Understanding Arctic Melt

Last night I rode my bicycle to Whole Foods in -10C weather, and was noticing that all the ponds are still frozen over solid – which is very unusual for the end of February.

By some curious phenomena, the Arctic is widely reported by the press to be melting at -35C.

ScreenHunter_166 Feb. 26 06.54

COI | Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

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59 Responses to Understanding Arctic Melt

  1. al-Khwarizmi says:

    You wonder why the states of the Arctic are even bothering to start quarreling over oil, gas and shipping lanes that should be absolutely frozen solid.

  2. al-Khwarizmi says:

    “I suggest you take a field trip to the unfrozen Arctic at -54 degrees.”

    Because the Arctic is bitterly cold in some places in some parts of the year means that it is not rapidly thawing out, something the United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and even China are all well aware of, as reflected in their political and military actions.

    Give this man a Fields Medal.

    • Robertv says:

      As is the carbon-rich permafrost in the region

      what kind of carbon ? Diamond or Graphite ?

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        The remains of long dead organisms who will become food for bacteria once the temperature passes a certain threshold.

        Their metabolism will result in methane release which will result in, you guessed it, more warming.

        But don’t worry: permafrost melt is so not an issue that people totally aren’t preparing for roads, buildings, pipes and train tracks built on permafrost to crack and buckle.

      • Nobody is worried about imaginary problems except the usual fruit cakes. 50 years of failed predictions of doom mean nothing because a new wave of idiots are born with each coming generation.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        Will—I don’t know about Australia but our military seems to take this problem rather seriously:

        http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/Media/FactSheets/FactSheetArticleView/tabid/9254/Article/6213/fairbanks-permafrost-experiment-station.aspx

        “The ice-rich permafrost is near 0°C, providing an ideal site to experiment in “worst-case” environments, such as the impact of frost heaving on piles and minimizing permafrost degradation in foundations of roads and buildings.”

        Are they also “fruit cakes”?

      • Dave N says:

        “Are they also “fruit cakes”?”

        So they found that permafrost degrades in an experiment; doesn’t mean they’re “fruit cakes”, nor does it prove anything about the effect on climate.

      • No doubt you are aware that Canada had to relocate an entire city in 1954, due to melting permafrost

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “So they found that permafrost degrades in an experiment; doesn’t mean they’re ‘fruit cakes’, nor does it prove anything about the effect on climate.”

        So the reason Arctic states are now squabbling among themselves for resources Godtard would have us believe should be entombed deep in a (possibly growing) mass of Arctic, rather than, as common sense tells us, rapidly melting away?

        “No doubt you are aware that Canada had to relocate an entire city in 1954, due to melting permafrost”

        This happened after industrialization was well underway worldwide and the process is accelerating in any case. So…?

      • This is really shocking : 1944 permafrost melting as far as they eye can see

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        I wonder what your last news clipping has to do with permafrost melting—it says nothing thereof.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        So, the funniest thing I learned all day is that soil described like “impenetrable cement” and “perenially frozen” is evidence of melting permafrost.

      • The funniest thing I learned today is that the Arctic is “supposed to be frozen solid” in the summer. Thanks for the laugh.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “The funniest thing I learned today is that the Arctic is ‘supposed to be frozen solid’ in the summer. Thanks for the laugh.”

        No, that’s a strawman. You and I both know that both sea ice area and extent are declining in the late summer, quite rapidly. I will refer you again to:

        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

        Notice how far we’ve gone from the 1979-2000 average extent. That average was about 6.7 million km^2. Our point datum for 2012 was about 3.4 million km^2. Who knows how low it will dip in the coming years? Suffice it to say I find that ice-free by late summer of 2016 claim at least somewhat credible. And if you can’t see what a substantial change has taken place, I suggest you get a CAT scan.

      • Oh yes, and the Arctic will be ice free in 2014 or 2015.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        It’s getting damned close.

  3. Andy DC says:

    Here we go again with this 1979 nonsense. Alarmists love that starting date because it marks the end of a cooling period that started around 1955. Much of the so-called warming since 1979 is just recovery back to pre-1955 normals. In fact the only definitive warming period since 1940 was between 1980 and 1998. That is only one quarter of the 72 years since 1940. A factor that works only 1/4 of the time is not very convincing, as far as catastrophic consequences to humanity.

    • al-Khwarizmi says:

      That’s interesting, Andy. You wonder why no one wanted to try to develop the almost fabled Northwest Passage back then.

      • Andy Oz says:

        Developed for transport? – the Panama Canal was already built, thus NWP sub economic.
        Developed for energy (oil)? Texas was massive and they’d just found the KSA fields.
        Do you have another strawman that doesn’t counter Andy DC’s valid observation?

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Developed for transport? – the Panama Canal was already built, thus NWP sub economic.”

        Apparently not anymore. E.g.:

        http://www2.canada.com/news/must+stand+china+increasing+claim+arctic/4400687/story.html?id=4400687

        Why now and not then? Weird…

        “Do you have another strawman that doesn’t counter Andy DC’s valid observation?”

        I don’t have a source for it. What was the Arctic ice extent and area in the 50s?

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        Ah here we go:

        http://nsidc.org/icelights/2011/01/31/arctic-sea-ice-before-satellites/

        Looks like starting at 1979 isn’t really cherry picking, is it?

      • Big Al,

        Don’t want to burst your bubble but the web page you linked to cites the CCSP report, which cites the article by Stroeve 2008, who bases that data you are looking at prior to the sat era on computer models of what computer modellers *think* happened from 1953 to the start of the sat era.

        Now if I’ve missed something here, or a later update to the CCSP is citing some other information, please bring it to the table. I’m always open to new data on this topic.

        (I’m not really impressed though, that they seem to have glued computer model data onto actual measurement data and appear to be passing it off as one & the same thing. But if there is some other basis for this claim please correct me.)

      • Andy Oz says:

        Hadley data set before 1979… shipping charts. Hmm. Grain of salt with that.

        1987 that’s a lot of open ocean at the north pole when the “anomaly” was @zero?

        http://www.john-daly.com/polar/arctic.htm

        More submarine photos at the north pole in 1959 and 1962 and lots of open ocean.

        http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/decline-temperature-decline-1940-78-the-cold-data-war-170.php

        Submarines and open ocean at the north pole don’t seem to be reflected in Hadley’s data set and or the ice extent chart. Open ocean at the north pole would mean less Arctic sea ice than Sept 2012, but then the photos could be faked.

        And Amundsen went through the Northwest passage in the early 1900’s. Strange.

      • Does anyone have a link to the Hadley data. It’s mentioned, but not cited. Has it been published anywhere?

      • Andy Oz says:

        Will,
        Might be here. Apparently has 1870 to date for sea ice. Looks global rather than arctic.

        http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadisst/

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Don’t want to burst your bubble but the web page you linked to cites the CCSP report, which cites the article by Stroeve 2008, who bases that data you are looking at prior to the sat era on computer models of what computer modellers *think* happened from 1953 to the start of the sat era.”

        Is that necessarily a problem? And is that the only source? Looks not.

        And it still hasn’t been made clear to me why there would be such commercial and political interest in the Arctic now as opposed to earlier, when it was evidently often quite free of ice.

      • Al, so you’re saying someone creates a “model” of what they think sea ice was like back in the 50’s, they glue it onto real sat data, they don’t make any effort to separate the made up data from the real data, and you’re saying you’re all fine and dandy with that?

        Here’s another question. Before you linked to that data did you know it was made up data (“if our theory of AGW is true this is how the 50’s sea ice must have looked like”) and if you didn’t, doesn’t that bother you even a little?

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Al, so you’re saying someone creates a ‘model’ of what they think sea ice was like back in the 50′s, they glue it onto real sat data, they don’t make any effort to separate the made up data from the real data, and you’re saying you’re all fine and dandy with that?”

        “Made up” is an awful stretch, given what the data were re-constructed on.

        From what I can tell, this is no worse than what Isaac Newton did re: “fudging” data.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “And it still hasn’t been made clear to me why there would be such commercial and political interest in the Arctic now as opposed to earlier, when it was evidently often quite free of ice.”

        tralalalala

      • What on earth are you talking about? People have been interested in the Northwest Passage as a shipping route for well over 150 years.

        http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/3709873

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “What on earth are you talking about? People have been interested in the Northwest Passage as a shipping route for well over 150 years.”

        That’s the whole point:

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/09/11/f-franklin-northwest-passage-arctic.html

        It’s finally opening up now.

        It wasn’t open earlier, despite what you like to pretend here.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        Oh and Andy Oz:

        “Developed for transport? – the Panama Canal was already built, thus NWP sub economic.”

        “Despite the perils, the distances involved make the Northwest Passage enticing. A trip from Tokyo to London would be about 23,000 kilometres if a ship went via the Panama Canal. Going via the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal shaves a bit off that, down to 21,000.

        That same trip via the Northwest Passage would only be 16,000 clicks — a 7,000-kilometre shortcut. That’s two weeks of travel time, and potential money in the bank for any shipper that can pull it off.”

        DERP

      • It is -54 degrees in the Northwest Passage today, and you say that it is opening up. Brilliant.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Today” is in February and, brotip, both commercial shippers and national governments are starting to disagree with you.

      • Andy Oz says:

        Big Al – try this for your question “why there would be commercial and political interest.”

        http://peakgeneration.blogspot.com.au/p/what-is-peak-oil.html

        then this.

        http://geology.com/articles/arctic-oil-and-gas/

        Lesson is don’t come between any G20 government (left or right) and the geopolitical potential pile of future energy.

        Once again the question, Al, “why there would be commercial and political interest” is a strawman that has nothing to do with whether an Ice Free Arctic is happening or not, whether it is significant or propaganda, whether it happens regularly and whether has any relation to “dangerous CO2′ which it doesn’t.

        Your question belongs on another website to do with Global Geopolitics or maybe ask the State Department FAQ.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Big Al – try this for your question ‘why there would be commercial and political interest.'”

        Does what you posted include interest in control over new shipping lanes?

      • There are exactly zero ships in the Northwest Passage today

        http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shiplocations.phtml

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Once again the question, Al, ‘why there would be commercial and political interest’ is a strawman that has nothing to do with whether an Ice Free Arctic is happening or not”

        Yes it does.

        Because sending commercial freight through a sea clogged up with ice isn’t desirable, even if the route per se is.

        The activity we are seeing now confirms that the Arctic region is indeed thawing out.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “There are exactly zero ships in the Northwest Passage today
        http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shiplocations.phtml

        * Today is still FEBRUARY.
        * As reported by the CBC, traffic in the region is increasing, although it is currently small in the scheme of things.

        I don’t know why you think point data like the ones you are putting up mean anything.

      • There is zero traffic, but traffic is increasing. Brilliant.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “There is zero traffic, but traffic is increasing. Brilliant.”

        “Churchill’s business is booming. After hitting a recent low of 400,000 metric tonnes shipped in the recessionary year of 2008, the port saw almost 700,000 metric tonnes moved barely two years later.

        That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the goods that pass through the Suez and Panama canals — both of which rake in billions in fees annually. But it’s still a lot of cargo.”

        700,000 > 0

        (Remember: the alligator eats the bigger number.)

    • Huh? Churchill is in the western Hudson Bay. What does that have to with the Northwest Passage?

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “When Sir John Franklin set out to find the elusive Northwest Passage in 1845, the voyage that is now the focus of a Parks Canada search was a dream that cost him and his crew their lives. Now, pursuit of that passage to cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is seeing renewed interest as Arctic ice recedes to record lows.

        That’s opening up shipping lanes for huge ships like the Puffin and others, which are always looking for cheaper and more efficient ways of hauling their freight from point A to B.”

        This, I’m thinking.

      • Franklin did not have lights, GPS, Internet, Sonar, any communications, helicopters, icebreakers, satellite, ….

        You can’t compare the massive advantages modern sailors have to historical wooden ships which were navigating completely blind and had no idea what was more than a few hundred yards in front of them.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “Franklin did not have lights, GPS, Internet, Sonar, any communications, helicopters, icebreakers, satellite, ….”

        Ice is still dangerous. Still too dangerous, currently, for container ships and such to be going through the area on a regular basis.

        To the extent that is becoming possible, it is because the ice is melting.

      • Andy Oz says:

        John Cabot would probably have got through the NW Passage in 1497 if he had GPS, satellite imagery, icebreakers and a fossil fuel powered ship. He didn’t. Too bad. And Zheng He in 1421 may well have got through if he’d wanted to go that way.

      • Andy Oz says:

        -35 deg C in arctic today.

      • al-Khwarizmi says:

        “John Cabot would probably have got through the NW Passage in 1497 if he had GPS, satellite imagery, icebreakers and a fossil fuel powered ship.”

        Do you think molten ice would have helped him too?

        “-35 deg C in arctic today.”

        In February? What a shocker, given that minimum area and extent of sea ice occur in late summer.

        Are you actually this stupid or are you leading me on?

  4. Schmooish says:

    “The remains of long dead organisms who will become food for bacteria once the temperature passes a certain threshold. Their metabolism will result in methane release which will result in, you guessed it, more warming.”

    It’s this sort of binary argument, i.e. reductionism, when dealing with the vastly complex biosphere that has totally destroyed the reputation of the ‘climate change’ lunatic fringe. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about but feel qualified to make these ignorant, and to be blunt, stupid assertions. It may sound all nice and logical to your limited train of thought but it is nothing more than, in scientific terms, a crock of crap.

  5. Ben says:

    RE: al-K – “This happened after industrialization was well underway worldwide and the process is accelerating in any case. So…?”
    RE: al-K “So, the funniest thing I learned all day is that soil described like “impenetrable cement” and “perenially frozen” is evidence of melting permafrost.”

    The funniest thing I learned all day is that al-K doesn’t fully read a link before he pastes it here. He stops reading when his confirmation bias is sufficiently tickled…

    He would have us believe industrialization began 10,000 and 30,000 years ago?

    From the site he linked…

    http://permafrosttunnel.crrel.usace.army.mil/geology/soil_and_rock.html

    The Goldstream Formation has long thought to have undergone climate change periods and reworking, one example being the two sets of ice wedges have been observed in the Permafrost Tunnel. The first and lower set ranges in age of about 25,000 to 33,000 years before present and are larger than the second set. The second and upper set ranges in age of about 10,000 to 14,000 years before present. These two separate ice wedge units suggest that a warming period thawed the permafrost before deposition of the overlying second set. The warming period has been termed the Fox Thermal Event

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