Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

2011: World’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña event, lowest Arctic sea ice volume

Posted on 1 December 2011 by John Hartz

The following is a reprint of a news release isssued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Nov 29, 2011, with a few minor additions by Skeptical Science.


Global temperatures in 2011 are currently the tenth highest on record and are higher than any previous year with a La Niña event, which has a relative cooling influence (Figure 1). The 13 warmest years have all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. The extent of Arctic sea ice in 2011 was the second lowest on record, and its volume was the lowest (Figure 2).

temps

Figure 1: Average of NOAA, GISS, and HadCRUT annual global surface temperature anomalies.  Blue bars indicate years influenced by La Niña events.  2011 is the warmest La Niña-influenced year on record (Source: WMO)

piomas

Figure 2: Arctic sea ice volume from PIOMAS, added to the press release by Skeptical Science

These are some of the highlights of the provisional annual World Meteorological Organization Statement on the Status of the Global Climate, which gives a global temperature assessment and a snapshot of weather and climate events around the world in 2011. It was released today at the international climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

“Our role is to provide the scientific knowledge to inform action by decision makers,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” he said.

“Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs. They are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2-2.4 degree Centigrade rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere and oceans,” he said.

The WMO’s provisional statement estimated the global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2011 (January–October) at 0.41°C ± 0.11°C (0.74°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F, according to the provisional statement. This is the tenth equal warmest year since the start of records in 1850.

The 2002-2011 period equals 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record, 0.46°C above the long-term average.

Global climate in 2011 was heavily influenced by the strong La Niña event which developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued until May 2011. It was one of the strongest of the last 60 years and was closely associated with the drought in east Africa, islands in the central equatorial Pacific and the southern United States, and flooding in southern Africa, eastern Australia and southern Asia.

Strong La Niña years are typically 0.10 to 0.15°C cooler than the years preceding and following them. 2011’s global temperatures followed this pattern, being lower than those of 2010, but were still considerably warmer than the most recent moderate to strong La Niña years, 2008 (+0.36°C), 2000 (+0.27°C) and 1989 (+0.12°C). Weak La Niña conditions have redeveloped in recent weeks but have not yet approached the intensity of those in late 2010 and early 2011.

Surface air temperatures were above the long-term average in 2011 over most land areas of the world. The largest departures from average were over Russia, especially in northern Russia where January-October temperatures were about 4°C above average in places.

The seasonal Arctic sea ice minimum, reached on 9 September, was 4.33 million square kilometres. This was 35% below the 1979-2000 average and only slightly more than the record low set in 2007. Unlike the 2007 season, both the Northwest and Northeast Passages were ice-free for periods during the 2011 summer. Sea ice volume was even further below average and was estimated at a new record low of 4200 cubic kilometres, surpassing the record of 4580 cubic kilometres set in 2010.

The above-average temperatures in most northern polar regions coincided with the second-lowest Arctic sea ice minimum extent and the lowest sea ice volume on record.

Other highlights:

  • Severe drought, then flood, in east Africa
  • Major floods in south-east Asia, Pakistan, Central and South America
  • Deadliest flash flood with landslide in Brazil
  • A year of extremes in the United States
  • A dry start to the year in Europe and eastern China
  • Another year of below-average tropical cyclone activity

Notes:

The provisional statement is being released at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, taking place in Durban, South Africa 28 November to 9 December 2011. Final updates and figures for 2011 will be published in March 2012 in the annual WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate.

The preliminary information for 2011 is based on climate data from networks of land-based weather and climate stations, ships and buoys, as well as satellites. The data continuously feed three main depository global climate data and analysis centres, which develop and maintain homogeneous global climate datasets based on peer-reviewed methodologies. The WMO global temperature analysis is thus principally based on three complementary datasets. One is the combined dataset maintained by both the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. Another dataset is maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the third one is from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Additional information is drawn from the ERA-Interim reanalysis-based data set maintained by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

0 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Comments 1 to 47:

  1. The La Nina formed during 2010 but last year still tired with 2005 as the hottest year ever recorded globally. It was one of the strongest La Ninas observed since records started in the late 1800s.

    This strenght lasted into 2011, as witnessed by record high rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia. This near record La Nina would have had a large natural cooling effect and even though it has weakened, 2011 is still up there with the hottest years.

    This should send a strong message to the Durban climate conference but are governments’ listening?
    0 0
  2. Brian: I think though that temperature tends to lag ENSO by about half a year, so while La Nina started in 2010, it was really toward the end and beginning of 2011 that it started to take effect. The drop is visible in GISTEMP's December value for instance:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    0 0
  3. Thanks Alex, yes the information I have is the La Nina started to emerge in autumn (southern hemisphere). The information also said because of the strong La Nina, the 2010 record was a surprise to some. The information came from the Australian BOM.
    0 0
  4. And indeed this accessible assessment of what's coming in 2012 for those of us south of Asia comes from the BOM.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/social/2011/09/chalk-cheese-cats-and-dogs/
    0 0
  5. oneiota, that you for that link to the Australian rain assessment. It was both entertaining and instructive, a rare combination. Well worth the read.
    0 0
  6. oneiota. Thanks for that. It doesn't really belong on the debunking threads, but this is an outstanding example of science communication.

    Everyone who hasn't already read it - go for it.
    0 0
  7. I'm glad you liked it!

    I know he's just talking about the weather but you need to start somewhere....understanding what drives the weather leads to understanding what drives the climate.

    Everyone (including the layman) is interested in the weather because the forecast informs our decisions about what to wear. As the weather changes so does our response...so should our informed response be to climate change.
    0 0
  8. I wonder what it will look like when we have a strong El Nino?
    0 0
  9. newscrusader @8, if there was a strong el nino in 2013, we would hear the denier refrain for the next 5 years that it hasn't warmed since 2013, so global warming has stopped and global cooling is about to start.
    0 0
  10. @ Tom Curtis

    " if there was a strong el nino in 2013, we would hear the denier refrain for the next 5 years that it hasn't warmed since 2013"

    Don't you mean for the next 13 years, and counting? That's how long they have been hanging their hats on 1998 as prime cherry to pick.
    0 0
  11. Figure 1 is a great graph. Better at showing the steady warming of the last 30 years than the usual rolling average graphs. Making a distinction between El Nino and La Nina years is a great addition.
    0 0
  12. I'd like to see the first graph with the El Nino years in red.

    Being a bit of a nitpicker, I'd probably actually prefer that the bars be divided in half for color representation (often only one half of one year is La Nina/El Nino).

    To keep deniers happy one might also change the base color from pink to gray (pink is too warm a color, so you are subliminally saying "warm, warm, warm" to their tiny, unconscious little brains).
    0 0
  13. Sphaerica - I think we'll do our own similar analysis at year's end, so you can nitpick us at that point :-)
    0 0
  14. Another graph from PIOMAS:

    "Total Arctic sea ice volume from PIOMAS showing the volume of the mean annual cycle, the current year, 2010 (the year of previous September volume minimum), and 2007 (the year of minimum sea ice extent in September). Shaded areas indicate one and two standard deviations from the mean."
    [Source]

    Yup, the Death Spiral? Still happenin'...
    0 0
  15. 14, DB,

    Looks more like a "Death Undertow" than a death spiral, in this case.
    0 0
  16. Extrapolating the PIOMAS graph, the artic will likely be ice free in summer within the next 10 years or less. And according to Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, the Artic could be ice free by the summer of 2015! Yet I understand that none of the current models assume Artic ice melting this quickly - I've been told that models have been assuming 2040 to 2060 before the Artic is ice free. I suppose models will get updated to reflect what is really happening - and it won't be good news! Also the models assume what is now known to be very conservative estimates of methane release from the permafrost layer. 2100 still seems to be the timeframe for showing what will happen to the planet - maybe 2050 or even earlier should be the goalpost. 2100 is too far out for ordinary people, let alone governments, to feel that consequences may affect them. A 'goalpost' just 40 years out may have a better impact on getting governments to take notice - maybe.
    0 0
    Response:

    [DB] "Yet I understand that none of the current models assume Artic ice melting this quickly"

    See here: Maslowski (slide 12)

    Maslowski has access to a US Navy supercomputer; he specializes in high-resolution eddy processes in the Arctic.  His model, the only one successfully tracking the Arctic sea ice demise, is expected to be supplanted by a much-higher-resolution model.

    Maslowski notes the limitations of the existing 18 and 9 km gridded models here.  Also note the existance of a 2.3 km gridded output here.

  17. Oneiota:

    Thanks so much for that! Fantastically informative, clear, and accessible, not to mention funny. Invoking the seasons is a great response when someone dredges up the "they can't predict the weather next week, so how can they predict the climate?" trope.
    0 0
  18. The multi-year ice decline is very evident in this graphic from Distribution and trends in Arctic sea ice age through spring 2011, Maslanik et al 2011:

    "Extents of multiyear ice and 5+ ice for the third week of March and at the September minimum. Also shown are piecewise linear‐fit trend lines estimated following Tome and Miranda [2004] and a least‐squares regression line fit to data for March 2002–2006."
    [Source]
    0 0
  19. @19: Phil M : The PIOMAS graphs are certainly pointing to an imminent crashing into the zero-line (ie within a decade). But I have read that there are negative feedbacks that may come into play to 'rescue' the summer sea-ice free Arctic, for a while at least.

    One was outlined by Tietsche in a paper in AGU early this year: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010GL045698.shtml


    Basically, without the insulating ice, the seawater loses much of its summer-gained heat to the atmosphere, in the Arctic autumn. That warming atmosphere then loses heat from its top, into space, increasing the cooling over winter. That could be enough to increase winter freezing, and slow down the summer-time loss; or to cause an ice-free Arctic to regrow some of its cap in a couple of years.

    Whether their modelled effect will appear in the real-world -- and whether or not its trumped by other unknown positive feedbacks from a near-ice free Arctic -- well only time will tell.

    Doesn't like we'll be waiting long though..
    0 0
    Response:

    [DB] Please note that the results obtained in the Tietsche paper are predicated upon atmospheric CO2 levels having first attained a plateau level.  Since that is not happening anytime in the next 30-40 years (even if emissions were held at zero over that time) the results will be moot.

    Maslowski's model, the only one actually tracking the observed demise of Arctic sea ice, predicts an initial loss of summer sea ice by 2016, ± 3 years.  At this point, the resulting albedo flip induces further seasonal warming.  Eisenman and Wettlaufer show that this further warming thus leads to the entire Arctic Ocean becoming perennially ice-free.

    Click to enlarge

    Thus, rising emissions/temperatures push the Arctic into a seasonal ice-free state (Maslowski, slide 12) and then into a perennially ice-free state (essentially, the Arctic supports only a full-ice or a no-ice solution for stable states).

  20. oneiota @ 4 and adelady @ 6
    Thanks for the Chalk and Cheese, Cats and Dogs link.
    Absolutely beautiful and easy to understand explantion for the uninitiated. A pleasure to read.
    0 0
  21. "Maslowski's model, the only one actually tracking the observed demise of Arctic sea ice, predicts an initial loss of summer sea ice by 2016, ± 3 years. At this point, the resulting albedo flip induces further seasonal warming. Eisenman and Wettlaufer show that this further warming thus leads to the entire Arctic Ocean becoming perennially ice-free."

    This sounds like a testable hypothesis.

    One of the narratives about Arctic ice implies that warming is causing the decline. Were this the case, we would expect the maxima of multi-year ice to lie near the pole ( the place with the greatest annual energy deficit and thus, the place remaining most immune to increased global thermal energy ).

    Instead, we find the maxima of multi-year ice not at the pole, but wedged against the Canadian Archipelago further south. The same dynamic forces which moved the multi-year ice maxima south have 'flushed' ice out of the Arctic and into the Atlantic to the east of Greenland, where it is lost to the aggregate:

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/Co68_tod0dQ

    It is possible, then that Arctic sea ice loss leads to warming more than warming leads to Arctic sea ice loss.

    This may have happened in the record.

    Note the intense warming episodes in the Arctic which occurred in the 1930s and 1940s:



    There were no satellites then, but those episodes are consistent with sea ice declining ( and then accumulating ).

    This may be all wet.

    But here we have a pretty good test:

    If the Arctic is ice free in the summer of '16, we'll have to recognize the validity of the above model.

    If, on the other hand, the Beaufort Gyre strengthens and Arctic Sea Ice reverts to its mean accumulation in the next decade, this will indicate the significance that dynamics have played in the decline.
    0 0
    Response:

    [DB] "One of the narratives about Arctic ice implies that warming is causing the decline."

    In the absence of any other "narrative" that survives both common sense and scientific scrutiny, warming melting ice is at present the best explanation for the demise of the Arctic sea ice being recorded.

    "Were this the case, we would expect the maxima of multi-year ice to lie near the pole ( the place with the greatest annual energy deficit and thus, the place remaining most immune to increased global thermal energy )."

    Straw man.  Arctic sea ice is thickest in the areas where weather conditions are most favorable to ice survival over time.  This is well-understood.

    "The same dynamic forces..."

    Any reason you position dynamic as if it represented some hitherto-unknown-mechanism?

    "It is possible, then that Arctic sea ice loss leads to warming more than warming leads to Arctic sea ice loss."

    Again, this is no surprise.  A thinner ice pack is more structurally fragile, easily fractured and splintered into rafted piles and slurry.  Also well-understood.  But more of a feedback than a forcing as you are setting it up to be.

    (skips over 30's and 40's diversionary tactic)

    "If, on the other hand, the Beaufort Gyre strengthens and Arctic Sea Ice reverts to its mean accumulation in the next decade, this will indicate the significance that dynamics have played in the decline."

    So you hang your hat on the Beaufort Gyre then as your previously hinted-at mystical mechanism?  That is like saying "If pigs could fly, there would be low-flying bacon."

  22. Weatherwatcher @21, following your logic we would have to conclude that very cold conditions in the Arctic in the 1910's had nothing to do with the solar minimum of 1910, but rather was the cause of that minimum. Alternatively we could conclude that polar amplification did not start in 1975.

    With regard to the expected behaviour of sea ice under warming, part of the impact of warming is that currents bringing water into the Arctic are themselves warmer. Consequently we would expect regions sheltered from such currents to have less melting.

    We would also expect, in general, water adjacent to extent ice sheets, as in the Canadian Archipelago to melt slower. Not being adjacent to ice free water with its increased solar absorption, it itself will not warm as fast.

    Further, those ice sheets, though extent are still melting, and Canadian rivers further south are now flowing with the water deposited in a confined volume due to the Islands. Both factors contribute to the water in the Canadian Archipelago being fresher than elsewhere in the Arctic (except just North of Siberia). Fresh water freezes more easily than does salt.



    Finally, all ice in the Arctic melts to some extent in the summer, reducing its thickness. Whether it melts completely if in situ depends on its thickness, which in turn depends on its age. Because ice adjacent to the Canadian archipelago is effectively anchored by the local shore line, it is much older than ice (hence thicker) than ice elsewhere in the Arctic, and hence is not expected to melt away in a single season. Of course, because it does not shift, if it is not melted away in a single season it will be replenished in winter months.

    Your "testable hypothesis", therefore, is the product of a shallow and thoughtless analysis of the situation. If you believe otherwise, feel free to show us an AOGCM run of the Arctic melting to an ice free state in which the last surviving ice is at the North Pole rather than in the northern bays and straights of the Canadian Archipelago.
    0 0
  23. Watcher#21: And it is just a coincidence that global glacial mass continues decreasing? Does the self-same Beaufort Gyre extend to Patagonia?

    Or is it far more likely that the same mechanism - warming - melts both Arctic sea ice and glacial ice?
    0 0
  24. Nice bifurcation. Non-linear stability analysis of the model anyone?? It will be interesting to see the dominant modes.
    0 0
  25. Looking at the first graph I notice that in La Nina year 1989 compared to this La Nina year (2011) it has become around 0.3 degrees warmer (a little less actually). All this over more than 20 years.

    O my god!! Does this mean we are all gonna die??

    No, but seriously, I'm new here. Can someone please explain what all the fuss is about? This can't really be a problem, right? I mean, even when this goes on it means that in 80 years- my son will be 84 then- it will be around 1.5 degrees warmer. In 80 years! I mean, 80 years ago we were using de gracht here in Utrecht as a toilet and riding around on horses.

    I don't mean to make fun of this, but I just don't get it. Please explain. Someone?

    regards
    Tjall
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [DB] Welcome to Skeptical Science!  There is an immense amount of reference material discussed here and it can be a bit difficult at first to find an answer to your questions.  That's why we recommend that Newcomers, Start Here and then learn The Big Picture.

    I also recommend watching this video on why CO2 is the biggest climate control knob in Earth's history.

    Further general questions can usually be be answered by first using the Search function in the upper left of every Skeptical Science page to see if there is already a post on it (odds are, there is).  If you still have questions, use the Search function located in the upper left of every page here at Skeptical Science and post your question on the most pertinent thread.

    All pages are live at SkS; many may be currently inactive, however.  Posting a question or comment on any will not be missed as regulars here follow the Recent Comments threads, which allows them to see every new comment that gets posted here.

    Comments primarily dealing with ideologies are frowned upon here.  SkS is on online climate science Forum in which participants can freely discuss the science of climate change and the myths promulgated by those seeking to dissemble.  All science is presented in context with links to primary sources so that the active, engaging mind can review any claims made.

    Remember to frame your questions in compliance with the Comments Policy and lastly, to use the Preview function below the comment box to ensure that any html tags you're using work properly.

  26. Tjall -
    This is probably a good place to start
    Positives and negatives of global warming
    0 0
  27. Tjall... If you are new to climate science this is a very reasonable question. Common sense would tell you that, hey, the temperature can go up and down 5-10C over the course of a single day. What's the big deal if the temperature is 2C warmer?

    The answer goes a little against common sense and I think is best explained by this diagram: Here.

    Even 1 or 2C of rise in the global average temperature can have significant impact on extreme events. We are already starting to see these extreme events around the world in terms of 500 and 1000 year weather events, both floods and droughts.

    There's a lot to learn about this issue and SkS is a good place to find solid information. And remember, you don't even have to take any of the SkS authors word for anything. Every article on this site is fully cited with the relevant published literature. If you get that niggling feeling something doesn't sound right, follow the published science. Ask questions. Be genuinely skeptical.
    0 0
  28. One good way of looking at it is this, Tjall:

    As of the start of the industrial revolution, the global mean temperature was approximately 6°C higher than during the depths of the previous glacial period.

    6°C isn't much (you might notice a temperature shift of that magnitude without it impinging on your comfort), but in terms of global mean temperature it's the difference between ice sheets covering large chunks of continental North America, Europe & Asia and not.

    Thus, even the <1°C shift since the Industrial Revolution can cause (and has already caused) large-scale changes & disruptions. Hence the reason why there is an attempt to get nation-states to agree to prevent global warming greater than 2°C since pre-industrial times.
    0 0
  29. I question the use of the title half way down the post, 'Other highlights', John.

    I'm not sure an extreme weather event that caused the death of thousands of people should ever be referred to as a 'highlight' -- that is, "the most exciting or memorable part of an event or period of time, to use the dictionary definition. And it does rather play into the hands of those who would cast us as wallowing in disaster.

    Perhaps 'notable events', 'lowlights', 'low points' or 'low spots' -- take your pick -- would be more appropriate?
    0 0
  30. Thanks for the warm welcome ;-), the explanations and all the links. Interesting stuff.
    A lot of reading to do for me.

    Tjall
    0 0
  31. @Climatewatcher #21:

    I think this animation, based on actual data, tells all you need to know about your 'testable hypothesis'.
    0 0
  32. 31 - John Russell,

    Yes, that animation, based on a peer reviewed study, demonstrates the motion of ice out of the Arctic Ocean.

    The ice moves with the bouys denoted by the red dots in the animation. Watch as they move out of the Arctic to the east of Greenland.

    There are two major motions of the Arctic Ocean surface - the Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift:



    If the through flow current dominates, more ice is lost.
    If the gyre dominates, multiyear ice just spins around and accumulates.

    To be sure, global temperatures have increased.

    But when one looks at the temperatures of stations north of 80 degrees, 2009 and 2010 were actually cooler than normal during the melt season and 2011 witnessed remarkably normal melt season temperatures:

    Arctic Temperatures

    The Arctic Ice model referenced above indicates complete loss of summer ice within about five years and continued annual decline thereafter.

    On the other hand, if dynamics are more significant, we should see a period of Arctic Sea Ice accumulation.

    The tests of these hypotheses are at hand in the coming years, regardless of what we may think about them.
    0 0
    Response:

    [DB] "But when one looks at the temperatures of stations north of 80 degrees, 2009 and 2010 were actually cooler than normal during the melt season"

    Umm, no:

    Click to enlarge

    "and 2011 witnessed remarkably normal melt season temperatures"

    And no, again:

    Click to enlarge

    [Source]

    Readers should take note that the use of DMI (80° north temps) is a known skeptic diverserionary tactic for these reasons:

    1. 80° north is not global nor very much even regional
    2. The Arctic summer melt season dominates near-surface temps due to the enormous volumes of melting ice

    Click to enlarge

    [Source]

    "On the other hand, if dynamics are more significant, we should see a period of Arctic Sea Ice accumulation."

    No.  You ignore the extra warmth being accumulated in the Arctic due to increased transport of warming oceanic waters into the Arctic (via the North Atlantic and through the Bering Strait from the Pacific), not to mention the increased 24/7/365 warming from increased CO2 levels.

  33. CW#32: "we should see a period of Arctic Sea Ice accumulation."

    Note here that winter 2011 freeze-up is on track with 2007 -- and that is more than 2 std dev below the mean.


    -- NSIDC News

    ... each decade, the October extent has started from a lower and lower point, with the record low extent during the 1980s (1984) substantially higher than the record low extent during the 1990s (1999), which in turn is substantially higher than the record low extent during the 2000s (2007).

    That's not indicative of an accumulation underway. Maybe next year.
    0 0
  34. 32, CW,

    The really sad thing about your hypothesis is that prior to the 1990s, arctic minimum sea ice concentrations were so great that the two major motions of the Arctic Ocean surface didn't matter one whit, because the ice was all locked up.

    I wonder how we got into a scenario where this is even a matter for discussion?

    1979 September 15 extent:


    1982 September 15 extent:


    1985 September 15 extent:
    0 0
  35. Quote PhilMorris at 05:42 AM on 2 December, 2011
    ''And according to Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, the Artic could be ice free by the summer of 2015! Yet I understand that none of the current models assume Artic ice melting this quickly - I've been told that models have been assuming 2040 to 2060 before the Artic is ice free. I suppose models will get updated to reflect what is really happening - and it won't be good news! Also the models assume what is now known to be very conservative estimates of methane release from the permafrost layer. 2100 still seems to be the timeframe for showing what will happen to the planet - maybe 2050 or even earlier should be the goalpost. 2100 is too far out for ordinary people, let alone governments, to feel that consequences may affect them. A 'goalpost' just 40 years out may have a better impact on getting governments to take notice - maybe.''

    Perhaps if the maths of compound interest were used it may register. The 6% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions for 2010 just announced if compounded for the next 11 years will mean a doubling of emissions over 12 years.
    A doubling of GGE in 12 years has to get some level of attention span. We shall experience the consequences long before that short amount of time is up.
    0 0
  36. Although a completely ice free Arctic may be some ways off, unless there is a significant change in what is happening, or PIOMass has got really wrong somehow (unlikely) a substantially ice free Arctic looks on the cards for 2015/16 Certainly an ice free North Pole.

    Could make for a great 'photo-op'. Imagine. Cunard schedule all three of their Queens so that in late August they all start a cruise, in 'convoy', from Southhampton, to Iceland, Svarlbad then on to 90N on Sept 15. Picture it: The Queen Mary, Qheen Elizabeth & Queen Victoria, side by side at the North Pole, with footage from a chopper going out to the worlds media and youtube. Now that might put a fox amongst some denialist chickens!
    0 0
  37. What effect, if any, is expected now that there is an ozone hole over the Arctic?
    0 0
  38. jimb#37:

    The Arctic ozone hole has been kicking around for 15 years or so; apparently a consequence of a cooler-than normal stratosphere.

    The Arctic ozone hole first appeared in the mid-1990s, more than a decade after the Antarctic hole. Like its southern cousin, it forms as the Sun rises after the midwinter night. Solar radiation triggers reactions between ozone in the stratosphere and chemicals containing chlorine or bromine. These occur fastest on the surface of ice particles in clouds, which only form in the polar stratosphere at temperatures below ­80 °C.

    And isn't that a consequence of greenhouse warming?
    0 0
  39. re #38- I was simply referencing the article in Nature where the title of the abstract was titled "Unprecedented Arctic Ozone loss in 2011". (don't have access to the full article) As a non-scientist, I try to keep up with the various issues, and find this site very helpful in sorting out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I should have been more clear with my question, I suppose, but I assume from your response that the 'unprecedented ozone loss' is not expected to have any effect on arctic temperatures.
    I'm not sure how to take your last rhetorical question, but I had no intention of suggesting that it was not a consequence of greenhouse warming.
    0 0
    Response:

    [DB] "(don't have access to the full article)"

    Try here: http://ozone.unep.org/Publications/nature10556.pdf

  40. jimb#39: "I had no intention of suggesting that it was not a consequence of greenhouse warming."

    I didn't say that you had suggested it; I merely find it yet another piece in the mountain of evidence that all point in the same direction. Let's watch how those who claim the stratosphere isn't cooling spin this evidence that it is.
    0 0
  41. Changes to the Arctic are chronicled annually in the Arctic Report Card issued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) The 2011 report, prepared by an international team of scientists from 14 different countries, was reseased by NOAA on Dec 1.

    Among the 2011 report highlights are:

    • Atmosphere: In 2011, the average annual near-surface air temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean were approximately 2.5° F (1.5° C) greater than the 1981-2010 baseline period.

    • Sea ice: Minimum Arctic sea ice area in September 2011 was the second lowest recorded by satellite since 1979.

    • Ocean: Arctic Ocean temperature and salinity may be stabilizing after a period of warming and freshening. Acidification of sea water (“ocean acidification”) as a result of carbon dioxide absorption has also been documented in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

    • Land: Arctic tundra vegetation continues to increase and is associated with higher air temperatures over most of the Arctic land mass

    To access this informative document, click here.
    0 0
  42. Jeff Masters posted this colorful image in his 12 December blog:


    -- source

    The fraction of the country covered by extremely wet conditions (top 10% historically) was 32% during the period January through November, ranking as the 2nd highest such coverage in the past 100 years. ... The fraction of the country covered by extremely dry conditions (top 10% historically) was 22% during the period January through November, ranking as the 8th highest in the past 100 years. The combined fraction of the country experiencing either severe drought or extremely wet conditions was 56% averaged over the January - November period--the highest in a century of record keeping.

    The wet get wetter, the dry get drier - all at the same time.
    0 0
  43. Jeff Masters strikes again:

    Our extreme weather: Arctic changes to blame? dated Dec 16, 2011

    Report and analysis of an AGU talk by Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University: "Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes?"

    Arctic sea ice loss may significantly affect the upper-level atmospheric circulation, slowing its winds and increasing its tendency to make contorted high-amplitude loops. High-amplitude loops in the upper level wind pattern (and associated jet stream) increases the probability of persistent weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, potentially leading to extreme weather due to longer-duration cold spells, snow events, heat waves, flooding events, and drought conditions. ...

    Dr. Francis found that the upper-level wave amplitude has increased by over 100 miles (161 km) in summer over the past decade, and this change appears to be connected to the decline in May snow cover.


    Very well worth the read for all the 'warming doesn't cause extreme weather' loyalists in the room.
    0 0
  44. What's causing this La Nina effect? Is the effect intermittent in some way. The dates in the article don't seem right.

    Looking at the records, it doesn't look like she kicked in until December 2010 and finished her merry dance in March 2011:-

    August 2010 3rd warmest
    September 2010 8th warmest
    October 2010 8th warmest
    November 2010 2nd warmest
    December 2010 17th warmest
    January 2011 17th warmest
    February 2011 17th warmest
    March 2011 13th warmest
    April 2011 7th warmest
    May 2011 10th warmest
    June 2011 7th warmest
    0 0
  45. 44, mace,

    There's a lot to be learned about ENSO events to be able to answer your own question.

    I suggest you start with the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, although it's a bit "thick."

    I recently saw a simpler tutorial (there are a few around), but I can't remember where. If I dig it up, I'll add the link.
    0 0
  46. 44, mace,

    This isn't the one I was looking for, but this post at Real Climate is a good introduction.
    0 0
  47. 44, mace,

    The NOAA has a simpler approach.

    Here is their ENSO Education page.

    Here is their general ENSO page.
    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

TEXTBOOK

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

THE DEBUNKING HANDBOOK

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2014 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us