David Barber on Arctic Sea Ice

July 10, 2016

David Barber PhD is Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Environment, the University of Manitoba.
He is a globally recognized expert on the behavior of Arctic Sea ice.

UPDATE: June arctic sea ice graph


I interviewed Dr. Barber on the first leg of this Dark Snow Fieldwork, at a meeting in Lund, Sweden.  The chat was so fascinating I’ll be breaking out a number of segments, and this will be part of an upcoming sea ice video in this very significant year.

Part 2 below:


17 Responses to “David Barber on Arctic Sea Ice”

  1. Bob Doublin Says:

    Thank you Peter. GREAT videos. Dr. Barber is an incredible speaker.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      there is so much more.

      and I also interviewed several other scientists at the meeting – I’ll be doling them out over coming weeks. Very much jammed with activity in Greenland right now.

  2. Tom Bates Says:

    Dr. Barber is a good speaker, looks the part of the great and wise shaman who shakes the bones and tells the future. He would have been great in 10000 BC or today. The tiny problem is the message is basically a lie. The satellite used to measure Arctic sea ice has been broken since April so the last actual measurement they have is march. Everything since then is a guess.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      DNFTT, folks. This moron has wasted too much of our time, and we needn’t waste any more telling him that he’s wrong (again).

    • ubrew12 Says:

      Didn’t know ‘the satellite’ measured copepods. It helps to listen to the speaker before you comment.

    • Do you really think that their is only ONE satellite orbiting the earth that has the sensors and ability to monitor these conditions??? REALLY!!!

      ROLLING MY EYES!!!!!


      “To restart the gathering of sea ice extent information, scientists are running parallel data streams from instruments on two other Defense Department satellites, known as DMSP F16 and F18. Both of these satellites have a design lifetime that ends this year, though many spacecraft continue functioning long after that point.”

      Now if you were to raise the question of “calibration” and how they went about the (calibration of the data sets) to it’s DOD (DOD stands for Department of Defense aka the US Military….) replacements.. well I would be interested in that kind of a reasonable question.

      sadly shaking my head…….

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      I really do not understand why any educated person thinks it a valuable exercise to analyse the fossil fuel-based [CO2] emissions of a new technology that will eliminate those very fossil fuel-based [CO2] emissions.

  3. […] Climatecrocks.com: David Barber PhD is Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Environment, the University of Manitoba. He is a globally recognized expert on the behavior of Arctic Sea ice. […]

  4. Just finished listening to an excellent interview on Radio EcoShock with Richard Heinberg regarding his new book “Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy”.


    This book is available free online,

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Heinberg gets it. I don’t have time to listen to an hour of his ideas, but I have read and heard shorter commentary from him. One that summarizes his thoughts nicely is this one—-begin at ~45:00:


      My only complaint with him is that he, like all too many, stops short of saying something along the lines of—-“Before we can make any progress on combating AGW, we must deal with Citizens United and the Dark Money that has allowed the Kochs and their ilk to buy the Republican Party and the government and delay progress on so many fronts. Until the heavy and evil hand of the libertarian free-marketers is removed from the throat of the country, things will just get worse, and the efforts to address AGW will continue to be just window-dressing”.

  5. dumboldguy Says:

    Dr. Barber is a VERY good speaker, much more “attractive” than some of the other scientists who speak on AGW. Excellent voice and speaking style, but most importantly, he gives some of the clearest explanations around—-his “arctic sea ice is like a rain forest” explanation and his discussion of the interactions in the arctic sea ice ecosystem are terrific. They may be a bit “deep” in places for those with very little science background, but for those who understand the meaning of the words he uses, they were so good that they brought a smile to my face as I said “YES!—-well said!”

    And not to get picky and “personal”, but the unbuttoned shirt, too-long hair, and “in need of a trim” beard may be a bit of a turn-off for some folks. Please give us as much of Dr. Barber as you can get, because he IS terrific, but give him some grooming advice—-suggest that he tone it down to a “Peter Sinclair” level of raffishness so that it doesn’t detract from his science.

    • jpcowdrey Says:

      DFHs! amirite, dog? My problem with much of Heinberg’s pessimism is, like David Mackey, he has this tendency to double dip, plus generalizing without optimizing. He makes the problem seem much harder than it really is.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        The problem IS much harder than the bright-sided would make it seem. We are a LONG way from replacing fossil fuels with renewables, and Heinberg knows why. I myself have no problem with Heinberg’s thinking, except as I said—-he needs to speak out more forcefully about root causes and obstacles. Maybe he afraid of sounding too McPhersonish?

        (And this old dog has no idea what DFHs means—-explain please)

        • jpcowdrey Says:

          Dirty Fucking Hippies.

        • addledlady Says:

          I’m half and half on this. I suspect a lot of people would see me as a killjoy – I believe we are done and dusted as far as sea level rise is concerned. An SLR version of McPherson if you must put it that way.

          No matter what we do, even if we managed a WW2 style all-hands-on-deck-with-all-money-focused-on-the-problem approach now and succeeded in reducing both emissions and concentrations of ghgs _and_ got within reach of the fabled 350 ppm target … whatever does or doesn’t happen to temperatures in that eventuality, we won’t, we can’t, hold back the advancing seas. The lead times for warming or cooling of ocean temperatures and icesheet disruption are just too long. This is not like wrapping a damp tea towel around your drink bottle and chucking it in the freezer for a quicker cool down. This specific consequence of warming has been left too long and is too far advanced for us to expect anything except a minimum of 150-200 years for oceans and polar/mountain ice to even begin to recover, and that’s AFTER we get ghg concentrations (forget emissions, that’s just the first step) to reduce.

          As against that, I do think EVs give us a big chance to skip a bit ahead of our current trajectory on emissions reduction. Because of the double whammy. EVs energy efficiency means we get a huge reduction in emissions from oil based fossils when we reduce use of ICE vehicles. The second whammy is that the exchange is for only slightly increased emissions from rock/shale based fossils to meet that much smaller energy demand – which will become less and less as power generation moves to renewables. And cities and other local authorities are likely to get _very_ enthusiastic about EV buses and delivery trucks as a way of reducing diesel particulate pollution within their areas of control when nil emission vehicles are available with the added attraction of hugely reduced running and maintenance costs.

          If we include direct absorption of CO2 into an all-hands-on-deck-with-all-money-focused-on-the-problem approach, we could at least protect some ocean resources if we concentrated those activities on mangroves, beaches and agricultural soils adjacent to beaches and coral reefs. The resulting local restraint or reduction of ocean acidification in strategically targeted fish nursery and crustacean habitat areas just might give us half a chance to retain some (forget all) important fisheries in anticipation of more congenial conditions a dozen decades or more away.

          Regardless, I see the future for at least 4 or 5 generations as being pretty bluddy awful _even if_ we choose all the right strategies and do everything as soon as possible in the best possible way and succeed at it.

  6. jpcowdrey Says:

    The hardest problem, right at this moment, is political will, as you say, dog. But as climate change becomes more obvious a threat to human well being, that will subside. Even as we speak the influence of the Koch brothers and their ilk is diminishing, even as the Republican Party is fragmenting like rotting fruit. Just as increased penetration of renewable energy, energy efficiency and organic farming methods will lead to a decrease in the carbon intensity of all sectors, even the most recalcitrant.

    All of these plans rely on ordinary investment strategies with minimal government encouragement. Should push come to shove, and people decide that the problem is indeed urgent, putting the response on a war-time basis would likely lead to transition in less than a decade.

    Of course, the entire Human Race could just as well descend into utter madness. That is more likely the more pessimistic we are. The more pessimistic we are, the more pessimistic we become. I learned in my youth, that sort of downward emotional spiral is not useful. So, naturally, I resist, and I encourage everyone to resist, too. Stay strong.

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