- The Politics and Environment Blog

Main menu:


August 2008
« Jul   Sep »




Site search

Please visit


Nature Photographs


Disclaimer: The inclusion of a blog or website in this list should not be taken as an endorsement of its contents by me.

Ice Scare Goes Wong

DAILY, new evidence emerges to demonstrate that Climate Minister Penny Wong is wrong.

The latest blow to the Government’s apocalyptic prophet is news from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute that there is more ice than normal in the Arctic waters north of the Svalbard archipelago.

According to the Barents Observer there are open areas in this area in most years during July – but this year the area is covered by ice.

A fortnight ago a Norwegian research ship, Lance, and a Swedish ship, MV Stockholm, got stuck in the ice in the area and needed to be freed by the Norwegian Coast Guard.

While one ice floe does not amount to a mini-ice age, the dramatic evidence runs counter to the mantra of the climate warming cult which has claimed the Arctic is becoming progressively free of ice.

The Daily Telegraph, Piers Akerman: Icy reality cools the climate cultists

The New York Times Magazine published a story “Ice Free” by Stephan Faris, hawking his new book “Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, From the Amazon to the Arctic, From Darfur to Napa Valley”, to be published in January.

In the article, Faris notes “Greenland’s ice sheet represents one of global warming’s most disturbing threats. The vast expanses of glaciers- massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep – contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world’s atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean’s currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter.”

There is little recognition in the media and by the author of history. Greenland actually was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s than it has been in recent decades. For the period from the 1960s to the 1990s, temperatures actually declined significantly as the Atlantic went through its multidecadal cold mode. The temperature changes up and down the last few centuries were closely related to these multidecadal ocean cycles.

Shown below is the temperature plot for Godthab Nuuk in southwest Greenland. Note how closely the temperatures track with the AMO (which is a measure of the Atlantic temperatures 0 to 70N). It shows that cooling from the 1940s to the late 1990s even as greenhouse gases rose steadily, a negative correlation over almost 5 decades. The rise after the middle 1990s was due to the flip of the AMO into its warm phase. They have not reached the level of the 1930s and 1940s.


Temperatures cooled back to the levels of the 1880s by the 1980s and 1990s. In a GRL paper in 2003, Hanna and Cappelen showed a significant cooling trend for eight stations in coastal southern Greenland from 1958 to 2001 (-1.29ºC for the 44 years). The temperature trend represented a strong negative correlation with increasing CO2 levels.

Many recent studies have addressed Greenland ice mass balance. They yield a broad picture of slight inland thickening and strong near-coastal thinning, primarily in the south along fast-moving outlet glaciers. However, interannual variability is very large, driven mainly by variability in summer melting and sudden glacier accelerations. Consequently, the short time interval covered by instrumental data is of concern in separating fluctuations from trends. But in a paper published in Science in February 2007, Dr. Ian Howat of the University of Washington reports that two of the largest glaciers have suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate. At one glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq, “average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk.”

Dr. Howat in a follow-up interview with the New York Times went on to add: “Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930’s and 40’s, and many of the glaciers were smaller than they are now. This was a period of rapid glacier shrinkage world-wide, followed by at least partial re-expansion during a colder period from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. Of course, we don’t know very much about how the glacier dynamics changed then because we didn’t have satellites to observe it. However, it does suggest that large variations in ice sheet dynamics can occur from natural climate variability.” For more on this issue see this full post here. SPPI has also posted a response here. EPW compiled a series of papers here.

Icecap: Greenland Again

During our last check in, we had a look at northern Canada from the Arctic Circle to the North pole, and found we had quite a ways to go before we see an “ice free arctic” this year as some have speculated.

Today I did a check of the NASA rapidfire site for TERRA/MODIS satellite images and grabbed a view showing northern Greenland all the way to the North Pole.

There’s some bergy bits on the northeastern shore of Greenland, but in the cloud free area extending all the way to the pole, it appears to still be solid ice.

With more than half of the summer melt season gone, it looks like an uphill battle for an ice-free arctic this year.

This dovetails with a press release and news story about more ice than normal in the Barents Sea:

The Barents Observer:

The Meteorological Institute writes in a press release:

The ice findings from the area spurred surprise among the researchers, many of whom expect the very North Pole to be ice-free by September this year.

Watts Up With That: Polar Ice Check – Still a lot of ice up there

Bernie draws our attention to an article in the Globe and Mail on another break-off of the Ellesmere Island ice shelf:

The Globe and Mail has an excellent map of the “collapse” of this ice sheet. Apparently its collapse has been proceeding for about 100 years.

Update- The break is said to be unprecedented since as long ago as 2005:

Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005 but still small when compared with others

This topic is in the news from time to time – there was another similar story in a couple of years ago. At the time, I looked into the matter and wrote several posts on the topic of Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which people interested in this topic may wish to re-visit.

Climate Audit: Ward Hunt Island: Unprecedented since 2005


323 Responses to “Ice Scare Goes Wong”

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

  1. Comment from: wes george


    It’s sad that you characterise all sceptics by the two you cite for personally derision. Do you do this with people you know of other races or nationality as well? Why not break out a box of yellow stars!

    This is a kind of bigotry. I’m not saying you are a bigot, merely unaware and insensitive to what the definition of bigotry is, while practicing the intellectual laziness of indulging in the expansion of anecdotal encounters into false universal statements. Pass me a yellow star, please.

    By the way, I don’t believe you understand the first thing about the climate’s sensitivity to forcing by CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. If you did, you would be well aware that the physics of it is hotly contested and far from settled. Louis and Jan are in the company of a number of serious scientists in their point of view. But then you wouldn’t be aware of that. Carl Sagan is as far as you got, eh?

    “What people are expecting on Earth,” is a statement from a Dr. Who episode. Are you sure you at the right blog?

  2. Comment from: Ivan (842 days & Counting)

    NT – very good. You win the English Literature prize for semantics.

    Also, to be strictly accurate, what you should have said is:
    “AGW is a theory, they use models to produce theoretical results which support the theory”.

    “AGW is based on the physics of greenhouse gases, so is based on the greenhouse effect. It doesn’t need models.”
    Execellent. Please provide links to the empirical data which supports this assertion.

    “Also you need to define what you mean by an “accurate” prediction.”
    An accurate prediction is one which would allow a business person to make a business decision with a reasonable degree of confidence. Since they expect the mug punters to cough up $20B a year to fund this frolic, I don’t think it’s asking a lot to expect answers to a few reasonable questions about start and end dates, scope, alternatives, etc.

    They keep telling us it is a science – and since other big-ticket science-based projects (like putting a man on the moon) can provide these sorts of answers, this shouldn’t be a big ask. I mean – given that it is a science, right?

  3. Comment from: Ivan (842 days & Counting)

    Libby says: “At least you’re consistent Ivan!!”

    This would seem to be a characteristic that we share.

  4. Comment from: James Mayeau

    I enjoy a workout.

    But as far as Chris goes, I’ll be damned if I’ll let some two bit smear merchant be the one who whips me, especially when he is defending social parasites like Gore, Mann, the IPCC, the NAS, the AAAS, BOM, MET, GISS, NOAA, the APS, or any of the other multitude of societies that indulge their ego at the expense of humanity’s welfare.


  5. Comment from: James Mayeau

    By the way, according to HADcrut the DeltaT between Jan 1900 and Jan 2000 was 0.404 degrees Celcius.

  6. Comment from: NT

    Boy what a reaction, I’m bigot. Wow.

    But seriously I don’t claim to be an expert so I don’t have to prove anything. BUT it’s not hard to find information out, just use Google Scholar.

    So, Cohenite, I don’t have to challenge your claim. But what you can do is use Google Scholar search under “Greenhouse effect Venus” then enjoy reading. And with your tropospheric claim, that’s not a rebuttal of the theory. I think what you need to look for, in terms of enhanced greenhouse is a cooling Stratosphere. But maybe you could just google scholar that too.

    Ivan, find the greenhouse gas data yourself. It’s not like it’s hidden. Just google it – it’s not tricky.
    Ivan, Your first statement is not actually true. The models aren’t there to ‘support’ the theory, but are used as a tool to investigate possible outcomes. Economic theories are similar – the modelling isn’t there to serve the theory, but rather attempt to investigate outcomes.

    Ivan, your second statement is qualitative. You need to make it quantitative.

    The man on the moon caper was more of an engineering feat.

  7. Comment from: Marcus

    You are new to debating/understanding this CC caper aren’t you?

    Google Scholar indeed!?

  8. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    I beg your pardon? I do not believe in the greenhouse effect?

    Where do I state that?

  9. Comment from: NT

    Marcus, new? Why new? Have you used Google Scholar? It’s marvellous. Do you know what Google Scholar is? What is your problem with it?

    Sorry Louis I may have mistaken you for Cohenite.

  10. Comment from: Ann

    Killer Whales at Risk from Warming in Antarctica.

    Study to be published in Polar Biology:

    “Two newly identified types of killer whales that hunt prey off of Antarctic sea ice risk losing food sources to global warming and melting, according to a new study on the whales’ movement patterns.

    The study reveals that killer whales that feed primarily on fish that congregate under ice shelves are more or less “homebodies,” sticking close to the ice, whereas seal-eating killer whales wander wide and seemingly aimlessly.

    The differences in movement patterns likely correlate to differences in the whales’ foraging strategies and how they interact with their prey, according to the study.

    For example, fish-eating whales can stay local because the main anti-predator strategy of fish is to bunch up into schools, often under the ice shelves, according to researchers. On the other hand, the seal-eating whales chase prey with a wider range, as seals wash off of ice floes and travel farther.

    Both types of killer whales tracked are heavily dependent on ice cover, according to Robert Pitman, a study co-author and marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in La Jolla, California.

    “If there are changes in the amount of ice cover [in the Antarctic] then it means there are going to be changes in the amount of habitat that [the whales] have available to them,” Pitman said. “And we’re not sure how adaptable they are to living in a different kind of habitat.”

    The new research, published online this month in the journal Polar Biology, highlights the need to unravel the whale’s basic biology, noted Pitman”

    Read more here:

  11. Comment from: wes george


    Please explain, what is this google that you refer too??? Sounds fascinating. How much does it cost? I would like to purchase one. Then enjoy reading about serving models to investigate outcome, now that’s greenhouse quality tomatoes!

    Happy evening to all!

  12. Comment from: Steve Short

    It is a pity Chris is leaving just as we are about to find out from thousand of good British ships logs that there was a period of warming in the 1730s possibly comparable to the recent CO2-attributed, over-hyped one.

    That should give Wes something nice to add to his MWP onset rate test case.

    Meanwhile, global temperatures continue to fall, the Sun still remains very quiet spot-wise, and there is no sign of Solar Cycle No. 25 getting underway.

    Now, to really throw the cat amongst the pigeons next even regional CO2 levels are not behaving as they should. The little dip at Mauna Loa is only a very minor part of the story of what is going on – the Great Southern Ocean and the gyres it drives are soaking up the extra CO2 more and more effectively now on a year-by-year basis.

    Have just taken delivery of a big chunk of extra stations data from NOAA and been stuffing into my master Excel spreadsheet off and on since last night. Even the cursory data reduction and stats I could fit in today shows the SH oceans are still gaining on the rate of increase of CO2 in the NH – despite what CO2 China, India, North America and Europe are pumping out.

    Who needs fancy theories when just the empirical data is going it’s own sweet way?

    Nope, the science still aint’ settled and yep, the catastrophists, and their associated ‘dolls, molls and trolls’ are still in for a continuing rough ride.

    Good evening.

  13. Comment from: Ivan (842 days & Counting)

    “find the greenhouse gas data yourself.”
    Semantics again. Not the greenhouse gas data – the empirical data that proves greenhouse gases causes climatic warming of the planet (the planet Earth, that is).

    “your second statement is qualitative. You need to make it quantitative”
    Start and end dates ARE quantitative – can’t get any more quantitative than a date. Scope and alternatives would generally be considered to be quantitative as well – otherwise they are just wish-lists and theories.

    “The man on the moon caper was more of an engineering feat.”
    So – what is the proposed ‘solution’ to AGW? $20B a year will be spent and no engineering involved? Wow – that will be some party.

  14. Comment from: Ivan (842 days & Counting)

    “Economic theories are similar – the modelling isn’t there to serve the theory, but rather attempt to investigate outcomes.”

    At least this confirms one theory – now it’s clear why economists are always called on to ‘prove’ AGW to the masses.

    One lot of charlatans calls on another lot of con-artists and crooks to substantiate their fraud. Marriage made in heaven.

  15. Comment from: Jan Pompe

    Steve: “and there is no sign of Solar Cycle No. 25 getting underway.”

    do you mean cycle 24 perhaps?

    I have already seen something somewhere about temperatures in central England and have found tamino does an analysis of it and there does indeed appear to be a hefty rise in the early 18th century. Don’t know how good the data is or exactly how the estimates were done.

  16. Comment from: Jan Pompe

    link to tamino’s article

  17. Comment from: KuhnKat


    “… risk losing food sources to global warming and melting…”

    “If there are changes in the amount of ice cover…”

    “…we’re not sure how adaptable they are…”

    How many studies can you ingest full of ifs and not sures and maybes, with no FACTS supporting the scenario, before your brain turns to mush?? We can play that kind of game until the sun dies with little point.

    What if the sun goes nova in 50 years. Shouldn’t we start building space ships NOW?!?!?!

    What if a large meteor hits in the near future…

    What if anthrax evolves into a more virulent form…

    What if the solar insolation drops by 4%…

    What if reducing CO2 causes a feedback dropping us into the expected ice age NOW…

    PLEASE try to operate on VERIFIABLE FACTS!!!

  18. Comment from: Mark


    “I have already seen something somewhere about temperatures in central England and have found tamino does an analysis of it and there does indeed appear to be a hefty rise in the early 18th century. Don’t know how good the data is or exactly how the estimates were done.”

    Have a look at the CET (Central England Temperature), the longest instrumental record available:

    I guess in 1725 everyone thought they would die within 50 years of a heat wave too!

  19. Comment from: Steve Short


    “I have already seen something somewhere about temperatures in central England and have found tamino does an analysis of it and there does indeed appear to be a hefty rise in the early 18th century. Don’t know how good the data is or exactly how the estimates were done.”


    “Have a look at the CET (Central England Temperature), the longest instrumental record available:

    I guess in 1725 everyone thought they would die within 50 years of a heat wave too!”

    Actually, some time ago I found out quite by accident this marked rise in temperature in England between about 1700 and 1740 – 1750 has long been well known to social anthropologists and historians. One of the major effects of it was a marked rise in agricultural productivity in rural England and a consequent rise in the GDP overall. For example, I understand that at that time England was producing almost all the wool used for clothing over most of Western Europe! This led in turn to a marked increase in the populations in the cities – especially London.

    I am fortunate enough to know my family tree reasonably well back to around 1690. In the 1740s my direct male line ancestor migrated from the English countryside into the East End of London to take work as a carpenter/cabinet maker and married into a down-at-heel but genteel emigre French Huguenot family who had fled to London sometime in the late 1680s or early 169Os. When I looked carefully at the East End parish records (marriages and births in particular) for the period 1700 – 1750 I was struck by the level of migration from the English countryside into London which was obviously going on over that period.

    Cockney genes: take no shit, keep one eye on the pennies and have a standard fox terrier behind your door!

  20. Comment from: cohenite

    Tamino goes to a lot of trouble to diminish that early temp rise; it was probably a PDO effect, if saying that doesn’t get me into more trouble; for a different take on the CET history this guy is interesting;

    He finds that winter warmings were catching up to summers by 0.4C per century but that this is not due to CO2 increase; however, the present trend appears to be towards larger differences between winter and summer, indicating a cooling.

  21. Comment from: SJT

    “PLEASE try to operate on VERIFIABLE FACTS!!!”

    CO2 is a GHG. We are in the process of at least doubling it’s concentration in the atmosphere.

  22. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    SO you think all the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere since 1880 is due to humanity?

  23. Comment from: wes george

    “CO2 is a GHG. We are in the process of at least doubling it’s concentration in the atmosphere.’

    Yeah, from 280 parts per MILLION to 390 parts per MILLION.

    As Forrest Gump like to say, Sjt is as sjt does.

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All