Some people will put down the disinformation spread by Anthony Watts to him being plain dumb and ignorant. Others will say that he's not really as dumb as he looks and sounds, he's just deceitful and has made a business out of conning the ignorant.
I don't know where on the idiot-liar scale Anthony Watts lies.
These past couple of days Anthony Watts has:
- Complained that responsible journalists don't go to flat earthers for science
- Failed ocean chemistry
- Failed surface temperatures 101
Now he's claiming (archived here) that John Cook at SkepticalScience.com said that Antarctic sea ice is the result of the Southern Ocean getting warmer. He even linked to the web page where John Cook gave the following reasons for the increase in Antarctic sea ice:
- the drop in ozone levels over Antarctica, resulting in stronger winds, which creates polynas, which freeze up and add to sea ice.
- a change in ocean circulation with top layer of the ocean being colder and fresher, which freezes more easily than more saline water at the same temperature. It's colder at the top because of more snow and rain as a result of warmer air temperatures.
In other words, the article attributes the increase in sea ice not to a warmer sea surface. It's attributed to two things - the ozone hole, which could cause an increase in sea ice even without global warming; and the change in ocean circulation as a result of global warming, with a cooling of the sea surface.
Nowhere did John Cook say that there was more sea ice because the sea surface is warmer. Nor did he claim that the sea surface is warmer. The ocean is undoubtedly warmer at depth where it's melting WAIS, but not necessarily on the surface. (The warmer subsurface is what is melting a lot of ice in West Antarctica.)
Yet Anthony puts up another of Bob Tisdales many charts of sea surface temperature. In fact, that chart supports, not refutes, the skepticalscience.com article. It shows the sea surface getting colder. That's exactly how John Cook described it when he wrote about the top layer getting colder and fresher.
The other thing is that you may recall that there was a recent paper suggesting that heat content of the top layers of the oceans in the southern hemisphere has been underestimated. That in the upper 700 metres, the oceans have been getting warmer than was previously estimated. That doesn't mean that the surface has been. It doesn't refute that notion of warmer waters beneath the surface, while around the Antarctic continent the surface is colder and fresher. Not everywhere in the southern hemisphere,, but just around the continent itself.
As you probably know, the global average sea surface temperatures have been hitting record highs.
Exploring sea ice in around is still an area of active research, which has been touched on here before. More than twenty years ago, some scientists proposed that sea ice around Antarctica would not decrease in the short term and may increase. Manabe et al 1991 states:
...in response to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the excess of precipitation over evaporation increases, and surface salinity is reduced in high latitudes as noted in section 8. Thus, the static stability of the near-surface water increases and the convective mixing of cold surface water with the relatively warm subsurface water is reduced, thereby contributing to the reduction of sea surface temperature in the Circumpolar Ocean. This is why sea surface temperature hardly changes and sea ice slightly increases near the Antarctic Continent in response to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In the C02 reduction experiment, the opposite processes involving the increase in surface salinity and enhanced convective overturning of surface water prevents the cooling of sea surface temperature.That's pretty much the point that John Cook made in his article at skepticalscience.com. And guess how the scientists arrived at their conclusion. Yep, from modeling studies.
Anthony Watts tells a lie (another one)
Here is what Anthony Watts wrote:
According to John Cook, Antarctic sea ice has been expanding because the Southern Ocean is getting warmer.
Except, as you can see, John Cook didn't say any such thing.
Warmer beneath the surface
Parts of the Southern Ocean may be getting warmer, but lots of the surface is getting colder and fresher, which is causing ice to form. You may remember this article about Golledge et al (2014) (my emphasis):
The research published in Nature Communications found that in the past, when ocean temperatures around Antarctica became more layered - with a warm layer of water below a cold surface layer - ice sheets and glaciers melted much faster than when the cool and warm layers mixed more easily.
This defined layering of temperatures is exactly what is happening now around the Antarctic.
The modelling shows the last time this occurred, 14,000 years ago, the Antarctic alone contributed 3-4 metres to global sea levels in just a few centuries.
Note: "A warm layer of water below a cold surface layer."
Let me add that the warmer subsurface layers may indeed be one of the factors that is causing more sea ice. As the land ice melts, the cold fresh water flows into the sea, it stays on the sea surface and more easily forms ice.
So there could be three factors contributing to the expansion of sea ice around Antarctica:
- Warmer ocean subsurface is melting land ice, which means more cold water on the sea surface, which freezes more easily.
- The ozone hole causing stronger winds, blowing the sea ice and creating polynas, which freeze up and spreads the ice further.
- The warmer air temperatures means more precipitation which cools the sea surface and makes it freeze more easily.
Ignorance or deception from WUWT?
Anthony then says:
He also claims that anyone thinking more ice is due to colder conditions is “ignorant”.And that would be correct. In fact the SkS headline is as apt today as it was when the article was written in 2010:
Then Anthony wrongly writes:
He forgets that some of us know how to check the data.
Except Anthony doesn't know how to check the data against the facts. Or if he does, he hides it well. The fact is that when the surface cools and gets fresher, more ice will form. Exactly as Manabe et al suggested and exactly as John Cook himself wrote.
Again, one speculates whether Anthony Watts is just dumb ignorant or is he knowingly deceiving his readers. He would know by now that most of his readers are wilfuly ignorant. They want to be ignorant. They would never check to find out that Anthony Watts is just making up stuff.
From the WUWT comments
Robert Clark is wrong. There are indeed warmer ocean currents under the surface. That's what's melting the ice sheets in Antarctica.
October 21, 2014 at 10:05 am
This is a *majorly* important fact. Climate scientists have been scratching their heads trying to figure out why sea ice is increasing around Antarctica while the southern ocean temperatures are “warming”. Well, the answer is they have not been warming.
Somehow AGW supporters have been so focused on supporting their theory they forgot to follow what the data was actually saying.
October 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm
More likely most “climate scientists” don’t say anything or chalk it up as a mystery. Ocean warming sounds more like a climate activist “explanation”.
John should look in the mirror:
October 21, 2014 at 10:09 am
Don’t these “warmists” get embarassed when they’re proven wrong nearly all the time?
There is too much stupid in the comments. I didn't read them all. What I did read bore out what you and I know to be so. WUWT readers are fake sceptics. They didn't read the SkS article or if anyone did, they didn't tell anyone that Anthony Watts got it woefully wrong.
Manabe, Syukaro, R. J. Stouffer, M. J. Spelman, and Ke Bryan. "Transient responses of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part I. Annual mean response." Journal of Climate 4, no. 8 (1991): 785-818. (link to paper)
N. R. Golledge, L. Menviel, L. Carter, C. J. Fogwill, M. H. England, G. Cortese & R. H. Levy "Antarctic contribution to meltwater pulse 1A from reduced Southern Ocean overturning." Nature Communications 5, Article number: 5107 (2014) doi:10.1038/ncomms6107