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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

Posted on 18 February 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

We’re witnessing the fastest decline in Arctic sea ice in at least 1,500 years

The sudden, scary ice melt in the Arctic, in three charts.

Arctic Sea Ice 

NASA Gallery, Getty Images

The Arctic Ocean once froze reliably every year. Those days are over.

Arctic sea ice extent has been measured by satellites since the 1970s. And scientists can sample ice cores, permafrost records, and tree rings to make some assumptions about the sea ice extent going back 1,500 years. And when you put that all on a chart, well, it looks a little scary.

In December, NOAA released its latest annual Arctic Report Card, which analyzes the state of the frozen ocean at the top of our world. Overall, it’s not good.

“The Arctic is going through the most unprecedented transition in human history,” Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic research program, said at a press conference. “This year’s observations confirm that the Arctic shows no signs of returning to the reliably frozen state it was in just a decade ago.”

The report, which you can read in full here, compiles trends that scientists have been seeing for years. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. And 2017 saw a new record low for the maximum sea ice extent (i.e., how much of the Arctic ocean freezes in the coldest depths of winter). 

We’re witnessing the fastest decline in Arctic sea ice in at least 1,500 years by Brian Resnick, Energy & Environment, Vox, Feb 16, 2018 

Toon of the Week...

2018 Toon 7 

SkS in the News...

[To be added.] 

Photo of the Week...

Thirteen kids sue State of Washington 

A group of 13 young plaintiffs just filed a lawsuit against the state of Washington, saying its deprived them of their rights to a healthful and pleasant environment, and their rights to life, liberty, and property, by failing to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. (Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr/cc)

For Failing to Act on Climate Crisis, 13 Young Plaintiffs Just Sued the State of Washington by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, Feb 16, 2018 

SkS Spotlights...

IOM Logo 

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

With 169 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.

IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

The IOM Constitution recognizes the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the right of freedom of movement.

IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:

  • Migration and development
  • Facilitating migration
  • Regulating migration
  • Forced migration.

IOM activities that cut across these areas include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants' rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.

Video of the Week...

Will climate change cause more wars? Our video explains the latest research?

Will life on a hotter planet mean more violence, war and chaos? Our short video looks at the evidence.  

Will climate change cause more wars? Our video explains the latest research?, Climate & Migration Coalition, Oct 14, 2017

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Why remote Antarctica is so important in a warming world (Chris Fogwill, Chris Turney, Zoe Robinson)
  • Impact of climate change on health is ‘the major threat of 21st century’ (Daisy Dunne)
  • The latest Holocene temperature reconstruction (John Abraham)
  • Climate change isn't a zero-sum game (Joseph Robertson)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #8 (John Hartz)
  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #8 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

2018 Poster 7 

Climate Feedback Reviews... 

New satellite measurements show sea level rise is accelerating, as CNN accurately reports

Climate Feedback Review

Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the article, Satellite observations show sea levels rising, and climate change is accelerating it by Bandon Miller, CNN, Feb 13, 2018

Four scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'very high'. 

A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: .

New satellite measurements show sea level rise is accelerating, as CNN accurately reports, Climate Feedback, Feb 15, 2018 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

 97 Hours: Ulrike Lohmann

Ulrike Lohmann's bio page and quote source (German)

High resolution JPEG (1024 pixels wide)

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Comments 1 to 14:

  1. John, it’s far worse than that.

    The Arctic had less sea ice last year than any other year on record.

    There, I've said it. It has gone totally unreported.

    NOAA's Arctic Report Card, Jeremy Mathis, Emily Osborne, National Snow & Ice Data Center, Eric Holthaus, Grist, the National Geographic, Brad Plumer, Vox, they all decided, together with endless more people, against releasing this key climate change data to the public.

    Axel Schweiger at PIOMAS tried to sugar the pill by claiming 2017 volume tied with 2012 for the lowest on record, but later conceded it was in fact lower by about 5%.

    Don't believe me? Check out the very–very downplayed info in the 2nd paragraph at

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Link fixed. Note that "annually averaged" sea ice volume qualification. Not such an easy concept for public grasp compared to seaice maximum and minimums.

  2. Such low sea ice in summer and winter presumably means low spring sea ice as well. Polar bears hunting becomes affected as follows.

    I agree the general public probably relate best to sea ice minimums and maximums, but Im interested more in total volumes. Maybe I'm just weird.

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  3. Ice is melting at an alarming rate in the Arctic and initiatives that soak up carbon dioxide should be encouraged. An Arab-Korean initiative intends to build an agricultural city in the barren Qattara Depression. Extensive use of greenhouses is to be implemented and if done throughout Africa this could help. explains.
    Another concept that will probably come to the fore is the use of moist air to enable plants to grow. Recently plant physiologists have shown that absorption of water from leaves and transport of this water to roots occurs. The concept of moist air from greenhouses supplying water to plants via leaves could be a future reality and help soak up CO2. More info on water absorption by leaves at

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  4. So Saudi Arabia exports oil, while building greenhouses to absorb C02. They will need to build about a billions greenhouses to cancel out their oil exports.

    What about all the water the greenhouses will use, where will they source that? Latst time I checked the middle east was not a high rainfall area. And the CO2 emissions in the manufacture of the building materials?

    Some of these technical fixes are the very definition of stupid.

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  5. And growing plants for carbon removal only works if it is charred and buried underground, currently requiring even more diesel to dig the holes and transport the logs and/or the charcoal. We would be trying to replicate coal formation...better to leave the damn stuff where it is.

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  6. Hm, have you ever heard people say 2016 was the warmest year, or 2014 setting a new global temperature record, then 2015 broke that record and then 2016, etc? Those are annual averages. Not so hard concept to grasp, man. Don't underestimate the reading public.

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  7. Going South @6

    I agree it's easy enough to grasp, but do you really think someone like National Geographic would deliberately hide information. It  seems unlikely in their case, or do you know something I dont know.

    To be sure I can see Fox playing down this sort of thing, or most general news media really. Regardless whether its seasonal sea ice extent, or ice volume, it will be buried in the fine print on the back page.

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  8. Nigelj @ 2

    Are you also interested in the area covered by sea ice since this affects albedo, solar energy absorbed by the Arctic Ocean and its effect on thinning of sea ice? Continuing loss of albedo in summer (doesn’t matter in winter) means Arctic ocean warming which may prove problematic on 2 counts: coastal erosion and methane release.

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  9. Riduna @8

    Yes. In hindsight in terms of serious problems the decrease in sea ice area is probably more significant that changes in thickness / total volume. Its a problem for endless reasons as you say, and it also has large implications for N hemisphere weather patterns.

    A lot of sinkholes are opening up in northern russia. I saw a fantastic video of this by a russian scientist, showing these things in detail, and also a lecture on the issue, but I just cant find it again. However I'm pretty sure it was releasing methane and also CO2 in quantity. Soil carbon  can be metres deep. Wish I could find that video.

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  10. nigelj,

    if it was global temperatures that came back after a 5-year slumber with a new all–time record, you'd think it would be news at least somewhere on the planet.

    Not so for Arctic sea ice, apparently. But I do agree with you that this omission is on Axel Schweiger & the PIOMAS project, who didn't want to do the math until February 8th. Journalists follow published facts from scientists, and when there is none, there's nothing to report.

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  11. The Arctic having the second lowest (or as this year the third lowest) summer ice does not ring the same bell as the lowest, probably best not to ring it too loudly.

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  12. Alchemyst coments about last summer sea ice extent. How about the current values? 

    NSIDC, February 6, 2018:

    "January of 2018 began and ended with satellite-era record lows in Arctic sea ice extent, resulting in a new record low for the month. Combined with low ice extent in the Antarctic, global sea ice extent is also at a record low." (emphasis added) 

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  13. Or we could talk about the year average for 2017. 2nd lowest for extent, but lowest ever for volume. Just sayin' ....

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  14. In addition to the recent dramatic and concerning history of Arctic Sea Ice and climate changes, there is the following new news report today February 21, by  Jason Samenow in the Washington Post (not Fake): Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides

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