Despite all the “missing heat” hiding somewhere in the oceans, the extent of the Antarctic Sea Ice today is at a record high of 16.8 million square kilometers. In the Southern Hemisphere the record is 600,000 square kilometers more than has ever been recorded by satellites which began tracking the sea-ice extent in 1979 when CO2 was 336ppm. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen 20% globally since then and current global sea ice extent is slightly above than the average from 1978 -2008. The previous largest extent was 16.22 million km2 in 2012. This may not be the peak this year. Watch the chart with me this week.
The Antarctic Sea Ice usually reaches its annual peak the week after the Spring Equinox. Though it may peak as late as October 9th, as it did last year.
(Click to see the whole graph)
LATEST NEWS: Aurora Australis abandons attempt to save Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica. The SMH headline could’ve said “Another icebreaker abandons attempt to save climate scientist’s boat in Antarctica.” UPDATE: Russia says 54 of 74 passengers to be helicoptered off if weather permits. (h/ tPeter Miller) The Polar Star icebreaker has left from the US to come help. It will take 8 -9 days to arrive. (Guardian)
Welcome to Media-Sport, where we score points watching a part of the media dance around the hysterical folly of an Antarctic climate science expedition trapped in sea ice for six nights (and counting). The Art of Propaganda is not just in the telling of one-sided lines, but is crafted through parts left unsaid.
More global warming, it is everywhere you look. View from Akademik Shokalskiy
With three ice-breaker rescue ships trying to reach them, the latest news is that the scientists and media entourage may have to abandon ship and be helicoptered to safety (though right now even that is not possible due to the very rough weather). The ABC news home page at time of posting this has zero references to “Antarctica”, but does say there are cracks in ice around a [...]
Whatever happened to polar amplification?
The oceans are apparently warming, and yet the sea-ice abounds in the Southern Hemisphere. A new record was set at 19.57 million square kilometers of ice [NSIDC-nrt], around one million more than the usual amount. (Yesterday ice covered 19.11m km2).
National Snow and Ice Data Center Web site. Records date back to October 1978. NSIDC also has a similar graph of daily sea-ice-extent.
The size of the sea-ice surrounding Antarctica is spectacular. We can just see the outline of the landmass here to appreciate just how much of the Southern Hemisphere is covered with sea-ice right now.
Antarctic Sea Ice has hit it’s 23rd daily record for the year. (Thanks to Sunshine Hours for tracking these things.)
2013 is the red line. (click to enlarge)
In terms of the number of daily records in a year, the Big Year for sea-ice was 2008 where records occurred on 125 days. 2010 was nearly as “big” when records occurred on 118 days. 2013 is currently in fifth spot. If the tally rises to 28 records this year, it will leap to third place.
Not that any of this matters, of course.
“Sea ice in the Arctic and around Antarctica responds directly to climate change and may, if properly monitored, become increasingly important for detecting climate change.”
IPCC Third Assessment Report, Cryosphere Processes, Box 7.1
While stories of the Arctic record fall in sea-ice have been all over the news, all over the world, it’s almost as if the Southern Hemisphere didn’t exist. Right now, this week apparently, the sea ice is at or near record highs (bearing in mind that we’re still only talking 30 years of satellite records, but then, these are the same satellites lapping over the arctic, and if the records are longer there, I expect it’s only by an hour and a half).
h/t Steve Goddard who asks when the National Snow & Ice Data Centre ( NSIDC) will send out the press releases. They appear to be more concerned about the effects of the Antarctic “thinning” trend on penguins this week. Sunshine hours has graphed it in detail.
Cryosphere compares the relentless fall and rise of Antarctic ice here. Millions of square kilometers in staggering, dramatic melts every spring manage to return in staggering dramatic ice formations each and every year.
(Click to enlarge)
I expect that our non-hemispherist unbiased and diligent newspapers will be running with matching ones very soon. Based on news stories like this:
Thanks to the NSF for the image of sea ice in the Bering Sea
New Scientist doesn’t have enough column space to tell you that Briffa’s Yamal tree ring series depends heavily on just one freak 8-standard deviation tree in Northern Russia, and that multiple temperature reconstructions use that highly dubious series, but they do have time to warn the world about the effect of melting sea-ice on global sea levels.
If you want to see the Climate Debate discussed from both sides, see a real debate, and contrast it to the irrelevant minutiae of propaganda pushed by magazines like New Scientist.
Melting icebergs boost sea-level rise
Because sea ice is fresh water, it has a lower density than salty ocean water, so even though floating ice won’t raise water levels by melting, the fresh water in the ice blocks can apparently make a small difference. “Small” being the word.
“…they estimate that about 746 cubic kilometres of ice are melting each year, overall. The ice melting is diluting the oceans, decreasing its density and raising sea levels as a consequence,” says Shepherd.
Watch out for that extra twentieth of a millimetre. Literally 0.049 mm per year.
Undoubtedly the best summary of the current state of affairs is the SPPI monthly CO2 report. The April report contains news that—if there was a free and high quality media—would have generated headlines like these (well, sort of—you get the idea).
Any investigative journalist who was doing their job only had to Google for the other side of the story. I’m not saying those journalists have to agree with us, just that, at the moment most environmental writers think ‘balanced’ means saying, “The world will cook: the question is, lightly toasted OR totally pan-fried’.
Here’s the counter summary of the headlines we didn’t see, accompanied by an analysis you probably won’t see anywhere else.
Planet Unmoved by IPCC Forecast
Despite the power of the authority vested in the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), The Planet appears to be unswayed by the large well funded international bureaucracy, and is similarly immune to following the collected wisdom of the software engineers who compress it’s 1100 billion cubic kilometers of complexity into a PC.
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