Top climate story of 2008: Arctic sea ice loss

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:03 PM GMT on January 12, 2009

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The top climate story of 2008, as it was in 2007, was the extraordinary summertime sea ice retreat in the Arctic. For the second consecutive year, we experienced the opening of the fabled Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic waters. Explorers have been attempting to sail the Northwest Passage since 1497, and 2007 and 2008 are the only known years the passage has been ice-free. In addition, 2008 saw the simultaneous opening of the Northeast Passage along the coast of Russia. This meant that for the first time in recorded history, the Arctic ice cap was an island--one could completely circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean in ice-free waters. Although the summer ice extent in 2008 finished 9% higher than 2007's record minimum, it was still an extraordinary 34% below average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Furthermore, the ice was thinner at the September 2008 minimum compared to 2007, so the total ice volume (thickness times area) was probably at its lowest point in recorded history in 2008.


Figure 1. Daily arctic sea ice extent for September 12, 2008. The date of the 2008 minimum (white) is overlaid on September 16, 2007--last year's minimum extent (dark gray). Light gray shading indicates the region where ice occurred in both 2007 and 008. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The Arctic "perfect storm" of summer weather in 2007 did not repeat in 2008
The summer of 2007 saw a "perfect storm" of weather conditions favorable for ice loss. Unusually strong high pressure over the Arctic led to clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Arctic winds, which usually blow in a circular fashion around the Pole, instead blew from the south, injecting large amounts of warm air into the Arctic. How unusual were these conditions? Well, at last month's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, J.E. Kay of the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed that Arctic surface pressure in the summer of 2007 was the fourth highest since 1948. Cloud cover at Barrow, Alaska was the sixth lowest. This suggests that once every 10-20 years a "perfect storm" of weather conditions highly favorable for ice loss invades the Arctic. The last two times such conditions existed was 1977 and 1987.

The 2008 melting season began in March with slightly greater ice extent than had been measured in previous years, thanks to a relatively cold winter during 2007-2008. However, since so much ice had melted during the summer of 2007, most of the March 2008 ice was thin first-year ice, which extended all the way to the North Pole. The total ice volume in the Arctic in March 2008 was lower than what the record-breaking year of 2007 had seen. This led to speculation that a new record minimum would be set in 2008, and Santa's Workshop would plunge into the ocean as ice melted at the North Pole. However, the "perfect storm" of summertime weather conditions did not materialize in 2008. From May through July, cooler temperatures and winds less favorable to ice loss occurred. When very warm temperatures moved into the Arctic in August, the ice loss rate accelerated to levels higher than in 2007. However, with sunlight waning, ice loss was not able to reach the levels seen in 2007. Arctic temperatures in the summer of 2008 were up to 4°C cooler along the Siberian coast than in 2007 (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Difference in surface temperature (°C) between the summer of 2008 and the summer of 2007. Blues and purples indicate areas where is was cooler in 2008. The biggest change was over the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, where exceptionally sunny weather with southerly winds in 2007 caused record-breaking warmth. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

The future of arctic sea ice
Climate models have done a poor job predicting the recent record loss of arctic sea ice (Figure 3). None of the models used to formulate the official word on climate, the 2007 United Nations IPCC report, foresaw the shocking drop of 2007-2008. At the December 2008 AGU meeting, Wieslaw Maslowski of the Navy Postgraduate School hypothesized that the reason for this was the models' improper handling of ocean currents and how they transport heat. He blamed 60% of the melting during the past decade on heat brought in by ocean currents, and projected that summertime arctic sea ice would completely disappear by 2016. Dr. Jim Overland of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory was more conservative, projecting a 2030 demise of arctic sea ice. He thought we would be "hanging around where we are for a while", and thought it would take two more unusual summers like the "perfect storm" of 2007 to push the system to an ice-free state. He further noted that while summertime air temperatures have been near record levels the past few years in the Arctic, there has been one period of comparable warmth, in the 1930s and 1940s. The year 1941 still ranks as the warmest year in the Arctic, though 2007 was virtually tied with it. However, the warmth of the 1930s and 1940s was different than the current warming, and was caused by the Siberian High moving unusually far east over Europe, driving warm, southerly winds over Greenland. The warmth in the past decade, in contrast, is associated with a warming of the entire planet, and is not due to an unusual pressure pattern driving warm air into the region. This means that the current warming is accompanied by much warmer ocean waters, which have helped caused much of the arctic sea ice loss the past two years by melting the ice from beneath.


Figure 3. Arctic sea ice extent from observations (thick orange line) and 13 model forecasts used to formulate the 2007 IPCC report (light lines). The thick black line is the multi-model ensemble mean, with the standard deviation plotted as a dashed black line. Image has been updated to include the observed 2007 and 2008 measurements. Image credit: Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast by Stroeve et al., 2007.

The impact on the jet stream
The unprecedented melting of arctic sea ice the past two summers has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the early winter weather over the Northern Hemisphere. Several modeling studies presented at the December AGU meeting showed that sea ice melt on this scale is capable of injecting enough heat into the atmosphere to result in a major shift in the jet stream. Dr. Overland remarked that the early cold winter over North America this winter, and the exceptionally cold and snowy early winter in China last winter, were likely related to arctic sea ice loss. The sea ice loss induced a strong poleward flow of warm air over eastern Siberia, and a return flow of cold air from the Pole developed to compensate. Thus regions on either side of eastern Siberia--China and North America--have gotten unusually cold and snowy winters as a result.

The impact on sea level rise
The loss of arctic sea ice will have little impact on sea level rise over the next few decades. Since the ice is already floating in the ocean, melting it does not change sea level much--just like when ice melting in a glass of water will not change the level of liquid in the glass. In the case of sea ice, there is a slight sea level rise, since the fresh melt water is less dense than the salty ocean water it displaces. If all the world's sea ice melted, it would raise global sea level by only 4 mm. This is a tiny figure compared to the 20 feet of sea level rise that would occur from complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet--which is on land.

The impact on melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet
The big concern with arctic sea ice melt is the warmer temperatures it will bring to the Arctic, which will bring about an accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. As the sea ice melts, the resulting warmer average temperatures will increase the amount of dark, sunlight-absorbing water at the pole, leading to further increases in temperature and more melting of sea ice, in a positive feedback loop. As temperatures warm, partial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will raise global sea levels. While no one is expecting 20 feet of sea level rise from the total melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet for many centuries, even one meter (3.3 feet) of sea level rise due to the partial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet can cause a lot of trouble. The official word on climate, the 2007 IPCC report, predicted only a 0.6-1.9 foot sea level rise by 2100, due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet and other factors. These estimates did not include detailed models of ice flow dynamics of glaciers, on the grounds that understanding of the relevant processes was too limited for reliable model estimates. The IPCC estimates were also made before the shocking and unexpected loss of arctic sea ice of the past two summers. In light of these factors, a large number of climate scientists now believe the IPCC estimates of sea level rise this century are much too low. The most recent major paper on sea level rise, published this month by Grinsted et al., concluded that there was a "low probability" that sea level rise would be in the range forecast by the IPCC, and predicted a 0.9 - 1.3 meter (3 - 4.3 feet) rise by 2100. Pfeffer et al. last month concluded that a "most likely" range of sea level rise by 2100 is 2.6 - 6.6 feet (0.8 - 2.0 meters). Their estimates came from a detailed analysis of the processes the IPCC said were understood too poorly to model--the ice flow dynamics of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. The authors caution that "substantial uncertainties" exist in their estimates, and that the cost of building higher levees to protect against sea level rise is not trivial. Other recent estimates of sea level rise include 1.6 - 4.6 feet (0.5 - 1.4 meters) by Rahmstorf (2007).

What would 3 feet of sea level rise mean?
Rising sea levels will lead to permanent and intermittent flooding in low-lying coastal areas across the world. A global sea level rise of .9 meters (3 feet) would affect 100 million people worldwide, mostly in Asia. The impact of hurricane storm surges will significantly increase as a result of sea level rise. Given a 3 foot rise in sea level, Hurricane Ike's storm surge would have overwhelmed the levees in Port Arthur, Texas, flooding the city and its important oil refineries. Galveston's sea wall would have been overtopped and possibly destroyed, allowing destruction of large portions of Galveston. Levees in New Orleans would have been overtopped, resulting in widespread flooding there, as well. I'll have a full analysis of who's at risk, and what the risks are, in a series of forthcoming blog posts this year.

What can we do?
One reasonable suggestion, presented by Trish Quinn of NOAA at the December 2008 AGU meeting, would be to limit the amount of crop residue burning that goes on in Eastern Europe and Asia each year. These fires generate large amounts of black soot that blows into the Arctic. These black particles on the white ice leads to a significant amount of warming during the summer months, when the black particles absorb sunlight.

For more information
The wunderground sea level rise page has detailed background info on sea level rise.
The wunderground Northwest Passage page is also a good reference.
realclimate.org has a nice post summarizing the recent sea level research.

I'll have a new blog post Wednesday or Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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269. Stanb999
9:00 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
Down to 61 degrees from 70 degrees an hour ago...El Norte has arrived :(


Keep warm!!!
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
268. surfmom
8:59 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Down to 61 degrees from 70 degrees an hour ago...El Norte has arrived :(
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
267. Stanb999
8:49 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Who told you CO2 is a pollutant? Al Gore? the godly scientist? CO2 is what comes out of every living thing (animal) when we exhale. Comes out of Volcanoes, forest fires and it is what plants breathe in to live. What is the enviromentalist major malfunction?? Please look at serious science and quit talking like if Humans had no right to live in this planet we are part of Nature and all we need to do is to learn to adapt to this climate cycle. It has been even hotter millenia ago and we do not blame the dinosaurs driving their SUVs back then. If you guys don't like to be human then figure out a way to fix your problem, but quit telling others how to live.


Are you kidding me? I was giving a rebuttal to his argument.

If you read my posts above you maybe pleasantly surprised. To your you guys statement. read up then return. Speaking when one doesn't know the subject at hand leaves a not so fresh feeling for all.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
266. CaneHunter031472
8:46 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting barryweather:
262. No one is telling you how to live. I think we are simply suggesting that there are other ways to live. I think that if you do pollute less (create less by-products) your children and grand children will be more healthy and have a better existence. Of course we have to produce CO2. We just need to balance it with the other financial and environmental concerns to create a sustainable existance here on Earth.


Could you please entertain me as to explain how exactly are we supposed to Balance CO2 with other finacial and environmental concerns? are you suggesting increase taxes do you really think that the beaurocrats in Washington to include Al Gore the liar are going to solve this crisis they have conveniently created. Do you want Humanking to survive then let industry take off and quit taxing so we can develop new technologies and even perhaps one day get out of the dependency of oil so this Nation can be self sufficient not because we want to save the planet the planet does not ebven know we are here it is made out of rock and ecosystems if we had an influence then we would be gone by now toghether with the rest of it. Please look at the other side of the coin and do not let the green side to bamboozle you.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
265. CaneHunter031472
8:38 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting barryweather:
260. How is AGW arrogant. It is a negative thing that if proven to exist - could threaten human civilization. By admitting we are a cause we would then be the opposite of arrogant. It would mean that we severely underestimate our relationship with our environment. We would have to admit we are wrong and then take steps to redirect our way of living.

This would make us humble.


Because human CO2 output is only less than one percent. If you see the immensity of the universe and how it works and the fact that these cycles have been happenning long before Humans came to exist, It gets Hot it gets Cold as a matter of fact gobal warming is a rare climatological instance is not the norm Ice ageas last hunreds of thousand of years and hot period last only a few thousand (this last warming period is the one we humans came to exist) so lets be grateful for global warming and if we are responsible for delaying the next Ice Age which is sort of overdue then we should be proud. LIFE THRIVES IN HOT WEATHER>
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
264. barryweather
8:37 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
262. No one is telling you how to live. I think we are simply suggesting that there are other ways to live. I think that if you do pollute less (create less by-products) your children and grand children will be more healthy and have a better existence. Of course we have to produce CO2. We just need to balance it with the other financial and environmental concerns to create a sustainable existance here on Earth.
263. barryweather
8:33 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
260. How is AGW arrogant. It is a negative thing that if proven to exist - could threaten human civilization. By admitting we are a cause we would then be the opposite of arrogant. It would mean that we severely underestimate our relationship with our environment. We would have to admit we are wrong and then take steps to redirect our way of living.

This would make us humble.
262. CaneHunter031472
8:29 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting Stanb999:


Sure, I can agree with this. I'll even say it is a worthy cause. In fact I'd say it would stand on it's own.

But to say we need to stop CO2 because it is a pollutant and warming the planet. Is being debunked. When it is the environmentalist movement will suffer great damage. It will be a real shame. Because I believe that the vast majority of the green groups are spot on.

To bad they will be treated like the white spot on chicken poop. It all gets thrown out of the barn. ;-)


Who told you CO2 is a pollutant? Al Gore? the godly scientist? CO2 is what comes out of every living thing (animal) when we exhale. Comes out of Volcanoes, forest fires and it is what plants breathe in to live. What is the enviromentalist major malfunction?? Please look at serious science and quit talking like if Humans had no right to live in this planet we are part of Nature and all we need to do is to learn to adapt to this climate cycle. It has been even hotter millenia ago and we do not blame the dinosaurs driving their SUVs back then. If you guys don't like to be human then figure out a way to fix your problem, but quit telling others how to live.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
261. fire831rescue
8:28 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Thank you, CaneHunter.... So many want to jump to the conclusion that it's all humankind's fault. Oh, the arrogance of them all... LOL.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
260. CaneHunter031472
8:20 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
My SUVis innocent until proven guilty I am not that arrogant as to think that Humans are the evil cause of global warming it is happening and it is a part of a cicle we CANNOT control just like the Ice Ages, but if you all feel like sending money to AL Gore be my guest.

June 26, 2008

Arctic ice melt may be due to undersea volcanoes
Thomas Lifson
The Arctic ice that is supposedly melting, stranding those cuddly looking polar bears, just might be affected by a wave of volcanic eruptions on the ocean floor under the Arctic ice cap. AFP reports on the recently-documented volcanoes, but oddly makes no mention of the possible effect on apocalyptic predictions of global warming.


Recent massive volcanoes have risen from the ocean floor deep under the Arctic ice cap, spewing plumes of fragmented magma into the sea, scientists who filmed the aftermath reported Wednesday.


The eruptions - as big as the one that buried Pompei - took place in 1999 along the Gakkel Ridge, an underwater mountain chain snaking 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) from the northern tip of Greenland to Siberia.


Scientists suspected even at the time that a simultaneous series of earthquakes were linked to these volcanic spasms.


But when a team led of scientists led by Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts finally got a first-ever glimpse of the ocean floor 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) beneath the Arctic pack ice, they were astonished.


What they saw was unmistakable evidence of explosive eruptions rather than the gradual secretion of lava bubbling up from Earth's mantle onto the ocean floor...
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
259. surfmom
8:17 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
257 - Firefly --that is one of the most ingenious ideas I ever hear of.... might not be able to do this go round -- but in the future...hummmm
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
258. barryweather
8:10 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
256. Hopefully your wrong about the whitespot. I have a feeling we will find out soon with the the new administration in America. All the more reason the great minds of the worldwide scientific community should come together so that we don't repeat mistakes made in the past.
257. fireflymom
8:08 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Surfmom try putting your Christmas lights (non-LED) in the tree to add a little heat it often works and saves the tree. We will be covering & or lighting the patio plants tonight ourselves. I hate cold weather and love the tropical and semitropical plants.
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
256. Stanb999
7:59 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting barryweather:
245. The changes will help conserve petroleum to be used for generations to come. Thousands of years if need be. We will still have to burn things and those things will be renewable and more cost effective. We will collect and reuse waste products instead of spreading them into our environment. This will create a healthier world for all to live in. We owe this to the future generations.

These changes will inevitably have to happen as the likelyhood of fossil fuel supplies to diminish and become more expensive is so great. Can't you agree that this is true for this century?

I guess I have to add this as my signature. Carbon dioxide isn't the only contaminant.


Sure, I can agree with this. I'll even say it is a worthy cause. In fact I'd say it would stand on it's own.

But to say we need to stop CO2 because it is a pollutant and warming the planet. Is being debunked. When it is the environmentalist movement will suffer great damage. It will be a real shame. Because I believe that the vast majority of the green groups are spot on.

To bad they will be treated like the white spot on chicken poop. It all gets thrown out of the barn. ;-)
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
255. surfmom
7:56 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Happy knowing that pastures and ponds out East of I 75 will be replenished -- South West Florida needed this rain.

Worried about my inappropriately blooming Mango trees -- a freeze will burn off all the teeny tiny flwers and buds -- trees are too big to sheet -- have to hope being closer to the ocean will help keep the air more warm and protect my tree. Lots will depend on the winds as well. It's in Mother Nature's hands.
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
254. surfmom
7:52 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
The cold front has arrived here in SWFL / SRQ -- a wonderfully refreshing rain, 70 degrees, it's been so long since we've had rain,feels like a novelty. Getting occasional gusts of wind that are tinged with cold and the scent of the north mixing with ocean. I'm enjoying this right now....Gut a nice little squall moving through --- chickens just beelined for their coop - what a sight..........Loving this weather
SWFL Cold Front Surf Update
Real small out there this morning, but the wind and rain is right off the coast heading our way. Later on after the front passes we will have brisk onshore winds that should continue through the night. This may set up a small ride able wave for later this afternoon with a better chance tomorrow. Temps to start heading down for the rest of the week as reinforcing cold air heads to Fl. Another shot at surf on Friday with the same type of pattern. Gulf Temp 67

Might be a land lubber on this one --depends on those air temps.

Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
253. conchygirl
6:59 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
AT 1:21 while walking Hope -- the finger tips of El Norte touched my face... soon to be followed by his cold grip.... How I miss the Zephyr wind
Yes, Surfmom, it is on the way....rain here now as the front is dropping down. Yeah, cold temps.
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
252. surfmom
6:46 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
AT 1:21 while walking Hope -- the finger tips of El Norte touched my face... soon to be followed by his cold grip.... How I miss the Zephyr wind
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
251. atmoaggie
6:38 PM GMT on January 13, 2009
Quoting barryweather:
248. Yes we have made great advances to reduce pollutants. However, we still inject enough pollutants to affect the health of humans across the globe. Unfortunatley not every country has regulations in place to curtail the flow of harmful chemicals. Also, because there are so many people, simply reducing pollutants isn't enough anymore. The technology exists to eliminate the pollutants. Now we just need to adopt it.


Now this is a subject we should be working harder on. Every time we take upper air chemistry samples over the US, we can trace pollutants back to Asia. We have the technology to fix it. It can be done fairly inexpensively. And, hopefully, lowering the cost of health care for asthmatics alone would off-set the cost of implementation.

I am not a stick in the mud when it comes to spending money on fixing a provable problem with proven consequences and cost-effective measures are available.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting barryweather:
245. The changes will help conserve petroleum to be used for generations to come. Thousands of years if need be. We will still have to burn things and those things will be renewable and more cost effective. We will collect and reuse waste products instead of spreading them into our environment. This will create a healthier world for all to live in. We owe this to the future generations.

These changes will inevitably have to happen as the likelyhood of fossil fuel supplies to diminish and become more expensive is so great. Can't you agree that this is true for this century?

I guess I have to add this as my signature. Carbon dioxide isn't the only contaminant.


Sounds great! I doubt anyone has any problems with your stance in this post.

I personally only have a problem if any of the above is not market driven, but tax break and government subsidy driven. I enjoy my 30 mpg and would gladly buy a vehicle meeting my needs that got much more, if it were cost-effective. Having government either directly or indirectly (through cape-trade, tax, whatever) dictate what I drive, where I live, which alternative energy industry makes a profit, etc. is the part that is not acceptable.

No solution to pollution nor CO2 levels will be effective unless it is market-driven. So to answer your question: I can certainly agree to the limitations of petroleum in the future and when another energy source is more cost-effective and sensible, then it will be our primary driver of the economy.
Having the government get involved smacks too much of Iowa and the farm lobby getting their wish with Ethanol...a failure at every turn. Bad for gas mileage, bad for deforestation, bad for CO2 levels, bad for auto engines (as a byproduct of gas station water condensation), bad for food prices, on and on. I hope we can collectively recognize that failure and learn from it before it is repeated.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
248. Yes we have made great advances to reduce pollutants. However, we still inject enough pollutants to affect the health of humans across the globe. Unfortunatley not every country has regulations in place to curtail the flow of harmful chemicals. Also, because there are so many people, simply reducing pollutants isn't enough anymore. The technology exists to eliminate the pollutants. Now we just need to adopt it.
Hear hear, I agree fully, I remember in the 90s when NASA was talking about putting humans on Mars, possibly colonizing it. They realized they would have to create an atmosphere for Humans to survive there. They ran a lot of experiments and found that the "best" method would be to artificially create global warming by putting in enormous plants to burn stuff that would put a lot of C02 into the air. This was the Best idea, but completely impractical as after performing some small scale testing, they realized that in order to affect climate change by polluting the air they would have to burn fossil fuels in hundreds of thousands of massive plants on the planet, for hundreds of thousands of years before they would be able to make any noticable difference. So that tells me that the short span that we as humans on THIS planet have burned fossil fuels, and also keeping in mind that for the last 20 years, we have developed different ways to filter the smoke and REDUCED the amount of polutants released into the atmosphere that we haven't even come close to affecting our own climate.

Quoting fire831rescue:
I think the whole flawed part of the "global warming" debate is that, when the human factor is thrown in, everything else is thrown out. The biggest part of the whole equation is the part that we as humans just can't comprehend. The truth is that the Earth, itself, isn't constant. The orbit changes. The axis tile changes and oscillates. The sun energy output changes. All these need to be factored in to the climate change equation. Some would say, "Ok. Let's plug those variables in and see what we get." That's fine, but those variables aren't predictable either. Just like trying to say where a hurricane is going to hit when it still has to cross the Atlantic ocean. It's a crap shoot and a very big one, at that. We've already proven that human contributions to climate change have been for the most part, minute. So now we go from having a problem to having no problem, except Earth being Earth and doing what it does to make life livable on it. No amount of cutting anything, as far as carbon output or fossil fuels, is going to change the environment in which we live. When the "global warming" hype first came out, we knew less than we know now. Now we are more educated in the way the Earth works but it is still a mystery to us. Instead of pouring money into a nonexistant problem, how about we actually put money into something worth investing in: humanity, life, people. I hae no problem with alternative energy. I think it's a great thing. But at the same time, I say we still have a very lonway to go before we are totally independant of fossil fuels. For now, the technology isn't quite there yet. And in the mean time, we have to use what we've got to survive and preserve our way of life. And if that means coal and oil are our energy sources for now, so be it. We've gone over a hundred years without a major screwup so far. Let's go a hundred more and perfect our other technologies.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
245. The changes will help conserve petroleum to be used for generations to come. Thousands of years if need be. We will still have to burn things and those things will be renewable and more cost effective. We will collect and reuse waste products instead of spreading them into our environment. This will create a healthier world for all to live in. We owe this to the future generations.

These changes will inevitably have to happen as the likelyhood of fossil fuel supplies to diminish and become more expensive is so great. Can't you agree that this is true for this century?

I guess I have to add this as my signature. Carbon dioxide isn't the only contaminant.
Quoting IKE:
First arctic blast about to move through Jackson,MS.....precipitation is dwindling as it moves east.....



I hope the citrus crops are ok, This will be real low temps across the deep south. Not to good for those folks.

I heard on the weather channel was all concerned for the folks in the north. They were out in force last night. I worry more for the folks down south that have only a heat pump for instance, they are gonna be in for a tough time.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
Quoting counters:
I think the whole flawed part of the "global warming" debate is that, when the human factor is thrown in, everything else is thrown out. The biggest part of the whole equation is the part that we as humans just can't comprehend. The truth is that the Earth, itself, isn't constant. The orbit changes. The axis tile changes and oscillates. The sun energy output changes. All these need to be factored in to the climate change equation. Some would say, "Ok. Let's plug those variables in and see what we get." That's fine, but those variables aren't predictable either.

Fire, you've thought wrong. You should consider re-reading the IPCC AR4 report, because you have several serious misconceptions about the science. For starters, nothing is "thrown out." Modern climate models live under the moniker of "Earth Systems Models" because the amount of "everything else" thrown in accumulates much, much faster than the human factors. There's a bigger point here, though: the "everything else" simply can't explain the observed temperature trends over the last century. To that point, the human factors by themselves can't either. It's only when we look at ALL the factors - anthropogenic and natural - that a clear picture reminiscent of our reality emerges.

You mention a large battery of things that "humans just can't comprehend." Fire, have you ever attended an introductory atmospheric science course at a university? Every factor that you mention is taught at the most basic level of the science. Heck, it's re-taught in most subsequent meteorology courses covering material at scales larger than synoptic (we even covered a great deal of it in my instrumentation and observation course).

The bottom line is that we actually do understand a great deal about the climate system. It's not half as mysterious as some skeptics would have you believe. Furthermore, we're not just "guesstimating" these factors; we empirically derive equations to govern them and use those in our climate models. You should take some time and peruse the most recent climate science literature (the Journal of Climate, available at ams.allenpress.com, is a god starting point) and see just what the state of the science currently is.

I can respect the honesty in your beliefs, but I think you've been misinformed or not entirely informed on some of the important facts necessary in framing your beliefs. I'd strongly recommend going through some of the science once more (preferably from the scientific literature or atmospheric science textbooks rather than the blog-o-sphere) and then re-evaluating your stance.


empirically derive equations....Haha...:)

WOW, That is a fancy way for saying guesstimating.

Tell us professor. Do your models take water vapor cycles into account? Like the fact that water vapor is a warming gas, But as soon as it accumulates it causes a cooling effect? You have heard of them right. These strange and odd gatherings of water vapor? What are they called?


Tell me what will the general temp. be next July for lets say north America, Or the time of the last frost this year for the bulk of the nation above say 40 degrees north. Or any other useful and testable information. That would truly change things for the better. As it is now the models "prove" a change so small as to make no difference. You expect folks to spend much treasure for no real result. Even you admit that it temps. are due to warm (or may cool) due to long term trends. So what difference would your changes make? I mean in the real world not in the realm of thought.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
Counters- You raise very valid points and overall your post is very good. You have to be careful how you address people given that this is a sensitive subject if you really want them to hear you. Using words like wrong to describe someone's thinking will only deepen the divide.

I work in extension and one of my main objectives is to help control chemical and fertilizer pollution in my area of Florida. I don't issue citations though. My job is to educate the public on the responsible use of the products. I am trained to be objective and non-confrontational.

This is one way we can speak in order to change the polarization of peoples' thoughts regarding global warming as well as other topics of debate.
I think the whole flawed part of the "global warming" debate is that, when the human factor is thrown in, everything else is thrown out. The biggest part of the whole equation is the part that we as humans just can't comprehend. The truth is that the Earth, itself, isn't constant. The orbit changes. The axis tile changes and oscillates. The sun energy output changes. All these need to be factored in to the climate change equation. Some would say, "Ok. Let's plug those variables in and see what we get." That's fine, but those variables aren't predictable either.

Fire, you've thought wrong. You should consider re-reading the IPCC AR4 report, because you have several serious misconceptions about the science. For starters, nothing is "thrown out." Modern climate models live under the moniker of "Earth Systems Models" because the amount of "everything else" thrown in accumulates much, much faster than the human factors. There's a bigger point here, though: the "everything else" simply can't explain the observed temperature trends over the last century. To that point, the human factors by themselves can't either. It's only when we look at ALL the factors - anthropogenic and natural - that a clear picture reminiscent of our reality emerges.

You mention a large battery of things that "humans just can't comprehend." Fire, have you ever attended an introductory atmospheric science course at a university? Every factor that you mention is taught at the most basic level of the science. Heck, it's re-taught in most subsequent meteorology courses covering material at scales larger than synoptic (we even covered a great deal of it in my instrumentation and observation course).

The bottom line is that we actually do understand a great deal about the climate system. It's not half as mysterious as some skeptics would have you believe. Furthermore, we're not just "guesstimating" these factors; we empirically derive equations to govern them and use those in our climate models. You should take some time and peruse the most recent climate science literature (the Journal of Climate, available at ams.allenpress.com, is a god starting point) and see just what the state of the science currently is.

I can respect the honesty in your beliefs, but I think you've been misinformed or not entirely informed on some of the important facts necessary in framing your beliefs. I'd strongly recommend going through some of the science once more (preferably from the scientific literature or atmospheric science textbooks rather than the blog-o-sphere) and then re-evaluating your stance.
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
Interestingly, I just took a look at accumulated chilling hours in my area from 50 years ago. These are a calculated as total time under 45 degrees during one winter season. The information is used to decide which varieties of fruit can be grown in a given area. We recieved 200 to 300 chilling hours in the pereio from 1940 - 1950. Now we recieve around 500 to 600 chilling hours.

Other areas of the US recieve the same amount now as they did then. I have not conducted a thorough investigation of the entire country to see what all of the differences are.
228. So the argument isn't about controlling our impact on the globe - warming or not. It is about the governments of the world exercising control over the populace to a greater extent?

I think if people would actually take the time to listen to the credible GW theorists they would find that most of these scientists truely believe we have a part in this. They care and they know that there are things we can do to try to slow our negative contributions to the system, whatever they are. I haven't heard one singal GW scientist say that natural earth cycles aren't a part of this. If you look at the graphs of the last two warming periods, the Earth is definately due to get a lot warmer--naturally. I personally would be shocked if we decended into an ice age before we saw more warming. I bet you can look back at sea levels and see that they were also much higher during the warm periods--naturally.

I also think that we can be carbon nuetral in as little as 30 years. All it would take is the demands of the people. If people don't demand it, then government involvement will probably make it happen out of necessity. Incidentally, governmental economic policies and lack of foresight for the last century are a big part of how we got to this point. (I'm not just speaking of America here)

The technology does exist to harness many of the natural power sources of the Earth and it is affordable. This includes the power of lighnting. Is it a fantasy to think that humanity can survive without burning things?... yes. It is realistic though to try to find ways to conserve resources and cleanup our by-products. Please remember I'm not just talking about carbon dioxide. It is the wasteful packaging of our products. It is the contamination of land, water, and air. Etc, etc, etc. This is not just one issue we are confronting. I'm just asking that we leave this place better than we found it. Can you really argue with that?

The point is not to be afraid of these things. Despite what some sources would have you believe, no one is trying to scare you to conform. As Baha stated the goverment already effectivley uses war and terrorism to that end. If anything the GW debate has caused more people to resist change. Sure some unscrupolous people will do anything to better their financial standing in the world. However, most of us just want to work together to become a more sustainable society.

We need to debate these issues and not ignore one another. This is how we learn. This is how we acheive new ideas and branch out in new directions. Without such discussions we can not progress.
237

this cold weather is also gonna cause a big fish kill i think. when the water gets too cold, fish like snook tend to go into shock and die.

but not having any no-see-ums and mosquitoes would be nice
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GM,all,looks like this cold snap is around for most of the January,in varying intensity.
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Only good thing about this Cold Front -- instant Florida Flea death
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
It looks like sunspot activity is on the decline, The solar cycle is reaching toward a low in it's cycle, the Atlatic Multidecadal Ossilation is on the down swing, and all the freshwater in the Arctic makes it easier to re-freeze.
Could someone address these points, and their ablility to cancle the positive feedback cycle from open water decreased albido?
It is looking cold here in North America this winter. I agree the IPCC models have something wrong, but I think you may be over doing it on the Gloom and Doom side.
If you are right, it would be totally cool to be the first ship to circumnavigate the pole in the summer.
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235. IKE
First arctic blast about to move through Jackson,MS.....precipitation is dwindling as it moves east.....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
234. IKE
Quoting Stanb999:


IKE, saying your temperature is low is a very political statement.

Be careful you may be ridiculed and called a denier.


LOL.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Buenos Dias - Early Birds - I wake to see the temp. at a pleasant 60 degrees here in SWFL...... this will be a memory by tomorrow --SWFL Surfers Cold Front Alert
There's going to be some cold front surf around at different times during the week so stay tuned. Tuesday, the surf will come up late and Wednesday will have some chilly waves early. A stronger front for Thursday afternoon and Friday. Bust out the full and booties

I might be a landlubber through this one... full wetsuit ok, booties YUCK
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Quoting IKE:
Let's put this GW debate to rest...for a post...my lowest temperature night is Friday night....

Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 19.

Yes, I know that's warm compared to other sections of the country, but for the Florida panhandle, that's cold.


IKE, saying your temperature is low is a very political statement.

Be careful you may be ridiculed and called a denier.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
231. IKE
Let's put this GW debate to rest...for a post...my lowest temperature night is Friday night....

Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 19.

Yes, I know that's warm compared to other sections of the country, but for the Florida panhandle, that's cold.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Good Morning
there's a blob by the Philippines where the last one was. I think we should watch it since there is absolutely nothing else in the tropics
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I'm sorry, but in any other field that model-to-observation graph would indicate "back to the drawing board".
It's obvious that the climate models are about as accurate as the hurricane models; i.e. they are missing huge parts of the pie.
It would be nice if they admitted as such and embraced all of the research and data that's coming out to further our understanding of the climate instead of tossing it into the wastebin and denigrating anyone that dares to make any statement not within the Gore Orthodoxy.
With *all* due respect, you start out the article with the truth: that the ice situation in the arctic has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with currents and wind. Then you spew the garbage about New Orleans levee's being over topped from sea level rise. 3mm per year? Given the fact that plates move 50+ mm/year I don't thing the sea is the problem.
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I think the whole flawed part of the "global warming" debate is that, when the human factor is thrown in, everything else is thrown out. The biggest part of the whole equation is the part that we as humans just can't comprehend. The truth is that the Earth, itself, isn't constant. The orbit changes. The axis tile changes and oscillates. The sun energy output changes. All these need to be factored in to the climate change equation. Some would say, "Ok. Let's plug those variables in and see what we get." That's fine, but those variables aren't predictable either. Just like trying to say where a hurricane is going to hit when it still has to cross the Atlantic ocean. It's a crap shoot and a very big one, at that. We've already proven that human contributions to climate change have been for the most part, minute. So now we go from having a problem to having no problem, except Earth being Earth and doing what it does to make life livable on it. No amount of cutting anything, as far as carbon output or fossil fuels, is going to change the environment in which we live. When the "global warming" hype first came out, we knew less than we know now. Now we are more educated in the way the Earth works but it is still a mystery to us. Instead of pouring money into a nonexistant problem, how about we actually put money into something worth investing in: humanity, life, people. I hae no problem with alternative energy. I think it's a great thing. But at the same time, I say we still have a very lonway to go before we are totally independant of fossil fuels. For now, the technology isn't quite there yet. And in the mean time, we have to use what we've got to survive and preserve our way of life. And if that means coal and oil are our energy sources for now, so be it. We've gone over a hundred years without a major screwup so far. Let's go a hundred more and perfect our other technologies.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
Quoting fire831rescue:


I agree. It is a waste of time... And money for that matter. But then again, when has the government ever worried about time and money?


dido
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Quoting BahaHurican:
fire, along those lines, GW is a waste of time compared with terrorism threats like 9/11 and train bombs.

IMO

G'nite!


I agree. It is a waste of time... And money for that matter. But then again, when has the government ever worried about time and money?
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
fire, along those lines, GW is a waste of time compared with terrorism threats like 9/11 and train bombs.

IMO

G'nite!
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Quoting barryweather:
Explain this. How do major world governments benefit from politicizing the global warming issue? How does reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other pollutants negatively affect the people of the Earth? Why do so many sensible people allow this issue to cloud thier judgement to the point that they tune out the observbations of entire sections of the scientific community? Do people really believe that these scientists are just hungry for grant money? It is my experience that writing grants and following through with the scientific process is typically a very thankless profession. You are more likely to get fame and riches by becoming a musician or actor and then making a complete fool of yourself.


First and foremost, by politicizing the Global Warming debate, governments are enabled to exact more control over the general population by placing restrictions on any energy form deemed to be unsuitable due to its "carbon footprint" or "greenhouse gas emmisions." By the various large governments of the world saying that we need to reduce CO2 levels, they have the power to decide how the majority of the people are able to run their day to day lives. As far as the grant process goes, getting a grant for research on a project is a fairly easy task, so long as you have enough clout within the government to lobby for the money. The only requirement is that you use the money for its intended purpose. Third is the scare tactic, which, believe it or not, is actually used more than most would like to think. By scaring the general public into thinking that what they have been doing for years is wrong and could lead to dire consequences, the governments with the "scientists" in their back pocket, pushing the "global warming" debate, are able to control the general population to the point of conformity. In other words, "global warming" is nothing more than a ruse developed to control how the general population thinks and acts. Once the population thinks a certain way, it isn't long before the government is able to further push for more control over the lives of the general population.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807
223. HTV
Quoting BahaHurican:
Yeah, I have them all saved. . . LOL Whenever I get a chance I head up into that area. (by that I mean every few years - it's an expensive trip from the Caribbean :o) Otherwise I watch the seasons via webcam.

Were u stranded there? or just skiing?

Both. Skied four days in powder up to my knees. Wanted to do some back-country but avalanche danger too high for my comfort level. When it was time for us to leave we were 2 days and four canceled flights before we were able to leave. Too soon for me. We try to make it up thers every other year.
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Explain this. How do major world governments benefit from politicizing the global warming issue? How does reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other pollutants negatively affect the people of the Earth? Why do so many sensible people allow this issue to cloud thier judgement to the point that they tune out the observbations of entire sections of the scientific community? Do people really believe that these scientists are just hungry for grant money? It is my experience that writing grants and following through with the scientific process is typically a very thankless profession. You are more likely to get fame and riches by becoming a musician or actor and then making a complete fool of yourself.



An Introduction to Storm Observation and Reporting
National Weather Service Norman, Oklahoma
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/stormspotting/ Link




Spotter Safety: Your Number One Priority Link
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Quoting help4u:
Pravda,just out today,"Earth on brink of ice age".Evidence from field of climate science.Maybe this global warming hoax can be put to rest.
earth always on the brink of something
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The GW debate has been flying through here... all day long...
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 1807

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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