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Londoner, worrying about the climate becoming weird
Interests: Arctic, climate change Antarctic
Recent Activity
A new paper from Polyak et al on Western arctic sea ice extent: "results suggest that year-round ice in the western Arctic was a norm for the last several 100 ka, in contrast to rapidly disappearing summer ice today". "Quaternary history of sea ice in the western Arctic Ocean based on foraminifera" Leonid Polyak et al.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2013 on When the Arctic was 8 °C warmer at Arctic Sea Ice
again this BBC insistance on the supposedly slow down of warming and additionally drowning the real facts (and ignoring most of them like that the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and the record el Nino in 1998 which give a much more steep apparent curve in the 90ies compared to the the 2000s, together with ignoring the cooling impact of aerosol and drowning the 90% absorption of heat by the ocean while forgetting to mention that there was far less El nino impact in the 2000s than in the 1990s) giving the voice twice to a prominent sceptic in the following program... this subtle play is suspicious:
Toggle Commented May 18, 2013 on When the Arctic was 8 °C warmer at Arctic Sea Ice
... and Dr James Hansen is here in Europe to campaign against tar sands, and he had to explain again to the BBC about recent raising temperature, got the feeling that the BBC is playing the fake sceptic agenda and hasn't done its homework again on climate change... may be we should write " en masse" to the BBC... James Hansen also gave an excellent lecture at the LSE on Thursday, he advocates that we should sue our governements to court to take them accountable about their lack of policy and action for reducing GHG emission to avoid dramatic climate change
Toggle Commented May 18, 2013 on When the Arctic was 8 °C warmer at Arctic Sea Ice
Boa05att, another interesting comment from the paper you mentionned: "Finally, the new Lake E paleoclimate reconstructions and climate modeling are consistent with estimates made by other research groups that support the idea that Earth's climate sensitivity to CO2 may well be higher than suggested by the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Will amazing researches on lake El'Gygytgyn sediments be taken into account in IPCC 2014??
Thanks Boa05att for the great video on el'gygytgyn another good video on lake el'gygytgyn, the most interesting is after 20 minutes or so:
It is just a guess as it remains very difficult to make any reliable prediction at this stage, so many uncertain factors may change the overall picture like down welling short wave radiation, long wave radiation, atmospheric circulation (dipole anomaly “DA” and how it can direct the transpolar drift sea current), Canada and Eurasia snow extent anomaly (which may influence the DA, therefore transpolar drift), Arctic cyclone, water pools, warm sea current from the Pacific /Bering strait… I would like to believe that there should be a very slight extent upsurge after the Sept 2012 record, as it happened after 2005 and 2007, however it seems difficult, although many factors may change the overall picture until the end of the melting season. My guess is based on a few hard sticks: -PIOMAS volume (largely backed up by Cryosat-2 and the fantastic work from late Seymour Laxon and his team) in April 2013 nearly at the same level as in April 2011 and 2012, while 2008 and 2009 September rebounds were preceded by significantly higher PIOMAS volume in April compared to 2007. -After a record NH snow extent in April 2013 since 1996, the extent anomaly became negative only recently. At week 18, snow cover remains higher than in 2007, 2011, 2012, particularly for North America, and significantly lower than in 2009, 2010 ( At day 131, May 11, snow melting is well ahead of 2012 in Siberia (excluding Central Asia) while lagging behind in Canada/Alaska (eye balling), however still probably lagging behind 2011. At this stage, it is probably too early to conclude anything in relation to a potential impact on DA in June, July and August. However, the quicker snow melt in Siberia and the recent appearance of numerous polynias on the Arctic Siberian side, if not impeded by external drift of ice, may lead to a rapid melt on the Siberian side, and will it favor a DA? - Chris Reynold’s Dosbat interesting comment on a sharp decrease of area of ice thicker than 2m, and correlative increase of area less than 2m thick, although the 2010 drop in area of >2m thickness only materialized in SIE in 2011. -No more multi year ice barrier in Beaufort / Chukchi sea in front of Bering strait, which disintegrated last year, this will leave an open door for the warm pacific water, which is known to be rather shallow and plays an active part in melting this part of Arctic sea ice (however, the intensity of this warm current is highly variable from one year to another). -I do not see any potential impact from Cleveland volcano at the moment as it was emitting (on the 04/05) “A small, low-altitude ash cloud along with high surface temperatures at the summit were observed in satellite images starting at 0717”, and on the 05/05 a “continuous low-level emissions of gas, steam, and minor amounts of ash producing a faint plume that drifted East below 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l.”. Besides similar low level ash clouds happened in June, July and August 2012 (source: Only a Pinatubo 1991 eruption style might give a real bounce back (or respite?) to the deadly cat above a potential small bounce back due to year to year usual climate variability. (Dorn et al, 2008, My overall unscientific guess will go at around a minimum of 3.7m km2 SIE (considering that a small amount of 2012 melting was due to the super cyclone although the 2007 record would have been broken without, and it is statistically unlikely that would happen two years in a row) and 3.9m km2 of monthly average extent, while a drastic drop may happen in 2014 or 15, and a deadly stroke a few years after (the 2007 perfect weather storm happening on average every 10 years).
Without being connected to the sea, there seems to be some "weaker" way between the central area below sea level and Zachariae, Petermann, Jakobshavn. Is it absurd to think that a major sub glacial lake could prossively fil the central area, and even above sea level and one burst through one of the 3outlet glaciers?
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2012 on More from Greenland at Arctic Sea Ice
Werther, the article: Kinematic constraints on glacier contributions to 21st century sea level rise. Science 2008 Pfeffer et al should be free on google scholar Chris Reynolds already reffered to this article on other thread
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2012 on More from Greenland at Arctic Sea Ice
In this, now a bit ancient, video (February 2010, "waking giants, ice sheet in a warming world")! Dr. Robert Bindschadler (at around 51 minutes) says that Jakobshavn ground bed is connected to Greenland central depression which is below sea level and that " there is no physical reason … that those outlet glaciers won’t just eat out the heart of the Greenland ice sheet". He also mentions that Helheim glacier might also have a connection with the internal Greenland depression. Although I presume all this is not new for the knowledgeable bloggers here, but I would like to know if we know more about the potential timeline and also geomorphological constraints (as the under sea level depression is mostly surrounded by above sea level mountains), to "evacuate" the ice in a worst case scenario... i know there is the pfeiffer article, but is there anything new since then? Once there is a 50km/y of glacier velocity (or higher?) would there be a kind of bottleneck of iceberg in the Jakobshavn and other fjords, meaning that part of the ice would have to melt anyway before contributing to SLR? Are we sure that Helheim glacier is connected to the central depression? Apologies if these questions are a bit out of the blue and have been already treated somewhere else!
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2012 on More from Greenland at Arctic Sea Ice
Aaron Lewis Thanks for the information on what is missing in Thomas et al projections. Is there any estimation, article, somewhere which includes the impact of break up of ice in function of local heat content? Does it mean that the other tidewater glaciers (with smaller underwater fjords) may also suffer from significant acceleration of velocity too? I thought a projections (for Jakobshavn) of 20 km/year in 2015 and 50km/year in 2050 were already quite scary compared to the current speed in 2010 and 2011, (in Bevan et al 2012)at respectively 11 and 9 km/y (although should have increased again in 2012).
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2012 on More from Greenland at Arctic Sea Ice
in the following link from Dr. Jason E. Box, there is an interesting update of Jakobshavn Isbræ 2011/2012 year glacier front loss which was the biggest since 2006/2007 at 12km2: Other interesting information from Thomas et al 2011: "Progressive retreat of the grounding line resulting from the rapid thinning reduced the basal and lateral drag acting on the glacier [Thomas, 2004], and by 2005 the glacier was thinning by >2 m per year at a distance of 50 km from the calving front, increasing to >5 m per year between 2005 and 2007" The article is free on Google scholar: and deals also with PIG in Antarctica Future projections for Jakobshavn are a bit gloomy as the glacier is below sea level up to 75km inland: "Jakobshavn (and PIG) flows in deep troughs that slope upward toward the grounding line which is retreating into progressively deeper water. This will increase Hw (e.g. water depth)which increases the dynamic imbalance of the glacier, leading to even higher discharge velocities and further inland migration of the rapidly thinning zone. This process could be delayed if a floating ice-tongue were to become re-established in the fjord, but this is unlikely on Jakobshavn, where very rapid highly fractured glacier breaks into small fragment as it becomes afloat". " Result from a simple balanced model predict a discharge velocity increase to >20 km a-1 in 2015, followed by a decreased by 20% before peaking at perhaps 50km a-1 in 2050-2060" (they also say it is a probable upper limit) But not the case for other GIS glacier: "However most Greenland glaciers flow along far shorter deep fjords into ocean and are unlikely to undergo sustain acceleration similar to J."
Toggle Commented Dec 17, 2012 on More from Greenland at Arctic Sea Ice
I am not sure where to post the following, it shows how the European Commission is in denial of the current state of climate change (in relation to the Arctic sea ice) and is even ready to write it in a letter signed by a EU Commissioner. Mid September, just before the NSIDC announced the record low SIE and following Geoff advice, I wrote to all 8 MEPs of the European constituency where I usually vote. After many phone calls and additional e mails, 2 (and now maybe a 3rd) MEPs agreed to ask a Parliamentary question to the EU Commissioner in charge of Climate Change, Mrs. Connie Hedegaard. The first answer in response to my e-mail with scientific references has just arrived. My e mail included the video “weird weather 1” released earlier this year which explains the impact of reduced SIE on the jet stream and extreme weather. The e mail was also referencing the Kinnard et al paper about the SIE lowest for at least 1400 years, was reminding that actual SIE was 50 years ahead of IPCC 2007 predictions, and was asking why the EU was still using an out of date science (IPCC 2007) to devises its policy... Here is the answer signed by the EU Commissioner herself that I received yesterday: "CONNIE HEDEGAARD MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN COMMlSS|ON 29. 11. 2012 Brussels, Ares (2012) 1245303 Dear .... Thank you for your E-mail of 22 October 2012 concerning the melting rate of the Arctic sea ice. The European Commission bases its climate policies on the best available science and on the scientific consensus of experts in the field of climate change. The scientific consensus view on this subject is re?ected in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fourth Assessment Report from 2007. The Fourth Assessment Report (AR) already anticipated that the sea ice extent will reduce in the Arctic at a significant pace and that this may have an effect on the occurrence of extreme events. The recent reports and measurements provide the evidence of what was predicted. The question, though, that requires further scienti?c clari?cation in the next IPCC AR, currently under preparation and due in 2014, is whether the pace of sea ice decline in the Arctic is accelerating. In addition, the Commission is committing increasing resources in communicating the latest developments in climate policy (, engaging the general public with the campaign "A World You Like in a Climate You Like" (, and reaching out to the public through social media (facebook, twitter, flickr, pinterest). Yours sincerely Connie Hedegaard"
Thank you Steve for the distinction between the nodellers and the discussion within the IPCC AR5 2014, does it mean that in fact the potential impact of additional warming, sea level rise and other aspects from permafrost melting will not be modelled, and that we may be in the situation that we faced in 2007 comparatively with GIS and WAIS which were more or less left out in the estimation of 18-56cm SLR, now of course completely out of date. My fear is that, considering the way the data is dealt with by economists and policymakers, if SLR and warming modelling do not include permafrost impacts, they might be completely forgotten in the process of designing the policy and within the negociation. We will be back to another milder or fake version of the true story of climate change, as it has so well been flagged out by K. Anderson, Tyndall Deputy Director... More generally, talking with the 8 MEPs of the european constituency where I vote, there is generally a real knowledge gap between the actual state of climate change (and of course the science) and what our elected representatives know. However on the positive side, a number of then seem to be willing to hear, learn, and potentially act... We are 152 followers on this blogg probably from both sides of the Atlantic, with a considerable amount of knowledge shared thanks to Neven and some very informed and talented bloggers, if each of us start informing outside, the citizens, but also and above all our elected representatives (they obviously are going to do something only if their constituents push them to do so, and if they feel they may have a liability to do so, which is a moral responsability for the moment...), may be something will happen... although it would be useful to find a way to get in touch with Chinese and Indian bloggers...
Thank you Steve and A-Team for the information on permafrost melting, unfortunately, it seems that it will not be taken into account in IPCC 5 2014: Schaefer, a researcher at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado: "thawing permafrost could account for 39 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions by 2100. Because emissions from permafrost aren’t included in current projections of future emissions, the world risks overshooting its 2-degree warming target"... although it seems that other scientists think that the 2-degree is already in the pipe line in any case... If somebody knows about other Arctic climate change research that might not be taken into account by IPCC 2014 (apart from the modelling of the Arctic Sea Ice decrease already in the Stroeve et al research paper...), i would be very grateful to hear about it, as i am dicussing with Members of European Parliament, to flag out the discrepancy between EU climate policy and the state of climate change...and the potential discrepancy of future IPCC 2014 with actual climate change
In a completely different subject (apologies to be off topic), I am in contact with some MEPs in my constituency, one of them is ready to ask a parliamentary question to the European Commssion in relation to the gap between the EU climate policy and the science and state of climate change. I would be interested if someone would have a good idea of what important recent researches might not be involved in IPCC 2014, due to timeline constraints (e.g., will researches papers from Francis and Vavrus on the impact of extreme event on mid latitude, recent Overland et al paper, or papers on recent sharp decrease of snow cover, which can't be modelled by the IPCC models, be taken into account or commented in IPCC 2014??) Also, I would be interested if someone has heard about other researches in relation to impact of SIA or SIE retreat on our poor wet summers in the UK, apart from the one from ECMWF? Many thanks to all, and again many thanks to Neven for this fantastic blog
talking about Greenland, there is a recent article simulating GIS melting in an Eamian warming maximum (circa 126 k years ago) "The main finding is that the most vulnerable region in a warm climate, such as the last interglaciation, is northeastern Greenland because its dry climate with low accumulation can 5 not compensate increased melting. This general finding is applicable to modern climate change. A second contributor to a negative mass balance for the northerm GrIS during the Eemian is the pronounced warming at high latitudes due to a meridional gradient in anomalous summer insolation." However there seem to be some limitations in the ice sheet model used, i am not able to judge what is the impact of these limitations, may I ask if someone could tell me if these approximations would be valid within our foreseeable AGW??: "We use a three-dimensional, thermomechanical ice sheet model, SICOPOLIS 2.9 (Greve, 1997), forced with monthly temperature and total precipitation from the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace Coupled Model 4 (IPSL CM4) (Marti et al., 2005). The horizontal resolution of the ice sheet model is 10 km with 90 vertical layers. The lower 10 layers simulate 5 ice at the pressure melting point. Ice dynamics are represented with the shallow-ice approximation, neglecting longitudinal stresses. This simplification is valid for ice masses that are thin compared to their lateral extent, flowing slowly over a horizontal bed. Ice shelves can not be simulated, nor can valley glaciers. This is a widely used approximation that yields satisfactory results for the predominantly cold based Greenland ice sheet on a flat topography."
Maybe it has been already noticed, apologies as I do not follow the blogg regularly. Anybody would know what is happening North of Franz Joseph Islands very close to the North pole? Arctic sea ice concentration appears in yellowish even green (70-75%): At the same time the temperature anomaly is at +10 C around -14 to -12 instead of -24?
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2012 on Bilateral freezing at Arctic Sea Ice
apologies if the following from J. Francis has already been mentionned (answering to a question from Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times: "The jet stream pattern — particularly the strongly negative NAO and associated blocking — that has been in place for the last 2 weeks and is projected to be with us into next week is exactly the sort of highly amplified (i.e., wavy) pattern that I’d expect to see more of in response to ice loss and enhanced Arctic warming. Blocking happens naturally, of course, but it’s very possible that this block may have been boosted in intensity and/or duration by the record-breaking ice loss this summer. Late-season hurricanes are not unheard of either, but Sandy just happened to come along during this anomalous jet-stream pattern, as well as during an autumn with record-breaking warm sea-surface temperatures off the US east coast. It could very well be that general warming along with high sea-surface temperatures have lengthened the tropical storm season, making it more likely that a Sandy could form, travel so far north, and have an opportunity to interact with a deep jet-stream trough associated with the strong block, which is steering it westward into the mid-Atlantic. While it’s impossible to say how this scenario might have unfolded if sea-ice had been as extensive as it was in the 1980s, the situation at hand is completely consistent with what I’d expect to see happen more often as a result of unabated warming and especially the amplification of that warming in the Arctic" Maybe another prerequisite for Sandy was the mysteriously aborted El Nino, as El Nino wind shear might have killed Sandy in the Caribbeans: "This year is totally unique in the 63 years we've been keeping statistics on El Niño. Never before has an El Niño event begun to form in July and August, then quit in mid-September." -NOAA's Mike Halpert on the unprecedented onset and demise of El Nino in 2012.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
Apologies for another OT, but this is something that appears here and there in this blogg, how BBC comments on subject related to climate change. This morning in the program "Today" on BBC 4 at around 8.40 pm, the BBC journalist was interviewing the Chief Executive of Renewable UK, in relation to declarations of John Hays, Minister in the Department of Energy, advocating against building more wind farm in a British tabloid. At one point the BBC journalists said "the serious point that he (John Hays) makes there, he says that even if a minority of the wind farm planned are built, we are going to reach our 2020 target (greenhouse gas emission target)". The BBC still does not know that this target (which is a EU target) is based on IPCC 2007, so completely out of date in a real world... this is the huge knowledge gap between the reality and the media... and it is unforgiveable that the BBC is not doing its homework
Toggle Commented Oct 31, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
this OT , although related to Sandy... under the title "Hurricane Sandy Demonstrates That the Insurance Industry Should Be Wary of Climate Change", the demonstrate that insurance companies could be a very good levy to influence positively on climate change policy. Insurance companies to not like uncertainty, especially for big event like weather related catastrophe. In a constantly changing climate environment it will become more and more difficult for these companies to factor and price properly the risk related to extreme events. Their regulatory environment require the insurance companies in Europe and other part of the world to keep enough capital to sustain a 1 in 200 hundred years event, which will become increasingly difficult to assess... extract from the article: "Ceres recommends that insurance companies look at their risk exposure and evaluate losses to insured property based on new and emerging weather patterns, not on past experience, and conduct and support further research on future weather and catastrophe patterns, update insurance rates to adequately reflect damages from higher frequency and severity of extreme weather events and promote the reduction of carbon emissions (in house and among customers). While these recommendations, mostly relating to climate risk management, are all very important, one recommendation that is missing is to ensure that climate change will be part of the public and political discourse. Insurance companies have a direct interest in making climate change a top priority of policy makers as well as to increase the awareness of the public to its direct economic consequences – after all, climate change doesn’t just put the companies under pressure but also insurance affordability and availability, which are two important elements in every market. Will insurance companies be the canary in the climate change mine? I hope so, but the question is probably more when rather than if – my guestimation is that with every hurricane this day is getting closer." It seems that even within the catastrophe modellers and the risk managers of the insurance companies, some have never heard about new scientific breakthrough like J. Francis and Vavrus paper on the link between Arctic amplification and extreme events at mid latitude...let alone among senior managers and executives. Even the reinsurers which are more inclined to advocate strongly that climate change is a real issue that we need to worry about, they tend to use out of date study like IPCC 2007...
Toggle Commented Oct 31, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
There is an interesting paper from J Masters on the potential impact of the Arctic on Sandy's path: - the low summer Arctic sea ice extent which might have increased the odds for the unusual high pressure ridge over Greenland, although J. Masters remain cautious saying that additional research would be required - also another interesting feature, is the fact that the jet stream negatively tilted -due to the location of the Greenland high pressure ridge- which helped Sandy to build more energy and spread:
Toggle Commented Oct 31, 2012 on Looking for winter weirdness 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hello blogfriends Although I do not have the knowledge that most of you have I remember an interview of Dr. Cecilia Blitz at RadioEcoshock (already mentionned somewhere else in this blog as it includes interview of J Francis and M Serreze) and her thoughts about geoenginnering in general (while also explaining the bad side effect of adding sulfur in the upper atmosphere, like depleting the ozone layer and drying the climate): "there is a good chance there might be something we don't expect that is not favourable, It worries me, I would have a hard time arguing that this is a benefit or a good idea even in the face of dramatic sea ice loss" This is the humility of a scientist who knows the limit of our knowledge on the complexity of the climate system, and she knows what she talks about (Associate Professeur at the Atmospheric Science Department of University of Whashington, physicist of the Polar Science Center... famous for its PIOMAS...). More generally maybe we should stop thinking that we humans have the power to model and remodel the earth as we want... as we have been trying to do recently and we all know the results. C. Blitz also explains why the Antarctic sea ice is growing, which is worth listening. It seems that an array of other leading scientists do not put forward geoenginneering as they suspect the likely unknown to who knows what, as far as I know this not defended by J. Francis and lots of others...
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2012 on Naive Predictions of 2013 Sea Ice at Arctic Sea Ice
This is off topic, however since there have been a few comments here and there on how to alert more efficiently the people about Arctic Amplification and its impact ont Northern Hemisphere climate, I was thinking about contacting the climate modeller and risk managers in insurance companies, it seems that not all are aware of the wider risk. As an example, the Lloyds report on Arctic which describes the situation quite clearly, only mentions the impact on winter snowfall (page 17) as a consequence on the Northern Hemisphere climate, although when it was released in April, Francis and Vavrus research were already known (link between the Arctic change and frequency of extreme events). Insurance and reinsurance companies may have a vested interest in helping to change the policy as their risk exposure may increase significantly. The MEP for the moment don't seem to be very motivated, I contacted the 8 MEP for London 3 weeks ago and still haven't received any reply....
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2012 on Naive Predictions of 2013 Sea Ice at Arctic Sea Ice
Following Twemoran advice, I wrote to all London MEP (8 representatives) a little more than 2 weeks ago, summarizing the impact of the Arctic amplification(on permafrost, methane hydrate and Greenland ice sheet) and the impact on NH climate with the slowing down of the jet stream and more extreme weather (+ further down the line potential issue on food security) I also attached the "Weird winter mad March Part 2" video with extract of numerous scientists of which Jeff Masters and J. Francis to illustrate the impact on NH climate. And finally I mentioned that despite IPCC 2007 was 50 years behind the 2012 melting, the European Commission and its climate policy commissioner was basing its policy on IPCC 2007. For the moment I have had only one answer, well not really an answer, this MEP wrote that he transferred my request to its colleague member of the relevant committee! Don't know what to do to motivate our representatives, or am I being too impatient? ( I am not used to write to our elected representatives) Many thanks for the summary, well if the sattelites underestimate the melting, maybe it explains the pessimism of Wadhams, and Maslowski...although there might still be a range of years of uncertainty... opensheart, the following gives some answer to your questions following a collapse of WAIS, in fact the divide is more North hemisphere/ South hemisphere, with some variance for the NH, impact from partial east antarctic collapse would be different: