Learning To Be A Climate Expert

In 1981, experts blamed loss of Antarctic sea ice on global warming

By ROBERT REINHOLD, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 19, 1981

To measure possible changes around the Antarctic ice pack, where ground stations are sparse, the Columbia team compared recent satellite photographs of the extent of the ice pack with old Soviet and American atlases and with whaling ship reports from 1929 to 1934.

They found that the typical summer ice pack had decreased about 35 percent, by 2.5 million square kilometers, or about 1 million square miles from 1973 to 1980. The Antarctic ice cover was also found to be considerably lighter than shown in atlases published in 1957 and 1966 and in the ship reports from the 1930’s. This was taken as an indirect measure of higher temperatures.

‘It is just where we expected it from the theory, it fits nicely,” he added. While he said this gives ”much stronger support” to the greenhouse theory


In 2015, experts say that increasing Antarctic sea ice is due to global warming

It seems weird, but like this winter’s epic polar vortex outbreaks in North America, this week’s record-breaking Antarctic sea ice could be a further sign of global warming.

Antarctic sea ice is hitting record levels. What does that say about global warming?

If Antarctic sea ice wasn’t changing, that would also be due to global warming.

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18 Responses to Learning To Be A Climate Expert

  1. daveandrews723 says:

    Reading Holthaus’s twisted logic in his article is humorous. Sad, but humorous. Who are the climate deniers again?

    • I’ve been writing up about the ice-age cycle on http://scottishsceptic.co.uk and I think I’m now agreeing and disagreeing with everyone in equal measure.

      I’m about to say CO2 is a massive warming gas causing catastrophic global warming – except not just now when almost nothing can make us much warmer.

      I suppose I might be a global coolist – but hopefully not for a few thousand years. So, perhaps a “(hopefully) not very fast global cooling catastrophist”?

      • Gail Combs says:

        I read some where the ice cores show glacial inception occurs in 2 decades. I know Dr Alley said the switch from the Wisconsin Ice age to the Holocene happened in three years (William McClenney said one but I have not double checked that.)

        • I’m not sure whether the records are accurate enough to say they happened in a few years, but the exit from the ice-age does happen rapidly compared to decline, because the overall profile shows a sharp increase in temperature and then a slow decline. However it’s not as straightforward as that because there are additional colder periods … I’d like to say “little ice-ages” but that’s been taken. So perhaps “mummy bear” ice-ages (not little or the daddy), which show a sustained and dramatic drop in temperature without a similar drop in CO2.

          So, the overall pattern is one where CO2 and temperature are correlated, but the “Mummy-bear” ice-age is one where they are not. Moreover, “mummy-bear” ice-age seems to have similar rates of change into and out of the glacial period.

        • SMS says:

          Gail, has anyone ever calculated the wm/m2 that would have been beaming down on our planet as we came out of the last ice age to melt ice as fast as it did and to warm the oceans? If someone were to calculate that number it probably would be much greater than the wm/m2 number that the alarmists use in suggesting Earth would change to a Venusian climate based on AGW theory. Another stake in the heart of CAGW.

        • Gail Combs says:

          SMS says….

          It would be pretty easy to look up. The calculated solar insolation is here:

          I already figured out:
          solar insolation in June at 60°N

          Holocene peak = 523 Wm-2
          …………………………….……..decrease = 47 Wm-2
          NOW = 476 Wm-2
          ……………………………….…. decrease = 12 Wm-2
          Depth of the
          last ice age = 464 Wm−2
          (“The nominal difference between earth’s cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) states being on the order of 20C.” – William McClenney)

          William also give us the end date for the Wisconsin Ice Age“11,715 years since we melted our way out of the last glacial, the Wisconsin Ice Age”

          Figuring -12 on the chart = 12000 years ago we get 522.50 Wm-2 pretty darn close to the Holocene peak insolation.

          You could say it was just prior to the Younger Dryas and therefore between 14 and 15 kyrs ago.
          15,000 = 509.39 Wm-2
          14, 000 = 515.37 Wm-2
          So you are looking at more than 33 Wm-2 more solar insolation than seen today in June at 60°N.

          Some interesting recent history about the change from the Wisconsin Ice Age to the Holocene.

          Perhaps one of the more poignant moments in all of climate science occurred in 1992, documented by John D. Cox, writing in Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change and What it Means for our Future (John Henry Press, an imprint of the National Academies Press, ISBN: 0-309-54565-X, 224 pages, 2005), which describes the initial discovery of Abrupt Climate Change (ACC)…

          “‘You did not need to be a trained ice core observer to see this,’ recalled Alley. ‘Ken Taylor is sitting there with the ECM and he’s running along and his green line is going wee, wee, wee, wee – Boing! Weep! Woop! And then it stays down.’ Dust in the windy ice age atmosphere lowered the acidity of the core to a completely new state. ‘We’re just standing there and he just draws a picture of it,”‘Alley said.”

          “Spontaneous celebration was followed by a sudden and unexpected quiet. ‘I think we cheered,’ recalled Alley, ‘and then we were all a little sobered. Because it was just so spectacular. It was what we’d been looking for, and there it was, and then we’re sitting there. Holy crap.'”…..

          “In the GISP2 science trench, the tray holding the section of core rolled down the assembly line and then it was Alley’s turn at the ice. “It slides across in front of me and I’m trying to identify years: ‘That’s a year, that’s a year and that’s a year, and – woops, that one’s only half as thick.’ And it’s sitting there just looking at you. And there’s a huge change in the appearance of the ice, it goes from being clear to being not clear, having a lot of dust.”

          ….it was literally riveting for all of us geologists fascinated by the Quaternary. So we get our first trap-speed: climate can switch abruptly from its cold to its warm state in just one year.….

          Richard B. Alley, NRC chair of the Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, states in Quaternary Science Reviews (2004):

          “In the case of the termination of the Younger Dryas cold event, for example 1/3 to 1/2 of the entire 10,000-year deglacial warming in Greenland was achieved in order of 10 years (Cuffey et al., 1995; Severinghaus et al., 1998), with most of the accumulation-rate change apparently in a single year (Alley et al., 1993). The scaling of 1/3 to 1/2 the deglacial change in about a decade probably applies in many places (Alley, 2000). Any event for which rate of change is anomalous by two to three orders of magnitude merits attention. Older events were even larger, with a rapid shift of about 16 C in Greenland in one case (Lang et al., 1999).”

          “The ice age ended in one year” according to Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, professor at the Center for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen:

          “We have analysed the transition from the last ice age to our current warm interglacial period and there is such an abrupt change in climate that it is as if someone just pushed a button”

          ….We live today possibly near the end of the most recent interglacial, the Holocene, or the 11,715 years since we melted our way out of the last glacial, the Wisconsin Ice Age….


      • Gail Combs says:

        I took a quick look at what you had on the ice age.

        I think you are missing something.

        From what I can see it is weather patterns like we are seeing now that cause the massive accumulation of snow. Think about it. 6 1/2 feet of snow in the Greek Islands of the Mediterranean in one storm 14 feet in Buffalo New York with more than 7 feet in a November storm, 7 feet in the Boston area with more on the way… In Scotland snow was so deep last winter that this summer there were 300 patches of neve the first stage in forming glaciers.

        The weather patterns we are seeing now are from a wandering (meridional) Jet stream where Arctic air swoops down to as far south as Florida while at the same time sucking warm moist air up north. You get the massive snow dumps where the warm moist air meets the arctic air. It is the pattern of the winds and the configuration of the continents. Nothing to do with CO2 and plants although the change in wind patterns does change the wet/dry areas. link

        …When the standard low pressure system dominates in the Arctic and a high pressure system pushes northward from the mid-latitudes, the pressure pattern is described as a positive Arctic Oscillation, during which the Polar jet stream behaves in a predictable way. Winds blow swiftly from the west to the east, pushed out of a linear path only slightly by colder low-pressure troughs sliding south and warmer high-pressure air ridges pushing north. The fast, slightly wavy, west-to-east jet stream is called a zonal jet stream flow.

        In contrast, a meridional flow describes a jet stream wind that meanders far from its path, blowing much more north-to-south. Its path is more radical because low-pressure troughs and high-pressure ridges penetrate further into the opposite pressure front. The winds follow an extreme winding path, and as a result move more slowly. Meridional flows correspond with a negative Arctic Oscillation, during which a high pressure front dominates in the Arctic…

        This matters because a slow, meandering meridional jet stream can mean weather conditions are more extreme and longer lasting. Cold Arctic temperature troughs reach further south, and hot pressure ridges stab further north. Severe storm fronts often form where the pressure systems with their wild temperature gradients rub against one another. And the meridional flow can make weather conditions dominate in one region for a longer duration. No longer blowing swiftly through along a stronger zonal flow, weather trends linger and sometimes persist. It’s called a blocking pattern…

        Figure out what actually causes a meridional jet stream and you have one of the keys to the weather during ice ages.

        Some of us think it is changes in the sun that cause changes in the ozone which then affects the pressure and winds at the poles.

        • Scott allen says:

          Gail you must be punished for your disbelief, we shall cut off all your government funding. We all know Mr Sun has nothing whatsoever to do with our climate. We all know if Mr. Sun stopped shining tomorrow we would have our co2 to keep us warm

  2. Rud Istvan says:

    Good catch and post, Tony. Suggest you make up a historical contradictions CAGW subsite. But with mostly multidecadal contradictions (preferably 30 years, WMO and NOAA climate definitions) as here. There are other such sites emerging. But you were a pioneer. Heck, I had some fun with these contradictions in a couple of the new book essays. Right down to swarming Chinese locusts. Yours are much more indelible and precise. Beautiful. Regards.

  3. gofer says:

    From the 1981 article…….

    “While there had been no shrinking of the Arctic ice pack, or any overall temperature increase, the scientists did find that average summer surface temperatures in the melt area from 1974 to 1978 were ninetenths of a degree centigrade higher than from 1934 to 1938, which was the warmest period in the Northern Hemisphere in this century.

    What remains to be explained, however, is why fall and winter temperatures in the same area have dropped by 50 degrees centigrade since the 1930’s.”

    Is ’34-’38 still the warmest or has it been cooled?

  4. stewartpid says:

    The satanic CO2 molecule is capable of anything … don’t mess with it Tony!!

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    when the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

  6. Mohatdebos says:

    I think we should demand that all these AGW believers visit the Oslo Vikings Museum. Asuming they have not changed the displays or explanations, it documents how the advent of the Little Ice Age ended the Viking Era. If I recall correctly, the Vikings use to store their ships in fjords in winter. As the Little Ice Age expanded, the fjords remained frozen, preventing the Vikings from leaving the ports. They could not go out in their pillaging missions. Are we heading towards the same direction?

  7. NielsZoo says:

    Isn’t it obvious, both the Arctic and the Antarctic are due to Anthropogenic Global Climate [insert currently approved scary term here]. If we hadn’t been here to dump that massive 12ppmv of CO2 into the atmosphere, there wouldn’t be any climate at the poles at all, only weather. (Or is it no weather and only climate, or would there by less of more ice or more of less ice or colder water melting warmer land ice or warmer sea ice melted by colder air making warmer vortexes or… Arrrgghhh… I’m soooo confused.)

  8. Gail Combs says:

    Scottish Sceptic,

    Something from William McClenney for you:

    A reconstruction from fossil algae in sediments from Drought Lake in North Dakota of the past 2000 years found that dry conditions were far and away the rule in the High Plains, with the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930’s one of the lesser dry spikes found in the record.

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