Time to declare this year’s sea ice race over – thanks to those of you who pointed this out to me while I was on holiday. As an apology for the lack of interesting things to say about sea ice, there’s a couple of nice pix of mountain ice at the end. Follow them to links to the full set but believe me there are far too many to look at. My lead pic I’ve ripped from Tamino; as compensation to him, if you click on it you’ll get to his post.
Before people get confused, I should point out that “dull as expected” just means “the long term trend of decline continues”. Those predicting imminent catastrophe were quite wrong; those predicting miraculous recovery, ditto.
The sea ice post from June refers, by which point it was clear to me that I’m not going to win, but Rob might. To remind you, my bet with Rob for the grand sum of $10k was
If both NSIDC and IARC-JAXA September 2016 monthly average sea ice extent report are above 4.80 million km^2, RD pays WMC US$ 10,000. If both are below 3.10 million km^2, WMC pays RD US$ 10,000. In all other cases the bet is null and void.
The end result for the minimum – not the monthly average, which will be higher, since “recovery” has already started – was let us say 4 million. That’s pretty well slap in the middle of our “null” range so the bet is null and void. That this would happen has been pretty clear for a bit, even if the extent last winter did give me cause to worry. I order to demonstrate my brilliant predictive skillz, in August I guessed that 2016 probably wouldn’t scrape second; in the event, it just about did.
How could we make bets like this more exciting in future? I think that encouraging a lively reselling market in fragments of the bet might help generate more interest. But still, they are intrinsically multi-year slow bets, if they are to have any scientific validity.
[Incidentally, elsewhere while I was on hols CR asked Who gets to define (virtually) ice free arctic and do you see anything odd with what has happened with AR5?
I can understand that one year under 1m km^2 might well be an exceptional year and that might be too soon. But why would scientists decide there has to be 5 consecutive years under 1m km^2 rather than a 5 year average to be under 1m km^2? If we had just over 1m km^2 every 4th or 5th year the date of ice free might be delayed for a considerable period.
To which I’d say 1m km^2 is clearly arbitrary, but also (a) easy to compute and (b) a long way away; so its arbitrariness isn’t currently a problem. As we get somewhat closer to it in a few decades people will probably re-think the criterion more carefully.]
For those still in suspense, it was the Ecrins of course, specifically the Dome de Neige des Ecrins. I wimped out of the Barre. As I say, more later.