Probably not betting on sea ice, again

bitte Over at NoTricksZone they claim they're desperate to bet that (Arctic) sea ice will increase, not decrease, in the "future". However, the cheapskates are only offering $1k, which isn't worth getting out of bed for out to 2022. I offered them $10k, and a closer date, and guess what - they jumped at it!

No, I'm kidding you. Of course they didn't jump at it; they ran away. I'm pursuing, but I expect it to run into the sand. They're interested in propaganda, not an actual bet. They blowhard, but there's nothing behind it.

But perhaps dear reader you (like they) believe that Arctic sea ice will increase; and perhaps you (unlike they) are prepared to put your money where your mouth is. If so, do leave me a comment and we can negotiate exact terms. There's $10k available; please don't trouble me with trivial amounts, though.

I already have a $10k bet with Rob Dekker - with me on the "no death spiral side" of things. I haven't heard from RD for a bit - I hope he's still around. I also have $333 with Joe Romm on, essentially, no ice free Arctic by 2020.

This year's sea ice September minimum is clearly dull; still, at least it will shut the "death spiralers" up for a bit. [Update from the comments: No, I'm wrong Wadhams is still at it.]

[Update: its clear from the comments over at NTZ that P Gosselin has wimped out. Over there, Crandles make the obvious point that PG has cherry picked his intervals: can anyone guess why he wants to start with the interval [2007, 2012]? Oh go on, I'm sure you can think of some reason why he'd pick such an unusual interval.]


* Stoat-spam: Max Planck Institute Arctic Sea Ice Expert: “I Wouldn’t Put Money On Further Decrease Of Ice Cover”!

More like this

"at least it will shut the “death spiralers” up for a bit"

You hope.

By blueshift (not verified) on 25 Sep 2014 #permalink

>>at least it will shut the “death spiralers” up for a bit
>You hope.

"open water is now just 350 miles form the North Pole. This is the shortest distance ever recorded"
Maybe you meant data like area or extent or volume will keep them a little quieter.

[Aie! And even more explicitly: He added: "The Arctic ice cap is in a death spiral." "Thanks" for that -W]

It's still a death spiral. Relatively ice-free (below 1 million km^2 area) could happen as soon as next year given the right weather. Taking averages, somewhere between 2020 and 2030 seems safe. The interesting questions remain how rapidly the relative ice-free period will lengthen and what the effects will be on atmospheric circulation.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 25 Sep 2014 #permalink

I am not normally a fan, but did enjoy the Alpine photos, and on this topic I think your position is sound. It is interesting to see Chris Reynolds evolution of viewpoint over the past two years from collapse is imminent to sharing a position closer to yours.

He has a very interesting online evolution of thought on the "Slow Decline" at the Sea Ice Forum. Basically there may be a tipping point, but not to collapse but to stability, once all the mature ice has now gone. Chris is developing a simple model basically showing Central Arctic first year ice cannot easily melt out further without a significant (20%) reduction in the number of Freezing Degree Days (FDD) in the Central Arctic. It is hard to see how that change could happen quickly.

You may even make some money to fund another Alpine adventure.

By Its cold in th… (not verified) on 26 Sep 2014 #permalink

Problem is, there's a big weather dependency when it comes to the ice. A melt season that was consistently favorable to melt and export could easily take us below 2m km^2; or a sequence of years like the last couple could keep us about 4m km^2.

My UK-based anecdotal would be that there is an apparent correlation between 'The UK having a bad summer' and 'Big sea ice melt'.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 26 Sep 2014 #permalink

A polite reminder. It's nice to have headline making, record breaking climate events. But it's also irrelevant, outside the realms of public discourse. Trends. The trend continues. Is like to continue. Internal variability is very very big in the Arctic. The teleconnections and forcings are better understood than they were, but are not defined in number terms, yet.
At least one imponderable which prevents a clear vision of when the Arctic might experience an 'ice free' September is the uncertainty over whether we have already seen a 'step change' in conditions, leading up to 2007, and whether a further 'step change' is on the cards.
One thing is absolutely certain - the Arctic sea is is not 'recovering'.

By Fergus Brown (not verified) on 26 Sep 2014 #permalink

Your Dekker bet still looks like a good one, but did 2012 make you sweat a bit?

[Err yes. Hopefully that too will look like an outlier in years to come -W]

Personally, experience of defrosting freezers makes me doubt the death spiral - it always takes longer than you think it will.

By Steve Milesworthy (not verified) on 26 Sep 2014 #permalink

P Gosselin at NoTricksZone: "2. My bet as is, is open to scientists, and not parrots."

I assume chickens don't get on with parrots then?

[PG's native language isn't English, so we can excuse him a bit of incoherence, perhaps. But the cowardice is becoming a bit blatant -W]

By Steve Milesworthy (not verified) on 26 Sep 2014 #permalink

yep, the spiral's just taking a pause, as soon as the next proper el Nino comes the year after it will be terribly close to demolishing the rest of the sea ice in arctic. When the currents in Pacific return to their normal state after a nino episode they combine with the atmospheric effects in the arctic c.15 months later, that is the winter and spring should be extra hot giving this year some extra powers for melting (2005 ->2007, 2010->2012). Good luck with RD bet. It would be nice if the slower scenario would give some time to conversion to clean energy and tech and I wouldn't have to occasionally remind of the Copenhagen 2009 conference (that would have been a safer bet for an agreement on theis issue).

I'd rather see salinity of core samples and the water column. Is ice salinity rising or falling?

By tim Beatty (not verified) on 28 Sep 2014 #permalink

tim Beatty --- Probably ice salinity is falling. The surface waters freshen with more ce melting.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 28 Sep 2014 #permalink

> the surface waters freshen
Maybe not for the reason we thought, though:

"... the changing salt content in the Nordic Seas is explained by the variable salinity of the Gulf Stream’s Arctic branch entering the seas from the south. The mode of operation is also realised in a numerical ocean model forced by the observed stated of the atmosphere during the period in question.

Although not part of the present study, it appears to be several reasons for the freshening of the Atlantic source waters. A dominant explanation is a general increase in net precipitation over the North Atlantic Ocean (which may very well relate to global climate change). The contribution is spread over the Gulf Stream system, and accordingly transported further northward.

The analysis of Glessmer and colleagues further shows, and in line with the above, that the salt deficit in the Nordic Seas is not related to a surface layer of freshwater. The low-salinity anomaly since 1950 is distributed throughout the water column following the Gulf Stream’s northern overturning from warm surface flow to cold deep water. ..."

"... Our study documents how large-scale changes in our marine climate propagate with the extension of the Gulf Stream into the Nordic Seas. This suggests that the marine climate could be predictable on the time scale that a climate signal is travelling north, concludes Tor Eldevik.

Reference: Glessmer, M.S., T. Eldevik, K. Våge, J.E.Ø. Nilsen, and E. Behrens, 2014: Atlantic origin of observed and modelled freshwater anomalies in the Nordic Seas. Advance online publication Nature Geoscience,

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 29 Sep 2014 #permalink