Arctic Ice Decline

Fragile Earth graphic see (Fragile Earth for an Explanation)

This shows a model of 100 planet earths using known data to 2007 with purely random distributions for 1000 years with no adaptation

The polar ice caps are very important.  They help cool the earth as does the deep sea currents like the gulf stream that moves warm water north to be cooled.  They work in combination with heat being generated at the equator and dissipated at or near the poles.  It's a closed loop thermodynamic cycle.

Violent storms, although they cause human and property damage, are part of the cooling cycle.  So any change or disruption in this ever changing cycle is dangerous.  Big storms get rid of heat.  Lots of big storms is an indicator of the earth trying to rid itself of heat.

We monitor a scientific group which consists of engineers, scientists, statisticians and mathematicians world wide.  It's kind of a big blog with people spread all over the world doing research or calculations.  It contains active workers in the field.  Some of them are famous either for or skeptical of the Global Warming endeavor.

Sometimes we work closely with one or more of these people on interesting problems (see Fragile Earth and the graphic).  One of the finest people in the group has been monitoring the ice cover at the north pole.  For this there is a tremendous amount of data available and little controversy.  The three issues involved are:

  1. Water Temperature
  2. Ice volume
  3. Area of ice extent.

The reason ice cover is important is that it reflects the sun and if the ice shield retreats more heat is absorbed from the sun into the sea water and the water temperature warms at the poles making them less effective as natural cooling agents. The thermodynamic closed loop cooling and heat cycles involved with the earth get out of sync.  Since scientists have not monitored 1,2 and 3 for thousands of years, we are only viewing a window of about 30 years.  This window is important and it's one of the few indicators that does not involve modeling and we can all understand.  It is used in models, however  The picture and graph are very powerful in what they say.

As you can see the ice extent  is what it is.  This extent rises and falls just like the ice cover on Lake Huron. On Lake Huron one day the ice pack is concentrated near shore and the next it might be dispersed.  In the high arctic these dramatic changes over hours don't occur, but they do change dramatically on a seasonal basis.  The extent is measured daily so there is excellent coverage.  Volume is harder to do, but it too is being done as is temperature.

(next column)

14/11/2013 01:30 PM




Why is the ice volume down and the temperature up?  That's where the disagreement occurs.  The climate models are very complicated and the on average rise in temperature of 1.6C globally is over a geologically short time frame.  The skeptics don't believe the models.  The model people point to CO2 absorption and man's involvement.

The ice melt is another story.  It is quite dramatic.  The equator has to get rid of heat and the poles have to contribute.  The ice melt seems like a great indicator of trouble. There is no modeling here, just facts.  That much is really firm.  In October 2008 the arctic sea ice volume was down to its second lowest level since recording started and moving toward a record low volume, which is more telling.

The lesson is, we have to watch the poles and the equator.  The CO2 connection is complicated.  We are generating twice as much as the earth can absorb, but the skeptics point out that CO2 is a small contributor to heat absorption compared to water vapor, but something is happening in our own lifetime.  The ice melt is substantial.  Will the closed loop system adapt?

If you look at the pictures below, they show clearly what's happening. Why is another question.

Graph shows in black heavy line Ice cover 1979 to 2000 for the September to January time frame.  The dotted line shows 2007-2008 season and the blue line shows that ice recovered for a while and then resumed its trend for less ice cover

The solid white shows the ice extent with the pink being the median ice edge.

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