What’s Up With That Arctic Sea Ice Disinformation

A few days ago we posted an article about the recent surge in the amount of disinformation being published about Arctic sea ice. Eventually one of our long list of usual suspects, Anthony Watts, published a copy of an erroneous Arctic article by Paul Homewood.

Now the Watts Up With That Arctic porky pie production line is going into overdrive, so here’s an already long list of its output in the run up to the COP26 conference in Glasgow in a month or so. First up is the aforementioned clone from NALOPKT. Allegedly:

It is very easy to show that Arctic sea ice has stabilised. As their graph itself shows, there have only been three years since 2007 with lower ice extent than that year, and eleven have had higher extents. Also the average of the last ten years is higher than 2007’s extent.

In itself, this is too short a period to make any meaningful judgements. But that is no excuse for the Met Office to publish such a manifest falsehood.

This comment of mine on that article remains invisible at WUWT:

This morning (UTC) I added another comment to Anthony’s moderation queue:

This afternoon (UTC) an Arctic article authored by our old amigo Willis Eschenbach, this time targeting the IPCC rather than the UK Met Office, hit the WUWT front page. Allegedly:

Let me return to the 2019 IPCC claim:

“Feedbacks from the loss of summer sea ice and spring snow cover on land have contributed to amplified warming in the Arctic (high confidence).”

Note that despite the IPCC claim of “high confidence”, the 2007 findings of Kato and the more recent CERES data shown above demonstrate that feedback from changes in sea ice and snow cover have NOT contributed in any significant way to amplified warming in the Arctic. Cloud changes offset these sea ice and snow changes almost entirely. In short, the IPCC claim is overstated.

Needless to say my constructive comment is currently languishing on Anthony’s cutting room floor:

[Edit – October 7th]

Whilst not strictly Arctic related, an interesting related development has occurred this afternoon (UTC). WUWT has just published a clone of a recent article by Judith Curry on the thorny topic of IPCC AR6 and CMIP6 climate models.

I cannot help but wonder when (if?) Anthony will publish this clone of one of my comments on the self same Climate Etc. article regarding the recent Nobel Prize awarded to Suki Manabe:

[Edit – October 19th]

Willis has gone very quiet, and none of the comments mentioned above and/or below have seen the light of day as yet. However I have to give Roger “Tallbloke” Tattersall his due, since he has not been consigning my comments to his cutting room floor. Unlike Ron Clutz, who I fortuitously came across whilst debating how much of Rog’s recent “Climategate” interview was likely to be aired on Great British television screens:

This is the informative animation that Ron doesn’t dare to reveal to his faithful followers:

Watch this space!

41 thoughts on “What’s Up With That Arctic Sea Ice Disinformation

  1. Willis has kindly replied to my heads up on Twitter:

  2. Jim, despite all your protestations, it’s fair to say that not posting your comment in a timely way saved you a bit of embarrassment. You cited a 7 year old study analyzing 10 year old data to refute a comment about this year’s conditions. I’m sure you can do better than that.

    1. Mornin’ Taylor (UTC),

      I suggest that you address that remark to Willis, who mentioned in his article “the 2007 findings of [Seiji] Kato”

      For some embarrassing reason Willis also made no reference to the recent IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 report and the extensive list of references therein!

      Perhaps implementing this suggestion of his will help to move matters forward?

      1. Jim, Jim – ‘…2007 findings of Kato… Willis said in the same sentence ‘…more recent CERES data’ so don’t try to tar him with citing only old studies/data. Additionally, I note with some interest that both the graphs you suggested he post do in fact have no trend over the last 10 or so years, which will be more obvious when PIOMAS finally posts this September’s volume. That’s the whole point, that fairly short intervals can trump longer term trends, which nobody denies are down. The point is to explore these natural variations, not deny they exist or don’t matter.

        One day this metric will ‘bottom out’ also due to natural causes (it always has) and we will want to be able to predict that point and have mitigation ready.

        1. Thanks Taylor,
          You are making all the points I wanted to make. Keep up the good work. It is looking like it might have “bottomed out” and as we all know the AMO has reach its plateau and will soon start to fall. Lets wait a few more years before dismissing the possible current trends

          1. I’m not quite sure which metric Taylor is suggesting “will bottom out”. Arctic sea ice volume perhaps?

            “Looking like” is no substitute for physics, or even statistics for that matter. See “Tamino’s” recent sea ice analysis for example:


            Getting back to the “disinformation” promulgated at WUWT on a daily basis, my assorted pertinent comments are all still invisible and I have still received no response to my “hot tip”.

        2. Good morning Taylor (UTC),

          We’ve already published the PIOMAS September 2021 minimum numbers. Did you miss it?


          “Don’t try to tar [Willis] with citing only old studies/data.”

          It seems you fail to share my sense of surreal humour?

          2007 + 7 = ?
          2007 + 7 + 7 = ?

          Here’s a recently published paper on the topic of Planet Earth’s albedo by a certain Professor Steven Koonin et al.


          We measure a gradual, but climatologically significant ~0.5 W/m² decline in the global albedo over the two decades of data. We found no correlation between the changes in the terrestrial albedo and measures of solar activity. The inter-annual pattern of earthshine fluctuations are in good agreement with those measured by CERES (data began in 2001) even though the satellite observations are sensitive to retroflected light while earthshine is sensitive to wide-angle reflectivity. The CERES decline is about twice that of earthshine.

          1. Jim,
            Full marks to Great White Con.
            No hiding adverse comments here!
            Will check out your web references
            Thank you

          2. Thanks for your kind words Neil.

            Unlike certain venues on the world wide interweb one might mention?!

            Needless to say there are many more whose behaviour is modelled on WUWT’s.

          3. Hi again Jim,
            Sorry I couldn’t get the short video to work on my laptop. I did however like Tamino’s “Open Mind” site. His stuff was very well thought through. I have put his site into my favourites along with yours. I do try to keep an “open mind” but, as yet, my sceptics view of climate change still persists.
            If there is no recovery in Artic ice as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation starts to fall I will have to “open my mind” to CO2 as the main driver.
            Although I note that the IPCC define “main driver” as more than 50%. This means something else must be driving the other 50%

          4. You published the mid-September numbers, but the graph in your tweet and response to Willis was the full month PIOMAS September graph, which was missing 2021, and to my knowledge is not yet published (I check every day). However, even the mid-September numbers (8th lowest) reinforce the notion of little to no trend over the past 10 years. Before any ‘bottoming out’ can be declared, there will need to be a no trend period, then a definitive rising over a period of years. We are in the no trend period, you seem to believe this period will be followed by a decline, I’m less optimistic, given history, but frankly, neither of us is sure. At this point, CAGR is much too much of a religion vs. a science for my taste.

          5. That graph was the latest “official” monthly trend graph from the PIOMAS team, which is indeed not yet updated on the PSC web site.

            However as you have evidently noticed we do publish “unofficial” mid month graphs/maps derived from “official” gridded thickness data. This is from mid September for example:

            The end of September numbers are anxiously awaited, but the minimum daily volume seems unlikely to have changed.

            Regarding the alleged “no trend” period, see Tamino’s analysis. If you insist on looking only at the daily minimum there are valid physical reasons for a “brief slowdown”, which Messrs Watts, “Goddard” et al. probably don’t understand and certainly don’t talk about.

          6. Hi Jim,

            My source of information was section A.1.5 which refers specifically to the Glaciers and the Artic

            “Human influence is very likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019”

            At the bottom of the page they state “main driver” means responsible for more than 50% of the change.

            It also goes on to say “there is
            only limited evidence, with medium agreement, of human influence on the Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss.”

          7. It does indeed. However note that para B.5.2 of the WG1 SPM also states:

            Continued ice loss over the 21st century is virtually certain for the Greenland Ice Sheet and likely for the Antarctic Ice Sheet. There is high confidence that total ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet will increase with cumulative emissions. There is limited evidence for low-likelihood, high-impact outcomes (resulting from ice sheet instability processes characterized by deep uncertainty and in some cases involving tipping points) that would strongly increase ice loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet for centuries under high GHG emissions scenarios.

    2. It’s interesting that Willis didn’t refer to the Pistone et al paper though since he was a coauthor of a letter to the editor concerning it.

          1. At least your comment saw the light of day Phil! No answer as yet, but no downvotes either:

            Probably none of Anthony’s faithful followers understood your question? Let’s be charitable shall we? Possibly Willis hasn’t bothered to read it yet?

          2. That does indeed seem to have been the case. Having reminded Willis about Pistone et al. at Judy Curry’s place he accused my alter ego of “jumping to false conclusions or lying” and then responded as follows:

            Having read the link that greatwhitecon provided, I see that Pistone and I are measuring very, very different things. I looked at surface albedo (surface all-sky upwelling sw divided by surface all-sky downwelling sw). This is the usual definition of “albedo”, reflected divided by incident.

            Pistone, on the other hand, looked at a hybrid measure (toa upwelling clear-sky SW divided by toa downwelling SW). Pistone’s measure is affected by a number of other factors (atmospheric absorption of downwelling SW, atmospheric absorption of upwelling SW, and a variety of cloud-related factors affecting both up- and downwelling SW), so it is not the actual albedo of the surface.

            As a result, the two variables are incommensurate. And that means that the conclusion by the great white conman is unsupported.

  3. Hi Jim,
    I do check out your site a lot. I don’t like to remain incognito. Can I add my photo to my posts?

    1. Thanks Jim.
      Very helpful advise.
      Thanks also for your site. It is my first go to site for Arctic information.
      Best wishes,

  4. As far as I can ascertain none of my numerous pertinent comments at WUWT have seen the cold light of day as yet. If you discover information to the contrary please do not hesitate to let me know!

    Meanwhile as one of the world’s leading debunkers of the unsettling recent prognostications of Professor Steven Koonin I cannot help but think that this question deserves an answer:

  5. In response to the question I posed on October 7th, the answer appears to be “Never!”

    Somebody else has managed to evade the WUWT gatekeepers in order to mention the phrase “Nobel Prize”, but Suki Manabe’s name is still conspicuous by its absence over there.

  6. I have just sent an invitation to Willis suggesting a substantive discussion about Arctic albedo:

    Do you suppose that he will pick up the gauntlet and run with it?

  7. Jim, you invited me over here to discuss something or other. Reading through your comments above, you’ve engaged in ugly innuendo, said I’m keeping bad company, accused me of “going very quiet” as though I give a shit about your opinion and I have nothing better to do than to answer you immediately, impugned where I publish my work as though I ran WUWT, which I don’t, and attacked what you imagine to be my motives.

    I’m sorry, but I have no interest in discussing science with anyone who engages in such childish ugliness. You’ve burned your bridges on this one. I’ll also block you on Twitter. You’ve no one but yourself to blame. You are indeed the great white con job, and you’re welcome to the title.

    So, rock on, do what you want, make any accusations about me that you wish. I’ll never read them. It’s your own reputation you’re damaging.

    My only suggestion?

    Next time you want to have a scientific conversation with a decent honest man, learn to keep a civil tongue in your mouth.


    1. Hi Willis,

      Thanks very much for popping in here at long last. Have you ever heard of ye Olde English proverbial idiom about the pot calling the kettle black?

      If not please try scrolling up a bit for an illustrative example:


      I will take your frantic pearl clutching as further evidence of your continuing unwillingness to debate the science on its merits:

  8. A final comment so my objection is clear.

    To date, the Great White Con man has objected to:

    • Me personally, whether I say something or I don’t

    • What he fantasizes my motives are

    • Where I publish my work

    • How he was treated at WUWT

    • My co-authors

    What’s missing from this list?

    Yep. Any attempt to falsify, object to, clarify or deal with my scientific claims in any form.

    Any true scientist realizes that there’s only one issue that’s worth discussing—the science itself.

    Not the scientists. Not motives, real or imagined. Not co-authors. Not where the scientific claims are published.

    The science itself.

    That’s why I’m bowing out of this conversation. It’s just wading through a muddy maze, with no cheese at the end.

    My very best wishes to all,


    PS—For those interested in what such a conversation should look like, let me recommend this post:


    1. Thanks for that additional clarification Willis.

      Let’s start at the very beginning shall we? A very good place to start!

      1) An article of yours is published at WUWT

      2) My constructive comment thereon is not published

      3) I posted a copy of my comment on Twitter

      4) You must have seen it, since you commented on it.

      5) Here is that constructive comment once again, in brief:

      Pistone et al. (2014) would seem to be at variance with your suggestion that “Cloud changes offset these sea ice and snow changes almost entirely”?

      6) Where and when did you answer my constructive comment?

      7) How many times have you called me names since (3)?

      It seems to me that you need to up your online game Willis.

      “Eschew the lower levels”!

  9. Mr. Eschenbach pushes the simulated umbrage mechanism beyond the safety range. I’d like to see a lot less of this coming from the right. But then again, I’d like to see a lot of things. If the situation wasn’t so serious, I’d be a little amused here.

    So Jim, in your your Oct. 10 comment Willis says “…I see that Pistone and I are measuring very, very different things.”

    Does this have any relevance or is it just another distraction?

    1. If Willis and Pistone are measuring very different things why did Willis & Co. bother writing their letter to PNAS in 2014?

      Pistone et al. looked at Arctic albedo and concluded that:

      We find that the Arctic planetary albedo has decreased from 0.52 to 0.48 between 1979 and 2011, corresponding to an additional 6.4 ± 0.9 W/m2 of solar energy input into the Arctic Ocean region since 1979.

      Legates et al. looked at global albedo and concluded that:

      Although Arctic changes may be important, they are small compared with the larger picture of changes in cloud cover in the tropics.

      However it seems to me that even if that is indeed the case, ice-albedo feedback takes place in the Arctic and not in the tropics?

  10. Thanks, Jim.
    After reading the Pistone, et al. abstract, the Legates, et al. letter, and the Pistone et al. reply–which soundly refutes the Legates letter–I have no choice but to conclude that, after seven years, Legates et al. are locked in some sort of denier nut-loop, which exists outside the realm of science.

    If nothing else, it certainly explains all the feigned outrage, content blocking and unending moderation.

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