Icing The Hype
Nov 27, 2015
‘Scientists Agree World Is Colder,’ New York Times Declared in 1961

Brittany M. Hughes

"After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder.”

No, that’s not a recent quote from a group of global warming dissenters. It’s the first line of an article published in The New York Times on Jan. 30, 1961.

The article was topped with one bold declaration of a headline: “Scientists Agree World Is Colder.” Yep. Fifty years ago, before deciding to scare the world witless with prophesies of planetary heating, scientists were afraid of freezing to death.


See the cooling from 1940 to 1970 disappeared over time and the warming gets exaggerated with every passing year.


The only problem was, the scientists in question couldn’t seem to reach a consensus on why the planet’s temperature was allegedly dropping.
In the article, scientists from America to Australia to Hungary blamed everything under the clearly-not-hot-enough sun for the impending glacial apocalypse, including the “shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” “the tilt of the earth’s axis,” the solstices, the sun, “changes in transparency of the atmosphere,” dust spewed from volcanic eruptions, industrial smoke blocking sunlight, and the presence of too much or not enough ice in the Arctic.

By November of 1974, the Earth’s chilling situation appeared even more dire. An article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, and dug up by Climate Depot, reported the United States and Russia were considering damming up the Bering Strait in an effort to deliberately warm the Earth’s temperature and avoid a catastrophic ice age.

The newspaper quoted a former arms technologist named Lowell Ponte, who pointed to global cooling as “the primary cause of world food shortages.”

Sounds like he’d had gotten along well with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who likes to blame global warming for everything from droughts to famines to the number of terrorists running around with bombs.

Back in 1974, Ponte warned of a global ice age that could last anywhere from 200 to 10,000 years, and result in “rivers of solid ice again as far south as Yosemite in California and Cincinnati, Ohio.” The paper added that scientists had proposed about 60 theories to explain the cooling phenomenon.

According to Ponte - who was basically the Al Gore of the 1970s - global powers needed to combine efforts and point a manmade space heater toward Mother Earth in order to “convert the American southwestern deserts into verdant green valleys” and “stave off worldwide famine.” He further detailed how the Earth would basically morph into the Planet Hoth in his book “The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? Can We Survive It?”

If the threats of global warming are anything like scientists’ cooling predictions of the 60’s and 70’s, we’ll probably survive it just fine.

Nov 20, 2015
Opinion: How to make money from the coming cold snap

By Michael Brush

Despite El Nino, unusually warm temperatures will give way to a frigid winter

After last year’s winter wallop, is this bizarrely warm weather great or what? Well, enjoy it while it lasts- because it’s about to go away.Icecap Note: it has gone away in a lot of places including the western Mountains and this weekend when snow and cold hits Chicago and the Midwest.

Starting around Nov. 20, it’s going to get a lot colder in much of the U.S., and it will stay that way through the first few weeks of December. After Christmas, the cold weather will back off, but return with a vengeance during mid-January through much of March.

The cold weather snaps are going to take a lot of folks by surprise. So naturally there’s a contrarian investing angle.

The setup here is that many people have been lulled into complacency by the warm weather itself, and the misperception that this year’s strong El Nino equates to a warm winter. One website ran this headline Monday: “Biggest El Nino in 15 years is turning up the heat.”

An El Nino can heat up winter, but not this year. So here’s the investing angle: When the reality of a colder winter sets in soon, it will bid up shares of United States Natural Gas Fund LP UNG, - 3.90% which invests in futures contracts that track the price of natural gas NGF16, - 4.73% So you could buy UNG now. Natural gas prices are going to move up sharply over the next few weeks, more or less, as investors and traders realize this winter won’t be so warm after all.

A couple of factors add fuel to the fire, so to speak. Once natural gas gets moving, it could advance a lot in a bear market rally because there is such a big short position in the commodity, say analysts at Bear Traps Report.

Another factor here is that investors and traders have capitulated on natural gas. It looks washed out, according to proprietary capitulation measures used by Bear Traps analysts. This, plus the big short position, makes natural gas a good contrarian trade from the long side. Layer on the contrarian call that this winter will be colder than people currently expect, and you could see a big move up soon.

This isn’t a buy-and-hold situation. Natural gas could fall in price around Christmas as the weather warms up. But then the same dynamic will play out as it gets colder again in mid-January through March.


How do I know what the weather will do over the next four months? I don’t. But the scenario above is the call of my favorite weather guy and fellow Penn Stater, Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell Analytics, based in New York City. I’ve consulted Bastardi regularly on weather calls during the past 15 years. He often makes out-of-consensus calls that turn out to be right.

Other catalysts

While a change in the weather that will surprise many people is the main factor here, other potential catalysts could bid up natural prices in North America. They include a production decline as energy companies continue to trim capital spending, and the commencement of liquid natural gas exports by Cheniere Energy Inc. LNG, +0.06%

Then there are the more speculative potential catalysts. Natural gas could get a bump in sympathy with any move up in oil as allied forces strike the energy infrastructure producing oil for Islamic State terrorists. I don’t know this will happen, of course, but it’s possible. Conversely, the terrorists could strike energy infrastructure in the Middle East. These are wild cards. But a colder-than-expected winter, and evidence of it soon, should be enough to get natural gas moving up.

A few stock plays

Besides UNG, another way to play a move up in natural gas is to buy energy companies with a lot of exposure to natural gas. Two producers favored by Hodges Capital Management energy analyst Mike Breard are Comstock Resources Inc. CRK, -2.41% and Memorial Resource Development Corp. MRD, -3.68%

Comstock is tiny, so it is riskier. But it owns solid properties and there was some interesting insider buying a few weeks back - two reasons why I own Comstock personally and have suggested it in my stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Investors have a huge short position in Comstock’s shares, which adds fuel to upside rallies. During rallies in heavily shorted stocks, short sellers can get nervous and cover. That means they have to buy back the stock, which drives prices higher. Comstock has the potential to provide an even wilder ride than most energy companies these days. So be careful with position size if you don’t have the stomach for volatility.

The winter forecast

No, the Russians won’t be sending us cold air via a polar vortex. Other factors are at work here. Weather is highly complex, so this is a vast oversimplification. But at a high level, there’s a lot of warm water in the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, and also to some degree off the East Coast. This normally leads to colder temperatures in the southern and mid-Atlantic U.S. The warm water “creates a high-pressure ridge in Western Canada, which means cold air can come here. Cold air seeps down through the Northeast,” says Bastardi.

While Thanksgiving through Christmas will be colder, followed by some warming, we’ll get another blast from around mid-January through much of March. “February and March are going to be the big winter months this year,” says Bastardi. February will likely be the worst month.

The country won’t be colder than normal across the board. Here’s the breakdown: The central south, the southeast and mid-Atlantic will experience below-normal temperatures. Bastardi is predicting 30 inches of snow for Washington, D.C., for example. The northeast will have a normal winter (but still colder than people expect). And the Northwest and north central U.S., places like Washington, Oregon and Chicago, will have above-average temperatures.

Averaged all together and weighted by population, this will be a pretty regular winter on the whole. But given that a lot of forecasters are calling for a warmer-than-normal winter, as reality sets in it will likely put a bid under natural gas, in my view.

Even analysts at AccuWeather, who have a warmer forecast than Bastardi for much of the winter, agree that February could be trouble. “February may be a volatile month across the U.S.,” says David Samuhel, a meteorologist at AccuWeather. He predicts below-average temperatures and above-average snow fall for that month.

In short, expect colder weather and a bump in natural gas prices and related stock plays pretty soon. This will be followed by warmer weather from around Christmas through mid-January when prices will back off. And colder weather from mid-January through much of March will push natural gas prices up again.

At the time of publication, Michael Brush owned shares of CRK and he has suggested CRK in his stock newsletter Brush Up on Stocks. Brush is a Manhattan-based financial writer who has covered business for the New York Times and The Economist group, and he attended Columbia Business School in the Knight-Bagehot program.

Nov 12, 2015
Climate change attack was ‘unsubstantiated, fantasy’


Brophey’s unsubstantiated and ill-mannered attack on Tom Harris and the group I created in 2007, the International Climate Science Coalition, is a sample of what we will undoubtedly see more of as we approach the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, only days away.

Climate campaigners are doing their best to divert the public from noticing that essentially none of their forecasts are coming true. For example:

* Global warming stopped 18 years ago despite a 10 per cent rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

* Hurricane activity is at a record low.

* Medium to strong tornadoes have become less frequent.

* Antarctic sea ice cover has been increasing at about 1-2 per cent per decade.

* Polar bear populations have never been so high in the historical record.

Rather than engage in a “most disingenuous and deceitful distortion of established science,” as Brophey charges, Harris and the ICSC are simply pointing out what is happening in the real world, not the flawed climate models held dear by the UN.

And the ICSC is anything but a “denier lobby group.” We explain that climate has changed continually since the origin of the atmosphere billions of years ago and so we need to help people adapt.

Yet, because of pressure from people like Brophey, of the $1 billion a day spent worldwide on climate finance, only seven per cent goes to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change today. This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.

Of course, we must reduce pollution where it is a problem and conserve energy when it is scarce, but the idea that we know the future of climate decades in advance, let alone that we can control it, is pure fantasy.

What is not fantasy is the fact that, because of unjustified concerns about climate, millions of impoverished Africans are prevented from using the one source of energy that is affordable and within their reach - fossil fuels which still provide some 86 per cent of the world’s energy.

TERRY DUNLEAVY, MBE, JP, Founding Chairman and Strategic Adviser, International Climate Science Coalition

Oct 31, 2015
Global Warmers Want Just One Thing - Control - and jail for those that challenge them

By Walter Williams

I receive loads of mail in response to my weekly nationally syndicated column. Some recent mail has been quite disturbing. Here’s a sample:

“Given your support of freedom on a great many issues, I wish to bring to your attention the following George Mason University staff who have formally called on the president to use RICO statutes to punish organizations and individuals who dispute the ‘consensus’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

The writer goes on to say, “I am appalled that anyone associated with George Mason would so misuse the power of the federal government.” The writer names 20 signatories, six of whom are GMU faculty members.

This letter writer’s problem, like that of many others, is a misperception of George Mason University, where I am an economics professor.

We have a distinguished economics department that can boast of having had two homegrown Nobel Prize winners on our faculty. Plus, we have a worldwide reputation as a free-market economics department.

The university can also boast of a distinguished law school with professors who, in contrast with many other law schools, have respect for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. We can boast of the excellent Law & Economics Center, too.

With this kind of intellectual firepower at George Mason University, most people assume that it is, like its namesake, a libertarian or free-market university. Little could be further from the truth. My university, at which I’ve toiled for 35 years, has a political makeup like that of most other universities - middle of the road to liberal/progressive.

What distinguishes my liberal/progressive colleagues is that they are courteous and civilized, unlike many of those at universities such as the University of Massachusetts and the University of California, Berkeley.

So I investigated this call for the use of RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It turns out that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has called for the criminal investigation of people and organizations who are seen as global warming deniers.

The investigation would include lawsuits against the coal and oil industries, certain think tanks and other organizations that question the global warming religion.

By the way, so that Whitehouse and his gang don’t appear silly, they’ve changed their concern from global warming to climate change. That’s stupid in and of itself, for when has the climate not been changing, even before mankind arrived?

It turns out that George Mason University meteorologist Jagadish Shukla is the lead signatory of the letter sent to the president and attorney general asking them to use RICO laws to prosecute “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.”

This GMU professor calling for the prosecution of climate skeptics has been recently revealed as a “climate profiteer.” From 2012 to 2014, this leader of the RICO 20 climate scientists paid himself and his wife $1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work.

The effort to suppress global warming dissidents is not new. Grist Magazine writer David Roberts said: “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards - some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

Professor Richard Parncutt has called for the execution of prominent “GW deniers.” Climate Progress editor Joe Romm called for deniers to be strangled in their beds. James Hansen, who has headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has likewise called for trials of global warming deniers.

The global warming agenda is a desperate effort to gain greater control over our lives. Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) explained, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

That’s the political goal of the global warmers.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily.

GMU’s Ed Maibach was commisioned by the AMS to help find out why broadcasters and forecasters were not buying the warmist position. He did surveys and advised on special indoctrination sessions for the AMS. See the story that suggests this RICO saga originating out of GMU may become the greatest scandal in science here.

See also here how one of the signatories Alan Betts, (who recently won an award from AMS for his alarmist works) doesn’t believe the letter went far enough. What he neglected to mention, he has made millions from NSF and NASA grants the last 30 years. Betts appears to be the typical alarmist hypocrite - he blocked a debate in St Johnsbury with Tom Wysmuller and Dr. Larry Gould and did a one man show. The society had wanted a lively debate.  He did the same with me on VPR when I was invited then uninvited at his insistence. He bashed Fred Singer using Wikipedia lies and denied claims the climate models were failing in that radio hour interview. He sees himself as Vermont’s self annointed climate truth sayer.

Oct 30, 2015
Russia’s Putin Says Global Warming Is ‘A Fraud’

Michael Bastasch

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes global warming is a “fraud” - a plot to keep Russia from using its vast oil and natural gas reserves.

Putin believes “there is no global warming, that this is a fraud to restrain the industrial development of several countries, including Russia,” Stanislav Belkovsky, a political analyst and Putin critic, told The New York Times.

“That is why this subject is not topical for the majority of the Russian mass media and society in general,” Belkovsky said.

Putin has been casting doubt on man-made global warming since the early 2000s, according to the Times. In 2003, Putin told an international climate conference warming would allow Russians to “spend less on fur coats,” adding that “agricultural specialists say our grain production will increase, and thank God for that.”

Putin’s comments likely came after his staff “did very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate,” according to Andrey Illarionov, Putin’s former senior economic adviser, who’s now a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,” Illarionov said. “It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to ‘fight’ global warming was rather unfounded.”

The New York Times published an article on how the Russian media’s skepticism of global warming is being driven by Putin’s laissez faire attitude on the issue. The Times bashed the Russian autocrat for offering “only vague and modest pledges of emissions cuts ahead of December’s U.N. climate summit in Paris.”

Russia’s largely state-run media has spent little to no time covering global warming despite huge fires raging across Siberia. Instead of blaming the fires on warming, Russian news outlets tended to focus on “locals who routinely but carelessly burn off tall grasses every year, and the sometimes incompetent crews struggling to put the fires out.”

Such reasoning wasn’t good enough for the Times, which argued that “Russian media continue to pay little attention to an issue that animates so much of the world.”

Russian media leaders argue it’s not just the tone being set by Putin, but a weak economy and unemployment woes are a top concern of the Russian public - they don’t seem to care much about the weather.

?It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis,” Galina Timchenko, who runs a news site, told the Times. “Unfortunately climate change is not very interesting to the public."”

Low oil prices have hampered Russia’s economic growth, and spurred the Putin administration to take more action abroad, fomenting conflict in Ukraine and supporting the Assad regime in Syria. But at home, Russians are feeling the bite of cheap oil and western sanctions.

Oct 18, 2015
Prominent Liberal Physicist: GOP on the “Right Side” of Global Warming Debate

Philip Hodges

Freeman Dyson is a 91-year-old physicist who says he likes Obama and is “100% Democrat.” But where he parts ways with the President and the rest of the Democratic party is the subject of global warming. Or climate change. Or whatever it’s called this week.


He said he’s disappointed that not only the Democratic party, but also a whole generation of scientists, deny obvious scientific facts that stare them in the face.

Fox News reported:

“It’s very sad that in this country, political opinion parted [people’s views on climate change],” he said, in an interview with The Register. “I’m 100 percent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.”

Now retired, Dyson was a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton between 1953 and 1994. Famed for his work in quantum electrodynamics and nuclear engineering, Dyson also worked on climate studies during his career.

Climate change, according to Freeman, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”

The physicist and mathematician argues that pollution caused by fossil fuels has been conflated with climate change. “Coal is very unpleasant stuff, and there are problems with coal quite apart from climate,” he said. “Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that.”

During his interview with The Register Dyson noted shortcomings in climate models. “What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger” he said. “It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago. I can’t say if they’ll always be wrong, but the observations are improving and so the models are becoming more verifiable.”

Dyson also wrote a strong foreword to a report published Monday by The Global Warming Policy Foundation, which calls for a reassessment of carbon dioxide. “To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage,” he wrote.

Liberal cheerleaders will likely chime in and claim that he’s an old crank who’s not even a climatologist. He’s just a theoretical physicist and mathematician. And besides, he’s retired. What does he know?

In order to be a “legitimate” manmade global warming denier in the eyes of liberals, you have to be an actual climatologist. That has to be your field of expertise, and you have to have been in that field for no less than 20 years. And not only that, but you have to have had many of your papers published in “reputable” scientific journals. Of course, even if you were to meet all those criteria, liberals would claim that if you still deny manmade global warming theory, then you don’t deserve any of your credentials, and therefore, you’re not a legitimate scientist.

The more profitable and easy route to take is to be a believer in manmade global warming. That belief in and of itself becomes a person’s credentials, adequate enough to appear legitimate in the eyes of liberals. This is why someone like Bill Nye is looked on as an authority on the subject, even though his background is little more than a kids’ TV show personality.

Sep 19, 2015
The Sun and the next ‘Maunder Minimum’ 2030-2040?

John Maunder

A new model of the Sun’s interior is producing predictions of its behaviour with unprecedented accuracy; predictions with interesting consequences for Earth. Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University presented results for a new model of the Sun’s interior dynamo in a talk at the Astronomical Society meeting last week.

The Sun has an approximately 11-year activity cycle. During peak periods, it exhibits lots of solar flares and sunspots. Magnetic bubbles of charged particles (coronal mass ejections) may burst from the surface during this period, streaming material into space. These ejections can affect satellites and power lines on Earth. However, during lull periods, such activity may almost stop altogether. But the 11-year cycle isn’t quite able to predict all of the Sun’s behaviour - which can seem erratic at times. Zharkova and her colleagues (Professor Simon Shepherd of Bradford University, Dr Helen Popova of Lomonosov Moscow State University, and Dr Sergei Zarkhov of Hull University) have found a way to account for the discrepancies called a ‘double dynamo’ system.

The Sun, like all stars, is a large nuclear fusion reactor that generates powerful magnetic fields, similar to a dynamo. The model developed by Kharkov’s team suggests there are two dynamos at work in the Sun; one close to the surface and one deep within the convection zone. They found this dual dynamo system could explain aspects of the solar cycle with much greater accuracy than before - possibly leading to enhanced predictions of future solar behaviour. “We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs; originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different [for both] and they are offset in time,” says Zharkova. The two magnetic waves either reinforce one another to produce high activity or cancel out to create lull periods.

Professor Zharkova and her colleagues used magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California for three solar cycles, from the period of 1976 to 2008. In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers - another strong marker of solar activity. All the predictions and observations matched closely. Their predictions using the model suggest an interesting longer-term trend beyond the 11-year cycle.

It shows that solar activity is expected to fall by 60 % during the 2030’s, to conditions last seen during the ‘Maunder Minimum[ of 1645-1715. “Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 %,” says Zharkova.

The model predicts that the magnetic wave pairs will become increasingly offset during the Solar Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. Then during Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch, cancelling one another out. This will cause a significant reduction in solar activity. “In Cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other, peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum’,” says Zharkova.

The sun was well observed during the period of the original “Maunder Minimum” and this lack of sunspots is well documented.This period of solar inactivity corresponded to a climatic period called the ‘Little Ice Age’ when in Europe rivers that were normally ice-free, froze and snow fields remained at low altitudes throughout the year. There is evidence the sun had similar periods of inactivity during the years 1100-1250 and 1460-1550.

The connection between solar activity and the earth’s climate is an area of ongoing and sometimes controversial research.Time will tell whether the sun will once again go into another “Maunder Minimum” within the lifetime of the present generation, and what affect it will have on our climate.

Note: The “Maunder Minimum” is the name given to the period from 1650 to 1700 when the number of sunspots became almost zero. The period is named after the solar astronomer Edward Walter Maunder (1851-1928) who while working at The Royal Observatory, Greenwich discovered the dearth of sunspots during the 1650-1700 period.


During one 30 year period within the Maunder Minimum there were only about 50 sunspots compared with a more typical 40,000. Maunder was a driving force in the foundation of the British Astronomical Association, and was a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Jul 23, 2015
Arctic Ice: Pausing More That Declining?

Dr David Whitehouse

The declining Arctic ice cover has been one of the most powerful images of climate change. Most people who follow the debate but who perhaps don’t look at the data, would be excused for holding the opinion that it’s been declining monotonically.

Hence the dire predictions that it will be gone in a few years, if it shouldn’t have gone already. Several years ago I was heavily lambasted by some for daring to say that I didn’t think it would be all gone by 2013!

The Arctic ice has been declining since satellite observations started in 1979 that clearly caught the decline already in progress and probably part of a multi-decadal change.

Now comes a suggestion that Arctic ice is more resilient that was believed. It’s from a recent paper in Nature Geoscience by Tilling at el (2015) called “Increased Arctic sea ice volume after anomalously low melting in 2013.” The headline is that the volume of Arctic sea ice increased by about a third after an unusually cool summer in 2013. Reports went on to say that the unusual growth continued in 2014 and more than compensated for the loss in the three previous tears. Overall it was concluded that changes in summer temperatures in the Arctic have a greater impact on the ice than was thought.

The key graph in Tilling et al (2015) is their figure showing the growth and decline of sea ice volume since 2011. Note that the maximum hardly changes at all over this period and that the minimum ice extent is increasing. Arctic sea ice increasing! This deserves a second look. Click here to enlarge.


It has been noticed before that the minimum extent of Arctic ice extent hasn’t been changing very much in the past few years leading some to speculate about a so-called ice pause. In fact, a close look at the Arctic ice extent shows that since 1998 it has been pausing more than it has been declining.

Here is the minimum extent since 2007 (millions of sq km) and it can be seen that the exceptionally cold year of 2013 mentioned by Tilling et al (2015) is not that exceptional in terms of ice extent.


It is 2012 that is exceptional which was due to an anomalous summer storm that compacted the ice. After the storm the ice returned to levels of a few years previously. There is no general decrease in minimal ice area 2007 - 2014. Things get more interesting when one considers the 1998 - 2014 period.


Clearly there has been a decline over this period but not a steady one. rather it has been a shift between two so-called ice pauses. Here is the 1998 - 2006 data.


Admittedly it is a relatively short period, only 17 years, but we only have satellite data since 1979 which provides an additional 19 years - a period comparable to that discussed above so one must take seriously both ways of looking at the data. I could speculate that it looks like the Arctic ice wants to be stable but that perturbations in 2007 and 2002 upset it.

The Tilling et al (2015) paper is very interesting in its discussion of interannual variation in Arctic ice parameters. There are clearly longer-term variations as well.

The so-called pause or hiatus in global surface temperature was first discussed after about eight years of unchanging data. The “pause” in minimal Arctic ice extent is now 17 years. Already some scientists are suggesting that it is a statistical figment, to be expected, and soon to disappear. The same thing was said about the global surface temperature hiatus. Is nature trying to tell us something?


Ice conditions hold up resupply of Iqaluit, east Hudson Bay
Fuel tanker that reached Iqaluit still unable to unload

Ice conditions this year in the Arctic are making it difficult for ships to deliver the annual resupply of fuel and goods to some Nunavut and Nunavik communities.

Midway through July, only a single oil tanker, aided by a Coast Guard icebreaker, has been able to reach Iqaluit though the sea ice that remains in Frobisher Bay. “We had quite a bit of difficulty bringing it in,” says Johnny Leclair, the Coast Guard’s assistant commissioner.

Sealift ships are also behind schedule, with the MV Anna Desgagnes and the MV Qamutik now tentatively scheduled to arrive later this week. Contrary to predictions made earlier this year, Leclair said, the sea ice in the bay has not been melting.

That, in combination with southeasterly winds, has meant that Frobisher Bay has not been able to “flush” its remaining ice. Instead, a large compacted pan of thick, first-year and multiyear ice has formed in the bay. It’s so thick that icebreakers and commercial ships alike have no choice but to skirt around it, which has led to delay

The same ice has also been blamed for bringing two polar bears into the community last week - a highly unusual event. The Havelstern tanker, laden with fuel destined for the city’s tank farm, took several days to navigate Frobisher Bay with the help of the CCGS Pierre Radisson. Upon reaching the city, it’s still been unable to unload.

“[The ship] cannot get to a secure anchorage to put its line out to fuel the community,” Leclair said. Leclair is hopeful that the tanker will be offloaded later today. By the end of the week, he said, two more Coast Guard icebreakers will be headed north.

Three years ago, heavy ice damaged a sealift ship making its way to Iqaluit and stranded two others at the mouth of the bay.

Heavy ice in east Hudson Bay

The Canadian Coast Guard has also re-deployed its science and research icebreaker the CCGS Amundsen to assist with heavy ice conditions in eastern Hudson Bay. “We haven’t seen these ice conditions in the eastern part of Hudson Bay this late in the season in, I’d say, two decades,” Leclair said. “There is a large patch of ice that has not melted and is creating problems for shipping.”

That could delay resupply of several communities in Northern Quebec. Sealift vessels heading for Inukjuak are currently at least a week behind schedule.


UPDATE: Fruitcakes of the World Unite - this article was in the Times on Friday, and it’s not April 1st:


Climate scientist fears murder by hitman

A Cambridge professor has said that assassins may have murdered scientists who were seeking to reveal how rapidly global warming was melting Arctic ice. Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics, said he believed that he had also been targeted but had a narrow escape after a driver of an unmarked lorry tried to push his car off the M25. Professor Wadhams faced criticism this week after a study contradicted his prediction that Arctic ice was melting so fast that it could all disappear this summer.

Asked by The Times for his response to the discovery that the total volume of ice grew 40 per cent in 2013, Professor Wadhams insisted that there was still an outside possibility of the Arctic being ice-free this year. He then said there were only four people in Britain who were “really leaders on ice thickness in the Arctic” and he was one. The others, he said, had died in early 2013. He said: “It seems to me to be too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental.”

He named the three as Seymour Laxon of University College London, Katharine Giles, a climate change scientist who worked with Professor Laxon at UCL, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Professor Laxon died after falling downstairs at a New Year’s Eve party in Essex; Dr Giles died in a collision with a lorry while cycling to work in London; and police said they believed that Dr Boyd was killed by lightning as he walked near a loch in Scotland. 

Professor Wadhams said that about the same time he was driving on the M25 late at night when the lorry hit his car. “This guy showed definite evidence of malevolence. He was trying to run me right off the road.” He said his car was damaged but he managed to get home and called the police the next day. He was told no action could be taken. 

“I just thought what is going on here? Somebody is trying to do in people who are working on ice thickness in Britain.” He said: “If it was some kind of death squad, you don’t expect that with something like climate change. I know oil companies have been giving lots and lots of money to… climate change denialist organisations but you don’t expect them to kill people.”

Fiona Strawbridge, Professor Laxon’s partner, said that she had seen similar claims by “ridiculous conspiracy theorists” on the internet but she was certain his death was an accident. She said that she knew Dr Giles and it was clear that her death was also an accident. Dr Strawbridge, who works at UCL, said: “The fact that two scientists in the same group die in the same year is an appalling tragedy and it’s really not helped by these ludicrous theories.” Professor Angela Hatton, a friend and colleague of Dr Boyd, said it was “a coincidence that we lost such a lot of good scientists in an area of science in such a short space of time”. 

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