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Topics - Jim Hunt

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Arctic background / Hearts in the Ice Expedition
« on: September 22, 2019, 02:46:55 PM »
I've only just discovered this amazing expedition, via Joss Stone's Facebook page:

Hearts in the Ice is a platform for social engagement around climate change, started by Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby.  It is a 9-month overwintering project in the High Arctic of Svalbard, Norway. Starting in August 2019 Hilde (Norway) and Sunniva (Canada) will inhabit the 20 sq mtr trappers cabin “Bamsebu”- 78’N. They will be the first women to over-winter in Svalbard without men.

The project will serve as a platform for global dialogue and engagement concerning the changes we are experiencing in the Polar Regions which impacts the world and what we all, individually, might be able to do about it. Life at Bamsebu will be broadcast and published via Iridium satellite through social media to scientists, school children, adventurers, and interested citizens from around the world.

While at Bamsebu, for 9 months, from August 2019 to May 2020, Hilde and Sunniva will serve as citizen scientists by collecting data for existing research being conducted in the Arctic. A few of these projects will be conducted simultaneously in the Antarctic and shared with all on Social Media. They invite everyone to get involved and take the time to understand what is happening in their neighborhood.

They will be pioneers in using an electric snowmobile in addition to having the smallest carbon footprint possible, utilizing solar and wind energy, and reducing all packaging from their suppliers and providers.

They are 2 women with a deep love for the Polar regions who want to highlight the real changes happening, and engage individual action in a positive way!

Arctic sea ice / When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2019?
« on: June 16, 2019, 11:09:30 AM »
Here are the alternative routes:

Here is the current state of play along "Amundsen's Route" (route 4):

"Small vessels" usually take routes 5 or 6 in this day and age.

Arctic sea ice / Basic questions about melting physics
« on: May 28, 2019, 10:02:37 AM »
Further to one or two recent discussions, here is a place to discuss the basic physics of freezing and melting sea ice.

Here are my own helpful hints on that thorny topic (amongst other things):

Arctic sea ice / Are 3 dimensions better than 2?
« on: April 03, 2019, 01:24:59 PM »
A place to be nice whilst debating volume/thickness versus area/extent whilst not cluttering up the 2019 melting season thread:,2591.msg193705.html#msg193705

A few facts for you:

Developers Corner / Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« on: March 04, 2019, 11:39:10 AM »
In order to avoid an off topic rant by yours truly elsewhere, let's let off steam about CP/M, QDOS, IBM PC DOS et seq. here instead shall we?

To set the ball rolling, here is the Wikipedia article entitled simply "DOS":

DOS is a family of disk operating systems, hence the name.[2] DOS primarily consists of MS-DOS and a rebranded version under the name IBM PC DOS, both of which were introduced in 1981. Other later compatible systems from other manufacturers include DR-DOS (1988), ROM-DOS (1989), PTS-DOS (1993), and FreeDOS (1998). MS-DOS dominated the x86-based IBM PC compatible market between 1981 and 1995.

Arctic sea ice / The 2019 melting season
« on: March 01, 2019, 02:41:14 PM »
Neven still hasn't got around to opening this thread, but "Snow White" has (prematurely?) called the 2019 maximum over on Twitter:

Here's the "JAXA" version. Discuss!

<edited title to match those of precious years; N.>

The rest / Algorithms of Hate - Redux
« on: February 28, 2019, 11:12:20 PM »
An interesting paper from Andrew Jakubowicz on a topic dear to my heart, courtesy of the Royal Society of New South Wales:

The abstract:

Complex multicultural societies hold together through effective and interactive communication, which reinforces civility, enhances information sharing, and facilitates the expression of interests while permitting both diversity and commonality. While trust is an important cement in the building of social cohesion, multicultural societies face continuing challenges as their ever-extending populations test the trust necessary to constitute supportive, bridging social capital. The Internet, which has become a crucial component of the communication systems in modern societies, offers both opportunities and challenges, especially in the generation and circulation of race hate speech which attacks social cohesion and aims to impose singular and exclusive racial, ethnic or religious social norms. The Internet in Australia remains problematic for four key reasons. The underlying algorithms that produce social media and underpin the profitability of the huge domains of Facebook and Alphabet also facilitate the spread of hate speech online. With very limited constraints on hate speech, the Australian Internet makes it easy to be racist. Human/computer interactions allow for far greater user disinhibition, which suits the proclivities of those more manipulative and sadistic users of the Internet. All of this is occurring in a post-truth world where racially, religiously and nationalistically inflected ideologies spread fairly much unchecked, and discourses of violence become everywhere more apparent. Australia has opportunities to do something about this situation in this country, yet we see around us a lethargy and acceptance of technological determinism. The paper assesses these claims and proposes some ways forward that are evidence-based, and collaborative, scholarly and social.

Discuss. With all due civility please!

N.B. Forked from the now closed thread with a similar title.

Policy and solutions / Extinction Rebellion
« on: October 28, 2018, 01:58:20 PM »
As previously pointed out by gerontocrat, according to George Monbiot:

A people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown

In a letter to the Guardian on Friday Dr Rowan Williams, Professor Molly Scott Cato MEP and 92 others declared:

We the undersigned represent diverse academic disciplines, and the views expressed here are those of the signatories and not their organisations. While our academic perspectives and expertise may differ, we are united on one point: we will not tolerate the failure of this or any other government to take robust and emergency action in respect of the worsening ecological crisis. The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible, and it is unconscionable to us that our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of an unprecedented disaster of our own making.....

We therefore declare our support for Extinction Rebellion, launching on 31 October 2018. We fully stand behind the demands for the government to tell the hard truth to its citizens. We call for a Citizens’ Assembly to work with scientists on the basis of the extant evidence and in accordance with the precautionary principle, to urgently develop a credible plan for rapid total decarbonisation of the economy.

Arctic background / Sacha Dench - The Human Swan
« on: October 27, 2018, 03:50:24 PM »
I met Sacha yesterday at the TEDx event in Truro. She recently won the Royal Aero Club's Britannia Trophy:

For the British aviator or aviators accomplishing the most meritorious performance in aviation during the previous year

Previous winners have included the pilots of Concorde and the Red Arrows. Sacha's choice of aircraft? Dangling from a hanky with a fan strapped to her back.

Sacha's chosen course? Flying her paramotor from the Russian Arctic to Slimbridge in the company of as many Bewick's Swans as possible!

Consequences / Florida's "Red Tide" algal bloom
« on: August 14, 2018, 02:36:22 PM »
Please forgive me if there's a topic for this already, but via Kim Cobb on Twitter:

Tons of dead fish. A smell so awful you gag with one inhale. Empty beaches, empty roads, empty restaurants.

A toxic algae bloom has overrun Florida’s southern Gulf Coast this summer, devastating sea life and driving people from the water.

Red tide — a naturally occurring toxic algae bloom that can be harmful to people with respiratory problems— has spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico, drifting in the water since it began in October. Stretching about 150 miles, it’s affecting communities from Naples in the south to Anna Maria Island in the north and appears to be moving northward.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in seven counties along Florida’s Gulf that have been overrun by the pungent bloom. He also ordered $1.5 million to be spent on various clean-up efforts and to help business impacted by dwindling tourists.

Arctic background / Louie Kamookak - RIP
« on: April 15, 2018, 12:04:46 PM »
According to Uphere Magazine in 2014:

In Ottawa, PM Stephen Harper made an announcement: one of the wrecks of the long-lost Franklin expedition had been found near Hat Island, about 180 km from Gjoa Haven, after 166 years of searching...

And then someone noticed Harper hadn’t credited any local Inuit in his official statement, and suddenly Louie Kamookak, a high school special ed. teacher, found himself in the spotlight. Hadn’t Kamookak been researching and guiding search parties—without government support—along the route of the Franklin expedition for decades? Hadn’t he consulted with Parks Canada workers, who found the ship, for several years? If, as all the headlines read, Inuit had known where the ship was all along, why did it take 166 years to find it? If any living Inuk knew, it would be Kamookak.

Now according to The (London) Economist (and probably paywalled):

Louie Kamookak died on March 22nd. The Inuit oral historian and finder of Sir John Franklin’s lost ships was 58.

According to The (Manchester) Guardian:

Growing up in the Canadian Arctic, Louie Kamookak was captivated by tales from Inuit elders of rusted utensils strewn along a remote shore and mysterious white men using ropes to haul a large ship through the ice.

Years later, he realized there was a striking resemblance between the stories of his youth and historical accounts of the ill-fated expedition of Sir John Franklin, whose two ships – and 129 crew members – vanished while searching for the North-West Passage in the 1840s.

Kamookak compared Inuit stories with explorers’ logbooks and journals to develop a working theory of where the ships might be. He shared these thoughts with Canadian archaeologists, and was eventually vindicated in a spectacular fashion when, using his directions, divers located the HMS Erebus in 2014, and two years later, the Terror.

Both ships were found exactly where Kamookak had predicted.

As The Economist put it:

Instinct, as much as learning, led him to guide the Canadian government searchers to Erebus in 2014 and, two years later, to Terror. The official team had no idea for a while which the first ship was. With a huge grin, he knew at once: Erebus.

By this time he was himself an elder, passing on stories to the young in his deep, emphatic way, always word for word the same. Few things delighted him more than taking students out on the land in the summer, squeezing his bulky frame into a tent, eating dried fish and fried bannock (with Cheez Whiz as a favourite extra), recounting the lore of the past. Some mysteries had been solved but others remained, none more powerful than that burial of the shaman. If it was indeed Franklin it might bring fame to Gjoa Haven, and jobs for the young. It would also allow Franklin’s body to be returned to England, honouring him as an ancestor should be. He always imagined that he had been a good man.

For all his searching, he had never found the spot. But possibly his great-grandmother had. On that same journey when she had found the silver dinner knife, she had seen a mound that was the length of a human, and a stone with strange markings. The others would not go near it, or talk of it. Only her fading memory remained, in words that were blown away across the tundra. For him they were as tangible and forceful as any printed page, in any bound book.

RIP Louie.

The forum / The Arctic Sea Ice Blog is down?
« on: April 10, 2018, 11:54:04 AM »
This seems like the best place to ask this question?

The ASIB has been down all morning (UTC), although itself seem to be working.

Currently I'm told:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Is it just me, or have others experienced the same issue?

Arctic background / Barneo 2018
« on: March 31, 2018, 06:06:16 PM »
There's still no hard news concerning Barneo 2018 on the Barneo Facebook page, or on Irina Orlova's for that matter. However there has been this brief report in The Independent Barents Observer:

Information from Barneo coordinators shows that the first searches for a suitable ice floe for the camp is in the process.

However before the IBO revealed that, they also had this to say:

As vanishing Arctic ice makes it increasingly difficult to uphold research activities in the highest Arctic, Russia moves ahead with plans to build a research platform for the region.
The projected self-propelled platform will have top-level ice protection and be able to move autonomously around in Arctic waters for up to three years, Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy told RIA Novosti.

The active development phase is to begin before June this year and construction will start in 2019, Donskoy confirms.

Arctic sea ice / Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring 2018
« on: March 24, 2018, 05:16:30 PM »
NASA's Operation IceBridge spring 2018 campaign in the Arctic has just begun:

The flights continue until April 27 extending the mission’s decade-long mapping of the fastest-changing areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet and measuring sea ice thickness across the western Arctic basin.

Also keep an eye of their Twitter feed and Facebook page.

This picture was taken north of Greenland:

Arctic background / The International Maritime Organisation's Polar Code
« on: August 03, 2017, 01:12:16 PM »
The United Kingdom Government has just published details of its investigation into the implications of declining Arctic sea ice:

What Opening Arctic Sea Routes Mean for the UK

Apart from the potential economic benefits envisaged for the once Great Britain the report also pays significant attention to the International Maritime Organization's new Polar Code, which came into force earlier this year.

Here's one of the infographics from the report:

Arctic background / Pen Hadow's Arctic Mission
« on: July 25, 2017, 07:01:59 PM »
In a blaze of publicity in the UK media, including the Sunday Times and the BBC, British polar explorer Pen Hadow has announced his attempt to sail to the North Pole this summer. From the "Arctic Mission" web site:

In a few days time British explorer Pen Hadow leads Arctic Mission, an amazing expedition by yacht to explore, discover and share the previously unseen wildlife and ecosystem of the ocean around the North Pole.

This voyage of discovery will also show why the survival of its wildlife may now face serious threats because so much of the summer-time sea ice no longer protects it from commercial exploitation.

So welcome aboard, as we make one of history's most extreme and urgent voyages, putting everything on the line to explore this little-known and now vulnerable ecosystem in our planet's overall life-supporting system.

There's much more info at:

but to summarise, personally I don't think Pen's mission will be plain sailing. By way of one example, here's the current state of a patch of sea ice on the direct route from Nome, Alaska to the Pole:

Developers Corner / PIOMAS gridded thickness and regional volume
« on: June 14, 2017, 11:14:04 AM »
Many moons ago Chris Reynolds produced regular updates of PIOMAS regional volume derived from the gridded thickness data. Here's the most recent example:

and here's his explanatory article:

There seems to be a lot of renewed interest in such data, so can we pick things up where Chris left off?

Rob Dekker asks:

Jim, did Chris Reynolds define the various 'seas' anywhere ?

To which the answer is yes. See Chris's article above and the associated data at:

My first thought was to start from Zack Labe's public domain PIOMAS python code available at:

Zack's currently away from his office at a conference in Colorado, but has kindly agreed to provide the missing "grids.txt" file on his return.

Does anybody else have any other suggestions?

Arctic sea ice / Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring 2017
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:57:03 AM »
The Arctic 2017 NASA Operation IceBridge campaign is already underway. NASA report that:

For the past eight years, Operation IceBridge, a NASA mission that conducts aerial surveys of polar ice, has produced unprecedented three-dimensional views of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, providing scientists with valuable data on how polar ice is changing in a warming world. Now, for the first time, the campaign will expand its reach to explore the Arctic’s Eurasian Basin through two research flights based out of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the northern Atlantic Ocean.

The mission is surveying the region as part of its 2017 Arctic spring campaign, which completed its first flight on March 9 and will continue until May 12.

The Operation Icebridge Facebook page reveals that:

IceBridge had a great first mission of the campaign flying over Arctic sea ice to the North Pole and back. This is the earliest in the year the mission has been flown and the sun is still waiting for spring to rise at the highest latitudes, precluding good photo opportunities at the pole itself. Here [is an] image of Ellesmere Island and the surrounding sea ice with the sun peeking just over the horizon.

Photo credit NASA/Nathan Kurtz:

Arctic background / Barneo 2017
« on: March 09, 2017, 09:58:29 PM »
Slightly earlier than usual, and with thanks for a heads up from Thomas Barlow, Irina Orlova reports via my rendition of Facebook's auto-translation of the original Russian that:

In a few days helicopters will fly from Krasnoyarsk to search for sea ice on which to build Barneo ice camp 2017.

According to a personal communication from the CRREL there's still an ice mass balance buoy in Svalbard left over from 2016. I wonder if it will make it to an ice floe somewhere near the North Pole this year?


Science / ClimateGate 2
« on: February 05, 2017, 02:35:03 AM »
This story is too big for the usual destination. It seems ClimateGate 2 is upon us!

NOAA "whistleblower" John Bates has a long guest post on ex Prof. Judith Curry's blog. Archive:

David Rose in the Mail on Sunday has put his usual spin on the words of Curry and Bates. Archive:

More on Twitter from the usual suspects:

According to Mr. Rose:

Karl’s ‘Pausebuster’ paper was hugely influential in dictating the world agreement in Paris and sweeping US emissions cuts. President Trump, above right, has pledged to scrap both policies – triggering furious claims by Democrats he is a climate ‘denier’ and ‘anti-science’.

Thanks to today’s MoS story, NOAA is set to face an inquiry by the Republican-led House science committee.

Science / UK Met Office Decadal Forecasts
« on: January 31, 2017, 05:38:04 PM »
The January 2017 Met Office decadal forecast has been published. See:


Despite the "decadal" in the title the UKMO forecast is actually for 2021, and is summarised thus:

Averaged over the five-year period 2017-2021, forecast patterns suggest enhanced warming over land, and at high northern latitudes. There is some indication of continued cool conditions in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean and enhanced warming in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Current relatively cool conditions in the North Atlantic sub-polar gyre are predicted to return to more normal conditions with potentially important climate impacts over Europe, America and Africa.

During the five-year period 2017-2021, global average temperature is expected to remain high and is likely to be between 0.42°C and 0.89°C above the long-term (1981-2010) average. This compares with an anomaly of +0.46 ± 0.1 °C observed in 2016 (provisional), which makes 2016 one of the warmest two years on record. These high global temperatures are consistent with continued high levels of greenhouse gases and big changes that are currently underway in the climate system as highlighted in a recent Met Office research news article.

Simplified “toy” models of various components of the climate system are a powerful tool for learning and exploration. Here are a collection of extremely simple models for you to play with and explore.

These simple models were coded in the R programming language, which is free and open-source and available on Mac, Linux, and Windows. There’s an R package called “shiny” that makes it almost ridiculously easy to turn simple R models into websites.

More at:

Consequences / The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season
« on: June 05, 2016, 06:53:35 PM »
Post El Niño the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season could prove to be very interesting.

You might well argue that this was really the end of the 2015 season, but nonetheless Hurricane Alex was officially named as the first Atlantic hurricane of 2016 back in January, and promptly decided to head straight for Greenland:

Is the Son of Storm Frank Heading for the Arctic?

The generally accepted start of the hurricane season is June 1st. We haven't experienced another hurricane yet, but  Tropical Storm Bonnie formed at the end of May, and the US National Hurricane Center did issue a Tropical Storm Warning for South Carolina

They've just issued another one, this time for the Gulf coast of Florida. Here's their current forecast:

Arctic sea ice / The 2016 Barrow Sea Ice Camp
« on: May 29, 2016, 12:02:04 PM »
Walt Meier reports on his new NASA Earth Observatory blog that "A Satellite Scientist Visits the Ice":

I’m a remote sensing scientist who works with satellite data. Other than a few aircraft flights over the ice several years ago, I’ve spent my career in front of a computer analyzing satellite images. When I’ve needed field data, e.g., to validate satellite measurements, I could always obtain it from colleagues. So there has never been any need for me to go out on the ice. And to be honest, spending days or weeks in the field, as many researchers do, does not have particular appeal to me – I like the comforts of my heated office!

Nonetheless, I’ve always wanted to get out at least once in my career and see the ice close up, feel it crunching under my feet, hear it creak and groan as it strains under the winds and currents.

Now I am getting that chance, thanks to a National Science Foundation funded Summer Sea Ice Camp workshop. I and a couple dozen fellow scientists are heading to Barrow, Alaska – the northernmost point in the United States at 71 degrees N latitude – to partake in a unique project. The goal of this project isn’t specifically to collect data (though I hope that some of the data we collect will be useful), but rather to foster communication between remote sensing scientists like myself, sea ice modelers, and field researchers.

Here's what Walt's current office looks like:

Walt's first report from "the  field" explains that:

The whole campus is on a narrow spit of land north of town sticking out into the Beaufort Sea. I can see the sea ice from the house. So you might say we’re staying at a beachfront resort! With the ice right out the window, it was tempting to take a walk out there last night. However, we were told to not go out on the ice until we get a safety orientation. The ice off the coast is landfast ice – ice that is attached to the coast, so it doesn’t drift with the winds. However, it can still shift with the tides, as evidenced by piles of ice ridged formed as ice got pushed together. So one doesn’t want to just run out on the ice without being familiar with the hazards. Oh, and there are also potentially polar bears roaming around – another very good reason not to go roaming off by oneself.

The associated Twitter feed seems to be:


from which comes this image of Ron Kwok in situ, courtesy of Sinead Farrell:

Science / ICESat-2
« on: April 15, 2016, 01:10:12 PM »
ICESat-2 now has its very own web site

ICESat-2 will provide scientists with height measurements that create a global portrait of Earth’s 3rd dimension, gathering data that can precisely track changes of terrain including glaciers, sea ice, forests and more.

While many of ICESat-2’s discoveries are yet to be imagined, the satellite mission has four science objectives:

  • Measure melting ice sheets and investigate how this effects sea level rise,
  • Measure and investigate changes in the mass of ice sheets and glaciers,
  • Estimate and study sea ice thickness,
Measure the height of vegetation in forests and other ecosystems worldwide.[/li]

Policy and solutions / RIP David J C MacKay
« on: April 15, 2016, 12:16:16 PM »
For those unfamiliar with the name, here is a TED talk given by Professor David MacKay in 2012:

I engaged David in conversation on Twitter recently, having no idea how bad his condition was:

Here is his last but one blog article:

Here is my last "Tweet" to him:

Here is his "Just Giving" page:

Everything Is Connected

Arctic sea ice / Barneo 2016
« on: March 24, 2016, 01:06:06 PM »
Preparations for the 2016 Barneo "ice camp" near the North Pole are already well underway. According to Google Translate's version of an article on the Barneo web site:

On March 18, two Mi-8 helicopter flew from Krasnoyarsk and headed north. Their main task is to find a suitable ice floe for Barneo ice camp. This is the beginning of the active phase of the Integrated Arctic expedition "Barneo-2016."

The crews of the Mi-8T in this year, as follows: VV Yatin - Permanent commander of the group, Korytko DI, Mamaev, VG, Petrov SA, Potapov PA, Litvinenko SV, LV Bugvin - The flight crews, Shershnev AS, Efremov IA Pozdnyakov RN, EI Behler - Engineering Service, Ditenberg AV

One of the helicopters stopped for the night in Igarka and the second board remained in the Stony Tunguska due to bad weather.

By March 22nd the expedition blog reported that:

The helicopters of expedition Barneo, whose main objective is the search for ice floes for the camp, remain on Severnaya Zemlya. All further logistics depends on the weather conditions.

Yesterday's report suggests that the weather improved and the two Mi-8Ts are now hunting for a suitable site for Barneo 2016:

Arctic sea ice / Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring 2016
« on: February 28, 2016, 09:30:07 PM »
On their Facebook page the NASA Operation IceBridge team report that:

Preparations for the spring Arctic 2016 campaign have begun!

NASA and NOAA engineers are busy integrating instruments into a NOAA P-3 in advance of the Operation IceBridge Arctic campaign beginning in late March. The nose radome of the aircraft is in the up position for installation of OIB instruments.

Developers Corner / Create Your Own Climate Models in Python
« on: February 07, 2016, 10:47:40 PM »
It's a new University of Chicago MOOC via Coursera, led by David Archer:

This class provides a series of Python programming exercises intended to explore the use of numerical modeling in the Earth system and climate sciences. The scientific background for these models is presented in a companion class, Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change. This class assumes that you are new to Python programming (and this is indeed a great way to learn Python!), but that you will be able to pick up an elementary knowledge of Python syntax from another class or from on-line tutorials.

Science / UK Met Office Report on Ocean Heat Content
« on: February 04, 2016, 01:30:15 PM »
A Met Office report on Argo/OHC has just been published at:

Some edited highlights:
During the whole of the 20th century around 0.5 million shipboard observations were collected, in contrast the Argo array is delivering around 120,000 new profiles each year and by November 2012 Argo had collected its millionth profile. The increase in the number of ocean profiles measured over the last 15 years, due to Argo, is shown in Figure 3, which also shows the significant increase in the amount of available salinity data.

Developers Corner / How To Download All 36 MODIS Channels
« on: January 21, 2016, 09:05:28 PM »
Information provided by Andreas Muenchow on the Jak thread:

I download (and subsequently process) all available 36 MODIS channels via wget at NASA's ocean data site:

wget -r -nd -l1 --no-check-certificate$name.L0_LAC.bz2

where the variable $name is a text string such as T2016015151000 for a Terra image from 2016, year day 015 at 15:10 UTC. The LAC indicates 1-km data for all 36 channels while a HKM would represent 7 channels at 500-m and QKM represents 2 channels at 250-m resolutions. More details, codes, and pointers are at

Antarctica / 2016 Antarctic Minimum Area/Extent
« on: January 21, 2016, 12:59:28 PM »
As my alter ego has just pointed out to the assembled throng over on Twitter, Antarctic sea ice area and extent are both about to drop below the minima of recent years, using Wipneus' "homebrew" AMSR2 metrics at least:

Where and when do you suppose the Antarctic minimum will be this year? Should I start a poll or two?

Arctic background / Switching Heads – Sound Mapping the Arctic for COP21
« on: September 21, 2015, 01:31:29 AM »
I was sitting next to Holly Owen at Exeter's ReLight My Fire Festival brainstorming session:

I unexpectedly discovered this:

Artists Holly Owen and Kristina Pulejkova will be bringing the sights, sounds and stories from the Arctic Circle to the city streets of Paris.

Switching Heads-sound mapping the Arctic captures community life and the raw nature of the Arctic using a method of sculpture, video and binaural sound recording that will be packaged into an all-encompassing audio-visual experience. Filmed on location in a city between fjords in the northern most tip of Norway their project will transport audiences to one of the world’s most severe and endangered environments while building a platform for native voices to tell their story of life in earth’s rapidly changing polar region.

Much more at:

Developers Corner / The Community Earth System Model
« on: August 09, 2015, 03:28:07 PM »
The Community Earth System Model (CESM) is a fully-coupled, global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth's past, present, and future climate states.

CESM is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Administration of the CESM is maintained by the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (CGD) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The source code for CESM releases is distributed through a public Subversion code repository.

Arctic background / Peter Wadhams in Murder Mystery?
« on: July 25, 2015, 01:41:55 PM »
In The Times of London today it is reported that:

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.



Numerous PDFs are available in exchange for an email address, plus video.  Contributions from Peter Cox, Mat Collins and other IPCC authors:

The effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health

The implications of climate change for a global population of 9 billion people threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health. The direct effects of climate change include increased heat stress, floods, drought, and increased frequency of intense storms, with the indirect threatening population health through adverse changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement, and mental ill health.

A reader elsewhere comments:
The Bell Tolleth.  This should resonate every bit as loudly as the Pope's encyclical, but will not.

Developers Corner / Creating Animated GIFs
« on: May 16, 2015, 09:05:10 PM »
Following a request from jdallen, here's a place to discuss how best to go about creating GIF animations (and who knows, maybe some other sorts also).

As mentioned in the original thread, I currently use ImageMagick, but there are other possibilities. See for example this existing (if short) thread on ImageJ.

If I recall correctly A-Team is also quite fond of GIMP. [PS - Here's Laurent's video]

The next question is "which operating system?". Wipneus will no doubt suggest Raspberry Pi flavoured Linux, but that isn't necessarily everybody's cup of tea!

Finally, for the moment at least, which sequence of images should we use for the initial tutorial?

Science / Making Sense of Climate Science Denial MOOC
« on: April 21, 2015, 02:42:01 PM »
The University of Queensland's "Climate Science Denial 101" Massive Open Online Course starts on April 28th. You can sign up here:

Here's one of the introductory videos:

According to Naomi Oreskes:

Climate change denial in the United States is almost entirely motivated by politics. A lot of scientists have thought that it's a problem of science illiteracy, that it was a problem of public understanding, that if we just explained the science better that then we would solve this problem. And that doesn't work because the problem is not being driven by lack of access to information.

Arctic sea ice / Barneo 2015 / NP-41
« on: March 21, 2015, 05:54:48 PM »
If my understanding of Google Translate's version of the original Russian is correct then preparations for this year's "ice camp" near the North Pole are already well underway.

There's no English language news on the Barneo Facebook page as yet, but that may be because it seems this year things will work differently to 2014:

We used to have to "drifting platform at the North Pole" (in brief "Barneo") mainly inhabited by tourists, and this year the base will operate primarily scientists (seasonal drifting research station "North Pole 2015") and military ( international ice base with a symbolic name "Dome").

According to the expedition's live tracking map 2 Mi-8 helicopters have already reached Severnaya Zemlya, en route to the pole:

Science / Free access to all Royal Society journals during March 2015
« on: March 17, 2015, 08:07:01 PM »
It has somewhat belatedly come to my attention that to celebrate its 350th anniversary the Royal Society is providing free access to the content of all its journals until the end of March 2015. Read all about it at:

The oldest Arctic sea ice article I can find dates from 1878:

Observations on Arctic Sea-Water and Ice by Staff Surgeon Edward L. Moss, M.D., R.N., late of H.M.S. Alert. Communicated by Sir George Nares, Captain, R.N., K.C.B., F.R.S.

Arctic sea ice / Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring & Autumn 2015
« on: March 16, 2015, 08:56:01 PM »
NASA Operation IceBridge is gearing up for another Arctic campaign. The team are just getting ready for deployment to Thule. Much like last year, all flights can be tracked via:

Photo courtesy of NASA / Christy Hansen:

Policy and solutions / The 2015 Economist Arctic Summit
« on: March 11, 2015, 01:35:46 PM »
Two years ago I actually went to the Hotel Bristol in Oslo to attend the 2013 event and recorded the event for posterity on my GoPro surf camera. This year the 2015 Economist Arctic Summit takes place on March 12th (i.e. tomorrow) and I can watch the from the comfort of my own desk by signing up to view the live feed via:

Two years ago there were a number of scientists who addressed the assembled multitude, but this year the only famous name is Jason Box, who is a research professor in Glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Jason's presentation is at 12:20 CET, and is entitled "When Climate Change Will Force You to Re-evaluate - A Warning":

Last September saw the largest climate change protests with 310,000 marchers in New York alone and 2,700 simultaneous climate events across the globe. US secretary of state, John Kerry, escalated the threat of climate change to the top of the agenda alongside the fight against Isis and Ebola.

Annual carbon emissions rose by 2.5% in 2014 and the World Bank predicts a rise of 4C by 2100 which translates into apocalyptic weather scenarios. But that’s not all. As the Arctic sea ice and permafrost melt, scientists have discovered increased levels of methane gas surfacing and entering the atmosphere. Methane is more than 20 times more potent than CO2 in trapping infrared as part of the natural greenhouse effect. This discussion explores what needs to happen for businesses and governments to take climate change seriously before it gets too late.

Policy and solutions / Show The Love?
« on: February 15, 2015, 04:37:06 PM »
Over here in the once Great Britain a massive marketing campaign began on February 14th. Saint Valentine's Day.

Here's the introductory video, featuring a variety of famous faces from Stephen Fry to Jarvis Cocker:

As regular readers here on the ASIF will have realised by now, I am something of an old cynic when it comes to hot air emitted by our glorious leaders. Here is my initial response:

Channeling IPCC lead author Professor Catherine Mitchell:
We as individuals and communities in civil society have to do all we can to get our politicians, neighbours, businesses, energy suppliers and so on to take climate change seriously. Climate and energy policy must take note of the IPCC warning and act now.

Arctic background / Life On Thin Ice
« on: February 11, 2015, 11:57:45 AM »
Jenny E. Ross posts on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog about her article "Global Warning - The Arctic Meltdown - Why the Disappearance of Arctic Sea ice Matters". You can download a copy from:

It's full of amazing photographs, as is her web site:

Policy and solutions / Merchants of Doubt
« on: January 31, 2015, 12:35:42 PM »
Here's the trailer for the film:

of the book:

by Erik Conway and Naomi Oreskes.


Antarctica / Increasing Antarctic Albedo?
« on: January 26, 2015, 10:29:18 AM »
I have recently found myself in conversation on Twitter with a somewhat sceptical enquirer. We've agreed to meet up here for a hopefully sensible discussion:

The main query in brief, if I've understood it correctly:

Aren't you concerned about increased albedo at present due to increasing Antarctic sea ice?

I pointed out that personally I am more concerned about melt ponds in the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic summer, but this is the Antarctic section so let's try and keep on topic!

Antarctica / BAS Halley Station loses power and heat at -55.4 C
« on: August 08, 2014, 05:07:53 AM »
According to BBC News:

All power, including heating, to an Antarctic research station housing 13 people was lost for 19 hours.

On the Twitter hashtag #Halley6 scientist Anthony Lister "tweeted":

Whilst all the fun was happening at #halley6 (not that it's over) we had the lowest ever recorded temps down here at -55.4. Which was nice.

According to a statement from the British Antarctic Survey on August 6th 2014:

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is dealing with a serious operational incident at its Halley Research Station. On Wednesday 30 July 2014 a major technical issue resulted in the station losing its electrical and heating supply for 19 hours. All 13 station staff are safe and in good health.

Our urgent priority is to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of the wintering team. Power and some heating are back online, and some other essential services have been restored, but the staff are having to live and work in extremely difficult conditions. The station has had good satellite communications throughout the incident. Contingency plans for alternative accommodation on site are in place and ancillary buildings are being made ready in case of a further power-down.

It is now clear that because of the nature of the incident, and the prolonged loss of power, the station cannot now return to normal operation in the short or medium term. Everyone at Halley and Cambridge is doing everything that can be done to ensure that the incident remains under control.

All science, apart from meteorological observations essential for weather forecasting, has been stopped.

Arctic sea ice / "Thin Ice" - The Movie
« on: August 06, 2014, 10:20:18 AM »
I finally got to watch "Thin Ice - The Inside Story of Climate Science" last night, at a Free Cinema Exeter event at the Bike Shed theatre.

I also found myself giving an ad hoc introduction to the movie. Stuart assured the restive audience that "Jim will speak for 2 minutes max". He lied, but I nonetheless received a round of applause as I sat down. I introduced myself as an "Arctic sea ice nutter" and "The world's leading Arctic surfing expert". I pointed out that, in my view at least:

"The Arctic is the canary in the climate coal mine".

There is a brief report on last night's event over on the "The Mail's Great White Arctic Sea Ice Con" thread, but here I'd like to discuss the film itself.

I was impressed. It didn't tell me a whole lot I didn't already know, but it seemed to me to put the story across well to those not already as obsessed with the cryosphere as yours truly. It was obviously filmed over a considerable period of time, showing Phil Jones pre "Climategate" and looking more like an absent minded professor than an evil conspirator. Phil's desk is even more cluttered than my own!

I was particularly pleased to see that the basic physics featured prominently. Ray Pierrehumbert was there looking very furry whilst getting the message across effectively:

whilst amongst other things Myles Allen had this to say:

There was also an animation of increasing global temperatures which finished up with the Arctic looking very red indeed, and please note that there's a whole host of other interesting videos over on the Thin Ice YouTube channel and also on Vimeo. Last, but not least, is Simon Lamb's recent TEDx presentation:

Here's a few resources related to things that cropped up in the post movie discussion:

"Infrared radiation and planetary temperature" by Ray Pierrehumbert in Physics Today

"Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends" by Kevin Cowtan & Robert Way

 "Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?" at Skeptical Science, and the ASIF Antarctica section.

Has anybody else watched the film? If so what did you make of it?

Is there a Gimp expert in the house?

I've now politely asked Tony Heller on two occasions to provide enough information to enable an independent 3rd party to replicate his results. We're talking Arctic sea ice extent here, not temperature.  Needless to say such information has not been forthcoming. This will give you a flavour of the quality of the "debate".

Are there any volunteers out there who can provide me with some helpful hints?

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