Prompted in part by the obvious difficulty the different models are currently having in generating accurate short term forecasts for the “New Arctic”, I’ve been recently been comparing assorted reanalysis products. For example the UCAR Climate Data Guide points out that:
NCEP Reanalysis (R2) is better than NCEP-NCAR (R1) but still a first generation reanalysis. It is best to use 3rd generation reanalyses, specifically, ERA-Interim and MERRA.
I recently discovered that Richard James has performed a similar analysis for the Arctic, which can be viewed at:
which makes it evident that NCEP-NCAR (R1) and ERA Interim have different ideas about surface temperatures in the Arctic. So does MERRA-2!
For a graphic example of the differences between the three products here is my version of Richard’s Arctic winter temperature comparison (note that currently ERA data is only available up to January 2017):
Can you spot the difference? In conclusion, here’s the Era Interim version of the High Arctic autumnal 925 hPa temperature trend graph at the top:
DMI’s daily mean temperature for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel has reached zero degrees Celsius almost exactly on the climatological schedule:
We calculate our freezing degree days on the basis of the freezing point of Arctic sea water at -1.8 degrees Celsius. On that basis this winter’s grand total of 3740 was reached on June 1st:
Despite the “coolish” recent weather total FDDs are way below the climatology and other recent years. Consequently there’s a lot less sea ice in the Arctic left to melt at the start of this Central Arctic melting season than in any previous year in the satellite record. However whilst there are some melt ponds visible in the Arctic Basin on MODIS, in that respect 2017 is lagging behind both last year and 2012.
Before we got on to the more usual Arctic metrics let’s bear in mind that the beginning of May is the time when the ice on the mighty Mackenzie River begins to break up, ultimately sending a surge of (comparatively!) warm water rushing into the Beaufort Sea. The patches of open water visible in the Beaufort Sea off the Mackenzie Delta in early April refroze, but have recently opened up once again:
Meanwhile Northern Hemisphere snow cover is falling fast, albeit still above last year’s levels:
Here’s the current view of the Liard River in northern Canada, with the Mackenzie River running bottom to top on the right hand side:
The break-up of the Liard leads the Mackenzie, and taking a look at last year’s view of the same area it’s apparent that this year there’s somewhat more snow on the ground, and that this years Mackenzie break-up will therefore be a few days later than last year:
Whilst early melt in the Beaufort Sea is currently behind last year, the reverse is most certainly the case next door in the Chukchi Sea. The skies are rather cloudy there at the moment, but using the Suomi NPP day/night band to peer through the gloom reveals this:
Whilst sea coverage on the Pacific periphery has continued to fall, extent on the Atlantic side has not been following suit. Hence overall Arctic sea ice area is no longer lowest in the satellite record:
Finally, until the new PIOMAS numbers are released at least, here’s how DMI freezing degree days look at the moment:
[Edit – May 4th]
The April PIOMAS numbers have been published: Arctic sea ice volume is yet again by far the lowest on record:
[Edit – May 5th]
Greenland ice sheet surface melt has started early this year:
[Edit – May 12th]
The ice break-up of the Mackenzie River is now visible as increased flow at the junction with Arctic Red River just south of the delta:
Meanwhile the sea ice in the Lincoln Sea north the Nares Strait is coming apart at the seams:
[Edit – May 17th]
May seems to be shaping up as month of two halves, both spatially and temporally. Here’s an overview of the current state of play:
On the Pacific side of the Arctic sea ice area has been declining rapidly courtesy of the expanding areas of open water visible in the Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian Seas. It’s currently tracking below other recent years:
However over on the Atlantic side area has been flatlining, and is currently above other recent years:
Ice mass balance buoy 2017A is now located near the boundary between the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and as the melting season in that vicinity rapidly approaches it reveals that thermodynamic thickening has thus far achieved a mere 119 cm:
Arctic wide sea ice area has recently started to decline at an increasing rate:
During the second half of the month it will be interesting to see whether the forecast high temperatures produce significant melt ponding. If so it’s conceivable that 2017 area could drop below 2016 again by the beginning of June. There already signs of surface melt at places as far apart as Franklin Bay, Chaunskaya Bay and even the Great Bear Lake!
Watch this space!
Muhammad, P., Duguay, C., and Kang, K.-K.: Monitoring ice break-up on the Mackenzie River using MODIS data, The Cryosphere, 10, 569-584, doi:10.5194/tc-10-569-2016, 2016.
Rood S. B., Kaluthota S., Philipsen L. J., Rood N. J., and Zanewich K. P. (2017) Increasing discharge from the Mackenzie River system to the Arctic Ocean, Hydrol. Process., 31, 150–160. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10986.
Kwok, R., L. Toudal Pedersen, P. Gudmandsen, and S. S. Pang (2010), Large sea ice outflow into the Nares Strait in 2007, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L03502, doi:10.1029/2009GL041872.
An experienced team of polar explorers set off on April 4th intending to ski from a latitude of 88° North to 90° North, better known as the North Pole!
According to the expedition’s web site those 2 degrees of latitude are symbolic of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreement in Paris to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels”, and are thus part of the expedition’s name.
Here’s the team of Bernice Notenboom, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels pictured shortly before departing on their arduous journey via the Russian Barneo ice camp near the North Pole:
Apart from hauling their sleds across some very challenging terrain they will also be doing lots of “citizen science” en route, including stopping regularly to measure the depth of snow covering the sea ice:
As part of that scientific mission the NASA Operation IceBridge Orion P3 aircraft overflew the team, and amongst other things took this picture:
Bernice announced on the 2 Degrees expedition’s blog this morning that:
A milestone today – skied 1/2 degree of latitude.
Victor Serov who I call into every night with our position is really happy with our progress: ” You are doing very well Bernice and you are doing science” is his encouraging response every time I call in.
I imagine he is sitting in a tent in Barneo with a giant map, North Pole in the middle, and plotting all routes towards the pole. Each team on the ice has to call in coordinates at night so if something happens, they are standby with 2 MI8 helicopters to assist. Like yesterday somebody had to get evacuated because of frostbite.
To get a compliment from a Russian scientist who has spend a year in Vostok in Antarctica [coldest place on earth] as well as being an accomplished polar explorer, we should be proud of ourselves to have skied 1/4 of the way on day 5. But it hasn’t come easy. The half degree has been really hard work temperatures dipped to -41C too cold to film, do science, all we can do is keep moving until we need to eat and drink.
The sleds weigh over 80 kilo’s and new pains and aches show unexpectedly in places you don’t want them, like my back. On the odd break, I would get the notebook out, jot down the GPS position while Ann pokes into the snow and yells the various snow depths to me. The rest of the day we are doing cold management: toes we don’t feel anymore and need nurturing or placing your thumb between the fingers to warm them up inside your mitt, and worse letting your arm hang so the blood can race back to the extremities.
If you are cold all blood flows to your heart and core to protect it, so to call it back is playing a trick with your mind. Despite this careful nursing, I still end up with frost nip on all fingers. I now need to be extra careful with exposure to cold.
Meanwhile Ann Daniels published this image of the sort of terrain they’ve been crossing on her Twitter feed:
The expedition’s current position is reported as as 88.52 N, 147.75 E. Only another 1 1/2 degrees to go! As this map of the drift of the Barneo ice camp shows, the winds are currently somewhat in the team’s favour:
Particularly in view of all the balderdash concerning “climate science” being spouted in Washington DC on Wednesday lets first of all run through some Arctic sea ice facts from April 1st 2017 or thereabouts:
Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent:
Arctic Sea Ice Area:
Arctic Sea Ice Extent:
Arctic Sea Ice Concentration:
Thin ice map from the University of Bremen SMOS:
Thick ice map from CPOM CryoSat-2
Beaufort Sea ice thickness growth graph:
DMI sea ice temperature map:
DMI atmospheric temperature graph:
DMI Arctic Freezing Degree Days:
PIOMAS volume for March will follow in a few days, but it’s extremely unlikely to be anything other than “lowest for the date”.
What preliminary conclusions can we draw from this plethora of pretty pictures? First of all the Arctic hasn’t suddenly gone into “deep freeze” mode. Temperatures above 80 degrees north are rising again and are well above the climatology. Freezing degree days are still the lowest on record by a wide margin. Northern hemisphere snow cover is falling fast and is currently just above last year.
In contrast to last year, and thanks to lots of cyclones and very little in the way of anticyclones, there’s plenty of sub half meter sea ice in the Laptev and East Siberian Seas and hardly any in the Beaufort Sea. There’s also plenty of thin ice to be seen on both the Atlantic and Pacific peripheries.
The usual southerly arch hasn’t formed in the Nares Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, and as SMOS shows the sea ice in the strait is consequently very thin. That leads one to wonder when the northern arch in the Lincoln Sea might give way.
It’s not immediately apparent from the still images above, but there’s been relatively large amounts of “old ice” exported from the Central Arctic on the Atlantic side, hence the recent increase in overall extent which is now second lowest for the date (since satellite records began). Area has been creeping up as well over recent days, but is still lowest for the date, as it has been for most of the last year. Sea ice “compactness” has decreased somewhat and given all the thin ice around the edges extent will soon start dropping once again.
All in all, the Arctic sea ice prognosis is not good. Are you watching Lamar Smith? (Pun intended!)
[Edit – April 4th]
The March PIOMAS update is out! As suspected, Arctic sea ice volume is still by far the lowest on record:
Volume on March 31st 2017 was 20.398 thousand cubic kilometers. The previous lowest volume for the date was 22.129 thousand km³ in 2011.
Here too is the PIOMAS modelled Arctic sea ice thickness map:
[Edit – April 12th]
The latest edition of the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News confirms that their monthly extent metric for March 2017 was the lowest in the satellite record for the month:
As well as highlighting the anomalously warm temperatures across much of the Arctic:
the NSIDC article includes this telling pressure anomaly map:
New work by an international team led by Igor Polyakov of the University of Alaska Fairbanks provides strong evidence that Atlantic layer heat is now playing a prominent role in reducing winter ice formation in the Eurasian Basin, which is manifested as more summer ice loss. According to their analysis, the ice loss due to the influence of Atlantic layer heat is comparable in magnitude to the top down forcing by the atmosphere.
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:
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!
[Edit – March 31st]
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s hearing, the accusations are flying in all directions. By way of example:
No clarification has yet been forthcoming from Dr. Pielke.
The denialosphere is of course now spinning like crazy attempting to pin something, anything, on Michael Mann. Over at Climate Depot Marc Morano assures his loyal readers that:
Testifying before Congress, climate scientist Michael Mann denies any affiliation or association to the Climate Accountability Institute despite his apparent membership on the Institute’s Council of Advisors.
Whilst correctly quoting Dr. Mann as saying:
I can provide – I’ve submitted my CV you can see who I’m associated with and who I am not.
Here’s the video Marc uses to support his case:
Meanwhile over on Twitter:
@jim_hunt As I said before, Mann said "No." He then added "I've submitted my CV. You can see who I'm associated with". The CV contradicts his lie.
“Turns out Mann appears to be a bit of a denier himself. Under questioning, Mann denied being involved with the Climate Accountability Institute even though he is featured on its website as a board member. CAI is one of the groups pushing a scorched-earth approach to climate deniers, urging lawmakers to employ the RICO statute against fossil-fuel corporations. When asked directly if he was either affiliated or associated with CAI, Mann answered “no.” [JC note: Mann also lists this affiliation on his CV]
At the risk of repeating myself Mann said, and I quote:
“I’ve submitted my CV. You can see who I’m ‘associated’ with”
His CV states, quoted by McIntyre:
Why on Earth Judith chose to repeat the “CAI” allegation is beyond me.
Secondly, Prof. Mann is NOT featured on the CAI website as a board member. He is instead listed as a member of their “Council of Advisors”.
Thirdly, quoting James Delingpole as a source of reliable information about anything “climate change” related is also beyond me. Needless to say Mr. Delingpole also repeats the CAI nonsense, whilst simultaneously plagiarising our long standing usage of the term “Porky pie“!
All of which brings me on to my next point. In the video clip above Rep. Higgins can be heard to say:
These two organisations [i.e the Union of Concerned Scientists & the Climate Accountability Institute], are they connected directly with organised efforts to prosecute man influenced climate sceptics via RICO statutes?
to which Dr. Mann replied:
The way you’ve phrased it, I would find it extremely surprising if what you said was true.
Now please skip to the 1 hour 31:33 mark in the video of the full hearing to discover what Marc Morano left out. Rep. Higgins asks Dr. Mann:
Would you be able to at some future date provide to this committee evidence of your lack of association with the organisation Union of Concerned Scientists and lack of your association with the organisation called Climate Accountability Institute? Can you provide that documentation to this committee Sir?
This is, of course, a “when did you stop beating your wife” sort of a question. How on Earth do you prove a “lack of association with an organisation”. Supply a video of your entire life? Dr. Mann responded less pedantically:
You haven’t defined what “association” even means here, but it’s all in my CV which has already been provided to Committee.
So what on Earth are Rep. Higgins and ex. Prof. Curry on about with all this “RICO” business? With thanks to Nick Stokes on Judith’s blog, the document he refers to seems to be the only evidence for the insinuations:
It turns out that what the congressman was probably referring to was a workshop they mounted in 2012 (not attended by Mann), which explored the RICO civil lawsuit mounted against tobacco companies.
It does mention for example “the RICO case against the tobacco companies” but it never mentions anything that might conceivably be (mis)interpreted as “pushing a scorched-earth approach to climate deniers”.
That being the case, why on Earth do you suppose Judith Curry chose to mention that phrase on her blog last night and why did Clay Higgins choose to broach the subject on Wednesday?
[Edit – April 2nd]
Perhaps this really is an April Fools’ joke? Over on Twitter Stephen McIntyre continues to make my case for me. Take a look:
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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: