A Few Things In the Cryosphere

Some interesting goings-on in the cryosphere these days.

In this chart (click the link for an interactive, larger resolution version) from the cryosphere today we can see that we are on the 45th day in a row of daily record lows in sea ice area.

Note that this is area which is different from extent.  Area refers to the actual ice cover, I am not sure of the details of how that is defined in practice, whereas extent refers to any ocean surface that contains 15% or more ice cover.  Again, there will be technical details I am not familiar with for determining the edges of extent (e.g. grid size).

The extent at the moment is tracking below the 2007 record breaking year at this date, but above 2011's reading at today's date.

(Image from here.)

Also of interest is the exceptional surface melting that is being observed on Greenland's Ice Sheet.  From a NASA press release:

Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12.

This extent of surface melt has not been observed before in the satellite era and given the extreme nature of the long term warming in the region it may be just as exceptional as it seems.  Also see this P3 post by Michael Tobis.

Item three on the agenda is the break-up of another large chunk from the tongue of the Petermann Glacier, also in Greenland.

One day later, at 09:30 UTC on July 17, Aqua spied a larger opening between the glacier and the iceberg, as well as some breakup of the thinner, downstream ice. The iceberg appears to have made a slight counter-clockwise turn. “The floating extension is breaking apart,” said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California–Irvine. “It is not a collapse but it is certainly a significant event.”

Konrad Steffen, director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research WSL, estimated that this iceberg was roughly half the size of the ice island that calved off of Petermann in 2010.


None of these things are predicted to happen this early/at this rate/this suddenly by the IPCC "alarmists".  It is becoming more and more clear that they are probably not being alarmist enough!

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It appears to me that there are several things we can at least begin to think about: learn how to live without fossil fuels; adapt to the end of economic growth; substitute a steady-state economy for the one we have now; stabilize human population numbers worldwide; and deal with the relentless dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the reckless degradation of its environs, the wanton extirpation of its biodiversity as well as confront other human-induced threats to our planetary home as a fit place for human habitation. In any event, I trust most of us can agree that stealing the birthright of children everywhere, mortgaging their future, and exposing them and life as we know it to danger cannot somehow be construed as the right things to be doing.

We have to think clearly and as keep our wits about us as we move away from big-business-as-usual practices to a way of life that embraces true sustainability, I suppose. Perhaps necessary changes to more sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

Thank you.

By Steven Earl Salmony (not verified) on 27 Jul 2012 #permalink

Problem is that in a capitalist society, power resides with the money and those with most money have gotten it under the current business as usual.

Therefore they will not want to change business, since there are more ways down from the top than up.

And, since they have the power, they are the ones who can make it change or keep it the same.

For extent vs. area:

area is the area that a rock, if you dropped it, would hit ice.

extent is how much of the ocean you would not take your ordinary ship in to. (Ships are ok up to about 15% concentration as you can navigate around the ice floes).

In practice, we work with data on grids, so extent is the area of all grid cells that have > 15% ice concentration. Area is sum for all grid cells of the area of each grid cell times its concentration.

By Robert Grumbine (not verified) on 27 Jul 2012 #permalink

Population growth is largely contained in Europe and elsewhere in the Western world. Those who will be most affected by climate change are those that reside in poor countries. These are the same places that have done the least to address population growth. It is therefore vital and imperative that we stop population growth in the 3rd-world, and even reduce population there as soon as possible.

Sadly, political correctness dictates that we do not discuss population growth in populations that can least afford climate adaptation.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 31 Jul 2012 #permalink

The only person you're allowed to kill is yourself. Stop promoting ideas that will enable you to engage in your snuff fantasies.

What you will never not find in these alarmist articles is that the temperature of Mars surface increases simultaneously with the Earth temperature.

Hi astro,

Here are two things to ponder in regards to your hypothesis:

1. How long is the plutonian year?
2. What time of that year is it right now? i.e. summer, spring, winter, fall?

You will find answers to these questions rather illuminating.

It takes about 248 Earth's years to complete it's orbit around the Sun. Regarding the time of year - what is the time of year is now on Earth? The same answer is right for Pluto.
The temperature of Mars surface is not my hypothesis - it is data from Russian observatories, I guess, you never heard about it. Have you heard about frozen channels in Venice?

Sounds like astro is a bit of a rocket scientist.

Since I am a skeptic, I would love Astro to tell me what his post about the temperature on Mars is supposed to mean. So please astro, illuminate us. If the temperature on Mars is 'increasing simultaneously with the Earth temperature'. could you tell me if the changes are related, or is it just a coincidence?

If they are related, what is the causal mechanism is for both temperature changes. Please make sure you provide evidence as well. Since I am a skeptic, I do not take things at face value and I will not just take your word for it - nor will I take the word of any blogger etc. I want real hard evidence.


You are right, Mandas:
I am a physicist. For me, it is very funny, when illiterate people are getting scared about the "next scary thing". Do you remember the "terrible ozone depletion" ? Where is it now? The only consequence is that my new car's air condition unit is running on a very inefficient substance and it can never reach the cool of the previously used freon. Who benefited? You bet, some corporations made billions on that. I suppose, you are to young to remember the previous scare thing in the late 70-s - it was a "global friezing" that time. As a middle school student at the time, I was amused by the articles from the US, informing us, that "skunks and raccoons are moving in large amounts from Nevada and Colorado to south because of man-induced global friezing" scare. You should be aware, that there are scientists and "scientists". The latter's job depends on "politically correct research". Do not pretend, that you are not aware about the scandal with so-called "scientists" form the "most appreciated Earth science institute". The lack of the information about what happened to them tells everything.
For those who can not understand, what it means that Mars temperature rises simultaneously with the Earth's temperature - there is the only explanation: the Sun activity. Disconnect from the brain washing media - engage your own brain.

astro, it is difficult to believe that you are a physicist or a true skeptic if you believe that two remote but concurrent events simply must have the same cause. Preposterous.

For your answers to my questions above: yes, 248 years, question 2, I guess I should try to be clearer. I meant what time of "year" is it on Pluto and the answer is somewhere around mid-August if we divide Pluto's 248yr orbit into 12 portions named for their Earthly analogues. In other words you are (I think) referring to two observations, 15 yrs apart, indicating increased thickness of atmosphere suggesting a warming surface. This is equivalent to indirectly taking the global temperature on earth say around August 1, and once more around Aug 22 in a single year.

Would this really convince you of a climate change of any kind, much less one like the one we have observed here over the last 100+ years?

Regarding "global friezing [sic]", please see this post: http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/02/they-predicted-cooling-in…

Your comments about ozone are similarly ill-informed and confused, maybe someone else will give you some pointers on that. The ozone hole is near its historic maximum but peaking and it is expected to reduce over coming decades only because global action was taken.

Swerving to avoid hitting a tree does not prove there was therefore never any tree.

Dear Coby:
Do you believe that Martians caused the temperature rise on Mars? Have you seen the absorption spectrum of CO2? Look it up on the Internet, you may be surprised, if you really want to understand what is going on. The problem is not the CO2 absorption, it has to be something else. If you were a scientist, the synchronous rise of the temperature on the Earth and Mars would tell you, that there is a common source of it.
The base of every religion is that you have to believe in something - the God's scriptures, being revealed to some Jewish tribes, or some guy Muhammad, who translated the same Jewish legends in Arabic or anything else. People do want to believe in something - too bad, nobody is up there. Modern religion is "global something" - global cooling, global warming, ozone hole, end of world at 2012.
Our planet is very large and self-adjusting. The major absorption matter is water vapors. More heat - more vapors - more clouds - less heat reaching the surface. CO2 is not the major source of the warming.
To understand what is happening you have to look who is making money on it. For example, think about the incandescent lamps, which are now banned in Europe. What is the replacement? The fluorescent lamps. There is no worse solution - those fluorescent lamps contain mercury. Have you heard about it? I guess, not. It is true, the fluorescent lamps are more efficient than the common incandescent lamps. However, all of than contain MERCURY!!!!! They will end up in our landfills - have you seen any objections to the use of those terrible lamps? That is what happens with the media controlled by corporations. There is no worse thing for the environment than the fluorescent lamps. Who is making money on this? You can guess yourself. Who will suffer? Our children.

Astro is so wrong in just about everything he says:

For those who can not understand, what it means that Mars temperature rises simultaneously with the Earth’s temperature – there is the only explanation: the Sun activity.

Since he claims to be a physicist, here is what real physicists say about these events:



I think that the closest astro got to physics is using his big brother's physics text book to stand on so he could reach the cookie jar.

It is also ironic that he says:

it is very funny, when illiterate people

after showing that he has the literacy level of a grade 3 student.

Just where do the denier followers find such ridiculous people to push their agenda?

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

English is not my first language, I admit that I make some mistakes. It is useless to try to convert fanatics - they just want believe in whatever triggers their brains. I am leaving, good buy.

LOL! That was one of the best examples of a substance free drive by we have had. A bunch of unsupportable hand waving assertions, a bunch of non sequiturs, political conspiracy theories, "religious zealot" ad homs and some ozone denial thrown in for good measure!

The refusal to answer any direct questions or counter any points made and the standard "can't convince you fanatics" exit...gotta love it.

Ah yes - the drive by idiot!

Comes in and repeats the meme about other planets getting hotter. When asked to explain, with evidence, he repeats the other meme - its the sun - but fails to provide any evidence. He also lies and says that he is a physicist. From his nonsence, it's more likely that he failed high school science.

Send in another idiot please - that last one was broken. Is this really the standard quality of deniers?

I wanted to post this on the 'Mubarak Resigns' thread, here:
Unfortunately it would appear that comments are closed. Nonetheless, there was an interesting report published by - the Center for American Progress (CAP) - one of the think-tanks used by the White House for military scenario assessment. The report is entitled, "Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict: Addressing Complex Crisis Scenarios in the 21st Century".

The report contains this interesting quote:
"...The Arab Spring can be at least partly credited to climate change. Rising food prices and efforts by authoritarian regimes to crush political protests were linked first to food and then to political repression— two important motivators in the Arab makeover this past year..."

I think I will just leave it at that.


I would say it was Snowman undercover but for the insistence that English was not his first language and then huffing off with, "Good buy."

Snow flake took way too much pride in his pristine English to have let that one slip. Hilarious.