There has been some unusual weather in the Arctic again and it's even captured the attention of deniers. Arctic ice watcher, Neven, has been keeping a close eye on arctic cyclones and their impact, aided by other people who have built up some knowledge in the subject. They are wondering if these sort of events will happen more often than they used to. Earlier this year, in early spring, Arctic sea ice was at record low levels for that time of the year. It's not kept this place however it is still very low, being currently the third lowest on record for the time of year, just above 2007.
Anthony Watts is a blogging climate conspiracy theorist who tries to downplay climate change. He has built up a reputation in the dim corners of the internet for promoting "climate hoax" conspiracy theories and "ice age cometh" articles. Yes, even this year, during the hottest decade on record, and what will probably be the third in a row hottest year on record, and after ten "hottest months" on record, and the hottest ever month on record. As the world heats up relentlessly, deniers are looking crazier and crazier.
Today Anthony is trying to paint normal people concerned about climate change as wanting it to happen. As if! Why the heck does he think that climate hawks are urging mitigation if they want more global warming? If that's what we wanted, we'd be keeping quiet about what's happening - or promoting "climate hoax" conspiracy theories like Anthony does. His headline was "The ‘Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016’ turned out to be not so great for sea ice doomsters" (archived here), though he might have jumped the gun (as he's done before). Today Anthony wrote:
People that want to see Arctic sea ice reach new lows, so that they can shout things like “See, told you! Climate change!” were banking on it to bring sea ice extent to new record scarcity, accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth, while secretly grinning to themselves “take that, deniers”. It’s a strange bunch of people, in my view, that rally around wanting to see such things happen.He just made that up. He and his mob are the ones who, by their actions, want to "see such things happen", not climate hawks.
That wasn't the worst of his article though. People who've followed Anthony's blog "wattsupwiththat" have noticed that he's not very good at statistics, chart reading or even simple arithmetic. He put up a chart from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and wrote:
So far, NSIDC hasn’t shown much of an impact from the GAC16, and in the last couple of days, ice has upticked slightly as it regrouped (magnified inset mine):Here's a live link to the NSIDC chart (which will update):
|Figure 1 | Arctic sea ice extent 2015. The grey area is +/- 2 standard deviations from the 1981-2010 average. Source: NSIDC|
I think, though Anthony doesn't say so, his GAC16 stands for Great Arctic Cyclone 2016. That happened in the past few days, then it died down, and now it's geared up again (though Anthony doesn't seem to know that). His chart, probably unbeknownst to Anthony, shows that currently the Arctic sea ice extent is more than two standard deviations below the average that of 1981-2010. That's a very recent 30 year period, stopping only six years ago. So much has happened even in six years.
Below is a snippet from the NSIDC's interactive version, blown up, so you can see the ice extent compared to recent years, including the three years that had the lowest ice extent on record.
|Figure 2 | Arctic sea ice extent for recent years. Source: NSIDC|
The grey area is the bottom of the 2σ curve. 2012 was the year of the lowest sea ice extent. This year is currently between the second and third lowest - 2007 and 2015 respectively.
There are other organisations that report the status of Arctic sea ice, with charts and maps:
- Cryosphere Today (which has a lot of detail of what's happening in different seas in the Arctic) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- the National Institute of Polar Research
- the Danish Meteorological Institute
- the Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System (Arctic ROOS)
- the University of Bremen daily AMSR2 sea ice maps.
The Arctic is warming faster than any other latitude on the planet. Below is a chart from NASA showing the 2015 temperature by latitude as the difference from the 1951 to 1980 mean. The Arctic is to the right.
|Figure 3 | Land and sea surface temperature change by latitude, 2015. The baseline is 1951-1980. Source: GISS NASA|
Since I haven't posted on the Arctic for a while, it won't hurt to again put up the chart showing just how much the sea ice has shrunk over the medium term - since the 1950s. Place the cursor over the chart to see the values each September.
There are all sorts of ramifications with Arctic warming and sea ice disappearing. It affects ocean currents, marine life and, of course, with less ice there's less reflection of the summer sun so the seas get warmer. That's a positive feedback effect.
Anthony couldn't resist referring to Peter Wadhams, who has made rather extravagant predictions of the speed of the melt. Pity he got his name wrong, but that's Anthony.
What is obvious is that Anthony is oblivious to what is happening and the changes this will bring, sooner as well as later, because he wrote at the end of his article:
Sad when nature just won’t kowtow to the doomsters, isn’t it? But, human history is fraught with visionaries who said impeding doom is right around the corner. It’s a lifestyle choice I suppose.Dumb as a dim denier!
From the WUWT comments
One of these days I'll be tempted to waste a few hours looking at how many of Anthony's fans are obsessed with money. Kenw seems to view climate change through a distorted $$ lens, like many of his fellow "climate hoax" conspiracy theorists:
August 23, 2016 at 10:39 am
… “It’s a lifestyle choice I suppose.”
One that can pay extremely well….
It looks as if Robert Austin is awake to the recent changes in Arctic sea ice (see Figure 4 above):
August 23, 2016 at 2:20 pm
1981 to 2010 average = normal? The only thing normal about that average is that it is comprised of a large subset of the short set of satellite era data.
NavarreAggie wants the "entire" set of data. Does he or she know that would make the difference much greater?
August 24, 2016 at 4:53 am
This always bothered me. Why not used the ENTIRE data set to determine the “baseline” average, then update that baseline as each new year of data is added? Instead, we’ve artificially chosen a subset of the data to represent some “normal” condition. How do we know that particular subset doesn’t represent “abnormal” conditions? Truly shoddy work.
The word I think of when I read this comment from RWturner is deluded. Other words might occur to you.
August 23, 2016 at 10:40 am
Looks like that major increase in ice volume over the past few years does make a difference. In line with Archibald’s post yesterday, the trend in now cooling and the ice volume will continue its saw-tooth ascent back towards “normal.”
Salvatore Del Prete is an ice age comether from way back. This is probably going to be the third in a row "hottest year on record" and his contorted brain thinks "the cooling has began (sic)".
August 23, 2016 at 10:53 am (excerpt)
The AGW enthusiast are grasping at straws it is over for them. I am being rather bold in making this statement but the cooling has began and it started when the recent El NINO ended and now we have to see how it evolves.
Chimp wonders why less ice is bad. It's the speed of the change that's the main problem. People living in the Arctic can't get around and can't harvest trees (the ice roads are too slushy), fires have taken hold in Siberia and Alaska, coastal towns are falling into the sea because there's no ice to hold back the storms eroding the shoreline, the changes affect weather in places distant from the Arctic too - etc. etc.
August 23, 2016 at 11:50 am
Why less ice is bad and more ice good is a bit of mystery, anyway.
Neither polar bears nor their ringed seal prey are the least bit endangered. A NW Passage clear in summer would be a good thing, would it not?
There are lots more where those came from - like this comment from SAMURAI, who is a hard core science denier and fantasist. But that's enough for now.
References and further reading
Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog - an excellent resource from an amateur, recommended by experts
Meier, W. N., Stroeve, J., Barrett, A., and Fetterer, F.: "A simple approach to providing a more consistent Arctic sea ice extent time series from the 1950s to present," The Cryosphere, 6, 1359-1368, doi:10.5194/tc-6-1359-2012, 2012. doi:10.5194/tc-6-1359-2012(open access)
- A longer view of Arctic sea ice: 1953 to now - March 2016
- Anthony Watts sticks his neck out and predicts La Niña - March 2016
- La Niña or no, nada? - June 2016 - where Anthony claims there already is La Niña (there isn't)