Arctic Ice Loss a Factor in Weather Extremes – New Study

October 30, 2013

New research linking loss of arctic ice to increased rain in the UK, drying around the Mediterranean, and more Greenland Melt.

University of Exeter:

“In the UK, summer 2012 was the wettest for over 100 years, with frequent occurrences of flooding that caused damage to property and some fatalities; and profound impacts on local farming and tourism,” said Screen. “At the same time Arctic sea ice was very low. The six summers from 2007 to 2012 witnessed the six lowest amounts of sea ice on record, with summer 2012 the all-time low.”

In order to check whether there’s a link between melting Arctic sea ice and wet UK summers, Screen changed the amount of sea ice in a climate model – the UK Met Office Unified Model – whilst keeping constant other factors that affect European weather. Decreasing the amount of sea ice cover in the model caused a shift towards wetter summers over the UK and north-west Europe.

“The pattern of rainfall anomalies in the model looked very similar to the pattern of rainfall anomalies in recent years,” said Screen. “This led to the conclusion that the loss of Arctic sea ice is one factor that has likely contributed to increased rainfall in recent summers.”

Melting Arctic sea ice causes the jet stream (currents of strong winds roughly 10 km up in the atmosphere) to shift further south than normal, Screen found, increasing the frequency of cloudy, cool and wet summers over north-west Europe.

Dr. Jennifer Francis:

Dr Screen used a state-of-the-art atmospheric model to compare the mid-latitude circulation during conditions of extensive sea ice (representative of the late 1970s) to that with much reduced sea ice (representative of present day). Except for the sea-ice extent and ocean temperatures where ice was lost, all surface conditions were fixed at climatological values in the model, thereby isolating the influence of sea-ice loss. Observation-constrained reanalysis fields were composited for the wettest and driest summers in northern Europe and used to verify the model simulations.

The atmospheric responses to reduced sea ice in both real and modeled worlds show not only precipitation patterns in Europe similar to those observed during the past six abnormally wet summers, but they also reveal features in the large-scale circulation that appear coincident with unusual weather patterns experienced elsewhere around the northern hemisphere in recent years. For example, the meridional wind anomalies near the jet-stream level  suggest that reduced sea ice favors enhanced ridging over the western N. Atlantic, which is consistent with increased high-pressure blocking observed during June  and expanded melting of the Greenland ice surface

Below, recent video of Jennifer Francis and Jeff Masters explaining the ice/jetstream connection.

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68 Responses to “Arctic Ice Loss a Factor in Weather Extremes – New Study”

  1. omnologos Says:

    Always amazed at the number of scientists specializing in just-so stories. Another mystery is how the overwhelming consensus on regional climate models having no predictive power gets translated into a mysterious Arctic-UK non-deterministic connection.


    • amazed and mysterious? ‘the just so story’ goes back at least to 2007. I know how bad and odd it was [musicians attending our music festival that also happened to be the worst weekend of the year, negotiated floods and blocked roads to entertain some very wet and muddy festival goers]. 2007 was a freak year- but one of many other freak events for British weather.

      This last decade seems to be one new record after another- coldest, wettest, hottest, dryest etc and before you race to show UK records are pretty consistent there is a Scotland/ England & Wales divide- a dry southern winter and wet Scottish one tends to balance out the measurements. The weather ‘seems’ to be acting strange, and that is the point- I know the last decade is very different to one 30 years ago but it requires study to make sure it is not just perception.

      As for regional it is a pretty big region – north Atlantic, North Europe, and the Med. It just so happens that a UK university is going to look into local weather and it just so happens that the UK weather is so dependant on the Jet Stream.

      You look deliberately for mystery [or conspiracy] where there is none. BTW I started to notice that wet summers seemed to coincide with low ice years- some of the findings seem obvious.

      • omnologos Says:

        The link could’ve been far stronger had the research been done before the phenomenon happened. Instead we’re left with a guy looking to see how his model can explain the past..

        The mystery is why the link is searched for in climate models, that cover multiple decades and the whole globe, when the phenomenon concerns a few years and a tiny part of the surface . Again a causal succession of events would be needed but isn’t given.

        So we’re provided with zero additional information -whoever thought the link existed will continue to do so, and whoever didn’t will have no reason to change their mind. Scientific advancement is null, iow there’s zero scientific value in such “research”.


        • What possible alternative would be acceptable?


        • Good point.

          Most of climate studies involve reconstructed data. Most of us really have no idea what really happened 34 years ago, heck, all GISS measurement pre-1998 were adjusted downward. Data on a chart from 1950 was adjusted a few tenths of a degree colder. Why does this matter? It matters in a science that’s in debate over less than a tenth of a degree Celsius!

          This whole debate is over less than a degree Celsius.

          All Sea-ice before 1979 is reconstructed data, we have newspapers of people reporting eye droppingly low sea ice in the 1930’s and yet when we look at reconstructed data, not a bump in the chart.


        • The link could’ve been far stronger had the research been done before the phenomenon happened. Instead we’re left with a guy looking to see how his model can explain the past.

          And John Snow’s analysis of cholera distribution in London could have been far stronger if he’d predicted it before it happened.  Except he predicted that cholera would drop if people stopped drinking from the Broad Street water pump, so he removed the pump’s handle… and it did.

          You have easily the most pretentious handle combined with the most ignorant and least insightful comments on this blog.


    • “Always amazed at the number of scientists specializing in just-so stories.”

      Climate modeling is a “Just-so story” is it? What do your investigations, based on empiric measurement, have to say on the subject? Anything at all – don’t be shy…….

      “Another mystery is how the overwhelming consensus on regional climate models having no predictive power gets translated into a mysterious Arctic-UK non-deterministic connection.”

      Regional climate models have no predictive power – even for regional climate? Is that so? If only you had secured some research funding, I’m sure you could be preparing a manuscript for submission on that startling new topic. Alas.

      After all – who doesn’t like a good mystery! Especially such a deep dark mystery involving – of all things – a connection (smirk) between the Arctic and weather in the U.K.! As if they could be connected in a deterministic fashion! It is to laugh! Peals of laughter, drifting away on the Jet Stream, to be heard by no one.

    • anotheralionel Says:

      Maybe you didn’t understand the ramifications of this statement:

      Screen changed the amount of sea ice in a climate model – the UK Met Office Unified Model – whilst keeping constant other factors that affect European weather.

      Does the, ‘keeping constant other factors that affect European weather’ imply that the coverage of the model used was limited to Europe, in your words ‘regional’?

      See how varied can be the use of such a model can be:

      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/modelling-systems/unified-model

      The whole point of this particular effort was to discover from the explanatory powers of the model what would happen if sea ice was massively reduced. The answer was what was expected from the physics.

      I suppose you do realise that models are run with palaeoclimate data in order to assess the effect of changes in past boundary conditions and that this has provided a massive base of understanding of what can change climate.

      Models do not necessarily have to be predictive to be useful.

  2. tomwys Says:

    They reach the correct conclusion, but don’t understand the meteorological processes involved, believing that model tweaking is the route to understanding.

    If they would factor in land, ocean, and cloud albedo changes, polar high augmentation, and more, they might arrive at a proper conclusion with some knowledge as to how they got there.

    Probably a case of the stopped clock telling the correct time twice daily!

  3. daveburton Says:

    My compliments, Peter: your opening/closing “This Is Not Cool” graphic is actually very cool-looking. Did you create it yourself?

    Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller covers this topic very well in this lecture:

    Now, let me focus on one snippet. Dr. Masters said, “If you remove a whole bunch of Arctic sea ice, you add all that extra heat…”

    But that’s not quite right. Reduced ice cover doesn’t “add extra heat.” Rather, it increases the transfer of heat from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere. Warm, moist air is added to the atmosphere, but the surface of the ocean cools.

    That has several significant implications:

    1. Increased water evaporation causes increased snowfall and harsher winters in Europe and Asia (as Tom explains).

    2. It is a negative feedback mechanism, tending to stabilize the Earth’s temperature, and reducing climate sensitivity.

    3. It cools the water before it sinks toward the ocean floor, in the Atlantic Conveyor, preventing the transfer of heat to the ocean depths.

    One closing thought: I wish you wouldn’t partner with the Yale Forum.

    You’re better than they are. You run the only significant uncensored Climate Movement blog that I know of, and the Yale Forum is one of the most ruthlessly censored Climate Movement blogs that I know of.

    The Yale Forum is at least as bad as Tamino. They brook absolutely no substantive dissent. So please don’t sully yourself by associating with them.

    Or, alternately, please try to be a reforming influence there, to make the Yale Forum a true forum, rather than a propaganda ministry.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      re wysmuller:

      Holy bejeezus what a duplicitous bunch of garbage.


    • ” Rather, it increases the transfer of heat from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere. Warm, moist air is added to the atmosphere, but the surface of the ocean cools.”

      Except , of course, the surface of the water also heats up, because sunlight is now hitting it, instead of being reflected away by white ice. Remember that part? You seem to have forgotten that bit.

      You also might want to recall the potential heat capacity of water relative to that of air. Hint: Water is bigger.

      Here is proof – you might like it cause it uses pretty balloons; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyPLusD-tyM

      God, what a maroon!

      • daveburton Says:

        Roger, do you understand that there’s really no such thing as a one-way mirror? Albedo is bidirectional: high albedo holds heat in as effectively as it keeps heat out. That’s why your space blanket is silvered.

        That means that reduced albedo (from open water) also works both ways: it increases emission as well as absorption. That’s important because at Arctic latitudes the net energy flow is outward, from the ocean upward. The currents carrying warmer water from lower latitudes are what keep the water temperatures as mild as they are in the Arctic Ocean.

        What’s more, at very acute angles of incidence, not much sunlight is available to be absorbed, and even open water is fairly reflective.

        You might think that seasonal change would moot that reasoning, because you might suppose that sea ice extent is at its lowest in summer, when the sun is highest above the horizon. But that’s not true. The minimums and maximums of sea ice extent occur very close to the equinoxes.

        Additionally, with additional evaporation from more open water comes additional cloud cover, increasing albedo at altitude.

        Additionally (and obviously), in the winter/night, ice reduces heat loss, so it acts as negative feedback mechanism.

        Only in summer/daytime is it even plausible that reduced albedo from reduced ice coverage could act as a positive climate feedback. But I suspect that it acts as a net negative feedback mechanism even then. I doubt that open water in the Arctic Ocean is heated enough by the sunlight to make up for the increased heat losses due to increased evaporation.

        But I don’t really know. It should be easy enough to determine the answer to that question: simply measure water temperature profiles beneath open water and ice, under otherwise similar conditions, at various times of year, and compare them. If the water averages warmer under the ice, then my speculation is correct, and sea ice acts as a negative feedback mechanism, even in the Arctic summertime.

        Unfortunately, I’ve not found that data anywhere. Maybe it’s never been measured. I asked about it last year, here, but nobody seems to know.

        Do you?


        • I doubt that open water in the Arctic Ocean is heated enough by the sunlight to make up for the increased heat losses due to increased evaporation.

          I only ask that you think about what you have said. “heated enough by sunlight”
          So first, its heated. Then” make up for the increased heat losses due to increased evaporation”. There cannot be increased evaporation without increased temperature. Do you understand that?

          A body of water radiated with sunlight and with atmosphere above it reaches an equilibrium temperature and evaporation rate. The heat due to evaporation balances the heat gained from sunlight. If the heat due to sunlight increase from albedo, the temperature rises and the evaporation rate finds a new equilibrium point that balances it at a higher temperature. The problem is, you need to understand the basic contradiction in your thought. In order to have increased evaporation, you must have a source of heat. To doubt that, is to misunderstand physics.

          • daveburton Says:

            Christopher wrote, “There cannot be increased evaporation without increased temperature. Do you understand that?”

            That’s just plain wrong, Christopher. Many other things affect rates of evaporation. E.g.,

            1. Liquid water evaporates faster than frozen water sublimates.

            2. Wind increases the rate of evaporation, by increasing the rate of exchange between air at the boundary and drier air not at the boundary. (That’s why a puddle of water on your garage floor will dry faster if you aim a fan at it.)

            3. Spraying water into the air (e.g., by whitecaps) increases the rate of evaporation, by increasing the surface area exposed to the air. (That’s how ultrasonic humidifiers work.) But there are no whitecaps over ice, which is another reason that ice cover reduces evaporation.

            Christopher wrote, “In order to have increased evaporation, you must have a source of heat.”

            The source of heat is the ocean. You don’t need additional heat to have increased evaporation.

            When water evaporates, “heat of evaporation” is removed and carried into the atmosphere, and the water at the air boundary cools. In turbulent conditions, that cooled water is quickly exchanged and mixed with other water. Another of the reasons that ice cover reduces evaporation is that it stills the water beneath it.


        • daveburton wrote:
          “Only in summer/daytime is it even plausible that reduced albedo from reduced ice coverage could act as a positive climate feedback. But I suspect that it acts as a net negative feedback mechanism even then. I doubt that open water in the Arctic Ocean is heated enough by the sunlight to make up for the increased heat losses due to increased evaporation.”

          Not sure why you’d suspect that:

          http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/777/2010/acp-10-777-2010.pdf

          From the abstract:
          “A disappearance of the Arctic ice cap during the sunlit period of the year would radically reduce the local albedo and cause an annually averaged 19.7 Wm−2 increase in absorbed solar flux at the Arctic Ocean surface, or equivalently an annually averaged 0.55 Wm−2 increase on the planetary scale. In the clear-sky scenario these numbers increase to 34.9 and 0.97 Wm−2 , respectively.”

          Those are significant numbers. Of course during the Arctic summer the issue is not only the angle of incidence but the long hours of sunlight.

          Good old Wikipedia has this graph on incident angle and reflectivity:

          Not worth refuting all your points, but I’ll comment on one:

          daveburton wrote:
          “Additionally, with additional evaporation from more open water comes additional cloud cover, increasing albedo at altitude.”

          Additional evaporation produces water vapor, which is a greenhouse gas, and not necessarily cloud cover. We know that the moisture content of the air has risen with air temperature in the last 30+ years, though the contribution from the Arctic is much smaller than from the tropics.

          Cloud feedbacks are a different matter; and your assumption that they provide negative feedbacks is unjustified. Low clouds likely have an albedo effect, but high clouds have a greenhouse effect. The net feedback is probably small but positive, according to Dessler and various colleagues in several papers (2010-2013).

          • daveburton Says:

            Stephen, thanks for the link, but the Matsoukas paper only analyzes absorption of solar radiation. It does not consider the effects of ice cover on evaporative cooling.

            Nobody disputes that reduced ice cover increases absorption of heat from the sun, when the sun is shining. But that does not mean that the result of reduced ice cover will be a warmer ocean. If reduced ice cover increases evaporative heat loss by more than it increases absorption of heat from the sun, then the water will get colder, not warmer — and that is guaranteed to be the case half of the time (in winter/night), because there’s no sunlight to absorb.

            The paper does not discuss evaporative heat loss because that’s not the topic of the paper.

            The paper does, however, mention cloud feedbacks, in passing:

            “The existence of negative cloud feedbacks is also possible. For example, increased evaporation in the warming world may increase cloud cover, which in turn will decrease the net solar flux, decreasing the temperature and increasing the sea-ice extent.”


          • daveburton wrote:
            “Stephen, thanks for the link, but the Matsoukas paper only analyzes absorption of solar radiation. It does not consider the effects of ice cover on evaporative cooling.

            “Nobody disputes that reduced ice cover increases absorption of heat from the sun, when the sun is shining. But that does not mean that the result of reduced ice cover will be a warmer ocean. If reduced ice cover increases evaporative heat loss by more than it increases absorption of heat from the sun, then the water will get colder, not warmer…”

            Okay… the reason I posted that link is that it has actual albedo numbers in it; I would be glad to compare evaporative heat transfer numbers with you if you are really interested in looking those up.

            More fundamentally, however, the loss of albedo is not primarily for us an issue of whether or not the heat stays in the ocean or reverts to the atmosphere. The problem is that reduced albedo means less long-wave radiation may escape the atmosphere. The heat remains inside our planetary system, somewhere, amplifying global warming.

            daveburton wrote:
            “The paper does not discuss evaporative heat loss because that’s not the topic of the paper.”

            True, and it would be interesting to have some numbers on evaporative heat loss. If you’ve got ‘em, let’s see ‘em. But the main issue here is not whether more heat is retained by the ocean or is given up to the atmosphere, but rather whether more or less heat is leaving the planetary system. THAT’s the point about albedo, not whether or not it’s warming the air or the water.

            daveburton wrote:
            “The paper does, however, mention cloud feedbacks, in passing:

            “‘The existence of negative cloud feedbacks is also possible. For example, increased evaporation in the warming world may increase cloud cover, which in turn will decrease the net solar flux, decreasing the temperature and increasing the sea-ice extent.'”

            !

            You seem to be referring to the Matsoukas, et al., 2010 paper; but I cannot find this text in that paper. I’m not sure that it matters, given how equivocal the statement is. In any case I posted references above to various recent papers by the circle around Dessler regarding cloud feedbacks; if you have other peer-reviewed sources I would be glad to inspect them, but the evidence where we stand today looks like it’s supporting overall positive feedbacks for clouds – certainly the last word has not been said on them, however.

            As I pointed out above, increased water vapor does not necessarily result in cloud formation anyway; and, indeed, water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

          • daveburton Says:

            Stephen wrote, “The problem is that reduced albedo means less long-wave radiation may escape the atmosphere.”

            That’s backwards, Stephen. Reduced albedo (darker water) allows more longwave radiation to escape from the surface. (That’s why aluminum heatsinks are often black-anodized.)

            However, that’s less important than the fact that open water allows more heat to escape from the surface through evaporative and convective cooling.

            Stephen wrote, “True, and it would be interesting to have some numbers on evaporative heat loss.”

            I agree. I wish I had the numbers. I don’t.

            Stephen wrote, “the main issue here is… whether more or less heat is leaving the planetary system.”

            No, it isn’t. Once radiation leaves the Earth, nearly all of it is gone for good. (A negligible percentage will be reflected back by the moon.) What matters is whether the air and ocean (and land) are warmed or cooled. The more heat that leaves the ocean and enters the atmosphere, the more heat will be radiated to space, and the cooler the planet becomes.

            Stephen wrote, “You seem to be referring to the Matsoukas, et al., 2010 paper; but I cannot find this text in that paper.”

            Press ctrl-F in Adobe Reader to search. The quote is from the third paragraph of the introduction, starting on line 18 of the 2nd page (p.778).

            Stephen wrote, “…water vapor is a greenhouse gas.”

            True, and an increase in water vapor has more effect on the opacity of the atmosphere to longwave radiation in the dry, frigid polar regions. But that doesn’t matter at all when the sun isn’t out.

            There can be no serious dispute about the fact that when it’s dark out sea ice is a negative feedback mechanism, helping to stabilize the oceans’s temperature:
            cold air & water -> more sea ice -> more retained heat -> warmer water
            When it’s dark, additional sea ice helps the oceans to retain heat that would otherwise have been lost to evaporative cooling, and reduced sea ice increases heat loss through evaporative cooling.

            The question is whether or not that negative feedback effect is exceeded by the positive feedback effect of albedo-modulated sunlight absorption when the sun is shining. I don’t know the answer to that question, and I’ve yet not found anyone who does.


          • daveburton wrote:
            “Reduced albedo (darker water) allows more longwave radiation to escape from the surface.”
            Huh? Bright surfaces are more reflective. Mirrors are not black. “…escape from the surface”?
            I think I’m beginning to see the problem. You’re missing something fundamental: the albedo issue involves both longwave and shortwave radiation.
            Downcoming solar radiation is either reflected or absorbed. If it is reflected, it can escape the atmosphere as shortwave radiation – visible light and shorter – which may pass transparently through the atmospheric barrier. If it is absorbed by dark water or forest or whatever, on the other hand, a high percentage (like 90%) is re-radiated as LONGwave radiation. But that is NOT invisible to the atmosphere at greenhouse gas frequencies. That is why albedo is cooling (or, to be more precise, is NOT warming).
            Frankly, these are the basics, my friend.

            daveburton wrote:
            ” “Stephen wrote, ‘True, and it would be interesting to have some numbers on evaporative heat loss.’
            I agree. I wish I had the numbers. I don’t.”
            But that is essential to your argument! These are not mysterious, unknown quantities, however, but basic physics.

            daveburton wrote:
            “Stephen wrote, ‘the main issue here is… whether more or less heat is leaving the planetary system.’
            “No, it isn’t. Once radiation leaves the Earth, nearly all of it is gone for good….”
            I think that that’s obviously assumed in what I said, as long as you are including the atmosphere in “the Earth”. If you are not, your statement is patently false. See below.

            daveburton wrote:
            “The more heat that leaves the ocean and enters the atmosphere, the more heat will be radiated to space, and the cooler the planet becomes.”
            Not true, since the atmosphere can be more or less transparent to outgoing radiation, depending on how much greenhouse effect it has. Re-radiated by greenhouse gases, a significant part of that extra heat heads back down and stays in the system.
            What’s different now from 50 years ago is that we have a higher troposphere with more greenhouse gases, so the longwave radiation is staying around longer. We know that less heat is escaping to space (satellite measurements beginning in 1970) and that the stratosphere is cooling (strong evidence that the rapid warming of recent decades is not due to an increase in solar output); that the decrease in outgoing longwave since 1970 is at the frequencies of CO2, methane, and water vapor especially; and that, not incidentally, the increased CO2 has a fossil fuel isotopic signature.

            daveburton wrote:
            “Stephen wrote, ‘…water vapor is a greenhouse gas.’
            ”True, and an increase in water vapor has more effect on the opacity of the atmosphere to longwave radiation in the dry, frigid polar regions. But that doesn’t matter at all when the sun isn’t out.”
            Water vapor increases with heat – the more heat, the more water is vaporized. So water vapor is part of a positive feedback TO THE EXTENT THAT the temperature gets warmer. Your point is meaningless, a dog chasing its tail.

            daveburton wrote:
            “The question is whether or not that negative feedback effect is exceeded by the positive feedback effect of albedo-modulated sunlight absorption when the sun is shining. I don’t know the answer to that question, and I’ve yet not found anyone who does.”
            Not really, since you’re leaving out the much more significant factor of greenhouse gases. Decreased albedo does increase longwave re-radiation from the surface, since less shortwave is reflected harmlessly out of the atmosphere; and warmed water from direct illumination produces more water vapor. But in fact overall albedo has INCREASED in the modern era, because of altered land use; and the dramatic rise in surface temperatures and ocean heat content happened anyway. Needless to say, that is not a reason to ignore albedo.

          • daveburton Says:

            Stephen wrote, “You’re missing something fundamental: the albedo issue involves both longwave and shortwave radiation. Downcoming solar radiation is either reflected or absorbed… Re-radiated LONGwave radiation… is NOT invisible to the atmosphere at greenhouse gas frequencies.”

            Of course I didn’t miss that. That’s just the greenhouse effect. It’s just not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about feedback from sea ice.

            You believe that sea ice is a positive (amplifying) mechanism for global temperatures, but that belief is based on a mistake: considering only one of the effects of sea ice, and ignoring others, which are probably more important.

            Sea ice has both positive (amplifying) and negative (stabilizing/attenuating) feedback effects. The question is which of those effects dominate. There is good reason to suspect that it is the negative feedbacks, which climate alarmists never mention, that dominate.

            In the Arctic Ocean, the net flow of energy is upward/outward. More energy is emitted by the Earth than absorbed by it, with the deficit being made up by transport of heat into the Arctic by ocean currents. (That’s one of the reasons the Arctic climate is so much milder than Antarctica’s climate.) That suggests that factors which affect the transport of energy away from the Earth’s surface are likely to be more important than factors which affect the absorption of energy by the surface.

            Of course a decrease in sea ice increases absorption of solar radiation in daytime. Everybody knows that. That’s a positive feedback mechanism, and it’s the only effect of sea ice that most climate alarmists seem to be aware of. (At least, it’s the only one they ever mention!)

            However it is not the only effect of sea ice, and it’s probably not the most important effect.

            Ice cover has an effect on radiative emissivity, but it turns out that it is low, and I don’t know whether it nets out as positive or negative. I had though it would be negative, but that might not be right.

            I had assumed that, because ice has much higher albedo than liquid water in the visible spectrum, the same was true at longer wavelengths. But I was wrong. In the IR, both ice and seawater are quite close to blackbodies; ice has slightly lower emissivity than open seawater. For long microwave frequencies, ice has (surprisingly!) much higher emissivity than liquid seawater, which is how passive microwave satellite radiometers can tell the difference between seawater and sea ice. OTOH, ice is generally colder than liquid seawater, which reduces radiation emitted.

            The bottom line is I don’t know whether ice cover increases or decreases radiative heat loss. I had assumed that it decreases it, but that might not be correct.

            Almost certainly much more important, however, is the effect of ice cover on evaporative and convective cooling, and on agitation of the water. As any competent engineer can tell you, convective (and, when applicable, evaporative) cooling are much more important than radiative cooling under most circumstances.

            Ice cover greatly reduces evaporation of the water, reducing the rate at which the water loses heat to the atmosphere. That is a strong negative feedback mechanism. Cold liquid water evaporates much faster than frozen water sublimates even without agitation. Add wave action, and the difference increases.

            Additionally, by calming the water, ice cover reduces the transport of energy from beneath the surface up to the surface boundary, which reduces cooling of the ocean, which is another negative feedback mechanism.

            Note that these negative (stabilizing) feedback mechanisms operate all the time. Positive (amplifying) albedo feedback operates only half of the time (during daylight).

            I strongly suspect that these negative feedback mechanisms are more important the the positive albedo feedback mechanism. If so, then sea ice is a net negative feedback factor, which reduces, rather than amplifies the effects of forcings such as GHGs.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            daveburton thinks no one is watching, so he emerges from under his rock and subjects us to a rather “gishy” daveburton gallop. It is nothing but Dave’s OPINIONS, and offers little real science to back up any of them (but plenty of wacky science designed to confuse). Some examples, emphasis added:

            “………which are PROBABLY more important.”

            “There is good reason to SUSPECT that……. ”

            “That SUGGESTS that factors…. ”

            “…….are LIKELY to be more important”

            “…….PROBABLY not the most important effect”.

            After all that, Dave says, “I DON’T KNOW whether it nets out as positive or negative. I had thought it would be negative, but THAT MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT”

            AND THE GRAND FINALE AFTER RUNNING US IN CIRCLES:

            “The bottom line is I DON’T KNOW whether ice cover increases or decreases radiative heat loss. I had assumed that it decreases it, but THAT MIGHT NOT BE CORRECT”

            I have an OPINION too. I “strongly suspect” that Dave is trying to pay off his Christmas bills by writing this crap for a paycheck from the Kochs and their ilk.


          • daveburton had written:
            “Only in summer/daytime is it even plausible that reduced albedo from reduced ice coverage could act as a positive climate feedback….”

            I replied:
            “You’re missing something fundamental: the albedo issue involves both longwave and shortwave radiation. Downcoming solar radiation is either reflected or absorbed… Re-radiated LONGwave radiation… is NOT invisible to the atmosphere at greenhouse gas frequencies.”

            daveburton wrote:
            “Of course I didn’t miss that. That’s just the greenhouse effect. It’s just not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about feedback from sea ice.”

            Excuse me, we were talking about albedo, as both your and my quotations plainly show. Reflected visible and UV is not blocked by greenhouse gases. Less albedo means more infrared radiated back into the atmosphere, which is blocked at greenhouse frequencies.

            daveburton wrote:
            “You believe that sea ice is a positive (amplifying) mechanism for global temperatures”

            I do not, and I did not say so. On the contrary, more sea ice means more albedo. And, if I may add, this has never been a question of my belief – or yours, for that matter.

            daveburton wrote:
            “…That suggests that factors which affect the transport of energy away from the Earth’s surface are likely to be more important than factors which affect the absorption of energy by the surface.”

            Illogical on its face, but worth pointing to because of your word “surface” – leaving out the atmosphere here is a critical omission.

            daveburton wrote:
            “Of course a decrease in sea ice increases absorption of solar radiation in daytime. Everybody knows that. That’s a positive feedback mechanism…”

            Okay – but it is not a feedback at all; it’s a good old forcing, the sun shining on the earth.

            daveburton wrote:
            “…and it’s the only effect of sea ice that most climate alarmists seem to be aware of. (At least, it’s the only one they ever mention!)”

            By your telling I would be one of those slow-witted “alarmists”; but you and I have already discussed the water vapor positive feedback; and as far as sea-ice is concerned, the melting of ice shelves increases glacier extrusion; and warmed polar ocean will also release methane clathrates (whether or not reaching the atmosphere in quantity being unclear) .

            As for your term “Alarmist”: Do you not find this name-calling juvenile? I appeal to your self-respect.

            It’s regrettable that you’re treated so contemptuously here, but consider that you might not be helping your cause by throwing around words like this, or by using “liberal” as a term of abuse. Just sayin.

            daveburton wrote:
            “I had assumed that, because ice has much higher albedo than liquid water in the visible spectrum, the same was true at longer wavelengths. But I was wrong. In the IR, both ice and seawater are quite close to blackbodies…”

            Yes! There you go! Getting to the key issues here.

            “OTOH, ice is generally colder than liquid seawater, which reduces radiation emitted.”

            Not necessarily; sea ice is generally fresher than ocean water, so it has a higher freezing point.

            “The bottom line is I don’t know whether ice cover increases or decreases radiative heat loss. I had assumed that it decreases it, but that might not be correct.”

            Acknowledgment for an open-minded search for facts and a willingness to be guided by them.

            “Note that these negative (stabilizing) feedback mechanisms operate all the time. Positive (amplifying) albedo feedback operates only half of the time (during daylight).”

            Albedo diminishes the sun’s forcing by reflecting visible and UV. It is not a feedback. A lack of albedo results in more heat absorption and increases the water vapor positive feedback.

            “I strongly suspect that these negative feedback mechanisms are more important the the positive albedo feedback mechanism.”

            With all due respect, how is it that you have standing to suspect anything of the kind, however strongly? Indeed, your arguments seem to show an uncertain grasp of what a feedback is. Case in point here: again, albedo is not a positive feedback.

            daveburton wrote:
            ” If so, then sea ice is a net negative feedback factor, which reduces, rather than amplifies the effects of forcings such as GHGs.”

            Boom.

            Scratch a skeptic and get… an Alarmist?!

        • andrewfez Says:

          Additionally, with additional evaporation from more open water comes additional cloud cover, increasing albedo at altitude.
          ————————————————————————————————-

          ‘Cloud cover’ vs. ‘no cloud cover’ was actually used in an experiment dealing with ocean heat loss. The ocean temp measurements were done using cloud cover as a substitute for ‘extra CO2′ as the underside of the clouds provided a radiation mirror, allowing more radiation from the ocean to fall back onto itself. The result was that heat loss slowed when there were clouds overhead.

          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/


      • There are a lot of such maroons around.  They get their catch-phrases from some central repository.

        It would be great if someone (I’m not up to it) wrote a filter to find those catch-phrases and automagically hyper-link them to the rebuttals, flag them in red, and provide useful text on mouse-over like “(DEBUNKED)”.


    • daveburton wrote:
      “But that’s not quite right. Reduced ice cover doesn’t “add extra heat.” Rather, it increases the transfer of heat from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere. Warm, moist air is added to the atmosphere, but the surface of the ocean cools.”

      Reduced ice cover means reduced albedo and absorption of heat by dark ocean; since albedo is a mechanism by which some long-wave radiation escapes to space, its loss is indeed adding “extra heat” to the earth.

      In addition, adding moisture to the atmosphere amplifies the greenhouse effect, a positive feedback.

      daveburton wrote:
      “1. Increased water evaporation causes increased snowfall and harsher winters in Europe and Asia (as Tom explains).”

      True that more water in the atmosphere produces more precipitation, including snowfall. And the disruption of the jet stream seen in recent years has led to some unusually cold winters regionally. But overall, globally, winters have warmed even more than summers.

      daveburton wrote:
      “2. It is a negative feedback mechanism, tending to stabilize the Earth’s temperature, and reducing climate sensitivity.”

      This is wishful thinking, frankly. Moving around heat within the system does not, cannot change the climate sensitivity unless it is affecting incoming or outgoing radiation. And see above – the water vapor feedbacks are positive, not negative.

      daveburton wrote:
      “3. It cools the water before it sinks toward the ocean floor, in the Atlantic Conveyor, preventing the transfer of heat to the ocean depths.”

      More wishful thinking. The Arctic is one of the fastest-warming regions in terms of surface temperature, so any transfer of heat from the ocean is considerably less than it used to be; in any case we know now that the deep oceans have warmed considerably in recent years.

      • daveburton Says:

        Stephen, it is not true that “the deep oceans have warmed considerably in recent years.” Temperature measurements indicate that temperatures in the deep ocean are incredibly stable. All, or nearly all, of the oceans’ warming has been in the upper ocean.

        You are also very mistaken in your belief that increased evaporative and convective cooling of the ocean surface from decreased sea ice is not a negative feedback mechanism because it is just “moving around heat within the system.” It’s not moving heat “around” the system, it is transporting heat up, kilometers away from the surface, to altitudes at which much of it will be radiated into space.

        The negative feedback works like this:

        Warmer surface temperatures -> decreased sea ice -> increased evaporative and convective cooling -> cooler surface temperatures

        If you don’t think that’s a negative feedback mechanism, which stabilizes temperatures and attenuates global warming, then you haven’t thought about it hard enough.


        • If we would just think harder and see things your way.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_feedback#Ice-albedo_feedback

          I like Wikipedia for its condensed down meanings for my easy digestion. It is listed in pos. feedbacks. The suns rays like to back to space from whence they came with ice. Remove that ice with extra co2 from 150 years of industrialization, and we get a warming earth with the arctic warming the fastest. Neg. feedback would mean the artic would warm the same or less than the rest of the earth.

          Oops, maybe I better think harder on this.


        • daveburton wrote:
          “You are also very mistaken in your belief that increased evaporative and convective cooling of the ocean surface from decreased sea ice is not a negative feedback mechanism because it is just “moving around heat within the system.” It’s not moving heat “around” the system, it is transporting heat up, kilometers away from the surface, to altitudes at which much of it will be radiated into space.”

          [Your statement makes this a question, once again, of my belief, rather than the discoveries in the physical sciences of the last couple of centuries! It is not a matter of my belief, nor of yours; I did not need to search my heart; I needed to educate myself about climate science, and, it being a discipline that requires some effort and application, I don't propose to throw away my precious uncertainty for even the most persuasive experiment.]

          In fact the atmosphere is a fluid system in which heat circulates in currents just as the currents of water in the ocean do. Heat can move laterally and down as well as up, of course; and during La Nina, to pick only a prominent example, the Pacific absorbs massive amounts of heat – in other words, heat moves from the atmosphere to the ocean as well as vice versa. If it merely radiated out to space the earth would be like the moon. We are able to live on this planet because we have an atmosphere that retains heat for a long time.

          Yes, heat in the atmosphere is still in the system. I don’t think it’s worth arguing the point further.

          Yes, heat eventually escapes the system. But while it is in the atmosphere it is still in the system; and the problem – which we can observe and measure – is that now more infrared is being reflected back to earth because of its absorption and re-radiation by increased greenhouse gases.

          One of the predictable effects of increased greenhouse gases that has been observed is a higher altitude for the tropopause; unfortunately, that means that heat has farther to go to escape the atmosphere – another positive feedback.

          Sea ice melt is more affected by ocean temperatures than by insolation. It is said that the Arctic is the earth’s “radiator” – the thermohaline circulation transports warm water from the tropics to the arctic and cold water back to the tropics.

          In re: the tropics, your movement of heat from arctic open water into the atmosphere is minuscule compared to the amount radiated in the tropics.

          daveburton wrote:
          “The negative feedback works like this:

          “Warmer surface temperatures -> decreased sea ice -> increased evaporative and convective cooling -> cooler surface temperatures”

          Looks like you left off a term; shouldn’t “increased sea ice” belong in there? More fundamentally, every surface temperature record shows warmer surface temperatures, decade by decade. Your vision of perpetual equilibrium is not supported by the evidence, and is in fact least true of all in the arctic.

          Or does this mean that you are now predicting a rebound of arctic sea ice? Care to predict 2016 arctic minimum sea ice extent? How much of a wager are you prepared to back it with?

          daveburton wrote:
          “If you don’t think that’s a negative feedback mechanism, which stabilizes temperatures and attenuates global warming, then you haven’t thought about it hard enough.”

          Really, is this necessary?

          daveburton wrote:
          “Stephen, it is not true that “the deep oceans have warmed considerably in recent years.” Temperature measurements indicate that temperatures in the deep ocean are incredibly stable. All, or nearly all, of the oceans’ warming has been in the upper ocean.”

          Not much point in debating this. Your confidence is misplaced.


    • Tom Wysmuller’s CPAC speech is fascinating. There’s one detail worth considering. It’s true that there is more than 1M sq.km more snow cover in the north during December. It is also true that there is more than 5M sq. km less snow cover during June. When explaining albedo, he forgot to compare the amount of incoming solar energy during each of those months.

      http://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/record-low-spring-snow-cover-northern-hemisphere-2012

  4. jpcowdrey Says:

    maurizio,

    So much studied ignorance in so few words. It’s a real talent you have there.

    • omnologos Says:

      Jp – generic “responses” betray lack of argument and are little more than “I’m right because you’re wrong”. By all means keep going that way if it makes you happy.

      • jpcowdrey Says:

        Maurizio,

        It is telling you belittle my “response” as insubstantial, yet are unable to defend against more substantive arguments, above.

        • omnologos Says:

          above where?

          in any case there is no obligation to respond, otherwise I’d still be discussing Usenet stuff from 1994. But when one responds, it’s nice if it ain’t just generic words.

          • jpcowdrey Says:

            Yet you respond?

            For the record, my argument is res ipsa loquitur. What you present as an argument is so full of denialist tropes and misrepresentation of fact as to be unintentionally ridiculous to an informed mind.

            Pardon me if I am disinclined to explain your shortcomings in detail. The phrase ‘wrestling with pigs’ comes to mind.

          • omnologos Says:

            Am afraid you just sounds very childish. I could just write For the record, my argument is res ipsa loquitur. What you present as an argument is so full of alarmist tropes and misrepresentation of fact as to be unintentionally ridiculous to an informed mind.

            Pardon me if I am disinclined to explain your shortcomings in detail. The phrase ‘wrestling with pigs’ comes to mind.

            And that would take us…nowhere.

          • omnologos Says:

            “sound” not “sounds”

          • dumboldguy Says:

            jpc says “The phrase ‘wrestling with pigs’ comes to mind”.

            Indeed, as does the admonition to “Never try to teach a pig to whistle—it only wastes your time and annoys the pig”,

          • jpcowdrey Says:

            maurizio,

            If I thought for a moment you were sincerely interested in why I find your ‘arguments’ so lame they are undeserving of detailed rebuttal, I would gladly respond. But, since you predictably revert to juvenile psychological projection, and in the process, call me childish, (irony alert), you only convince me further you are unwilling and or unable to engage in intellectually honest debate.

            “On the internet, it is impossible to know if someone is a dog. OTOH, everyone knows if someone is being a jackass.”

          • omnologos Says:

            that’s fine jp – I can only note that your contribution to the topic has been zero, and that you only read my comments.

  5. jpcowdrey Says:

    dave,

    Your ‘substantive dissent’ is other, more numerate folks, understanding of ignorant crackpottery.

    Tamino ate your lunch, analytically speaking. Your inability to understand where you’ve gone wrong is not an endearing quality.

    • daveburton Says:

      If Tamino knew what he was talking about, he wouldn’t have to censor his blog to prevent dissent.

      I used to try to post comments there. I got tired of having them deleted or edited by him. It’s not “ignorant crackpottery” that he’s deleting. He deletes nearly everything I write. Tamino simply deletes comments that disagree with Tamino. He makes it impossible to correct his errors, because he just deletes messages which do so. Here are some examples.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      jpcowdrey says to dave (a loooooong time ago),

      Your inability to understand where you’ve gone wrong is not an endearing quality. I find dave’s inability to be in the slightest bit self aware also “not endearing”.

      How out of touch does one have to be to state “It’s not “ignorant crackpottery” that he’s deleting. He deletes nearly everything I write”.

      Will it ever occur to dave that nearly everything he writes is seen as ipso facto “ignorant crackpottery”, and that’s why Tamono deletes it?

      • daveburton Says:

        I figured you’d say something like that, old guy. But I wasn’t replying to you.

        But I encourage you to go ahead and read those examples of Tamino’s censorship.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          I DID read them, Dave. And they have nothing to do with the fact that YOU have been banned from his site because of YOUR personal “ignorant crackpottery”.

          And you weren’t replying to me? I thought that anything anyone posted here was open to comment by any other visitor. Are you saying that I was impolite to “butt in” on your “conversation”? Sorry, Dave, many of us are unable to ignore the wackiness in your postings—-start making sense and I, for one, will stop “butting in”.


  6. But that’s not quite right. Reduced ice cover doesn’t “add extra heat.” Rather, it increases the transfer of heat from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere.
    #############

    If you increase heat transfer, wouldn’t you also be adding a whole lot of extra heat?

    ##############
    2. It is a negative feedback mechanism, tending to stabilize the Earth’s temperature, and reducing climate sensitivity.
    ################

    The above ignors that we heated up more than normal compared to the past 50 to 100 years when so much more stayed insolated with ice and snow.

    #################
    3. It cools the water before it sinks toward the ocean floor, in the Atlantic Conveyor, preventing the transfer of heat to the ocean depths.
    ################

    This water was never warmed this much before in the last 1400 years and probably longer. Somehow you are magically ignoring the enormous amount of extra water warmed.

    You have kept the characteristics of denialism alive and well.`

    • daveburton Says:

      No, Jeffery Green, transferring heat from the surface to the middle troposphere does not “add a whole lot of extra heat.” It cools the surface. The heat which is thus transported to the middle troposphere is then radiated, much of it into space.

      Moreover, your belief that the ocean depths have “never warmed this much before in the last 1400 years” seems to be a reflection of your religious faith, since there’s absolutely no evidence at all to support it.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        Dave,
        citation needed for this feedback.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Yes, I would particularly like to see something that refutes the recent discoveries that the “ocean depths” are warming up to an unprecedented degree.

          • daveburton Says:

            Why don’t you show us how the current deep ocean temperature data compares to the 7th century’s Argo Buoy data, to prove your assertion that the ocean depths have “never warmed this much before in the last 1400 years,” old guy.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “SEVENTH century’s Argo Buoy data”? Whatever is DB talking about? Never mind, it’s probably another of his “failure to engage brain” misspeaks.

            I have better things to do than waste our time by encouraging and enabling Dave to do another “gallop” on us, so I will just bring up that old Argo Knock-Knock joke.

            Dave?

            Knock-Knock
            Who’s there?
            Argo
            Argo who?
            Argo (have sex with yourself)

          • daveburton Says:

            1400 years ago was the 7th century, old guy. You claimed that the ocean depths have “never warmed this much before in the last 1400 years,” knowledge of which would require temperature measurements in the ocean depths 1400 years ago.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Go away, Dave.

            Haven’t you noticed that Peter is reevaluating his troll policy?

            Not that we would miss you, but making inane comments like this is just proof that you are in fact here as a troll, and Peter is likely keeping score.


      • My religious belief? How interesting. I’m not a gaia person and I love to study science. I plugged your name into the internet with global warming behind it.

        Are you the same Dave Burton that is in this utube?

        You seem to play denier victimization quite well.

        http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/12/denier-weirdness-david-burton.html

        Here you are the center of attention at hot whopper. I’m not willing to give you celebrity status though.

        It just surprises me that you come to something a month old. I let that stuff go and move on. How is it that you comb through old stuff to ferret out all the warmist gaia beliefs?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_amplification

        Sunlight is reflected more with more ice, sunlight is reflected less with less ice and then the oceans absorb more energy.

        When the oceans absorb more energy in the arctic, it changes our weather in the northern hemisphere. CO2 lets sunlight through and resists infrared leaving. This is the science. If you are going to change this, you need to show this in evidence. The military has studied this area so that they can shoot down our enemies. There is an awful lot of evidence supporting the present course the IPCC is on.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Yep, That’s our Dave!

          Thanks for the link to hotwhopper. I’m glad to see that Dave spreads the stupidity around and doesn’t confine himself to clogging up Crock.

          You ask “It just surprises me that you come to something a month old…..How is it that you comb through old stuff to ferret out all the warmist gaia beliefs?”

          IMO, the answer is because Dave gets paid to do so—keep googling and look at NC-20 and Dave’s “science advisor” status, what other wingnuts he hangs out with, etc.


        • The jig is almost up. However, if we can convince all those ideological “scientists” to perpetuate this “global warming” thing for another year, 2014 will offer great investment opportunities We can scoop up coastal properties for pennies on the dollar. In fact, in anticipation of global cooling, I’m buying offshore property that will soon be above sea level.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Before deleting this comment, linked to daveburton’s “religious faith” and found it is a link to LINDZEN. Who will Dave be citing next, Monckton?

  7. twemoran Says:

    One more link chaining ASI loss to Hurricane Sandy.
    Terry


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