The great Arctic ice recovery of 2017.

It was very warm in the Arctic above the 80th latitude last winter. Late summer two hurricane strength storms broke up a lot of ice up and transported it south to areas where it was bound to melt. The ice area reached a new low, except for the year 2012, but the ice volume hit a new all time low on Sep 9 2016.

Since then the ice volume has recovered to equal the  previous all time winter low around April 20, 2017, but the ice area hit an all time low maximum as early as March 5.

What happened?

The unusually warm temperatures averaging 7 degrees C above normal with a spike as high as 20 degrees C above normal and no days below was not because of increased CO2, but because it snowed. Anyone that has shoveled snow knows that while it snows it is usually not that cold, especially if the winds are calm. Then, when the snowing stops it gets cold indeed. Nowhere is that shown better than what happened on Greenland this winter.  It snowed and snowed from one winter storm after another starting in the Philippines, raining and snowing over California, regaining strength from the Mexican Gulf and then racing up the Eastern Seaboard snowing out over Greenland.

Then on May 5 it all changed. From having been warmer than normal the Arctic became colder than normal, in fact there has been no day since then that temperatures has been above normal. Today, Aug 13 it even dipped below freezing for the first time since summer max, five days before normal.

The ice area will still decrease for another month or so since sea ice does not start forming until temperatures are -4 degree C, but the ice volume is near its minimum since snow season in the Arctic has already started, and new snow on ice stays, and fresh snow has a higher albedo than old, tired ice.

How much more ice? As of today the sea ice volume is 500 to 1000 km3 larger than last two years, not much, but enough to make a trend. In addition the ice on Greenland has increased by 150 km3, reversing many years of decline.

The prediction that the Arctic ice would be melted by 2016 was foolish extrapolation, but the chart looked good at the time.

This year’s minimum will be about 6,000 km3.

The moral of this story. Beware of extrapolations. Don’t trust models, go with observations.

And one more thing. In 2016 the sailboat Polar Ocean Challenge managed to sail through both the North East Passage and the North West Passage in the same season. In 2015 it would have been no problem The North East Passage choke point Cape Chelyuskin was ice free late July. In 2016 it was still ice covered Aug 5, but the first summer storm cleared out the ice plug. This year Cape Chelyuskin is still full of ice

This year they could not have made the journey. There is not enough time left until the North West Passage freezes over.

 

The Polar ice melting? Not so fast! A Limerick.

The Icecaps we see at the poles

are growing again, who controls?

With less cold it snows more

makes more ice than before.

Just one of the clouds many roles.

In the winter it is now warmer at the poles.  The temperature records indicate  a noticeable recent warming in the Arctic, with large spikes up and down, up to 3 degree Celsius difference from year to year, especially the Arctic. So, how much has the Arctic melted? Here is a chart of Arctic ice cover for the date of May 31 for the last 39 years.

If this trend continues, all ice may melt in 300 to 400 years, faster if there is further warming and nothing else is changing. Let’s take a look at the Arctic above the 80th latitude, an area of about 3,85 million square kilometers, less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but it is there where global warming is most pronounced. Here are two charts from the last 2 years, ending with Jul. 22,  2017.

Starting at summer 2016, the Arctic was melting quite normally, but something else happened, shown in the chart below:

Every 5 years or so, the Arctic suffer a large storm with full hurricane strength during the summer. In 2016 there was not one, but two such storms, and as they happened late in the season when the ice is rotten they resulted in a large ice loss, making the ice minimum the lowest on record, and the ice volume nearly 4,000 Gigatons (Gt) less than the 10 year average. Then the temperature from October thru April did run 7 degree Celsius warmer than normal with a spike as high as 20 degrees warmer. Yet today the deficit is down to less than 100 Gt. What happened? It snowed more than normal. In the Arctic, it did get warmer under clouds, warmer still when it snowed. Take a look at Greenland and what has happened this freezing season. It has snowed and snowed and Greenland has accumulated 150 Gt more ice than normal. The Arctic ice sheet is at this point in the season about 50 Gt below the ten year average (July 21), and this is with Arctic temperatures being seven degrees warmer than normal during the cold season. The counterintuitive conclusion is that it may very well be that warmer temperatures produces accumulation of snow and ice, colder temperatures with less snow accumulates less. (By the way, it snowed less than half as much on the ice caps during the last Ice Age as it does now.) What happens during the short Arctic summer? With more snow accumulated it takes longer to melt last years snow, so the temperature stays colder longer. This year, Arctic temperature has been running colder than normal every day since May 1 with no end in sight. If this melting period ends without melting all snow, more multi year ice will accumulate, and if it continues unabated, the next Ice Age will start.

On Climate Change. What can we learn from the snow?

Having a snow day here at State College, and watching the birds feast on theseeds dsc_0355in the feeder, remembering the temperature was in the fifties yesterday my thoughts went back, way back to a time when I was trying to figure out why it was so hard to calibrate a temperature programmed gas chromatograph  when analyzing samples  from -40C to 275C. During the cryogenic phase water vapor froze on the inside of the oven, and when the oven temperature then rose through the melting point of water, temperature rise took a pause until all the ice was evaporated. As a result, calibration could vary widely dependent on the humidity and how long the oven was in the cryogenic state.
The weather has been unusual this year. After a long drought the Pacific coast has been hit with a seemingly unbroken string of storms, carrying moisture all the way from the Philippines, resulting in record rain and snow. Likewise, in the Atlantic there have been a string of strong storms going from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Greenland or Norway, and the storms are still roaring. From time to time the temperature has been reported to be up to 30 degrees warmer than normal, and it has been raining as far north as Svalbard.

A few years ago there was a prediction (was is Al Gore?) that Arctic Sea ice would be totally gone by the year 2015 and the following charts were produced as proof:

arctic-albedo-loss-and-feedbacks-9-638The charts seem to indicate that by September 2015 Arctic ice would be totally gone and all Arctic snow by summer 2014.

Yogi Berra said: “It is hard to predict, especially about the future.” So how are we doing?

Arctic ice started out with the lowest minimum since 2012 and is still at record low levels for this time of the year.arctic_sea_ice_extent_zoomed_2017_day_34_1981-2010

The total sea ice volume is also at a record low for this time of the year: (from DMI, Danish Meteorological Institute)

cice_combine_thick_sm_en_20170211

Couple this with the message that 2016 was reported the warmest year on record, and there seems to be plenty cause for alarm. But then it was reported by whistle blowers that the temperature data is homogenized to better align with climate models, in other words, falsified, so we may have to look for something that does not change over time, like temperature. Snow and ice have the characteristic of freezing and melting at the same temperature, al long as there is no change in what else is in the snow or ice, like soot or salinity.

With all this ice melting, what is happening to the snow? Checking Rutgers’ University Global Snow Lab ice charts it is clear that the fall snow cover is increasing, signifying an about 8% increase in the last 50 years, and surprisingly,  a significant rise in the last 8 years.

This seems to hint it is getting colder.

Not so fast: what happens to the winter snow cover?

Again we see a slight upward movement, about 2% in the last 50 years.

The January 2017 result are in, and the snow cover was the 5th highest on record for January, so the upward trend continues, indicating the climate is getting colder.

But what happens in spring?

The story is quite different with the snow cover decreasing about 10% in the last 50 years.

That must mean the climate is warming.

Let us look at one more piece of smb_combine_sm_acc_en_20170206statistics: The Greenland ice cover.

This fall has seen a lot of snow falling over Greenland, about double of normal, much like the rain falling in California, the result of a string of storms starting in the Philippines, raining and snowing i California, snowing out in the Western states, recharging  themselves with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and finally snowing out over Greenland or Norway.

When the storms hit Greenland the temperature spikes, sometimes reaching 30F above normal, but it is still snowing!

This year the snow fallen over Greenland is larger than ever recorded. This means that  al this new-fallen snow will not melt during the melting season, which means the snow albedo is higher this year and will cause less snow melt than in years when the albedo is lower

ice-glaciers-2015-fig3-3c-tedesco_smlThe albedo was constantly getting lower until 2012, and then it again snowed more than normal and the albedo recovered in 2013, from then continuing a downward trend. This year it will probably recover some more, leading to a year of ice gain over Greenland.

Why is the albedo decreasing? Blame China. The last few years they have been building one dirty coal plant every week, spewing out soot and sulphur compounds in spite of their claim to have the best scrubbers. This is the reason for the earlier spring snow melt.

The conclusion?

The effects of  increasing CO2 is mush less than the effects from clouds and what the clouds reflect back into the sky and what they carry in the form of water vapor. We are now seeing the result of the end of the el nino, the raining out of the excess humidity, which happens when the earth again is cooling.

The 18 year pause is back, and is now 19 years.

Thermal runaway or the beginning of a new ice age? Opinions are poles apart. A Limerick.

The Arctic warms up when it snows,

and Greenland gains ice, yes it shows.

Snow comes down from the cloud

like a mid-winter shroud.

The Arctic blast blows, burr, it grows!

In November the global land temperatures had its steepest 8 month drop recorded.rss_8_monthAt the same time the Arctic icecap temperatures were unusually warm, spiking one day at 36F above normal.cxujniquuaexqfWhat happened? Look at the Greenland ice cap

smb_combine_sm_acc_en_20161205The total ice accumulation over Greenland is now over 300 Gigatons, about 60% above normal since the season started.

That was over land. How is the accumulation over the Arctic ice cap?cice_combine_thick_sm_en_20161208   After a summer that will go down in history, where the Arctic suffered not one, but two devastating storms, equivalent to category 2 hurricanes, breaking up mush of the outer ice rims the, ice volume has recovered at an above normal rate. The total ice coverage still lags, but the gap is narrowing.

So, is this climate change, and if so, is it getting warmer or colder, or is this just weather?

The climate change alarmists seems to selectively report the weather news showing it is warm somewhere and ignore a more balanced picture. The science is by no means settled, the climate modellers still grossly underestimate the importance of clouds, not only the average coverage, but what time of day or night they appear, and how much thermal energy they carry, and, most important of all, if they come through dry or result in snow or rain.

Finally here is the current snow cover, about 10% above normal for this time of the year. And it isn’t even astronomical winter yet!

snowcover

 

Record July cold from Greenland. Early winter? A Limerick.

aws_gc_netOn August 1, 2016 the Danish Meteorological Institute’s measuring station registered an appalling -30.7 ° C at the ice cap’s summit as the month of July expired. (elevation 10500 feet)

“This is the lowest temperature for July we have from this station,” said DMI senior climatologist John Cappelen.

The previous record was -27.7 ° C on 30 July 1992.

Winter came early to Greenland

Nature has dealt it a mean hand.

It begins to unfold,

record temperature cold.

Melting? In fantasy dreamland.