New Lows: Sea Ice and “Steven Goddard” credibility

September 14, 2011

“Steven Goddard” is a pseudonym used by an anonymous climate denialist crank, so incredibly sloppy that he even embarrassed arch climate denier Anthony Watts, as shown in this link, and as I showed in one of last year’s “sea ice wrap-up” videos.

At least Chris Monckton has a medical condition that explains his break with reality.  As for this “Goddard” character, well, I have to let you see this headline to believe it.

Which he chose to illustrate with the graph below –

What’s really refreshing and amusing is how “Goddard” was immediately taken to task by none other than Julienne Stroeve, National Snow and Ice Data Center researcher whose iconic graph of accelerated sea ice loss I recently featured in a post. See here:

“Steve chose a graph that shows what he wants to portray while ignoring all the other institutions that show either a record low for 2011 or a “tie” with 2007. University of Bremen already announced it is a new record low. In my opinion, given the error margin of the measurement and algorithms, 2007 and 2011 basically tied in their extent this year. NSIDC will likely show 2011 as the second lowest, but again it’s within the error margin (which is about 50,000 sq-km).”

The arm waving we’ll be seeing this year, if NSIDC does not declare a new record, and U. Bremen does, will all be over a distinction without a difference, which is further evidence for my theory that climate denial is a form of autism -deliberately losing itself in a maze of details and completely unable to grasp a gestalt.

Stroeve tagged an addendum to her post, with an assessment of current ice conditions (as of Sept 12)

Remember last September though it looked like the minimum had been reached and then it went down further again. So best to be patient a few more days… 

For now, a look at one of the most telling of ice graphs, the ice volume picture from the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington.

I’ll be featuring more examples of off-the-reality-rails rants from climate deniers in my sea ice update, which I’ll post as soon after the minimum as I can crank it out.

For more from Stroeve, see the video here:


200 Responses to “New Lows: Sea Ice and “Steven Goddard” credibility”

  1. omnologos Says:

    daveburton – my worst Arctic Ice nightmare involves a repeat of the global temp story, with a spike followed by several years of not much change, endless debates about the smallest of differences, blogs on the warpath declaring things are getting better or worse, and in general the most killing boredom since the last curling match.

    • mrsircharles Says:

      Wonders me WHO started nit-picking here.

      To get the story straight: Climate change deniers – like the pseudonym “Steven Goddard” – make a four days rise in sea ice area to a “recovery”. Meanwhile sea ice volume is shrinking dramatically over just the last years.


      As I said: You guys are kicking the straw you’re sucking on out of the bottle.

      There is a scientific consensus on manmade climate change. What some blog sites like “real science” are trying is to mislead the public and pretend to be scientific.

      There is no apology for that. That’s just FRAUD and it should be treated as a CRIME ON HUMANITY!

      • daveburton Says:

        You cite Wikipedia, as proof of a consensus on climate change, Charles? Surely you must know about Wikipedia’s complete lack of credibility w/r/t any controversial topic, and its especially large black eye w/r/t climate-related topics??

        Well, maybe not. Okay, here are some references. Click the links to read how climate alarmists rewrote over 5000 Wikipedia articles into AGW propaganda, censoring them to prevent any but the alarmist point of view from being represented, to the shameful applause of Wikipedia czar Jimbo Wales.

        The fact is that Steven Goddard was exactly right with what he wrote, and Peter was wrong to blast him for it, and owes him an apology. This summer’s recovery in Arctic ice extent has continued and increased. It is now at 2008 levels, as you can easily see in the DMI and NSIDC graphs.

        On the later (NSIDC) graph, if you’re using a modern browser, you can move your mouse cursor over the graph to see the actual numbers. 9/16/2008 and 9/16/2011 are both at 4.6 million sq-km; 9/16/2007 was at 4.24 million sq-km. On the former (DMI) graph, it appears that the 2011 line crossed the 2008 line a few days ago, and Arctic ice extent is now slightly above its 2008 level on this day of the year, and very close the 2010 level.

        Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, these fluctuations in Arctic sea ice have much less to do with climate than with wind (weather). For a better indicator, look at sea ice in the southern hemisphere, where there’s a continent to prevent it from being blown around so much.

  2. mrsircharles Says:

    So you think 3 days of arctic sea ice coverage is a “recovery”. What about sea ice volume?


    Don’t you think your argumentation is a bit ridiculous?

    You want to discredit Wikipedia with some comments on right wing (Murdoch) blogs… Have you ever read the articles in Wikipedia and followed all the links provided. Alone the article, Scientific opinion on climate change shows 135 external links.

    I believe it’s you who shows his bias and “complete lack of credibility” when it comes to climate change.

  3. mrsircharles Says:

    ,a href=””>PIIOMAS is very well using data from satellites, Navy submarines, moorings, and field measurements in their computer program.

  4. mrsircharles Says:

    Sorry, typos. Here again:

    PIOMAS is very well using data from satellites, Navy submarines, moorings, and field measurements in their computer program.

    • daveburton Says:

      They use data, but none of the data is ice volume measurements. There is no actual measurement data for sea ice volume (yet).

      Note: real measurements are coming, unless CryoSat 2 fails. My prediction is that they will show no declining trend for sea ice volume. (In fact, they might well show an growing trend for sea ice volume for the Arctic, since the measurements are commencing when temperatures are warm and sea ice is low… just as the extent measurements show a declining trend, having commenced when temperatures were low and sea ice was high.)

      • mrsircharles Says:

        Absolutely wrong!

        => Measurement of sea ice (we see again that Wikipedia is very precise when it comes to science)

        => NASA ICESat & ICESat-2

        => How do we measure Antarctic ice changes?

        Your “prediction” has aleady failed.

        • daveburton Says:

          Charles, CryoSat 1 was lost in a launch failure. CryoSat 2 has only been up one year, and its first ice thickness map was just released a few months ago, so you can’t get trend data from that. ICESat 2 won’t go up for several more years.

          That leaves only the late ICESat 1, may it Rest In Peace. Do to a design defect with its primary instrument, it only gave us very spotty ice altitude & roughness data (from which ice volume can be estimated) for one month periods three times per year for about a half decade. Although it documented a decline in ice volume during the mid-2000s, which coincided with the widely publicized decline in Arctic ice extent during that same period, it no longer exists to tell us whether that decline in volume ceased after Arctic ice extent bottomed out a few years ago.

          I predict that the CryoSat 2 and ICESat 2 ice volume data will show no declining trend for sea ice volume, and might show a growing trend. I might be wrong, but I’m definitely not wrong yet.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            so the ice, in your theory, is shrinking in area, but growing in volume, getting much, much thicker, and no one on the scene in the arctic has noticed it –
            but you somehow have scoped it out by peering at Steve Goddard’s blog.
            You should really publish, dude.

          • daveburton Says:

            Nope. If ice extent drops, volume presumably will, too. That’s a big “if,” though.

  5. mrsircharles Says:

    What the trends are can we see here:


    If someone wants to refute that then please show me a peer reviewed study which plausibly disproves these graphs.

    To make a sea ice “recovery” out of that is nothing but cynical.

    End of story.

    • daveburton Says:

      Charles, you’re cracking me up! More graphs of non-existent data!!

      Sea ice for the 1870s — who are you kidding? We have no real data for Arctic sea ice prior to 1979, let alone a century earlier.

      Charles, just because someone can make up a graph doesn’t mean there’s any truth to it. THINK about the data, and its sources, and its reliability, before you trust it. No amount of peer review will make data out of nothing.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        charles, you should do like Dave. use your xray vision to see the ice thickness better than the submariners who sail under it.

      • mrsircharles Says:

        So, the dataset from 1870 to 2008 of the University of Illinois (UIUC) are “non-existent data” for you. Hmm. And that now should not crack me up?

        On the other hand, one shall believe that some blahblah of guys like you is more reliable than data from one of the largest public research-intensive universities on the planet…

        Hmm. That’s not really cracking me up. That’s just ridiculous.

        You’re just discrediting scientific work, including peer reviewed studies, but simultaniously don’t bother to deliver a single peer revied study yourself which would back your nonsense.

        No more to say.

        • daveburton Says:

          Charles, there is no real data for Arctic ice extent back then. None, zilch, zip, nada.

          However, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that climate and ice were far from the stable, straight line that your graph of imaginary data portrays.

          • mrsircharles Says:

            I stick your nose into the existing dataset of the University of Illinois and you answer with a blog site… Simultanously you describe the data as “no real data, None, zilch, zip, nada”. That’s nothing but denial par excellence

            You’re displaying a lot of yourself. Thanks for that, Dave. You’re actually doing us a great favour whwn showing us all quite clearly how ignorant and helpless you climate change deniers actually have become.

            Go ahead…

          • daveburton Says:

            So, Charles, why don’t you tell us how they measured total Arctic ice extent, seasonally and monthly, 36 years before the first traversal of the Northwest Passage, 56 years before the human being saw the N. pole from the air, and 87 years before Sputnik? 🙂

  6. mrsircharles Says:

    Also => Walsh and Chapman Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Data Set

    Why don’t you do the research yourself, Dave? It’s you who wants to refute acknowledged scientific work.

    • daveburton Says:

      Charles, you aren’t answering because you don’t know the answer. You don’t know the answer because you can’t know it, because there is no answer.

      They did not measure measure Arctic ice extent 36 years before the first traversal of the Northwest Passage, 56 years before any human being ever saw the N. pole from the air, and 87 years before Sputnik. There are no measurements of 19th century Arctic ice extent (nor are there measurements of early and mid 20th century Arctic ice extent).

      Your “data” doesn’t come from measurements, it comes from computer models. It is not real, it is synthetic.

      • mrsircharles Says:

        1) It’s not “my data”, it’s the University of Illinois Sea Ice Dataset.

        2) Any source or proof for your allegation? Nope. I haven’t seen any peer reviewed, scientific study which would support your claims. Where is your evidence that the University of Illinois Sea Ice Dataset would be flawed? Just your own viewsw and blahblah.

        It is YOU who has to deliver evidence and proof, NOT the acknowledged scientists.

        For your “research” => Data Sources:

        The data sources for the ice concentrations vary spatially and temporally. There are eight basic data sources for the ice concentrations:

        1. Danish Meteorlogical Institute
        2. Japan Meteorological Agency
        3. Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO)
        4. Kelly ice extent grids (based upon Danish Ice Charts)
        5. Walsh and Johnson/Navy-NOAA Joint Ice Center
        6. Navy-NOAA Joint Ice Center Climatology
        7. Temporal extension of Kelly data (see note below)
        8. Nimbus-7 SMMR Arctic Sea Ice Concentrations or
        DMSP SSM/I Sea Ice Concentrations using the NASA Team Algorithm
        Data extensions:

        (a) Temporal extension of Kelly ice extent analyses:

        Sea ice extent data is provided by Kelly, et. al. 1988. The ice extent data is compiled for the months April-August for the majority of the period 1901-1956. In this dataset, we utilize the Kelly data to create an ice concentration data source for the early period of record. This data is given very low priority in the hierarchy of available data so that if there are data from any sources (except climatology), we replace the extended Kelly data with this new source data. The modification of the Kelly data is done in two parts: (1) conversion from ice extent to ice concentrations, and (2) temporal extension of the available data.

        (1) We add a marginal sea ice zone to the Kelly ice extent data by computing average ice concentration drop-off rates for the period during which there are satellite observations. These drop-off rates indicate the rate at which ice concentrations decrease as a function of distance from open water and distance from 10/10 ice concentrations. The drop off rates vary with season; the summer melt season drop-off rate is about 0.5 that of the freeze-up season. We apply these drop-off rates to the Kelly ice extent data to create a marginal sea ice zone.

        (2) Regional sea ice anomalies have been shown to persist for many months and even seasons (Chapman and Walsh, 1991). We attempt to capitalize on this persistence by extending the ice anomaly data from (1) forward and backward in time to fill in the months September-March for each year in the 1901-1956 period. We compute lagged autocorrelations for the period of satellite observations and use the autocorrelations as weighting functions in the temporally extended data. For example, an anomaly for November is made by summing the anomalies of the preceeding August and the subsequent April weighted by the -3 month lag autocorrelation and the +5 month lag autocorrelations, respectively.

        We have attempted to stretch the useful information included in the Kelly ice extent data to extract as much information as possible from the data. We feel that the addition of these extensions make a more complete and detailed dataset useful for most applications.

        (b) Satellite derived data updates to Walsh sea ice database

        During October, 1996, updates were made to the Walsh sea ice database. The database previously contained data through December, 1990. Updates to this dataset are, and will continue to be made using ice concentrations obtained via the SSMI sources using the NASA Team algorithm.

        In order to maintain a consistent data source for the last part of the period, all data from October, 1978 through December, 1998 are from the SMMR/ SSMI sources. Data from previous versions of this data set were replaced by SMMR and SSM/I data from Oct. 1978 – Dec. 1990.

  7. omnologos Says:

    Mrsircharles – you’ve just made Dave’s point. The data is not “flawed”, simply it’s a collection of best estimates based on assumptions: “synthetic” indeed, and openly so. Thus it can’t be taken at face value or “reality”or “truth” but “only” as a plausible indicator.

    • daveburton Says:

      Thank you, omnologos.

      Peter, you know we’re right. So how about you communicate privately with Sir Charles, and tell him that? This silliness is cluttering up your blog.

      The “data” for Arctic ice pack extent prior to the satellite surveys which began in 1979 is really just fancy conjecture, generated (to six digits, {LOL!}) by computer models, informed only by sparse hints of loosely connected information, with the hints becoming sparser the further back in time you go.

      The 1960s and 1970s were a cold period, and because sea ice takes a few years to build up it tends to lag a bit behind temperature, 1979 was likely near a high point of ice extent. However, because wind and weather so greatly affect the Arctic ice, it’s impossible to say that with any certainty. There’s no way of knowing how much it varied before that, either, though we can guess that the balmy 1930s probably had low ice extent, and “the year without a summer” probably had high ice extent.

  8. mrsircharles Says:

    Who says that, Maurizio? You?

    These here are very plausible indicators that arctic sea ice is incresingly losing ice mass:



    And it is also very plausible that humanmade CO2 is the trigger and cause of that.

    So, what’s the point? And where is the “recovery”?


  9. omnologos Says:

    Haven’t said a peep about recovery so don’t ask me 🙂

    As for the synthetic ice data, their plausibility is a matter of personal taste. I’d take them with a pinch of salt, others would discard them, others consider them the Truth. As long as we’re all aware nobody truly knows, am fine.

    • mrsircharles Says:

      That’s solely opinion. But has nothing to do with real science.

      I posted all information about the University of Illinois Sea Ice Dataset. If you are really “skeptical” about the data why don’t you write an email to William Chapman and get a clue? Might be more honest than bias , prejudgment and “personal taste”.

      End of story.

      • daveburton Says:

        It’s about as “plausible” as the Times Almanac’s report that Greenland has lost 15% of its ice coverage in the last 12 years. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

        Poul Christoffersen, a glaciologist at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, said the 15 percent decrease in permanent ice cited “is both incorrect and misleading.” He believes the actual number is closer to 0.1 percent.

        “It is regrettable that the claimed drastic reduction in the extent of ice in Greenland has created headline news around the world,” Christoffersen said. “There is to our knowledge no support for this claim in the published scientific literature.”

        • mrsircharles Says:

          We don’t need Faux News for that. Here is an article about on this website two days ago.

          The scientific community has already reacted on the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World 13th edition.

          But that does not disprove that ice coverage has been shrinking and ice volume has accelerated to decrease.

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