Category Archives: News

The Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project

The Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project (PAMIP for short) is one of several Community Earth System Model (CESM for short) based climate modelling projects.

As the project’s web site points out:

Polar amplification, the phenomenon that external radiative forcing produces a larger change in surface temperature at high latitudes than the global average, is a key aspect of anthropogenic climate change but its causes and consequences are not fully understood.

Read more on The Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project…

Koonin’s Unsettled Science – The Movie(s)

We have previously mentioned the Wall Street Journal’s assorted activities promoting the new book by Steven E. Koonin which possesses the rather long winded title of “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.”

Read more on Koonin’s Unsettled Science – The Movie(s)…

Allegedly “Unsettled Science” by Steven Koonin et al.

In our recent article about the forthcoming G7 Summit in Cornwall we suggested that:

Climate change is top of the G7 agenda along with Covid-19, and you can rest assured that vested interests will not miss any opportunity to promote those interests over the next two months and beyond.

That has indeed proved to be the case! Let us count the ways.

Steven Koonin’s new book “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” is being promoted (left?), right and centre by a veritable cornucopia of the usual suspects. In an endeavour to explain (to the mythical (wo)man in the street?) the ways in which “A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on” I’ve performed a Google search for the phrase “climate science has drifted so far out of touch with the actual science as to be absurdly demonstrably false” by way of a demonstration:

65 “demonstrably false” clones of the WSJ article, and counting……

[Edit – April 24th]

This morning’s update on my “demonstration” Google search.

There are now 241 “demonstrably false” Kooninism clones, and counting……

Read more on Allegedly “Unsettled Science” by Steven Koonin et al….

Stop Attempts To Criminalise Nonviolent Climate Protest?

It may not have come to your attention yet, but a long list of over 400 climate scientists have recently signed an “open letter” to the UK and other Governments requesting:

As academics researching climate and environmental change, we have been encouraged to see increased focus on climate in politics and society in recent years. Considering the current trajectory of planetary change, such attention is welcome, even though action is still lacking. We know that our research alone was not enough for this recent awakening to climate breakdown as an existential crisis for humanity, and recognise that protest movements around the world have raised the alarm…

But around the world today, those who put their voices and bodies on the line to raise the alarm are being threatened and silenced by the very countries they seek to protect. We are gravely concerned about the increasing criminalisation and targeting of climate protestors around the world…

With the upcoming Conference of the Parties of the UN Climate Change Convention (COP26) in Glasgow, and the urgency for global action accelerating as global warming already reaches 1.2°C, 2021 is a critical year for climate governance. It has become abundantly clear that governments don’t act on climate without pressure from civil society: threatening and silencing activists thus seems to be a new form of anti-democratic refusal to act on climate.

See for example this tweet from “Scientist Rebellion”, the militant academic wing of Extinction Rebellion UK?

The signatories to the open letter include a long list of well known names:

We, the undersigned, therefore urge all governments, courts and legislative bodies around the world to halt and reverse attempts to criminalise nonviolent climate protest.

  • Professor Julia Steinberger, Universities of Lausanne & Leeds
  • Dr Oscar Berglund, University of Bristol
  • Distinguished Professor Michael Mann, Penn State University
  • Professor Piers Foster, University of Leeds
  • Dr Leah Goldfarb, Universite Paris Saclay
  • Professor Catherine Mitchell University of Exeter
  • Dr Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute
  • Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, University of Potsdam

etc. etc.

On Monday the Guardian newspaper published an article about the climate scientist’s open letter:

That article has now disappeared from public view:

Read more on Stop Attempts To Criminalise Nonviolent Climate Protest?…

Facts About the Arctic in April 2021

As part of his March PIOMAS gridded sea ice thickness update Wipneus also produced this graph of sea ice export from the central Arctic via the Fram Strait:

So far this winter export has been remarkably subdued, but that has now changed. A persistent dipole with high pressure over Greenland and low pressure over the Barents Sea is generating strong northerly winds in the Fram Strait, and even bringing some April snow showers to South West England:

Precisely how high the pressure has been over Greenland is the subject of much debate. See for example this discussion on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum about whether a new world high pressure record has just been set. Different weather forecasting models have come to very different conclusions about the mean sea level pressure of a high pressure area situated over the Greenland ice sheet, which reaches an altitude of over 3,000 metres. Here’s GFS for example, showing 1097 hPa at 06Z on April 4th:

whereas the Canadian Meteorological Centre synopsis for the same time shows a mere 1070 hPa:

At least all the assorted models agree that the isobars are closely packed over the Fram Strait, and hence some of the thickest sea ice remaining in the Arctic is currently heading towards oblivion in the far north Atlantic Ocean:

Here’s the US Navy’s sea ice drift forecast for Saturday 10th:

Read more on Facts About the Arctic in April 2021…

Facts About the Arctic in November 2020

Arctic sea ice volume is of course far more important in the grand scheme of things. However sea extent is easier to measure, and the JAXA AMSR2 flavour thereof has now nudged into second place for the date above 2016:

[Edit – November 4th]

The PIOMAS gridded thickness numbers have been released, to reveal this end of October thickness map:

and these calculated volume graphs:

These show Arctic sea ice volume to be lowest for the date, even if extent has slipped into 2nd place.

For comparison purposes here too is the latest AWI CryoSat-2/SMOS merged thickness map:

Read more on Facts About the Arctic in November 2020…

Facts About the Arctic in October 2020

Let’s start this somewhat belated article by looking at Arctic sea ice volume. The mid month PIOMAS gridded thickness numbers have been released to reveal these volume graphs:

Modelled volume is now in a “statistical tie” with 2012 for lowest on record for mid October. Here too is the PIOMAS thickness map:

Meanwhile for comparison purposes here is the first merged Cryosat-2/SMOS thickness map of the 2020/21 freezing season, hot off the presses at the Alfred Wegener Institute:

Read more on Facts About the Arctic in October 2020…

Facts About the Arctic in September 2020

A detailed dissection of the 2020 minimum of various Arctic sea ice extent metrics can be found on a dedicated thread. All other Arctic news in September will be found below. As is usually the case, let’s set the ball rolling by taking a look at Wipneus’s visualisations of the August PIOMAS gridded thickness data:

together with the computed volume:

and anomaly graphs:

PIOMAS volume at the end of August was still firmly in 3rd place behind 2012 and 2019.

Read more on Facts About the Arctic in September 2020…

The 2020 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Extent

I’ve been waiting for the results of the ARCUS SIPN August call, but despite the timetable specifying “26 August 2020 (Wednesday)” they’ve still not been published and I can wait no longer!

Hopefully the August “predictions” will be available soon, but for the moment let’s take a look at the July 2020 Sea Ice Outlook instead:

For the Arctic, the median July Outlook for September 2020 average sea-ice extent is 4.36 million square kilometers, essentially identical to the median prediction in the June report, with quartiles of 4.1 and 4.6 million square kilometers. For comparison, the historical record September low over the period of satellite observations was set in 2012 at 3.57 million square kilometers, and the second lowest record was 4.27 million square kilometers set in 2007. This year’s projection is close to the 2019 observed September sea-ice extent of 4.32 million square kilometers. As was also the case for the June report, only two of the outlooks project September sea-ice extent below the 2012 record. The consensus judgement against a new record low September sea-ice extent hence remains unchanged. Interestingly, as of this report, observed extent stands at a record low for this time of year.

Note that those numbers represent “September 2020 average sea-ice extent” and not the daily minimum. Let’s now take a look at the assorted different flavours of “Arctic sea ice extent” metric. Firstly here’s the NSIDC’s “Charctic” 5 day average extent:

Next here’s JAXA/ViSHOP extent, generally assumed to be a “2 day average”:

Next here’s the DMI version, which neglects to include 2012:

Read more on The 2020 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Extent…