Monday, December 17, 2007

Where's the bellhop with the ice?

Cryosphere Today is having some problems, but we can look at the satellite images. December 1980 was pretty close to zero anomaly, today, we are still negative. Stoat may be on very thin ice.

UPDATE: Steve Sadov thinks there has been a major freeze up. The ice cover is still much behind normal in the Northern Pacific and Atlantic. You're on thin ice there Steve.

Also they cryosphere today has had a major meltdown and the time series graphs are currently wrong because of corrupted data. They say this will be fixed in about a week. Happy New Year to the UIUC crew who maintain an excellent site for the rest of us and hopefully they will take time out to celebrate Christmas.
UPDATE: Dearest Timo (see the comments), cryosphere today simply says on the web-page from which these figures are taken:

Historic snow cover data not displayed on these images. Snow cover data is displayed only for most recent dates.

they appear to have started to include the snow cover sometime in 2005.


Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, what was that Stoat challenge again.

However, satellite images. Two months ago, the world as we knew it was coming to an end. Tipping points everywhere. Eyeballing it, 17Dec2007 is within 10-15% of 16Dec1980. Pretty quick return from the dead, hey Rabett.

Old Tamino has just done a thread on a similiar theme, where he would have called this difference within normal range. But apparantly not for Rabett.

Snow falling all over Europe, north America, cold winter ahead. Heres the game for early January Rabett. Put up a satellite image from earliest January 1981, and along side put an image of same day(or as close to as you did above)of January 2008. Don't put the dates and have thread visitors guess which is which.


Unknown said...

John, you might find the graphic on Jeff Masters' latest post ( illuminating. Cold in North America, but notably warm in the Arctic and Russia. Rabett is not on thin ice, but we are.

Anonymous said...

The nice thing about this is, its very clear. If the warmers are right, in a couple years there will be ice free Arctic summers. This will be a major change for several hundred years. What exactly it means is a different matter, but there will be no doubting something very fundamental has happened.

If they are wrong, we will see some kind of recovery.

But in any case, we should know for sure on this one by at most two or three years from now.

Anonymous said...

Gareth I read the most recent Masters post. It has surface temperature anomaly image for 1-15Dec07.Masters says temperatures over ocean areas not reliable and should be ignored, so kinda makes a lot of your comments a bit useless Also Rabett's images has ice coverage across a large chunk of the red area. O dear.

Very good, and early snow, coverage across the Alps is mentioned but Finns low on snow. I bet you could find any European early winter season that had good and bad snow parts in past decades. At that time however it was not said to be the harbinger of doom. Suddenly if all Europe in early winter is not covered by above average snow fall, the world must be coming to an end.


Anonymous said...

JohnS: "Old Tamino has just done a thread on a similiar theme, where he would have called this difference within normal range. But apparantly not for Rabett."

In the trhead you refer to, Tamino was referring to the so called "recovery" that some have claimed (ie, ice cover now as copared to previous years at this time).

In a previous thread, he talked about the ice coverage last fall (at the end of the summer melt season, which is really the significant thing) and how that compared to recent decades.

He pointed out that the trend in ice cover has been downward for some time and seems to be accelerating. Furthermore, the drop in min ice coverage that occurred last year (from the previous year) was not ordinary as compared to what one would expect from just noise.

Someone also pointed out in that thread (as Eli has done several times) that ice thickness at the end of the winter plays a major (perhaps dominant) role in what happens in the next summer melt season with regard to ice cover.

Anyone who has ever skated on a pond in winter knows that ice that is 1 inch thick is not the same as ice that is one foot thick.

One can not talk about "recovery" in a meaningful way based merely on ice coverage in winter. It is simply foolish.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous JohnS wrote, "But in any case, we should know for sure on this one by at most two or three years from now."

Why will five or ten years be any different as far as you are concerned? You seem to think there may be a recovery within the next few years. Is there any reason for us to think that you won't be making this sort of claim ten or twenty years after the first sea-ice free arctic summer?

No matter how long things go on and no matter how bad they get, it will always be possible for somebody to claim that it is all part of some natural cycle, and we shouldn't try to do anything since that would be costly, and all we have to do is just wait for the cycle to reverse itself.

At this point, "denialist" seems preety apt.

Walt Bennett said...

It should be obvious that albedo is a bit meaningless when there is no sun.

Winter ice cover is (a) expected (real cold, no sun) and (b) meaningless. All that matters is: how much of that durn ocean is covered by white stuff when the sun is shining?

As we can see in the pictures that actually matter, we are getting close to zero. That is a stunning albedo flip. It will cause collateral damage. How much and how soon are the real "game"...

Anonymous said...

The graphic for 1980 looks a little bit strange. I don't see any snow cover in Canada, Alaska, Siberia and the Nordics, except for Greenland. Despite the fact that the graphic is taken on December 16th, 1980.

Would this mean it was much warmer in 1980? Or has the monitoring improved durings the last three decades.

Conclusion; the graphics do not say anything. Neither for climate alarmist and/or climate realists.

EliRabett said...

Timo, they only started showing the snow cover recently. You can check this out on the cryosphere site.


Anonymous said...

John S. repeat this ten times so that you will not forget this essential point;

During refreeze it is not about ice cover it is about ice thickness.

Go the Cryosphere Today and pull up the archive and look at Sep 15, 1980 ice extent and compare that to Sept. 15, 2007. See how much NEW ICE in the Arctic refreeze TODAY as compared to December 16, 1980 refreeze.

The new ice will melt rapidly next spring and summer so the open water season will be extended as will the area of open water giving up heat trapped last summer.

John McCormick

Anonymous said...


If that is true, than I don't understand why the graphic shows snow cover on Greenland. The only explanation would be that the program used "automatically" gives Greenland snow cover. I will check this at the cryosphere site during the weekend.

For the record: 27 years of observations via satellites has no statistical meaning to my opinion, if you compare it with the age (probably millions of years) of the Artic.

I reconfirm my conclusion mentioned my earlier post.


Anonymous said...

Thanks to all who are seeking to educate me about recoveries, ice thickness etc. However a very cold winter has started around the Arctic(despite Gareth's note)and the reason for very quick ice recovery, and also the difference from last winter.
People are keen to tell me what will happen next summer because the ice will not be thick. Given winter has just started, ice thickness in March 2008 can only be guessed at. However what is very obvious is that many people here are wanting the ice to be thin for the 2008 summer(temperatures also of which are unknown). They want the A in AGW to be real. I'm called a denier, but faithwarmer fits you just as well.


Anonymous said...

Timo (is it Hämeranta?), that's a remarkably stupid argument.

With that mindset, a million years of observations would have no statistical meaning either, since the earth has existed for billions of years.

EliRabett said...

Methinks Timo has taken offense and huffed off as his strategy. However, Eli left a note for him in an UPDATE pointing out that hey yeah, CT started including snow cover only after 2005, and Greenland is white.

Anonymous said...


what is very obvious is that many people here are wanting the ice to be thin for the 2008 summer(temperatures also of which are unknown). They want the A in AGW to be real. I'm called a denier, but faithwarmer fits you just as well.

Individuals tend to believe what they want to believe, that is not important, but how they arrive at beliefs and how their beliefs are amenable to change, that is the difference between a denialist and a scientist.
a) because humans want to understand, they tend to like to think their investment of time and work to such end has been more rather than less productive, and for this reason they may wish for future data to support such understanding; this is so even if they dislike a hypothesis 'of itself', and this is because they value what is 'true', not what is 'preferable'.
b) further humans believe things for all sorts of foolish ends, such things that are far from congruent with reality.

Anonymous said...

"However what is very obvious is that many people here are wanting the ice to be thin for the 2008 summer"

How did you reach that brilliant conclusion?

Simply because several people pointed out that ice thickness has something to do with ice extent at the end of the next melt season?

making an educated guess that the ice cover at the end of next summer will continue its downward trend based on what it has done in the past few decades is not the same as wishing it were so.

Scientists make educated guesses (called hypotheses) all th time. That's how science works.

If that does not suit your fancy, that's just too bad.

Anonymous said...

Lazar getting all philosophical about human motives. He's clearly been dying to sprout these feeble posturings for a little time. I'll get a little philers as well which is we are born in optimism surrounded by others love and die in pessimism surrounded by our own loathings. Means nothing to me either.

As to Anon who challenges my observations, you're very correct sunshine. My observations, my fancies. However these scientists of yours with their hypothesis have been very quite about this winter ice return. Nowhere near the public announcements by public spirited scientists compared to ice coverage two months earlier. You would have been trampled by scientists telling why the end of the world is nigh. When ice appeared all over the place, ice thickness became flavour of the month.

Brilliant conclusions, Anon, nah not really. Just observations of how the herd syndrome is alive and well in these hypothesis making scientists. Again with the philers already, sheeee.

EliRabett said...

Actually Anon, they have been running around with their hair on fire. Check out the talks at the AGU Fall meeting as reported on Real Climate.

John Mashey said...

Although still not as good as the KILLFILEs in old newsreaders, I've been using greasemonkey+killfile lately, and it works here.

Having KILLed "anonymous", life is better, I save minutes/day, and I find I only occasionally wish to [show comment].

Anonymous said...

JohnS said "However these scientists of yours with their hypothesis have been very quite about this winter ice return."

You still don't get it.

Winter ice return means nothing.

In case you hadn't noticed, that's what happens in winter. Water freezes (ie, forms ice).

But if the amount of open water was at a record high the previous fall, even if the winter is "normal" with regard to temperature, the new ice that forms is relatively thin, which means in the following summer, it will have a good chance of again melting away.

JohnS continues his pathetic attempt at a rant: "When ice appeared all over the place, ice thickness became flavour of the month. "

The fact that you don't understand the significance of ice thickness does not mean that scientists do not understand -- and have not understood for some time.

Scientists have been tracking ice thickness in the arctic for the past half century? And why they have noted for over a decade now that it's average thickness has decreased dramatically (by some 40%) over that period.

Unknown said...

Actually I like this blog. Its straight down the line and allows contrary views. I will always respect AGW's because they obviously genuinely believe they are preventing a disaster. Also agree with not using oil coal etc. However I cant agree on the evidence presented to me as a scientist that Co2 has anything to do with current situation. Also even NOAA data is showing consistent decline in temps since 2004 and very evident in SH even more so. Starting to say 24th warmest etc. However as someone posted above be prepared to post Jan 08 NH ice compared with Jan 80. Also note how SH ice 07 not allowed to be compared to SH ice 80
Good luck and dont take it to seriously. BTW the ice thickness in NH appears to be greater now?

Nick Barnes said...

JohnS@10:25: the winter sea ice area recovery was predicted by the experts. There was a lot of chat about this back in September/October on RC and elsewhere. This December sea ice area is still very low, in particular in the Chukchi Sea and around the Bering Straits.
"Snow falling all over Europe"? Not where I'm sitting. There's no sign of a cold winter, and precious little sign of winter at all, apart from the dark.
JohnS @ 1:58am: Yes, there is ice over some of the anomalous warm area. Normal temperatures in those areas in mid-December are in the -30C to -20C range. You can get a whole lot of anomalous warmth and still generate sea ice. The remarkable thing is that there is any open water at all.
In fact, the peaks of anomalous warmth are in the Chukchi Sea and SE of Svalbard, which are the two main areas of ice anomaly.
Timo: the older graphics have sea ice data only, superimposed on a stock graphic which happens to have Greenland in white. The newer graphics are able to superimpose snow cover as well.

JohnS at 2:15, you say "a very cold winter has started all around the arctic". Please provide a cite for this. For instance, a weather chart. Or a surface temperature anomaly chart, like this one.

Vincent at 12:24: "the ice thickness in NH appears to be greater now". Cite? This is directly counter to reports I have recently read.

Dano said...

Nick Barnes:

The denialists, tools, and FUD purveyors will say anything to maintain their fiction. But thank you for the concise slapping down.



Anonymous said...

Lazar getting all philosophical about human motives.

I have my moments. But it was a rather direct and plain response; your claim the 'faith' of scientists is the same as that of denialists is... wishful thinking.

I'll get a little philers as well which is we are born in optimism surrounded by others love and die in pessimism surrounded by our own loathings. Means nothing to me either.

Failed deliberate obtuseness is pretentious but neither deep nor meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Nick Barnes asks for cites of cold winter. I respond that he read any internet site of ski fields in Europe since November. TimesOnLine of 24November, has comments of very good European winter, and good and early ski season. I gave cite above of Jeff Masters of 17December comments of very good North America/Canadian winter. Masters has one image of fortnight period from beginning of December. Masters says not to use temperatures over Arctic waters as they have errors. Nick has a link of a daily anomaly map for most of the same period of Masters.Nick link shows all the strong positive anomalies are over water. Masters says don't use that hot data A lot of neutral to negative anomalies are over northern Europe.

Looks like Dano is going to need to find another to do slapping down. His champ has proved to be a chump.


EliRabett said...

Anyone who skis knows that it snows a lot less when it is really cold for obvious reasons (at least obvious to anyone who knows about vapor pressure). Eli takes it you don't ski John?

Anonymous said...


You can not use the temperature and snow from a couple months out of a single fall (it's not winter yet) to demonstrate anything.

It's simply ridiculous.

Eli and other's here are talking about climate.

What you are talking about is weather. Your argument is more than a little like that of people who claim that the number of hurricanes in a couple months of a single season means something about long term trends. It's nonsense.

Anonymous said...

O dear Rabett(sound of hand slapping top of head), and I thought it snowed because it got cold. And snow remained snow and didn't become a term called slosh because it didn't get warm. So snow in ski fields has nothing to do with temperatures they call cold, or zero C or below zero C, or anything usually associated with the season called winter. Winter season with snow is called cold, Rabett. Hard to understand I know, but battle through old son. 06-07 Europe winter said to be mild season because of lack of snow falls. World was said to be coming to an end. Climate warming ends Europe's last pleasures and destroys all these jobs. 07-08 season, snow everywhere and it started early , apparantly from a season they don't call mild, but cold. 07-08 cold winter season is called weather not climate. Go figure.

Rabett is correct in that JohnS has had limited pleasure of the ski fields. JohnS continues to take his skis to the fields in the season they call summer. Temperatures above zero C, sometimes well above zero C. But if Rabett believes snow and zero C have only a fleeting acquaintance, I'll continue to enter lodge houses in season they call summer. I take it when snow falls in season they call summer, it will be called climate, not weather. For summer season ski fields, accommodation is cheaper and pleasures are taken where they can be got.

As to Anon after Rabett, I agree long term trends for climate. You don't think that the better measurement technologies particulary since the 1980s, particularly those whizzy things they call satellites, might have added a higher count compared to pre 1980s. Just this past 07 hurricane season, puffs of wind that formed circular patterns were called tropical storms. Just think in a couple of years, and if you're a smoker, those funny swirling patterns you can do for party tricks with the expelled smoke , that will be called a tropical storm. But I encourage you to do your bit to limit tropical storm count, and not to smoke(Rabett you can label this with whatever health warning you think appropriate)

EliRabett said...

All in favor of voting John S off the island please say aye.

EliRabett said...

A majority in agreement, John S is exiled till he takes his meds.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow! Never thought I'd see Eli be a Denialist!

Denying JohnS comments because he disagrees.

No wonder you guys think you have a consensus.


Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination, or are the John's multiplying?

But at least they all sing the same tune (except for John V, of course, whose songs have been banned in some parts, not unlike the Dixie Chicks).

EliRabett said...

Nope, because he was obviously in need of a friendly intervention.

Eli, the Friendly Bunny

stevesadlov said...

Check it out now. Then look again in a week. The following word I must use, in order to impress Gavin ... UNPRECEDENTED freeze over rate in the Bering Sea.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EliRabett said...

No silly, you were sent out of the room for being unclever and rather tiresome.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

no comments required
have a nice xamas

Anonymous said...

Steve Sadlov said: "UNPRECEDENTED freeze over rate in the Bering Sea."

How many times do people have to say that ice thickness is important before you get it?

It's really not that difficult to understand.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Longears,

Cryosphere is back up.

The ice machine is back in service, and you can help yourself at the end of the hall. We regret any inconvenience the interruption may have caused. Unfortunately, it seems we will only be able to produce somewhat thin and rather watery ice for the foreseeable future.


Anonymous said...


Maybe you would like to have a look at this news item.

(h/t Icecap, Joseph D'Aleo)

It might that Steve Sadlov was right after all a couple of months ago! Real observations versus sattelite data.

Of course; in the end it doesn't say anything. Neither does, what happened in September last year. Just Nature and its way to surprise us!!