Posts Tagged ‘Arctic’

Climate models demolished as Arctic ice recovers, Antarctic ice reaches new maximum and global temperatures drift downwards

September 22, 2014

The Royal Society (which is one of the institutional high priests of the global warming cult) is holding a meeting on the Arctic today. It is quite revealing to see how climate models – which are being steadily demolished by reality – continue to be defended by the global warming establishment. Denying reality while defending imperfect, obsolete, climate models seems to be the name of the game.

Someday the Royal Society may display healthy scientific skepticism again. But right now they are entirely focused on finding excuses for why reality is wrong.

Models before data.

These graphs of ice extent from SunshineHours.

Arctic ice extent has passed its minimum and is growing again.


Arctic Ice extent has passed minimum for 2014

Antarctic ice is reaching extents never before seen in the satellite age.


Antarctic ice extent has not quite reached maximum for 2014

Zoomed Antarctic ice extent


Antarctic ice extent Zoomed

Midnight sun and Ramadan splits Muslim theologians

June 27, 2014

This year the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,  is expected to begin on June 28th and will finish on July 27th. It is supposed to represent the month during which the Koran was revealed and the main – and characteristic – practice for Muslims globally is fasting from dawn to sunset. No food, no drink, no cigarettes, no sex while the sun is up.

In Kiruna in northern Sweden in the Arctic circle, there is no night from the end of May till the middle of July.

Muslim theologians and interpreters of the holy scriptures have found various ways to avoid following the Koran and fasting for a whole month in the land of the midnight sun. There is no consensus though, between Sunnis and Shias or within the various sects as to the correct practice to be followed. But they generally agree (except for the Saudi mullahs of course) that the Koran need not be followed literally in the Arctic circle. Mullahs consulted in the Middle East find themselves well outside their areas of competence but that does not stop them exhibiting their ignorance or from issuing their fatwas. (Common sense of course is not something of much value to any theologian).

  1. Some scholars have suggested that fasting could wait till the autumn – but this is considered a cop-out by other, stricter, holier eminences.
  2. Egyptian scholars –  a pragmatic lot – allow that if the length of day is longer than 18 hours then the time in Mecca or Medina may be followed.
  3. “The Azhar Fatwa Committee in Egypt has issued a fatwa permitting Muslims in Scandinavia and Northern countries to fast according to Mecca time”.
  4. Iranian mullahs have decreed that long days do not provide an excuse for not fasting but leave it to the individual as to what time should be followed or if Muslims should just move to a more suitable location for the holy month.
  5. Saudi mullahs – may they live forever – insist that the local time must be followed and mere death should not be allowed to intervene.

Mullahs do not even entertain the heretical possibility that perhaps Islam is not a religion intended for the Arctic or the Antarctic.

As a compromise, some Kiruna muslims are following the times of sunset and sunrise in Stockholm – which still gives them a very long day and a very short night.

Mohammed was not an Inuit.


The real interests in the Arctic

January 26, 2014

Much of what is said or written about the Arctic – especially by governments or government funded institutions – is political positioning for military reasons, for staking a claim to the resources in the region, or to ensure potential sea transportation routes. Denmark’s positional strength is entirely dependent upon Greenland being part of Denmark whereas Iceland is only a second-tier country as far as rights in the Arctic are concerned. Without Alaska, the US would be in a very much weaker position (and in 1867 the purchase price paid to the Russians was just $7.2 million, or about 2 cents per acre!)

The region is divided into five sectors of responsibility between Russia, the US, Norway, Canada and Denmark. But there are others wishing to develop rich Arctic resources. Among them there are Sweden, Finland and Iceland. 

Arctic Circle  Image

Arctic Circle Image

The Russians have just had a conference about future development of the Arctic Region:

The Arctic is in the zone of Russia’s special interests. During the last week,

  • the Russian authorities, experts and the international community were actively engaged in the issues of developing the Arctic region.
  • President Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the issue of military presence in the Arctic;
  • leading political scientists and scholars participated in a round table discussion of the development of infrastructure in the Arctic;
  • and the International Maritime Organization announced an adoption of the Polar Code in the coming days.

……. It’s not a secret that a conflict is swelling between the countries making bids for the development of this territory rich of hydrocarbons and having a unique transit potential. Last year, Putin urged the Ministry of Defense “to pay special attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic direction.” Today, the military industry is ready to supply the Defense Department with weapons that may be required in Northern latitudes. ….. Next to Russia, the US announced the increasing of its military presence in the Arctic. In these circumstances, Moscow needs to adhere to the course that was chosen during the Soviet times, member of the Federation Council Nikolay Fedoryak says.

“Back then, a serious contingent of Soviet troops was present in the Arctic. The troops located there mainly defended us from a possible air attack of the enemy. It’s not a secret that all strategic routes of US bombers were laid through the North Pole. Now, American capabilities of using high-precision weapons are significantly higher than in 1970-80ies. Therefore, it is inevitable that we need to restore the infrastructure and even do it on a higher level, so that we can protect our national interests. And if we don’t do it now, we may be late.”

…..  Russia puts great hopes on the development of the Northern Sea Route, which may become the most popular route from Europe to Asia. Its use will be strictly regulated in two years. The International Maritime Organization has announced its readiness to adopt the Polar Code of shipping. It will define international standards of the use of the Arctic for transportation purposes. The voluminous document will define in details what vessels and their crews, whose route passes above the 72nd parallel north, can and cannot do.

Until now, strange as it may seem, there were no international conventions regulating navigation in the Arctic. In other words, the same rules as those applied to the Adriatic Sea or in the Mediterranean with their mild climate were applied to the severe Northern region. However, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 stated that each state could introduce its own rules of Arctic shipping, head of the Center of Maritime Law Vasily Gutsulyak says.

“The international community can establish provisions on the environmental protection in Northern areas. Thus, it provides a carte blanche to extend the application of a number of international conventions to the Arctic. But the Polar Code quite clearly determines the order of requirements to vessels.”

The game is really worth it. Enormous reserves of hydrocarbons – for example, more than 90 billion barrels of oil – are concentrated in the Arctic. Hence, he who is the most active player in the Arctic direction will secure economic and geopolitical influence in the region.

The positioning of each country is immediately obvious in news articles and the statements of politicians. But it it is also discernible in most scientific papers about the Arctic and especially those about climate and the potential for ice-free regions giving rise to potential new sea routes. Many so-called “scientific expeditions” to the Arctic (just as with the Antarctic) are merely for demonstrating a presence or establishing a claim, for

he who is the most active player in the Arctic direction will secure economic and geopolitical influence in the region.

The next frontier after the Arctic and Antarctic which will see countries similarly jostling for position will surely be the moon. Positioning is one of the key drivers for the Chinese Chang’e-3 moon mission and for the Jade Bunny’s gambolling there. Similarly the Japanese and Indian Space Programmes have political and commercial positioning goals among their key drivers.

Science fiction is coming to life. Within 100 years we shall probably see Japan and China playing out their terrestrial island territorial disputes also around planets and asteroids in space. I have visions of some astronauts being left on asteroids by one country or the other to establish territorial claims!! Maybe we will see mining companies “occupying” mineral rich asteroids.

Russia downgrades Greenpeace 30 charges from piracy to hooliganism

October 23, 2013

Ria Novosti reports:

Investigators in Russia said Wednesday that they have dropped piracy charges against environmental activists and freelance journalists detained last month aboard a Greenpeace ship.

Investigative Committee chief Vladimir Markin said the group will instead be charged with hooliganism.

……. Hooliganism in Russia carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Russian authorities seized Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise icebreaker in mid-September after activists tried to scale an oil rig in the Arctic in protest against offshore drilling in the area. All 30 people on board – comprising 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists – were detained and later charged with piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. …

Markin of Russia’s Investigative Committee also said some members of the group could face charges of using force against state officials.

He said the Greenpeace group’s lack of cooperation with investigators had unnecessarily drawn out the process.

“The failure of the accused to give evidence gave cause for investigators to carefully consider all alternative versions of what took place,” Markin said.

He said investigators needed to consider whether the Greenpeace group had attempted to board the oil platform for financial gain, terrorism or to conduct illicit research activities and espionage.


Global Warming gone missing: Arctic ice back to “normal” and Antarctic ice at highest ever recorded levels

October 20, 2013


Arctic Ice levels are increasing fast and are within 1 standard deviation of the 1979-2000 mean.

Arctic Ice Extent 20131018 DMI Centre for Ocean and Ice

Arctic Ice Extent 20131018 DMI Centre for Ocean and Ice

In the Anatrctic ice extent should normally have started reducing by 22nd Sepptember but kept increasing till about 1st October. At maximum it reached levels never recorded before. It is currently at a level more than 2 standard deviations higher than the long term 1981 – 2010 average.

Antarctic Ice Extent 20131018 NSIDC Boulder

Antarctic Ice Extent 20131018 NSIDC Boulder

This leads to obvious but simple conclusions:

  1. Over the last 34 years therefore, Arctic ice extent has shown great variability but is currently at values within one standard deviation of the 30 year average.
  2. Global warming – if it is taking place – has not left any significant signature in the extent of Arctic Ice which is larger than “natural variability”.
  3. Over the last 32 years Antarctic ice extent has consistently shown a small but steady increase.
  4. Global warming – if it is taking place – is completely absent in the record of the ice extent.

It could be argued – but it would stretch credulity – that heat is being stored in the deep ocean (having bypassed the surface waters by a hitherto unknown form of “deep sea radiation”)  and that this will all be released in a coming catastrophic event (to be known as the Ehrlich Rapture) in 2047.

Or, it could be argued – again with little credibility – that man-made particulate emissions from China in the Northern Hemisphere and from Indonesian forest fires in the Southern Hemisphere have reflected away the Sun’s radiation and prevented the warming that should have taken place. This argument then fails since it would appear to describe a very successful  application – if inadvertent – of geo-engineering.

Or we could choose the parsimonious explanation. There has been no global warming for the last 2 decades or so.

Any discussion about whether or how much warming is caused by carbon dioxide emissions becomes moot if there is no warming.


2013 was a “good” year for the cryosphere – but could it be the beginning of the end of this interglacial?

October 8, 2013

According to the NSIDC – which is an important part of orthodox officialdom – 2013 was a better year for the cryosphere since:

“This summer, Arctic sea ice loss was held in check by relatively cool and stormy conditions. As a result, 2013 saw substantially more ice at summer’s end, compared to last year’s record low extent. The Greenland Ice Sheet also showed less extensive surface melt than in 2012. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, sea ice reached the highest extent recorded in the satellite record”.

What makes for “good” or “bad” depends upon what the fears are. If global warming is the fear then – as the NSIDC states – it was a good year. But if a cooling cycle or even a coming ice age is the fear then the increasing ice extent, the short summer, the extended winter last year and the increased snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere are all just early warning signs of what is to come.

We don’t know if we are in:

  1. a run-away global warming period (as the global warming orthodoxy will have us believe), or
  2. a series of global warming and cooling cycles, each about 20 – 30 years long and responding to the decadal ocean cycles, or
  3. the beginning of the end of this interglacial (which is overdue).

The global warming pause of the last 17 – 18 years suggests that “run-away” global warming is unlikely. The slight decrease in global temperatures over the last 7 – 8 years is not conclusive but is also evidence that the effect of increasing carbon dioxide on global temperature is far from certain. Even if it exists it is very small  and is clearly not yet properly understood. Catastrophe scenarios may attract funding but reduce the credibility of the doom-sayers.

If we are just in a regular cooling cycle then the increasing ice level is nothing to be afraid of. Even if 2 or 3 decades of cooling give us another Little Ice Age, it will be followed by a warming cycle. It will not necessarily mean the start of the end of the current interglacial. But it will mean 20 – 30 years of cooling and the increased use of fossil fuels will be required. Fracking and methane hydrate recovery from the deep sea will be needed along with the continued – and increased – mining of coal. Wind and solar energy can play their little part in the niches that they are suitable for. Nuclear energy will have to make a come-back.

But if the Earth is now responding – by mechanisms unknown – to the Milankovitch cycles – and has started its many thousands year journey into glacial conditions, then we would be well served by developing the strategies and technologies for prospering in such times. We will gradually lose habitat in the North to growing ice sheets but we will gain new habitat as the sea level sinks. But these changes will take place over many generations (50 – 100) and we will have time to adapt. One lost generation – as the last 20 years of global warming hysteria will be – will be of little consequence. Humans have lived and prospered through glacial conditions before and will again. One big difference will be the availability of affordable and abundant energy which gives us the ability – not to stop the advance of the ice sheets – but to be able to continue to access resources and minerals under the ice sheets. We may even have colonies living on top of the shallower ice sheets. But there will also be new opportunities. The increase of habitat as the sea levels drop (by upto 150m) will be in exceptionally fertile areas for food production. Mineral and energy resources currently under the sea will become even more accessible. As with the last glacial period it will probably be a period in which human ingenuity is challenged and innovation will flourish.

The coming of a new glacial period will be no catastrophic change. We will have plenty of time to adapt. And in the 1,000 or 2,000 years it will take to establish glacial conditions, humans will probably have found new frontiers and established new colonies in space. And in 50 or 100 generation humans will continue to evolve. The humans coming out of the next glacial will not be quite like us.

Arctic ice past minimum and growing fast and Antarctic ice reaching maximum at record level

October 5, 2013

Arctic ice extent reached its minimum about 2 weeks ago and is now growing fast.

Arctic Ice extent 20131005

Arctic Ice extent 20131005 source: COI

At the Antarctic however, the sea ice extent is just about reaching its maximum level which is at a record level.

Antarctic sea ice extent 20131004

Antarctic sea ice extent 20131004 source: cryosphere


Little Ice Age could well have resulted from reduced solar activity

October 4, 2013

This paper is particularly interesting because the senior author, Thomas Stocker, is the Vice-Chair of the IPCC and presented the summary of AR5 at the Press Conference last week!!

It is very strange then that the IPCC is so nonchalant about solar effects. In any event whatever the various climate models say, the Landscheidt Minimum is here and global cooling will continue for the next two decades or so. As The Register puts it.
” There’s been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there’s new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism.The particular part of the IPCC’s science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes in the Sun on the climate of planet Earth. Many climatologists have long sought to suggest that the effects of solar variability are minor, certainly when compared to those of human-driven CO2 emissions. Others, however, while admitting that the Sun changes only a very little over human timescales, think that it might be an important factor. This matters because solar physicists think that the Sun is about to enter a “grand minimum”, a prolonged period of low activity. 
The current 11-year peak in solar action is the weakest seen for a long time, and it may presage a lengthy quiet period. Previously, historical records suggest that such periods have been accompanied by chilly conditions on Earth – perhaps to the point where a coming minimum might counteract or even render irrelevant humanity’s carbon emissions. The “Little Ice Age” seen from the 15th to the 19th centuries is often mentioned in this context.
Lehner, Flavio, Andreas Born, Christoph C. Raible, Thomas F. Stocker, 2013: Amplified Inception of European Little Ice Age by Sea Ice–Ocean–Atmosphere Feedbacks.  J. Climate26, 7586–7602.
The University of Berne press release writes:
The study that was realized at the OCCR shows that volcanic eruptions and reduced solar radiation caused global cooling between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. The resulting accelerated formation of sea ice in the Northern Seas triggered a positive feedback process that shaped the Little Ice Age. The winter weather in Europe is largely governed by the so-called North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). ……. Until now, the NAO was believed to be jointly responsible for the cooling in the early fifteenth century along with volcanic eruptions and weakened solar radiation. The subsequent Little Ice Age continued into the nineteenth century. Now, however, Bernese climate researchers Flavio Lehner, Andreas Born, Christoph Raible and Thomas Stocker reveal that the Little Ice Age was also able to take its course without the influence of the NAO, driven purely by the consequences of strong and frequent volcanic eruptions at the time, a reduced solar radiation, or both together.
Using simulations on the CSCS supercomputer “Monte Rosa”, the climate researchers searched for a feedback process that was capable of triggering the Little Ice Age.
….. For the scientists, the fact that all the slightly altered, realistic simulations and the synthetic ice simulation yielded consistent results is solid proof that the Little Ice Age was primarily governed by external triggers. Volcanic activity and less solar radiation initially caused an increase in sea-ice formation independently of atmospheric circulation. Due to the cooling, the mean sea level pressure gradually increased over the Barents Sea, which enabled the cold air to reach Europe. “However, this pressure response is clearly a delayed reaction of the atmosphere to the preceding processes in the ocean,” says Raible.
Abstract: The inception of the Little Ice Age (~1400–1700 AD) is believed to have been driven by an interplay of external forcing and climate system internal variability. While the hemispheric signal seems to have been dominated by solar irradiance and volcanic eruptions, the understanding of mechanisms shaping the climate on a continental scale is less robust. In an ensemble of transient model simulations and a new type of sensitivity experiments with artificial sea ice growth, the authors identify a sea ice–ocean–atmosphere feedback mechanism that amplifies the Little Ice Age cooling in the North Atlantic–European region and produces the temperature pattern suggested by paleoclimatic reconstructions. Initiated by increasing negative forcing, the Arctic sea ice substantially expands at the beginning of the Little Ice Age. The excess of sea ice is exported to the subpolar North Atlantic, where it melts, thereby weakening convection of the ocean. Consequently, northward ocean heat transport is reduced, reinforcing the expansion of the sea ice and the cooling of the Northern Hemisphere. In the Nordic Seas, sea surface height anomalies cause the oceanic recirculation to strengthen at the expense of the warm Barents Sea inflow, thereby further reinforcing sea ice growth. The absent ocean–atmosphere heat flux in the Barents Sea results in an amplified cooling over Northern Europe. The positive nature of this feedback mechanism enables sea ice to remain in an expanded state for decades up to a century, favoring sustained cold periods over Europe such as the Little Ice Age. Support for the feedback mechanism comes from recent proxy reconstructions around the Nordic Seas

Arctic sea ice reaches minimum for 2013 – about a week early

September 6, 2013

A late spring and a short summer has led to Arctic ice melting much slower than for many years: IS ARCTIC SEA ICE REBOUNDING? 

It would seem that the minimum ice extent in the Arctic which usually happens around the middle of September has already been reached – about a week early.

From DMI – Centre for Ocean and Ice (coastal zones masked)

Arctic Sea Ice Extent 2013 minimum

Arctic Sea Ice Extent 2013 minimum

A real rebound in the ice extent and almost back to the level of 2005.

And of course the Antarctic which is reaching its maximum ice extent seems to be at a level significantly higher than the average for 1981 -2010. (NSIDC, Boulder).

Antarctic sea ice extent 20130904

Antarctic sea ice extent 20130904

These levels of ice extent correspond to the lack of significant increase in sea levels.

There does not seem to be very much to be alarmed about.


Arctic summer relatively short and ice melt-rate slow this year

August 9, 2013

The Arctic ice extent usually reaches a maximum in the 2nd week of March and its minimum during the 2nd week of September.

This year the Arctic summer started later than usual (long winter, late spring all over the Northern hemisphere). Now as Arctic temperatures have already dropped below freezing it could turn out to be a rather short. cool summer. Temperatures rose to above freezing about 3 weeks later than the average and seem to have dropped below zero about 2 weeks ahead of the average. In consequence the ice melt-rates have been much lower than for some time (but not unprecedented by a long way).

Arctic Temperatures North of 80° ( from DMI – Danish Centre for Ocean and Ice)

Daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel, plotted with daily climate values calculated from the period 1958-2002.

Calculation of the Arctic Mean Temperature

The daily mean temperature of the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel is estimated from the average of the 00z and 12z analysis for all model grid points inside that area. The ERA40 reanalysis data set from ECMWF, has been applied to calculate daily mean temperatures for the period from 1958 to 2002, from 2002 to 2006 data from the global NWP model T511 is used and from 2006 to 2010 T799 data are used and from 2010 to present the T1279 model data are used. 

The ERA40 reanalysis data, has been applied to calculation of daily climate values that are plotted along with the daily analysis values in all plots. The data used to determine climate values is the full ERA40 data set, from 1958 to 2002.
More information can be found here.

Daily mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year. DMI

Daily mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year. DMI

Not surprisingly the ice melt-rate this year has been relatively low and the ice extent relatively high.

Total sea ice extent on the northern hemisphere during the past years, including climate mean; plus/minus 1 standard deviation. The ice extent values are calculated from the ice type data from theOcean and Sea Ice, Satellite Application Facility (OSISAF), where areas with ice concentration higher than 15% are classified as ice.

The total area of sea ice is the sum of First Year Ice (FYI), Multi Year Ice (MYI) and the area of ambiguous ice types, from the OSISAF ice type product.

Sea ice extent in recent years for the northern hemisphere.                        The grey shaded area corresponds to the climate mean                       plus/minus 1 standard deviation.

Sea ice extent in recent years for the northern hemisphere.
The grey shaded area corresponds to the climate mean plus/minus 1 standard deviation.

It looks probable that the ice extent minimum for 2013 will be within one standard deviation of the mean 1979-2000 value.

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