Back in July, I wrote two posts on the Arctic sea ice annual minimum, one about the sea ice extent and one about sea ice volume. In the meanwhile, there was a new minimum in September 2022 and I wondered what the evolution was of those minima. This post is an update on the volume as well as the extent graphs.
Let’s start with the volume data. This is a plot of the annual sea ice minimum extent from 1979 until 2022:
Belgium had some hot days between July 17 and July 20. As expected, the media was full of it. I noticed that around the same time some news media companies made a comparison with the summer of 1976, putting forward that it was hotter now than in the summer of 1976 and, although the number of hot days were much lower, that this doesn’t mean that its severity is being exaggerated by them.
The Flemish public broadcasting company (VRT) did a similar thing and made it into a fact check format. Here is the title of the fact check (translated from Dutch):
CHECK – No, the hot summer of 1976 was not hotter and doesn’t show that climate change doesn’t exist
I naively expected that the fact checker actually found some examples of claims that the summer of 1976 was hotter than 2022 and that this observation somehow would call climate change into question. The fact check linked to four examples that seemingly illustrate such claims, but following those links that isn’t the case…
Just a short post. In previous post, I lamented whether I was the only one who wondered about the trend change of Arctic sea ice and trying to visualize it. Doing an ultimate search using several search engines, I finally found a graph that visualized that same trend change, although in a bit different way. Surprisingly enough, I found it on the NSIDC website (scroll down until “September 2019 compared to previous years”):
Reading previous post on the Arctic sea ice extent, you could ask yourself: what about the Arctic sea ice volume? Well, that is the exact same question that I asked myself when I was busy creating the minimum Arctic sea ice extent graph. It was a long time ago when I looked at the Arctic sea ice volume data. That was in 2016, at the time when predictions of an ice free Arctic, that until then were based on sea ice volume, suddenly switched to sea ice extent and I was a bit puzzled by that back then.
In 2012, Peter Wadhams predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2015 based on the “exponential” decreasing Arctic sea ice volume trend. He illustrated it with this graph:
That graph was also the inspiration for the updated minimum Arctic sea ice extent graph in previous post. Let’s now do the same in this post and upgrade the minimum sea ice volume data and see what happened after 2012.
There was some controversy about Arctic sea ice in May of this year. Back then, I saw some (contradictory) messages in a quick succession. First, there was a tweet claiming that Arctic sea ice extent was the same as in 1989, followed by a fact-check claiming that this was just cherry-picking and that it in fact going steadily downhill, finally a reply that also the fact-check was cherry-picking and overall sea ice extent was just fine.
So, what is it? Is Arctic sea ice going to hell in a handbasket or is it doing just fine, already recovered to 1989 levels?
It is several years ago since I looked at Arctic sea ice extent data and at that time there was what seems to be a modest beginning of a pause, so I was curious how it evolved since then. Did that pause continue or is it straight down again?
Let’s first look at the arguments from both sides. It all started with a tweet containing this comparison:
This is part 7 in the series on the prediction that glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2020. You might want to see to part 1, part2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 if you haven’t already.
The last six posts were about the prediction that the glaciers in Glacier National Park would be gone by 2020. I also delved deeper in the relation of this prediction with a similar prediction that the glaciers would be gone by 2030, making the case that the 2020 prediction was an update of the 2030 prediction (contrary to how it is reported in most media).
Now you could object that this looks like nit-picking. Glaciers are shrinking anyway, that is also clear from previous post, so what does it matter whether someone made a wrong prediction of how long the remaining glaciers would last. The discussion whether the glaciers in Glacier National Park would be gone by 2020 or 2030 seems small change compared to the big picture that they will be gone in the future.
I could somewhat understand such objection, but I think there is much more to it than that.
When researching previous post, I came across the article in the Guardian on James Hansen stating that “Obama had only four years to halt devastating climate change”. When I finished that post, I wondered how many other similar claims (in the form of “number of years/months to save the planet/world”) were there in Guardian articles.
As expected there were more than the one I accidentally bumped into. This post will be about the first article I found, there will be a follow-up post on the others.
That first article that I found is titled “Ten years to save the planet from mankind“, written by Gaby Hinsliff and published on 29 Oct 2006. Its subject is the Stern report that was published a day later (it is striking how the Guardian succeeds to know what is in a report before it is published). It was initially not really clear what the “from mankind” in the title is about.
There was quite some fuss in the media about a paper claiming there is a climate emergency, supported by a list of 11,000 signatures of scientists. I didn’t had much time back then, so I just downloaded the list of signatories to look at it later.
The petition was held at the site of the Alliance of World Scientists and it links to the article World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency (where the list of signatories is downloadable). There are five authors and at the Alliance of World Scientists web page, the petition list is put right behind the authors. suggested that all those signatories are scientists on par with the authors:
The number of signatories is not shown anymore because there was an issue with, ahem, “invalid signatures”. That is a nice way to say that some crazy input were found in that list. In the meanwhile I also read a CBC news article in which the lead author was asked about the inclusion of a certain “Micky Mouse” as one of the signatories. This was his answer:
Continuing from previous two posts on the “interview” of Nic Balthazar, something that was clear from the beginning was that Balthazar was not very keen on “realism”. I certainly can understand why and will explain it later in this post. One of those realists that Balhazar looked down on is a certain “climate critic” (whatever that may be) (translated from Dutch):
A climate critic was in De Morgen (Belgian newspaper) this weekend and he said two things a) that two percent [sic], that is not enough anyway, also we should not cheer about it. Even if we get there, it would be far too little and 2) [sic] there are many other important things for many people on this planet, namely, do I survive today? Do I survive this week?
My first thought was that it must be Bjørn Lomborg. He got, to my surprise (and that of many others), interviewed in that (left-wing) newspaper only about two weeks ago. I knew that Lomborg indeed claims that there are more important things than climate, but then, as far as I knew, he didn’t claim that “two degrees is not enough/far too little”.
The doctor’s analogy is frequently used in climate change communication. In most cases, it goes like this: “Wouldn’t you go with the advises of your doctor when he tells you …?” or “When you have cancer would you go to a cardiologist?”. Last Sunday I saw that doctor enter the analogy in a different way in the interview of Nic Balthazar in the current events program “De 7de dag” (see previous post) (translated from Dutch):
Screenshot of “de 7de dag” of December 16, 2018. Nic Balthazar: making the doctor’s analogy
You should really have to compare to, an unpleasant comparison, the doctors come and they say, madam and sir, your child has cancer. At the moment, it could still be contained, we can operate, do chemo therapy, everything. It is going to cost, it will be difficult, hard and all, but we can get that child to recover. And when you now talk about our economy, we can really come out of this better. We can, with renewable energy, cleaner air, end up in a much safer life in geopolitics. But it will be difficult. Would that father and mother then say, yes but, pfff, it’s a bit too expensive? No, they will not do that. We [sic] are going to say: whatever it takes. Just look at Music for Life, everything is possible at that moment. And yet we do not do it, and an annoying comparison, one single child that have cancer, but we are talking about all the children of the world.
and also later this emotional appeal (translated from Dutch):