Its friday, time for some lighter stuff.

* Cameron (not, not the Borkeback one) won't debate Morano, and Morano is happy to crow. All good knockabout fun, and Cameron ends up looking like a fool, but who cares? He is a film director.

* RC notes this appalling error by the Black Helicopter Gang: "I wonder if you've seen this terrible description of the greenhouse effect on a UNFCCC background page?
It actually says that incoming solar energy is 'reflected' by the planet's surface 'in the form of a calmer, more slow-moving type of energy called infrared radiation. ... Infrared radiation is carried slowly aloft by air currents, and its eventual escape into space is delayed by greenhouse gases'"

* Were you wondering if Energy and Environment was a high-quality journal or not? You could always Ask Curry

* And now for something completely different: a useful link: Eric Wolff on ice cores.

* An idea for dealing with silly comments. I may well do this next for the next gem that comes in.

* I was a bit ratty about when it first came out. But it seems to have got better since - there are now some white papers and a moderated blog (Zomg! Censorship! Ah shaddap). Anyway, Steve Easterbrook writes Data Challenges in Creating a new Surface Temperature Record about them, so this is my chance to give them a few more eyeballs.

* How's my sea icing?

* A lovely picture, coutesy of MONGO. Its a thunderstorm anvil, not a nuclear explostion, in case you're wondering.

* In memory of Carlos the Jackal

* Late bonus: Rajendra Pachauri bribes, bullies newpaper

* Oh, and did I link to Eduardo ripping up McShane and Wyner before?


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It's nice to see a Judith Curry quote that doesn't make her seem foolish. It was back in 2007 though ...

Well, except for this aside:

>(or the journal of climateaudit)

Which makes her seem somewhat silly.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 27 Aug 2010 #permalink

"It's nice to see a Judith Curry quote that doesn't make her seem foolish. It was back in 2007 though ..."

That was Curry XP. It was fairly stable, easy to work with, and backed things up more reliably. Curry Vista is a whole new beast. It contains lots of fluff, is a brain (memory) drain, crashes often, fails to back much of anything up, and doesn't work well with anyone (and they are all to blame for it). Curry 7? Maybe we should stick to Linux.

Eric Wolff on ice cores was interesting. He said "We would like to get to ice 1.5 million years old. Iâll explain why."

I guess it must be possible to get an ice core going back that far or else he wouldn't say it. Does anyone know of any work like this underway or planned?

[Not me. But 1.5M is quite specific, so I'd guess it is based on modelling of the oldest likely ice in the best low-accumulation area -W]


Did you see Tools take on the paper over at eduardos?

[You mean Tol I guess. He is out of his depth, and should stick to economics, which he knows -W]

With regard to James Cameron, it's unfortunate that he became involved for whatever reason in some circus-style stand up debate, which is commonly agreed to be a poor medium for science in any case, favouring if not giving equal credence or at least audience impact to Gish-galloping nonsense.

If Cameron has any sense, he'll hit back far more effectively and with more lasting effect by making a film which is his talent, leaving the amateurish, ideologue producers of guff such as 'Not Evil Just Wrong' wishing they had a tenth of the skills in the premier mass medium of our time.

Of course it would have to be done correctly, and also avoid the minor but trumped up pitfall's that befell Gore's AIT. But if a sympathetic 'king of the world' can't do it, who can?

Even the 2007 Curry had some worrying tendencies, as this part of her quote illustrates:

With regards to the MWP. There are two broad issues: a scientific one (regarding how temperature across the globe has changed and to what extend the MWP was a global phenomena) and a political one (associated with debunking the hockey stick owing to its importance in the IPCC reports and its policy implications). The strategies for addressing these two MWP issues is somewhat different. Attempts to falsify the hockey stick by pointing out methodological errors can be useful in two ways: sowing uncertainty about AGW, and in pointing the way to a better understanding of the global temperature record on milennial time scales. At this point, the challenge is to move the science forward.

"Sowing uncertainty about AGW" is "useful"?

Late bonus: Rajendra Pachauri bribes, bullies newpaper

Pachauri looks so non-violent in that photo it's hard to believe he wants to kill everyone with economics.

"Sowing uncertainty about AGW" is "useful"?

That's scary, indeed, especially in the context of "ATTEMPTS to falsify the hockey stick ...", i.e. she seems to be saying that such sowing of uncertainty is useful regardless of whether or not the attempts are actually *successful*.

JAXA: 5.4 million km^2 and continuing to drop quite quickly, interesting.

By the way, is it too early for a late-season update to the ice bets? As I understand it most commentators expect this season to have the second or third lowest recorded minimum ice extent, but the exact quantities won't be known for weeks yet. So how are the bets going? Is anybody about to throw in the towel and pay up yet?

[Based on the current pic I'd say this year is going to be #3, but it could make a late spurt. I don't think it can be less than #3 - it is already at or just past #4. No-one has formally thrown in any towels, at least in part because there is no advantage to doing so -W]

It's down to 5.35 and will end up second lowest (JAXA extent).

I don't have a bet going but it's still interesting.

"Cameron (no, not the Brokeback one)..."

Would that be Cameron Dales or Cameron Chapman?

(Just doing my homework...)

Personally, I'd like to see Cameron Diaz debate Marc Morano. Should be quite entertaining.

Nice picture of a thunderstorm anvil caught just at sunset. (I assume the Sun is setting rather than rising because I associate "thorms" â as the weatherman on Chicago-land's Eyewitness News used to call them â with the heat of the day. That weatherman, by the way, went on to found The Weather Channel.)

And thanks for the "late bonus." "ICCCP" â marvelous. Climate Scum never disappoints.

By Chris Winter (not verified) on 29 Aug 2010 #permalink

The sea ice result is looking pretty good. The extent loss has accelerated in the last few days, so it'll bottom out at 5M, give or take. That's low enough to show Goddard's cluelessness, high enough that I lose my money.

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 29 Aug 2010 #permalink

I just went back to the archives and had a look at William's bet. Apparently he'd taken a £50 bet with somebody he referred to as "CR" (your guess is as good as mine). If mean sea ice extent for September 2010 is below 4.735 million square kilometres William pays. If it's over 4.935 million square kilometres the other chap pays, and if it's between those amounts they both pay me (oh well, it was worth a try).

$10 says cr is crandles....

By Marlowe Johnson (not verified) on 29 Aug 2010 #permalink

I saw Bjorn Lomborg speak at the Royal Institution about nine years ago. From personal experience I can say that he's a very plausible speaker who is good at talking up uncertainty. He addressed the precautionary principle, which I suppose it was reasonable to do two whole IPCC assessments ago. He addressed the economics, this was before the Stern Report so he was exploring areas that probably hadn't been adequately covered.

In short, although I haven't read his books he definitely came across as a "skeptical environmentalist", where "skeptical" here has the best connotations. His view at the time was something like "well maybe we ought to be spending money providing the people of Pakistan and Bangladesh
a better life than trying to save their coastal areas" (my paraphrase, from an old memory).

It's 2010 and now, still a fairly prominent figure, Lomborg has changed a bit. We should be spending more, he says.…

William says the sea ice extent is heading for third lowest and dhogaza said it's heading for second.

I'm lazy and I already hunted out the betting details, which I posted above. And this little telephone may be bloody good (better than William's poncy watch, anyway) but it really isn't designed for extensive search operations.

So would somebody connected to a more powerful device like to check? What are the figures for second and third lowest sea ice extent, and does it make any difference if we go by William's criterion of September mean or by what I assume is the usual criterion, lowest recorded daily sea ice extent?

[Even your poxy phone ought to display the sea ice pic properly. I don't know what the numbers are, but reading the curves shows this year is at least #3, and (again, eyeballing curves) I really doubt it will make #2. Incidentally, I can find that pic when I've forgotten it from googiling "iaxa sea ice" which is easy to remember -W]

Thanks. Yes, I'll remember "jaxa sea ice" for the future. Interesting that if that huge scary melt of 2007 had never happened we'd still be seeing quite astonishing changes in seasonal melt. Of course that wouldn't mean much if things weren't so obviously anomalous in melt season ice state.

I'm still on a sea ice binge, and here's what I've found.

Joe Romm is crowing over the collapse of yet more Watts/Goddard nonsense and even says "My big $1000 bet with James Annan, William Connolley, and Brian Schmidt still looks pretty good, which is to say I would definitely not switch sides." Bold, considering what he's betting against:

"At no time between now and the end of the year 2020 will the minimum total Arctic Sea ice extent be less than 10% of the 1979-2000 average minimum annual Arctic Sea ice extent, as measured by NSIDC data or any other measurement mutually agreed-upon; provided, however, that if two or more volcanic eruptions with the energy level equal to or greater than the 1991 Mount Pinatubo shall occur between now and the end of 2020, then all bets are voided."

Joe Romm in a December, 2007 posting makes it plain that he's betting on accelerating sea ice summer melt rates. Intuitively I'd say that seems reasonable, though Joe's timescale still seems implausibly ambitious. Of course, unlike William, I haven't done any modeling, and I certainly don't have a sophisticated understanding of arctic sea ice dynamics. At best my hunches (and that's all they are) are simplistic extrapolations of what happens when I defrost my freezer. When the surface area to volume ratio increases the ice melts faster. This is true whether the overall volume decreases or the volume remains the same and I smash the ice up into smaller pieces. A lot more is going on in the arctic during the melt season, of course.

By the way, NSIDC gives the following figures for September average sea ice extent in millions of square kilometres. Links are to the standard NSIDC sea ice minimum press release for each year.

2006: 5.89
2007: 4.28
2008: 4.67
2009: 5.36

Or you can see them all collected together in a table where they are also conveniently expressed as sea ice anomaly (baseline 1979-2000). The table also shows the quite noticeable apparent acceleration in the annual and decadal trend that has taken place in the past seven or eight years.

["which is to say I would definitely not switch side" - well I wouldn't either. In fact I'd increase my bet were that possible :-). "though Joe's timescale still seems implausibly ambitious" - yes indeed.

Oh I wrote a big long thing about Joe Romm and whatnot but your spam filter ate it.

[Back now. Sorry: >1 links == spam as far as wordpress is concerned. I don't know how to fix that -W]

Never mind, anybody interested in what I have to say can see a slightly expanded version at my blog which is linked to my name on this post.

Joe is obviously out on a bit of a limb (essentially, an ice free arctic day by end of 2020) and the size of the bet is not trivial, and that makes things a bit more exciting.

Well Joe did admit that, when he emailed Wieslaw Maslowski and discussed the bet, Maslowski left him with the impression that he thought he should have cast the bet in terms of (modeled) ice volume. But I don't think he would have had so many takers. Even thin ice cover still has to melt for the extent to fall below 10% of the 1979-2000 baseline minimum extent. Building up volume from thin ice in winter, on the other hand, is harder when the previous season's ice is already in a poor state.

For those who aren't familiar with Dr. Maslowski, he's a professor in the Oceanography Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey who has predicted aggressive thawing on the basis of his research into 1997 to 2002 sea ice volume decline.

[Yes. M drew straight lines through data that he shouldn't have, and extrapolated to zero. In my view that was about as physically realistic as continuing for a few more years and predicting negative volume -W]

An interesting thing about today's sea ice: Climate "realism" seems to have reached IJIS data (sea ice decrease stopped on Aug 28, over 2009 value) whereas both NSIDC and Cryosphere Today remain "alarmist" (decrease goes on unabated, below 2009 mark according to CT). Don't know if WUWT & Co's horses already smelled the cherries, though.
I speculate that the reason of the discrepancies is due to the high dispersion of the sea ice, more or less accounted for according to each data source.

I speculate that the reason of the discrepancies is due to the high dispersion of the sea ice, more or less accounted for according to each data source

Yes, that appears to be the case. And you're probably looking at CT's area graph, which is declining steadily though some extent graphs aren't.

Apparently (according to a post at Neven's blog) the canadian ice service is predicting abnormally warm weather for most of the month, and that the melt season will last until the last week or so.

Yes IJIS looks more favourable compared to the number 4.935 million km^2. But different scources have different numbers (or there would be much point in more than one source). And the source we agreed on was NSIDC. That is why I pointed out that graph not the IJIS one.

[Ah, fair point. I'd forgotten which we'd agreed -W]

We also agreed on September average and the extent may not decrease much more and then if it shoots up at end of September the average could well be over 4.935mill km^2

Last 3 days on IJIS is showing a record 3 day extent reduction for any 3 day period after, during, or partly in September in the last 8 years.

That does mean it cannot "not decrease much more" but it is looking very close and possibly slightly more likely to be in push territory for your std 2010 bet. (Providing that NSIDC graph can be taken as being representative of NSIDC (final?) figures.)

Or, are you more certain of winning your bets?

[I'm not following all that closely, to be honest. We'll see when the min comes -W]

If you want to catch up (which doesn't seem likely from comment):

NSIDC has posted 7 Sept update

which includes:

"The minimum ice extent for the year will probably occur in the next two weeks."

That looks wrong to me but I don't think I want to ga as far as offering to bet against the author(s). If they consider it and still want to bet, I don't want to bet against experts.

[Thanks. Yes I am still interested, if people shove the data in my face :-) -W]

According to Joe Romm's latest posting at Climate Progress today NSIDC measures Arctic sea ice extent at 4.76 million square kilometres, and they say it's still plummeting at a higher rate than expected. Thin ice, one of their experts suggests.

Of course, the lower the summer ice extent becomes in September the more miraculous the "recovery" we'll hear about from certain quarters this winter.

[Hmm yes it has kinked downwards again. I'd be a teensy bit careful about the ice volume stuff though - at least in my day it wasn't that reliable, though they may have improved it since. The Nature editorial just below it about the US right-wing kooks was also interesting -W]

>"The minimum ice extent for the year will probably occur in the next two weeks."

The only reasonable test available is whether the minimum was actually on/before 21st and it looks like I failed that test with the minimum ocurring 2 or 3 days before that.

Still I suppose I could claim that wasn't as badly wrong as calling the minimum on the 10th.

My est for the NSIDC Sept average is now in the region of 4.8 to 4.86.