psssst … Ignore the Arctic … look over here!!! Antarctic sea ice again!

Yet again Nova attempts to distract away from record loss of Artic sea ice, which currently has been at a record low for several months, and instead focus on the Antarctic sea ice which set a record high, if you ignore extent and focus on area, and even then only by a tiny margin and only for a day or two before disappearing back down into the average.

This time around, when researchers, those that studying the Antarctic climate, suggest a possible cause for the slight increase in Antarctic sea ice is related to the wind, Nova jumps up and down furiously. First she claims the research is wrong, that Borenstein is just pretending, then she claims the IPCC and others were wrong because this new theory would contradict them. Which is it Nova?

In Nova’s haste to prove everything wrong, a few clumsy mistakes are made along with one classic (see “Could sea ice increase, and ice shelves melt .” detailed below).

New or Old

Nova claims that the AGW team took three weeks to come up with an idea of warm air causing greater sea ice. I guess Nova never read the research from TEN years ago that says:

The observed increase in Antarctic sea ice cover is counter to the observed decreases in the Arctic. It is also qualitatively consistent with the counterintuitive prediction of a global atmospheric-ocean model of increasing sea ice around Antarctica with climate warming due to the stabilizing effects of increased snowfall on the Southern Ocean.

Recent modelling with greater detail and complexity show that winds can also be assisting the process.

Nova suggests the climate scientists are feigning surprise (“In PR it helps to pretend your scientists are not surprised.”). Given that research 10 years ago had suggested such a possibility, why would the climate scientists be surprised? That Nova is oblivious to such research is perhaps no surprise.

Nova gets Confused (a few time)

Nova tries to explain that several previous predictions of melt are now wrong, because Antarctic sea ice has increased, however several clumsy mistakes are made. Lets examine each of her quotes, the first from the IPCC …

In 20th- and 21st-century simulations, antarctic sea ice cover is projected to decrease more slowly than in the Arctic (Figures 10.13c,d and 10.14),

The above sentence is talking about projections up until 2100 and the graph depicted in 10.13d (pictured below) shows that the observed Antarctic Ice is within the bounds of model projections (the solid lines are the average of many different models). The models suggest that the rapid decline will be many decades away and that for at least the next few years, levels could be similar or even higher than today.

Nova never mentions that models have failed to project the rapid decline in the Arctic. The northern hemisphere ice has declined much much faster than any model had forecast. A reminder that, whilst forecasting tools may give you some idea, uncertainty remains and it may not always be welcomed news.

Is it really that bad that newer research shows previous models were slightly out? That’s the whole point of extending our knowledge, to grow what we do know and increase our understanding! So if models from 5 years ago were worse than the models today – yey I say – we’re heading the right direction.

In her second quote Nova lists the USGS …

Ice shelves are retreating in the southern section of the Antarctic Peninsula due to climate change. This could result in glacier retreat and sea-level rise if warming continues

Lesson for Nova, An ICE SHELF is not the same as SEA ICE and the Antarctic Peninsula is one small northernmost section of Antarctica.

For anyone interested:

  • Ice Sheet – thick sheet of ice that covers land.
  • Ice Shelf – the extension of an Ice Sheet that extends over the water.
  • Sea Ice – ice that forms in the ocean.

Nova confuses Ice Shelves that are 100’s of meters thick, with Sea ice that is only 1 or 2 meters thick. Either she’s totally ignorant of the difference, or she doesn’t care so long as she can make a political statement about it.

This next line of hers really makes me question her intellect!!!

Nova then writes “Could sea ice increase, and ice shelves melt?”. Is she really expecting the wind that helps the sea ice form to have the same growing effect on ice shelves? Does she really think the wind will somehow make Ice Shelves, which are the product of glaciers, 100’s of meters thick, to increase in size as a response to the wind?

Third on the list is from the British Antarctic Survey …

A thaw of Antarctic ice is outpacing predictions by the U.N. climate panel and could in the worst case drive up world sea levels by 2 meters (6 ft) by 2100

Whoops. Nova again exposes her incompetence by getting mixed up; this time confusing an Ice Sheet with Sea Ice. As previously explained the Ice Sheet is the ice covering the land, orders of magnitude larger than sea ice mass.

Double whoops. If you read the article it says … “Chris Rapley, the outgoing head of the British Antarctic Survey, said there were worrying signs of accelerating flows of ice towards the ocean from both Antarctica and Greenland with little sign of more snow falling inland to compensate.” . This is based upon observations, not “models”.

Triple whoops, it’s not 2100 yet.

Fourth quote is from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University …

Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

Joanne “Cherry Pick” Nova omits some of that link, let me include a bit more …

“It isn’t surprising that these models are not doing as well in these remote parts of the world. These are global models and shouldn’t be expected to be equally exact for all locations,” he said.

It seems Joanne Nova expects the models to have greater accuracy than do the climate researchers. Perhaps that because they understand that a computer simulation will NEVER get it 100% correct.

I am also surprised, given that Jo’s from Western Australia that she was not aware of the research describing a correlation between the increased snowfall in East Antarctica and the drought in WA.

In Summary

No past prediction will ever be 100% correct. Improving on past predictions is something we should embrace; it means we are understanding more of the world we live in. Predictions are always made with uncertainty, that’s not always a comfort as we see with a faster than expected decline of Artic sea ice and sea levels rising at the upper bound of forecasts.

Joanne Nova makes another “merchant of doubt” post but offers no prediction of her own (despite claiming it to be the sole purpose of science – what a load of rot – ever heard of medicine?). She wishes to cast doubt on the science by showing that things aren’t 100% correct. Wake up Nova, they never will be.

Long term trends averaged over the entire planet show that surface temps are climbing, satellites measuring in/out radiation show the planet is gaining heat and that CO2 is trapping more of that radiation, ocean are also accumulating heat, animals and plants are migrating in response to that warming.

Science has answered the question well enough to know the planet is warming and we are the cause – even if Antarctic sea ice is 2% more than what some model 5 years ago said it would be.


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One Response to “psssst … Ignore the Arctic … look over here!!! Antarctic sea ice again!”

  1. Nick Says:

    The Cryosphere Today Antarctic sea ice graphic shows jagged ‘teeth’ as max area is being reached. These ‘teeth’ are probably the result of extent reaching limits imposed by wind stresses alternately compacting and blowing apart ice over bi-weekly to monthly periods. One of these teeth got the rejectionists all excited…grasping at straws as ever! Area has collapsed pretty rapidly since their ‘triumph’ of misinformation to be just 400,000km – or about 3% – above the mean area

    BTW in your header : Ar[c]tic..typo!

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