Return of the Arctic Death Spiral! (again).

It’s back. One of the warmist’s favourite zombie arguments has been resurrected yet again.  Draw the curtains, put your feet up, and grab a bowl of popcorn for THE RETURN OF THE ARCTIC DEATH SPIRAL!!! (Cue scary music).

Nafeez Ahmed reports in The Guardian that the Obama administration is calling a meeting to discuss the return of the Arctic death spiral:

Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.

The meeting is bringing together Nasa’s acting chief scientist, Gale Allen, the director of the US National Science Foundation, Cora Marett, as well as representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

Guardian: White House Warned on Imminent Arctic Death Spiral 

We’ve heard this phrase before. One warmist in particular, Mark Sereze, has been instrumental in pushing the meme. Here he is from 2007:

“Everyone is seeing the same thing,” Mark Serreze, a senior researcher with the Boulder, Colo.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, told CanWest News Service on Friday.

The sea ice seems to be on this death spiral,” he said. “And this is not some nebulous thing like global temperature rises. You can see this with your own eyes.”

Canada.com: Arctic Ice Cover the Smallest Size Ever Recorded (2007)

Artist’s impression of one of Mark Sereze’s “Death Spirals”

And Mark “Death Spiral” Sereze in 2008:

The Arctic Ocean’s sea ice has shrunk to its second smallest area on record, close to 2007’s record-shattering low, scientists report.

The ice is in a “death spiral” and may disappear in the summers within a couple of decadesaccording to Mark Serreze, an Arctic climate expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

National Geographic: Arctic Ice in ‘Death Spiral’ is Near Record Low (2008)

What about in 2010 when Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Colorado, renewed his warning that the Arctic was in a “death spiral” – 

“The Arctic sea ice has reached its four lowest summer extents (area covered) in the last four years,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the U.S. city of Boulder, Colorado.

The volume – extent and thickness – of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month, Serreze told IPS.

I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover,” he said.

IPS: Arctic Ice in Death Spiral (2010)

Year after year, Mark “death spiral” Sereze was making the exact same claim, that Arctic ice was locked in a “death spiral” and would soon vanish. Bet he was embarrassed when that never happened. You certainly get that impression from this interview in 2011 –

MARK SERREZE: There are a number of different sea ice analyses out there. They have their own, we have a different one. We think that ours is a more internally consistent record. We’re showing us still at a second lowest, I suspect we’re going to stay there.

But whether we’re lowest or second lowest does not change the fact that sea ice extent continues to decline in the Arctic, it probably will in the future.

ASHLEY HALL: Is it a death spiral?

MARK SERREZE: Well I’ve, is it a death spiral? I was quoted somewhere saying, using that term I believe (laughs). I’ve gotten a little flack here and there.

Maybe I wouldn’t use the term ‘death spiral’ but I would say the Arctic sea ice cover is in deep trouble right now.

AM: North Pole Ice Thinnest on Record: Study (2011)

But he would use the term. And so would many other alarmists. Despite the fact that the evidence for an ice free Arctic anytime soon simply isn’t there, they continue with the meme. Even the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo, has dismissed the idea of an ice free Arctic as simply “not credible” –

Slingo also dismissed fears that the Arctic could be entirely free of sea ice in summer as soon as 2015. Between 2025 and 2030 would be the earliest date she would consider it possible, she said, and the Met Office’s latest models suggested 2040-60 as most likely. “Our expectation is certainly not in the next few years as you’ve heard from some evidence,” she said.

She also said that suggestions the volume of sea ice had already declined by 75% already were not credible. “We know there is something [happening on the thinning of sea ice] but it’s not as dramatic as those numbers suggest.”

Met Office: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Colder Drier Winters.

And what suggestions exactly did the Met Office’s Chief Scientist have in mind when she made the “not credible” comment? Could it, perhaps, have involved a – wait for it – an Arctic death spiral? Well as it turns out, yes it could –

Dr Maslowski’s model, along with his claim that the Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral“, were controversial but Prof Wadhams, a leading authority on the polar regions, said the calculations had him “pretty much persuaded.”

Prof Wadhams said: “His [model] is the most extreme but he is also the best modeller around.

“It is really showing the fall-off in ice volume is so fast that it is going to bring us to zero very quickly. 2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that that’s when it will happen.”

Telegraph: Arctic Sea Ice ‘to Melt by 2015′ (2011)

You can see how this works: the alarmists come up with an arresting image that short-circuits rational thinking by frightening people with some dire image of a catastrophic event that’s happening somewhere far, far away which they can’t see themselves (it’s always far away, notice, the top of the world, the bottom of the ocean, etc). Then, using the time-honoured methods of propaganda, they keep relentlessly hammering the image home over and over and over again until the facts are no longer the main issue. So deeply has the image become ingrained in the public consciousness that believe will believe the lie of the Arctic death spiral over all other evidence.

7 responses to “Return of the Arctic Death Spiral! (again).

  1. Remind me, why do we want the Arctic to be covered in ice? So much so that its loss is a “danger”?

  2. You only have to read the fear-ridden comments below the Guardian article to see that this tactic has been remarkable effective….among the more gullible.

  3. He has also claimed that ‘the Arctic is screaming’. I can’t quite hear it from here.

  4. It’s well accepted that, as one ages, the ability to hear high-frequency sound diminishes. Less well accepted but, with growing evidence, is the observation that, for some unhappy individuals, intellectual, delusional synathesia (IDS) replaces some of the sense-deficiencies associated with maturation.
    Mark “death spiral” Sereze is a prime example of an IDS sufferer.
    The source of this condition is not well understood but epidemiology studies have tentatively identified the following characteristics as being potential causative factors: to whit- being a CIF commentator with a 97% chance of not being held in moderation or banned – an ineffectual weaning process that substitutes the tax-funded teat for the maternal breast but, most importantly, just being a sad, wee s**t in the first place!
    PS- I can’t hear it either.

  5. Physic-o-Climate

    The Arctic was just about as warm as it is now in the late 1930’s and 1940’s. Sea ice can melt because of rapid water flow beneath it – nothing to do with temperature.

    Models can never be correct if they continue to assume that knowing radiative flux we can somehow determine surface temperatures, completely disregarding non-radiative processes which remove two-thirds of the energy which transfers from the surface to the atmosphere before radiation does the rest. Because of this the surface acts nothing like a blackbody.

    Even as of today, Principia Scientific International is still publishing an article “The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy” which refers to an article by Claes Johnson in which Claes quite incorrectly describes how thermal energy moves downwards in an atmosphere. I have added four comments pointing out the error, and written to Claes (copy John O’Sullivan) pointing out the error. The last of my comments on the PSI thread sums it up, and it’s worth repeating here …

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that thermodynamic equilibrium will evolve spontaneously. In a gravitational field this thermodynamic equilibrium (with greatest accessible entropy) is isentropic. Hence, disregarding chemical and phase changes, the total of the gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy in any small region (even a few pictograms of the atmosphere) will tend towards homogeneity at all altitudes in calm conditions. This can happen by diffusion (conduction between molecules) without any convection. Because PE varies, so will KE, and thus there will be an autonomous temperature gradient.

    Thermal energy flows over a sloping temperature plane in a gravitational field in all accessible directions away from any source of new energy which disturbs thermodynamic equilibrium. That, in effect, is what the Second Law says will happen. This is how the base of the troposphere stays warm and supports the surface temperature.

    In summary, PSI (and Claes Johnson) are right in saying what I say in my “Radiated Energy” paper of March 2012 about radiation from a cooler blackbody not transferring thermal energy to a warmer blackbody. But they are wrong in endorsing an article such as today’s, which cites what Claes Johnson has said about non-radiative heat transfers in planetary atmospheres.

  6. Pingback: » August 22, 2013

  7. Visiting Physicist

    Following the fiasco in the Antarctic recently I have written this ..

    OPEN LETTER to PROF CHRIS TURNEY, University of NSW, Sydney

    Dear Prof Turney

    I am a physics graduate who in recent years has turned his attention to very comprehensive study of climate, climate models and the alleged greenhouse radiative forcing conjecture. I have written to you personally and now make this matter public herein and elsewhere on various climate blogs.

    I make the following points …

    (1) Any study of temperature records for various inland cities (such temperatures being adjusted for altitude) will reveal that the mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures are lower in the more moist regions, because the greenhouse gas water vapour cools, as does carbon dioxide to a very small extent.

    (2) The total solar energy reaching the top of the Venus atmosphere would not be anywhere near enough to raise its surface temperate to about 730K so such cannot be explained by radiative forcing.

    My challenge to you is to find anyone with sufficient knowledge of thermodynamics who can in any way support the conjecture that radiative forcing determines planetary surface temperatures.

    (This has also been emailed to Prof Turney directly with a note that it is being posted on about 15 climate blogs.)

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