Realities made Visible and Simple
Temperatures in the polar regions have always
fluctuated a lot, far more than folk in the temperate zones
are used to. Temperatures have also been warmer than today,
in the Medieval Warm Period and earlier. For a growing collection
of anecdotal, historical, geological, and archaeological evidence
for warmer Arctic conditions in the past, see here.
For current maps of sea ice etc, see Cryosphere
For other excellent single pages of Polar scientific
information, see The
Arctic by Alan Cheetham; Circling
the Arctic (I used John Daly's temperature records);
and Circling Yamal
(Siberia: using temperature records to question treering proxies
for temperature used in the latest Hockey Stick and many of
the other Hockey Sticks).
Cutting off Frozen
Toes to fit the shoe of Global Warming - Arctic
& Antarctic evidence of no alarming global warming
2009 Steig paper claims
to show a warming Antarctica - but there is evidence
of "warming by paintwork".
More graphic facts,
to widen the perspective. Evidence that
CO2 NEVER amplified temperature.
Ozone hole clearly
shows a natural pattern of fluctuation - how
much was our "success" actually natural not manmade?
One source says the Greenland icecap averages
1.6km thickness; another says 2.3km average thickness, and
over 3km in places. Different sources suggest a rate of accumulation
of 1cm a year or 5.4cm a year as ice. The low figure could
yield an ice core record of ~30,000 years). However, the snow
on the surface builds up far
more rapidly, at the rate of about a metre a year. Looking
at the real Arctic conditions, and checking with those who
actually know the Arctic, is very necessary to counter an
unbelievable media hype, and the confusion of different accounts.
Polar bears dying of warmth! such ignorance! Kayaking to the
North Pole because sea ice is vanishing! Record warm spells!
- but there have only been records since satellite temp measurements
started in 1979! Greenland has been navigated to the north,
and the NW Passage has been open, at regular times through
<--- Sea ice thickness over the whole Arctic has
not been measured for very long. So we do not know
if there is any really "old" ice at all,
or whether, as I suspect, it melts regularly underneath
as fast as it accumulates above, after a critical
point is reached. And if undersea volcanoes are active
in the Arctic ocean, the melt will be hastened. The
thickest sea ice (~5m) is next to the most northerly
land masses; it is nowhere very thick. The Greenland
icecap adds around 1 cm ice each year (but uncompressed
snow engulfs structures much faster); this suggests
the sea ice cannot be that old anywhere in the Arctic
Ice Extent: this fluctuates hugely every year in the
Arctic - between 4 and 14 million sq km; though the
Antarctic fluctuations are even bigger, the Arctic ones
are more familiar and dramatic. Many times in past centuries
the North-West Passage has been free to navigate; more
rarely, the north of Greenland. See 2009 max ice compared
with average (since measurements started) - nothing
special at all! --->
John Daly has collected loads of records of "rural"
weather stations worldwide, divided into continent-size global
areas. See here.
Note that there are many, many polar records both Arctic and
Antarctic; note also how long that records have been kept
Norway (1868), and at Stykkisholmur
and Teigarhorn, Iceland (1823).
|The two graphs show clearly:
(1) the cyclic nature of temperature changes, especially
visible in the Arctic;
(2) the close link of maritime land temperatures with
|Recent changes in Greenland
(1) the ice cap, which outweighs the rest of the landmass,
has been cooling overall and gaining 5.4 cm ice
each year, as the abandoned
station pictures show all too clearly;
(2) only the maritime areas have warmed;
(3) the central anomaly may indicate volcanic activity.
frozen toes to fit the shoe of "global warming"
160 years Arctic - what change?
North Pole - what ice?
Antarctic - Warming??
Less than three years ago, the paper Antarctic
Temperature and Sea Ice Trends was published
showing the 8 station temperature records below, showing clearly
no temperature rise overall. It describes evidence of cooling
since 1986. And even last year (2008), the flagship warmist
proudly announced that they had known for some time that Antarctica
would be cooling, and that this was consistent with their
climate models for global warming.
These graphs show:
(1) the real variation of temperature over time -
three stations with signs of warming.
(2) the incredibly low temperatures we are dealing
The map shows Faraday, Rothera and Scott are all in
volcanic areas, in the part of Antarctica that has
It looks as if we have high fluctuation, extreme
cold, some warming (and more fluctuations) in the
vicinity of volcanoes, and an Antarctica that has
cooled overall during the time that the rest of the
planet has warmed, as predicted not by AGW but by
Antarctica By Paintwork?
Enter the ardent team of believers in global warming. The
map was drawn from measurements by NASA members Gavin
Schmidt and Drew Shindell in 2004. In 2005, the warming had
increased to purple,
but by 2007 had clearly become an
embarrassment and was scribbled over, and replaced by
Warming has progressed. Slightly changed start and end times
can make a crucial difference to the "trend". Now
Nature magazine has published Steig's paper, er,
it's hot. A mere -50ºC. And the last picture shows
all: the prophetic 2004 model (yellow-orange)
with blood-red inset map taken from Steig's 2009 study.
Eric Steig, Drew Shindell, Michael "Hockey
Stick" Mann, & others published (Jan 2009) the letter
of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International
Geophysical Year in Nature magazine, claiming
that Antarctica's temperature has been rising. Steig
says "our results (which are partly statistical)
don’t violate the model physics. That’s good",
an announcement in apparent contradiction to RealClimate's
This paper is acclaimed as plugging a big gap
in the AGW thesis. After all, Global Warming suggests that
Antarctica should warm. But the actual text, read
carefully, does not add up to a clear indication of warming.
First, there is a "lucky" choice of dates which
if changed by only a small amount either way would not give
the desired warming. Second, the actual temperature rise in
West Antarctica is said to be 0.7ºC over 50 years, and
East Antarctica (most of the continent) is 0.1ºC plus
or minus 0.07ºC/decade. "The continent-wide
mean trend remains at 0.08ºC per decade, although it
is no longer demonstrably different from zero (95% confidence)".
What, it could be zero warming after all?? Anyway, how to
explain East Antarctica which was believed to be cooling for
40 years?? And how to explain the difference between the East
which has cooled, and the West Antarctic peninsula which has
While this Letter does not and cannot
claim significant or even certain warming, Nature sold it
as "ANTARCTIC WARMING". People go away thinking
Antarctica is warming significantly, in line with the rest
of the planet, probably to become habitable in the near future
- even though the actual figures strenuously indicate otherwise.
Yet it is not clear that the scientists have technically lied
- and neither has the magazine.
"We use a method (notes 9,10) adapted
from the regularized expectation maximization algorithm11
(RegEM) for estimating missing data points in climate fields.
RegEM is an iterative algorithm similar to principal-component
analysis... We assess reconstruction skill using reduction-of-error
(RE) and coefficient-of-efficiency (CE) scores as well as
conventional correlation (r) scores." This rings
alarm bells since (note 10) is "Mann, M. E., Rutherford,
S., Wahl, E. & Ammann, C. Robustness of proxy-based climate
field reconstruction methods". Mann, Wahl and Ammann
are all involved in the Hockey
Stick fiasco; and (note 9) refers to Rutherford who is
suspect by association.
"At Siple Station (76º S, 84º
W) and Byrd Station (80º S, 120º W)... the results
show mean trends of 1.16 plus-or-minus 0.8 ºCper decade
and 0.45 plus-or-minus 1.3 ºC per decade at Siple and
Byrd, respectively. Our reconstruction yields 0.29 plus-or-minus
0.26 ºC per decade and 0.36 plus-or-minus 0.37 ºC
per decade over the same interval. In our full 50-year reconstruction,
the trends are significant, although smaller, at both Byrd
(0.23 plus-or-minus 0.09 ºC per decade) and Siple (0.18
plus-or-minus 0.06 ºC per decade)." Whoaaa!!!!
Look carefully at the figures! What significant warming?
"Infrared data are strictly a measure
of clear-sky temperature... Trends in cloudiness... could
both produce spurious trends in the temperature reconstruction".
More alarm bells as per Svensmark: the recent 30 years have
probably seen clearer skies due to lower GCR which seeds low
cloud; elsewhere in the world clear skies increase average
temperature, but over ice fields they lower average temperature
due to the higher albedo (reflectivity) of ice over clouds.
In this context, omitting cloudy measurements could mean that
earlier higher temperatures in cloudy weather,
that would contribute to a cooling trend, have been omitted.
Whatever the temperature measurements,
over the last 30 years the mean ice area surrounding Antarctica
has increased while the mean Arctic Ocean ice area has decreased
(see graphs below). This is as would be expected from the
conclusions of Svensmark. (a) Northern hemisphere: most of
the planet has been warming (1979-2000) under clearer skies;
the only permanent N.H. ice sheet is Greenland; thus the Arctic
ocean has been warming on balance; (b) Antarctica: permanent
ice sheet under clearer skies causes cooling.
For a frequently hilarious / disturbing audit
of the paper, see Watts Up With That here
and Climate Audit Antarctic
RegEM , Dirty
Harry 4, Carnage,
Corrections , and Lest
Sweetness be Wasted on the Desert Air (as of 8 Feb). Map
of Automated Weather Stations here.
NASA GISS data on these AWS here.
Now there's an excellent WUWT
post by Jeff C & Jeff Id (pdf here)
explaining the deconstruction story and results so far. I
hope this will grow to become a proper paper.
a year later (Dec 2010) the intrepid amateurs Ryan O'Donnell,
Nicholas Lewis, Steve McIntyre and Jeff Condon (Jeff
Id) have succeeded, against ridiculous opposition, in
a peer-reviewed paper published to rebut Steig 2009.
Steig is still criticizing them ridiculously.
But Steig have scored
the points that were really desired with airspace on
BBC a year ago to proclaim "warming Antarctica";
there is, of course, no BBC airspace now to say
was mistaken -
Antarctica is not warming overall,
it was only a tiny amount anyway,
in a continent so cold that there is not the remotest
chance of ice melting".
Here are Steig's mistakes
flagged up so anyone can see them
Hill explains very clearly
perspective in the polar regions
For other versions of what has happened with
Antarctic temperature, visit Prof.
Ole Humlum's 2005 study of Antarctic temperature changes
by location, season, and decade (picture below right), a 2008
century Antarctic air temperature and snowfall simulations
by IPCC climate models" which claims that climate
models overheat Antarctica, and Jeff Id's Sea
Ice Trends and Antarctic
Sea Ice Complete Video.
Id's magnificent animation of Antarctic sea ice between
1978 and 2009. See how the huge annual cycle completely
dwarfs the longer interannual variations and cycles.
Ole Humlum's 2005 study of Antarctic temperature
changes by location, season, and decade
|Perspective over time - 30 years'
fluctuations are individually far greater than anomaly
changes - which leads one to doubt that the "lessening
of Arctic ice" is anything to worry about. In the
last year, the anomaly is positive again.
Arctic down; Antarctic up: as expected.
What does not show is known warmer Arctic ice times
in earlier centuries.
See how thin is the Peninsula - MARITIME on the outer
side, with warm currents coming south from Cape Horn
and cooling clockwise.
See how the line of volcanoes closely
mirrors the first NASA temperature picture above? There
may be more inland and underwater volcanoes - most bases
are near the sea.
|Sea Surface Temp in the ocean surrounding Antarctica
We see that the paper could show warming, by picking the
starting date of 1957; whereas a century ago, Antarctica
was possibly warmer than now
|Superficially, temperature levels
and CO2 levels have changed together over the last 7 Ice
Ages and interglacials. Only by expanding the time axis
considerably does the lag of CO2 become visible. See Lansner's
||Map of Antarctica showing Automated
Weather Stations. Click on map to expand; original here
Ice cores 4.5 km depth from Vostok,
Antarctica, give a powerful record going back 450,000
years - the ice is still thickening. This is from a
study of temp and CO2 by F
Lansner, showing the strong evidence that temp leads
CO2. It's a composite of the last 4 ice ages, to show
the archetypal pattern.
|Was the ozone hole ever really affected
by our chloro-fluoro-carbons? Mann's
claim that "the well known cooling of the Antarctic
interior which took place during the 1970s through 1990s
(and is believed to be, as confirmed by our study, due
to stratospheric ozone depletion which was greatest over
that particular time interval) is not sustained well by
Vostok ice core: Temperatures
are measured indirectly by proxy; CO2 levels are measured
directly as it is trapped in the ice. There is some doubt
over the accuracy of the CO2 levels measured. Some CO2 may
have escaped, either before being originally embedded in the
ice sheet forming under the weight of the accumulating snow,
or when lifted for analysing. Note: my original write-up
of Lansner's work here had a picture that was somewhat misleading,
as reader Robert Paglee pointed out. Thanks Bob!
Page edited 10th February 2011