The Weekend Wonk: On that Failed Sea Ice Satellite

October 2, 2016

I’ll be posting a new video on 2016 Arctic sea ice soon (fingers crossed, my main production computer just died, exploring work arounds..) — but I’ve interviewed several leading experts at length – including Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. I broke out this particularly inside-baseball sequence about arctic observation satellites, because some technical snafus this past summer became fodder for a flurry of internet troll conspiracy theories.  Dr. Ted clarifies.

National Snow and Ice Data Center:

As of June 14, 2016, NSIDC has completed the transition to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-18 satellite for sea ice data. Sea Ice Index updates have also resumed.

Sea ice data in Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis are now based on the F-18 satellite beginning April 1, 2016. Data before April 1 are still from the F-17 satellite or earlier satellites in the series.

For more information on the F-17 satellite issues, see our April 12, 2016 post. On May 6, updates resumed with provisional F-18 data. These data are no longer considered provisional. However, these are near-real-time data and numbers may change when final data are obtained.

For more information on the satellite transition, see the documentation for the Near-Real-Time DMSP SSMIS Daily Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations data set.



5 Responses to “The Weekend Wonk: On that Failed Sea Ice Satellite”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Good info, but it won’t stop the denier trolls from sowing FUD about the satellites for years to come. Keep repeating the lies until they become truth is their motto. (Tommy-Poo Bates is long overdue for an appearance here).

    And we need to start putting up more and better satellites for Earth observation, rather than mothballing them and dragging our feet. When the Dems take back the Senate, Cruz will lose his chairmanship of the “Millions for deep space and Mars, but not one cent for understanding the Earth” committee, and we can then make some progress. (and Inhofe will be gone too!)

  2. Looking forward to your new posting on Arctic sea ice. I have begun reading A Farewell to Ice by Peter Wadhams (available right now only on Kindle). Just finished Chapter 1 and found his comments about what will occur shortly (and he thinks very shortly), especially the probability of release of methane hydrates, shocking. He is one of the pre-eminent experts on Arctic sea ice, as I understand it. I expect establishment scientists to be a bit more reserved in their assessments. Maybe it is his age–when you reach a certain age and good repute, you can say what you really think.
    I agree, DoG. However, one of the reasons for the over-the-top idiocy about sea ice from the denialosphere is that the trend is simply undeniable. The clearer the evidence, the more screaming insanity that is needed to counter it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Wadham is an expert, but he is considered a bit of an extremist with his worst-case predictions, even though he doesn’t yet match McPherson as a “doomer”. People have been talking seriously for only a few years now about the possible release of methane from thawing permafrost and sub sea clathrates. Lots of debate even among reputable scientists. A couple of “oldies but goodies”, and there’s a lot more out there.

      Estimates are that there is 1,000 gigatons of carbon locked in just the top three meters of permafrost, and the release of just 1/3 of that would guarantee that we would push well past the 2 degree C warming mark. We seem almost oblivious to that possibility.

      I tend to lose sleep over the thought of a runaway methane release positive feedback loop developing in the arctic. I don’t see anyone except the Russians and a few other scientists around the world seriously looking into the problem. The U.S. has not devoted much in the way of resources to monitoring and studying arctic methane, and it amazes me that we haven’t. I haven’t used the term “whistling past the graveyard” lately, but IMO that’s exactly what we’re doing.


    From Cate’s comment,

    Satellites, instruments, and models can only tell so much. Nothing beats eye-witness reports for impact. This comment on methane seeps came through my FB scroll-feed:

    “I live in Alaska and contribute to the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. – we’ll not have a “burp”. It’s outgassing all over as we speak and will simply increase in rate with each passing year. I have reports from Yupik of boating through waters that were “boiling” in every direction while out hunting for seals (where they should have been using dogs and sledges)…The boats sink a few inches due to the difference in water density … crazy times…”

    Apologies if the commenter recognises their words here, which I have used without permission. Everyone should be hearing this.

  4. Sorry I just posted a comment with 3 links, didn’t appear.

    Re Arctic Methane seeps

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: