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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades - "Nearly Ice Free"

The main thing that attracted me to climate science was watching grown, educated people making complete fools of themselves.  This really started when Steig et al. published a paper on Antarctic Warming.  That group went to great lengths to "prove" what they expected to happen in the Antarctic when the "physics" really indicated that the opposite was more likely.  CO2 and other green house gases increase heat retention so without heat energy they do squat, they actually increase heat loss below temperatures of around -20 C degrees.  If you don't want to take my word for that, play around with the MODTRAN model available from the University of Chicago.

Now Greg Goodman has a post at Climate Etc. concerning the "ice free" Arctic mentioned often in the press which is really a shorten version of "nearly ice free" defined as less that 1 million kilometers squared Arctic sea ice area for five consecutive years in September.  "Nearly ice free" is a real Climate Change metric defined in the IPCC literature.  "Ice free" has become a sales slogan for the climate activists.  Since Climate Change is both "scientific" and a political hot button, abuse of the not all that well thought out "nearly ice free" climate metric should be fair game.

"Nearly ice free" isn't particularly useful because it is only a small change in sea ice cover for a short period of time in an area that represents a tiny fraction of the Earth's surface.  As soon as the area becomes "ice free" winter sets in and the cycle starts over again.  Whether ice is retained or not depends more on winds and wind direction than it does on actual temperature and retained atmospheric energy.

In fact, an "ice free" Arctic in September should lead to more snow fall/snow accumulation and brighter cleaner snow would tend to reflect more solar energy the next season, more than offsetting any September albedo reduction. 

The bizarre desire to blame everything on CO2 or mankind tends to overlook that when Arctic sea ice thins in summer, ice breakers move into the region to open shipping lanes which leads to greater flow of ice from the region.  It also over looks all the soot and dust deposited on the snow thanks to agriculture and shipping which often uses the most polluting liquid fuel every, bunker oil.  Left alone, the sea ice would last longer and the ice itself would help retain more ocean heat energy. 

However, thanks to climate activists like Al Gore, what little scientific meaning "nearly ice free" might have is completely lost to the political value of "alarming" "ice free" conditions that are happening many decades prior to model "projections."

All the while, Antarctic sea ice expansion is down played and the northern shift of the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which were completely missed in the models is ignored as much as possible along with the general reduction in Atlantic hurricanes related to that shift.  These shifts are most likely related to century and multi-century scale ocean circulation variations related to the hemispheric seasaw often discussed in paleo-climate research. 

Century and multi-century scale "oscillations" are bad for climate science business though since all that has been assumed to be insignificant.  Instead, climate scientists tend to look for anything close enough to be plausible, to use to reinforce their "projections".  "It doesn't look as bad as we expected" should be the order of the day, but climate change politics has far too much invested to take the rational path.

Horseshoes, hand grenades and "close enough for government work" are hard to argue against.

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