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Scientist Links Melting Polar Ice to Greenhouse Effect but Government’s Own Research Shows Otherwise April 8, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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Scientist Links Melting Polar Ice to Greenhouse Effect but Government’s Own Research Shows Otherwise


By Edwin Mora, CNSNews

A scientist who tracks levels of ice and snow in the Arctic Ocean told CNSNews.com Monday that there is a “correlation” between the receding ice in the Arctic Sea and man-made global warming caused by the greenhouse effect. But Dr. Walter Meier, a cryosphere scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo., admits he can’t prove that the link is cause-and-effect.

“The thing that’s very clear is that the sea ice changes that we are seeing go hand in hand with the warming temperature that we�ve seen, particularly in the Arctic and around the globe,” Meier told CNSNews.com. Meier and a group of scientists from NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration—announced Monday that this winter had the fifth lowest maximum ice extent on record. “The maximum sea ice extent for 2008-09, reached on Feb. 28, was 5.85 million square miles,” according to researchers at the NSDIC. “That is 278,000 square miles less than the average extent for 1979 to 2000.”

According to NASA, the NSDIC team used two years worth of data from NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) to make his observations.
They found that seasonal ice averages about 6 feet in thickness, while ice that had lasted through more than one summer averages about 9 feet, though it can “grow much thicker in some locations near the coast.”

CNSNews.com posed a question to Meier: “Given the fact that Arctic sea ice has changed many times in the past, how is it possible to know scientifically whether the melting is due to so-called man-made ‘global warming’ or to a natural cyclical phenomenon?” Meier said he thinks there is a link between higher temperatures and increased greenhouse gases. But he admitted that sea ice has changed a lot through time and his understanding of long-term ice change is limited “somewhat” to century-old data.

“How it (Arctic sea ice) varied before our satellite record, which started in 1979, which is relatively short, is harder to say,� Meier told cNSNews.com, “although we have fairly good records at least back to the 1950s and somewhat that’s good through the early 1900s.”

But a veteran climatologist who questions the global warming idea, told CNSNes.com that NSIDC’s own data refute Meier�s claim – and point to “solar activity” as a prime cause for the melting ice pack. Dr. Joe D’Aleo, executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project [ICECAP], said the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic is part of the Earth’s (ocean) cycles – and “solar activity”

“The Arctic temperatures undergo a cyclical change every 60 to 70 years tied to cycles on the sun and in the oceans,” said D’Aleo, who was the first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel. “You can see very warm temperatures in the 1930s then cooling and another warming in the last few decades in close correlation with solar activity,” he added, “but with a poor correlation with CO2.”

D’Aleo said that NSIDC’s own research put a spotlight on the correlation between melting Arctic ice sheets and solar activity back in 2007. “One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, pointed out that ‘pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia,’” D’Aleo said. “These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.”

Evolution of the Arctic Regardless of its origin, the NASA and NSDIC scientists pointed out that melting sea ice is having profound effects on the Arctic.

According to Ronald Kwok, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, older, thicker ice is disappearing and is being substituted by newer, thinner ice that is susceptible to the summer melt. “Thin seasonal ice – ice that melts and re-freezes every year – makes up about 70 percent of the Arctic sea in wintertime, up from 40 to 50 percent in the 1980s and 1990s,” according to the NASA scientist. Read full story here.

Note also in 2007, before alarmists took over, NSIDC also noted “Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine�Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss� and importantly concluded (and I fully agree), “Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.” Also Rutger’s Jennifer Frances (2006) found the same thing – when water warms near the Barents Sea in the North Atlantic, several years later it travels beneath the ice and reaches the water near Siberia where it thins or melts it. Atlantic warmth peaked in 2004, 3 years before greatest arctic summer melt in 2007.

Willie Soon in 2004 showed how well arctic basin temperatures (Polyakov) correlated with total solar irradiance (Hoyt/Schatten) and how poorly it correlated with CO2.

See larger image here

I have found the Atlantic and Pacific temperature cycles also matched very well with the arctic temperatures as shown here.

See larger image here

And as for the second year ice, it has increased by the 9% less melting which took place in 2008. We are currently at the 3rd highest level since 2002.

See larger image here

See Steve Goddard’s excellent post on Watts Up With That here.


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