Monday, January 24, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere and Neer a Drop Did Freeze

UPDATE: Eli missed it but Simon Donner has a nice post with some good links about what is happening in Eastern Canada

At a casual meal on the weekend, I met a couple in town from Iqualit. The capital of Canada's northern Inuit territory of Nunavut is located on Frobisher Bay in southern Baffin Island.

They told me that when they left home in mid-December, the ice on Frobisher Bay was not frozen. I almost coughed up my food; that can't be possibly be typical for December.

Today, NCAR reports on how northern Canada is enjoying a balmy winter, and the ice freeze is way behind schedule, but, dear bunnies, we all know that the global ice cover is very high because of the large ice pack around the Antarctic, or, as the images below from 2003 and 2011 show, maybe not.






















It's looking wet down south, with about a month to go to the minimum




























and up north?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not looking good for the seal pupping season along the Labrador coast. Dead seals already washing up.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/01/17/nl-dead-seals-117.html

Hudson Bay finally froze over completely a week or so ago, a more than a month behind schedule.

Alley recently said to Congress that he expects the upward trend in Antarctic sea ice to stop (or was that reverse ) in the near future. Wish that he had been a bit more specific.

More on the denialists lying about global sea ice (and well everything really) and N. Hemisphere snow cover here:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-Myth-6-Global-Sea-Ice.html
http://www.skepticalscience.com/monckton-myth-7-snowjob.html

MapleLeaf

carrot eater said...

Rather hard to assess trends, when the data are only presented as they are here.

I find Antarctica to be quite subtle and complicated. In other words, I haven't put nearly enough time into understanding whatever we think we know about it.

tamino said...

Currently global sea ice is near its minimum, because there's an annual cycle and this is the season for global minimum.

But it's also well below normal for this time of year, since both the N.Hem and S.Hem anomalies are negative.

The trend during the satellite era is slightly increasing in the south, rapidly decreasing in the north. The northern decrease rate is 3.3 times as fast as the southern increase rate, so theglobal trend is a strong decline. Of course, that doesn't stop Monckton and others from claiming otherwise.

Neven said...

Global sea ice area might be hitting a new record low if Antarctic sea ice area keeps decreasing faster than the Arctic sea ice increases.

Here's a close-up of the graph.

tamino said...

I notice that at Neven's blog, it was asked where to get daily data for the southern hemisphere. I'm not willing to make a "typepad" account just so I can comment (too many goddamn accounts already), so I'll post 'em here.

Daily data for the northern hemisphere:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008

For the southern hemisphere:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.south.anom.1979-2008

And, for the globe:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.global.anom.1979-2008

Anonymous said...

http://www.grinzo.com/energy/graphs.html

Check the graphs under the "Lou's favorites" tab, in particular.

That situation in Antarctica has become quite interesting in recent weeks while we were all oohing and aahing over Greenland. Perhaps it was jealous...

JCH said...

Why would Antarctica be jealous of that Viking-infested rathole? So, when is the SW passage going to open up?

EliRabett said...

Eli prefers the info at IUP Bremen which does not go back as far but has high quality images available back to 2003.

BTW, while agreeing that a month does not make a trend, things have happened to the ice this year that are very out of the ordinary. Somewhat to an earlier point, pattern recognition tells you to be alert, but then you have to ask why something is happening

Neven said...

Thanks for those links, Tamino (somebody else posted them as well on my blog). BTW, how do you guys find that data?!

I've converted the CT global sea ice area data to a spreadsheet and here are the minima for the previous six years:

2005: 14.732 (Feb 11)
2006: 14.392 (Feb 2)
2007: 14.634 (Feb 2)
2008: 15.579 (Feb 17)
2009: 15.113 (Feb 24)
2010: 14.880 (Jan 27)

2011 current (Jan 25): 14.516

Robert I Ellison said...

An exquisite dilemma exists in a shifting climate. The planet is likely to cool over 10 to 30 more years as a cool Pacific Ocean mode intensifies. Even if you can’t quite believe this at the moment, it is a potential that emerges from peer reviewed science. Yet there remains an irreducible climate risk – necessarily so as an outcome of the physical theory of complex and dynamic systems...

A numerical network model was constructed for the study from 4 observed ocean and climate indices – the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Pacific Northwest Anomaly (PNA) - thus capturing most of the major modes of climate variability in the period 1900–2000. This network synchronized around 1909, the mid 1940’s and 1976/77 – after which the climate state shifted. A later study (Swanson and Tsonis 2009) found a similar shift in 1998/2001. They found that where a ‘synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability.’

http://www.earthandocean.robertellison.com.au/

Don't shoot the messenger - I am simply suggesting a realignment of the carbon reduction narrative.

Cheers
Robert I Ellison

Neven said...

Robert, how about the AMO? I understand this oscillation plays a role in the transport of all that warmer water towards the Arctic (to stay a bit on topic).

Other thing: I suppose that while the globe cools for a few decades due to the oscillations you mention, CO2 continues to accumulate in the atmosphere and trap energy, right? Of course this would be masked by the much stronger internal variability.

What if after those decades the oscillations synchronize for another climate shift (a warmer one, I presume) and CO2 is no longer masked? Will it be warmer then than it is now? What will that mean for atmospheric patterns and the cryosphere?

Neven said...

Messenger, please come back. I won't shoot, I promise.

Hank Roberts said...

> Messenger

Message:
http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2011/01/whiteboard-on-end-of-global-warming.html

Hank Roberts said...

PS, more EbilGummintRegalation coming to an ocean near you:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE70N3ND20110124

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic. I plugged this into the wrong thread - it was more to do with an economist snark about global temperatures. But while I'm here. The temperature of the past decade is irrelevant to both sides of the argument - it is driven by ENSO as in the Dessler 2010 paper. The cloud feedbacks Dessler describes are ENSO feedbacks in the first instance. As Dessler says, ‘the climate variations (cloud feedbacks - please add mental italics for my addition here in brackets) being analysed here are primarily driven by ENSO...' And just because there is large natural variation doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

Neven - Lockwood et al (2010) had an interesting paper about the current cool conditions in Europe - it concerned a long term drift in solar UV and 'top down'forcing. Not much more than pure speculation on the forcing aspect - but interesting in terms of an influence on SLP from ozone warming (at both poles) and the path of storm tracks.

These internal variations - strong as they are and you can see that in the CERES data - I copied a net radiative flux graph from Dessler 2010 in the manuscript titled 'A new 1st order..' They are irrelevant to considerations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in a context of complex and dynamic systems. There we are looking at small changes in initial conditions resulting in nonlinear changes in state. So yes - I am very much afraid that the climate effects of greenhouse gases will accumulate until they initiate a chaotic shift in climate. I don't of course have a clue what that would be - but dramatic changes have occurred in the paleoclimatic record in a matter of months.

I see all the old crowd is here - G'day Hank. But I am sure you didn't have a lot of time to read any of the stuff at -

http://www.earthandocean.robertellison.com.au/

- which contains a detailed and beautifully written review of Pacific Ocean science. The Pacific Ocean - especially ENSO - has the biggest influence on global climate variation. But I have spent 20 years on it - so I know it is hard. But please do not be so quick to dismiss what is, after merely a review of peer reviewed science (not only do I make time to read the science, I am trained in engineering and environmental science and, like many of us, am a bit of a fucking tragic) because it doesn't fit a conceptual model.

The only reason I am here is, as I say at the webpage and above, an exquisite dilemma exists... There remains an irreducible climate risk – necessarily so as an outcome of the physical theory of complex and dynamic systems.

You should take some time to read and understand - because this is a critical issue and it can't be answered with mere statistical tomfoolery.

All of this is addressed at some depth at the webpage. The only reason I'm here and there is that people need to stop worrying about the temperature - you're likely to lose that one in the immediate future - and start worrying about the physical fundamentals.

Cheers
Robert

RR said...

"things have happened to the ice this year that are very out of the ordinary" - says Eli.

Sometimes an incident makes the existence of a climate change unequivocal (to quote a word from Assessment Report 4). Because the incident could not have happenend without the change.

Such incidents I reckon to be the Russian Heatwave of last year - let us measure 55.000 AGW-fatalities here - and the behaviour of the Hudson/Baffin ice.

JCH said...

Swanson, of Tsonis and Swanson, stated on RC that the "shift" steps in a bit of poop when GISTEMP is used. Given 2009 and 2010, that poop pile looks a bit bigger.

EliRabett said...

Eli's favorite about EbilGummintRegulations

Robert I Ellison said...

Neven - I did put this comment in the wrong thread. But seeing as it has appeared here and been replied to.

Lockwood (2010) has an interesting look at long term drift of solar UV and 'top down' forcing - in relation to current cold conditions in Europe - the reference is in the list of references here - http://www.earthandocean.robertellison.com.au/ A cause of decadal shifts in the polar indices?

The only Swanson comment on realclimate I know of is here -

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

Their thesis concerned the large large fluctuations around the bifurcation points. I can't check the comment referred because I can't find the comment - but the temperature in 2010 would seem to have nothing at all to do with the method or results of the studies? Which suggests that a lack of warming should at least be contemplated.

The wealth of evidence otherwise is extensive - there are many, many papers on abrupt climate change or ENSO changes. Climate is not a 'complex and dynamic system'? Very unlikely. For instance - Hurrell had a relatively recent paper at BAMS on seamless models - well worth a look again. To quote from memory 'the distinction between weather and climate is somewhat artificial'.

The changes in Pacific Ocean conditions cannot be responded to with mere statistical tomfoolery. There is a wealth of very real physical evidence.

This has been talked about since before the 2002 NAS report of abrupt climate change.

There is large natural variability that can be seen in the CERES data - the Dessler (2010) analyses cloud variation as an ENSO variation - and shows the CERES data. The temperature in 2010 has mostly to do with the persistence of ENSO just like in 1998. The annual average temps seems to me to be irrelevant to any case. And is it statistically different from 2005 and 1998?

I have copied the Dessler CERES graph to 'A new 1st order..' paper on the website if that is easier to access. It also provides a way of understanding these radiative flux graphs if you need one.

Yes the carbon effects might accumulate until there is a chaotic bifurcation in climate - something that is not predictable but could be large. The risk is irreducible - it is changes by the large natural background variability (as shown in CERES). But the large natural variation has the potential to mask the anthropogenic changes over a decade or more and has very serious implications for carbon reduction politics.

But this is pointless entirely if I am simply to be edited out? Let me have a guest post - and we can if the issues can be canvassed in an intellectually honest way.

Robert I Ellison said...

That should be - 'The risk (of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions) is irreducible - it is not changed by the large natural background variability (as shown in CERES).'

Robert I Ellison said...

I see there is a space limit - and here I was thinking evil thoughts.

The only Swanson post at realclimate I am aware of is: warming interrupted: much ado about natural variation. I can't check the comment referred to because I can't find it. But ENSO didn't change after 1998? (LOL)I don't think so.

There is wealth of evidence otherwise for abrupt climate change starting from before the 2002 NAS report.

The only point I want to make is that the potential for non warming is very real - and this would have very unfortunate repercussions on the politics of carbon reduction.

This is worth a little of your time - http://www.earthandocean.robertellison.com.au/

Cheers
Robert

JCH said...

...The contentious part of our paper is that the climate system appears to have had another “episode” around the turn of the 21st century, coinciding with the much discussed “halt” in global warming. Whether or not such a halt has really occurred is of course controversial (it appears quite marked in the HadCRUT3 data, less so in GISTEMP); only time will tell if it’s real. Regardless, it’s important to note that we are not talking about global cooling, just a pause in warming. ...

less so in GISTEMP.

EliRabett said...

It's not so much that there are space limits but longer comments get tossed into the blogger spam box where they have to be rescued when Eli sees them

Steve Bloom said...

Out of curiosity, Robert, did Tsonis et al. address the issue of whether their postulated cycle would hold notwithstanding that the atmospheric circulation has changed considerably and continues to do so? Also, how what about the observed acceleration in Atlantic meridional flow, involving the Agulhas and Labrador currents, and the fresh results about recent much-increased flow of ocean heat into the Arctic? Everything has changed, it seems to me.

Robert Way said...

We should consider the AMO to be very important with respect to all these oscillations. Chylek et al (2009) identified that it was amplifying the temperature response in the arctic when it was positive and now the new Science paper shows that North Atlantic waters are penetrating into the Arctic (AMO)

Steve Bloom said...

Blaming the warm water incursion on the AMO is rather missing the point.

Robert I Ellison said...

It is not a cycle but a chaotic bifurcation that is global in extent. A critical difference. All of the indices, and there are quite a few of them, - http://ioc-goos-oopc.org/state_of_the_ocean/all/ - are merely diagnostic with very broad rules for climate effects of different states. We shouldn't fool ourselves that if we can identify a pattern in SST, SLP or something other that we understand the mechanisms.

A numerical network model was constructed for the study from 4 observed ocean and climate indices – the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Pacific Northwest Anomaly (PNA) - thus capturing most of the major modes of climate variability in the period 1900–2000. This network synchronized around 1909, the mid 1940’s and 1976/77 – after which the climate state shifted. A later study (Swanson and Tsonis 2009) found a similar shift in 1998/2001. They found that where a ‘synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability.’

We don't understand the underlying mechanisms but which are definitely chaotic (an example of a complex and dynamic system in physical theory). But try - Lockwood, M., Harrison, R., Woollings, T. Solanki, S., (2010) Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity? Environ. Res. Lett. 5 (2010) 024001 (7pp)

Frankly the multidecadal changes in Artic temp have always been obvious - and a correlation can be found with one or more of the ocean and atmospheric indices.

Hartmann, B., and Wendler, G. 2005: The Significance of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift in the Climatology of Alaska. J. Climate, 18, 4824–4839.

Mestas-Nuñez, A and Miller, A (2006), Interdecadal variability and climate change in the eastern tropical Pacific: A review, Progress in Oceanography 69 (2006) 267–284

Everything has changed? Of course things change and they change chaotically - not a terribly comforting thought.

My emphasis on the Pacific is because the sea surface changes there drive changes in stratiform cloud formation and so influence the global energy budget. This has the most effect on changes in global heat content, hydrology and biology.

Cheers
Robert

Robert I Ellison said...

Just re-read the Lockwood (2010)abstract - I assume there's an effect on North America as well? You guys better head for central Queensland before you freeze your butts off.

'Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity. We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature. We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic. We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect. Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.

EliRabett said...

And, of course, Eastern Canada is, as it were, boiling (see the first link to the NCAR report)

Robert I Ellison said...

It is not a cycle - it is chaotic bifurcation and global in extent.

Independent of the underlying physical causes of Pacific climate variability, an understanding of the PDO and ENSO as behaving like a complex and dynamic system in chaos theory emerged from a 2007 study by Tsonis et al. They constructed a numerical network model from 4 observed ocean and climate indices - ENSO, PDO, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Pacific Northwest Anomaly (PNA) - thus capturing most of the major modes of climate variability in the period 1900–2000. This network synchronized around 1909, the mid 1940’s and 1976/77 – after which the climate state shifted. A later study (Swanson and Tsonis 2009) found a similar shift in 1998/2001. They found that where a ‘synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability.’

We are in a cool mode of the Pacific decadal pattern.

Marco said...

Oh dear, did Robert Ellison seriously cite McLean et al on his blog?

Yes, he did...

Robert I Ellison said...

Oh Hi Marco - I also, without apology, used the UAH tropospheric temperature. I like the monthly update because it shows up ENSO clearly as it happens. I have 2 dozen odd other peer reviewed sources referenced.

From memory, the McLean paper used the 1st derivative of troposheric temperature and correlated that with a lagged SOI. That seems to me to be a valid procedure to get a number for what is obvious - that ENSO is the biggest influence on surface temperature variation. The criticism was that the 1st derivative is of course trendless - which is something I left well enough alone.

Tsonis et al above...on the other hand...

Now I know there is a fair bit of climate warrior rubbish going on - but you can't in all fairness dismiss the entire review based on a claim that ENSO has a short term impact on surface temp?

I keep saying that the only reason I bother is that an exquisite dilemma exists. The planet seems likely to cool over 10 to 30 more years as a cool Pacific Ocean mode intensifies. Even if you can’t quite believe this at the moment, it is a possibility that emerges from peer reviewed science. Yet there remains a significant climate risk – necessarily so as an outcome of the physical theory of complex and dynamic systems.

So try to follow - I know it easier to be a climate warrior with a clear enemy - zombie skeptics - but OMG - what if the planet is cooling for a couple of decades. There is a realclimate post by Kyle Swanson - Warming interrupted: much ado about natural variation. I wouldn't take it as gospel - but read the 2007 paper as well.

EliRabett said...

Problem is an oscillation driven cooling is on top of a RISING trend, so to claim that there will be cooling based on a cycle or so is, shall we say, data abuse.

Robert I Ellison said...

Hmmm. It is still not a cycle or an oscillation - that misunderstands the nature of the dynamic. And the annual average surface temp is hugely irrelevant to anything very much - but it does have an unwarranted social significance. It has nil analytic power - So I can’t abuse what I don’t use.

NASA says that 'the overall slow decrease of upwelling SW flux from the mid-1980's until the end of the 1990's and subsequent increase from 2000 onwards appear to caused, primarily, by changes in global cloud cover (although there is a small increase of cloud optical thickness after 2000) and is confirmed by the ERBS measurements.' http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/projects/browse_fc.html This is a result of the warm Pacific mode from 1977 to 1998.

Cloud is critical in the radiative balance of the planet. We are in a cool Pacific mode. These last 20 to 40 years - but it might change tomorrow. Cool modes are associated with cloud increases in the eastern Pacific as more low level stratiform cloud form over cold sea surfaces. See Any Clements… and Zhu Ping… amongst the references especially. Also Dessler (2010) – a positive correlation between ENSO driven surface temps and clouds as seen in the CERES record. Although see Zhu Ping… for an account of the underlying mechanisms.

The big changes in radiative flux in ISCCP-FD, ERBS and CERES – and therefore the planets radiative balance - is in reflected shortwave. We can’t in fact distinguish the AGW signal – huge as it must undoubtedly be - from the background noise.

The current super La Niña is a result of the cool Pacific decadal mode – we should expect more of them along with less intense and frequent El Niño. With record –ve SOI – the probability is that it will hang around for this year at least cooling the planet.

Robert I Ellison said...

A positive correlation between ENSO driven surface temps and clouds as seen in the CERES record?

That should be a negative correlation.

Robert I Ellison said...

Just one more post and I will get on my bike.

I have referred to this post before: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

Even just another 10 years of no warming - has huge political implications. Not sure if simply glossing over the potential is the best strategy.

But to mix metaphors - if sticking your head in the burrow floats your boat - don't let me stop you.

Sagar Bethea said...

And, of course, Eastern Canada is, as it were, boiling (see the first link to the NCAR report)