Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jim Steele brings the Arctic to Antarctica

Sou | 7:31 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

There's a very odd article at WUWT by Jim Steele about Antarctic sea ice (archived here, latest here). He started off the article saying he'd just read a new paper about Arctic sea ice. The paper, by Neil Swart and colleagues was published in Nature at the end of January.

The introduction to the paper sets the scene:
Internal climate variability can mask or enhance human-induced sea-ice loss on timescales ranging from years to decades. It must be properly accounted for when considering observations, understanding projections and evaluating models.

The scientists were looking at trends in Arctic sea ice in recent years. What they were looking at in particular was the extent to which internal climate variability can affect the trend. That is, how much of the ups and downs in Arctic sea ice could come from internal variability compared to the underlying decline from enhanced greenhouse warming.

The main message from the paper, I think, is that Arctic sea ice decline is not necessarily underestimated by climate models. The recent big dips of 2007 and 2012 could be natural variability. It's difficult to tell.

What is the trend?

The authors described the trends in minimum September ice extent as follows:
Arctic sea-ice extent was lost at a considerably higher rate from 2001–2007 than in the preceding decades (Fig. 1), which caught the attention of scientists and the public alike2. In contrast, from 2007–2013 there was a near-zero trend in observed Arctic September sea-ice extent, in large part due to a strong uptick of the ice-pack in 2013, which has continued into 2014.

I admit at first I thought this way of looking at the ice extent a bit unusual. Particularly when the extent in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded. Here is Figure 1 from the paper, so you can see what I mean. I've written on the chart, the 2012 record low summer minimum.

Figure 1 | Arctic September sea-ice extent anomalies. Sea-ice extent anomaly relative to 1980–2000 from observations (red) and 102 realizations from 31 CMIP5 models (grey), along with the CMIP5 ensemble mean (black). Linear trends are fitted to the observations over 2001–2007 (green) and 2007–2013 (blue). The CMIP5 ensemble mean is calculated such that each model has a weight of 1. Observations extend to 2014.
Source: Swart15

For the rest of the paper the authors were talking about a near zero trend for seven years. Why not look at the trend from 2001 to 2012 I wondered. Why cut it off at 2007? I figured there was a very good reason. What the authors say about it is this (my emphasis):
By deliberately cherry-picking these periods we will demonstrate how using short-term trends can be misleading about longer-term changes, when such trends show either rapid or slow ice loss.

So it looked as if they deliberately but arbitrarily picked the start and end periods to prove a point. It wasn't because they necessarily see a distinct change in trend in 2007. I think that's important. The reason it's important is that deniers are now claiming that Arctic sea ice decline has been flat for seven years, when that's clearly not the case.

Here's a chart of Arctic sea ice minima to show you what I mean. The animation compares the trend from 2006 to 2014 with the trend from 2007 to 2014. Just one year makes all the difference between a positive and negative slope.

Data source: NSIDC U Colorado

The trend accelerated about seventeen years ago

Being a fan of the blog of one of the authors, Ed Hawkins, I decided to pay him a visit and see if he had something more to say on the subject, And I was in luck. He wrote an article just a few days ago. His explanation was rather neat. Ed wrote:
Over the past 35 years, the extent of September sea-ice has reduced by about 35% overall. But, this decline has not been smooth. The linear trend over the second half of this period is larger than over the first half, suggesting an acceleration, and in 2007 and 2012 the summer extent was dramatically lower. 

That cleared up one point for me. That being that the recent linear trend has been steeper than it was in the first 17 years or so of monitoring sea ice extent. In light of that, here are two more charts. This time the comparison is more in line with what Ed wrote about a change in the trend:
  • linear trend over the whole period
  • split trends for the periods 1979 to 1996 and 1997 to 2014.

Data source: NSIDC U Colorado

So it looks to me that neither Ed Hawkins nor his fellow authors are postulating that there has been a zero decline/trend in the past seven years.

Be wary of extrapolating a long term trend from short term dips and bounces

What the paper was exploring, in part, was the possible behaviour of Arctic sea ice as it disappears over the next few decades. In particular, they showed that you cannot judge the long term trend by short term fluctuations - whether they be big dips as occurred in 2007 and 2012, or hikes as has happened in 2013 and 2014. That's the reason they cherry picked specific start and end dates for different trend lines. They were wanting a trend line close to zero and they got one by carefully selecting the start and end year. By starting at a low in 2007 and ending high in 2013, they were able to draw a trend line that was close to zero. But they are not arguing that there was in fact a shift to a zero trend from 2007. (That won't be known for some time yet, if it happens.) This period was picked purely for the sake of the exercise.

Ed made an analogy with a bouncing ball, for which he gave credit to Richard Betts. He wrote:
Imagine a ball bouncing down a bumpy hill. Gravity will ensure that the ball will head downwards. But, if the ball hits a bump at a certain angle it might move horizontally or even upwards for a time, before resuming its inevitable downward trajectory. This bouncing ball is an analogy for the behaviour of Arctic sea-ice. 
That analogy (and my previous interpretations) seem to be confirmed by a chart Ed Hawkins had on his blog, showing how in the short term the September ice extent bounces around. Over the long term though, there is an unmistakable decline:

The paper goes into quite a bit of detail, exploring the extent to which internal variability can affect the growth and decline of Arctic sea ice. Based on their analysis of particular climate model runs, they were able to demonstrate that internal variability could have played quite a part in the recent sharp declines and similarly could, in the future lead to extended "pauses" in the ongoing decline, and bounces.

When will the Arctic be "ice free"?

Ed explains in closing that the Arctic will most probably become ice free sometime in the next thirty five years. He wasn't any more definite than that. He said it depends on emissions, of course. And I got the impression he rejected the notion of an ice free Arctic for at least ten years.  By the way, ice free doesn't really mean no ice. It means less than one million square km of ice in summer.

Ed wrote (my emphasis):
The expected outcome is that the long-term decline in Arctic sea-ice will continue as global temperatures increase. There will be further bounces, both up and down. Individual years will become ice-free sometime in the 2020s, 2030s or 2040s, depending on future greenhouse gas emissions and the natural variations. But, even at the bottom of the hill the ball will continue to bounce – not every year will have zero ice in summer. The bounces will become smaller if global temperatures continue to increase, and other summer and autumn months will also become ice-free. However, in future scenarios with sharp reductions in greenhouse emissions, the Arctic sea-ice recovers slightly as global temperatures decline. 

There is quite a lot to digest in the Nature commentary, helped by Ed's blog article.

Jim Steele misses the point completely

Jim Steele of course didn't understand much at all about the paper. Neither its purpose nor its findings. He wrote:
The paper might be better titled a Statistical Justification For The Pause In Arctic Sea Ice Melt as they concluded, “Thus, pauses in sea-ice loss, such as seen over the past eight years, are not surprising and are fully expected to occur from time to time.” In other words, we should still trust the models and ignore skeptics who cherry-pick the current pause and thickening of sea ice.

Except that if there's a "pause" it's a two season "pause". Not what most people would call a pause. You could say the paper was a gift to ignorant deniers like Jim Steele. Even though right up front the authors say they deliberately cherry-picked those periods, deniers gloss over that and ignore the 2012 record minimum and jump into assuming there really has been a flattening of Arctic sea ice over the past seven years.

Jim Steele is very silly

Jim then went all silly. He wrote (my emphasis):
However the “elephant” mired in the thickening Arctic ice was, if this paper was truly anything more than an excuse for the lack of an Arctic sea ice death spiral, and the “background of long-term radiatively forced sea-ice decline” is a global phenomenon, then why wasn’t their analysis extended to the condition of global sea ice and Antarctica? Why cherry-pick just the Arctic?

Huh? I can see you reading that again and again, thinking I must have misquoted Jim Steele. I didn't. Does he really and truly think that summer ice in the Arctic hasn't already declined a huge amount?  And did he really did expect a paper on Arctic sea ice to be about ice at the opposite end of the world?

One might as well ask: why didn't the authors write about the snows of Kilimanjaro, or precipitation in the Simpson Desert.

It gets much worse than that

Wait for it.

Jim posted a chart from the Nature paper, which showed the probability of a pause as a function of pause length - for Arctic sea ice decline - and, yes - you guessed it. He applied it to sea ice around the continent of Antarctica.

Can you believe it? Yes, you probably can. If you know Jim Steele by reputation then you can accept it only too well. Even if you don't, you probably by now know the reputation for pseudo-science crankery at WUWT. That means you know that it's all too possible for a "guest essayist" to not know the difference between the Arctic and Antarctica.

Jim wrote:
Without access to their models, I can’t directly ascertain their statistical probability of a pause in Antractica’s hypothesized sea ice decline, but their Figure 3B (below) suggests the probability is zero. The black line represents the modeled probabilities of a increasing pause‑lengths based on observational data. A probability of a 30‑year pause (or increase in sea ice) between 1979 and 2013 is clearly zero.
That was just puffing himself up. I doubt he'd be in a position to "ascertain their statistical probability" any more than he could accept climate science. He certainly wouldn't be able to assess the probability of a pause in Antarctica's sea ice decline by looking at their Figure 3B or 3C for several reasons, including:
  1. Figures 3B and 3C relate to the Arctic, not Antarctica
  2. Figure 3B is about the probability of seven year pauses, not 30 year pauses. And, contrary to what Jim wrote, it doesn't show anything with zero probability, although RCP8.5 gets close around 2070
  3. Figure 3C shows that in the Arctic, the probability of a 30 year pause in the Arctic depends on the emissions scenario
  4. Sea ice around Antarctica isn't declining - it's growing.

Jim also misrepresents the charts. The black line in Figure 3C is based on historical RCP4.5 models, not on observations.

Here are Figures 3B and 3C from the paper. I've annotated the charts with the relevant pathway. First Figure 3B, which is about the probability of a seven year pause in the decline of September sea ice in the Arctic, over a 21 year rolling window:

Figure 3 | Probability of a pause in September Arctic sea-ice extent. b, Probability of a 7-year pause over a 21 year rolling window. Source: Swart15

Next Figure 3C, which is about the probability of a thirty year pause in the decline of Arctic summer sea ice. I've similarly put labels on the curves. The future curves relate to probabilities from 2066 to 2100. The historical relates to RCP 4.5 CMIP5 experiment over the period 1979 to 2013.

Figure 3 | Probability of a pause in September Arctic sea-ice extent. c, Probability of a pause as a function of pause length in the Historical-RCP4.5 experiment over 1979–2013 (black), and in the future over 2066–2100 under the RCP2.6 (blue), RCP4.5 (cyan) and RCP8.5 (red) experiments. The horizontal dashed line represents a probability of p = 0.05. A pause is a period with a trend ≥0. Only ice extents ≥1 x 106 km2 are considered.
Source: Swart15

You can read yourself the details of the findings. About Figure 3C, for example, the paper states:
Pause lengths of up to 32 years are seen in the CMIP5 ensemble over 1979—2013, and pauses of 20 years or less occur with p > 0.05. Pauses of longer duration become more likely towards the end of the century under RCP2.6 and RCP4.5 (Fig. 3c). Under RCP2.6, even pauses of 35 years occur with a probability p > 0.4 in the CMIP5 simulations over 2066–2100. Under RCP8.5, pauses of all lengths become less likely over 2066–2100 than they were in the historical period. Clearly the emissions scenario is an important factor in the future evolution of Arctic sea-ice, which we now consider in more detail.

Jim really didn't understand the paper or the charts he showed. He wrote:
Their study was strictly a statistical analysis, independent of the various causes that might be attributed to the changing sea ice patterns at either pole. So it doesn’t matter how many hypothetical reasons may be conjured up to explain Antarctica’s growing sea ice.
Yes, it was a statistical exercise, looking at probabilities. Where Jim went wrong was where he claimed it was "independent of various causes". It wasn't. It was dependent on the known physics and chemistry of climate science, determining internal variability and the greenhouse effect.

The very fact that the charts show various different Representative Concentration Pathways should have told Jim that at least some of the "causes" were considered - that of different greenhouse gas emissions. If he knew anything about the CMIP models then he'd have known that the exercise also accounts for internal variability. The science is built into the models themselves.

Poor Jim. He dived deeply into his mess. It really does look as if he thinks models of the Arctic September sea ice extent can be used for Antarctic sea ice for all years and all months. He put up a monthly chart of Antarctic sea ice and wrote:
Based on their analyses, the models’ inability to predict a 30‑year trend in growing Antarctica sea ice "despite strong anthropogenic forcing", can not be explained by CO2 driven models or random variability. 

Ha. Once again, "their" analysis was of Arctic sea ice, not Antarctic sea ice. They are completely different. Jim wrote that nonsense so he could sound all sciency and say:
As I have argued before Antarctica sea ice growth is a better indicator of climate change and there are very good reasons to believe the loss of Arctic sea ice is better explained by ocean and atmospheric oscillations.

I got curious and wish I hadn't. I'm not about to rebut his very long article. You can read it here if you want to. (If you're not up with the science I wouldn't recommend it. You may not be able to tell the good science from the bad. Jim Steele is not an expert in climate science nor an expert in sea ice. To my knowledge he's never published a science paper in his life. He's been involved in one or two land rejuvenation projects. He used to be a part time manager of a field office for a university in California until he retired to take up climate science denial full time. He is becoming an expert in the art of pseudo-science and the Gish gallop.)

The bottom line, according to Jim Steele, is that the Arctic summer sea ice decline has nothing to do with global warming. The extending sea ice in Antarctica is a much better measure, according to Jim. His reasoning was convoluted and wasn't grounded in science. Something to do with the circumpolar currents down south keeping out warm water. If Arctic summer ice were growing and Antarctic ice declining, would he be arguing that it was the Arctic sea ice that was a better measure of global warming?

Antarctic and Arctic summer sea ice trends

Here is a chart showing the ice extent in the months where it is the lowest in the southern and northern hemispheres. September up north and February down south.

Data source: NSIDC U Colorado

According to the NSIDC, in the Arctic, the ice extent last September was the sixth lowest on record at 5.02 million square kilometers. The rate of loss (for September) over the period since 1979 is 829,000 sq km a decade. In Antarctica the ice was the highest in the satellite record at 3.82 million square kilometres. The rate of gain (for February) over the period since 1979 is 129,000 sq km a decade.

From that you can see that the Arctic is losing a lot more ice than Antarctica is gaining, when it matters. That is, as far as albedo goes.

Why is sea ice increasing in the southern hemisphere?

There is no clear cut answer to this question. There's a recent paper in GRL by M‐È Gagné et al, which describes some of the ideas that have been considered. I'll just list them below:
  • ozone depletion - although there are conflicting views on this
  • ice shelf melting has apparently been ruled out as a substantial contributor
  • wind changes amplified by ice-ocean feedback processes is a possible factor
  • internal variability

The paper states that "model simulations forced with all known anthropogenic and natural forcings show on average a small but significant negative trend in Antarctic SIE, although the intermodel spread between such trends is large". So what is observed (an increase) isn't consistent with the average of the models. However that doesn't mean that the increase in sea ice proves global warming isn't happening. It clearly is happening.

I won't go into any more detail on this topic. You can read the paper here, it's open access. It looks to me as if the question is still open.

From the WUWT comments

I wrote most of this article a day ago. I went back today (archived here) expecting to see several comments pointing out the wrongness of extrapolating results of a paper on the September sea ice in the Arctic to sea ice in the southern hemisphere.

There was one. That's all I found. One comment, which is the second last of 112 comments. Written by Barry a full twenty hours later:
February 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm
The study was of ARCTIC sea-ice (perhaps they should have put it in all caps in the title), so you can’t infer anything about Antarctic sea ice from the graph shown. We all now the northern hemisphere is warming faster than southern because it has more land mass and thus less heat capacity on/near the surface.
This is so obvious that I can only guess it is yet another baiting tactic by Mr. Steele, and I will anxiously await for him to “hook” me with his reply.

The other comments were mainly nonsense and conspiracy theories of the type you'd expect at WUWT. For example Will Nitschke seems to think there aren't any scientific papers on southern hemisphere sea ice:
February 3, 2015 at 7:06 pm
I suspect if they’d also done an analysis of Antarctica they would never have got their paper published as that would have called into question their statistical assumptions. The speculations are always hidden in the assumptions. The statistical calculations afterwards merely give a veneer of mathematical certainty.

Ed Hawkins: "Arctic sea-ice decline erratic as expected" blog article at Climate Lab Book, 28 January 2015

Swart, Neil C., John C. Fyfe, Ed Hawkins, Jennifer E. Kay, and Alexandra Jahn. "Influence of internal variability on Arctic sea-ice trends." Nature Climate Change 5, no. 2 (2015): 86-89.  doi:10.1038/nclimate2483 (pdf here)

Gagné, M‐È., N. P. Gillett, and J. C. Fyfe. "Observed and simulated changes in Antarctic sea ice extent over the past 50 years." Geophysical Research Letters (2014). DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062231 (open access)


  1. Hi Ms Sue
    Unusually, among bloggers of the climate events, you gave a bit of attention to a verbiage of mine on the WUWT, which I came across accidentally googling something I may have said or not.
    I have to admit that I was not aware of your blog, but its presence certainly enhances the spectral bandwith, which of course, can only be considered to be favourable to the evolution of the opinions.
    Back to the matter at hand, I direct you to a short comment I just made on another lady’s (excellently run) blog
    it may clarify some of the points you raised at
    with the best regards

    1. Welcome to HotWhopper, Vukcevic. The comment you refer to, I'm guessing, is where you proposed weighting the numbers by days in the month, which was a good one and adopted by the Hadley Centre. All credit to you for the suggestion.

      As I recall, you are almost invariably polite - one reason your comments don't get too much exposure here :)

    2. Sou, my apology for misspelling your name.
      As far as my comments are concerned (polite or otherwise) are usually concerned with additional information contained in various data sets, but of no interest to more knowledgeable climate enthusiasts on either side of the climate ‘fault’ line.
      Wishing you all the best, and promise not to post ‘OT’ comments in future.

  2. Sou,

    I consider myself fortunate to not have come to know Jim Steele by reputation, but rather by direct interaction at WUWT. Or rather I should say interactions. I've only ever engaged him on one of his articles, but did so three or four separate times because I found him to have a habit of dropping conversations in the middle when the weakness of his position becomes evident and his attempts to change the subject are respectfully not taken up. To wit, he is a consumate cherry-picker which may explain why he thinks others do it so much. When one cherry begins to look like a dud -- which in this case it was, he completely cocked it up -- he just plucks another one and says, "Oh yeah?"

    I did also read the excerpt from his book on sea ice from the link you provided: https://archive.today/M80Ei I'm going to have a crack at a quick rebuttal. His main thesis is, "Counter to the media hype, it is Antarctic sea ice that should be the most sensitive indicator of climate change caused by greenhouse gases because the Arctic sea ice is affected by too many other confounding factors."

    Which is a classic setup for a fallacious argument from ignorance, though I'd note not immediately fatal. Similar logic is invoked when choosing from among proxies in paleoclimate. He continues:

    "Antarctic sea ice is mostly located outside the Antarctic Circle (Figure 1) and should be the first to melt due to global warming theory ... In contrast, most of the Arctic sea ice exists inside the Arctic Circle and should be last to melt."

    Which is common-sensical, and indeed he makes some ado that early ice models and AOGCMs used the same naive conclusions, which I believe to be reasonably accurate. That we know, and therefore he knows, better now should be a hint that we cannot be so cavalier about applying common sense on the basis of relative latitudes alone, yet here he is putting this bone in his teeth and running with it regardless. In between the ellipses we find another "conclusion": "Clearly global greenhouse gases cannot be the cause of melting inside the Arctic, while simultaneously sea ice is expanding in the Bering Sea and the southern hemisphere. However ocean currents and natural ocean oscillations readily explain such behavior."

    Which is a contradiction. Suddenly "too many confounding factors" in the Arctic are a now ready explanation. After that, I didn't have, or want, to read the rest but I did. It's a Gish Gallop of quotemined snippets from primary literature sprinkled with obligatory jibes about how we're being misled by people who don't have a proper understanding of their own research.

    So I agree. The Antarctic is the most sensitive indicator of climate contrarian bullshit. Any time ice of any sort comes up, I go out of my way to mention Antarctic sea ice because, "Why cherry-pick just the Arctic?" is assigned to a keyboard shortcut with these guys.

    1. Jim fudges and fumbles and makes up a lot of stuff in the comments in to the articles below. He's either delusional or a compulsive liar. He also tends to verbosity, probably to hide his incompetence and confuse lurkers.

      Jim is great on quote mining and omitting very important facts. Not so great on science. In fact worse than woeful.


      He also commented here, where he tried to argue that the Bering Sea was a good substitute for the Chukchi Sea. That's because the Chukchi data would have proven him wrong. He also argues that winter ice extent was a good substitute for spring and autumn ice melt.


      When cornered and caught out, he lashed out and now calls me "slandering Sou". He didn't like his disinformation, incompetence and outright lies exposed. He's not come back, thank goodness. He has given HotWhopper some free publicity at WUWT, which is nice.

    2. You were a prominent feature in the article I engaged him on, so I knew there was a history. I had my soft-touch working that day and he matched my tone which was refreshing. But ultimately he evaded my direct questions aimed at his weakest points and no amount of polite makes up for bad faith debate.

    3. As I remember it, Sou, Steele was asked to comment on quotes from the paper he was using to claim his usual denial thing - Texas wasn't warming - when clearly the paper's authors stated the opposite. Steele just ignored it.

      What with his fascination for one particular scientist, Steele is an odd fellow in a flock of odd fellows.

  3. If I may, I'd like to add some information on comparing changes in sea ice volume in the Arctic to changes in sea ice volume in the Antarctic. Some might not be aware of this and some might find it useful or interesting. (I think it's a good idea to keep in mind that probably the most important measure to consider when addressing melting ice that is floating in a liquid is its volume. As everyone should know, floating ice melts from the bottom up - while the volume goes down, not much necessarily happens to the extent until close to the end when there's a rapid drop to zero. Consider a frozen pond melting in the spring.)

    There was a nice article about a year ago at "...and Then There's Physics" on a study that addressed what was happening to the volume of Antarctic sea ice so that a comparison could be made to what was happening to the volume of Arctic sea ice. Here is that article:

    "Antarctic sea ice volume"

    ATTP quotes part of the abstract of the paper, which says that Antarctic sea ice volume has been increasing on average by roughly 30 cubic kilometers per year. Here is part of it:

    "This ice volume increase is an order of magnitude smaller than the Arctic decrease, and about half the size of the increased freshwater supply from the Antarctic Ice Sheet."

    Here's the paper:

    Note that part about the Arctic sea ice volume decrease.

    Compare a decrease in Arctic sea volume that is on the order of 300 cubic kilometers per year to an increase in Antarctic sea volume that is on the order of 30 cubic kilometers per year. This means that the net result is that the decrease of the combined Arctic/Antarctic sea ice volume is at the same order of magnitude as the decrease of only the Arctic sea ice volume decrease.

    That's profound.

    Another thing I think is profound and very suggestive is this result in the paper above that the increase of Antarctic sea ice volume is roughly half the increase of fresh water supply volume from its melting ice sheet.

    1. Thanks for that info, KeefeAndAmanda. I've also been pointed to some new research to watch out for, though I don't expect it will be reported for some time. It's referred to in the following newspaper report. The report also discusses some of the likely factors influencing sea ice around Antarctica, and the differences between the Arctic and Antarctica.


      In 2014, James Renwick has won a grant from the Marsden Fund for a project "Swings and roundabouts? What drives opposing trends in sea ice between the Ross and Amundsen Seas?"


    2. @ KeefeAndAmanda says...

      "As everyone should know, floating ice melts from the bottom up - while the volume goes down, not much necessarily happens to the extent until close to the end when there's a rapid drop to zero. Consider a frozen pond melting in the spring."

      Absolutely brilliant, thank you, except for the "everyone should know" part. To be clear, I concur that everyone SHOULD know but all the "evidence" indicates that, at best, only a miniscule fraction even have the vaguest clue. The increase in Antarctic SEA-ice AREA/EXTENT, during its winter, SHOULD actually be MORE sphincter puckering than the decrease in Arctic area/extent in any season. I did an experiment in Jan-86, before _I_ had even heard about "AGW," that connected my college physics class lectures on thermodynamics with my Diff.Eq. class "topic" of Newton's Law of Cooling(/Heating) and the results indicate that the WAIS, and more, are far more "unstable" than is typically acknowledged. If anyone wants further elaboration I am golfwalker on the "hotmail" dot com service.

  4. Jim Steele's vindictive and maliscious pogrom against one scientist is an aspect of his den- rejectionism that is particulary egrigious.

    has been ruuning a long series Fisking Steele... he really is a nasty piece of work.

  5. Theres a gem in the comments that explains everything

    David the Voter says:

    "We all know warm air rises and cold air sinks. Therefore more warm air is rising upwards to the North Pole at the top of the world, obviously producing a warming effect. "

    Poe's Law?

    1. Thank you, Mr. Sanger, for reiterating that exquisite, near priceless, comment by "David the Voter," who apparently has a latent talent for stand-up comedy!! :) I absolutely love it when I find ANY reason to laugh in the context of imminent mass extinction so, again, my deepest and sincerest thanks. His entire comment and the replies only added to the hilarity.

      This being my first comment here, due to a profoundly lucid comment on ASIB, I will also extend thanks and gratitude to Sou, for such a well reasoned article and my regret(?) that I had not discovered such intelligence sooner. I'm looking forward to reading more of this site.

  6. and while no-one was really watching..... this year's Arctic winter freeze is quite mild, with Feb 27th again marking a record low Arctic Sea Ice extent for the day (JAXA)

    1. Thus no recycled "Artic Ice Back To Normal" op-ed from George Wills this year.

      I suspect they're watching with some trepidation. NH summer is always a nervy time for the AGW denialist community. A bit of adverse weather in the Arctic and it all gets very ugly for them.

      Volume is holding up, I gather. The go-to place, of course, is Neven's site http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/ and forum http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php

  7. Sou, you are a pearl without price. I came across "big Jim" at the NYTimes but he was a minor character and didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Did seem rather a waste of time as I seem to remember he wasn't very popular there.

    I'm not sure knowledge is useful to these people.

    But this pierced my defenses:

    "I absolutely love it when I find ANY reason to laugh in the context of imminent mass extinction."

    In the department of scary monsters, this seems to me to name one root of our troubles:


    fwiw, Arctic seems (per Neven) to be going to confirm that when we mess with earth's circulation, north of the equator, north is south and south is north, if you can follow my twisted language (I'm from Boston US where the Arctic seems to have exchanged with us).

    [My Google ID is confused at times so I sometimes fail to be able to comment, not your problem.]


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