Sea Ice Volume is Not Recovering

November 25, 2013

Andy Lee Robinson has updated his indispensable animation of sea ice volume – which makes the point yet again how dramatically northern sea ice is declining – despite the inevitable efforts of distorters and deniers.

Also worth remembering that for total area of ice, we are at a low that is historic over not just the satellite era, but at least 1450 years into the past.  Look at the figure below, derived in 2011 from temperature proxies which were then compared to  ocean sediments – (different critters live in iced-over ocean vs open water) and consider that the so-called “recovery” of sea ice is just a tiny squiggle at the bottom end of a 150 year long slide.

kinnard

 

Below, Dr. Walt Meier of NSIDC discusses the techniques of evaluating ice cover before the satellite record. Explanation at 2:53, if you’re in a hurry.

About these ads

16 Responses to “Sea Ice Volume is Not Recovering”


  1. At Kinard (2011) I will answer as usual: it is to combine “apples and oranges” … but: “modern observations” are perfectly correlated with measurements of salinity of the North Baltic (http://klimat.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/salt_rec.jpg) – during this time. And the lowest salinity of the Baltic Sea (accurately recorded since the beginning of the twentieth century) – similar to today, was in the 1935-8 year … when it was warm in the NH.

  2. omnologos Says:

    Isn’t there anything more robust to mention?

    1. Kinnard 2011 isn’t the Truth. AR5-WG1 mentions it twice a few words apart, makes little of it, concentrates on another work. For some reason, the best climate scientists put together didn’t think it much worthwhile, why would you?

    2. A link to a post citing Nuccitelli and Abraham making up a post-hoc explanation based on little understanding of statistics isn’t a wise choice

    3. The arctic ice volume decrease is on firmer grounds, however it is not yet clear if it’s due to in-basin melt or export (page 4-14) – plus after all the video is infographics, no more and no less


  3. […] Andy Lee Robinson has updated his indispensable animation of sea ice volume – which makes the point yet again how dramatically northern sea ice is declining – despite the inevitable efforts of dist…  […]

  4. Alan Olson Says:

    Upside-down Hockey Stick Gentlemen?


  5. The trend is lower sea ice. Deniers are doing the usual dance. Pick a small part of the record and ignore the larger picture. Kinnard is hardly the only study confirming a sudden drop in sea ice. The air and sea temp hockey stick are matched by sea ice.

    http://bprc.osu.edu/geo/publications/polyak_etal_seaice_QSR_10.pdf

    • omnologos Says:

      your reply is senseless, Christopher. AR5-WG1 is hot off the presses. A blog post on the WP just won’t cut it, sorry.

      As for Polyak, his article appears on chapter 5 where it is mentioned to say “There is medium confidence that the current ice loss and increasing SSTs in the Arctic are anomalous at least in the context of the last two millennia”.

      My point, as you don’t seem to have noticed, isn’t if sea ice volume is recovering or not…rather, the relatively poor quality of the material used by Peter to make such a case.

    • daveburton Says:

      Peter, you are mistaken about Kinnard’s study. Kinnard (2011) did not study “Arctic ocean sediments.” They didn’t study anything in the Arctic Ocean. They studied only terrestrial proxies, such as lake sediments, ice cores and tree rings, and just two coastal observation records. Their extrapolation from those proxies to sea ice extent is dubious, at best.

      In fact, even Kinnard, et al, were much more reserved in their assessment than you are in writing about it. You state flatly that total ice area extent is at an “historic” low for “at least 1450 years into the past.” But Kinnard says “extensive uncertainties remain,” the proxies they used “may be linked to sea ice conditions,” and that the recent decline “seem[s] to be” unprecedented.

      Loosely paraphrasing Will Rogers (or maybe Mark Twain or Josh Billings), “you know a lot that isn’t necessarily so.”

      If their results were trustworthy, they would be very interesting, and very surprising. E.g., they reported a “pronounced decrease in ice cover observed in both our terrestrial and oceanic proxy-based reconstructions between the late fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries occurred during the widespread cooling period known as the Little Ice Age (about AD 1450–1850 (ref. 18)). Reconstructed Arctic SATs show episodes of warming during this period (Fig. 3f), but according to our results the decrease in Arctic sea ice extent during the Little Ice Age was more pronounced than during the earlier Medieval Warm Optimum.

      Note: Kinnard (2011) is paywalled, but I found a copy of the full text here.

      The big problem with assertions like yours about long term sea ice trends is that “the record” is actually very short, beginning with satellite observations. Prior to that, there were only very spotty observations, which were insufficient to draw robust conclusions about global sea ice extent.

      NSIDC claims that “the satellite record only dates back to 1979,”, which was the end of a particularly cold period, presumably characterized by above-normal Arctic sea ice. But, actually, Nimbus-5, Nimbus-6, and Seasat-1 all made sea ice measurements via passive microwave radiometry prior to 1979. Although NASA has lost the Nimbus-6 and Seasat-1 data, we still have good quality Nimbus-5 ESMR (passive microwave) measurement data from December 11, 1972 through May 16, 1977. (Nimbus-5’s ESMR instrument actually continued to operate in a degraded mode through March 1983, but I don’t know whether that 1977-1983 data still exists.)

      One thing we do know is that Arctic ice is up considerably this year, and total global sea ice extent just hit a 21st century record high. That probably represents a transient fluctuation, but it is telling that the sources which issued a torrent of alarmist press releases about 2012’s record-low minimum in Arctic ice extent have been largely silent about this year’s upward spike.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        they created a proxy record as you describe, and compared it for validation against ocean sediment cores. My understanding is that their paper strengthened confidence in both indicators. They conclude:
        In the present state of knowledge, anthropogenically forced (‘greenhouse gases’) warming stands out as a very plausible cause of the record atmospheric and oceanic warmth of the recent decades, which may soon lead to an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer.”
        Walt Meier of NSIDC explains the basic idea in the video I have embedded above.

        • daveburton Says:

          They say, “We compared our reconstruction of late-summer sea ice cover derived from terrestrial proxies with independent proxy records of regional sea ice conditions derived from ocean sediment cores. Records for the seasonal duration of sea ice in [two locations], reconstructed from dinocyst assemblages, share some of the temporal features of our reconstruction…”

          Wow. They “share some of the temporal features.” That’s not exactly a conclusive validation of the method.

          BTW, here’s more info on the pre-1979 satellite record of Arctic sea ice extents, showing that the late 1970s represented a peak in Arctic sea ice (which, of course, means that starting graphs in 1979 maximizes the appearance of subsequent decline).

          • omnologos Says:

            dave – just as Kinnard et al isn’t the end-all of Arctic ice discussion, likewise I would be careful in dismissing it completely. It’s a valuable if small addition to the total of knowledge, and future reconstructions will have to deal with it.


      • Where is your reference data from? It does not look like any other record of sea ice. Compare with the record from Skeptical Science, based on PIOMAS, and yes, it’s global. It’s a clear downward trend. Explain how you got your data and what was done with it. How is the trend line created? Suppose you plot a trend line of discrete data values and you come upon one data point that is above/below the trend. Does removing that one point change the trend significantly? This is the fallacy in the concept of one point different from the rest. One point does not significantly alter the trend of a large dataset. That means that fundamentally, your claim of this years record having meaning is invalid, and shows a remarkable lack of mathematical insight and understanding.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=56


  6. […] Conditions at both poles in 2013 demonstrate the complex interaction of climatic conditions and the peril of drawing conclusions from limited data. When annual readings are compiled over decades, the trend of polar sea-ice volume is decidedly downward and maximum winter temperatures clearly upward. Compared to indications of temperature trapped in centuries of sediment,modern conditions take a precipitous plunge. […]


  7. […] Conditions at both poles in 2013 demonstrate the complex interaction of climatic conditions and the peril of drawing conclusions from limited data. When annual readings are compiled over decades, the trend of polar sea-ice volume is decidedly downward and maximum winter temperatures clearly upward. Compared to indications of temperature trapped in centuries of sediment,modern conditions take a precipitous plunge. […]


  8. 1. If you look at the actual global Sea Ice graph from Cryoshpere Today:

    then you see a varation from about 1 MKM³ up or down from the 30 years average of 20 MKM², which is about 5%. This is not much variation, and certainly not the hint of a catastrophe.

    2. Check the graph carefully: Now at the beginning of 2014 the global sea ice extend is at the same amount as it was 30 years ago.

    So what?

    Actually sea ice has recovered to the exact amount of 1984.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      sea ice volume. google it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Once again, the “nearsighted” want to talk about GLOBAL sea ice rather than the ARCTIC sea ice that is so much more significant and of much more concern. And please don’t throw at me that I have harped on global vs local on other threads. The ‘local” here is the entire northern hemisphere.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,645 other followers

%d bloggers like this: