Revkin declines Joe Romm’s bet on Arctic sea ice

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin – Dr Who?

Warmist internecine strife has never really appeared on my radar, but now it’s actually spoiling the image. How encouraging it is to my sceptical heart to hear leading warmists brawling in their little playground. They express perfect hatred for each other.

Are they frustrated that their warmist preferences for scientific conclusions and policy recommendations are becoming as last season’s fashions? Does it sting their vanity that they can do nothing to halt the loss of face that now disfigures their darling beliefs in global warming?

Does the sudden, inexorable and widespread use of the terms “scam”, “myths” and “fallacies” associated with “climate change” drive them insane with rage? We can but hope.

Here’s Andrew Revkin frantically modifying the warmist position on arctic sea ice:

But I’ve long recognized the complexities in ice behavior that will probably result in some ice persisting, even in summer, through that span in some places and that also guarantee the path toward largely open Arctic waters will not be smooth. This was evident to Arctic researchers as far back as 2005.

Joe Romm

Joe Romm – the only man ever to be mistaken for a meerkat.

Joe Romm makes the alarming prediction that no sea ice will be left in the Arctic within 20 years, calling it a “death spiral”. I don’t know how he thinks the sea water will survive the Arctic winter without solidifying but I’m happy they’re arguing.

Romm cites the 2009 NCAR study Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling that purports to confirm Mann’s Hockey Stick graph of global temperatures. The uncertain source of the tree ring data and statistical manipulations that rendered the global version laughable were probably ignored because Keith Briffa was on the team. But they perpetuate the use of the Tiljander proxy data upside down, as used in Mann et al. (2008).

I see the graph shows Arctic temperatures rising about 1.5°C from about 1890 to about 2005; That’s about double the global rise, for which the IPCC claims about 0.7°C. The NCAR news release quotes co-author Casper Ammann as saying: “This study provides a clear example of how increased greenhouse gases are now changing our climate, ending at least 2,000 years of Arctic cooling.”

The more I see of this paper the more questions are raised. Such as: how can Dr Ammann claim that this study confirms the effect of greenhouse gases, when it didn’t study greenhouse gases?

But all this makes a lovely change from hearing the repetitious dirge: “the science is settled, the debate is over.”

It’s music to my ears.

Views: 88

19 Thoughts on “Revkin declines Joe Romm’s bet on Arctic sea ice

  1. Australis on 13/08/2011 at 2:24 pm said:

    Can you find out whether there are any thermometers in the Arctic polar region?

    I think I read somewhere that the only nearby themometer was 850km away from the pole.

    HadCrut and NOAAC omit the Arctic from all their global temp calculations, and I understand that GISS uses calculations rather than observed data.

    I think the two satellite series (RSS and UAH) are the only ones with a continuous record of polar temperatures (and they are showing that 2011 global averages are barely greater than 1979).

    • The answer is: not many. I’ve found a good-looking Arctic map which would bear more exploring. No, that wasn’t intended as a clever Arctic pun. Each of the little yellow circles must contain a thermometer, as they give a current temperature reading. Whether GISS has access to them all is doubtful, because I found that GISS extrapolates up to 1200 km across the Arctic from a single thermometer. That has to be informal science by any standards.

      By a rough measure, many of the weather stations shown on this map would be 3000 km or even more from the next station, across the polar region. Nobody can tell you the temperatures for great swathes of the Arctic except they do it from space.

      The UAH Northern Polar temperature series since 1978 differs markedly from the same period of the GISTEMP 64N-90N series starting in 1884.

      To verify your comment about the 1979 temp v. 2011 we’ll have to ask someone to look at the data, though the UAH graph seems to show a rise of about 1°C.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/08/2011 at 7:03 pm said:

      GISS Arctic -vs- DMI Arctic: differences in method

      Harold Ambler

      “As the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) has been offered as a source of actual data and information, rather than imaginary data and imaginary information, and as the word “model” has been bandied around on WUWT as a problematic aspect of DMI’s temperature product, I thought now might be a good time to share an e-mail exchange I had several months ago with the DMI’s Gorm Dybkjær. Below is a lightly edited version of our exchange. Many of Dybkjær’s statements are very interesting.


      Dear Harold

      Concerning your question about the number of in situ temperature observations (direct measurements) there is available in the Arctic – the brief answer is – there are not many! My guess is that the number of buoys in the Arctic Ocean that provide near-real-time temperature observations for e.g. numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are around 50. The number of land based weather stations on the rim of the Arctic Ocean are probably even less. You must contact WMO (world meteorological organization) for more accurate numbers.


      Although our interchange left some questions unanswered, I had learned what I wanted to by this point: DMI’s data for the topmost portion of the globe, north of 80 degrees latitude, while a hodge-podge, and plagued with its own set of issues, was far, far more reality-based than the Arctic data published by NASA/GISS and, thus, the lesser of two evils. “

  2. Mike Jowsey on 13/08/2011 at 5:30 pm said:

    Yes it looks like a bit of a playground rumble alright. However, it is about time they started to stand up and debate the settled science. It has been left to an army of loyal, watchful, unemployable sceptics for too long now.

    At WUWT, Quote of the Week last week: “Now from a most surprising source, Andy Revkin at the NYT, a strong statement saying he’s not buying it anymore:”

  3. Alexander K on 14/08/2011 at 12:27 am said:

    The Warmists are obviously rattled that fringe almost-believers such as Andy Revkin are becoming brave and bold enough to offer challenges to the priesthood. And the trickle of challenges are becoming a torrent!
    I first became very interested in the topic of Global Warming as a result of posting on the Guardian’s CiF blog what I considered to be a slightly disinterested but thoughtful and honest question which was ‘are there published standards for the siting, calibrating and reading of sensors in land-based temp. monitoring sites’ and was quite shocked when I was treated very rudely and accused of being a troll by a poster who claimed to be a scientist but later revealed himself to be a UK Greenpeace activist who was proud of his record of being involved in disrupting the functioning of major coal-powered electricity generating plants and destroying GM crop trials.
    I have carried out a huge amount of reading since then, including reading the entire tranche of emails of ‘Climategate’ fame. The original mild enquiry has led to a reawakening of my youthful enthusiasm for the sciences.
    Despite having nil qualifications in the area, I have developed a fair working overview of various disciplines and refuse to be cowed or talked down to by the Joe Roms of the world.
    And I am old enough to recognise genuine snake-oil promoted by cult members when I see it.

  4. I enjoyed your “Warmist internecine strife…” So well put. What do you people think of the reported snow in the Waitakere’s.

    • Thanks, Warwick.

      The reported snow is cold, Warwick; reportedly very, very cold. There were indistinct cellphone moving pictures shown on the television news just before of drifting white specks, so it’s a red-letter day for Auckland. Recently some reporter claimed the last snowfall was in the 1940s, but I remember snow being reported in the Waitakeres in the 1970s.

      Oh, **ahem** but it’s obviously caused by climate change and it is, I regret to say, very much worse than we thought. This climate change ought to bring a touch more warming, please.

  5. Bob D on 15/08/2011 at 2:43 pm said:

    Apparently it’s snowing in the city.

    Several comments today in the office regarding “global warming – where is it?”

    • Andy on 15/08/2011 at 2:56 pm said:

      We have over a foot of snow in our beachside garden in Christchurch

  6. Alexander K on 16/08/2011 at 2:23 am said:

    Interesting post by Dr Pielke Snr on WWUT on this very topic, reinforcing the concept that weather, even in NZ, is always just weather :-).
    As a teenager chopping thistles more than a half-century ago on the foothills behind Tokomaru in freezing winds laced with hail roaring in off the Tasman , I used to imagine the weather was aimed just at me!

  7. Ian Cooper on 18/08/2011 at 4:13 pm said:

    Alexander K,

    you will be pleased to know that it wasn’t you in particular the weather was aiming at, it is just Tokomaru itself! The snow was 4 inches thick between Linton & Shannon, with Tokomaru having the heaviest falls in that area. I took some pics under moonlight up around Horse Shoe Bend where it was spectacular. The face along from the waterfalls towards Shannon wouldn’t have been out of place in Central Otago.

    I think Tokomaru gully has a similar ‘great attractor’ effect to the Manawatu Gorge and Cook Strait sometimes. When I lived at Opiki 30 years ago I was amazed at how many thunder storms were channelled in towards the gully from off the Tasman Sea!

    It may have been a ‘weather event,’ but it certainly was exceptional, and if you believe the hype espoused by CAGW Alarmists 10 years ago then we shouldn’t be seeing this type of thing at all! Children should only be reading about it in e-history books.

    Of course now that ‘Climate Change’ is responsible for everything then extreme snow is back on the agenda/sarc off.



  8. Alexander K on 19/08/2011 at 12:34 am said:

    Thanks, Coops. You have revived more memories of the area for me, and the absolutely awful weather we used to experience while fencing in the Winters there. I recall ripping the galvanized iron cap off on old and rotting strainer post we were replacing, chasing the nest of big black spiders out of the cap and using it to cook a feed of mushrooms, which we had collected walking in to the job. Best mushies any of the crew had ever tasted, we reckoned!

  9. Andy on 19/08/2011 at 11:28 am said:

    Off topic, but this one is too priceless to leave

    Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

    Rising greenhouse emissions may tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report for Nasa

    • Mike Jowsey on 19/08/2011 at 1:40 pm said:


      “Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.

      Better add “Alien Invasion” to the Warmlist

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2011 at 1:50 pm said:

      A “plausible outcome” apparently (by “scientists”), and peer reviewed too.

      I agree, off topic Andy but what topic is this?

      Guardian says “highly speculative scenario”, “unlikely” but “could” play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

      We’ll need another “ET”S so maybe comes under ETS (another highly speculative and unlikely scenario that could play out)?

    • Andy on 19/08/2011 at 3:27 pm said:

      Simon @ACM crunches the numbers (for giggles, I guess)

      The closest star with a known planetary system is 15 light years away (see here), or in old money, 142 trillion kilometres (142 with twelve zeros). Voyager 1 is currently travelling at 62,000 km/h away from Earth, and even at that speed would take 260 thousand years to travel 15 light years. So even assuming our environmentally conscious aliens:

      live on the closest planetary system to our own, AND
      have been monitoring the atmosphere of a rather small, rocky planet orbiting a rather ordinary star, AND
      have the technology to detect a 100ppm increase in CO2 from Earth’s emission spectrum, AND
      have the same useless climate models we have here, AND
      have the misfortune to count among their number the alien equivalent of James Hansen, who finds this treatment of a foreign planet abhorrent, AND
      set off immediately on receiving this shocking information, intent on saving the Earth, AND
      have the technology to travel at even 100 times as fast as the fastest human space vehicle ever, AND
      are able to transport the numbers of invaders and weaponry required to subdue nearly 7 billion Earthlings,

      they would still not arrive for at least 2,600 years.
      And these researchers call themselves “scientists”? Actually, it has given me an idea: perhaps we could send all our climate alarmists off in a capsule to save some extrasolar planets instead, and leave the rest of us alone. Isn’t that a nice thought?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2011 at 5:32 pm said:

      I would have thought that “the alien equivalent of James Hansen”…….is James Hansen.

  10. Ian Cooper on 19/08/2011 at 3:02 pm said:


    check out this picture that I took on Monday night at 11.00 p.m. The Moon was partially obscured by clouds so I set the ISO to 1600 hence the graininess. The waterfall is the dark area on the extreme left of picture. This is one of my favourite sections of the Tararua foothills (the main range has been under a southerly shroud for 5 days now). So nice to see it covered in snow for a change.

    This is my first attempt at a tinypic so hopefully this works for you.




  11. Ian Cooper on 19/08/2011 at 3:09 pm said:

    Tried it myself and it should actually be just this portion of the above address

    Cheers again, Coops.

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