looking at climate/weather anomalies is this page at NOAA’s Earth System Reseach Lab. It allows you to plot a wide range of maps based on the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis of climate data (explained here). Have a play. If you like maps and seeing what’s going on in the atmosphere it’s fun (in a climate/weather geek sort of way). To find out whether the weather has been warm or cold in the Arctic recently, I plotted the surface temperature anomaly for the last seven days of October:LWOct2008.gif

There’s a cold blue/purple bit to the north of Ellesmere Island, but most of Siberia and the seas to the north are 6 to 12 C above average for the time of the year. So it’s not unusuallly cold – it’s warm, but is it unusually warm? Here’s the same period last year:

LWOct2007.gifThe situation is very similar over Siberia, but last year Greenland was seeing colder temperatures (note that the scale is slightly different, because the positive anomalies were bigger in 2007 – up to +15C over the ocean…).

OK, but a week is not a long time, and weather can change rapidly – what was the whole month of October like? I looked at the monthly data for the last six years (2003-8), and stuck them together to make an animated file:


There are – as you might expect over a period when there’s been significant ice loss – large positive anomalies in all years, over large areas of the ocean (as the ice freezes it gives up heat to the atmosphere) – but there are also large positive anomalies over the surrounding land – particularly in the last three years. We’re talking about +3C to +6C over large areas of Siberia. That reminded me of something from a paper I reported on earlier this year:

The decade during which a rapid sea-ice loss event occurs could see autumn temperatures warm by as much as 9 degrees F (5 degrees C) along the Arctic coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada.

Looks to me like it’s already happening. Even though the sea ice area has increased rapidly this autumn, temperature anomalies remain strongly positive. Taking all the information together, it’s clear that the “normal autumn weather” over large chunks of the Arctic – especially Siberia and its methane-rich seabeds – has changed rather dramatically. It’s rapid climate change happening now.

But the Arctic’s a long way away: why should this warming worry us? The answer lies in what meteorologists call a “general circulation response”. Change the patterns of weather around the Arctic, and you get knock on effects further south as the atmosphere responds. Stu Ostro, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel has been following this issue, analysing changes in the behaviour and intensity of upper level high and low pressure systems. A strong upper level high pressure system is usually associated with warm temperatures below – and the highs have been getting more and more intense. Ostro’s put all his thoughts into a detailed presentation, available as a large (30MB) pdf here, recently updated to include autumn 2008. Bottom line? “The general circulation has been changing, and it’s been happening quickly.” Ostro’s pretty blunt about it: it doesn’t matter where the heat comes from, but if you put more heat into the atmosphere, it’s going to respond. We’re seeing that response now.

That brings us back to the sea ice. What’s the best way to describe what’s going on, when change is so rapid? This year’s freeze-up is close to “normal”, provided that we include in our definition of normal the ice losses of recent years. If we refer back to a period before big losses, we can see this year is way below “normal”. Ostro points out that this also applies to other weather events and weather extremes. What’s normal, when what’s normal is changing?

Meanwhile, a team at University College London have used Envisat data to calculate Arctic sea ice thickness, and report that last winter saw losses of up to half a meter over large areas (ESA, Science Daily, BBC). Plus: Arctic and Antarctic warming has been shown to be directly attributable to human causes (Nature News, Guardian, e! Science News, New Scientist).

[Update 5/11: Tamino at Open Mind demonstrates that there’s no “recovery” of sea ice during October.]

[Update 6/11: Mauri Pelto in the comments to Tamino’s post (link above) points to a recent paper (PDF) by Mark Serreze et al (The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification, Serreze et al,The Cryosphere Discussions, 2, 601–622, 2008), which essentially conducts a much more thorough version of my quick peek at the data. Here’s the punchline:

With models consistently simulating reductions of ice cover into the future, we view the emerging Arctic amplification documented in this paper as but a harbinger of a more pronounced signal to appear in the near future with impacts that may extend well beyond the Arctic Ocean (Lawrence et al., 2008).

The Lawrence et al paper is referred to in my post.]

[Title reference]

99 thoughts on “In the heat of the (Arctic) night”

  1. I presume you mean change? I think the answer’s yes, but I can’t recall references. I suggest you ask over at Robert Grumbine’s blog (More Grumbine Science) – he’s a sea ice scientist, and will undoubtedly know what’s going on. From what I recall, I think surface salinity’s been decreasing, mainly from increased discharges from the large Siberian rivers. If that’s true, that might make it easier for the ice to reform in winter… But as I say, better to ask an expert.

  2. The Arctic sea ice extent is now GREATER than in 2002

    “The IARC-JAXA Information System (IJIS) is a geoinformatics facility for satellite image analysis and computational modeling/visualization in support of international collaboration in Arctic and global change research at the International Arctic Research Center in corporation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Advanced Earth Science and Technology Organization of Japan”.

  3. The inclusion of the last few years to create a new average and thus massage the figures is such a classic example of the Overton Window that I can’t help but wonder if it was (even if uninentionally) policy-driven.


  4. Lank: so what? That graph (which I’ve been to referring to all (NH) summer) shows that all years cluster very closely at this time of year – with the exception of 2007, where the freeze-up began very late.

    Even if the Arctic ocean were to be mostly ice-free in summer, it would still freeze-up quickly over autumn – at least until heat accumulates sufficiently to prevent that happening, and that – we have to hope – should be a very long time in the future.

    Sonny: I wouldn’t criticise them on those grounds. Including all the data when deriving an average is perfectly defensible – it just doesn’t help us much when we’re looking at a time of rapid change.

  5. Gareth, I think Sonny’s point was that just using the post-2002 data to derive an average gives a very different picture than using the last 30 years data.

  6. Lank, you are really good at this.

    So now you are basing climate science on less than 3 days.

    Sea ice extent 2002 compared to 2008

    28 October 2002, it was 8761563*10^6 km2, 28 October 2008 it was 8604688*10^6 km2.

    29 October 2002 it was 8788906*10^6 km2, 29 October 2008 it was 8708125*10^6 km2
    30 October 2002 it was 8794844*10^6 km2, 30 October 2008 it was 8817031*10^6 km2

    31 October 2002 it was 8799844*10^6 km2, 31 October 2008 it was 8892344*10^6 km2.

    Man, you must be right, over the last 3 days everything has returned to ‘normal’…

    You are more ridiculous than Ken Ring. Please return your ‘PhD’, this must have been a mistake.

  7. Sorry this is off topic, but did anyone else just hear Gareth Morgan talking to Noelle McCarthy on National Radio about some report that he is conducting about ‘reviewing both sides of the global warming debate’? Couldn’t quite believe my ears.

  8. I’m not promising a definitive account as I only tuned in midway through, but the gist of it was:
    1) that GM is doing a review of evidence on global warming that he talked up into being authoritative and involving ‘some of the best scientists in the world’, and
    2) his view thus far is that the debate is wide open, the science far from settled, and so on .. sound familiar?

  9. Carol,
    Sounds like GM has realised that AGW is very much exaggerated! I agree with Carol – it would be a good idea to keep an open mind on anthropogenic global warming – particularly as it seems it stopped before it even started.

  10. “particularly as it seems it stopped before it even started.”

    That’s right Lank… a week of weather has ‘proven’ your point. You should try get published with this one!

  11. Jonno – Do you have cognitive dissonance? Do you have a vested interest in ‘AGW’, as have so many politicians and activists who are frightened that the public may begin to question, make fun of, or vilify them if climate patterns do not follow their predictions?

  12. No Lank, I just understand the scientific evidence is overwhelming… yet you come up with 2 days of weather, claiming that AGW is off. I think you need to give it up… your evidence is rubbish. If you did come up with any new evidence that is not rubbish, then may be you would not be laughed at.

  13. Jonno – while carbon dioxide has increased at a steady rate, global temperatures as measured by both satellites and land/sea stations have remained flat since 1998. That’s over nine years with no significant increase in temperature. Which 2 days of this are you questioning? Is this overwhelming evidence for AGW??

    Your defiant focus on not accepting data which does not fit your cause underwhelms me.

  14. “Jonno – while carbon dioxide has increased at a steady rate, global temperatures as measured by both satellites and land/sea stations have remained flat since 1998.”

    As I said before, they just keep repeating the same old rubbish.

    Lank, this has been explained to you. No, they have not remained flat. If you were really open minded, I could explain this to you, but you aren’t really open minded, are you.

    btw… it is you that is underwhelming… yawn… you bore me old man.

  15. “As I said before, they just keep repeating the same old rubbish.
    Lank, this has been explained to you”

    Jonno, I must have missed your explanation. Pray tell me why carbon dioxide increasing at a steady rate has lowered global temperatures over the last decade.

  16. Sorry, you purposely misunderstand… (as you do with climate science).. They have increased (you are correct here, well done), but you are wrong about lowered global temperatures. This would be impossible, basic physics and all.

    Please stop claiming you are a scientist, it is embarrassing.

  17. Jono,
    See my comments re ICECAP data Lank is using and focus on that. Don’t be sidetracked. I find that sceptics say some startling rubbish to avoid answering questions they don’t want to.

    In Lank’s case this is regarding the wisdom of Ken and Vincent and my Q’s about data ex ICECAP.

    To say nothing of the “since 1998” argument. That sort of approach once worked with tabloid newspapers but since even they are turning away Lank and Co. resort to trolling the blogs. But, their repeated failures to identify internal flaws (e.g. Gray and Ring) open them to ridicule so they refuse to answer questions.

    Next week the person behind Lank will show up again under another name and make the same “points” all over again.

  18. Jonno – there is no need for you to be embarrassed.

    Doug – yes just repeat the same blinkered ‘bad data’ approach over and over again. Surely the absence of any correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures is sufficient argument to put considerable doubt over the AGW theory.

  19. Surely the absence of any correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures is sufficient argument to put considerable doubt over the AGW theory.

    Your ability to simply repeat points that have already been pointed out as false (today, here) is sufficient to cast considerable doubt over the honesty of your approach to this issue.

  20. Doug/Gareth – this blog item may be of interest to you as is close to your field of study:

    It is a July piece from Jennifer Marohasy re CO2 being released from sea floor fumaroles (Bob Halstead photos). Some interesting comments follow including this one by “DDA Man”:
    “The first photo shows super-rich sea grass near a bubbling CO2 vent. The gas here is pure one million ppm CO2, compared to our atmosphere of 400 ppm. From studies in the Mediterranean we know that the water all around the vent is quite CO2-rich with pH down from 8.2 to 6.0 or lower (100x acidic). In such high concentrations, all water-breathers die, so look in vain for sea urchins, snails or worms. But CO2 is a potent fertiliser for plants, so sea grass thrives beyond recognition.
    The second picture shows corals thriving so close to a CO2 bubbler. But hang on, aren’t corals animals and supposed to die from CO2 poisoning like other water breathers? Well, corals have plant cells in their tissues, and these thrive on CO2, converting it to pure oxygen for the coral polyp to breathe. The polyp’s waste CO2 is likewise absorbed by the plant cells and also converted to oxygen. So, although corals are animals, they function like plants. More importantly, the picture shows how they thrive. Look in vain for water breathers that cannot migrate out of the area. Fish can and so can turtles who are air breathers.”
    I’d be interested in any comments you, Gareth, Jonno or others have regarding this obvious healthy ecosystem in light of the ‘crisis we may face through ocean acidification by rising atmospheric CO2 levels’.

  21. Gareth – Is this what you meant when “you pointed out it was false”?….”There has been significant global warming over the last ten years.” {not according to the data there hasn’t} “To make your claim, you have to ignore the fact that 1997 and 1999 were a lot cooler than 1998. Ten years later, 1998’s temperatures are more or less normal.” {I have no idea what you mean – does anyone out there?} “Your assertion also ignores the 20-30 year lag in response to forcing. It takes a while for the oceans to heat up.” { I expect it does but if the atmosphere has been cooling for the last ten years it can’t be heating the oceans}

    Sounds like a lot of gibberish to me and I didn’t even think it worthy of a response. I am sorry if you thought I was being dishonest.

  22. Lank: If you can’t (or perhaps, won’t) understand plain English, that’s your problem, not mine. You don’t like the message – so you ignore it. Your loss. My patience, however, is exhausted.

    Ladies and gentleman: Lank is officially declared a troll.

  23. Gareth – Is that good? I’ve never been called a troll before.

    I didn’t understand your ‘plain english’ reply – It is certainly not science. When you said …..”There has been significant global warming over the last ten years. To make your claim, you have to ignore the fact that 1997 and 1999 were a lot cooler than 1998. Ten years later, 1998’s temperatures are more or less normal. Your assertion also ignores the 20-30 year lag in response to forcing. It takes a while for the oceans to heat up.”

    I didn’t ignore it – it was just garbled nonsense! Surely the data shows that there has NOT been AGW over the last ten years!

  24. Obtuseness is one of the prerequisites for trollhood, Lank.
    What Gareth means is that 1998 was an abnormally warm year (owing to a very strong El Nino effect that year, according to New Scientist, whose handy deconstruction of climate myths, beloved by cranks, you would do well to read). It is therefore quite spurious and manipulative to use 1998 as the basis for comparison with temperatures since then – you get a completely different picture if you use, say, 1997 or 1999 as the baseline. Did you never wonder why this particular year – 1998 – is singled out by climate cranks for the purposes of making a comparison?

    How about you come back and talk to us once you’re read the summary in New Scientist?

    As for Jennifer Marohasy, if you live in Australia you must know that she is locally famous for ignoring climate science and making up her own. As your example so beautifully shows. She is completely missing the point about ocean acidification. And I love that her website has a supporting comment from Floor Anthoni!! Anyone who has even a fleeting acquaintance with marine science in New Zealand will know that Floor is the Ken Ring of marine science. Heh heh.

  25. My point is proved… not matter have to provide the evidence to Lark… he still comes back to repeat the same old point!

    That’s right, AGW is cancelled due to a week’s weather… gees

  26. Gareth,

    Thanks for the Stu Ostro presentation. After reading it last night I was too stunned to post any form of reply – I didn’t want to be backed up in my amateurish musings on 2007/8 UK & Europe wet weather. Such a shift in circulation is to be expected, but I continue to bear in mind Dorthe Dahl-Jensen’s Team’s work* on Greenland ice and the finding of massive rapid climatic reorganisations. *e.g. Science Daily:

    This is only the start, there is the potential for much worse.

    This is a very grave matter indeed.

  27. Lank,

    Once more for the record: Why does your ICECAP graph differ from that produced by the people who collected the data? (You know, I don’t let my students use shitty excel default graphs like that. If I were you I’d spend a few minutes at least trying to fake the same look of quality that graphs produced by real scientists have).

    Once more for the record: You write of a global temperature. Vincent says no such thing exists or can be measured. Who is correct? Oh and please, pretty please, tell us in what way Ken Ring is right.

    Once more for the record: Your issues about no warming since 1998 have been dealt with at so many levels in so many places that I feel slighted you trot them out here. Is this blog really the last forum where you can get an argument?

    I wonder for whom you are writing? This isn’t the Sunday Telegraph or a environmental hearing for an electricity development where if you tell enough lies you run a good chance of confusing some people.

    A thought for HT readers: The more people who follow the links to e.g. icecap (denialist central) the higher up the page rank they move. Avoid the links.

  28. Dunno about you, Doug, but I thought Lank’s reproduction of the story by Jennifer Marohasy about how CO2 is actually really good for the oceans (witness the teeming life around undersea vents!) was touchingly naive. I am mystified how someone with a PhD in geochemistry could be taken in even for an instant by this rubbish. Maybe he was having a senior moment.

  29. Carol,
    Lank knows exactly what he is doing. Take for example the continued avoidance of explaining just how Ring and Gray are right or my other questions.

    Lank’s initial claim was “no warming in the last decade”. I spotted this for what it is and asked if that meant exactly the last decade i.e since 1998. It was kind of sad that Lank thought this old and disproven claim could be used again. They have no new arguments and are instead seeking new places to show them. I’m sure Gareth is a lovely man and all that but this is not the busiest blog around. If they can’t even make it stick here just imagine the damage to their self esteem.

    In the name of charity, Gray and Ring can not really be held accountable for what they say but websites like icecap – and I’d guess that our Lank is one of their “experts” (like Gray!) – are important because they remove the possibility of a later “conversion” and exculpation on the grounds of plausible deniability.

  30. Hey come one guys… this guys should not be taken seriously at all… after all, he bases he arguments on 2 day of weather. He is worse than King one Ring to rule them all

  31. Carol,

    Re Gareth Morgan: I heard a bit of that yesterday, and did a double take at his suggestion that the balance of evidence was close. However, Morgan’s economics consultancy Infometrics does have some sceptics on staff, as this column by David Grimmond suggests. Definitely a Lomborgian outlook, at least.

  32. I am starting to think… I hope once this La Nina ends, the global temperature far out exceeds the 1998 (2005) temp… may be humans needs something to shock them into changing their ways and climate change is it… the faster it happens the better it will be…. of course only a small part of me feels this.

  33. Carol (#32) – good point? Temperatures have been falling since they reached a high in 1998 at the same time CO2 levels have been steadily rising. Oh but we won’t count 1998 and it doesn’t matter that there is no correlation with temperature and CO2 since 1998 because it doesn’t fit your argument. Is “Newscientist” your research tool of choice?

    Well done Jonno (#33) – you certainly know how to frame a good argument.

    Doug (#35) – My apologies if the graph I linked does not meet your high standards – It is obviously not produced by one of your students. You seem to be very eager to criticise Vincent and Ken – they are obviously a great concern to you – perhaps you could link me to some of thier work so that I (and others who read this site) can judge for ourselves rather than be told by you what we should think – please remember that not all of us are your students!
    Yes, you are quite right to advise bloggers not to go to the Icecap site – it wouldn’t do if they got access to information that may show your AGW theory as false or even were able to read alternative views.
    No I’m not one of the Icecap ‘experts’ but I do visit the site from time to time. A good post there a couple of days ago actually:
    “What historians will definitely wonder about in future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that CO2 from human industry was a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin. It will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world – that CO2, the life of plants, was considered for a time to be a deadly poison.”
    See if you can find it at:

    Carol (#36) you never cease to amaze. When I linked to an excellent example of CO2 bubbling ‘naturally’ through seawater all you can say is that it was “touchingly naïve”. I would like to hear your comments on why the coral and sea grass appears to thrive under these conditions (high CO2). Anyone??

  34. Lark.. blah blah… repeat of same old lies… why can’t you further your argument… what’s wrong with the explanation put forth by EVRYONE here on why you are wrong… you can’t.. Thought so troll… sad old man… at least no one really listens to you…

    You call your self a scientist but cannot even read a graph properly.

    You make ridiculous assumptions from 2 days of weather… sad, very sad.

  35. Lank: It doesn’t matter how often you assert that temperatures have been “falling since 1998”, it remains untrue.

    And rather than look at a site devoted to promoting sceptical nonsense, I would prefer to reference the UK Met Office:

    • Global warming has not stopped.
    • Natural climate variations temporarily enhance or reduce observed warming

    Pay particular attention to the graph on that page.

  36. Thank you for your response Gareth.
    I did indeed mean change of salinity in the Arctic Ocean. Slipped up did I…
    My question was prompted by the thought that if the Arctic has become less saline, it would tend to freeze up quickly even if temperatures aren’t as cold as in the past.

  37. Ken and Vincent are a litmus test.

    Vincent is an “expert” at icecap. Vincent is wrong. Therefore anyone who trusts icecap should be wary. Ken’s “work” invalidates that of another “expert” at icecap (de Freitas). Even your experts can not agree and dare not criticise each other.

    You have already said you have read Gray and Ring. Why should I link to them?

  38. Gareth – thanks interesting link but the UK Met office forgot some of the ‘more recent data’. If you would like to up date the graph (at least to July), and add some of the IPCC ‘predictions’ it looks like this:

    Doug – “Vincent is wrong” – because? you say so? Why not ask your contributors to read the work and offer comment/decide for themselves (post the links for us here!)- wouldn’t that be better than your ‘don’t read thier work they are wrong’ attitude.

  39. Gareth – thanks interesting link but the UK Met office forgot some of the ‘more recent data’.

    When you graph annual averages, it’s normal to wait to the end of the year before deciding what that year’s figure might be.

    Are you asserting that the Met Office is wrong? If so, why?

  40. My question was prompted by the thought that if the Arctic has become less saline, it would tend to freeze up quickly even if temperatures aren’t as cold as in the past.

    The same thought had occurred to me, but there are other things to consider. Increasing areas of open ocean in late summer could reduce stratification by mixing the surface layers through wind/wave action. As I said earlier – best to ask an expert…

  41. Hang on a minute Gareth, the Met office uses a linear best fit line, not a polynomial best fit line, if Lank wants to cherry pick data, why would he accept any scientific evidence?

  42. Lank, do you expect me to take your word – or the word of some random web page – over that of the Met Office? Are you saying they are wrong? If so, why?

  43. Come come Lank,
    I ask again: Do *you* think Vincent is right?
    Your comments refer to a global temperature. Vincent says this is not possible to measure. What is your take on this inconsistency? What about Ken Ring and the mismatch with de Freitas?

    As for a link. Why goodness me have you forgotten already that Gareth devoted a post to this?

  44. “Gareth, I think Sonny’s point was that just using the post-2002 data to derive an average gives a very different picture than using the last 30 years data.”

    Pretty much that, but what fascinates me is the – perfectly valid – methodology of redefining an average by imputing updated data, the effect (if not deliberate intent) of which is to change perception of what is acceptable. This is relevant insofar is it has the potential to influence public policy.

    I’m still waiting for a copy of Lank’s thesis, or a link to where it can be obtained. Until I’ve read it, I wouldn’t consider commenting on his posts, which are themselves studies in cognitive dissonance. I state this because cognitive estrangement was central to my thesis (a copy of which I’m more than happy to produce).


  45. Lank, you asked for feedback on the strange piece from Jennifer Marohasy about marine life around CO2 vents. OK, here goes.

    The existence of specialised assemblages of marine life around deep-sea vents and other chemically unusual places is very well known, and not in the least surprising (you undoubtedly know about the existence of extremophiles that live in geothermal areas and so on). But it is totally illogical, and in the context of your agenda here, dishonest, to imply that they have any relevance for ecosystem health
    on a wider scale.. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about as logical as observing abundant seagrass around a sewage outfall and concluding that sewage is good for aquatic environments.

    I did follow the link you provided, to Jennifer Marohasy’s site. And who should she cite in support of her theory that CO2 is actually rather good for the oceans but Floor Anthoni? Floor is completely deluded and – to be charitable – doesn’t have a good grasp of basic marine science at all (lots of parallels to Ken Ring there). He’s never had any of his work published and has no, and I mean no, credibility among marine scientists. He doesn’t understand the carbonic acid/bicarbonate/carbonate equilibrium system in seawater and concluded – in opposition to every oceanography textbook that I’ve ever read – that adding increasing levels of CO2 to the oceans actually increases the amount of carbonate. Wrong. Drastically wrong.

  46. Still waiting for Lank to explain how it is possible to have a global temperature as per icecap graph when the icecap expert Vincent Gray says this is impossible.

  47. Carol – thanks for your comments. This is not a geothermal area and I expect that water temperature will be similar both close and distal to the fumeroles. Also, sulphur, basemetal etc levels will be normal. This type of fumerole is not uncommon and probably contributes significant amounts of natural, new CO2 to the atmosphere.
    I have no idea of Floor Antony’s work – if he truely believes that “increasing levels of CO2 to the oceans actually increases the amount of carbonate” I suspect that he is on the fringe. My point of the photos was that by dramatically increasing CO2 levels (relatively constant normal temperatures and no metals or sulphur), local seawater communities are not wiped out – they appear to adapt very smartly and in this case thrive. I cannot understand why this sort of occurrence isn’t the topic of detailed study (perhaps it is – do you have any links to work on natural communities near fumeroles? and the amount of CO2 they may add to our environment?). Why doesn’t this result in coral bleaching as we are told will happen with higher atmospheric/water levels of CO2.

    Jonno – I’m not sure of your point.

    Doug – Ask Vincent Gray. I only linked to Icecap and have never had anything to to with Vincent Gray!
    I’m still waiting for you to tell me why the plots on this non-Icecap link are not correct…..ince-1995/
    How could you interprete the graphs on this site as ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming?

    fragment – please tell readers what YOUR definition of a type II error in statistics is – I am waiting with baited breath!.

  48. I am waiting with baited breath!

    Another fishing expedition…

    The graph you link to may or may not show the correct data. It’s difficult to tell, but the article accompanying it doesn’t inspire confidence. In any event, it tells you nothing about current trends. The Met Office article does.

    So, do you think the Met Office is wrong? If so, why?

  49. Actually, Lank, it turns out that work has been carried out on marine communities near CO2 vents – and is published in ‘Nature’, no less [let’s assume you’re enough of a scientist to understand how prestigious this is]. The paper is entitled ‘Volcanic carbon dioxide vents show ecosystem effects of ocean acidification’.

    And guess what? Increased pCO2 is associated with reduced biodiversity. Your untutored eye may assume that marine life thrives, but if the question is approached with scientific rigour, it just ain’t so.

    Now, I do hope you’ll forward this reference on to Jennifer.

  50. I find great comfort in knowing that high concentrations of CO2 around deep sea vents is beneficial to life.

    Human life…….well, that’s another story (It’s life Jim, but not as we know it!)

  51. Thank you, Lank, for steering readers here – inadvertently it must be said – towards this very interesting recent research on the effects of ocean acidification. This is Dr Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Plymouth describing the work:

    “Our field studies provide a window on the future of the oceans in a high CO2 world. We show the dramatic ecological consequences of ocean acidification including the removal of corals, snails and sea urchins and the proliferation of invasive alien algae.”

    It’s only beneficial if you’re an alien invasive alga, Andrew (actually that alliterates nicely).

  52. Lank, I don’t need to ask Vincent. I know he is a deluded fool. (Did you read that stuff about creationists? That was embarrassing). You are the one who links to a site where Gray is one of the resident “experts” and asks us to accept what they say.

    I ask *you* to explain why you say one thing about a global temperature and one of the “experts”, Gray, says this is wrong and impossible. That is: Why do you believe some of what they say at icecap but not all. What is your criteria for assessing the reliability?

    I ask for your own personal opinion of Gray (and Ring). If you don’t feel qualified to answer then why do you feel qualified to assess so much other evidence?

    Oh how the mighty have fallen if the best gig you can get now is here.

  53. Lank, when say things like “no significant increase in temperature”, are you referring to statistical significance? If so, can you tell us over what period of time data would be required in order to have a decent chance of detecting a statistically significant trend if one actually exists?

  54. Carol – Many thanks for that paper which I haven’t seen and was very interested to read. I will certainly forward it to other interested persons.
    It does raise the question of just how many ‘natural’ CO2 vents there are. I personally have seen many on-land examples near Melbourne, Australia (Daylesford-Hepburn area when CO2 fumeroles are releasing into groundwater). There the water is collected and bottled as carbonated drinking water. They also use the waters to bathe. They do that in NZ too don’t they (Hamner Springs?). Where these CO2 vents release directly into the atmosphere they often go un-noticed. Many are not related to volcanic activity and usually do not have elevated basemetals, sulphur or salts. I wonder just what contribution that this type of venting makes to increasing atmospheric CO2 – any comments?

    Doug – You really dont like Gray and Ring do you? I ask you the same question about Al Gore – why do you believe some of what he says and not all? Or do you believe all of what he says?

    In any event many members of the American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists certainly don’t . The APS has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that “many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.” Are you an APS member Doug?

    This ‘gig’ can’t be that bad – you seem to contibute regularly or have you fallen too?

  55. fragment – I agree with Gareth that there has been an average increase of approximately 0.7 degrees centigrade per century over the last plus 200 years and this is not caused by mankind but is a natural warming phase. During the last ten years there has been no significant increase in temperature that can be attributed to so called green house gas emmissions despite constant rises in atmospheric CO2. You tell me how many more years, decades, centuries are needed to disprove your AGW theory.

  56. Gareth – Many members of the American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists certainly seem to think the Met office is wrong. But then there is your book – it seems to contradict a large number of professional earth scientists. Do you know better than professional earth scientists?

  57. The American Physical Society’s policy statement on climate change says:

    The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

    If you had read my book you would see that it is carefully researched, written with the cooperation of leading scientists in NZ and around the world, and reflects the best available information. The foreword is by Jim Renwick, a NIWA scientist and IPCC AR4 lead author. If I’d got stuff wrong, I think he’d have noticed…

    So, do you personally think the Met Office is wrong?

  58. Lank, do you mean to say that you believe some of what Gray and Ring say but not all of it? Please tell us what bits are right and what bits are wrong. I am fascinated that you have avoided answering this question for so very long.

  59. Gareth – yes that was almost 12 months ago…. “Adopted by Council on November 18, 2007”. Seems like many members have changed their minds since then. I guess that just shows during the last 12 months many APS members have decided that AGW theory is incorrect.
    If you are shown to have ‘got stuff wrong’ in your book will you write a retraction?
    The reason I am hesitant to believe the Met graphs (from public servants with a vested interest) is because of recent fraud by NASA who in the past have displayed a graph of United States temperature from 1880 up to 1999. Recent plots of the same data are quite different. It seems that they falsify data to fit their cause. What do you think? Did you use the NASA data in your book?

    Doug – Your question is very general – please just tell me what ‘bits’ that you would like to hear my opinion on.

  60. Seems like many members have changed their minds since then
    Nope. That’s wishful thinking on your part. Here’s the background, and this what the Newsletter now says:

    The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” The statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society that, “There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution” does not represent the views of the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society.

    My book will be updated as and when two conditions are fulfilled – 1. the publisher reprints, and 2. the facts change. No sign of #1 yet, sadly, but there’s plenty of updating to be done, but none of it involves softening the principal conclusions, handily summarised in “13 facts” above.

    It seems that they falsify data to fit their cause. What do you think?

    I think you’re talking out of your posterior orifice. You are suggesting that there’s some vast institutional conspiracy to change data to support some sort of agenda (don’t tell me, I can guess). That puts you well into La-la Land, I’m afraid.

  61. Gareth – you say “this what the Newsletter now says” but your link is back in July. Many MEMBERS of the American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists do not agree with this July 08 statement from the Executive Committee. What do you find hard to understand about that?

    I’m not suggesting a ‘conspiracy’ but I am clearly showing that NASA have produced very ‘misleading’ graphs. Is this just an error or have NASA done this on purpose? – their latest ‘interpretation’ of the data certainly suggests a stronger warming trend but the 1999 plot this is not so clear – in any event it hardly looks like runaway global warming despite steady increases in atmospheric CO2. What do you think?

    What is La-la land? I’m not up to that chapter in your book yet.

  62. Lank, You refer us to a graph at icecap for a global temperature. One of the “experts” at icecap, Vincent, has said elsewhere that this is impossible to measure.

    So: Is Vincent right about a global temperature? If so it seems your claims about no warming since 1998 must be invalid. If Vincent is wrong, and he is an “expert” at icecap, then why should we believe anything by anyone there? The other “experts” are obviously also flawed if they failed to spot this.

    Ken Ring says that ozone is so much heavier than air that it settles quickly. Chis de Freitas, another “expert” at icecap, has published about the transport dynamics of ozone that has manifestly not settled quickly. So: Is Ken right about ozone?

  63. Gareth – by throwing insults instead of answering a couple of straight forward questions says more about your character than mine.

    Doug – I have linked to several graphs in Icecap which show average temperatures reported by others. Can you define ‘global temperatures’ or at least link me to where Vincent claims they are impossible to measure? Satellite data seem to give repeatable measurements on average temperatures and I can see no reason not to use these.
    Again, I ask you the same question about Al Gore – why do you believe some of what he says and not all? Or do you believe all of what he says? Just because he is wrong on AGW, I can’t see why we should discount all that he says.

    I found the De Freitas work on ozone well thought out.

  64. Gareth (#69) – This is one reason why I don’t believe that the ‘professional atmospheric scientists’ in the Met office have much credibility. About a month after they forecast the coming winter as “likely to be milder than average”
    snow fell in London for the first October day in 70 years!
    and it has been very very cold ever since. If they can’t forecast a month ahead how can we trust them with the next few years?

  65. Does that mean you think Ken Ring is wrong?
    When and where did I say anything about Gore?
    You say you have read Gray. You know what he says about global temperatures.

    Why the reluctance to honestly say Vincent Gray and Ken Ring are deluded fools? It does not automatically mean everything else you say is wrong but your continued refusal to deal with these issues shows your judgement is poor.

  66. Doug – Ken Ring may not be correct but he introduces some ‘interesting’ concepts. Why are you so vehemently opposed to anyone who disagrees with you or AGW – surely this is not a sensible approach. If you are a scientist seeking answers you should consider all arguments regardless if they disagree with what you think – some may have merit, be partly correct or add to current knowledge.

    To claim that “my judgement is poor” because I do not say Vincent Gray and Ken Ring are ‘deluded fools’ is a bit over the top. You may well be inclined to put Al Gore and his AGW deciples in that category. Do you believe some of what Al Gore says and not all? Or do you believe all of what he says? Why are you so reluctant to answer these simple questions – yes or no will do?

  67. Lank, you repeat yourself in saying no significant warming for ten years, rather than responding to my questions about precisely what you mean by that. I repeat, are you referring to statistical significance? And if so over what period of time would the data be required in order to have a decent chance of detecting a statistically significant trend if one actually exists? These aren’t idle questions, they are the very least we need to establish in order to make objective statements about global temperature trends on the basis of the temperature records.

  68. Lank (#79), in what way is the UK Met Office’s probabalistic forecast for December,January and February compromised by a cold weather outbreak in the last week of October? Has it really been “very,very cold ever since”? Nope.

  69. Nick,

    Hello from Blackpool, UK.

    2 days ago I was in a T-shirt all day, no jacket when stepping out of the office or going to/from work. This morning 07:19 having a cig at my back door, in a T-shirt. On my way to work had to take off the light jacket – too hot.

    Aside from the cold snap last week, mild. Now 10degC through the night! November 24 hr average for 1981-90 is 7degC!

    Lank’s wrong again. Anyone surprised?

    Live Blackpool Airport Weather:
    Blackpool average.

    Now for a lunchtime coffee and cig – in a T-shirt…..

  70. “Why are you so vehemently opposed to anyone who disagrees with you or AGW – surely this is not a sensible approach.”

    Look troll… it’s because yours or anyone else’s evidence DOES NOT stack up. The evidence shows that AGW is REAL (not matter how much kicks you get out of trolling) and that humans need to change their behavior or else we may cause catastrophic effects within MY life time (you thankfully will be dead by then)… doing something about it is the ‘sensible approach and idiots like you who get joy in being such a fool should be vehemently opposed”.

    With the recent US election, let’s hope that the US will do their part now and fools like Lark will just fade of into the background.

  71. Lank, your failure to identify Gray and Ring as deluded is precisely the point.

    You refer to a global temperature at icecap. One of their “experts”, Gray, says this is impossible. You have therefore used some criteria to decide that Gray is wrong and the other “experts” at icecap are right. I want to know what sort of evidence convinced you Gray was wrong so that I may then construct an argument using similar quality evidence to discuss your other claims.

    You have said Gray was right about some things but imply he is wrong about a global temperature. What parts is he right about? Is it the creationist argument?

    Name one interesting concept that Ring introduces? (Interesting in other than a laugh out loud sort of way that is).

  72. Oil shale looks interesting. More info here. I wonder what all those opposing windfarms in Central Otago would think of the godawful mess an oil shale operation would produce. As far as emissions go, if that novel process works out I guess it wouldn’t be as horrible as it could be, but it’s still all about fossil fuels rather than moving to alternatives as much as possible. But unless and until the ETS becomes actually effective, the incentives are still going to favour this kind of fossil fuel exploitation.

    I might have to go wander up that valley before it’s ruined. See if I can find some Lake Manuherikia fossils before they’re cooked into petrol.

  73. Gareth, The Maori party sent me a whole bunch of information about their environment and energy policy, including views on the ETS. I’m happy to forward it your way.

  74. oil shale
    the dirtiest form of fuel – even dirtier than coal, in climate terms.

    Greenpeace UK did a recent report on BP and Shell’s investments in oil sands (related to shale – I think shale is actually dirtier, emissions-wise)…

    worth a look.

    moreover, they haven’t actually managed to nail down the technology which would extract oil from shale. There were big efforts in Australia (Gladstone) for a while, but Greenpeace Australia got it shut down on climate terms. As with a recent effort near the Great Barrier reef – for even more obvious reasons (erm, threats to the reef!).

    Ripping apart the Remarkables for a climate-killing fuel? well, I guess under a National Govt with its promised revisions to the RMA, it might get the go-ahead…

  75. I may be misremembering, but there may be some hope that it will be possible to “cook” the shale in situ, allowing oil extraction without huge mining operations. Still not good in CO2 terms – or in energy return (more energy in than you get back).

    Carol: If you can email, then yes please!

  76. These Xtract people are claiming their process is less emissions intensive and more energy efficient than traditional oil shale extraction… but they would say that, wouldn’t they? The best way for us to be sure is for carbon to have a cost.

  77. Xtract people will claim anything.
    oil shale extraction is an unproven process, so far, in my understanding.

    what we DO know is that it’s very, very dirty, very high on both greenhouse gas emissions and all sorts of other toxic wastes associated. It would need huge supplies of water – and presumably that water, now laden with heavy metals, etc, would find its way back – erm – into the Kawarau? Lake Wakatipu?

    Here’s another briefing – from GP Australia (old – 2003) but still relevant.

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