Earth's attic is on fire: Arctic sea ice bottoms out at a new record low

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on September 20, 2012

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The extraordinary decline in Arctic sea ice during 2012 is finally over. Sea ice extent bottomed out on September 16, announced scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) on Wednesday. The sea ice extent fell to 3.41 million square kilometers, breaking the previous all-time low set in 2007 by 18%--despite the fact that this year's weather was cloudier and cooler than in 2007. Nearly half (49%) of the icecap was gone during this year's minimum, compared to the average minimum for the years 1979 - 2000. This is an area approximately 43% of the size of the Contiguous United States. And, for the fifth consecutive year--and fifth time in recorded history--ice-free navigation was possible in the Arctic along the coast of Canada (the Northwest Passage), and along the coast of Russia (the Northeast Passage or Northern Sea Route.) "We are now in uncharted territory," said NSIDC Director Mark Serreze. "While we've long known that as the planet warms up, changes would be seen first and be most pronounced in the Arctic, few of us were prepared for how rapidly the changes would actually occur. While lots of people talk about opening of the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic islands and the Northern Sea Route along the Russian coast, twenty years from now from now in August you might be able to take a ship right across the Arctic Ocean."


Figure 1. Arctic sea ice reached its minimum on September 16, 2012, and was at its lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

When was the last time the Arctic was this ice-free?
We can be confident that the Arctic did not see the kind of melting observed in 2012 going back over a century, as we have detailed ice edge records from ships (Walsh and Chapman, 2001). It is very unlikely the Northwest Passage was open between 1497 and 1900, since this spanned a cold period in the northern latitudes known as "The Little Ice Age". Ships periodically attempted the Passage and were foiled during this period. Research by Kinnard et al. (2011) shows that the Arctic ice melt in the past few decades is unprecedented for at least the past 1,450 years. We may have to go back to at least 4,000 B.C. to find the last time so little summer ice was present in the Arctic. Funder and Kjaer (2007) found extensive systems of wave generated beach ridges along the North Greenland coast, which suggested the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in the summer for over 1,000 years between 6,000 - 8,500 years ago, when Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. Prior to that, the next likely time was during the last inter-glacial period, 120,000 years ago. Arctic temperatures then were 2 - 3°C higher than present-day temperatures, and sea levels were 4 - 6 meters higher.


Figure 2. Year-averaged and 3-month averaged Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent from Chapman and Walsh (2001), as updated by the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today. I've updated their graph to include 2011 plus the first 9 months of 2012.


Figure 3. Late summer Arctic sea ice extent over the past 1,450 years reconstructed from proxy data by Kinnard et al.'s 2011 paper, Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years. The solid pink line is a smoothed 40-year average, and the light pink areas shows a 95% confidence interval.  Note that the modern observational data in this figure extend through 2008, though the extent is not as low as the current annual data due to the 40-year smoothing. More commentary on this graph is available at skepticalscience.com.

When will the Arctic be ice-free in summer?
So, when will Santa's Workshop need to be retrofitted with pontoons to avoid sinking to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean in summer? It's hard to say, since there is a large amount of natural variability in Arctic weather patterns. Day et al. (2012) found that 5 to 31% of the changes in Arctic sea ice could be due to natural causes. However, the sea ice at the summer minimum has been declining at a rate of 12% per decade, far in excess of the worst-case scenario predicted in the 2007 IPCC report. Forecasts of an ice-free Arctic range from 20 - 30 years from now to much sooner. Just this week, Dr. Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University predicted that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within four years. A study by Stroeve et al. (2012), using the updated models being run for the 2014 IPCC report, found that "a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean within the next few decades is a distinct possibility." Of the 21 models considered, 2022 was the earliest date that complete Arctic sea ice occurred in September.


Video 1. A powerful storm wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover in August 2012. This visualization shows the strength and direction of the winds and their impact on the ice: the red vectors represent the fastest winds, while blue vectors stand for slower winds. According to NSIDC, the storm sped up the loss of the thin ice that appears to have been already on the verge of melting completely.Video credit: NASA.

But Antarctic sea ice is growing!
It's a sure thing that when Arctic sea ice hits new record lows, global warming contrarians will attempt to draw attention away from the Arctic by talking about sea ice around Antarctica. A case in point is an article that appeared in Forbes on Wednesday by James Taylor. Mr. Taylor wrote, "Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year)...Amusingly, page after page of Google News results for Antarctic sea ice record show links to news articles breathlessly spreading fear and warning of calamity because Arctic sea ice recently set a 33-year low. Sea ice around one pole is shrinking while sea ice around another pole is growing. This sure sounds like a global warming crisis to me."

This analysis is highly misleading, as it ignores the fact that Antarctica has actually been warming in recent years. In fact, the oceans surrounding Antarctica have warmed faster than the global trend, and there has been accelerated melting of ocean-terminating Antarctic glaciers in recent years as a result of warmer waters eating away the glaciers. There is great concern among scientists about the stability of two glaciers in West Antarctica (the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers) due the increase in ocean temperatures. These glaciers may suffer rapid retreats that will contribute significantly to global sea level rise.

Despite the warming going on in Antarctica, there has been a modest long-term increase in Antarctic sea ice in recent decades. So, how can more sea ice form on warmer ocean waters? As explained in an excellent article at skepticalscience.com, the reasons are complex. One reason is that the Southern Ocean consists of a layer of cold water near the surface and a layer of warmer water below. Water from the warmer layer rises up to the surface, melting sea ice. However, as air temperatures warm, the amount of rain and snowfall also increases. This freshens the surface waters, leading to a surface layer less dense than the saltier, warmer water below. The layers become more stratified and mix less. Less heat is transported upwards from the deeper, warmer layer. Hence less sea ice is melted (Zhang 2007). As the planet continues to warm, climate models predict that the growth in Antarctic sea ice will reverse, as the waters become too warm to support so much sea ice.


Figure 4. Surface air temperature over the ice-covered areas of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica (top), and sea ice extent, observed by satellite (bottom). Image credit: (Zhang 2007).

Commentary: Earth's attic is on fire
To me, seeing the record Arctic sea ice loss of 2012 is like discovering a growing fire burning in Earth's attic. It is an emergency that requires immediate urgent attention. If you remove an area of sea ice 43% the size of the Contiguous U.S. from the ocean, it is guaranteed to have a significant impact on weather and climate. The extra heat and moisture added to the atmosphere as a result of all that open water over the pole may already be altering jet stream patterns in fall and winter, bringing an increase in extreme weather events. This year's record sea ice loss also contributed to an unprecedented melting event in Greenland. Continued sea ice loss will further increase melting from Greenland, contributing to sea level rise and storm surge damages. Global warming doubters tell us to pay attention to Earth's basement--the Antarctic--pointing out (incorrectly) that there is no fire burning there. But shouldn't we be paying attention to the steadily growing fire in our attic? The house all of humanity lives on is on fire. The fire is certain to spread, since we've ignored it for too long. It is capable of becoming a raging fire that will burn down our house, crippling civilization, unless we take swift and urgent action to combat it.

References
Funder, S. and K.H. Kjaer, 2007, "A sea-ice free Arctic Ocean?", Geophys. Res. Abstr. 9 (2007), p. 07815.

Kinnard et al., 2011, "Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years".

Walsh, J.E and W.L.Chapman, 2001, "Twentieth-century sea ice variations from observational data", Annals of Glaciology, 33, Number 1, January 2001, pp. 444-448.

Related info
Half of the polar ice cap is missing: Arctic sea ice hits a new record low. September 6, 2012 blog post
Wunderground's Sea Ice page

Jeff Masters and Angela Fritz

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Quoting eyeofbetsy:


Agreed. Would rather have a little warming than a glacier coming down the street.



I don't think you fully understand all of the combined effects of AGW in addition to the pollution and other impacts of our over-population.

We have fished the oceans to the point that the growth rate an reproductive rate of organisms has been shunted. The current practice of taking only the largest fish in the population is detrimental because it removes the "big genes" and the "fast grower" genes, which causes the average max size of fish to shrink over many generations.


Predatory fish populations has declined by about 90%, that is to 10% of historical normals, because there is nothing for them to eat.

If this continues, in a few more decades many shark species and predatory whale species may go extinct, in spite of being some of the longest lived known species on the planet.


When they fish for squid, they go out and use light traps and enormous nets, and can catch a couple million pounds in one night. It's as if the fisherman are carving out a huge chunk of the entire biosphere in just a few hours. The squid are sold to Japan and other eastern nations where they are a popular food, but squid are normally a major food source for many shark and whale species. As shark and whale species are threatened, many scavenger species will also be threatened.

I think it was Bill Meyer (can't stand the guy,) but he made a joke a few years ago about humans eating up everything in the ocean until nothing but Jellyfish were left alive, and then he said I guess we'll eat those too...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting overwash12:
I am not trying to be the wise guy here,but my first question still applies here. How do we know this has not happened before,since the ice is long gone and we did not have satellites monitoring Arctic ice before 1979?

In order to give at best a speculative answer to your question it would be vital to have a time scale which you are talking about.
IE. If your question concerns say recent semi recorded history of say the last 5,000 years.
The last 50,000 years, or for simple arguments sake, a million years?
As is stated in the blog heading, wave scouring took place along the north coast of Greenland from 6,000 to 8,500 years AGO.

"beach ridges along the North Greenland coast, which suggested the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in the summer for over 1,000 years between 6,000 - 8,500 years ago,"

In order for ware scouring to take place, there had to be waves of water. So in simple terms the ice was not present in that area in the stated period for at least some of the time.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
94L looks about ready:

AL, 94, 2012092018, , BEST, 0, 306N, 540W, 35, 1006, LO, 34, NEQ, 350, 0, 0, 0, 1018, 400, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
It looks like this storm will skip the Subtropical Depression stage.
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A Polar Shift in 2012 IS possible........Link
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Quoting eyeofbetsy:


Agreed. Would rather have a little warming than a glacier coming down the street.


Oh, the consequences are much worse than just a "little warming". Global riots, probable wars over natural resources such as clean water and food, extreme droughts, desertification, more rain; flooding, coastal cities inundated, hundreds of millions of people having to be displaced--to name a few.

With all the CO2 we have put--and continue to put--in the air, we can say for certain that we have made sure an ice age isn't coming anytime soon.
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And yet another monster in the making in the West Pacific:



Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7849
Quoting Neapolitan:
94L looks about ready:

AL, 94, 2012092018, , BEST, 0, 306N, 540W, 35, 1006, LO, 34, NEQ, 350, 0, 0, 0, 1018, 400, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,

Good afternoon everyone. Looks like if 94L is classified it will become Oscar right away, not a TD.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7849
Setting the world on fire: Stunning picture of rare 'devil tornado' emerges

Link
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Quoting eyeofbetsy:


Agreed. Would rather have a little warming than a glacier coming down the street.
yes i agree with you there.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Quoting overwash12:
I am not trying to be the wise guy here,but my first question still applies here. How do we know this has not happened before,since the ice is long gone and we did not have satellites monitoring Arctic ice before 1979?


We have captain's logs from the age of exploration and the colonial period.

The Northwest passage was apparently never successfully navigated in recorded history until 1903 to 1906 by Roald Amundsen and crew. Hmmm, they never give the crew any credit in these explorations, such a shame.


this is not to say it couldn't have happened 6000 to 8500 years ago, because we know both the Japanese and Polynesians did in fact make it to South America (through DNA evidence in the Japanese case, via an ultra-rare viral strain). If they navigated to S. America during that time period, it's possible they could have discovered the N. West passage if it was open, since it is believed the journey to S. America was made by following kelp forests in canoes or other small boats along the entire W. coast of N. America and all the way down to S. America, so these ancient Japanese explorers would have probably made many landings in what is modern U.S. soil.

If it was open, the N. West passage would have been one of the first important water features any such expedition would have encountered.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting LargoFl:
we now in our lifetimes, are inbetween Ice Ages..which happen roughly every 10,000 years or so, and the Last ice age ended roughly 10,000 years ago..what does that tell you?..sometime people will be worrying...NOT about the ice vanishing..BUT..OMG..ICE everywhere..what happens when it gets 2 miles thick?....POOF we go, thats what happens...the start could..be getting started in our childrens or grand childrens lifetimes, time will tell..so enjoy the global h
eating, it surely wont last.


Agreed. Would rather have a little warming than a glacier coming down the street.
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94L looks about ready:

AL, 94, 2012092018, , BEST, 0, 306N, 540W, 35, 1006, LO, 34, NEQ, 350, 0, 0, 0, 1018, 400, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
There are 1 days, 20 hours, 4 minutes, 1 seconds until the Autumnal Equinox
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9733
Quoting RTSplayer:


I did not say that.

I'm not sure who made that argument, but it may be true to some tiny extent, but probably not enough to matter.
[...]br>In simple terms, the "normal line" is always perfectly vertical, i.e. "straight up" from the point of the surface where you are making the measurement.
OK, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying.

I understand the meaning of term "normal" as a generalization of "perpendicular" in cartesian coordinates. Good explanation, thank you.

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Quoting clamshell:
One of our memembers commented...

'But reality, of course, cares not one bit whether anyone wants it to happen or not, or for what reasons. One can stand outside in a thunderstorm and repeatedly proclaim, "I'm not ready to go inside yet. Therefore, it's not raining." But that won't make the rain stop falling...'

The first sentence was well put.

The example that followed was way off target.

The thunderstorm analogy would only work if it was presented as follows.

A thunderstorm is approaching and the person proclaims that they are not ready to go inside and they will do so if it starts to rain. There is no such thing as a 'sure thing' when dealing with the weather. While the rain appears to be approaching, there is no guarantee that it will rain until it does.

Likewise, AGW is still something that is supposedly in the process of occurring. The outcome is still in the future.

Like it or not, AGW might be the correct interpretation of the information, and it is equally true that the interpretations might be incorrect, that we are missing something.

Only time will tell who is actually right.


Since thousands of scientists have spent years searching for that "something we might be missing", and yet they've come up empty-handed, the chances are astronomically high against it being something besides what every bit of existing evidence says it is.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
we now in our lifetimes, are inbetween Ice Ages..which happen roughly every 10,000 years or so, and the Last ice age ended roughly 10,000 years ago..what does that tell you?..sometime people will be worrying...NOT about the ice vanishing..BUT..OMG..ICE everywhere..what happens when it gets 2 miles thick?....POOF we go, thats what happens...the start could..be getting started in our childrens or grand childrens lifetimes, time will tell..so enjoy the global heating, it surely wont last.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Quoting overwash12:
I am not trying to be the wise guy here,but my first question still applies here. How do we know this has not happened before,since the ice is long gone and we did not have satellites monitoring Arctic ice before 1979?
Start here: Arctic Sea Ice Hockey Stick: Melt Unprecedented in Last 1,450 years
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Some spin down in the BOC
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I am actually being quiet serious. As I stated, there was 2.71233million square km's of sea water less in the system. Wouldn't this net loss cause sea levels to fall?
Goodnight um Morning.
If we assume some average thickness of the ice to get an actual volume then the elevation of the ice falls to zero while the meltwater essentially replaces the displaced water for all practical purposes, so, no.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


If you read the doctor's post, you would know this has not happened in the past except twice in the past somewhere around 6,000 to 8,500 years, and around 120,000 years.

The one around 6k to 8.5k years is known to have been caused by orbital precesion, which is a natural phenomenon, but here's the catch: We are actually currently near the coolest 1/4th of that cycle, which lasts some 20-something thousand years or so.

So the astronomical cycles are actually in their cool phase, yet the planet is at or near the warmest it's been since at least before the Egyptian civilization existed.

At that time, there were large inland fresh water lakes in Lybia, which were as large or larger than the Great Lakes in the U.S., which had fresh water shellfish and fresh water fishes, and there are ancient cave paintings of humans of the time swimming in these lakes, and also documenting through pictograms that the rainfall rates were decreasing. There is, what appears to be, pictures of people praying for rain etched into the walls of the cave, because the rainfall had disappeared. The civilization's remnants appears to have moved to Egypt some time later. Today, these dry lake beds are deserts, but geologists can simply walk out into them and find an appropriate location and pick up the fresh water (and salt water) shellfish remnants. Now the salt water shellfish and whale bones come from a completely different era, when the area was connected to the Mediterranean, but that's beyond the scope of this course.
I am not trying to be the wise guy here,but my first question still applies here. How do we know this has not happened before,since the ice is long gone and we did not have satellites monitoring Arctic ice before 1979?
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Quoting guygee:
I have seen this argument, that the angle of incidence at the higher latitudes is such that open water will reflect most of the light anyways...but doesn't that only apply to a smooth water surface? Do empirical measurements by satellite actually bear this out? Can you show me the data?


I did not say that.

I'm not sure who made that argument, but it may be true to some tiny extent, but probably not enough to matter.


My position was just based on the basic geometry of a sphere, although the Earth is actually an irregular ellipsoid, but it's close enough to make little difference.

Ultimately, my argument was based in simple trigonometry. The higher the latitude the farther the angle of incidence is from the normal line. In this case, the normal line is that line which is orthogonal to a tangent plane at the surface.

For anyone who does not know this, being "orthogonal" to a plane means being perpendicular to both axis in that plane, while not being contained by that plane (to avoid any confusion).

In simple terms, the "normal line" is always perfectly vertical, i.e. "straight up" from the point of the surface where you are making the measurement.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting AussieStorm:

I am actually being quiet serious. As I stated, there was 2.71233million square km's of sea water less in the system. Wouldn't this net loss cause sea levels to fall?


I'll be back in the morning, after 4am here.
Goodnight um Morning.


No, not as long as it was floating ice.

With water, as its temperature decreases, it shrinks in volume until it reaches 32 degrees f. At that point it expands, which is why it floats.

The total amount of water remains the same and the ice does not change the level.

Weird but true.



Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
Quoting PlazaRed:

The sea ice didn't go anywhere, it was allready there, it just changed states from solid to liquid and probably continued circulating around in the same place it was when it was ice.
Interesting that video on the Arctic storm in the blog post, it must have acted like the big stirring spoon on the Arctic waters and probably resulting in a more even mix of the salty sea water and the freshly melted "ice water," I would imagine that the sea temps near the surface were very even after the storm over a very large area.
The sea levelswill only rise as a result of ice melt on the land as the sea wheather as water or ice is always the same volume.
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2012 is the year of extratropical storms : boring.
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Quoting AussieStorm:



The Arctic melted by(Max to Min) 11.47058million square km's and the Antarctic froze by(Min to Max) 14.18291million square km's.

So -2.71233million square km's of sea water(difference between Arctic melt and Antarctic freeze) has no effect on global sea levels.

If the ice is floating in the sea and it melts, it has no effect on sea levels.
Example:-
Fill a bath with water to a certain level. and put in a sizable chunk of ice.
Mark the water level on the inside of the bath.
When the ice is all melted the mark will be in the same place.
Note the levels will only be different if the big chunk of ice is touching the bottom of the bath, hence supporting some of its weight, so make sure that the ice is floating,like it is in the Arctic and a lot of the Antarctic oceans.
Its the ice that's melting on land that causes the problems with the sea level rise, as that adds to the total mass of water in the seas. Like running the bath tap.
That Archimedes chap worked some of it out a couple of thousand years ago.
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Quoting overwash12:
The only thing we are certain about Arctic record sea ice loss is: This record is only from 1979 to present. Not that we should not be concerned, but how do we know this has not happened in the past?


If you read the doctor's post, you would know this has not happened in the past except twice in the past somewhere around 6,000 to 8,500 years, and around 120,000 years.

The one around 6k to 8.5k years is known to have been caused by orbital precesion, which is a natural phenomenon, but here's the catch: We are actually currently near the coolest 1/4th of that cycle, which lasts some 20-something thousand years or so.

So the astronomical cycles are actually in their cool phase, yet the planet is at or near the warmest it's been since at least before the Egyptian civilization existed.

At that time, there were large inland fresh water lakes in Lybia, which were as large or larger than the Great Lakes in the U.S., which had fresh water shellfish and fresh water fishes, and there are ancient cave paintings of humans of the time swimming in these lakes, and also documenting through pictograms that the rainfall rates were decreasing. There is, what appears to be, pictures of people praying for rain etched into the walls of the cave, because the rainfall had disappeared. The civilization's remnants appears to have moved to Egypt some time later. Today, these dry lake beds are deserts, but geologists can simply walk out into them and find an appropriate location and pick up the fresh water (and salt water) shellfish remnants. Now the salt water shellfish and whale bones come from a completely different era, when the area was connected to the Mediterranean, but that's beyond the scope of this course.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting yonzabam:


From the blog (see above)


We may have to go back to at least 4,000 B.C. to find the last time so little summer ice was present in the Arctic. Funder and Kjaer (2007) found extensive systems of wave generated beach ridges along the North Greenland coast, which suggested the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in the summer for over 1,000 years between 6,000 - 8,500 years ago, when Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. Prior to that, the next likely time was during the last inter-glacial period, 120,000 years ago. Arctic temperatures then were 2 - 3°C higher than present-day temperatures, and sea levels were 4 - 6 meters higher.
All the ice looks to be pushed up against Greenland's north coast,perhaps from the fierce storm this summer.
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Quoting yonzabam:


I think you're now in wind up mode.

I am actually being quiet serious. As I stated, there was 2.71233million square km's of sea water less in the system. Wouldn't this net loss cause sea levels to fall?


I'll be back in the morning, after 4am here.
Goodnight um Morning.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

2.71233million square km didn't melted this year.
so should sea levels fall?

It's hard to tell if you're trolling or not...

Technically 2.7 million sq km will have absolutely zero volume, as it is a 2-dimensional measurement.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Very, very good.


Ah yes, you've seen the light.

Much of the N. hemisphere warming is caused by the second order albedo feedback on the continental surfaces due to snow pack and glacier loss in MID-latitudes, where the angle of solar incidence is much closer to the normal line, rather than in northern latitudes.
[...]
I have seen this argument, that the angle of incidence at the higher latitudes is such that open water will reflect most of the light anyways...but doesn't that only apply to a smooth water surface? Do empirical measurements by satellite actually bear this out? Can you show me the data?
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Quoting AussieStorm:

2.71233million square km didn't melted this year.
so should sea level fall?


I think you're now in wind up mode.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2935
Quoting AussieStorm:



The Arctic melted by(Max to Min) 11.47058million square km's and the Antarctic froze by(Min to Max) 14.18291million square km's.

So -1.54336million square km's of sea water(difference between Arctic melt and Antarctic freeze) has no effect on global sea levels.


Not trying to be picky...

If the ice in question is floating there will be no change in sea level. Sea level remains the same whether there is ice in the water or if it all melts.

Any sea level increase that might occur will be due to the overall increase in the temperature of the sea water itself, globally.

The only time that there is a potential for sea level to increase is when land locked ice melts and runs off into the sea. That water is additional volume and will indeed increase sea level.




Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
Quoting overwash12:
The only thing we a certain about Arctic record sea ice loss is: This record is only from 1979 to present. Not that we should not be concerned, but how do we know this has not happened in the past?


From the blog (see above)


We may have to go back to at least 4,000 B.C. to find the last time so little summer ice was present in the Arctic. Funder and Kjaer (2007) found extensive systems of wave generated beach ridges along the North Greenland coast, which suggested the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in the summer for over 1,000 years between 6,000 - 8,500 years ago, when Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. Prior to that, the next likely time was during the last inter-glacial period, 120,000 years ago. Arctic temperatures then were 2 - 3°C higher than present-day temperatures, and sea levels were 4 - 6 meters higher.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2935
Quoting yonzabam:


Well, of course not. Ice floating on water displaces its own volume.

2.71233million square km didn't melted this year.
so should sea levels fall?
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The only thing we are certain about Arctic record sea ice loss is: This record is only from 1979 to present. Not that we should not be concerned, but how do we know this has not happened in the past?
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Quoting AussieStorm:

But Dr Masters, Mr Taylor is still wrong.
The record as I quoted was back in 2007. 2012 fell short of that record.

Day 259-2012 had 16.14588million sq. km's of sea ice area.

Day 263-2007 had 16.23238million sq. km's of sea ice area.

The record is still 2007.

Or did Mr Taylor "cherry pick" that day and compare it to all 256days from 1979?



It is only appropriate to compare one day to itself in prior years, unless the record has smashed all daily records.


So you compare all day 1's to other day 1's, all day 2's to other day 2's, etc, etc, all day 256's to other day 256's. that's the whole point of daily graphs with different years having different color codes.







Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting AussieStorm:



The Arctic melted by(Max to Min) 11.47058million square km's and the Antarctic froze by(Min to Max) 14.18291million square km's.

So -1.54336million square km's of sea water(difference between Arctic melt and Antarctic freeze) has no effect on global sea levels.


Well, of course not. Ice floating on water displaces its own volume.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2935
Quoting PlazaRed:

The sea ice didn't go anywhere, it was allready there, it just changed states from solid to liquid and probably continued circulation around in the same place it was when it was ice.
Interesting that video on the Arctic storm in the blob post, it must have acted like the big stirring spoon on the Arctic waters and probably resulting in a more even mix of the salty sea water and the freshly melted "ice water," I would imagine that the sea temps near the surface were very even after the storm over a very large area.



The Arctic melted by(Max to Min) 11.47058million square km's and the Antarctic froze by(Min to Max) 14.18291million square km's.

So -2.71233million square km's of sea water(difference between Arctic melt and Antarctic freeze) has no effect on global sea levels.
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One of our memembers commented...

'But reality, of course, cares not one bit whether anyone wants it to happen or not, or for what reasons. One can stand outside in a thunderstorm and repeatedly proclaim, "I'm not ready to go inside yet. Therefore, it's not raining." But that won't make the rain stop falling...'

The first sentence was well put.

The example that followed was way off target.

The thunderstorm analogy would only work if it was presented as follows.

A thunderstorm is approaching and the person proclaims that they are not ready to go inside and they will do so if it starts to rain. There is no such thing as a 'sure thing' when dealing with the weather. While the rain appears to be approaching, there is no guarantee that it will rain until it does.

Likewise, AGW is still something that is supposedly in the process of occurring. The outcome is still in the future.

Like it or not, AGW might be the correct interpretation of the information, and it is equally true that the interpretations might be incorrect, that we are missing something.

Only time will tell who is actually right.


Member Since: June 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 125
Quoting AussieStorm:

Is it true that from day 1 of earth till now, the volume of water has not changed. Meaning, water that was on the Earth when it first formed is the same water volume today, in any form.


No.

The volume of water on Earth changes for many reasons.

1, Some hydrogen is stripped from water by solar radiation, providing a deacrease.

2, Some new hydrogen is produced in the Earth's core, mantle, and crust through nuclear decay processes. This hydrogen can then react with the Oxygen in rocks to produce water, Methane, or other compounds, including some minerals.

3, Hydrogen can be released from certain rock compounds, or as already mentioned, it can be released through natural means from naturally occuring hydrocarbon compounds.

4, Hydrogen is stored in the biomass of all living things, plus all dead things that are fossilized and especially all dead things which are buried, etc. It takes a long tiem for this to be released, but it too can become water by reacting with Oxygen either directly or indirectly.

5, Plants produce water vapor, in addition to Oxygen, from nutrient compounds in the soil plus the CO2 and sunlight they absorb.

6, Obviously both asteroids and comets contain water and hydrogen either as an ice, or as a chemical component in crystals and other compounds, so those increase total water.



There's probably a few other things I haven't thought of which change the water budget of the entire planet, but most of these things take enormous time scales to make a significant difference.

I suspect in modern times, radioactive decay inside the Earth producing some hydrogen, and solar radiation blowing hydrogen away are the two biggest factors in play.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Or did Mr Taylor "cherry pick" that day and compare it to all 256days from 1979?

yes
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Quoting JeffMasters:


I believe Mr. Taylor meant that the Antarctic set a record for day 256 of 2012, compared to all day 256s.

Jeff Masters

But Dr Masters, Mr Taylor is still wrong.
The record as I quoted was back in 2007. 2012 fell short of that record.

Day 259-2012 had 16.14588million sq. km's of sea ice area.

Day 263-2007 had 16.23238million sq. km's of sea ice area.

The record is still 2007.

Or did Mr Taylor "cherry pick" that day and compare it to all 256days from 1979?
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Quoting yonzabam:


Well, probably a little less because there are fewer people, but the effect would be negligible.

The southern hemisphere is mostly water, and water heats up to a lesser degree than land. The northern hemisphere is mostly land.

Across Siberia and northern Canada, there are perennial snowfields that don't melt in summer. The area of these snowfields is diminishing, so that Northern hemisphere albedo is decreasing.

This is a positive feedback that is virtually absent in the southern hemisphere
. Bear in mind that the major warming effects of greenhouse gases is not due to the direct re-radiation of outgoing infrared by those gases. It's due to positive feedbacks, such as diminishing albedo


Very, very good.


Ah yes, you've seen the light.

Much of the N. hemisphere warming is caused by the second order albedo feedback on the continental surfaces due to snow pack and glacier loss in MID-latitudes, where the angle of solar incidence is much closer to the normal line, rather than in northern latitudes.

The northern latitudes have not yet lost enough winter and spring time snow and glaciers to be of a huge consequence in terms of Albedo feedbacks, but that will change over the coming years and decades.

Where have we seen the detrimental impacts of this?

This very year's drought in the U.S. was partially caused by second order albedo feedback, as snowpacks and lake ice melted up to 2 months ahead of schedule, removing both the water reserves and the albedo of the terrain, setting the stage for super heating and super drying the land.

In the short term, this pattern will be the biggest problem with AGW, which is namely inland droughts in the U.S., among other locations, particularly, as I've said in the past, "upwind" from the great lakes where there are no liquid water reserves. Downwind from the lakes may see precipitation increases from lake effect weather, as well as on-shore winds from super-heated mid-latitude Atlantic waters off the coast of the mid-Atlantic states and New England.



Notice New England, as stated, jammed between the over-heated lakes and the over-heated Atlantic. Recipe for more extreme precipitation events, IMO...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
FWIW, the always awesome Tamino just wrote about the folly of comparing the two hemispheres over at his OpenMind blog, and he included this dual-pole anomaly plot to help illustrate it:

Antarctica

He also commented on the apparent latching on to the "day 256" record mentioned on another comment in this forum and elsewhere:

"Wow! Stop the presses! Extra!!! Extra!!! Read all about it!!! Antarctic sea ice reaches record high for this day of the year!... What a shame for that poor, poor, unimpressive Arctic sea ice. All it managed to do this year was set the record for lowest sea ice extent for a single day of the year for every day since July 28th. Yes, that's the last few days of July, the entire month of August, and the entire month of September -- so far. All it did was break the all-time record. All it was able to do this year was go below the pre-2012 all-time record 26 times -- so far."

He closes with this truism: "Really, there's no comparison [between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice]. But fake skeptics insist on making a comparison, because when they leave out the details it gives them something to talk about. And that's all they've got."

(FWIW, Arctic sea ice has set a record for lowest sea ice area for a single day of the year for every day since June 30th. That is, the entire month of July, the entire month of August, and the entire month of September -- so far. And area has gone below the pre-2012 all-time record 32 times so far.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
more ice in antarctica means less waves for s calif. and latin america
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Water freezing, clearly.

I'm having trouble understanding what you are getting at and why this has anything to do with Antarctica being a desert.


Water also freezes more readily, the less saline it is. If the water around Antarctica has become less saline due, for example, to increased precipitation or greater calving, then the area of ice could expand without any cooling
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2935
Quoting AussieStorm:


Just like the Arctic lost 11.47058million square km's. Where did all this water go????

The sea ice didn't go anywhere, it was allready there, it just changed states from solid to liquid and probably continued circulating around in the same place it was when it was ice.
Interesting that video on the Arctic storm in the blog post, it must have acted like the big stirring spoon on the Arctic waters and probably resulting in a more even mix of the salty sea water and the freshly melted "ice water," I would imagine that the sea temps near the surface were very even after the storm over a very large area.
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those darn lizard people
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Code Red




1. SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS BECOME A LITTLE BETTER
ORGANIZED IN ASSOCIATION WITH A NON-TROPICAL GALE LOCATED ABOUT 650
MILES EAST OF BERMUDA. CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR GRADUAL
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS LOW AS IT MOVES WESTWARD TO WEST-NORTHWESTWARD
AT ABOUT 10 MPH OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO...BUT ARE EXPECTED TO
BECOME LESS FAVORABLE THEREAFTER. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...
60 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A SUBTROPICAL OR TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
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first, I totally buy in to measurable accelerating global climate change. I also believe people are significantly contributing to the above.

what an awesome bunch of reading from the comments section of this blog!!

I have been an active PWS contributing paid member of wunderground for nearly 9 years and almost never miss the blogs by any of the staff. I was nearly shocked to read the final commentary and last few sentences. I do not recall ever seeing such strongly worded thoughts from Dr Masters or the rest of the staff - and I personally welcome it!!

my questions to the staff AND dedicated commentators:
1. is this the start of a new face to wunderground since its association with Weather Channel/NBC?
2. would this hard-hitting approach be ultimately beneficial to the scientific and public community, or; will it cause further entrenchment by the naysayers??

I can't wait to see your thoughts!!!
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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.