Economic and security impacts of climate change in the Arctic

by Judith Curry

In the long run the unfrozen north could cause devastation. But, paradoxically, in the meantime no Arctic species will profit from it as much as the one causing it: humans. Disappearing sea ice may spell the end of the last Eskimo cultures, but hardly anyone lives in an igloo these days anyway. And the great melt is going to make a lot of people rich. – The Economist

Security Impacts

Jay Gulledge of Pew Climate has an article entitled Climate Changes Impact on International Arctic Security. Excerpts:

Official military doctrine in the United States now holds that “climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.” Nowhere is this linkage more clearly illustrated than in the Arctic, and that’s why we think the region is a bellwether for how climate change may reshape global geopolitics in the post-Cold War era.

New and expanded shipping routes through the Arctic can cut the distance to transport goods between Asia, North America, and Europe by up to 4000 miles. We’re seeing increased interest and investment in oil and gas exploration. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of undiscovered oil lies in the Arctic. Russia likely possesses the largest share of any country. There’s also growing interest in tourism and fishing.

As the economic potential of the Arctic becomes more apparent, governments and militaries have begun to reposition themselves. What’s happening in the Arctic is the starkest example yet of the way climate change directly affects international security.

Here are the main findings of our analysis:

  1. Since 2008, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, the United States, the European Union, the Nordic countries and NATO have all made major Arctic policy announcements. So many policy announcements from major players in such a short time frame is highly unusual—not just for the Arctic but for international affairs in general.
  2. A prevalent theme in nearly all the policy announcements was the need to protect the region’s environment in the face of rapid climate change and increased economic activity.
  3. In most statements, the states have emphasized their commitment to cooperation and to the principles of international law. As one example, the five coastal Arctic states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—agreed in the 2008 Ilulissat Declaration to settle any territorial disputes in the Arctic under the principles of the law of the sea. On the other hand, many of the Arctic states’ actions and statements make it clear that they intend to develop the military capacity to act unilaterally, if necessary, to protect their national interests in the region.
  4. Most of the Arctic states are modernizing their military forces in the Arctic. For example, the United States recently began operating its newest class of fast attack submarines in the Arctic and the Russians have begun building a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for both fast attack and ballistic missile launching missions. Norway announced plans to purchase 48 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and both Norway and Denmark have equipped their navies with Arctic combat capabilities. With countries rebuilding their Arctic military capabilities. If political cooperation in the region should sour, most will have forces that are prepared to compete in a hostile environment.
  5. Non-Arctic states and organizations have also begun to consider Arctic security as well. Of special relevance, NATO has begun to coordinate with its Arctic members on search and rescue. Since Russia views NATO with suspicion, the alliance’s role in the Arctic has the potential to create tensions.
  6. The principal cause of renewed national interest in the Arctic is the increasing accessibility of Arctic waters. However, interests in the region vary somewhat from country to country. As new sea routes open up, Canada and Russia see their core interests as maintaining sovereignty in their territorial waters, while the United States puts greater emphasis on freedom of the seas for navigation. Russia, meanwhile, has invested tens of billions of dollars in Arctic oil projects, and its recent statements and actions suggest that it will act to safeguard its oil wealth in the region. The importance of Arctic oil will grow for all nations as oil prices continue to rise and the desire for energy security grows.

Although all of the Arctic states emphasize the need for cooperation, most have begun to rebuild their military capabilities beyond a mere policing capacity. At the same time, existing multilateral institutions are too weak to ensure that collegiality will prevail should disagreements become entrenched. Based on our findings, our principal recommendation is that the Arctic states move quickly to strengthen existing multilateral mechanisms before resource competition and core national interests take center stage.

Riches of the North

The Economist has a big article on climate change in the arctic entitled The Melting North.   I excerpt here text from the section Riches of the North:

As the frozen tundra retreats northwards, large areas of the Arctic will become suitable for agriculture. An increasingly early Arctic spring could increase plant growth by up to 25%. That would allow Greenlanders to grow more than the paltry 100 tonnes of potatoes they manage now. And much more valuable materials will become increasingly accessible. The Arctic is already a big source of minerals, including zinc in Alaska, gold in Canada, iron in Sweden and nickel in Russia, and there is plenty more to mine.

The Arctic also has oil and gas, probably lots. Exploration licences are now being issued across the region, in the United States, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia. On April 18th ExxonMobil finalised the terms of a deal with Russia’s Rosneft to invest up to $500 billion in developing offshore reserves, including in Russia’s Arctic Kara sea. Oil companies do not like to talk about it, but this points to another positive feedback from the melt. Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels will allow more Arctic hydrocarbons to be extracted and burned.

These new Arctic industries will not emerge overnight. There is still plenty of sea ice to make the north exceptionally tough and expensive to work in; 24-hour-a-day winter darkness and Arctic cyclones make it tougher still. Most of the current exploration is unlikely to lead to hydrocarbon production for a decade at least. But in time it will happen. The prize is huge, and oil companies and Arctic governments are determined to claim it. Shortly before the ExxonMobil-Rosneft deal was announced, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, announced plans to make it much more attractive for foreigners to invest in Russian offshore energy production. “Offshore fields, especially in the Arctic, are without any exaggeration our strategic reserve for the 21st century,” he said.

For half the 20th century the Arctic, as the shortest route between Russia and America, was the likeliest theatre for a nuclear war, and some see potential for fresh conflict in its opening. Russia and Canada, the two biggest Arctic countries by area, have encouraged this fear: the Arctic stirs fierce nationalist sentiment in both. With a new regard to their northern areas, some of the eight Arctic countries are, in a modest way, remilitarising them. Norway shifted its military command centre to the Arctic town of Reitan in 2009. Russia is replacing and upgrading its six nuclear icebreakers, a piece of civilian infrastructure with implications for security too. Yet this special report will suggest that warnings about Arctic conflict are, like the climate, overcooked.

The Arctic is no terra nullius. Unlike Antarctica, which is governed by an international treaty, most of it is demarcated. Of half a dozen territorial disputes in the region, the biggest is probably between the United States and Canada, over the status of the north-west passage. Those two countries will not go to war. And the majority of Arctic countries are members of NATO.

Yet the melting Arctic will have geostrategic consequences beyond helping a bunch of resource-fattened countries to get fatter. An obvious one is the potentially disruptive effect of new trade routes. Sailing along the coast of Siberia by the north-east passage, or Northern Sea Route (NSR), as Russians and mariners call it, cuts the distance between western Europe and east Asia by roughly a third. The passage is now open for four or five months a year and is getting more traffic. In 2010 only four ships used the NSR; last year 34 did, in both directions, including tankers, refrigerated vessels carrying fish and even a cruise liner.

Asia’s big exporters, China, Japan and South Korea, are already investing in ice-capable vessels, or planning to do so. For Russia, which has big plans to develop the sea lane with trans-shipment hubs and other infrastructure, this is a double boon. It will help it get Arctic resources to market faster and also, as the NSR becomes increasingly viable, diversify its hydrocarbon-addicted economy.

There are risks in this, of dispute if not war, which will require management. What is good for Russia may be bad for Egypt, which last year earned over $5 billion in revenues from the Suez Canal, an alternative east-west shipping route. So it is good that the regional club, the Arctic Council, is showing promise. Under Scandinavian direction for the past half-decade, it has elicited an impressive amount of Arctic co-operation, including on scientific research, mapping and resource development.

JC comments:  While we can argue about whether the cause of the recent warming in the Arctic is natural or human induced (see my previous post on Likely causes of the recent changes in Arctic sea ice), there is no question that sea ice extent has recent been the lowest extent in the past 60 years.  My comments are targeted here at the possible impacts of these economic and security issues on scientific research in the Arctic.  Arctic sea ice research came to a screeching halt in 1989; at the end of the cold war, the Office of Naval Research quickly ramped its Arctic Ocean research to basically nothing.  NASA, DOE, NOAA and NSF have been funding Arctic research, but nowhere near the same level of investment on Arctic ocean and sea ice research.  Here’s to hoping for more observationally based scientific studies and monitoring capability in the Arctic Ocean.

107 responses to “Economic and security impacts of climate change in the Arctic

  1. if you look at the data, it is normal for earth to get warm and cold and warm and cold with few humans around. if this keeps happening and humans are around it is more likely that the same things are causing the warm and cold and not something different, not the humans.

    • I fear, Herman, that world leaders may now be trapped in the very web of scientific misinformation they encouraged government-funded scientists to promote after 1945.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-132

      Almost every major field of science has been compromised since 1945 and world leaders may now be unable to identify the factual information needed to make rational policy decisions on real issues, like warming of the Arctic.

  2. the arctic has warmed. if you want to get oil and gas out of there, you better be quick. It will get cold again. It always does.

    • Not if CO2 keeps rising

      • If we answer that the energy mix, agriculture and the conservation and restoration of ecosystems will all be radically different in 2050 – it is merely a statement of the unavoidable. Some of it is technological innovation and much of it simple principles of conservation farming that can spread though the sharing of ideas people are so good at and can – amongst other things – sequester immense amounts of carbon.

        If we conjoin that with simple economic principles sadly lacking in today’s world – budget, tax and interest targets primarily – and strenghten democratic institutions the world will be a better place in 2050. Much as the purveyors of limits to growth would have us believe otherwise – economic growth is critical to environmental and social progress.

        Having said that – the world is likely to cool. Coming from an understanding of multi-decadal hydrological regimes it is a simple step. The hydrological regimes are global and influenced by ENSO and the PDO predominantly. There are various modalities that are not cycles but involve climate shifts and state space -https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/aatsonis/www/2007GL030288.pdf – in the inevitable new paradigm of true climate science seemingly very little understood by some of the denizens.

        These modalities are decadal, centennial and millenial as can be seen in this 11,000 year ENSO proxy – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=ENSO11000.gif – It shows massive shifts in ENSO – the drying of the Sahel 5000 years ago, the demise of the Minoan Civilisation 3,500 years ago, centuries long droughts and flooding such as we have not seen for a thousand years.

        ENSO and the PDO have decadal influences on cloud and temperature (e.g. Burgmann et al 2008, Clement et al 2009) – and consequently on the energy budget of the planet. There is dedadal warming and cooling as well as decadal influences on hydrology – and we are in a cool phase for another decade or three as the intensity and frequency of La Nina ramps up. Until climate reaches another tipping point and shifts to a new and unpredictable state space. These shifts seem to be especially felt in the Arctic which is experiencing temperatures comparable to the 1940′s.

        There is much well reasoned information on Prof. Ole Humluns site on inter alia polar temperature and ice – http://www.climate4you.com/ – refreshingly data rich and not just reasoning from physical principles.

        The bigger problems at hand in the real world seem more social, economic and pragmatic than climatic.

      • Chief,
        “…synchronization followed by an increase in coupling between the modes leads to the destruction of the synchronous state and the emergence of a new state.”

        I am into antique clocks and I can’t help imagining the ticking and tocking of the patterns of these emerging new states. My understanding is that the new state is unpredictable: that is, it could be warmer, colder, or more of the same. Given the boundaries of the earth’s temperatures (15 to 25 C) over the past several billion years, I wonder if there is a mechanism that does direct the next tick if hot to the tock of cold and whether there may be a predictive element in this relationship? Curious minds want to know.

      • Ah – someone who actually reads the link. The shifts are in principle entirely predictable consisting of feedbacks in cloud, ice, snow, dust, biology and ocean circullation. In practice they are too complex to decipher and we have little enough reliable data.

        There are approaches to predicting the onset of the new climate paradigm.

        http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.1376

        http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14308.full

      • The slowing down one I have book marked.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

        That graphic really highlights the difference between the herd mentality and the independent thinkers.

      • Chief,
        Thank you for the two references.
        In regards to the Thompson & Sieber paper:
        a) I took with a grain of salt some of their assumptions, no need to detail here.
        b) Slogged through their squiggly math as they developed their “Sliding window in Time-Series analysis as seen in Figure 1.
        c) It was their Figure 2 that gave me pause; that is, the combining of the Greenland Ice Core Paleo-Temperature derived from isotopic oxygen analysis with their sliding window analysis. (I tried to copy and paste to no avail).
        What struck me was the 40,000+ year temperature spike and fall to baseline appearance to the temperature reconstruction prior to Younger Dryas. T&S invoke the Younger Dryas as their modeled tipping point. The spike in temperature just before the sustained temperatures we have experienced over the last 11,500 years does not strike me as being significantly different than all the previous temperature spikes. The accompanying sliding window appears to gradually lead up to the Younger Dryas not reflecting the previous temperature spikes that preceded YD.
        I am reminded of an earlier motorcycle era with reed carburetors and kick-starting to turnover the engine. I had to kick-start multiple times to get the right gas mixture, piston alignment, and magneto pulse to get the engine running. Occasionally I would flood the engine and have to wait. However, once the engine was running, no more need to kick-start.
        The T&S sliding window does not reflect the observed paleo-temperature reconstruction.
        The visual for me is that significant energy pulses, as reflected in the pale-temperature reconstruction were needed to bring us out of the ice age into a sustained Holocene warmth.
        The question then for me, what are these energy pulses and what was right re alignment of oscillating components that Mama Earth could then maintain warming. Mama Earth needed to trade her Honda for a Harley.
        My observation, there were multiple attempts at achieving a sustained warming period. The energy pulse eventually occurred at the right time we call a tipping point. If my guess has any validity, there are multiple times when there are small tipping points achieved: i.e., like in the 1970′s and we had a climate change and again in the 1998/2001 another tipping point and climate change. The tipping point for us to abruptly descend into another glacial period may be, clouds? The multiple energy pulses are, ENSO?
        Again, Thanx for your help.

      • Perhaps there are other factors in thermohaline circulation and ice and snow feedbacks.

      • Temperature does not depend on CO2. Human CO2 is a fraction of a trace gas. It likely does have a trace effect. CO2 has been rising for seven thousand years while temperature went up and down and up and down.
        When the oceans are warm and the Arctic is open, it snows and cools the earth. This is happening and will continue for some years. I will take some years to cool the ocean and freeze the Arctic again.

      • ferd berple

        Your statement, “how did it (sea ice) get lower 60 years ago without CO2?” is a bit illogical as stated
        ===========
        Nonsense. I made no statement. I asked a question. The bad logic is your creation.

      • JC comments: there is no question that sea ice extent has recent been the lowest extent in the past 60 years.
        ====
        that begs the question. How did it get lower 60 years ago without CO2?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        ferd,

        Thinking that that all effects must have the same cause is a logical fallacy so that believing that because something happened in the past from one cause or combination of causes that it can’t happen at some other time from a different cause or combination of causes. What matters for the science is identifying the causes and their specific forcing mechanisms and related feedbacks that cause the climate to be altered.

        Your statement, “how did it (sea ice) get lower 60 years ago without CO2?” is a bit illogical as stated, for certainly it did get that low with CO2 present, such that, had CO2 been absent from the atmosphere at the time, Arctic sea ice likely would not have been that low.

      • Gates, I am fascinated by your name change. I hope the operation went well. Can you tell us briefly what aspects of the AGW hypothesis you are now skeptical of? Or is your new handle a deception?

      • SW, ferd was obviously referring to today’s CO2 levels, which we are told were not there 60 years ago. How did you miss this, or was it deliberate? Interpreting an intelligent comment as a stupid comment is a nasty trick, one we see all too often from warmers, skeptical or otherwise.

      • ferd berple

        Your statement, “how did it (sea ice) get lower 60 years ago without CO2?” is a bit illogical as stated
        ===========
        Nonsense. I made no statement. I asked a question. The bad logic is your creation.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Indications of a Cold Spell

      - The Sun is in a funk (h/t Watts)
      - Global Temperatures are flat or declining
      - ENSO, PDO and AMO Indices are in a cold phase
      - A Dalton Minimum is possible
      - The effects of a Cold Period are harmful
      - IPCC Warming Scenarios are not happening

    • Pooh, Dixie

      The Sun is in a funk (h/t Watts)

      - Watts, Anthony. “The Sun Is Still in a Funk: Sunspot Numbers Are Dropping When They Should Be Rising.” Scientific. Watts Up With That?, March 2, 2012. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/02/th….uld-be-ri sing/
      - ISES Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif
      - ISES Solar Cycle F10.7cm Radio Flux Progression (Solar Microwave Radio Flux, an alternate indicator of solar activity. It is a more reliable, observable indicator than sunspot number.) http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/f10.gif
      - Cycle 24 Sunspot Number Prediction http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif (Note that Dr. Svalgaard observes that low cycles often have large swings in this number.)
      - Ap Geomagnetic index, (Geomagnetic activity at earth; a proxy for the solar dynamo) http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/Ap.gif
      - Livingston & Penn – Sunspot Umbral Intensity and Umbral Magnetic Field. “Umbral” refers to the darkest part of the sunspot. Intensity measures how close the brightness of the Umbra matches that of the sun itself. The Magnetic Field indicates how strong the sunspot is. Their significance lies in that these are declining to invisibility, a characteristic of Maunder and Dalton minima. http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png

      • Sun has been like this for years now. Where’s the cooling?

        PDO switch, La Ninas, and quiet Sun and temperature is still high.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1970

        Could it be the CO2?

      • There has been no atmospheric warming since 1998. This is not trend but the simple idea of the difference between points. The ocean has warmed little if at all. If you care to note it has largely been moderate El Nino in the ARGO period – but over over the next 10 to 30 years the intensity and frequency of La Nina will continue to intensify in the current cool Pacific decadal mode. If you don’t know this – you understand little of global hydrological and temperature variations.

      • “There has been no atmospheric warming since 1998.”

        Yes there has.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/to:1999/trend/plot/uah/trend

        “If you care to note it has largely been moderate El Nino in the ARGO period”

        It started with moderate El Nino but recently has been two large La Ninas. Ie ENSO has trended cooler. Global temperatures have failed to cool in line with that. Despite at the same time there being a very long and low solar minimum.

        “but over over the next 10 to 30 years the intensity and frequency of La Nina will continue to intensify in the current cool Pacific decadal mode”

        I disagree. La Nina intensity and frequency has already got about as high as it was during the last negative PDO phase. So the cooling has already largely happened. There’s no more in the bag.

        Expect very significant global warming in the near future.

        http://davidappell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/global-warming-skepticism-to-be-over-by.html

      • @@ lolwot | June 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm |

        lolwot, please stop confusing that moron; calling himself hydrologist…

        El Nino or La Nina don’t produce any bloody GLOBAL warming / coolings – they have different affects on different areas of the planet. They are produced by the tectonic plates movement – activating the hot vents + volcanoes on the bottom of the sea. Tectonic plates move same as you; right leg – then left; not both legs at the same time. About 97% of the faulty line is on the bottom of the sea +* earth’s crust is thinner on the bottom of the ocean. All that heat from activated hot vents is absorbed / distributed by the water

        You predicting if is going to be El Nino or La Nina for the next 30years – puts your credibility as low as Chief’s.

        Bottom line: it hasn’t being any GLOBAL warming, not just since 98, but has being ZERO GLOBAL warming for the last 14 million years. When one part of the planet gets warmer / another gets colder – that is not GLOBAL warming! That is not GLOBAL cooling! If you can discover: who is paying that D/H hydrologist, to lie that he is ”skeptical” skeptical about WHAT?!?! He lies about more GLOBAL warmings, that Al Gore can poke a stick in it. Ask him what was the temp 1234km NW of Easter Island, on the 4July for every year that he ”pretend” to know the GLOBAL temperature.

        P.s, lolwot, those spontaneous movements of individual tectonic plate also increase earthquakes… a big one is due for California… your lying about next 30 years, might turn out as truth, by COINCIDENCE. Even the blind chicken hits the corn, one in 50 attempts. After 50 lies; you might tell the truth, by mistake… Instead of confusing the people about phony global warming – ”if the waters of California starts warming -> warn the people: to stay out of big / old buildings !!!”

      • lolwot: Recall that ~1910 and ~ 1970 were a bit cool. (The graph you referenced begins around 1978.)
        How about from 1875? http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.gif

  3. This essay paints an interesting picture, however it does not take into account the effects on climate and economies of the warming of the North Polar regions, and the long turn effects that this will have on further climate change. As is already evident in the British Isles and much of western Europe, the warming of the northern region is allowing the jet streams that formerly flowed eastward across Europe from the Atlantic to veer more to the north away from Britain and Europe. This in turn has brought about the drought conditions now being experienced in those areas, because it is allowing the cold dry winds of central Europe and Asia to blow down across Western Europe and Britain.
    Moreover, while easy shipping routes will no doubt open up over the North Polar region and indeed already has done so seasonally, what will eventually happen is the shift of the Atlantic currents from the circular-Atlantic pattern of now … that brings warm water up over the top and back down the British-African coast lines as cooler water, thus giving those regions their summer and winter cycles… to a pattern where the Atlantic flow will continue up over the North Polar regions and into the Pacific, creating a circular flow that includes the Pacific. Warm water will no longer flow down the Western European – African coasts, and the temperatures there will get drier and colder. This is is predicted will bring on the next ice age in Northern Europe.
    And that is going to effect the economics of the entire world, as associated climate changes take place around the world. Not to mention entire population shifts, and the total destruction of the agricultural industry of Europe and Asia.

    Will anybody make a fortune out of that scenario? Probably not.

    • Thank you Robert C. for your projection of the change in the Global Ocean Circulation pattern. May I query: is your projection based upon models? or has the Global Ocean Circulation pattern changed in this manner sometime in the past? I don’t want to appear skeptical, and if I understand what you have said, changes in ocean currents leads to changes in climate. Global warming will result in the melting of the Arctic allowing a North Atlantic current to carve out a Northwest Passage. Changes in the Atlantic Ocean currents will then initiate a glacial age for Europe and Asia.

      Did I understand you correctly that you are projecting the onset of a glacial age as atmospheric temperatures rise?

      • Yeah the Leftists love the past when all of their fearmongering confabulations (e.g., ‘Ice is the Key) were unchallenged. After 2005 there is not one single study that the IPCC acknowledges that challenges their notiion of a censensus about CO2-caused global waarmingm, which is why Bush told’m to take a hike.

      • Robert C, this is not old news; it is old speculation, liberally salted with words and phrases like “possibility,” “might,” “some scientists believe” and so on. You talk about it with all uncertainty removed.

      • Speculation presenred as fact is the heart of the scare. This is a fine example indeed.

      • Dave Springer

        Global warming could cause global cooling.

        Well I guess that about covers two of three bases.

        1st Base: Global warming could cause even more global warming from water vapor vapor amplification.

        2nd Base: Global warming could cause global cooling from disruption of ocean currents.

        3rd Base: Global warming could cause just enough global cooling so there’s the global nothing.

        I guess it’s skeptics covering third base. We’ll probably have that taken away from us as soon as the climate boffins figure out they don’t have a monopoly on all possibilities…

        Am I being too cynical?

      • http://popesclimatetheory.com/

        Warm does cause cooling and cold does cause warming.
        Look at the data for the past ten thousand years.
        Earth does warm, then cool, then warm, then cool.
        This is in the Actual Data. We are warm, we will cool.
        When it is warm, it snows a lot more than when we are cool.
        Put this in the Climate Models to fix them.

      • Robert C. I like to read old news and I read the article. I don’t believe it answered my questions. I did not see a mention of a model. I saw that the Younger Dryas period was invoked. From my understanding of the Younger Dryas period, the North Atlantic Ocean currents are surmised to have stopped as a result of freshening of surface water.

        Although the article was from a Governmental agency (NASA), printed on Government paper with Government printer’s ink, all I saw was the expression of Government scientists speculating about future events. Although such speculations come from good authority, it remains alas, as speculation. Descriptions of the way things are, it seems to me, carries little weight with regards to the way things will be.

        I am left with your speculations about the Government speculations which I guess is old news.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Enough to carve the St. Lawrence River. If memory serves, there is general agreement that it took an ice sheet more than a mile thick to provide that flow. I don’t recall mention of melting sea ice.

    • Robert C,
      The UK has been flooding. Droughts are only existing in dreams.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/17858694

      What current changes?

      • andrew adams

        Large areas of the country were suffering from drought conditions before the recent heavy rains. The article you link to refers to this, so I’m not sure how you can say “droughts are only existing in dreams”.

      • If floods only exist in dreams, does that make them wet dreams?

      • I have some original wet naps here.

      • aa,
        Note the date of the last major drought: 1976.
        Now you AGW true believers have a melt down during a not untypical drought.
        And do read the definition of drought for Britain.
        AGW belief is destructive of reasoned and rational analysis.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/20/drought-declared-south-east-england

        Householders across the south-east of England should try to cut their use of water, the government has urged, as months of unseasonally dry weather mean the region is now in a state of drought.

        Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, plus parts of Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and west Norfolk are still in drought, having been so since last year.

        Also officially in drought are parts of the Midlands and swaths of the south and south-east – including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Surrey and Sussex (West and East).

  4. The Greek government voted cash for clunkers today. “0845: Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News: A vote for the austerity package by the Greek parliament should perhaps be seen not as the moment when Greece avoids default, but as the moment when a default becomes inevitable.” The Fall of Western Civilization will remap the world far more quickly than climate change.

  5. It is the votes of the productive that should be important not votes of all of those who live off of the hard work, sweat, blood and voluntary sacrifice that the productive devote to the task of bringing value to society. To think otherwise only gives wings to the ideology of liberal fascism and the tyranny of a Leftist majority and that is how a society dies.

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/al-gore-madmann-in-chief-of-the-outhouse/

  6. The Arctic presents the first examples where government and commercial entities have to brush the no-action skeptics aside and think ahead to what climate change is doing in the long term to maintain their competitive edge.

    • People do love get-rich-quick schemes.
      If the northern climate wasn’t warming they couldn’t get rich.
      If it wasn’t warming fast enough they couldn’t get rich quick.
      In the end, they will attribute their success to initiative and hard work.
      Business reality is an altered reality, but reality nonetheless.

      • Businesses that don’t have a sure-fired grip on reality don’t make it.

      • Which is why so many fail. Business is a bet. No one has a sure fire grip on the future.

      • Also Web, you can’t give the governments a pass on this. They are gearing up their military for this. They are ensuring that their businesses will get a slice of the pie and the nation a slice of resources. Business takes a back seat to government. Government is in control

      • But if they fail, it’s their money, not mine. Big difference between that and Solyndra.

  7. Does the economist think that Arctic cyclones are some kind of frozen hurricane that can cause damage? It is a nitpick, but if that slipped through you wonder what else did.

  8. For dummies like myself, may I respectfully ask from one of the many truly expert denizens on this blog for an analysis of Arctic sea-ice loss, over the last decade, in terms of the following putative causes (and any other causes):

    -Long term changes in air temperatures at the Arctic sea/ice-cap surface that cause increased melting of Arctic ice due to exposure to above-freezing Arctic air temperatures.

    -Long term changes in circulation patterns of warm, ocean current flows into the Arctic that increase the sub-surface melting of Arctic sea ice.

    -Long term changes in black soot deposition on the surface of Arctic ice that traps heat and causes surface melting of the affected ice.

    -Long term reduction in Arctic snowfall, if any.

    -Long term changes in wind conditions that increase the net loss of Arctic sea ice due to wind transport to lower, warmer latitudes.

    In particular:

    -What is the percentage contribution to Arctic ice loss trend over the last decade due to each of the above causes (or any other causes not mentioned).

    -What is the relationship of the above causes to anthropogenic global warming vs. natural variation or changes to natural variation that are not the product of AGW?

    -What is the character of the projected “end-state” of the current Arctic ice-loss, that would pose security issues for the United States (pardon my parochialism), and the time-frame in which we can expect that end-state to appear–to include the relative contributions over time of the above causes to that end-state?

    -How long are those conditions, associated with the end-state loss of ice in the Arctic, that are of national security relevance, expected to persist?

    -Finally, why is Arctic ice loss a bell-weather of “climate change” but the increase in Antarctic ice (if there is such an increase) not?

    I greatly appreciate the time anyone might take to answer my above questions–thank you, in advance. And, please, I’m sincerely seeking answers not setting anyone up for a tirade.

    • Mike, if N is the number of putative causes, then my estimator of the percent of the change due to each cause is 100/N. This isn’t very sophisticated, but given the likely error bars in the actual studies, I’ll bet it is about as good as any other.

      • NW, I’m not sure what you’re saying unless it’s my question was ambiguous and you’re joshing me in that regard. If so, appreciate the jest though it is a big over my head.

        Let me try again. Of the “N” causes of the Arctic ice-loss over the lost decade, what is the percentage contribution assigned to each individual
        cause such that they all sum to 100%. And, if this last, doesn’t “cut” may I ask you, NW, to give me a break and try real hard to figure out what I mean?

      • Mike you expressed it perfectly well the first time. Mine was a lame attempt at statistical humor, not at your expense but at the expense of the current state of knowledge. N causes, multiplied by 100/N percent of the total variance attributed to each cause, adds up to 100 percent of the total variance.

      • NW,

        I can see our comments passed one another (see below). Your humor was not “lame” at all. Rather, your world-class fast-ball was a little beyond the resources of the little-league catcher.

        And thanks for the replies, NW.

      • NW,

        Upon reflection, I think I finally “get” your last, now. That is, I think you’re saying that the uncertainties of Arctic ice “science” are so great that a “100/N” by-guess-and-by-golly answer to one of my questions is as good as any other.

        And if I’ve finally “got” it, NW, your “zinger” is a good one, IMHO, if a little sophisticated for my ready apprehension and appreciation (my problem, not yours). And my apologies that I was so slow on the up-take.

    • From what I understand most scientists think this would not be happening in the last few decades without the CO2 increase. I think there was one scientist who thought it was black carbon, but he has usually been wrong before so it hasn’t caught on.

      • OK, maybe more than one scientist. Black carbon has an effect but is not the dominant process, which would be the feedback due to albedo reduction. The Antarctic hasn’t had a similar effect because it is more difficult to replace land with water than it is to replace sea ice.

      • There’s a recent (no doubt selective) annotated survey over at WUWT with weblinks that speaks to some of this.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/16/the-economist-provides-readers-with-erroneous-information-about-arctic-sea-ice/#more-65716

        My main worry about all of this has to do with sorting out cause and effect or, to put it differently, separating relatively “unmoved movers” from mediating variables. No doubt there are independent ‘oscillations’ of the climate system at various frequencies which might be relatively unmoved movers of Artic ice. But brief periods of wind and current shifts don’t seem like convincing unmoved movers, so I’m left rather cold by stories that partial out variance to sucn “causes” which sound more like mediating variables than unmoved movers. I hope that makes some sense to someone.

      • Maybe a more common way of putting that is: I suspect that winds and currents are more in the nature of proximate causes (what I called mediating variables) and trying to apportion variance to these is questionable… if, in fact, the winds and currents are in turn the result of natural oscillations (or deterministic chaos, or whatever) of the climate system, solar variability and of course good old CO2, not to exclude anyone’s favorite (relatively exogenous) causal doohickey.

  9. The massage is obvious. Jump on applied Arctic research tied to military and economic objectives. A waste of time but the money should be good while the fad lasts. We might even learn something.

  10. Here are the main ”honest findings”:

    If Arctic ocean loses it’s ice – there will be bigger catastrophe in Europe USA, than during the Big Ice Age!!! Warmist and leading Fake Skeptics will get longer jail therms than Bernard Madoff. Reason: avoiding the truth.

    Surface water on Arctic .is between -3C to +2C. The average ”air temp” is minus – 30C. Without ice as insulator; to protect the water from the unlimited coldness in the air -> water will get much colder – currents distributing colder water to Mexican gulf -> less evaporation -> less raw material to repair the ice. b] without ice as insulator, by double strength of coldness -> will produce worse ice age than the one that lasted for 12000years. Because WARMIST AND FAKES ARE NOT JUST WRONG, BUT BACK TO FRONT on everything, as well!!! Ice depletion on Arctic’s waters must be prevented. Otherwise, expect everything opposite than what the propaganda machine promotes. I have it all, on record (there is a page on my blog: {warmer=more ice}, will give you a clear picture of the reality) ”Ostrich tactic” doesn’t change the truth / reality!

  11. Dave Springer

    Any fans of Deadliest Catch know the Opilio season in the Bering Sea which opens on October 15th has been getting easier and easier. They’ve been able to go farther and farther north each year without being threatened by ice. /sarc

    Psych.

    • Dave Springer

      This year the crews aboard the crab fishing boats in the Bering Sea were wearing t-shirts and sandals.

      Our Arctic fleets won’t know what snow is.

      HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

      I kill me sometimes.

  12. “In the long run the unfrozen north could cause devastation. But, paradoxically, in the meantime no Arctic species will profit from it as much as the one causing it: humans. Disappearing sea ice may spell the end of the last Eskimo cultures, but hardly anyone lives in an igloo these days anyway. And the great melt is going to make a lot of people rich” Etc.

    Yes, a warmer world raises many questions about impacts on resources; but what exactly is the motivation for re-posting such an ignorant, racist statement and perspective from The Economist? The living situation of others is not just another business opportunity for the South.

    Of course if the North becomes seriously devastated, there will be no commercial opportunities, for anyone. Obviously. However, for the sake of the post, let’s assume continued commercial opportunities. Contrary to the rabid colonialist perspective expressed in the Economist and uncritically regurgitated by Ms. Curry, such a situation does not spell the end of Inuit (or the Yupik) cultures or peoples because indigenous communities and governments are major stakeholders.

    But to get to Ms. Curry’s main thought — by all means, demand an increase in the funding for your national agencies to study the Arctic Ocean on the basis of the real or potential economic and security implications for the United States.

    • You forgot “running-dog imperialist child-murderer.” But I’m sure you felt mighty righteous anyway. Well said. Bravo. Original too.

    • Dave Springer

      Small world. Twenty-five years ago I was a consultant in the Puget Sound area hired to find a problem in the design of a real-time vector graphic display for an upward looking sonar to be deployed in boomers to map the bottom of the ice cap.

      So I guess that upward looking sonar is like the proverbial buggy whip now, eh? /sarc

    • Steven Mosher

      You’ve lost your touch. Please bring back the old Martha

    • “In the long run the unfrozen north could cause devastation. But, paradoxically, in the meantime no Arctic species will profit from it as much as the one causing it: humans.”

      How right you are, Martha. But you need not travel to the cold far north. You can profit right here in the lower 48, with a sparkle in your eyes…

      http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/doggy-glitter-gel-gets-share-farm-bill-billio/604981#overlay=node/604981/edit

      and glitter all over your coat.

    • “Of course if the North becomes seriously devastated, there will be no commercial opportunities, for anyone. Obviously.”

      Wait a minute. My copy of the corporate interest playbook says we are trying to wipe everybody out so we can rape the planet. I thought devastation was the goal so we can maximize our commercial opportunities.

      Damn. Now I’m confused.

      • ferd berple

        Of course if the North becomes seriously devastated
        =========
        Like for example being covered in ice and darkness for 6 months of the year

    • PC language alert:

      The term ‘Eskimo’ is offensive to the aboriginal people of the arctic. They now wish us to use the term ‘Inuit’.

      Since no self-respecting liberal would deliberately insult any identifiable minority group, we are led to the conclusion that the author of the article has no clue about what is going on with the people who inhabit the arctic.

    • I’m always indignant when loosely referred to as “Western.” It really hurts. Really.

  13. Beth Cooper

    Economic impacts of climate change and retreating ice. Well Arctic warming has happened before and the ice recovered, it may well do so again. The greatest problems that confront us, I think, are more social, political and economic than AGW climate change. The economic problems, I’d say, arise out of the socio/ political prevailing culture. It seems that we are still engaged in the long war between parliamentary democracy and fascist, now green, ideologies documented by Philip Bobbit in ‘The Shield of Achilles,’ (Penguin 2002.)

    We may win a few elections, hip pocket nerve stuff, but the battle will go on in the schools where dedicated leftist educators inculcate their values through humanities and science curriculum. I see this in the programs of two 11/12 yr students I tutor, sociological literature, ‘stolen generation’ ad infinitum, critiquing newspaper articles, ‘the biased reports of media against our OZ PM,’ articles on ‘occupying our cities,’ steered to approval comments. The science curriculum in public schools focus, not on hard science but AGW climate change. There’s Tim Flannery’s ‘We are the Weather Makers,’ WWF for Nature’s ‘Dangerous Aspirations- Beyond 3 Degrees in Australia.’

    In another thread on Climate Etc,’ Climate Science in Public Schools,’ (03/2012,) David Wojak mentions that the US government is pouring millions of dollars into CAGW teaching programs for students. Tony b cites ‘disaster consequences of AGW’ questions( eg 6.4, p 113,) in the UK science core higher education program, ( Graham Hill, Hadden Murray.)

    I have to say sometimes I’m tired of the war. However, we have to keep up the battle for parliamentary democracy, for small government that allows individual innovation, free trade and economic development. The battle continues through the indoctrinating programs in schools, the pervasive unwillingness of teachers to do their job, to promote broard exposure to multiple perspectives and critical thinking in the humanities, to focus on hard science and rigorous tests in science.

    Since indoctrination is the norm in public education, where are students to go for other sources of information and access to the Enlightenment tradions of our culture? We can try to broaden curriculum through public campaigns but the same teachers will control its delivery. Here on JUdith Curry’s site, papers are presented and critiqued, science and politics are debated. :-)

    Here’s my question: ‘How do we get our youth to participate in open, multi perspective forums like this ?’ Can we appeal to students’ curiosity
    and engage them through internet social media? Present, not ‘spin’ but significant content, humourous vivid presentations, say, animated real data, like Hans Rosling’s animated graphics or the power of cultural and economic of exchange, ideas and commerce as presented in Matt Ridley’s witty TED talk. Offer them a core curriculum of powerful ideas and developments that have advanced human life expectancy, ‘knowledge,’ freedom and economic well being.

    I really would like to see how to do this.and welcome any ideas from any open society warriors on this site.

  14. Beth Cooper

    Oh well, while I’m waiting on moderation, guess I’ll repost theis, it seems to fit anywhere…

    My reminiscences on black swans and other birds.

    The future just ain’t what it used to be,
    Nor history our clearest dreams’ reality.
    The turkey thinks the farmer is his friend,
    Perhaps the farmer’s wife as well.
    Maybe she is, maybe she ain’t …
    It’s hard to tell. Black swans’ beating wings
    Refract the light, we can’t quite see.
    It’s tough making predictions,
    Especially about the future.

    H/t Yogi Berra for a coupla lines.

  15. Joe's World

    Judith,

    There is a bit of a hilarity factor going on.
    Scientists really have no idea what is going on or what is causing it.

    Water loss to space has made our neighboring planets hot and dry and yet scientists do not believe we have lost a single molecule of water.
    As land become more, water becomes less and hence, hotter in the overall picture.
    But hey, that is just my own research of what our planet was like from the past until today.
    Scientists still have no clue on how to recreate a planet. Water and pressure is how our planet was created too keep the magma and gases from flying off in a rotating, centrifugal planet. That is if you use salt deposits as a time line of being in the water already when this planet was formed.

    http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/SEMER89U7TG_0.html

    Interesting is the date of our ice deposits are not much, much older.

  16. The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

    Certainly we can all appreciate the complexity of causal factors related to diminishing seasonal sea ice in the Arctic, and we must acknowledge that the models showing that anthropogenic warming to be the single most important long-term cause could be wrong, but I tend to think they are not wrong, at least in their general finding. This change does not appear to be a cyclical event even though certain cyclical factors may modulate the progress toward an eventual ice-free summer Arctic in the next few decades.

    The Arctic is undergoing a long-term change and it is appropriate for those countries bordering the Arctic to begin to plan for what this will mean for the future. And though it is appropriate and quite expected that countries would be planning to take advantage of an opening up of the Arctic, as this will bring huge economic benefits, I suspect that all the potential downsides and potential negative consequences have not been fully thought through or anticipated, nor could they be as some will certainly be of the Black Swan variety.

    • ~30 years is by definition not a long term climate change.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Hunter,

        You are correct if you would only rely upon satellite data, but looking outside of this to other sources I think a strong case can be made that we are seeing the warmest Arctic and lowest sea ice in far longer than 30 years.

        See for example:

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7374/full/nature10581.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20111124

      • The doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin that departed England in 1845 comes to mind. Captain Franklin had been on Arctic expeditions before but his fourth expedition – to traverse the NW passage — was his last after his two ships become icebound and all the ships company (“Franklin and 128 men”) were lost to the bitter cold of the Canadian Arctic.

      • ferd berple

        Anything more than 30 years would certainly prevent this warming from being natural.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        What known climate factors would “certainly prevent” the warming from being natural over the 30 year mark?

  17. What were the economic and security impacts of climate change when the Association of Alarmism gathered in Cancun for magaritas a couple of winters back? Is there really a serious push on now that Developed countries must limit releases of CO2 to prevent Northern Europe from freezing over. If so then I am more concerned about Western Civilization descending into madness. Can we conclude that despite all that America has doen for the backstabbing-EU that in the end the USSR prevails because dead and dying Europe is simply bonkers?

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/is-global-warming-caused-by-too-little-government/

    • “prevent Northern Europe from freezing over”

      You know this suggests a new idiomatic way to say “never.” To wit,

      “When Northern Europe freezes over.”

      :)

  18. My angle on this is that the skeptics have been seriously marginalized by what was their own ExxonMobil as the oil industry pursue their profits by making use of climate change now. For them it is profit that matters, not skepticism, and that is why they have changed their tune tossing the skeptics aside like a used toy. Other industrial supporters of skeptic organizations may follow suit as they see future profits in other directions, and some are already on the green energy path.

    • i would add to this that once the corporate interests are gone, the political ones will soon follow.

  19. Regarding the Economist author being clueless:

    Most of the Arctic states are modernizing their military forces in the Arctic. For example, the United States recently began operating its newest class of fast attack submarines in the Arctic and the Russians have begun building a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for both fast attack and ballistic missile launching missions

    The United States has operated attack submarines in Arctic waters for 50+ years. As new classes are brought into commission, they will end up serving there as well. Nothing new in that. As why have US submarines operated in Arctic waters? Because Russian submarines operate there. Russia and the United States will build submarines independant of what the climate does. Whether it warms, gets colder or remains static, submarines (and other classes of ships) will be built.

  20. “Winners and losers.”

    If Economist is right, it looks like homo sapiens sapiens will be the winner, on balance, if Arctic sea ice continues to shrink.

    But, as the most recent studies (as well as earlier ones) of Polyakov have shown, this seems to be a cyclical phenomenon, so we’ll just have to wait and see if the ice really does continue to shrink.

    Max

  21. And this is how a hoax dies: it is when everyone sees what the true motives of the Left are and how spurious the Climatists’ claims have been. Nature did not cooperate with the Left either. Nothing happened as the Climatists designed in their minds. Their planning has been as worthless as their filing cabinets full of global warming pseudo-science and their cash for clunkers economics. Movements come and go and now we see that it is sociologists, psychologists and philosophers who are most interested in studying the effects of the Left’s monomaniacal pursuit of Ayn Rand’s industrial man with malice aforethought.

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/skepticism-of-climatism-focuses-on-the-lefts-motives/

  22. “As the frozen tundra retreats northwards, large areas of the Arctic will become suitable for agriculture. ”

    So how far as tundra retreated northwards?
    Here is says : “The team found that a rapid change in response to climate warming during the early mid 20th century was observed at all locations. Treeline advanced considerably – as much as 85 meters elevation.”

    http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070206215720data_trunc_sys.shtml

    So got some number before 1950.
    What about late 20th century?
    “Imagine the vast, empty North American tundra giving way to trees…”

    http://holisticfuture.com/2011/03/07/retreating-tundra-and-advancing-forests-how-the-arctic-will-look-by-2099/

    Ok, but can we have some numbers.

    “Evidence from ancient charcoal indicates the boreal forest historically extended much farther north than it does today. Areas in northern Quebec that are now covered in arctic tundra were once forested in black spruce.
    ….
    Though fires in the region are infrequent, only one-tenth of the area has escaped burning during the last two millennia. Remnant unburnt patches harbour old-growth forest relicts that have been around for perhaps 3000 years.

    The rest of the spruce stands regenerated after wildfire, repeatedly on some sites where fires revisited. But all the patches of trees and krummholz that came back after fire did so 2250 to 950 years ago.

    The study’s authors attribute the lack of new trees to a change in climate beginning 950 years ago. Around that time mean annual temperature likely dropped by at least 1 °C. Chilling of the north prevented trees from re-establishing there after a forest fire.”

    http://www.currentresults.com/Forests/Eastern-NA/boreal-802131.php

    Not much luck there.

    “There’ll also be winners in a warmer climate. Gains of over 25% in area with appropriate weather would be seen for red alder, white fir, boxelder and narrowleaf cottonwood.

    Researchers with the Canadian Forest Service forecast that by the year 2100 the range midpoint of all 130 species would have crept north by an average of 700 kilometres (435 miles).”

    All the woodlands and krummholz now in the area got started when temperatures were higher than they have been for the last thousand years. Although the region has warmed since the mid-1990s, the trend isn’t yet long enough for the boreal forest to recover from centuries of fire and retreat.

    The history unveiled at Rivière Boniface indicates that a large expanse of forest tundra has vanished from eastern Canada over the last thousand years. These days, one has to travel about 170 kilometres (105 miles) southwards to find any spruce forests re-establishing after fire.

    http://www.currentresults.com/Forests/trees-801071.php

    Still just hopes about the future.

    “Average temperature during the year is the most important factor for permafrost existence. Permafrost temperatures at 1 m below ground in central Alaska have been warming since the 1960s and were reaching near to the melting point in the mid-1990s. There has been a retreat to colder temperatures (less than -1°C) in the last few years.”

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/land-permafrost.shtml

    I give up.
    Anyone know any measured retreating northwards tundra, during late part of 20th century?

  23. gbaikie,

    1) The North is bigger than Fairbanks, Alaska, and the point is the range of observations for Arctic regions, communities and the ecosystem. For example, contrary to your final link, light cooling in recent years in the interior of Alaska is irrelevant to both the concept of a ‘trend’ in science, and to the situation of many other areas of significant warming e.g. the Canadian Arctic. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/permafrost.html

    2) http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/index.html
    Besides the warming of permafrost, please view the vegetation report card.

    3) Reading trouble? That’s o.k. there’s video: http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/video/2012/the-arctic-report-card-highlights-from-2011

    My friend, you appear to prefer to ignore science, actually. So, I can only imagine how happy you must be to also ignore indigenous knowledge.

    The North doesn’t thank you.

    • “gbaikie,

      1) The North is bigger than Fairbanks, Alaska, and the point is the range of observations for Arctic regions, communities and the ecosystem. For example, contrary to your final link, light cooling in recent years in the interior of Alaska is irrelevant to both the concept of a ‘trend’ in science, and to the situation of many other areas of significant warming e.g. the Canadian Arctic. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/permafrost.html

      From your link:
      “Increases in ALT since the late 1990s have been observed on Svalbard and Greenland, but these are not spatially and temporarily uniform (Christiansen et al. 2010).”

      “Although an 8 cm increase in thaw depth was observed between 1983 and 2008 in the northern Mackenzie region, shallower thaw has been observed since 1998 (Burn and Kokelj 2009). In the eastern Canadian Arctic, ALT increased since the mid-1990s, with the largest increase occurring in bedrock of the discontinuous permafrost zone (Smith et al. 2010).

  24. Martha and gbaikia,

    While the tree line has been moving northward, the change is slower than experienced in the early Holocene (0.2 – 2 km.yr). The treeline is still further south than estimated at the glacial minimum by 50 – 200 km. Of course, during the last glacial maximum, the treeline was an addition 1000 km further south. The Arctic has shown to be much more responsive to climate changes than temporal regions, but also much more adaptive.

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/arctic-treeline-advance-not-fast-previously-believed

    http://www.acia.uaf.edu/acia_review/ACIA_Ch06_text_JAN04.pdf

    • from your link:
      ““To generalize our results, the tree line is definitely moving north on average but we do not see any evidence for rates as big as 2 kilometers per year anywhere along the Arctic rim,” he said in a news release. “Where we have the most detailed information, our results suggest that a rate of around 100 meters per year is more realistic. In some places, the tree line is actually moving south. The predictions of a loss of 40 percent of the tundra by the end of the century is probably far too alarming.”

      This the kind of quantitative answer I was asking about. And/or it fits with my general impressive of the situation regarding arctic tundra.
      I would say the northward retreat of tundra is a good way to measure “climate change” rather than climate weather.
      My general assessment is we are still recovering from the Little Ice Age-
      in regards to glaciers and in regard to tundra. And in terms of global warming. And I also think most experts would agree with this assessment.
      Because, most of them who reporting on the matter in a quantitative way are saying this. They usually also indicate they are optimistic regarding future global warming [further melting glacier and/or further retreat of the tundra]. Personally I think future warming seems most likely. But I don’t think it’s alarming if and when tundra should retreat to levels 3000 years ago. The doubt about *when* this will occur is an important aspect of this.

      It hardly seems unlikely that given enough time [and with assumption continue warming or continued present level of warmth] that in 1000 years we exceed levels of anytime during this interglacial period. This simply due to fact that past interglacial have exceeded current conditions, when talking about 1000 years scale, we running time in this interglacial period- 5000 years of such warming may be optimistic in this regard.
      I also think it’s possible that within 50 years we could get to point of being warmer [less tundra area than 3000 years ago. I also believe we *may* have at this point [or within few years] have already mostly or for all practical purposes, recovered from the Little Ice Age.
      I also think it’s plausible that by 2100 we could a had one or more summers which ice free in the arctic. But I disagree that such ice free summer will have “an alarming effect” in terms arctic or global temperatures.

  25. “ice free in the arctic”
    I mean polar sea ice

  26. Dan H

    “The Arctic has shown to be much more responsive to climate changes than temporal regions, but also much more adaptive.”

    Now, Dan, really? Well, o.k., but please email the authors at once because the report i.e., the ACIA scientific report, does not say that. They must have missed something. :-(

    Seriously, the ACIA scientific report and follow up data and observations support the view not only that the Arctic is experiencing unprecedented changes but that these changes could pose profound challenges to the ecosystem, biodiversity and many human communities – never mind global impacts. Your spin on the overall situation is not part of the report. Read chapters 2, 3, 7, 17 and 18; then get caught up on updates from the past 8 years, in the science. For updates on the science, you could stay on your linked site (UAF) and visit IARC, Arctic Council, and IASC science.

    By the way, for a variety of reasons, when you cite something, it’s better to cite the final copy rather than a ‘DRAFT, DO NOT CITE’ copy.

    Moving on… your first link… it is a link to a newspaper, not to an actual report or ‘study’. Where is the link to the scientific study? In context, I and I’m sure lots of others (maybe evenyou) can think of reasons why trees/the treeline would not advance in certain regions, despite warming temperatures. Given the researcher’s specialization, one can guess the aim is probably to help improve modelling; but contrary to your spin on it, even if it is a good study, it would say exactly nothing about general or longterm adaptation. Do you understand that, or not?

    gbaike
    That, nontheless, is is the kind of’ ‘quantitative answer’ you were asking about? Really?

    “I also think it’s plausible that by 2100 we could a had one or more summers which ice free in the arctic. But I disagree that such ice free summer will have “an alarming effect” in terms arctic or global temperatures”

    Again, really? Well, o.k Your thinking was not information-based this morning so I guess it is really too soon for you to have made any progress.

    • Seriously, the ACIA scientific report and follow up data and observations support the view not only that the Arctic is experiencing unprecedented changes but that these changes could pose profound challenges to the ecosystem, biodiversity and many human communities – never mind global impacts.

      The report also suggests then that these changes could not pose any challenges. Where is the report and science that says these changes, if they continue and reach a specified level, will challenge the ecosystem and denizens? I’ve just read 10 pages of newly released horror stories all of which say if, may, could, might, ad nauseum. None will put their worthless credentials on the line by saying will, shall, is certain, and when.

  27. Are Pangaea or Gondwanaland anticipated to reform in the near future? If not, the prospects for an ‘unfrozen north’ are indistinguishable from nil.