Stale News? Mail on Sunday Corrects Yet Another David Rose “Porky Pie”

Our continuing campaign against the Daily Mail Group porky pie production line has just borne some slightly less low hanging fruit!

Perhaps Lamar Smith, Chairman of the United states’ House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, would like to play “spot the difference” with us once again? Here are three different versions of David Rose’s February 19th article in the Mail on Sunday, entitled “US Congress launches a probe into climate data that duped world leaders over global warming“:

Version 1:


Version 2:


Version 3:


Which version do you like best Lamar? 1, 2 or 3?

What do you make of Michael Mann’s written testimony yesterday?

Answers on a postcard please, to the usual address:

Snow Y. White,
Great White Con Ivory Towers,
Nr. Santa’s Secret Summer Swimming Pool,
Central Arctic Basin

The House Science Climate Model Show Trial

The show is over, and it went pretty much as Alice F. predicted it would. Lamar Smith has passed his verdict on the morning’s proceedings in strangely untheatrical style:

My own mileage certainly varied from Lamar’s! Here’s a hasty summary of events via the distorting lens of Twitter:


A more detailed analysis of United States’ House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s “show trial” of climate models will follow in due course, but for now if you so desire you can watch the entire event on YouTube:

I’ll have to at least watch the bit where my live feed cut out as Dana Rohrabacher slowly went ballistic with Mike Mann:

Please bear in mind that correlation does not necessarily imply causation!


I wonder whether at this juncture Mike wishes he’d taken David Titley’s advice?

Nevertheless, given our long running campaign against the climate science misinformation frequently printed in the Mail on Sunday it gives us great pleasure to reprint in full the following extract from his written testimony today:

For proper context, we must consider the climate denial myth du jour that global warming has “stopped”. Like most climate denial talking points, the reality is pretty much the opposite of what is being claimed by the contrarians. All surface temperature products, including the controversial UAH satellite temperature record, show a clear long-term warming trend over the past several decades:


We have now broken the all-time global temperature record for three consecutive years and a number of published articles have convincingly demonstrated that global warming has continued unabated despite when one properly accounts for the vagaries of natural short-term climate fluctuations. A prominent such study was published by Tom Karl and colleagues in 2015 in the leading journal Science. The article was widely viewed as the final nail in the “globe has stopped warming” talking point’s coffin.

Last month, opinion writer David Rose of the British tabloid the Daily Mail — known for his serial misrepresentations of climate change and his serial attacks on climate scientists, published a commentary online attacking Tom Karl, accusing him of having “manipulated global warming data” in the 2015 Karl et al article. This fake news story was built entirely on an interview with a single disgruntled former NOAA employee, John Bates, who had been demoted from a supervisory position at NOAA for his inability to work well with others.

Bates’ allegations were also published on the blog of climate science denier Judith Curry (I use the term carefully—reserving it for those who deny the most basic findings of the scientific community, which includes the fact that human activity is substantially or entirely responsible for the large-scale warming we have seen over the past century — something Judith Curry disputes). That blog post and the Daily Mail story have now been thoroughly debunked by the actual scientific community. The Daily Mail claim that data in the Karl et al. Science article had been manipulated was not supported by Bates. When the scientific community pushed back on the untenable “data manipulation” claim, noting that other groups of scientists had independently confirmed Karl et al’s findings, Bates clarified that the real problem was that data had not been properly archived and that the paper was rushed to publication. These claims too quickly fell apart.

Though Bates claimed that the data from the Karl et al study was “not in machine-readable form”, independent scientist Zeke Hausfather, lead author of a study that accessed the data and confirmed its validity, wrote in a commentary “…for the life of me I can’t figure out what that means. My computer can read it fine, and it’s the same format that other groups use to present their data.” As for the claim that the paper was rushed to publication, Editor-in-chief of Science Jeremy Berg says, “With regard to the ‘rush’ to publish, as of 2013, the median time from submission to online publication by Science was 109 days, or less than four months. The article by Karl et al. underwent handling and review for almost six months. Any suggestion that the review of this paper was ‘rushed’ is baseless and without merit. Science stands behind its handling of this paper, which underwent particularly rigorous peer review.”

Shortly after the Daily Mail article went live, a video attacking Karl (and NOAA and even NASA for good measure) was posted by the Wall Street Journal. Within hours, the Daily Mail story spread like a virus through the right-wing blogosphere, appearing on numerous right-wing websites and conservative news sites. It didn’t take long for the entire Murdoch media empire in the U.S, U.K. and elsewhere to join in, with the execrable Fox News for example alleging Tom Karl had “cooked” climate data and, with no sense of irony, for political reasons.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of this committee has a history25 of launching attacks on climate science and climate scientists. He quickly posted a press release praising the Daily Mail article, placing it on the science committee website, and falsely alleging that government scientists had “falsified data”. Smith, it turns out, had been planning a congressional hearing timed to happen just days after this latest dustup, intended to call into question the basis for the EPA regulating carbon emissions. His accusations against Karl and NOAA of tampering with climate data was used in that hearing to claim that the entire case for concern over climate change was now undermined.

That’s pretty much the way we see things too Mike!

Censorship Down Under by Senator Malcolm Roberts

Senator Malcolm Roberts is live streaming “a public forum in Parliament House tonight where we will be deconstructing climate data from over 250 data sets” via his Facebook page. Allegedly:

You can listen in and see the empirical evidence for yourself which disproves the AGW hypothesis.

An invitation has also been extended to the Chief Scientist, CSIRO Chief Executive and staff, and the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology to attend and engage in these discussions.

Malcolm asked:


so I obliged with a few. They all seem to have disappeared:





Aren’t “One Nation” advocates of “free speech”? A prime prize of a packet of peanuts to the first person to spot one or more of the above in the wild on Facebook.


[Edit – March 30th]

Additional news on this story arrives via Twitter:

Should Climate Scientists Boycott Congressional Hearings?

In answer to the question posed in our title for today, retired Rear Admiral David Titley certainly seems to think so. According to his article for the Washington Post‘s “Capital Weather Gang”:

Unless you’ve been living under a (melting) ice shelf recently, you know by now the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science Space and Technology is holding a climate science hearing Wednesday to probe the “assumptions, policy implications and scientific method.”

This hearing, whose witnesses consist of one mainstream climate scientist and three other witnesses whose views are very much in the minority, is remarkably similar in structure and scope to the climate hearing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) conducted in December 2015 titled “Data or Dogma”? So similar that two of the five witnesses from the Cruz hearing will also testify on Wednesday.

In the past, the science community has participated in these hearings, even though questioning the basics of climate change is akin to holding a hearing to examine whether Earth orbits the sun.


As our regular reader(s) will be aware we have been characterising today’s hearing as a “show trial”, and David Titley agrees:

For years, these hearings have been designed not to provide new information or different perspectives to members of Congress but, rather, to perpetuate the myth that there is a substantive and serious debate within the science community regarding the fundamental causes or existence of human-caused climate change.

Quite so David, but next comes a more controversial message seemingly aimed at his Penn State colleague Michael Mann, who is due to appear before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology later today:

We should no longer be duped into playing along with this strategy.

Despite sending many skilled science communicators to testify at the hearings over the years and even when scoring tactical victories, the strategic effect of participating at these hearings has been to sustain the perception of false equivalence, a perception only exaggerated by the majority’s ability to select a grossly disproportionate number of witnesses far removed from mainstream science (it’s not coincidence that Judith Curry, professor emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology, and John Christy, professor of atmospheric sciences, University of Alabama at Huntsville, are called upon so often by the Republicans).

A better response would be to simply boycott future hearings of this kind and to call out these hearings for what they are: a tactic to distract the public from a serious policy debate over how to manage both the short- and long-term risks of climate change. These hearings are designed to provide theatrics, question knowledge that has been well understood for more than 150 years, and leave the public with a false sense that significant uncertainty and contention exist within the science community on this issue.

“Boycott future hearings” then, but perhaps not today’s? We will discover what Michael Mann has to say later today, assuming he turns up! Ex Rear Admiral Titley does have experience of similar “show trials”. Here is a recording of what he said to Senator Ted Cruz’s so called “Data or Dogma: Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate” hearing:

According to David Titley’s written testimony:

A combination of multiple, independent sources of data provide the basis to the latest conclusion from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950’s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia…
Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.”

We should not be surprised; these conclusions rest on science discovered in the 19th century by Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius and their colleagues and validated by many scientists in the subsequent decades.

It is worth noting that private industry independently arrived at these same conclusions decades ago. t is worth noting that private in
dustry independently arrived at these same conclusions decades
ago. Recently released documents show that in 1980 Exxon researchers projected the impacts on global temperature due to increasing greenhouse gasses with astonishing accuracy.

From David Titley’s verbal testimony:

The more we looked at the data, the more we saw that not only were the air temperatures coming up, but the water temperatures were coming up, the sea level was coming up, the glaciers were retreating, the oceans were acidifying. When you put all those independent lines of evidence together, coupled with a theory that was over 100 years old that had stood the test of time, it kinda made sense.

Does it mean we know everything? No, but does it mean we know enough that we should be considering this and acting? Yes, it’s called risk management and that’s what we were doing.

Apparently David thinks Ted Cruz wasn’t listening particularly carefully in December 2015, and that Lamar Smith won’t be listening carefully to Prof. Mann today.

Shock News! Alice F. Convicted in WUWT Show Trial!!

Regular readers will be aware that Snow White and I have long been banished from the hallowed halls of Watts Up With That. What is one to do, then, when Anthony Watts publishes these scurrilous allegations about one’s character by the pseudonymous “Sunsettommy” under an article by David Middleton on a topic under much discussion here?

Your ice obsession is destroying you and Jim Hunt,who was exposed as a dishonest person over his absurd cherry picking of a small area while Tony was covering the ENTIRE Arctic region. Tony just today exposed Hunts dishonesty, by showing that his small Canadian region is actually thicker than last year.

The two of you are gaining a stellar reputation as wild eyed warmist morons,who will lie or distort the topic presented, Tony has effectively destroyed your low Arctic ice baloney, to the point that you now get derision there, since your replies are free of any science information,meaning you have no effective counterpoint to offer,just brainless opinions, nothing more.

With the usual channels of communication solidly blocked our very good friend Alice F. helpfully leapt into the breach:

SST – It seems as though you’ve been unable to confirm Aphan’s conjecture with evidence of an accurate prediction [from Tony Heller]? Meanwhile your aforementioned “Mr. Hunt” posted this “data based presentation” earlier:


“You don’t even need to be familiar with the satellite products to understand that the sea ice edge to the north of the Barents Sea doesn’t currently consist of multi-year ice.”

Any comment?

Much witty banter about Arctic sea ice maps and metrics ensued! Here is one of the more inventive comments, from the pseudonymous “2hotel9”:

Every time leftarded c*nts like you get caught being leftarded c*nts all you do is cry. Wahwahwahwahwahwahwah. Too f*cking funny.

That sort of thing apparently does not violate any of the carefully crafted house rules at WUWT, whereas this comment of Alice’s does:


Unabashed by her love letter being so swiftly trampled underfoot on the WUWT cutting room floor Alice valiantly pursued the matter with Anthony on Twitter, where in his habitual fashion he gleefully unfrocked her in public view of the whole of cyberspace:


[Edit – March 29th]

Anthony Watts has finally [snip]ped the four letter words uttered by “2hotel9”.

However there’s still no sign of him allowing yours truly a right of reply to SST’s libellous attacks upon my unblemished (outside the cryodenialosphere) character:

Watch this space!

A Report on the State of the Arctic in 2017

Our title for today is borrowed then modified from the title of a Global Warming Policy Foundation report entitled “The State of the Climate in 2016”. The associated GWPF press release assures us that:

A report on the State of the Climate in 2016 which is based exclusively on observations rather than climate models is published today.

Compiled by Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway), the new climate survey is in sharp contrast to the habitual alarmism of other reports that are mainly based on computer modelling and climate predictions.

Prof Humlum said: “There is little doubt that we are living in a warm period. However, there is also little doubt that current climate change is not abnormal and not outside the range of natural variations that might be expected.

However it seems as though the sharp contrast to other reports is that the GWPF’s effort is evidently hot off their porky pie production line. By way of example, Prof. Humlum’s “white paper” is not “based exclusively on observations rather than climate models” nor is it “The World’s first” such “State of the Climate Survey”. As Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville pointed out on Watts Up With That of all places:

Ummm… I believe the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS) annual State of the Climate report is also observation-based…been around many years.

Meanwhile on Twitter Victor Venema of the University of Bonn pointed out that:

and Mark McCarthy of the UK Met Office added that:

All in all there are several “alternative facts” in just the headline and opening paragraph of the GWPF’s press release, which doesn’t augur well for the contents of the report itself!

It’s no coincidence (IMHO!) that a day later the United States’ House Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced their planned hearing on March 29th entitled “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method“:

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – 10:00am
Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Dr. Judith Curry

President, Climate Forecast Applications Network; Professor Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. John Christy

Professor and Director, Earth System Science Center, NSSTC, University of Alabama at Huntsville; State Climatologist, Alabama

Dr. Michael Mann

Professor, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

Professor, Environmental Studies Department, University of Colorado

John Christy doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account, but the other three “expert witnesses” announced there involvement, as revealed in this slideshow of learned (and not so learned!) comments on Twitter:


You may have noticed that in response to the GWPF’s propaganda I pointed them at a “State of the Arctic in 2017” report of my own devising which is in actual fact “based exclusively on observations rather than climate models” and looks like this:


NASA Worldview “false-color” image of the Bering Sea on March  22nd 2017, derived from the MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite
NASA Worldview “false-color” image of the Bering Sea on March 22nd 2017, derived from the MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite
NASA Worldview “false-color” image of the Kara Sea on March  22nd 2017, derived from the MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite
NASA Worldview “false-color” image of the Kara Sea on March 22nd 2017, derived from the MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite
Synthetic aperture radar image of the Wandel Sea on March 21st 2017, from the ESA Sentinel 1B satellite
Synthetic aperture radar image of the Wandel Sea on March 21st 2017, from the ESA Sentinel 1B satellite

We feel sure that Lamar Smith and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology won’t comprehend the significance of those observations, but will nonetheless be pleased to see the GWPF’s report become public knowledge shortly before their planned hearing next week.

We also feel sure they were pleased to view the contents of another recent “white paper” published under the GWPF banner. The author was ex Professor Judith Curry, and the title was “Climate Models for the Layman“. Lamar Smith et al. certainly seem to qualify as laymen, and Judith’s conclusion that:

There is growing evidence that climate models are running too hot and that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is at the lower end of the range provided by the IPCC.

will no doubt be grist to their climate science bashing mill next Wednesday. Unfortunately that conclusion is yet another “alternative fact” according to the non laymen.

This report, however, does little to help public understanding; well, unless the goal is to confuse public understanding of climate models so as to undermine our ability to make informed decisions. If this is the goal, this report might be quite effective.

That certainly seems to be the goal of the assorted parties involved, and consequently we cannot help but wonder if the David and Judy Show will put on another performance this coming Sunday morning? Paraphrasing William Shakespeare:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
Lamar Smith comes to bury Michael Mann, not to praise him

Shock News! Mail on Sunday Silently “Corrects” Another David Rose “Porky Pie”

In our latest astonishing disclosure concerning David Rose’s optimistically named “Climategate 2” campaign in the Mail on Sunday in February we can now reveal the Mail’s botched attempt to cover up another “inadvertent” error in Mr. Rose’s February 19th article entitled “US Congress launches a probe into climate data that duped world leaders over global warming“.

In actual fact it’s the US Congress that’s being duped. Perhaps Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, would like to play “spot the difference” with us? Here’s an extract from the original article:


and here’s the same section of the allegedly “corrected” article.


One of Mr. Rose’s “porky pies” concerning a statement supposedly made last month by Peter Stott from the UK Met Office has gone missing. There’s no apology or explanation in either the online or print version of the apology for a “correction” issued by the Mail on Sunday at the weekend.

Not only that, but an entire paragraph concerning the alleged “pause” has evaporated into thin air.

Not only that, but the alleged “correction” included below the offending article is different to the “official” version published in print at the weekend. Take another look:


Something is rotten in the state of MayBeLand. And in the state of TrumpLand too.

Don’t Panic! It’s Just Another Climategate 2 Correction!!

Regular readers will be aware that the alleged “Global Warming Policy Forum” recently published what they describe with tongue in cheek as a “correction” to one of the many egregious inaccuracies published on their web site recently.

Last night the Mail Online web site followed suit by publishing an excuse for a “correction” to the self same egregious inaccuracy published on February 19th 2017 as part of David Rose’s self christened “Climategate 2” campaign in the Mail on Sunday. Here’s how I announced that momentous event to the waiting World:

and here’s how that version looked in virtual print last night:


Now in actual fact I reported this particular inaccuracy to David Rose’s managing editor at the Mail on Sunday weeks ago. This morning I rushed down to the local paper shop to discover how the Mail’s apology for a “correction” looked in actual print. I searched in vain for a “climate change” story or even a “science” story with which it might have been associated, but I failed miserably.

I eventually located it hiding at the bottom of a story entitled “Troops trained by modern day Captain Mainwarings… at Barclays Bank HQ“, which looks like this:



They are an elite fighting force with proud history and a fearsome reputation for being among the toughest soldiers in the British Army.

But now, in an extraordinary military first, a battalion of the crack Parachute Regiment are to receive key aspects of their training from Barclays Bank.

The astonishing scheme has echoes of the classic sitcom Dad’s Army, in which hapless bank manager Captain Mainwaring attempted to whip his platoon into shape.

What a picture of Arthur Lowe has to do with that story, or “Climategate 2” for that matter, escapes me but nonetheless beneath that load of “investigative” churnalism the printed version of the Mail’s alleged “correction” looks like this:


One of the numerous problems with the Mail and the GWPF’s version of these recent events is that none of the UK Met Office insiders I have contacted have any idea what the Mail might be blathering on about:

Snow White’s very good friend Alice F. with her planet-wide patent pending hyper-sensitive wetware alternative facts detector is now on the case:

Alice's brain

Have no doubt about it. Alice’s little grey cells will get to the bottom of this mystery.

Watch this space!

That Deaf, Dumb and Blind Kid Sure Plays a Mean ClimateBall™

Our old friend Tony Heller has been publishing a glorious Gish gallop of articles showing OSI-SAF Arctic sea ice type maps and claiming amongst other things:

103% Increase In Multi-Year Sea Ice Since 2008” and

Extent Of Multi-Year Sea Ice At Ten Year High” and

Multi-year Arctic Sea Ice Extent At Ten Year High” and

Multi-Year Arctic Sea Ice Continues At Ten Year High“.

The most recent episode in the long running series is entitled “Multiyear Ice Extent up 116% Over The Past Decade“, wherein Tony claims that:

A decade after declaring the end of Arctic multi-year sea ice, it has increased 116% and now covers nearly half of the Arctic.

That is of course not true. In actual fact it’s an “alternative fact” par excellence!

I have been endeavouring to point out to Tony the error of his ways for weeks now, but my words have wisdom have fallen on deaf ears. My graphic graphics have been viewed only by “snow blind” eyes. My incontrovertible arguments have been misapprehended by purpose built dumb and dumberer wetware illogic. By way of example, here’s a refreshingly ad hom free riposte from a typical commenter:

Jimmy Boy actually thinks his honesty and integrity are equally to that of Anthony Watts???


No doubt we’ll get around to discussing Anthony Watts “honesty and integrity” again soon, but for now let’s see if we can finally set this particular badly warped record straight shall we?

Here is the latest OSI-SAF ice type map, for March 16th 2017:


The highlighted area on the left is the Beaufort Sea to the north of Canada. If you’re not “snow blind” you can no doubt readily perceive a large area of allegedly “multi-year sea ice” coloured white. Let’s now take a look at the most recent Canadian Ice Service map of the same area, for March 13th 2017:

Canadian Ice Service sea ice stage of development on March 13th 2017
Canadian Ice Service sea ice stage of development on March 13th 2017

Can you see a large area of brown “old ice” covering most of the surface of the Beaufort Sea?

Now let’s take a look on the other side of the Arctic at the area north of the Barents Sea. Can you see a large area of allegedly “multi-year sea ice” coloured white inside the red ellipse on the OSI-SAF map? Next let’s take a look at the most recent University of Bremen SMOS map of the Arctic, for March 15th 2017:


On this map the brightly coloured areas show sea ice that’s less than 50 cm thick. Even when two people explain this point slowly to them the “deplorable denizens” at Mr. Heller’s blog do not manage to get the message! So now let’s look at a closeup comparison between the OSI-SAF ice type map and the University of Bremen SMOS sea ice thickness map:


As I popped the question to the deplorable denizens over on Tony Heller’s Deplorable Climate Science blog:

For anybody else here who isn’t deaf, dumb and blind, please note all the young, thin sea ice around Svalbard identified by SMOS that OSI-SAF currently classifies as “multi-year” ice.

At the risk of (repeating myself)^n, n → ∞:
Why do Tony, Tommy and Andy persist with this nonsense?

We won’t get fooled again! Will we?

Is Arctic Ice Loss Driven by Natural Swings?

An interesting new paper on Arctic sea ice has just been published. According to the conclusions of “Influence of high-latitude atmospheric circulation changes on summertime Arctic sea ice“:

Although positive feedbacks between sea ice and the Arctic circulation exist, we find that these are small during summer. Instead, circulation variations over the Arctic have been a significant factor in driving sea-ice variability since 1979, and have had a non-trivial contribution to the total surface temperature trend over Greenland and northeastern Canada39 . The potentially large contribution of internal variability to sea-ice loss over the next 40 years reinforces the importance of natural contributions to sea-ice trends over the past several decades. The similarity of high-latitude circulation variability associated with sea-ice loss to the teleconnections with the tropical Pacific suggests a contribution of sea-ice losses from SST trends across the tropical Pacific Ocean. Decadal trends in the hemispheric circulation are an important driver of Arctic climate change, and therefore a significant source of uncertainty in projections of sea ice. Better understanding of these teleconnections and their representation in global models under increasing greenhouse gases may help increase predictability on seasonal to decadal timescales.

As you may already be able to imagine, this paper (PDF as submitted) is already the source of considerable controversy! Firstly let’s take a look at an overview of the paper from the University of Washington, entitled “Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice a combination of climate change and natural variability”:

“The idea that natural or internal variability has contributed substantially to the Arctic sea ice loss is not entirely new,” said second author Axel Schweiger, a University of Washington polar scientist who tracks Arctic sea ice. “This study provides the mechanism, and uses a new approach to illuminate the processes that are responsible for these changes.”

[First author Qinghua] Ding designed a new sea ice model experiment that combines forcing due to climate change with observed weather in recent decades. The model shows that a shift in wind patterns is responsible for about 60 percent of sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean since 1979. Some of this shift is related to climate change, but the study finds that 30-50 percent of the observed sea ice loss since 1979 is due to natural variations in this large-scale atmospheric pattern.

Now let’s take a look at another overview of the paper, this time from Roz Pidcock at Carbon Brief and entitled “Humans causing up to two-thirds of Arctic summer sea ice loss, study confirms”:

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for at least half, possibly up to two-thirds, of the drop in summer sea ice in the Arctic since the late 1970s, according to new research. The remaining contribution is the result of natural fluctuations, say the authors.

The paper, published today in Nature Climate Change, confirms previous studies which show how random variations in the climate have acted to enhance ice loss caused by rising CO2.

Importantly, the authors state clearly in the paper that their work does not absolve human activity as a driver of Arctic sea ice loss. A News and Views article that accompanies the paper, by Dr Neil Swart from Environment and Climate Change Canada, adds:

“The results of Ding et al. do not call into question whether human-induced warming has led to Arctic sea-ice decline — a wide range of evidence shows that it has.”

There has already been much debate about the paper on Twitter! Here’s the “scientific” edition:


and here’s the “skeptical” edition:


Needless to say Anthony Watts swiftly stepped up to the plate on the “skeptical” side of the “debate” with a guest article on his blog by David Middleton entitled “Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings, not just mankind: study” which begins by quoting a similarly titled Reuters article by Alister Doyle:

FILE PHOTO: An undated NASA illustration shows Arctic sea ice at a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. NASA/Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/C. Starr/Handout via Reuters/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An undated NASA illustration shows Arctic sea ice at a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. NASA/Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/C. Starr/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

Natural swings in the Arctic climate have caused up to half the precipitous losses of sea ice around the North Pole in recent decades, with the rest driven by man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday.

The study indicates that an ice-free Arctic Ocean, often feared to be just years away, in one of the starkest signs of man-made global warming, could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler mode.

Natural variations in the Arctic climate “may be responsible for about 30–50 percent of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979,” the U.S.-based team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

David embellished his article with some “humorous” asides such as:

This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world! Oh, it’s crashing … Oh, the humanity! Honest, I can hardly breathe. I’m going to step inside where I cannot see it.”

Please say it ain’t so!!!

“The melt of the Arctic is disrupting the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and damaging wildlife such as polar bears and seals while opening the region to more oil and gas and shipping.”

Eskimos, seals and polar bears!!! Oh My!!! And more oil and gas shipping!!! Aiiieeee!!!!
Eskimos, seals and polar bears!!! Oh My!!! And more oil and gas shipping!!! Aiiieeee!!!!

which some of us took exception to:

David – An Arctic indigenous person of my acquaintance asks me to tell you to “go f(r)@ck yourself”!

What should I reply on your behalf?

No answer has yet been received to that (im)pertinent question!

All this excitement in the Twittosphere and elsewhere leads one to wonder whether Ding, Schweiger et al. saw (or should have seen?) all this coming, and if so what might have been done differently? In any event this story is set to run and run and run and……


[Edit – March 18th]

I tried this Google search this morning:


38,000 results. We’re number 4. If you repeat the exercise please feel free to experiment with the search phrase(s) you employ. Make sure to only click on the link that leads you back here!

Watch this space.


Alternative Points of View – Scientific

William M. Connolley (AKA Stoat)

Without being able to pick any obvious holes I feel somewhat uncomfortable with that; the idea that September ice depends just on JJA circulation doesn’t feel at all right. Having decided that, though, they then run a variety of model experiments, for example “nudging” the circulation back to re-analysis, with and without an ocean-ice model underneath. And the result seems to be that it is mostly the circulation forcing the sea ice, rather than the sea ice changes forcing the atmosphere. This kinda-fits the “information flow” meme from way back so I should be prepared to accept that mostly. Having done that they then convince themselves that most of the circulation changes that matter to the ice are not GW forced, and so must be natural variability; and hence the conclusion. If you took all of this at face value then they’d have solved one of the puzzles, that on the whole models show much less ice decline that reality. But of course if the decline is substantially a freak of variation, not forced, that would fit.

The flaw in this overall, without looking at the details, is that it’s hard to see a near-40-year trend and being so much natural variability. That seems to be asking for an awful lot of one-way variation.


The Science Media Centre

Prof. Andrew Shepherd, Director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, said:

“According to this new research, the dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice that we have witnessed over recent decades is primarily due to anthropogenic (man-made) climate warming.

“Although this finding may not come as a surprise, being able to separate this from the effects of natural climate variability is an important step forwards, and paves the way for an improved understanding of what we should expect in future decades.”

Dr Ed Hawkins, Climate research scientist at the University of Reading, said:

“Recent summer Arctic sea ice extents have all been amongst the lowest on record but this is not necessarily all due to warming global temperatures – part of the sea ice decline is also because of changes in the atmospheric circulation.

“It is challenging to determine how much of the change in the circulation is itself due to warming temperatures, but this study suggests that a substantial fraction is due to natural fluctuations.

“Looking ahead, it is still a matter of when, rather than if, the Arctic will become ice-free in summer, but we expect to see periods where the ice melts rapidly and other times where it retreats less fast.”


Archived Alternative Points of View – “Skeptical”

Colin Fernandez at the Daily Mail

HALF of Arctic ice loss is driven by natural swings and not global warming, controversial study claims

  • Decline in ice cover due to ‘random’ and ‘chaotic’ natural changes in air currents
  • The rest has been driven by man-made global warming, scientists said


Colin Fernandez’ Daily Mail article reproduced at the “Global Warming Policy Forum

The Arctic icecap is shrinking – but it’s not all our fault, a major study of the polar region has found. At least half of the disappearance is down to natural processes, and not the fault of man made warming.

Part of the decline in ice cover is due to ‘random’ and ‘chaotic’ natural changes in air currents, researchers said.

The rest has been driven by man-made global warming, scientists said.

The research means that although it is widely feared that the Arctic could soon be free of ice, this could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler cycle.


Colin Fernandez’ Daily Mail article reproduced at Mark Morano’s “Climate Depot

Study in journal Nature: HALF of Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings — not ‘global warming’


David Middleton at Anthony Watts’ “Watts Up With That

From the No Schist, Sherlock files…

Perspective: NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice Index Interactive Graph

The five earliest years of data plot near +2 standard deviations. The five most recent full years of data plot near or just outside of -2 standard deviations. Ding et al., 2017 conclude that up to half of the difference is due to the NAO and other natural climate fluctuations.


Paul Homewood at “Not a Lot of People Know That

Shock news! Scientists discover natural climate cycles.

Astonishingly though, the study makes no mention of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which also has a significant effect on Arctic sea ice extent.

Since the late 1970s, the AMO has moved from the coldest point of its cycle to its highest, coinciding with a decline in Arctic sea ice coverage.


Patrick Michaels and Paul “Chip” Knappenburger at “The Cato Institute“:

Considering that the climate models are already performing poorly as it is, the new finding means that they are actually faring even worse than has been generally realized. And accounting for this strengthens the case for a lukewarming future from greenhouse gas emissions.

Ring up another strike against the climate models, and another reason why basing government policy on their output is a bad idea.