The great Peter Sinclair puts Arctic sea ice in context:
Posts Tagged: arctic
Dive right in:
- Sustainability: Choices, choices, choices – great piece by the BBC’s Richard Black.
- Matt Ridley and the Holocene Optimum – Matt Ridley making elementary mistakes again, you’d think he has some sort of wider agenda. Oh, he has.
- Could global brightening be causing global warming? – short answer: unfortunately not.
- A brief update on hurricanes & climate change – was Al Gore right to focus so much on hurricanes?
- Some excitable climate deniers just don’t understand what science is – “The essential problem is that the public — the media very much included — generally doesn’t understand science. Most of us think science is a list of absolutely certain facts that are not open for debate. If a theory is on the list, it’s not debatable and we should act on it; if it’s not, it is debatable and we should not act on it. As a result, scientists often find it hard to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. If they speak scientifically, they have to acknowledge that even though most scientists have come to a conclusion they are reasonably confident is true, there is continued uncertainty and debate. But if they do that, people will think the conclusion isn’t yet a scientific fact — and we shouldn’t act on it.”
- Massaging the Climate Message: New Political Conditions Bring Shifting Strategies – how the climate discourse is shifting, in the US at least.
- Only mother nature knows how to fertilize the ocean – more research needed, but yet another reason not to heavily rely on bio-sequestration.
- Investors step up climate change demands – follow the money.
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- Climate Change: A Threat to Global Security. US & UK Defense agree. – “I am struck by how similar UK and U.S. thinking is on the national security implications of climate change. Our defense departments agree that the impact of climate change is likely to be most severe in areas where it coincides with other stresses, such as poverty, demographic growth, and resource shortages: areas through which much of the world’s trade already passes.”
- A Superstorm for Global Warming Research – a terrible terrible piece from Der Spiegel, who are usually pretty good at science reporting. Two of the authors have previously written some very misleading and inaccurate articles on climate change. Watch this space for updates…
- Visualizing Arctic Sea Ice Extent Trends – “If you find yourself asking “what about … or what happens when…”, it’s probably time to make another chart that directly addresses your new “compared to what” question. Don’t expect one chart to answer multiple questions.”
- Arctic ice recovers from the great melt – Wow, a semi-decent piece by Jonathan Leake! Apart from wrongly attributing the recent ‘spurt’ in ice growth to the Arctic Oscillation (it was more likely just a response to changes in regional atmospheric circulation) it’s a measured and almost insightful piece… is something weighing on his mind perhaps?
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- Scientists hash out the uncertainties of climate sensitivity – Here’s some great science journalism, climate sensitivity made fun (almost!).
- Methane bubbling out of Arctic Ocean – but is it new? Great piece by New Scientist on the Arctic permafrost and the uncertainties inherent in any ‘new’ scientific discovery.
- Debunking Lomborg, the Climate-Change Skeptic – Turns out Bjorn Lomborg really is the T-2000 of climate denial world: younger, smarter, stronger, more sophisticated. But essentially still a destructive machine sent from the future…
- Texan Scientists: On global warming, the science is solid – We need more scientists doing this sort of thing, regional and local newspapers are really important!
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- RealClimate | IPCC errors: facts and spin
- Defusing the Methane Greenhouse Time Bomb: Scientific American
- Richard Alley’s keynote at the 2009 AGU AGM – If you want a primer on the role of CO2 in the ancient climate, this is it.
- At least one journalist at the Telegraph understands risk
- More Grumbine Science: Cloud-temperature feedback – Great run through of cloud feedbacks, what we do know & what we don’t.
- A Historian Looks ‘Back’ at the Climate Fight – Dot Earth Blog – “But this was the first time the media reported that an entire community of scientists had been accused of actual dishonesty. Such claims, if directed for example at a politician on a matter of minor importance, would normally require serious investigation.”
Dive right in:
- PCC Adjudication on Ward vs. Booker – has to be read to be believed! Can you say ‘toothless’.
- What does openness in science mean? Potential problems with open access
- Climate deniers using FOI legisation as a filibuster…
- Earlier glacial melt rate revised downward, but recent melt is accelerating dramatically
- Climate Change Denier ‘Proves’ Climate Change
- Arctic melt to cost up to $24 trillion by 2050: report | Reuters
- Climate change impact of soil underestimated: study – AFP.
- Mark Lynas – Barbarians at the gate
- Pentagon to rank global warming as destabilising force
Thawing permafrost could inject enough carbon into the atmosphere to cook the planet. But nobody’s quite sure how fast it’s going to happen.
Permafrost is a giant cold-storage compost heap, stuffed full of frozen carbon. Just like you chucked out last night’s potato peelings, the planet has chucked out billions of tonnes of dead plants, trees, mammoths and, yes, polar bears, all of which is now happily interred under the Arctic wastes.
The difference is that while your compost heap ticks over at a nice warm temperature, breaking down the potato peelings into compost, the frozen ground which makes up permafrost stops that organic stew of Arctic flora and fauna from decomposing, safely locking up the carbon stored in it.
I say ‘safely locking up’ because from the point of view of creating human civilisation, permafrost has been pretty handy. While the permafrost has been permanently frozen, we’ve been busy ekeing out human life, discovering fire, developing agriculture, growing our population. While we’ve been busy nurturing the capabilities that ultimately allow the lucky few to participate in Britain’s Got Talent, the planet’s been watching our backs by keeping this massive store of carbon locked up under the frozen parts of the planet’s surface. Read more
The Arctic Sea Ice Outlook has just been updated for July. It”s based on a synthesis of 16 estimates which utilise a range of different projection methods. They note that there is “no indication that a return to historical levels will occur”.
The full range of estimates range from 4.0-5.2 million square kilometers, the record low in 2007 was around 4.3 million square kilometres (2008 was 4.7). Most estimates therefore fall between the record lows in 2007 and 2008, although they do note that:
There appears to be about a 20% chance of reaching a new minimum in 2009.
Arctic Sea Ice Outlook (July)
On the flip-side, based on their estimates there is a 40% chance of sea-ice coverage being greater than 2008 levels. Even more interestingly, depending on which method you select, the chance of 2009 levels setting a new record is between 5-36%...
To quote from the summary:
The two lowest estimates, 4.0 and 4.2 million square kilometers, would represent a new record minimum. All estimates are well online casino below the 1979–2007 September climatological mean value of 6.7 million square kilometers. The uncertainty / error values, from those groups that provided them, are about 0.4 million square kilometers, thus many of the values essentially overlap.
Although the majority of the responses indicate either persistent conditions or a slight increase over the 2008 sea ice extent, there appears to be about a 20% chance of reaching a new minimum in 2009. The September 2009 extent, as we track it for the rest of the summer, will depend on several factors, including the dynamics of the relatively high levels of thin, first year ice; temperature and wind conditions; and sea level pressure.
The report confirms the importance of first-year ice (FYI):
Multi-year sea ice has been reduced to such low levels that the overall September sea ice extent is largely tied to the fate of the first-year sea ice, which appears thin or with low concentrations away from the central Arctic. Depending on August conditions, much of this first-year sea ice could either melt out by September or survive the summer as a vast expanse of thin sea ice.
Accounting for their low 4 million square kilometre estimate, Rignor et al commented that:
In comparison to 2007 and 2008, there is much more first year (FY) ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in 2009, which we expect to precondition thisarea for a more extensive retreat than in 2007 and 2008.
Place your bets in the comments below, the winner gets a free trip to the PIRC office in sunny Machynlleth, mid-Wales!