Posts Tagged ‘Polar ice packs’

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

October 20, 2013

IF THE GLOBE IS WARMING, WHERE’S THE HEAT?

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.

WHERE’S THE HEAT?

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.

Polar bears heading out onto rapidly forming Arctic sea ice

November 17, 2012

In spite of all the headlines about the dearth of Arctic ice it seems that polar bears are not too worried. They are heading out onto the rapidly growing ice in a “mass exodus” to hunt for their seals about a week ahead of  schedule. 

Polar Bear Science reports that:

It appears from the ice maps that most of the polar bears throughout the world that have chosen to remain on land during the late summer and fall (about July/August through October/November) can now return to the ice. …

… polar bear watchers in and around Churchill Manitoba (in Western Hudson Bay) are reporting an exodus of polar bears to the sea ice that is rapidly forming offshore. While it appears from the ice map …. that only a narrow strip of sea ice has formed close to shore, this is apparently quite enough for the bears to move off the land and out to sea. Once on the ice, polar bears will start hunting for seals.

The same phenomenon is likely true all over the Arctic – ice forming near shore may not be showing up on the satellite images (e.g. western Russia, Svalbard) but it will be enough to get polar bears off land and back out to sea where they can hunt. ….

…. Kelsey says that the “bay froze about a week earlier than last year” [earlier is good] and reports that polar bears are eagerly moving offshore onto the newly-formed ice.  Sounds like the folks there to promote “Polar Bear Week” won’t find many bears to point cameras at.

Polar Bear Alley also reports:

This whole season has been about a week ahead of last year so it is not a real surprise that the bay froze about a week earlier than last year. Yesterday, we watched the mass exodus of polar bears out onto the sea ice. Most of the day consisted of yellow bear butts wobbling and weaving out towards the floe edge.

Over the past week, there have been daily highs around minus 10-15C and some fairly consistent north winds. This combination is all we need for the ice to freeze along Cape Churchill. From wind and greasy waves last Thursday to a thin band of ice along the shore by Saturday, you could see the end was near.

Most years though a late season south wind ‘saves’ bear season but this wind arrived about a day or two late this year, the ice is now locked in from what I can see. By Monday, ice floes clung to the shore and the smaller bays near Churchill were almost locked in. A north wind that night and the next day then sealed the deal.

Yesterday, there was a constant stream of polar bears crossing Cape Merry, the point between town and the Churchill River. Polar Bear Alert officers hazed some of them to speed their departure but really, once the ice is here, there is not much incentive to stay around. By 3pm, you could see twelve bears out on the ice between Eskimo Point to the west and Miss Piggy beach. ……


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