Sea ice forecasts

Time for a brief break from the viputeration. Dull, I know. But fear not: the daily diet of random insults will resume soon. Speaking of which read Arrse.

PD challenges me to a bet, which I expect to take up once I’ve found time from wiki to actually read the terms properly. He also points to the ARCUS June forecasts for Spetember which are just out. Such fun. It doesn’t look like anyone is going out on a limb – Todd “I used to wrok at BAS, you know” Arbetter has a very low forecast in, but since he also has a very medium forecast he wins both ways, or ut another way stands no chance of winning.

This year’s caution is in sharp contrast to last year, when 4/14 forecasts were for well below 2007. Also interesting to note is the absence of Wieslaw “no sea ice by 2013” Maslowski (to be fair to him, he was probably misrepresented. To be fair to reality, he made no attempt to correct this error as far as I know. To be fair to him, I made no attempt to find out).


  1. #1 Deep Climate

    Will the real “Sea Ice Forecast” post please stand up!

    I’m betting on this one ‘cos it’s got a tag. Eli’s on the other one.

  2. #2 Nick Barnes

    Well, you can’t see the 2008 line on the IJIS chart because it’s covered by the 2009 line. So maybe we’re in for a re-run. The weather seems warmer to me, but that could be projection.

  3. #3 Vinny Burgoo

    What happened to all the classified sea-ice data from submarines that Maslowski used? Has anybody else had access to it since 2007?

  4. #4 Vinny Burgoo

    (Er, the data, not the submarines, were used by Maslowski.)

    As for Maslowski being misrepresented, a slide show accompanying a lecture he gave in Sapporo in June 2008 (‘When will Summer Arctic Sea Ice Disappear?’) includes a graph of historical and projected NH sea ice volumes and this caption, in large, underlined text: ‘If this trend persists the Arctic Ocean will become ice-free by ~2013!’

  5. #5 Deep Climate

    Yes, he said it and Al Gore quoted it soon after. IMHO, it’s an unlikely worst case scenario that distracts from the more salient fact that most sea ice models now project ice-free late summer conditions by mid-century instead of at the end. (I’m sure I will be corrected immediately by an actual scientist if I’ve got that all wrong!)

    My “forecast” is looking good so far (2009 closer to 2008 than to 2005 or 2007).

  6. #6 J

    Spetember? wrok? ut?

    Somehow we colonials always have trouble understanding these missives from the Mother Country. Perhaps William was typing with mittens on?

  7. #7 Hank Roberts

    > what happened

    The recent International Polar Year research ought to begin to show up fairly soon.

    Google is a tease, showing little bits of articles from behind the paywall.

    Here’s one:

    Ocean Modelling
    Volume 27, Issues 1-2, 2009, Pages 33-53

    Simulating the mass balance and salinity of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. 1. Model description and …

    M Vancoppenolle, T Fichefet, H Goosse, S Bouillon, … – Ocean Modelling, 2009 – Elsevier
    … show that the annual mean Arctic sea ice extent has … a recently updated ice thickness data set from upward-looking sonars (ULS) onboard submarines, including 37 …

    Other hits mention he’s been using British data.

  8. #8 Anthony Watts

    Hello William,

    Just a friendly note to advise that you misspelled ‘September’ above and that I’ve added you to the WUWT blogroll.

    Best regards,

    Anthony Watts

    [Ah, thank you. Regards, -W]

  9. #9 Lab Lemming

    With 14 contestants so far, my pool shows a peak around the 2008 value, a peak around the 2007 value, and a peak down around 4000, with scattered other guesses.

  10. #10 Steve Reynolds

    Maybe not exactly on topic, but have you had a chance to look at the new Antarctic analysis by Ryan O? It looks very interesting to me:

    [I’m afraid I don’t have time to work through all of that. It doesn’t look especially interesting. This is yet another piece of the is-antarctic-warming fight, yes? -W]

  11. #11 Hank Roberts

    I recommend dropping in at dotearth — the NYT has put Andy Revkin and many others on compulsory unpaid leave for a while, or cut their salary but awarded them extra vacation to make up for it (depends on which side of the bean you’re counting, I gather). And he had just started a couple of interesting threads on Arctic sea ice before the announcement today.

    Whether anyone’s minding the store, I don’t know.

    But clearly the only way to keep the newspaper science columns alive is to give them help stirring up the controversy so they can bring in lots of readers who click on things while they’re there.

  12. #12 Luke Warmer


    I wish I’d offered a bet on you going on the WUWT blogroll.

    Wow. Deepclimate must be sweating. But seriously, have you stepped back recently to look at controversies in other parts of science like dark matter, dark energy, string theory or any other area. The silence is deafening – no denier comments, no “are you a scientist” questions, no religion, no ad homs, no appeals to (IPCC) authority, no but it’s peer reviewed etc. etc. Reminds me of the good old days when they were trying to answer questions like is nitrous oxide the same a EDRF (biochem stuff)?

    That in itself is enough to make one wonder “Why does climate change provoke such responses?” The word Weltanschaung (sp.?) springs to mind.

    [There is nothing weird about why this is controversial – there are powerful economic interests that don’t want to know that burning more fossil fuels is going to be a problem -W]

  13. #13 it might be safer not to say

    Yeah. So how come the “marine” doesn’t have _your_ name on his climate war casualties wishlist yet?
    ~ tav-to-realclimate-you-can%e2%80%99t-get-there-from-here/#comment-7894

  14. #14 Hank Roberts

    > controversies … any other area. The silence is …

    limited to, as William says, areas without

    >> powerful economic interests that don’t want to know

    Use the search, Luke.
    You’ve somehow missed these among others:

  15. #15 Hank Roberts

    Here, Luke, to make it easy for you:

  16. #16 Alastair McDonald

    There is a full explanation of what Hank is hinting at here:

    Cheers, Alastair.

    [Oreskes rather blew her cred with me a while back over the Nieremberg stuff -W]

  17. #17 Hank Roberts

    Alastair’s pointing to climate stuff.

    I pointed to papers about what happens outside the climate area — what Luke said he doesn’t know about — fake controversies used as delaying actions in other fields of research by companies that had large amounts of money at risk.

  18. #18 Eli Rabett

    Try Lahsen

  19. #19 Hank Roberts=
  20. #20 Hank Roberts

    oops, sorry William. I think this is unpaywalled:

    High-resolution photos could provide detailed information about changes in sea ice

    By Jenny Lauren Lee
    Web edition : Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

    “Recently declassified high-resolution satellite photos, such as this one from the Canadian Fram Strait, could provide scientists with more detailed information about Arctic sea ice melting.

    Hundreds of high-resolution satellite photos of the Arctic sea ice taken during the past 10 years should be immediately declassified and released to the scientific research community, the National Research Council reported on July 15. Shortly after, the United States Geological Survey made about a thousand of the images available to the public through the Global Fiducials Library.”

    Also noted:

    One of the concerns generally about climate change is that we will start seeing changes at the base of the food chain, changes in the organisms responsible for primary productivity, the first step from sunshine to life.

    This story mentions a new pattern in several places around the world that may be cautionary:

  21. #21 Luke Warmer

    [There is nothing weird about why this is controversial – there are powerful economic interests that don’t want to know that burning more fossil fuels is going to be a problem -W]

    You guys are sounding like conspiracy theorists (as Monbiot has of late). The skeptics represent a far wider reaching group than just fossil fuel burning “powerful economic interests”. Are climateaudit, wattsup, climateresistance, spiked, the register, unbearable, greeniewatch etc all funded by big oil?

    [Hopefully you aren’t deliberately misunderstanding. Assuming that you aren’t: on almost every issue, there are “skeptics”. Just for example, radio 4 this morning featured on of the “the moon landings are faked” wackos. That was done just for a laugh; no-one takes them seriously and there is no-one behind them – who would bother. But GW is different: the Evil Corporations are always looking for some new controversy to puff up. Bush was dumb enough to invite Crichton to the White House. Even Bush isn’t dumb enough to invite there-was-no-moon-landing skeptics, at least in part because neither he nor his friends had any economic interest to do so. I have no reason to think that CA is funded by Big Oil; but by raising that issue you are missing the point. I hope you understand that -W]

    Ironically, you’re in denial that there could be any other reason for skepticism. Thus you have to resort to the ad homs etc And as for Orsekes, the stoat has seen through that one.

    [Sorry guv – not getting the banter. What do you mean? -W]

    Hank – read before you cite – even your ‘clear cut’ paper has a reply which is more balanced:

    “While we recognize his depth of feeling,
    passion may nurture bias of its own. The relationship
    between science and industry is complex, and the role of
    epidemiologists in the pharmaceutical industry is not
    limited to debunking ‘junk science’.”
    “Dr Pearce seems deeply aggrieved and
    doubtless feels justified in pooling together the
    corporate enemies; however, we suggest that discussion
    is better served by assessing these very different
    groups separately.”

    Remember the stoat now works for an “evil corporation” so no doubt he’s now an astro-turfer for the illuminati.
    I’ll ask the question another way since your missing my point – did Einstein ‘debunk’ newton?

    [In a sense, yes. He removed a number of mystical assumptions, some of them so deeply ingrained that no-one had even noticed them, let alone though to question them -W]

  22. #22 Phil Hays

    Sea ice extent from the IJIS web site was 7686719 km^2 for July 22,2009. Second only to 2007’s 7066406 km^2.

    With a El Nino starting up, looks real interesting.

  23. #23 Hank Roberts

    > more balanced

    I think not. There was a surreply:

    … Despite some of the outraged reactions that my commentary has produced, I am not proposing anything new, or particularly unusual or radical, in this regard. Rather, I have attempted to describe the existing ‘system’ as it works in practice. … the source of funding still strongly influences the conclusions that are reached, e.g. as in the cases of tobacco10 and calcium-channel antagonists.11

    … … It may be useful to conduct two counterfactual ‘thought experiments’.

    The first thought experiment (scenario 2) is to consider what the situation would be if corporate funding was removed from significantly influencing what research gets done and how it is received. …
    … . Epidemiologists love to debate and to criticize each other, at scientific meetings and in the journals, both for the sheer pleasure of it, but also because that is what science is about. The main difference is that there would be a genuinely balanced scientific debate, rather than the ‘manufactured dissent’ that we see too often currently.12–23 Of course, the ‘hired guns’ who currently attack published studies on behalf of industry would still be completely free to continue to do this—but it is highly unlikely that they would bother to do so if no-one was paying them….

    … The problem is that, despite the integrity and courageous actions of some (but not all) of the individuals involved, in general the current reality is not working well, and vested interests can massively influence, both directly and indirectly, what research gets done and how it is received. These problems are likely to get worse as the most hazardous exposures are increasingly located in developing countries, where there is even less regulation of research ethics than there is in industrialised countries.25,26

    So how can we mitigate the worst effects of the current reality (scenario 1) while also attempting to move towards a better reality (scenario 2). Talking and writing about these problems is a good start, which was the purpose of my commentary. In contrast to the assumptions of Carl Phillips,4 I am not suggesting the imposition of any new restrictions on research, or new bureaucracies …. I do however consider that professional organizations can play a major role in exposing and mitigating the worst excesses of the current reality, and in moving towards a better reality in which science and the public health come first.

    References — many — in the original

  24. #24 Hank Robertsq

    Another example:

    (remember where most of the increase in biologically available mercury comes from — coal power plants)

  25. #25 Hank Roberts

    Speaking of mercury and arctic sea ice:

  26. #26 Hank Roberts

    Another reminder of industry influence on science papers and how industry studies differ from research funded without strings

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