Arctic sea ice larger than US melted this year

Nov 28, 2012 by Michael Casey

(AP)—An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the U.N. weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening "before our eyes."

In a report released at U.N. in the Qatari capital of Doha, the said the melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the as well western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and left much of the sweltering.

But it was the ice melt that seemed to dominate the annual , with the U.N. concluding ice cover had reached "a new record low" in the area around the North Pole and that the loss from March to September was a staggering 11.83 million square kilometers (4.57 million square miles)—an area bigger than the United States.

"The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth's oceans and biosphere," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. " is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records."

The dire climate news—following on the heels of a report Tuesday that found melting permafrost could significantly amplify global warming—comes as delegates from nearly 200 struggled for a third day to lay the groundwork for a deal that would cut in an attempt to ensure that temperatures don't rise more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) over what they were in preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 0.8 degrees C (1.4 degrees F), according to the latest report by the IPCC.

Discord between rich and poor countries on who should do what has kept the two-decade-old U.N. talks from delivering on that goal, and global emissions are still going up.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, urged delegates to heed the science and quickly take action.

"When I had the privilege in 2007 of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, in my speech I asked the rhetorical question, 'Will those responsible for decisions in the field of climate change at the global level listen to the voice of science and knowledge, which is now loud and clear,' " he said. "I am not sure our voice is louder today but it is certainly clearer on the basis of the new knowledge."

Delegates in Doha are bickering over money from rich countries to help poorer ones adapt to and combat the impacts of climate change, and whether developed countries will sign onto an extension of a legally binding emissions pact, the Kyoto Protocol, that would run until 2020.

A pact that once incorporated all industrialized countries except the United States would now include only the European Union, Australia and several smaller countries which together account for less than 15 percent of global emissions. And the United States is refusing to offer any bolder commitments to cut its emissions beyond a non-binding pledge to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

"For developed country parties like the United States and the European Union, the pledges and commitments ... put forward on the table are far below what is required by the science," Su Wei, a member of the Chinese delegation, told reporters. "And far below what is required by their historical responsibility."

Developing countries have said they are willing to take steps to control emissions, but that they must be given space to build their economies. Although China is the largest carbon polluter and India is rapidly catching up, both countries lag far behind the industrial countries in emissions per person and still have huge populations mired in poverty. They don't see emissions peaking anytime soon.

"We are still in the process of industrialization. We are also confronted with the enormous task of poverty eradication," said Wei, acknowledging that the country's emissions won't peak by 2020.

"In order to eradicate poverty, to try to improve the living standards, certainly we need to develop our economy," he said. "So the emissions will need to grow for a period of time."

Explore further: Fire and drought may push Amazonian forests beyond tipping point

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User comments : 49

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Panini
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 28, 2012
TRUE statement: 'Although China is the largest carbon polluter'

FALSE statement: 'India is rapidly catching up'

Total emissions: India has about 17.5% of world's population and still emits only about 4.5% of world's emissions, whereas China has 19% of the world's population and emits about 22% of the total emissions. The US has 4.5% of world's population and emits about 21% of the co2 emissions. Data source: EIA. Link: is.gd/eia2k10co2a
Panini
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 28, 2012
Per-capita emissions: India's per-capita emissions are less than a third of global per-capita emissions, whereas China's now (by 2010) exceed the global per-capita by 37%:

2010 stats:

EIA: is.gd/eia2k10co2a
Per Capita CO2 Emissions from the Consumption of Energy
Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide per Person

World 4.637

China 6.256

India 1.445

United States 18.084

Regions:
North America 14.467
United States 18.084
Central & South America 2.620
Europe 7.212
Eurasia 8.674
Middle East 8.411
Africa 1.128
Asia & Oceania 3.727
eachus
1 / 5 (7) Nov 28, 2012
Same old silliness. For the US to cut CO2 emissions by 17% from 2005 to 2020 is "not enough," while limiting China's CO2 emissions growth "is not possible." The only limits China is willing to accept would blow any reasonable cap, even if all other countries reduced their CO2 output to zero. End of emissions cap story--or it should be.

The real story is that there is a carbon cycle, and regulating (in a scientific not bureaucratic sense) the carbon cycle is what we must do. For example agricultural "waste" and tillage can be allowed to rot and give off most of its carbon as CO2, it can be plowed under, which slows (but does not prevent) CO2 emissions, or you can convert the waste into biofuels, or bury it.

The best solution is probably to convert the waste into biofuels, including hydrogen. But this needs to be done near the production sites to be economical. (As long as it is economical, the next energy consumption will be significantly less than the energy produced.)
Sean_W
1.6 / 5 (14) Nov 28, 2012
The UN weather agency which said that this was evidence of climate change happening before our eyes knows FULL well that the high melt of ice this year was caused by an atypical but hardly unprecedented arctic storm which pushed large amounts of ice southward. And as such, can not be used as evidence of climate change but merely a single data point with no interpretive value without similar years of arctic summer storms correlating with CO2 emissions.

So his statement is a boldfaced, unmitigated lie. They have lost even the pretence of respectability and have no business pretending to be involved in science.
Sean_W
1.6 / 5 (14) Nov 28, 2012
It isn't even about the content of the lie. They are telling people to take a single instance as direct (before our eyes) evidence of a trend. They are saying that people should think unscientifically! For science!
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 28, 2012
Sean_W: Would you be so kind as to provide links to the source of your knowledge that (as you say): "...knows FULL well that the high melt of ice this year was caused by an atypical but hardly unprecedented arctic storm which pushed large amounts of ice southward."

We are all aware of the storm, but your claim of this causing the lowest ice level since satellite maps began is not well known to me and I would like to see the source of your information so I can see this is not an unusual event. Thank you in advance for your links to peer reviewed information.
djr
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 28, 2012
"They are telling people to take a single instance as direct (before our eyes) evidence of a trend."

I am sure glad you cleared that up for us Sean - like I was thinking there might be a trend in there - you know like multiple years - with the ice extent getting smaller and smaller every year. What are your credentials again for critiquing this scientific work?

Here is a graph for you. Notice any trends in there?

http://www.ijis.i...tent.htm

VendicarD
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 28, 2012
Sean is right. All that melting arctic ice can be blamed on the wind.

Well, ok. The wind and Arctic Melt Fairys.

Here is a picture of one keeping the snow away in summer...

http://www.youtub...PRCtGL_Q

"the high melt of ice this year was caused by an atypical but hardly unprecedented arctic storm" - SeanTard
VendicarD
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 28, 2012
"Here is a graph for you. Notice any trends in there?" - Dir

Looks like wind to me. Every year the wind pushes the Arctic melt Fairys further north and they melt more ice.

It must be true cause I read it on a Conservative Blog.

Hitler explains it all here.

http://www.youtub...K0MWAITM
gregor1
1.7 / 5 (12) Nov 28, 2012
The source of Sean's information is NASA it self. It seams the other record broken was the record for the rate of refreezing
http://wattsupwit...e-cover/
VendicarD
3.9 / 5 (8) Nov 28, 2012
Gregor is right. Heat didn't melt the ice.

The wind did.

"The source of Sean's information is NASA" - GregorTard

"It seams the other record broken was the record for the rate of refreezing" - GregorTard

Yes. Now that there is a thin layer if ice over the arctic, the ice is all back to normal now.

Just like this graph shows...

http://neven1.typ...0c-800wi

http://neven1.typ...0d-800wi
gregor1
1.7 / 5 (11) Nov 29, 2012
Well done VD you found the trend since 1980 , with no explanation. This trend starts at the end of a cooling period that was so bad the climatologists of the day were saying that anthropogenic emissions were about to send us into a catastrophic ice age. Thirty years is all we have accurate data for though there are many temperature reconstructions with proxies from ice cores etc that show the arctic has been warmer than it is today on many occasions in the past. Arctic see ice extent has more to do with ocean currents and wind than temperature though.
VendicarD
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
"Well done VD you found the trend since 1980 , with no explanation." - GregorTard

Oh, I think we all know the explanation to why the Arctic ice is melting. Warm Arctic temperatures caused in large part by a CO2 enhanced greenhouse effect.

VendicarD
4 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
"This trend starts at the end of a cooling period that was so bad the climatologists of the day were saying that anthropogenic emissions were about to send us into a catastrophic ice age." - GregorTard

Astonishing. Why aren't the imminent ice age warnings of the world's scientists recorded in the scientific literature?

http://www.youtub...S0fnOr0M

http://www.youtub...ure=plcp
VendicarD
3.9 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
Yup. The Arctic has been dramatically warmer than today. Palm trees once grew in the Arctic, but then the tropical oceans and the current landmasses were mostly devoid of life at the time.

"Thirty years is all we have accurate data for though there are many temperature reconstructions with proxies from ice cores etc that show the arctic has been warmer than it is today on many occasions in the past." - GregorTard
VendicarD
4 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
In other words, your claim that the Artic is freezing at a rapid rate has virtually no significance.

"Arctic see ice extent has more to do with ocean currents and wind than temperature though." - GregorTard

If so, then why did you and your reference feel it was significant enough to make the claim of a rapid surface freeze in the Arctic.

And why are you ignoring the rapid decline in Arctic ice volume, and instead focusing your comments on what you now claim has little meaning - ice extent?

You poor Confused Tard.
gregor1
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
VD my old friend , here's a brief summary http://www.climat...-Claims. There is little doubt that by 1980 ice extent was at a maximum after a period of cooling . You are right that my reference to the tiny period of accurate records meaning my statement about rapid refreezing is not relevant either. I mentioned it because of it's relevance to wind being the cause of the ice break up rather than temperature
djr
4.2 / 5 (10) Nov 29, 2012
gregor - "The source of Sean's information is NASA it self" Please share with us a reference from NASA that explains how one storm event in 2012 gives us an explanation for 33 years of melting ice - http://nsidc.org/...ure3.png

Also gregor - in the light of this 33 year trend - please provide research that supports this claim of yours - " Arctic see ice extent has more to do with ocean currents and wind than temperature though."
gregor1
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
VD here's a link showing the Arctic was warmer in the 1930's
http://hockeyscht...-in.html
Here's a paper showing Greenland was much warmer than today 13 times in the last 4000 years and that todays warming is within the bounds of natural variation http://wattsupwit...00-years
And here's a paper showing during the Medieval Warm period it was warmer than the present in the Arctic
http://hockeyscht...-in.html
h

gregor1
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
There is no doubting the trend. The issue is weather this is outside the range of natural variation and my assertion is that 33 years is not enough to tell. There has been no increas in extreme weather with warming
http://wattsupwit...er-page/
http://hockeyscht...=extreme weather&max-results=20&by-date=true
or droughts
http://wattsupwit...ot-down/
There is so much false in this report that the world will treat it as a joke. Apparently it doesn't even mention that it's ice melt "record" is merely a 33 year record which is no doubt intentionally deceptive. They must think we're idiots. They'll tell us any pld BS to get the $!00,000,000,000 they're asking for.
gregor1
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
thermodynamics
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 29, 2012
gregor1: I am still waiting for the peer reviewed articles to back your claims. So far you have given me news articles, web sites, and your opinions. I hate to break it to you like this, but Watt is not a peer to review himself. Please find those peer reviewed papers showing that the wind did it.
VendicarD
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
GregorTard seems to be blissfully unaware that his link is a decade old.

"VD here's a link showing the Arctic was warmer in the 1930's" - GregorTard

A more current temperature plot which includes the last decade that is left out of GregorTard's reference is shown here.

http://www.wunder...1900.jpg

and here...

http://www.appins...e026.gif

and here...

http://blogs.agu....66gr.gif

Poor GregorTard. He is caught telling yet another lie of omission.

How denialist of him.
VendicarD
3.7 / 5 (7) Nov 29, 2012
"And here's a paper showing during the Medieval Warm period" - GregorTard

Really? Not even Gregor's own reference claims that.

It claims...

"A paper published in Polar Research finds that temperatures at two sites in the Arctic " - Gregor's own reference

So GregorTard is claiming that two sites in the Arctic are an adequate representation of the temperatures all over the Arctic.

One site... Longyearbyen is just to the north of Norway and the second... Vardo is just 600 miles away on the Norwegian mainland.

Perhaps GregorTard can explain to us how two sites that are essentially in the same place represent a region that is 4,000 miles across.

Poor GregorTard. He is quite delusional.
djr
4 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2012
gregor - "There is no doubting the trend. The issue is weather this is outside the range of natural variation and my assertion is that 33 years is not enough to tell."

And so you move the bar - after the big argument that 2012 was caused by a storm - and not indicative of a trend - you change the argument - and now argue that 33 years is not long enough to determine a trend. Where is UBA when you need someone to argue that 15 years is long enough to determine a trend - unless the trend disagrees with your denialism - then it is not a trend. So Gregor - what are your credentials again for evaluating all this scientific research - and disagreeing with 98% of climate scientists - and drawing such grand conclusions about all this research??????? Please share....
joefarah
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 29, 2012
"The agency that tracks polar ice reported Tuesday that winter coverage of sea ice in Antarctica has set a 33-year high."
http://green.blog...sea-ice/

OK - so this says the ice moved down to the Antarctic basically.
VendicarD
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 29, 2012
Global sea ice area remains significantly lower than the recent global average.

http://arctic.atm...rend.jpg

Ice volume on Greenland and the Antarctic and the Arctic ocean is rapidly declining in total and as independent totals.

Joe's reading comprehension appears to be quire poor.
djr
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
"OK - so this says the ice moved down to the Antarctic basically"

Why don't you actually read the article that you yourself referenced joe - and then get back to us.

Here is a quote from the article you might find creates some cognitive dissonance for you.

"So, expressed as a percentage of ocean cover, the decline going on in the Arctic is almost 25 times the increase going on in the Antarctic"

Like I say - read your own article.
gregor1
1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
Dear Dir, You know as well as I that the 98% of climate scientists is a myth pedaled by activists to obliterate the science. I actually agree with them on the particular questions they where asked and am surprised they didn't get 100%
http://climatecha...n-a-myth
It really is time you got up to speed with the latest research. You do your cause a terrible disservice by spouting such rubbish
VendicarD
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 29, 2012
GregorTard points to an article written by well known liar, Tom Harris of the long discredited Heritage Foundation.

Tom Harris Teaches Heartland Institute Fake Science to Students

On auditing the course, CASS discovered that key messages for students contradict accepted scientific opinion. These messages include: denying that current climate change has an anthropogenic cause; dismissing the problems that carbon dioxide emissions cause because CO2 is plant food; denying the existence of the scientific consensus on the causes of climate change; and claiming that we should prepare instead for global cooling.

http://profmandia...tudents/
VendicarD
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 29, 2012
Poor GregorTard. He tapped a Canadian janitor as a source of his "Climate Science."

"Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of International Climate Science Coalition." - Canada Free Press
gregor1
1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
Once more VD you resort to ad hominem attacks when you don't like the evidence.
You are wrong about Antarctica. It is gaining ice.
http://hockeyscht...ica.html
Greenland is losing ice but not as much as once as once thought
http://phys.org/n...ice.html
gregor1
1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
If you don't like my previous source here are the fact's again.http://hockeyscht...ted.html
And here's another paper concerning continental ice build up in Antarctica

http://hockeyscht...ack.html
VendicarD
5 / 5 (5) Nov 29, 2012
While GregorTard is busy quoting Janitors, physorg - this website is - providing science.

http://cdn.physor...iona.jpg

The planet's two largest ice sheets have been losing ice faster during the past decade, causing widespread confusion and concern. A new international study provides a firmer read on the state of continental ice sheets and how much they are contributing to sea-level rise. Dozens of climate scientists have reconciled their measurements of ice sheet changes in Antarctica and Greenland over the past two decades. The results, published Nov. 29 in the journal Science, roughly halve the uncertainty and discard some conflicting observations.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

"You are wrong about Antarctica. It is gaining ice." - GregorTard

Poor GregorTard.....
VendicarD
5 / 5 (5) Nov 29, 2012
And once again GregorTard posts the rantings of a Janitor against the reasoned discourse of science.

"If you don't like my previous source here are the fact's " - GregorTard

His denialism is evidence of Republican Disease.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (5) Nov 29, 2012
According to GregorTard's own reference... "We deduce that projected future increases in precipitation4 can increase snow albedo by 0.4% on average during the twenty-first century and hence overcompensate the expected albedo decrease owing to warming (0.3% for 3 °C)." Antarctica is home to 90% of the world's ice."

But GregorTard is on record as claiming that the Arctic is cooling.

Not even his own reference agrees with him.

And of course recent warming projections now have the warming at 3'C to 4'C by the end of the century - The poles are warming much faster than that.
gregor1
1 / 5 (9) Nov 29, 2012
I have never said the Arctic is cooling. The evidence I've posted shows that it is warming but within the limits of natural variation. You have your Poles mixed up VD
Here's a letter from 125 Climate related scientists who disagree with the nonsense being spouted by the UN at the moment
"The U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in its Special Report on Extreme Weather (2012) that there is "an absence of an attributable climate change signal" in trends in extreme weather losses to date."
http://opinion.fi...entists/
djr
5 / 5 (7) Nov 30, 2012
gregor - "I have never said the Arctic is cooling" No but you did say "You are wrong about Antarctica. It is gaining ice." This is either a lie - or a post by someone who does not have a clue what they are talking about - but feel the need to spam the internet with false information. The evidence is clear - the Antarctic is losing ice mass. Here is a web site - with masses of references for you. http://ossfoundat...ice-melt Again - you are either a liar, or an idiot - either way you are spreading disinformation.
gregor1
1 / 5 (7) Nov 30, 2012
I'm sorry you think of peer reviewed science as spam but I'm trying to get you guys up to speed on this. It's sad you have to resort to name calling when your belief system is threatened. The link you just posted refers to the Grace satellite work that has since been superceded by the icesat data which shows that Antarctica is gaining ice mass
http://wattsupwit...-losses/
gregor1
1.3 / 5 (6) Nov 30, 2012
I may have to apologize to you Dir. This morning I found this from the BBC which also shows Antarctica losing ice . The total effect on sea levels of all ice loss has been calculated as only 11 mm over twenty years which is so low i suspect they may be wrong.
http://www.bbc.co...20543483
kochevnik
4 / 5 (4) Nov 30, 2012
@Sean_W They are telling people to take a single instance as direct (before our eyes) evidence of a trend. They are saying that people should think unscientifically! For science!
Life on planet Earth is also a fluke, scientifically speaking. Ignore it and it will go away.
runrig
4.8 / 5 (6) Dec 01, 2012
I'm sorry you think of peer reviewed science as spam but I'm trying to get you guys up to speed on this. It's sad you have to resort to name calling when your belief system is threatened. The link you just posted refers to the Grace satellite work that has since been superceded by the icesat data which shows that Antarctica is gaining ice mass.

Belief system?
Us?
Look, the science community is the one with the evidence behind us. And the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are going with it. You don't need a belief system if you think mankind has advanced via science, and not remained stuck in the middle ages ( because of dogmatic belief ).
Turning the argument around the place "belief" on science and it's followers is simply bizarre!

PS: Mr Watts's blog doesn't count I'm afraid.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 01, 2012
Science is based on the scientific method. This requires that you make an hypothesis which you then try and DISPROVE. Every time I present peer reviewed science which in part does this I am called names and accused of spamming. The very notion that you refer to yourself as "us" indicates you don't quite get this. In recent years it has become the job of amateur 'citizen scientists' (I'm thinking of Stieg et. al. and Gergis et. al. ) to do this which indicates the vast majority are not doing their job. It seems that this 'fast majority' are really activists and not scientists at all.
gregor1
1 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2012
Science doesn't have "Followers" (believers?). Religion does.
runrig
5 / 5 (6) Dec 02, 2012
Science doesn't have "Followers" (believers?). Religion does.


Of course I meant "followers" as in readers of this website or other scientific literature who are not scientists by training but interested in the subject ..... Why default to that interpretation? Strange.
gregor1
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 02, 2012
If you were really following the science you would be up to speed with the research. Billions has been spent to produce some wonderful stuff most of which shows there is little evidence for alarm. Religions thou, love "end of days" type predictions and, from my experience, it's the religious who become abusive if you contest these. Science moves forward by proving itself wrong.
thermodynamics
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 03, 2012
gregor1: You said: "Science moves forward by proving itself wrong."

That is correct and you must be moving forward at close to the speed of light at the rate you are proving yourself wrong.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2012
Sean_W: Would you be so kind as to provide links to the source of your knowledge that (as you say): "...knows FULL well that the high melt of ice this year was caused by an atypical but hardly unprecedented arctic storm which pushed large amounts of ice southward


Here's a link I think you have read before, but for anyone here who may have missed it, this is a new effort sponsored by the Dutch government. The idea is to invite a small number of mutually recognized top experts on a given topic, then each writes an independent introductory essay. Then they can comment back and forth about each other's essays.

The first topic of discussion was Arctic ice melt dynamics.

The general consensus between all three experts is that about half of recent abnormal ice loss is due to natural variability, and the other half is arctic warming, though they said this is a very rough estimate.

http://www.climat...sea-ice/
gregor1
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2012

@thermodynamics
"That is correct and you must be moving forward at close to the speed of light at the rate you are proving yourself wrong. "
Thanks.

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