Today’s Hilarious Discussion

We have a few people on the blog arguing that as Arctic ice thickness and concentration gets lower, the rate of decline should dramatically decrease.

Experts tells us that the average ice thickness is less than 1.5 meters, that the ice concentration is low, that temperatures are skyrocketing, that all the MYI is gone, that warm currents are melting the ice from below, that exposed surface area has greatly increased, that Arctic storms break up thin ice, blah blah blah blah

Then they tell us the rate of decline should drop off rapidly under all these conditions. My  bullshit detector is off scale.

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74 Responses to Today’s Hilarious Discussion

  1. Peter Ellis says:

    You appear to have a fundamental misunderstanding here. There is a difference between:

    a) Melting an individual ice floe within a single melt episode. As the ice thins and gets broken up, more surface area gets exposed to heat, more sunlight gets absorbed, etc. So the melt speeds up as it thins.

    b) The change in summer maximum from year to year as the planet warms. The ice nearer the Pole is thicker, more resistant to melt, and gets sunlight for less of the year. Thus, as extent shrinks, the remaining ice is harder to melt out, and the rate slows down.

  2. Glacierman says:

    Climate Chatterbot subject du jour.

  3. Peter Ellis says:

    In fact, you’re well aware of the difference, you just ignore it when you want to (inaccurately) mock something. You post all the time about how it’s impossible to get an ice-free Pole, because there’s so little sunlight there and the temperature drops below zero so quickly.

    Quite so. That’s why, as we get nearer and nearer the point where the only ice left is at the Pole (or more likely the Lincoln sea from 80N to the Pole), the melt will slow down.

  4. kirkmyers says:

    There’s just one problem: The planet stopped warming about 15 years ago, according to RSS and HADcrut 3 (raw unadjusted) data. There is no “global warming,” which has forced the warmists to replace the global warming bogeyman with the “climate change” hobgoblin. In fact, it appears that we may be headed into a period of long-term cooling in response to the weakest solar cycle in more than 100 years, combined with a negative PDO. We need to be preparing for an onslaught of colder weather in the years ahead.

    • David Appell says:

      No, the planet didn’t stop warming 15 years ago. The surface did, by some measures (RSS LT, HadCRUT3) but not by others (GISS, HadCRUT4, NCDC, UAH LT). The oceans have continued to warm strongly:

      • Glacierman says:

        What caused the oceans to warm, CO2?

      • As rapidly as your thought process has declined

      • The first 700 metres of the ocean has stopped warming by any reasonable measure, which means the “missing head” has mysteriously disappeared at depths of up to 2000 metres, where water temperatures are very cold and where that “dangerous” heat can then do no harm to the biosphere. (Although it is probably more plausible it is not there either, as we do not have good data for those depths.) Temperature data sets that don’t appear to be affected by unaccounted for urban heat island effects show no warming, and even those data sets that do, show trivial amounts of warming well below IPCC predictions.

        But David, you’ve been told this a hundred times before… Why do you continue to misdirect? Why can’t you address these points? It’s a very anti-science position to take.

      • “Missing heat” 😉

      • David Appell says:

        > What caused the oceans to warm, CO2?

        Yes – an enhanced greenhouse effect.

      • suyts says:

        Now David, you aren’t quite being candid when listing the other surface temps. True, they don’t show a cessation of warming for 15 years. But, they do for 10. Plus, have they bothered to bring HadCrut4 up to date, yet?

        Further, we see in the 0-700 meters the same cessation for the same time period. Of course, any pronouncements of OHC prior to the turn of the millennium is purely speculative. It’s like Phil Jones stating what the southern hemisphere median temp was in the 1800s.

      • David Appell says:

        False. In the last 3 years the warming trend of the top 700 meters is 99 TW; for the last 10 years, 67 TW.

      • suyts says:

        Oh, sorry Dave, I was basing that on the pretty little pictures you linked to.

      • David Appell says:

        My numbers are based on the data in that chart.

      • Ocean warming is slightly positive, but over recent time periods decelerating. It’s easy to focus on one factoid and declare someone else’s position “false” in order to try score a rhetorical point. What do the coupled GCM’s predict for ocean warming and what has actually happened? 😉

        This is why I find your exchanges disingenuous at best, because you don’t look at the data in a balanced way. What you do is look at the data through the prism of a particular theory and downplay or ignore inconsistencies; I understand humans often do that, and that’s fine. However, I think when you then insult anyone who does not agree to gaze through that same prism–well, you’ve moved away from a rational position into crank territory.

      • David Appell says:

        Re: decelerating — False. The 3-yr trend is actually higher than the 10-yr trend, though it has more statistical uncertainty.

      • David Appell says:

        Ocean warming data does not depend on any “theory,” except to the extent all scientific data does. Read section 2 of Levitus GRL (2012); the temperature is directly measured, now by Argo buoys.

      • “Re: decelerating — False. The 3-yr trend is actually higher than the 10-yr trend, though it has more statistical uncertainty.”

        Yes David, I can chop the data into smaller and smaller blocks and look at period covered by , say, an El Nino and declare that there is acceleration… But if I did that to you, you would call me an ignorant denier surely? But it’s OK when you do it. 😉

        Why not look at the entire ARGO data set and tell me if that shows accelerated ocean warming versus previous data sets? (And over periods of time that cover more than one ENSO cycle please. We are not completely ignorant on this forum, so this attempt of yours to misdirect was rather juvenile.)

        “Ocean warming data does not depend on any “theory””

        Of course it does. A coupled ocean-climate model embodies a particular theory in mathematical form. You’re not making much sense now…

      • David Appell says:

        The Argo system was completed only in 2007. And I am skeptical that ENSOs have much effect on total ocean heat content for, say, the 0-2000 m region. It’s simply much, much bigger than the NINO regions. And the data doesn’t show any:

      • “The Argo system was completed only in 2007.”

        David, a reply like that reminds of statements such as “I did not have sex with that woman…” 😉

        ARGO data goes back to 2003, nearly a decade. The earlier data has larger error bars surrounding it though.

      • “And I am skeptical that ENSOs have much effect on total ocean heat content for, say, the 0-2000 m region.”

        Nobody made that assertion except you. When discussing ENSO and ocean heat content one assumes we are discussing 0-700 m. That is what is relevant to the debate. By trying to switch the discussion to 0-2000 m you are misdirecting again… (sigh)

      • David Appell says:

        If the Argo data set begain in 2003, and was completed in 2007, how is that enough time to show an accelerating warming? Global greenhouse radiative forcing is only increasing at about 0.03 W/m2/yr, and I don’t know what forcing from air pollution is decreasing or increasing by. The 0-2000 m ocean data only starts in 3Q2005, and shows a warming of 1.5 W/m2. There isn’t much time to notice any accelerating.

      • “If the Argo data set begain in 2003, and was completed in 2007, how is that enough time to show an accelerating warming?”

        (a) Because ocean energy content is vastly more stable than atmospheric heat content, hence we can use shorter periods of time to say more definitive things.

        (b) Because even with all of ARGO’s initials faults and problems it’s still vastly more accurate than any data sets we had before it.

      • David Appell says:

        5-9 years simple isn’t enough time to get past the error bars.

        dQ = A dF where Q is heat, A the area of the ocean, and F the forcing. So dQ/dt = A dF/dt. Radiative forcing is changing by about 0.03 W/m2 per year, but I don’t know how much is being subtracted by air pollution. So dQ/dt = 0.03 e22 J/yr per year at most.

        If you look at, at the 0-2000 m figure with the error bars, they are about +/- 2 e22 J/yr. So it will take at least most of a decade for the acceleration to run above them, more if air pollution is increasing and giving more negative forcing. Potentially a couple of decades.

        The dataset is too short for the possibility of noticing any acceleration.

    • David Appell says:

      A 10 year timeframe is climatologically meaningless. First of all, you will never find statistical significance of either warming or cooling over that short of a period, due to autocorrelations. Second, natural variability, especially ENSO, can cause swings of surface temperatures of 0.2-0.3 C in that time period, that can either mask or augment warming at the current anthropogenic rate.

      • A 10 year period is not meaningless for ocean warming. The energy content of the ocean in, say, joules, cannot simply fluctuate in the same way it does in the upper atmosphere. Do you understand the difference in density between the atmosphere and the ocean?

        Do you understand that if the “missing heat” has gone into the deep ocean it’s no longer a “problem” or at least won’t be a problem for thousands of years?

        In other words, if the upper ocean has not significantly warmed for, say, 5 years, then there has effectively been no global warming for 5 years. Maybe the global warming will start again in year 6 or whatever. But nonetheless there has been no warming in the previous time period.

      • A further point is not whether there has or has not been warming for a decade. It’s about what GCM’s predict versus what has happened. Then you look at the probabilities – model versus predictions. That’s why NOAA argued that you needed 15 years to falsify climate models and Santer argued for 17 years.

        The other point to make is that the IPCC AR4 categorically stated that greenhouse gases now “drive climate”. However advocates defend the IPCC by arguing that natural variability, ENSO, TSI, etc., are currently swamping the ‘anthropogenic signal’. It would have been helpful if they more precisely defined what they meant be ‘driver’.

      • David Appell says:

        The uncertainty is in the statistics, not the physics. You simply can’t make judgements about the trend of a short-term time series if it has autocorrelation — if a data point is affected by the data point(s) before it. And in climate, they are, due to the inertia of the physical systems. As you note, the ocean’s inertia is much larger than the atmosphere’s.

      • David I don’t disagree with you on that point. But that’s not the point I was making.

      • suyts says:

        David Appell says:
        September 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        A 10 year timeframe is climatologically meaningless.

        David Appell says:
        September 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

        False. In the last 3 years the warming trend of the top 700 meters is


      • David Appell says:

        And what did I say about the uncertainty?

      • David Appell says:

        TSI is not swamping any anthropogenic signal. You can quibble about the terminology, but it’s clear what is meant: GHGs are a long-term, increasing factor, and ENSOs etc are short-term fluctuations imposed on top of that that in the short-term can make GH warming look as if it has halted or even reversed.

      • David Appell says:

        >> Do you understand that if the “missing heat” has gone into the deep ocean it’s no longer a “problem” or at least won’t be a problem for thousands of years? <<

        Oh please. It's not like greenhouse heat is going from the atmosphere straight to the bottom of the ocean without lots of other things warming and melting too.

        Ocean warming is a sign of an energy imbalance — a far better sign than surface warming. And it's strong and consistent, exactly what you'd expect from an enhanced greenhouse effect.

      • Me says:

        BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA, Toshinmack,you crack the ice up!

      • “It’s not like greenhouse heat is going from the atmosphere straight to the bottom of the ocean without lots of other things warming and melting too.”

        Nonetheless that’s what data you and others are citing is claiming. This observation should also be separated from the 2nd half of your sentence which seems to be based on wishful thinking.

      • Me says:

        Me thinks that he thought you bought into the story of that heat sinky to the bottom of the ocean thingy without being decteded. 😆

      • “Me thinks that he thought you bought into the story of that heat sinky to the bottom of the ocean thingy without being decteded.”

        It’s plausible that it transitioned and the instrumentation didn’t notice it. Not likely, but not impossible… However, a cross-check would be to see if there is an acceleration in sea level rise because there must be additional thermal expansion. The trend looks pretty steady by sat for the last 20 years or so. But hey, there could be something coincidentally offsetting the expected acceleration… Again, not impossible.

        However, even if you grant *all* these possibilities, it is not then explained how the heat at 700-2000 m once diffused into very cold ocean water, can come back out and cause a problem at the surface… The deep ocean takes about a 1000 years to overturn.

      • Glacierman says:

        Will, its heat caused by CO2 so its very powerful and very dangerous. Even if it takes 1000 years, that just gives the heat time to plot and plan how it will destroy mankind. See when the enhanced greenhouse effect causes heat that cannot be detected by the best instruments on Earth to sink to below 700 meters in the ocean, it has not only been heated, but trained by manmade CO2. Tipping point will have a new definition when that heat (that Trenberth lost so they had to come up with an explanation) comes roaring out of the deep oceans to boil us where we stand.

      • Me says:

        Thermocline or turnover, Yeah, I know about it, I’m still not buying that one.

      • David Appell says:

        The data is not saying that and no one is claiming it. The ocean heat data says there is an energy imbalance. Things are warming up and melting, even if some of the heat is going to the deep ocean.

      • Me says:

        BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA! I forgot that part!

      • Me says:

        What Glacierman said thar Toshinmack. I guess you missed that one err is it a selective err an omissive thinggy? 😆

      • David would you care to be more specific?

        The expected heat is not in the atmosphere. It’s not in the first 700 m of the ocean layer… If it’s gone below that, it’s a non-problem. It’s not in Antarctica… slight cooling or flat for last 30 years. That just seems to leave the Arctic then. Are you asserting that all the missing heat has gone into that one place? Could you speak up? You seem to be mumbling now… 😉

    • David Appell says:

      And how much acceleration is to be expected in 5-9 years?

  5. Glacierman says:

    > What caused the oceans to warm, CO2?

    Yes – an enhanced greenhouse effect

    Thats some powerfull stuff that CO2. Couple more ppm and the fish will come out cooked.

  6. Gon says:

    Ha HA! test

  7. Don Gaddes says:

    ” The planet didn’t stop warming 15 years ago, the surface did.”……….????????

    Anybody heard of ‘Convection’?

  8. FRANK GARRETT says:

    I did not put that comment under you steve,

  9. slimething says:

    The Warmologists predicted surface warming. It didn’t happen as advertised so they switch to some other metric, in this case OHC. The oceans have not warmed as predicted either.

    David Appell says OHC increases is due to the “enhanced greenhouse effect” which isn’t occurring in the atmosphere as advertised.

    Is the greenhouse upside down maybe and heat doesn’t rise?

    Alaska was supposed to continue warming unabated, but it’s cooling. Mark Serreze said the Bering Sea ice gain in 2010 was “a fluke” and in no way indicated a slowing or stopping of global warming. 2012 was record ice/snow/cold in Alaska including the Bering Sea. I’d like AGW “theory” to explain these inconvenient observations.

    • David Appell says:

      In what way is the enhanced greenhouse effect not occurring “as advertised?”

      • Me says:

        Don’t hold yer breath on that Toshinmack! It is powerful stuff and may cause you to spontaneous combust, Errrr something!

      • (a) Flat atmospheric water vapour content trends
        (b) Flat atmospheric heat content trends
        (c) Atmospheric heat content trends backwards (surface versus mid-troposphere)
        (d) Flat 0-700m OHC trends
        (e) Flat sea level rise trends

        By “flat” I mean it seems we are looking at around 1-1.3C of warming by the end of the century based on all major climate indicators. E.g., no evidence of accelerating trends. (BTW, around 1C of warming is seen as a net benefit to civilisation by economists who work on climate change topics).

      • David Appell says:

        Will, if you’re simply going to lie, forget this.

        a, d and e are obviously false — just look at the graphs. I don’t know about b and c off the top of my head.

        Perhaps you’ll find some short period where these things are flat. BFD. People like you were saying this about sea level just a year or two ago, and scientists said no, it’s that La Nina took a lot of water out of the ocean and put it onto land, and it’ll drain back. And now sea level is rising again at it long-term rate:

      • David, if you’re going to bullshit, you’re not going to get away with it around here. To try to argue that statistically insignificant warming trends support your position on IPCC based catastrophic warming is untrue. The 30 year RSS is 1.3C per century and there is no evidence of acceleration. In fact the trends are going in the opposite direction, including a decadal slow down. During the last major La Nina sea level was *dropping* but one could hardly expect that to last forever. The last 20 years of sea level rise data from TOPEX/Jason don’t show acceleration either. I don’t see the point of doing a little victory dance because a data set was heading in the wrong direction for a while from what you believed, and now it’s back to doing what it’s probably been doing for several hundred years already.

  10. Michael says:

    C’mon Will, take on someone your own size. It’s hardly a challenge for you to argue with a nitwit with a grade 5 education. Obviously you are going to get nowhere. He has contradicted himself several times to refute your arguments. Leave him alone, or he’s going to cry all over his keyboard and electrocute himself. ha ha!

    To summarize your conversation:
    Short term trend is down, GHG is a long term acting gas. Short term trend is up, it’s GHG causing it. Ice is created, it’s just natural variability in the oceans. Ice melts, it’s GHG causing it. The atmosphere cools, it’s because it’s being absorbed by the ocean, but the ocean temperature at surface didn’t warm, so it must have gone deeper where we can’t measure it. He’s obviously an idiot and people who come here can recognize that.

    And, all the while, the current earth climate is well within parameters experienced in the past 1,000 years when CO2 atmospheric concentration was well below 300 ppm. He won’t ever explain that, he’ll just point out that there was no MWP or LIA because Michael Mann says so and 97% of scientists asked agree.

    • I think the problem is that people like David tend to talk past the sceptics and many sceptics are guilty of the same thing. It’s not a simple no global warming / global warming will be catastrophic dichotomy. You can argue that warming has occurred and continues, but that’s not sufficient to support the claim that it’s dangerous. David has the tendency to deal in non sequitur.

      • Me says:

        Was that before they termed it climate change and then climate disruption shortly after?
        But it isn’t simply global warming as it was AGW they are preaching, because they can’t cap and tax everyone if it’s just global warming.

      • Michael says:

        My point is that even if the globe is warming, of which I am not convinced, I have no evidence that it is driven by CO2 emissions from my SUV. You are also right, though, in bringing up the point that it may be that if we as humans could somehow warm the globe permanently by 1C it may in fact be a good thing.

  11. sunsettommy says:


    David Appell it is easier to find missing heat than it is to find non existent heat.

    Since you have not showed where it is therefore it is not there.

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