Climate models fail to accurately predict Arctic ice – deniers fail to notice

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, August 26th, 2012 - 80 comments
Categories: climate change, science - Tags: ,

Like many people I’m always bemused by the lack of logic that the climate change deniers (CCD’s) have in their extremely selective picking of things to get wound up about.

Mostly when I see them coming through comments in this site, a few minutes thought on the basic science picks apart a myth made up of the smarter one’s selective logic. Mostly it is cherry picking the data like picking the warmest point in a climate cycle and comparing it against a low point, or mixing different datasets with their measurement errors together. And those are the smart ones. The faith and conspiracy based ones are frequently unwitting comedians.

But one of the common threads that they have is that they all think that the IPCC reports are wrong, or if they are fence sitters, will only refer to the lower estimate bounds  in the IPCC’s AR4 reports.

But I’d have thought that a major variation from predictions in the AR4 and even the unpublished AR5 reports would have attracted their wonted bile about the organisation. But apparently I was wrong. I guess that they prefer to ignore reality. At the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre there is this understated post “A most interesting Arctic summer

This figure shows the observed September sea ice extent for 1952 to 2011 (bold black line) and extents for 1900 to 2100 from the CMIP3 models using the “business as usual” SRESA1B greenhouse gas emissions scenario (the blue line averaging results from all of the model runs with the blue shading showing the +/- 1 standard deviation of the different model runs) and from the CMIP5 archive, using the RCP 4.5 scenario (pink line and pink shading). The darker pink shading shows where the simulations from CMIP3 and CMIP5 overlap each other

Comparisons between observed and modeled September sea ice trends

It looks to me like the north is going to lose a major buffer against major climate change over the next couple of decades. This has been the most extreme wasting of sea ice extent that that has been observed so far because it has been so even throughout the summer unlike 2007.

The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 5, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the 2011 and for 2007, the record low year. 2012 is shown in blue, 2011 in orange, and 2007 in green. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data.

Arctic Ice Extents

A similar effect is showing up in the Greenland ice melts

..the daily, cumulative area of the Greenland ice sheet showing surface melt for 2012, 2011, 2010 and for the 1980 to 1999 mean. While melt was unusually extensive through May and June of 2012, the melt area increased rapidly in early July in response to an unusually warm weather event.

The polar and sub-polar regions quite literally act like a buffer soaking up summer heat against the stored ice and snow accumulated over winter. Like oil we start with an reserve of ice accumulated over geological time. Like oil we are wasting a valuable resource by burning through it with no more thought than the CCD’s put into their “skepticism”.

But the real importance in the near term is what effects this rapid change will have on northern climates. Have a look at this article “Arctic Death Spiral: How It Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’“. But the shortest summary is from Gareth at Hot topic when looking at the image of the ever shrinking Arctic sea ice.

Let’s put it simply. When all that blue ocean in the picture above starts to freeze, it is going to give up heat to the atmosphere. A lot of heat. An enormous amount of heat. A decade ago, that didn’t happen to anything like the same extent. That heat has to go somewhere, and it goes into changing the way the atmosphere moves around the northern hemisphere. Look out for interesting winters in Russia, Europe and north America this year and in years to come.

For people than want to look of known mechanics of the transition between sea ice climate shifts and weather, then watch this video from Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University as one of the authors explaining the work in a 2012 Geophysical Research Letters study, “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes,”. The paper finds that the loss of Arctic ice favors “extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.”.

What is worrying me is that we appear to be seeing the current ocean systems around Antarctica shifting. Since they are the only thing preventing the deep freeze there from opening up… But that is the subject of another post.

80 comments on “Climate models fail to accurately predict Arctic ice – deniers fail to notice ”

  1. captain hook 1

    nice piccies but what about the increase in world population that is putting all the demands on the world to produce goods for their infantilised consumption?

    • Dr Terry 1.1

      captain hook. Almost anybody of intelligence knows well that “two wrongs do not make a right”.

    • klem 1.2

      “..the demands on the world to produce goods for their infantilised consumption?”

      You mean including your own, captain hook?

  2. RedLogix 2

    Yes I was reading this in parallel with debating weka on a wholly different topic.

    If this turns out as catastrophic as they way we think it could … then billions of lives will be lost. (I know Robert Atack will be overjoyed at this prospect, but I’m going to stick with the conventional idea that this would be a bad thing.)

    And yet here is the kicker … the people responsible for this genocidal crime (which is what it is) are hugely wealthy, influential and widely respected. Another example of how the MORE damage you cause in this world the MORE you are rewarded for it and in the public realm there is virtually zero meaningful reaction.

    But imagine the hell that would break loose if a 14yr old schoolgirl’s nipple should be seen on US public television. (I’m not suggesting that this would necessarily be a good thing… but contrast the public reaction and ask yourself about our priorities.)

    • blue leopard 2.1

      @ RedLogix

      “And yet here is the kicker … the people responsible for this genocidal crime (which is what it is) are hugely wealthy, influential and widely respected. ”

      With emphasis on the “And widely respected”

      This is the sad thing, why do “we” as individuals and as a society, continue to respect people, simply because they have money or have “status”, without some discernment as to what they do or more importantly where their intentions are seated?

      It is up to each and everyone of us to change this set of values we hold.

      THEN we will see some REAL progress.

    • Bill 2.2

      the people responsible for this genocidal crime..

      That would be *you* and *me* RL.

      *We* are responsible for upholding the particular economy/culture of manufacturing and consumption through *our* jobs. And as consumers of the often pointless products and services *our* job activities produce or support.

      And if *we* withdrew *our* support, the increasing contributions being made towards AGW would stop dead in their tracks. And, as an aside, the rich and wealthy you mention simply wouldn’t exist as the fundamental basis of their privilege dissipated.

      I sometimes wonder if blaming governments or corporations as though they act in a vacuum, is the flip side of the idea that would have us believe in saviours. Y’know, in both cases there is no acknowledgement of the part *we* play…so *we* appeal to authority in both cases, reinforcing ideas of powerlessness and legitimising ideas that power quite properly resides in heirarchy.

      • blue leopard 2.2.1

        @ Bill

        ++1

      • RedLogix 2.2.2

        *We* are responsible for upholding the particular economy/culture of manufacturing and consumption through *our* jobs. And as consumers of the often pointless products and services *our* job activities produce or support.

        But most people do not have the power of that choice. The price you pay as an isolated individual to make those changes is just too high. Sure some people can and do. I have done already done quite a lot in my own life … but trust me … it comes at a cost. A real one.

        If you really want to change things it had to be done collectively; and because our communities have been dismantled and rendered impotent, and our political process hijacked by vested interests … our ability to effect real change was taken from us.

        Instead we just rant impotently at our keyboards. Maybe I should just take up a new hobby … I’m beginning to see why alcoholism is so popular.

        • BernyD 2.2.2.1

          No Future !, now

        • Bill 2.2.2.2

          I know what you’re saying. But do we have a choice? And is it quite the hopeless situation you seem to think it is?

          I believe it’s possible to galvanise people. Not easy. But possible. The power hasn’t gone. It’s latent. And so ‘simply’ needs the right ‘kicker’ for its potential to be unleashed.

          Now, as for that alcoholism. You know how much CO2 goes into that bier or those mixers? Why negate whatever it is you have already done 😉

          edit. Just want to add that a lot of time was lost by people who should have known better buying into b/s back and forth arguments over whether AGW was real or not. Seems to me the deniers have finally…and not before time… gone to ground though

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2.3

          …our ability to effect real change was taken from us.

          Then we need to take it back.

    • bad12 2.3

      [deleted]

      I lost ‘interest’ in debating ‘climate’ about the time that ‘global warming’ became ‘climate change’ which just placed such a debate firmly into the realm of ‘mumbo jumbo’, this of course had nothing to do with various little dishonesty’s which had crept into ‘global warming’ and lets not tiresomely relitigate them all,( well go on then if you have to),

      I am now firmly in the ‘snore camp’ and when i see the International Departure lounge of Wellington Airport inundated by the sea’s of Lyall Bay i will again be ‘interested’ until (yawn), its time for the Sunday roast…

      [lprent: Deleted the teat that had nothing to do with this post. Use OpenMike for your obsessions. ]

      • lprent 2.3.1

        …about the time that ‘global warming’ became ‘climate change’…

        I’m always bemused by the way that some people get attached to slogans rather than the actual thinking behind them. Personally I think it a way for people to avoid thought myself.

        Let’s make it simple for you. Global warming is a cause of climate change. If you shove more heat into a air/water system then the effect is that it will move the heat around more. This causes changes in the climates as jetstreams and ocean currents move. This is known as cli-mate ch-an-ge.

        Now would you like me to enunciate the various causes of global warming for you?

        • bad12 2.3.1.1

          Actually it aint ‘my’ obsession, i just happened to add something as comment to RL’s comment at 2, oooh yes please an enunciation of the causes of global warming from you would be a treasure…

          • lprent 2.3.1.1.1

            Umm… Ok I missed that. I read it as a hypothetical whereas David H was off on what looked like a current story…. You collected crossfire.

            Basically anything that adds energy into the atmosphere. That could be external sources like increased sunspots (unfortunately there was no systematic measurements of solar output during the decades of low sunspot activity of the Maunder minimum from ~1650-~1700), close novas or supernovas, the reduction in upper atmospheric dust increasing atmospheric albedo, the long orbital cycles, etc etc.

            It can also be from things that cause energy to be trapped (or not trapped), usually as infrared radiation, but also as straight heat. The most common are greenhouse gases and ocean currents. The reason is because the balance of incoming energy and outgoing energy is finely balanced. Any sustained shift causes climate shifts.

            Of course most shifts mean very little to most fauna and flora. They simply move over the thousands of years that natural changes usually happen in.

            However we have built our food production systems that sustain billions of population within the climatically stable period of the last 10k years. So we are now performing the experiment on ourselves of seeing if we can cause the biggest climatic shift in the last few hundred thousand years inside a hundred without starving billions of people. And we know people. They don’t like dying quietly.

            I’m afraid your concern about Lyall bay (property values?) seems somewhat trivial… But I guess that is because your attention is rooted more in understanding slogans than understanding science.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.1.1.1

              the reduction in upper atmospheric dust increasing atmospheric albedo,

              Could have sworn that was the other way around. Atmospheric dust increasing albedo causing global dimming. With car engines and such becoming cleaner over the last few decades this has started to reverse decreasing albedo and thus increasing the rate of global warming as more of the suns energy is absorbed by the dark oceans and land masses.

              Of course most shifts mean very little to most fauna and flora. They simply move over the thousands of years that natural changes usually happen in.

              And over the normal time spans that such shifts occur it wouldn’t bother us either. The problem is the speed of the change that we’ve induced.

              • lprent

                My bad – “…reduction in upper atmospheric dust increasing decreasing atmospheric albedo” is what I meant to write. The specific case that I was thinking about was in-fall dust from comets and the dust from collisions around the solar system.

                With car engines and such becoming cleaner over the last few decades..

                Those are pretty low in the atmospheric column. There is also quite a lot of speculation on how much the low atmosphere dust had on both albedo vs it’s effect at causing lower level transformations into infra-red. If the latter was important then it’d result less heat reduction than expected. Certainly the dust would have helped with the formation of low level clouds. So what light got in could have actually been more efficient at turning into IR.

                Problem as usual is a lack of data. Unfortunately they cleaned up before there was good instrumentation on satellites, and even the albedo effects are within the limits of instrumental error.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Hah, didn’t even think about space dust in the upper atmosphere and I should have considering that I knew that the Earth increased in mass by ~1mT/year. Also came across this last night:

                  The acoustic micrometeorite detector detected 145 impacts of cosmic dust in 78,750 seconds. This calculates to an average impact rate of 8.0 × 10-3 impacts per m−2 s−1 over the twelve-day period (29 impacts per hour per square meter).

                  • lprent

                    Yeah. It is the same thing as all of these issues. We simply don’t know what the normal variation for earth is. All we know is the rates picked up by satellites since Explorer, a wee bit of data from the moon, and some collected by probes over the last 50 years.

                    They were doing some work on dust debris in the Antarctica ice fields a while back. But since I haven’t read much about it since, I’d guess that they haven’t gotten any good core data.

            • bad12 2.3.1.1.1.2

              Ah you read too much into my little insinuation that my senses will be pricked when the waves of Lyall Bay are crashing through the international departures lounge of Wellington Airport,

              It has nothing to do with property values the only value in a property is in the occupancy of the particular property but that’s a side issue and the particular mirth is more to do with the ‘Doomsday theory’ that once the ice cap of the Arctic and the ice-shelves of the Antarctic have duly been liuquidated or should i say liquified then things will definitely change,

              Sunspot activity was said by that bloke, the head of the Russian Institutes of Science, begins with A but without trawling the net for it His name escapes me, to BE the actual culprit and while i am swayed somewhat by the Russians research it’s probably more on an emotional ‘get out of jail free basis’ than a strict belief that ‘their’ science is any more accurate than what ‘ours’ is,it is though plausible that the oceans have sucked up such extra energy from sunspots and we will have to fasten our seat belts for the next 20 or so while all that heat out-gasses first into ‘our’ atmosphere, which will sure as provide some ‘interesting’ weather events,

              Call me a Gaian nutter if you will but i don’t believe that the ‘system’ allows for the Earth to enter into a wholesale runaway green-house effect in effect we get what you have said, a shifting of the known weather/climate patterns with the ‘events’ becoming more pronounced, ie: last Winter it snowed upon the departure lounge of that much discussed city airport but a far milder Winter this time round hasn’t made it a habit which points to a weather effect and not a climate change,

              For every action though there appears to be a reaction, the Western Antarctic ice-shelves begin to melt and it ‘appears’ that on the land mass of East Antarctic a comparative measure of ice is laid down,

              i suppose it ‘depends’ upon ones belief system, we could just assume that the Planet Earth is simply a lump of rock with a whole lot of water sloshing about the place inundated by a few billion too many mess making humans,

              Then again, we could believe that in its own way ‘the Planet’ knows and sees what is happening upon its surface and makes its own decisions about climatic conditions which would best suit the number of life forms presently inhabiting it,

              An example of such mumbo-jumbo would include the NZ dairy out-put for the year just ended which was a bumper crop from much the same number of stock as last year needing far less application of fertilizer than previous simply by dint of increased rainfall and increased CO2 in the atmosphere,

              True in a world of exploding population where more and more food will be required perhaps such is just a happy coincidence and only time will tell if such is simply the unintended consequences of our own stupidity…

              • lprent

                …wholesale runaway green-house effect..

                Huh? When did I say that? For that matter when did anyone intelligent ever say that? We’d have to be a lot closer to the sun to get the required feedbacks, and even then I suspect having a frigging large moon will strip too much of the atmosphere to cause a ‘runaway’. Just more nonsense…

                There are many levels of stability in the local atmosphere that we know from paleoclimates. The most common average temperature for the last billion years appears to be at something like 5-7C higher than the last 10k years. The most common average since the latest set of glacials started at the start of the Pleistocene 2.5mya has probably been 3-4C below where it is now.

                The question for humans is related to our technology that keeps our large population alive. Agriculture developed in the 10k years of the current interglacial which has been abnormally climate change free compared to previous interglacials. Quite simply I don’t think that agriculture of any form that we currently use will survive the kind of widespread rapid shifts in climate that have been seen in the paleoclimates. And the current climate shifts from greenhouse gases are proceeding at rates that are at least 10x as fast and probably more than 100x as fast as natural climate shifts.

                And if you follow your gaia hypothesis to its logical conclusion, you’d have to ask why it needs a intelligent species around. It certainly survived for a very long time without one.

                • bad12

                  Aha, but then if you followed your ‘climate change theory’ to it’s logical conclusion you would have to write one hell of a foot-note in for the human species as to how they had become masters at ‘doing’ and ‘building’ stuff while as a mass having very little deep intelligence,

                  That’s interesting,although we appear to lack the data necessary you see ‘climate shifts’ where we, as in science has only been collecting such (more) accurate data since the 1980’s a mere blink in the ant crawling across ‘climate shifts’ eye,

                  You see ‘climate shift’, i see ‘weather events’ where nothing that has occurred in the past 20 years of weather events has not occurred previously,

                  Perhaps with the codicil that as the Earth was once flat and not well traveled we have little historical knowledge of the extent of floating ice in either the Arctic or Antarctic,

                  It was flat wasn’t it???…

                  • lprent

                    …although we appear to lack the data necessary you see ‘climate shifts’ where we, as in science has only been collecting such (more) accurate data since the 1980′s a mere blink in the ant crawling across ‘climate shifts’ eye…

                    You are mistakenly conflating two different things.

                    1. We can see climate changes in the past and can see gross causation. That is sufficient to say that shoving greenhouse gases into the atmosphere fast is going to cause climate change because it has done so in the past. Problem is that what we see in the past happened gradually over thousands of years. Whereas we’re did it in less than 150 years.
                    2. Then there is the requirement to model how the climate change process will happen in detail. That is where we lack the data because:-
                      1. We haven’t observed a large climate shift before in any recorded history
                      2. We haven’t collected data systematically for large areas of the earth over time
                      3. We haven’t collected data in some seas of the earth at all
                      4. And the process is different to any previous event because it is so damn fast.

                    ..you would have to write one hell of a foot-note in for the human species..

                    What makes you think that I think that humans are likely to die off all together. They like every other species does will eventually drop to whatever the carrying capacity of their environment and technology is capable of supporting. Currently that population level is likely to be lower than we are currently carrying across large parts of the world. If we get too much climate change it will be lower again because we don’t currently have the technology to maintain food production with shifting climate patterns of the type that we have never had to deal with before.

                    I’m pretty sure that such technologies will be developed. But it will require some quite tough decades through to the end of the century. I’m also glad that most of my family seem to be glued to the antipodes.

                    I guess you haven’t been listening past the music (probably tinnitus) of your gaian dreams. I’m finding it very hard to penetrate past your rather simple black and white thought patterns.

        • aerobubble 2.3.1.2

          People need to play with ideas, that obviously gets up the noses of anal retentive grammar
          and logical rigid types, but we as a species can’t model the changed world around us without
          taking the meme-tic tools we have now and rejigging them, which will initial look obnoxious
          to the pious. We need a social conversation, to hit on the new language basis to discuss
          the new context, cultural solutions, that supply us results, answers, outcomes, which solve
          resource limits, energy peaks, aging, climate uncertainty. This is essentially the problem,
          we need the new language before we can embrace the technology the right believes will
          save us. Nobody knows how to use a computer without have been embedded in the
          culture of language and social consent, that has grow up around them. So when the
          right claims we must just trust science will deliver, they actively mean we should not
          support them because they don’t provide the stepping stones to that new technological
          synegy with culture, the mauling of understanding, the misspoken words,
          misunderstanding that starts new fads in language evolution.

          • fnjckg 2.3.1.2.1

            ‘eres some words that i stumbled across on the way then (transliterated)

            wu ming-naming without fixed reference
            wu shi-non-interference in going about busi-ness
            wu wei-non-coercive action
            wu xin-unmediated thinking and feeling
            wu yu-object-less desire
            wu zheng-striving without contentiousness
            wu zhi-unprincipled knowing

            oh…the fecundity of emptiness

      • David H 2.3.2

        [deleted]

        [lprent: Discuss it in OpenMike. Not on my post..]

      • Doug Mackie 2.3.3

        Bad12 lost ‘interest’ in debating ‘climate’ about the time that ‘global warming’ became ‘climate change’? Umm so that would be some time before 1988 when the IPCC was formed?

        In a similar email discussion a few years ago I recall Owen McShane* saying something about how he was affronted by the recent name change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’. I asked him if he had ever given any thought to what the ‘CC’ in IPCC stood for. He said he had not given the matter any thought. Quite.

        * You can read his ETS submission here; just for laughs he included two supplements (1, 2) from Monckton.

        • lprent 2.3.3.1

          Yeah I know. This whole “they changed the name” thing is just another one of the dumbarse myths that have grown up for people who want to look silly. The actual phrase “global warming”, I think, was coined in the 50’s when someone tried to put theoretical meat on the philosophical concept of the 19th and a journo tried to explain it.

          Of course at that time there wasn’t a lot of knowledge about climates so the whole thing was handled like a blackbody or daisy world simulation…

          When I did my degree in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the main speculation about greenhouse gas effects was on climate change. We were just starting to get in the ice core data with their changed air compositions and seeing other evidence of paleoclimatic shifts with varying effects around the world. And the calibrated satellite info was starting to become available so you could see the movement of heat at the surface and even in parts of the atmosphere….

          Global warming was just a phrase used by journo’s because it was easier to fit in a headline and didn’t require explaining what a climate was. It is still is used that way…

        • bad12 2.3.3.2

          A little dishonest don’t you think, 4-5 years ago the discussion hardly featured the words ‘climate change’ and the whole thrust of debate was ‘global warming’,

          The step change from the former to the latter seems to have occurred in the past couple of years as the ‘deniers’ tore down parts of the ‘alarmists’ castle of science,

          Of course now that i have said that i expect some thunderous ‘denial’ from the ‘alarmists’ that the walls of their science have ever been breached,

          And so they should, after all it can’t be science-fact unless it’s absolute, but then again, if it’s absolute it can’t be climate which never is, an absolute that is,

          Unless it’s a ice-age of course, nothing gets more absolute than that…

          • Doug Mackie 2.3.3.2.1

            Ahh your point seems to be that is was relatively recently that msm cottoned onto the idea that the CC (in IPCC, founded in 1988) stands for climate change? And that msm doing so is somehow connected to denier attacks on the science?

            By gad. Either you have tumbled the global (ooh that word again) conspiracy or there are lacunae in your knowledge. Hmm in such cases one finds Mr Occam is of assistance.

            • bad12 2.3.3.2.1.1

              Your ability to extrapolate is undermined by the lack of veracity of it’s conclusion as you seem to have given ‘debate’ the value of ‘MSM’ where no such value was implied…

    • fnjckg 2.4

      they have their reward

    • klem 2.5

      “If this turns out as catastrophic as they way we think it could …”

      I think you mean, as you ‘secretly hope and pray it will’.

  3. Johnm 3

    Where is R Atack, get your boots on
    mate there’a ball to kick around here! 🙂

  4. captain hook 4

    probably booking his cruise to the arctic ocean right now so his life can be changed FOREVER!

  5. Nick K 5

    This is all bullshit anyway because the science is settled. How can the computer modellers (oops “scientists”) get it so wrong all the time?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      What and you predicted all this correctly Nick?

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.2

      Nick K is their mascot.

    • lprent 5.3

      Who said that any science was ‘settled’. The only people who ever seem to say that are (like you?) those who aren’t that interested in actual science – usually CCD’s in my experience. What science is about is probabilities not certainties (we tend to leave the latter to those who require no evidence and instead just have faith) of the relationship of a theory reflecting future realities.

      However you require data to make theories and data to test those theories. The problem is that historically for some reason humans don’t (for instance) like living well north of Arctic circle and taking measurements of water temperatures and salinity at 1km down. So we are bit short of that type of data prior to the 1980’s when a systematic effort was made. We didn’t even measure ice sheet extents prior to the late 1970’s. And we are talking about cyclic spans that are probably in excess of your short and exceptionally stupid life span.

      The models are built on the available information, and they are even more conservative than you are. They will be wrong. But they are more likely to be wrong by being conservative and clinging to the status quo like a child hates being weaned than actual harsh reality. That was rather the point of my post…..

      I guess it was too subtle for you. And as a prediction, you will have to repress the wee cry reflex now that I have been mean to you 😈

      • Dr Terry 5.3.1

        Iprent. Good point about “probabilities”. Even “possibilities” could be serious enough! Yes, indeed, to “actual harsh reality” – too hard for many to face up to.

  6. David H 6

    Well as far as the Americans are concerned they rule the world and NO One can tell them any different so According to them there is NO global warming, so why are we all moaning about a non event?

  7. BernyD 7

    The real problem with the current models is they are based on “Current Trends”
    They are not modelling the “Worst Case Scenario” they’re modelling the “Middle of the road Scenario”.

    I put it to them that if they really want to understand the problem they need to model Best,Middle and worst cases, and present them as a whole.

    It’s the “Unkown” factors of climate change that this will look to encapsulate, giving us a much better picture of what we need to do to alleviate the problem.

    Green House gases are a guess at this point, only an observed reality, we don’t have any real answers as to how we can control the weather systems.

    I believe it’s much more than Emmissions, the human race hoards water for cities, this could arguably have just as much impact.

    R&D into de salinisation could be an answer that no one wants to see, you can’t deny a city it’s water supply.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The real problem with the current models is they are based on “Current Trends”

      No they’re not, they’re modelling the theory and then checking to see how well the model matches the real data.

      I put it to them that if they really want to understand the problem they need to model Best,Middle and worst cases, and present them as a whole.

      They do which is why the top graph has such a broad range.

      • BernyD 7.1.1

        The graph shows that all the models so far are above or on the observed ice melt.
        If they are based on std dev, then the worst case is the average less two or three times the dev.
        Which would be a line considerably lower on the graph.

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          The models are based on physical science theories rather than stats. The variation range is based on the known or likely ranges of variations of variables in those theories.

          Problem is that there is a lot that isn’t known about processes and feedback in the polar regions. Effectively systematic measurement only started in the IGY in 1957, and only started getting good widespread data in the 80’s.

          The theories will improve and variations diminish as more data is collected, assembled into models, and then reality intrudes with more data. But for the moment the polar models are pretty conservative due to lack of data.

          • BernyD 7.1.1.1.1

            Indeed, but the “blip” at the end is scary
            If you map that one out its 3years to no ice shelf at all

            • lprent 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Looks scary. But if you look at the pattern there is a lot of jiggling.

              We’re coming up to the solar maximum at present and while it has never been measured definitively, it is likely that there is a far higher level of energy getting down and being absorbed than ‘normal’.

              Based on current overall trends, my guess is that we shouldn’t expect complete loss of permanent Arctic sea ice until after 2030. I would be surprised if it lasts until 2050. However I’d expect that the total ice mass will keep thinning out a lot faster than the theories have predicted. There is some effect, maybe past warming coming up the ocean currents, that hasn’t been accounted for.

              But that video explains the real danger. Currently a fair chunk of the worlds surplus food (ie exportable) is grown in the northern hemisphere – especially in Canada and US, but also in Europe through to Russia. A disappearing Arctic ice mass is going to do quite nasty things to climates in those grain growing regions as the jetstreams shift.

              • BernyD

                I’m picking 2015 and there won’t be any ice left of any real value to the world climate. The Ant-Arctic will be next, it’s already started.

                Where u aware that the Earths’ rate of spin has increased (Marginally) in the last three years ?

                This will also have a major effect on weather systems, add that to no more ice, reduced water in the atmosphere, and major deforestation of tropical regions around the world. We’re not heading for disaster, we are in the middle of it.

                Droughts, Floods, Major Hurricanes ….. happening now not tomorrow.

                And what’s more there is not one thing we can do now to fix it, it’s too late.

                Based on the “Slack” responses from all the world governments to environmental holocaust we are in for some real trouble. People are dying right now because of it.

                People who “Deny” or Throw up outdated charts and say what are we too do?, are all missing the point.(And yes they are outdated , that “Blip” you so non chalantly fob of as within standard climactic shifts and statistical variation, makes you sound like one of the deniers. It is the “Observed” standard variation, mulitply it by three and where’s the Ice?)

                The only response left for the average person is to batten down the hatches and wait for the sh*t to hit the fan.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      R&D into de salinisation could be an answer that no one wants to see, you can’t deny a city it’s water supply.

      Unfortunately all the methods we currently know of (and all those that are even theoretically possible) consume very large amounts of electrical energy. Huge amounts compared with conventional methods.

  8. belladonna 8

    I am constantly bemused by the fact that people insist on eating meat when it causes 18% of the pollution in the world! The misguided idea that your taste buds will suffer if you give up eating animals is ridiculous. Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican foods are a few of the delicious cuisines that can be made animal free. If you eat meat then dont complain about global warming.It is hypocritical.

    • blue leopard 8.1

      @belladonna

      By your words 82% of the pollution in the world is not caused by meat-eating, yet, if someone eats meat you think they shouldn’t do anything else about global warming?

      What about those that use petrochemicals for transport? Should they keep quiet on the issue too?

      Its extremely hard not to be hypocritical in one way or another in this world that is so interdependent and anyone making any real attempt to create less pollution in their lives should not be made to feel that it counts for nothing due to some other aspect of their lives that isn’t completely perfectly unpolluting-this is a very demotivating message to give another and extremely hard to achieve in one way or another.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 8.2

      Anyone who reduces their carbon footprint by any means is doing the right thing. That doesn’t make eating meat wrong. As a Climatologist once said – “that is a false and misleading dichotomy”.

      Sure, being vegan is a great way to cut your carbon footprint. I’m not so sure about simply giving up meat if you continue to eat dairy – and further, we have seen (Ingraffea et al 2011) how the gas industry has been under-reporting its “fugitive emissions” – in other words the agricultural contribution is less than previously thought.

      Plus what Blue Leopard said.

      • Gosman 8.2.1

        Interestingly it could be argued that going organic actually increases your carbon footprint in that it takes more farmland to produce the same amount of food and more farmland means less tree cover.

        • weka 8.2.1.1

          Nope, organic farmers are more likely to plant and retain trees.

          • Gosman 8.2.1.1.1

            I’d dispute that but you miss the point regardless. Organic farming takes far more land area to produce the same amount of food output as intensive non-organic farming. This is a fact. Under non-organic farming practices land saved from being converted to farmland can be left completly covered in dense bush/forest.

            • mike e 8.2.1.1.1.1

              goose go back 2 country calender programs on tv1.
              Perma culture requires virtually no shipment of fertilizer (what comes out of your mouth).
              No run off from farms ecologicaly &economicaly sound more carbon capture.
              Where do you get your info from.
              I grow more veges on organic soil than any one I have seen using chemcals and imported fertizers.My crops are huge compared to mass farming technics.

        • Polish Pride 8.2.1.2

          Sorry Gos you are wrong on this one…. Organic farming coupled with permaculture principles have been estimated to produce up to 10x the amount of produce from modern farming methods.
          Although it is a common misconception held by many.
          http://charleseisenstein.net/permaculture-and-the-myth-of-scarcity/

    • weka 8.3

      Belladonna, please post the research that shows that eating meat in NZ creates a bigger footprint than being vegetarian or vegan.
       
      Most vegheads, esp vegans, in NZ have massive food miles in their diet because so much of their food is imported (not to mention how vegans are supporting industrial agriculture and massive degradation of land, make sure that’s been factored into the carbon counting in the research you produce). Compare that to the people I know who eat meat from hunting and/or locally grown, homekilled animals, as well as mostly locally grown veges.
       
      The issue isn’t omnivore vs vegetarian. It’s how and where the food is produced. We can all change our eating and food buying practices, but arbitrary divisions like meat vs veg are pretty unhelpful.

  9. belladonna 9

    18% is 18% and a large contribution to global warming. It is most definitely not difficult to achieve, all it takes is a mind shift not a taste bud shift at all. Try it for 1 month and you will be pleasantly surprised. Google is your friend for recipes and help to achieve this reduction in global warming.

    • blue leopard 9.1

      @ belladonna,

      I’m sorry you choose to ignore the point I am making.

    • Bill 9.2

      By what factor could that 18% be reduced if methods of production and distribution were radically altered.

      So, no energy intensive and relatively distant animal rearing, thereby eliminating much in the way of transport, not to mention livestock feed, that is also grown in energy intensive corporate farming situations.

  10. Johnm 10

    Good link on same subject comments particularly good:
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/25

    “This isn’t just about polar bears and Arctic ecosystems. The ice cap (i.e. the equator-to-pole temperature gradient) is the fundamental driver of Earth’s air and water currents. Take away the ice cap, and you get a climate regime for the northern hemisphere like none of the past three million years.

    Mainly because of disappearing sea ice, the Arctic has been warming 3 or 4 times more quickly than the global average – this is called Arctic amplification. The difference between equatorial and polar temperatures decreases, with dramatic results. Jennifer Francis explains that the persistent weather systems we’ve been seeing in mid latitudes are because of the influence of Arctic amplification on the jet stream – which becomes more meandering and sluggish.

    But that’s only what we’re already seeing: the remarkable heat waves, droughts, and floods of the past few years, brought to you courtesy of the melting Arctic. We’re already experiencing dangerous climate changes, and stand at the threshold of extremely dangerous changes – for the whole planet, not just the Arctic.

    Kevin Anderson says that effective mitigation will require rethinking the primacy of economic considerations:

    “Put bluntly, while the rhetoric of policy is to reduce emissions in line with avoiding dangerous climate change, most policy advice is to accept a high probability of extremely dangerous climate change rather than propose radical and immediate emission reductions.”

  11. Jenny 11

    Great Post Lynne. It is good to see that you have picked up the baton again.

    You are the most scientifically qualified of all of us to knowledgeably address these issues.

    Keep up the good work.

    I hope we can see many more posts from you on this issue.

    Particularly I think we need to address what we as a nation could and must do.

    P.S. Could you be my climate change Churchill, that I have been hoping for?

  12. Bryan Stairs 12

    Climate modelers have the same problems as weather models. Weather modelers have what they call the butterfly effect. That says the air moving over the wings of a butterfly in Shanghai will effect the weather in NY 3 weeks latter. In climate they have to guess how much CO2 is going to be around at every point, then there is the huge basket of other variables we are just now starting to understand. The more of those variables you put in the better accurate your model.
    One example of how complicated things can be. When CFC’c were 1st developed there was no thought as to what it would do to the ozone layer. We do now, but we are still finding out how much that effected the climate (many believe the main reason why the Antarctic is still colder then projected is because of that hole). There is a hole developing near the NP also, would the same thing happen there? I do not think so just because the geography and various circulation patterns are so much different. Will it effect the climate? Yes. Is that taken into account in their models? No.
    There is another thing that is even more scary. What we are now seeing today is not what we are doing to the environment today or even the cumulative of everything over the past 200 hundred years. I suspect at least the past 5-10 years has not even been put into the effect stream yet. (see how the ozone hole got bigger for a while even after CFCs were band. Is has started to shrink a little but very slowly).
    The other bigger factor are the feedback loops. What are they? How much will they impact? When will their impact be felt in the climate? The answers are: Very little is known and understood. IMHO I think the feedback loops are already starting and much more advanced then we would wish them to be. I also think that there are far more surprising feedback that we have no clue about that could really bite us hard.

  13. Afewknowthetruth 13

    After tracking near 2007 levels through July, the extent declined rapidly in early August. Since then, the loss rate has slowed some, averaging about 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) per day—equivalent to the size of the state of South Carolina. However, this is still much faster than the normal rate at this time of year of about 40,000 square kilometers per day (15,000 square miles). NSIDC

    The maniacs we have as leaders have no intention of doing anything about any of the dire issues which will destroy the next generations’ futures because they are bought-and-paid for lackeys of corporations and money lenders or oportunists chasing money and power.

    Pity anyone under the age of 60, now that all the chickens are coming home to roost (declining global energy supply, collapsing economies and environmental collapse).

    The atmospheric CO2 will break through 400ppm next April, accelerating the meltdown, whether the global financial system collapses or not.

    • Johnm 13.1

      Arctic Sea-Ice Melt Record:
      Not Just Being Broken,
      It’s Being Smashed. 🙁
      By Rasmus E. Benestad

      Link: http://www.countercurrents.org/rasmus270812.htm

    • Jenny 13.2

      Good to see you back, few.

    • Johnm 13.3

      Hi AFKTT

      That’s humanity for you, smart enough to create the engine of its own destruction, and dumb enough not to care.

      The moment I realized the game was up was when I read that the countries surrounding the Arctic see the melting of the ice there not as the mother of all wake up calls, but instead as the mother of all opportunities to make another buck by accessing the oil previously buried beneath this ice.

      When you’re that stupid you really don’t deserve to survive.

      And as the article above mentions, not only are we melting the ice in its own right, raising water levels, destroying habitats and altering the weather, but worse than that, we are unleashing huge, previously safely frozen away, deposits of methane – the ultimate doomsday global warming gas.

      So its the start of the long goodbye from the human race here on planet earth, although in geological terms it will of course appear to future visiting aliens as though we disappeared “overnight”, giving them something to puzzle over. However I suspect that once they read the carbon record they’ll quickly cotton on to the cause of our demise, and roll their eyes: “You mean these smucks weren’t even bright enough to wean themselves off black gold, jeezus”.

      Then their galaxy historians will go on to employ as many references to ‘greed, indulgence and decadence’ to describe Homo sapiens terrible fate, as we usually do when describing the fall of Rome, and rightly so. 🙁 🙁 🙁
      Refer article:
      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/28-0

  14. Kotahi Tāne Huna 14

    The previous record for minimum Arctic sea ice has been broken, with almost a month (or possibly more) of melting still to come.

    • Bill 14.1

      Don’t suppose there’s any chance that all the world’s industrial and government leaders will put on a televised extravaganza for us? I mean, they like records, don’t they? Might feel inclined to award one another medals at some ‘sink or swim’ ceremony up there on the top of the world. That would be nice.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 14.1.1

        They could film it from an oil rig.

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1

          Come on you lefties, don’t be so gloom and doom. Shippers and mining corporates are eager for the opportunity that this is going to bring. Some trade routes are going to be shortened by up to 40% now that shipping can traverse newly ice free open seas.

          Melting artic ice means more trade and economic growth!!!

  15. Johnm 15

    George Monbiot on the ball on this one 🙂

    “What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007. The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than it was that year. The daily sense of loss – of the world we loved and knew – cannot be quantified so easily.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/28-0

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