Category Archives: Science

The “Last Ice Area” in the Arctic.

A recent paper by Kent Moore et al. has caused something of a stir in the mainstream media recently, as well as in cryospheric circles and amongst the cryodenialista:

First Observations of a Transient Polynya in the Last Ice Area North of Ellesmere Island

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Oreskes, Mann, Dessler et al. versus Koonin

Earlier today Scientific American published an article entitled “That ‘Obama Scientist’ Climate Skeptic You’ve Been Hearing About“. The climate skeptic in question being of course Steven E. Koonin. If you click that last link it will be immediately obvious that I’ve recently been critical of Professor Koonin’s new book “Unsettled” in several more ways than one! The article in Scientific American is authored by several more people than one. Twelve to be precise, including the famous names of Naomi Oreskes, Michael E. Mann and Andrew Dessler. That team takes a largely different approach to my own criticism, making no mention of the cryosphere for example, although sea level rise does get a mention. Rather than going into the science in detail, Oreskes et al. take a different approach. Here’s the introduction to the article:

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Steve Koonin’s Unsettled Arctic Science

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt have realised that way up here in the Great White Con Ivory Towers we concluded many moons ago that Arctic sea ice is the “canary in the climate coal mine”.

Unlike some others we have already mentioned we were not the beneficiaries of a review copy of Steven E. Koonin’s new book, catchily entitled “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters”. Hence I was compelled to acquire my own review copy, and have just purchased the electronic version. I eagerly searched the virtual weighty tome for the term “Arctic sea ice”, and you may well be wondering what I discovered?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. ничего такого. Nic.

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Month in Review – Arctic Science Edition

Inspired by my recent visits to Judith Curry’s blog this post will bring you links to the latest learned journal articles about Arctic sea ice. Together with occasional excursions into older and wider Arctic papers.

Judith’s “Week in Review” articles seem to last for a month, so this one will probably last for at least a year!

First up is an article apparently written by a regular reader of this humble web site! A University of Alaska article at begins:

In August 2016 a massive storm on par with a Category 2 hurricane churned in the Arctic Ocean. The cyclone led to the third-lowest sea ice extent ever recorded. But what made the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016 particularly appealing to scientists was the proximity of the Korean icebreaker Araon.

For the first time ever, scientists were able to see exactly what happens to the ocean and sea ice when a cyclone hits. University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers and their international colleagues recently published a new study showing that sea ice declined 5.7 times faster than normal during the storm. They were also able to prove that the rapid decline was driven by cyclone-triggered processes within the ocean.

Note that it didn’t take us 5 years to write about the cyclone in question. Our article catchily entitled “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016” was published on August 13th 2016:

A storm is brewing in the Arctic. A big one! The crew of the yacht Northabout are currently sailing along the western shore of the Laptev Sea and reported earlier today that “The sea is calm. Tomorrow a gale 8. But this moment is perfect”.

That perfect moment will not last long.

I interviewed polar explorer David Hempleman-Adams about the succeeding moments once Northabout had returned to the UK. It seems riding out the cyclone was the most frightening experience he had ever had.

The University of Alaska article references the following peer reviewed paper:

Role of Intense Arctic Storm in Accelerating Summer Sea Ice Melt: An In Situ Observational Study

The next on my list of must read papers comes complete with a video:

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