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Topics - Jim Hunt

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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?

Arctic Background / Anne Quéméré's "Arctic Passage"
« on: June 26, 2014, 02:12:27 PM »
Despite the fact that her web site proclaims at the top "Départ Juillet 2014" Anne Quéméré has already started her attempt to kayak solo through at least part of the Northwest Passage from West to East. Anne set off from Inuvik on Tuesday, and reports on her blog that:

Arrival in Tuktoyaktuk (Tuk for the initiated or those who would doubt the pronunciation) planned for Thursday as the widening of the delta is close at hand…I hope!

However she also says that:

I had to fight a head wind of 20 to 25 knots.  I resisted as long as I could. When I looked at the shore, I realized I was standing still so I decided to seek shelter and wait out for more clement weather.  The first spot that I chose bore the imprints of numerous bear tracks, so I carried on to find a safer place.  However, nothing is guaranteed as a bear can decide to look out for new territory.  After all, they can pick and choose as the space is theirs’

In spite of this little problem, I’m fully enjoying myself!

Anne's decision to depart a little earlier than originally planned may have been influenced by the fact that temperatures in Inuvik reached a maximum of 29.7 °C on Monday June 23rd.

Science / The US Department of State “Our Ocean” Conference
« on: June 16, 2014, 02:39:35 PM »
The “Our Ocean” conference starts later today and will last for two days:

The three main themes are "Ocean Acidification", "Sustainable Fishing" and "Marine Pollution". The conference will be streamed live (click Watch Live at the top left of the home page), with discussion on Twitter using the #OurOcean2014 hashtag.

Here's surfer/singer/songwriter Jack Johnson explaining two steps we can take to help protect our ocean:

Policy and solutions / Elon Musk "Open Sources" Tesla Patents
« on: June 13, 2014, 04:10:28 PM »
Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

What if someone put Riversimple and Tesla technology together? A Tesla Roadster with far less weight to carry around?

Policy and solutions / Climate Change Perceptions and Communications
« on: June 12, 2014, 06:38:12 PM »
Just in case there's anybody here from South West England apart from me, a quick announcement that the Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN for short) is holding a workshop in Taunton on Sunday discussing climate change, the recent floods over here, and possible ways forward.

The event scheduled for Totnes on Saturday has just been postponed until the autumn, due to lack of interest.

Science / Transformational Climate Science
« on: May 15, 2014, 05:28:21 PM »
I've only just discovered that there's a major climate conference taking place just down the road from me  :-[

International experts will discuss the future of climate change research following the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

The Transformational Climate Science conference, hosted by the University of Exeter in partnership with the Met Office and University of Leeds, takes place on 15 and 16 May.

I'm off to see if I can get into the public session in a hour or so! In the meantime you can all watch the live UStream instead:

Science / Ann Daniels talk at TEDxExeter 2014
« on: May 13, 2014, 05:10:34 PM »
Amongst other things Ann Daniels has led some Catlin Arctic Survey expeditions. Here she explains why she walks on sea ice, why the Arctic Ocean is becoming more acidic and what we all can do about it:

Science / IPCC Wiki Launched
« on: May 13, 2014, 11:05:59 AM »
Skeptical economist and "veteran Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) author" Richard Tol, with the no doubt able assistance of skeptical blogger and " feminist, journalist, writer, and photographer" Donna Laframboise, has just started the "IPCC Wiki".

According to the home page of the new site:

The aim is to create an interactive, up-to-date, balanced version of the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This could be done in the following steps:

    upload the Fifth Assessment Report (one section per page)
    create links within the report
    create links to the underlying literature

This resource can then be used to

    update the report with new research
    audit the quality of report
    audit the quality of its authors

This is a wiki, though, so it will do what its users think it should.

I wonder whether one time "Senior Scientific Officer in the Physical Sciences Division in the Antarctic Climate and the Earth System project at the British Antarctic Survey"  William M. Connolley will be allowed to edit any of the entries?

The concept of distributed energy storage has started intruding into the conversation about "interesting building projects". Since it happens to be a "specialist subject" of mine it seems appropriate to start a thread devoted to the topic. Firstly an explanation of all the three letter acronyms (TLAs for short)

S2H =  Storage to Home (or business for that matter)
S2G =  Storage to Grid
V = Vehicle

Secondly a recent blog post of mine explaining at some length some potential benefits of some or all of the TLAs:

Finally my concluding question from that post:

I cannot help but wonder how much the Great Dunchideock Blackout cost Western Power Distribution, how much the evidently changing climate in this part of the world is costing and will cost them, and how their electricity distribution network is coping with the assorted stresses and strains generated by all the renewable power sources currently being tacked onto it down here in not so Sunny South West England that do not currently have any form of energy storage associated with them.

Science / European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2014
« on: April 30, 2014, 08:15:57 PM »
EGU 2014 is currently taking place in Vienna. Yesterday they held a press conference on the topic of "The Changing Arctic":

There is a 45 minute video of those proceedings available at:

Also available are a variety of PDFs and PPTs for all 15 press conferences this week at:

Arctic Background / Eric Larsen's "Save The Poles" Expedition
« on: April 16, 2014, 10:18:02 AM »
Thanks to cats over on the "Expedition Hope" thread, here's a place to discuss Eric Larsen's "Save The Poles" Expedition.

I'm somewhat surprised to discover at this late date that Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters set off from Northern Ellesmere Island back in March, heading in the direction of the geographic North Pole. Currently they have reached 85 N, 70 W:

Science / Sentinel 1 Lifts Off
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:39:56 PM »
According to the European Space Agency:

The Sentinels, a new fleet of ESA satellites, are poised to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to Europe’s Copernicus programme.

Regarding the Cryosphere they add that:

Sentinel-1 provides radar images to generate timely maps of sea-ice conditions for safe passage in our increasingly busy Arctic waters.

The radar can distinguish between the thinner, more navigable first-year ice and the hazardous, much thicker multiyear ice to help assure safe year-round navigation in ice-covered Arctic and sub-Arctic zones. These radar images are particularly suited to generating high-resolution ice charts, monitoring icebergs and forecasting ice conditions.

Here's an ESA video of the launch of Sentinel-1A on April 3rd 2014:

Here's another ESA video explaining "Why we need radar satellites":

Science / ARCUS 2014 Sea Ice Prediction Workshop
« on: March 26, 2014, 02:48:22 PM »
It has recently come to my attention that there will be live webcasts from next week's 2014 Sea Ice Prediction Workshop in Boulder!

Even more recently Neven has announced that he has been invited to talk about the Arctic Sea Ice Blog to the audience in Boulder, albeit remotely.

Policy and solutions / US Navy 2014 to 2030 Arctic Roadmap
« on: March 24, 2014, 07:26:35 PM »
The US Navy recently released their new "Arctic Roadmap" for the years 2014 to 2030. According to the Navy's press release:

In the coming decades, as multi-year sea ice in the Arctic Ocean recedes, previously unreachable areas may open for maritime use for a few weeks each year. This opening maritime frontier has important national security implications and impact required future Navy capabilities.

"Our goal is to have the Arctic continue to unfold peaceably," said Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, Deputy CNO for Operations, Plans and Policy. "Working with our maritime and inter-agency partners, and by investing smartly in future capabilities, we can contribute to a secure and stable Arctic region."

"As the perennial ice melts and open water is available for longer periods of time, we are committed to expanding our Arctic capabilities," said Rear Adm. Jonathan White, Oceanographer of the Navy and the Navy's Task Force Climate Change director.

Given the vast distances and virtually no supporting infrastructure there, naval forces without specialized equipment and operational experience face substantial impediments. Naval operations in the Arctic Ocean require special training, extreme cold-weather modifications for systems and equipment, and complex logistics support.

Amongst many other things the roadmap document itself discusses future reduction in sea ice cover in the Arctic:

Reduction of Arctic Ocean sea ice is expected to continue, and major waterways will become increasingly open. By 2020, the Bering Strait is expected to see open water conditions up to 160 days per year, with 35-45 days of shoulder season. The Northern Sea Route will experience up to 30 days of open water conditions, with up to 45 days of shoulder season conditions. Analysis suggests that the reliable navigability of other routes, including the Transpolar Route and the Northwest Passage, is limited in this timeframe. There will be shoulder season route variability based upon ice age, melt, and movement.

Beyond 2030 environmental conditions are expected to support even greater and more reliable maritime presence in the region. Major waterways are predicted to be consistently open, with a significant increase in traffic over the summer months. The Northern Sea Route and Transpolar Route should be navigable 130 days per year, with open water passage up to 75 days per year. The Northwest Passage will be increasingly open during the late summer and early fall.

Summarising matters, the Roadmap's introduction concludes that:

Anticipating the impacts of climate change, the Navy will take deliberate steps to prepare for near-term (2014-2020), mid-term (2020-2030), and far-term (beyond 2030) Arctic Ocean operations. As security conditions change and the Arctic Region becomes more accessible, the Navy will re-evaluate its preparedness. The Navy must make targeted investments in Arctic capabilities to hedge against uncertainty and safeguard enduring national interests.

Arctic sea ice / Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring 2014
« on: March 11, 2014, 07:51:04 PM »
Following last year's operation in the Arctic, NASA's IceBridge team are currently getting ready for the 2014 Arctic campaign:

The engineering check flight took place on the morning of Mar. 6. On this flight, P-3 pilots and crew put the aircraft through its paces to make sure things are in proper working order. Later in the day, the P-3 took off again for the first project check flight, and flew along beaches on the Atlantic coast to test the aircraft’s GPS gear and the Airborne Topographic Mapper instrument.

The next afternoon the IceBridge team took off again for the second project check flight to test the various radar instruments aboard the P-3. To carry this out the team flew south from Wallops and turned out to sea around Virginia Beach, heading for open water. The relatively flat surface of the Atlantic Ocean acts almost as a mirror for the radars, providing a good test environment. Also, by flying far off the coast, the team can test radars without the risk of interfering with electronics on the ground.

After completing these check flights, the team set out to pack their bags and rest before the flight to Greenland. Once leaving Wallops, the P-3 and the IceBridge team will spend the next 11 weeks in the Arctic, collecting valuable sea and land ice data before returning to the United States on May 23.

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