Arctic warming opens region to new military activity

by Judith Curry

[T]he world’s military leaders . .  are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.

An article posted at Huffington Post is entitled Arctic Climate Change Opening Region to New Military Activity. Excerpts:

By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead.

The U.S., Canada and Denmark held major exercises two months ago, and in an unprecedented move, the military chiefs of the eight main Arctic powers – Canada, the U.S., Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland – gathered at a Canadian military base last week to specifically discuss regional security issues.

None of this means a shooting war is likely at the North Pole any time soon. But as the number of workers and ships increases in the High North to exploit oil and gas reserves, so will the need for policing, border patrols and – if push comes to shove – military muscle to enforce rival claims.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas is in the Arctic. Shipping lanes could be regularly open across the Arctic by 2030 as rising temperatures continue to melt the sea ice, according to a National Research Council analysis commissioned by the U.S. Navy last year.

Russia – one-third of which lies within the Arctic Circle – has been the most aggressive in establishing itself as the emerging region’s superpower.

Rob Huebert, an associate political science professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, said Russia has recovered enough from its economic troubles of the 1990s to significantly rebuild its Arctic military capabilities, which were a key to the overall Cold War strategy of the Soviet Union, and has increased its bomber patrols and submarine activity.

He said that has in turn led other Arctic countries – Norway, Denmark and Canada – to resume regional military exercises that they had abandoned or cut back on after the Soviet collapse. Even non-Arctic nations such as France have expressed interest in deploying their militaries to the Arctic.

Acknowledging the need to keep apace in the Arctic, the United States is pouring funds into figuring out what climate change will bring, and has been working closely with the scientific community to calibrate its response.

The most immediate challenge may not be war – both military and commercial assets are sparse enough to give all countries elbow room for a while – but whether militaries can respond to a disaster.

“Catastrophic events, like a cruise ship suddenly sinking or an environmental accident related to the region’s oil and gas exploration, would have a profound impact in the Arctic,” she said. “The risk is not militarization; it is the lack of capabilities while economic development and human activity dramatically increases that is the real risk.”

JC comment:  I anticipate that this activity will be a boon to scientific research in the Arctic Ocean.  In the 1950’s – 1980’s, the USSR and the U.S. expended considerable resources on Arctic Ocean research.  Of particular relevance to my own research in the region, the USSR manned 1-2 drifting ice island weather stations in the Arctic Ocean.  During the cold war, the U.S. Office of Naval Research funded considerable research aimed at understanding the ice/ocean environment for submarines.  In 1989, all this activity ceased.   There have been several scientific expeditions to the Arctic in recent decades, but without the sustained surface (and below surface) observations that were undertaken prior to the end of the cold war.

Tribute to Norbert Untersteiner

This renewed activity in the Arctic Ocean brings to mind Norbert Untersteiner, who passed away last month.  Untersteiner is the father of modern sea ice research.  Neven has a good obit [here]. Untersteiner was the station leader of the 1957 International Polar Year Arctic drifting station Alpha, the first manned drifting ice station conducted by the West. The story of the Drifting Station Alpha is told by  Untersteinter [here].

I first encountered Untersteiner in 1982 at a NATO Advanced Study Institute on the Geophysics of Sea Ice, in Maratea Italy (which was organized by Untersteiner).  I was attending this workshop as a graduate student, and the proceedings of the workshop are collected in a volume The Geophysics of Sea Ice.  This workshop was seminal in setting the course of my research for the next two decades.  The data for my Ph.D. thesis included that from Alpha,  AIDJEX (a field experiment on ice dynamics organized by Untersteiner) and the Arctic Ocean drifting buoys.   I engaged with Untersteiner and others from the University of Washington Polar Science Center in planning for the field experiment SHEBA, which was executed in 1997/1998.  To get a sense of Untersteiner and his amazing life and scientific contributions, I recommend the University of Washington’s tribute to him [here].

146 responses to “Arctic warming opens region to new military activity

  1. really nice National Academy report on this issue that I participated in…

    • Hi Marshall, thanks for providing this link

      • Thanks for the tribute to Norbert Untersteiner. One of his photos looked very familiar. I may have met him at an AGU meeting many years ago or when I gave a seminar at the University of Washington in the mid 1960s.

  2. A. C. Osborn

    What Arctic Warming?

    • Precisely. Another one of our hostess’s threads that makes an initial wrong assumption, so it makes no sense to comment on it.

      • This is a perfect example of fake-skeptism which makes you a denier. The arctic is warming, has been for decades, and the only ones who don’t agree are fake-skeptic deniers and Joe Bastardi, and of course there is little difference.

      • R Gates used to be very polite and reasoned over at WUWT. Disappointing to see him falling into the trap of using not only “denier” but “fake-sceptic denier” about people who disagree with him. Time will show who is right in the longer term. Things can reverse within a short time and a few years is nothing in geological time scales.

      • There is no shame in being a denier, and I think it’s really important to clarify people’s positions. Deniers are entitled to their positions the same as anyone, but they ought not hide behind the cloak of fake-skepticism. There are those, who for whatever reason or reasons, will forever deny that humans through their activities, including the alteration of the atmosphere through massive greenhouse gas emissions, could ever alter the climate, despite whatever evidence is presented. Even after the arctic becomes ice free in some future summer this century, there will be those who will claim it is simple “natural variabilty”. This kinds of flat-earthers have always been an element of society and always will, but it is not skepticism, but denialist, and ought to be accurately seen as such.

      • R. Gates,

        Some real treats in your last–“denier” (a golden oldie, what with its scurrilous subliminal associations with the repugnant term “holocaust denier”), “flat-earther” (Hmmm…you’re not Gordon Brown are you, ol’ sport?), and a somewhat original one–a reference to those who wear the “cloak of fake-skepticism” (not bad, R. Gates, except that it invites the subliminal suggestion that you, R. Gates, are maybe projecting a tiny bit and that you, yourself, just might be some sort of creep-out weirdo who’s got more than a few “cloaks” of your own in your closet–if you know what I mean, R. Gates?).

        But otherwise, R. Gates, your heart seems to be in the right place so I hope you don’t mind me hitting you up for a “me-too” endorsement of the little crusade I’ve got going to reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions so that our children and grandchildren don’t end up like so much boiled shrimp. In particular:

        -Could you, R. Gates, denounce environmental conferences if held in any form other than video-conferencing? I mean, like, we all recoil at the obscene thought of all those tons and tons of CO2 emissions that the old-fashioned, fun-in-the-sun eco-conferences produce what with the attendees’ travel to/fro (private jets, armored limos, yachts, etc) and their brazenly opulent, 5-star accommodations and their all-nighter, boozy blow-out good times at the conference party-trough.

        -And could you, R. Gates, also denounce those who attend high-carbon, boondoggle green-conferences–especially those held at posh tourist destinations, often noted for their sex-tourist amenities–as schweinhund CO2 hypocrites and carbon-glutton piggly-wigglies and planet-killers who want to see our children and grandchildren end up like so much boiled shrimp?

        -And, finally, R. Gates, could you name names and call out for public shame any of your pals that has ever attended an eco-conference in any fashion other than through video-conferencing?

        Thanks, R. Gates, in advance for your enthusiastic support of my important work in the area of anthropogenic GHG emission-reduction.

      • This really begs the question– if I am a “warmist”, which I am, what kind of warmist am I? Afterall, I I believe that humans are altering the climate, and actually have for quite some time, so what? Do I think our grandchildren will end up as “boiled shrimp”?. This is all a much different question than whether or not we are indeed altering the climate. And then the third question that ties into both the first two is– what then shall we do about it?

        My biggest issue with deniers is that they’d like to keep the conversation forever stalled out on the first question. Very unproductive. It’s one thing to be truely skeptical on the issue and then do the research, and read and study other people’s research, and then either remain a skeptic or come to the conclusion that humans are indeed altering the climate. Deniers, on the other hand will never, under any circumstances, change their perception. Likely there are political, psychologoical, religious, economic, and a whole host of reasons they won’t change– but the refusal of deniers to change perception is the classic sympton of a True Believer.

        So here are the 3 questions, the first of which deniers will never get past for obvious reasons:
        1) Are Human Actvitiies changing the climate?
        2) What the the likely consequences going to be, assuming we take no action at all?
        3) If action seems warranted, what actions will be most effective in the long-run?

        Personally, I’ve answered question number 1 in the affirmative, and am in the process of investigating number two. Thus, you could say I’m currently skeptical about anyone who says they are certain what the consequences are going to be in any great detail. We generally know that the Earth as a system in gaining more energy than losing, is slowly losing mass in the cryosphere (globally), etc. But the specific consequences are more difficult to model.

        In regards to the last question– what to do about it. I think it is still a bit premature to talk about this in any detail. General suggestions, like use less fossil fuels, convert to nuclear power, use more renewables are good ideas anyway, and certainly won’t hurt in the long run. More specific suggestions, especially involving geoengineering give me great concern.

      • 1. Yes.
        2. Beneficial, provided AnthroCO2 is actually a warming agent.
        3. Adequate study to insure we don’t leap into Catastrophic Anthropogenic Policy Action.

      • “Could you, R. Gates, denounce environmental conferences if held in any form other than video-conferencing? I mean, like, we all recoil at the obscene thought of all those tons and tons of CO2 emissions that the old-fashioned, fun-in-the-sun eco-conferences produce what with the attendees’ travel to/fro (private jets, armored limos, yachts, etc) and their brazenly opulent, 5-star accommodations and their all-nighter, boozy blow-out good times at the conference party-trough.”

        Video conferencing is completely inadequate for an international conference. There are a large number of reasons why, but the biggest problem is timezones. Which politician is going to have to be up at 3am their time talking to a computer?

      • lolwot,

        Yr. “Which politician is going to have to be up at 3 a. m. their time talking to a computer?”

        You know, lolwot, greenshirts like you swing between frantic appeals for immediate action to reduce CO2 emissions, whipped up by CAGW scare stories rattled-off at the cyclic rate, and self-righteous defenses of your own so-very-special carbon piggly-wiggly good deals. Ever notice that?

        So to answer your question, lolwot, those politicians who genuinely believe that the CAGW peril is the real deal (are there any, lolwot, or are they all just cynical participants in the hustle?) and that they, therefore, have a moral obligation to cut their own CO2 emissions, and who further know that the best way to motivate others to accept reduced-carbon lifestyles is through LEADERSHIP! LEADERSHIP FROM THE FRONT! AND LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE! will be glad to get up at 3 a. m. and “talk to a computer.” You know, just like those ordinary folks who stand night watches, work the grave-yard shift, answer emergency calls in the dead of the night and the like. And let’s not forget the President of the U. S. who answers the phone at 3 a. m., or so a certain commercial aired during the last election cycle would have us believe.

        And, oh by the way, lolwot, why is it any more difficult getting up at 3 a. m. for a conference in the comfort of one’s home or normal workplace than getting up at the exact same moment, but in another time-zone–except that the mind is clearer, there is no jet-lag, and there is none of the fatigue of a long flight?

        lolowt, I know you’re completely immersed in the world of the hive and so don’t get out much, but can you imagine the contempt with which your parasite-slacker sentiments (slickly projected onto “politicians”, I note) are regarded by decent, productive, hard-working men and women–those who do not enjoy privileged good deals and a cushy, inside-track, low-stress, free-ride (to include carbon-fuglie, blow-out confabs at fun-in-the-sun tourist spots) at the taxpayer expense?

        So, lolwot, unfix your snout from the public tit, ditch your sanctimonious sense of entitlement, start acting like a moral human being, show some leadership and a spirit of exemplary self-sacrifice for once, and get on with the video-conferencing. And once you get the hang of setting the example and develop some character, you might even find yourself liking the man you’ve finally become.

        P. S. You know, lolwot, if you think I’m getting just a little sick and tired of having to deal with the low-life, bug-out hypocrites that fill the ranks of the watermelon cult, then you’ve read between the lines really, really well. But don’t worry, neither I nor anyone else advocates keeping track of you creeps and burning down your houses.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        With regard to Climate Etc. regular mike’s disturbing assertion (above) that “Neither I nor anyone else advocates keeping track of you creeps and burning down your houses”, readers of Climate Etc. should be aware that ideology-driven sites do maintain alphabetized enemy lists that begin with ‘academia’.

        Particularly in light of this week’s chilling testimony regarding the political motivations of the mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, the prudent use of anonymizing internet services is commended to all Climate Etc. readers whose views stand in opposition to those of posters like mike.

      • Bernie ol’ boy,

        With regard to my so-called “disturbing assertion”, remember, ol’ sport I’m the one that is NOT–repeat NOT–advocating burning anyone’s house down. Indeed, my previous comment publicly disavowed house-burning as an expression of my views and reassured lolwot of the same.

        Constrast, now, Bernie, my friend, my disavowal of house-burnings with the words of Steve Zwick, a leading greenshirt dirt-bag, writing, this week, in Forbes magazine, no less (Google: Forbes Zwick Tennessee Fireman’s Solution to Climate Change):

        “We know who the active denialsts are…Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come let’s let them pay. Let’s let their houses burn…”

        Remember, Zwick is one of your hive-mates. You know one of your guys working for “the cause.” And so Zwick gets a pass from you, right Bernie? In contrast, I am compared with Anders Breivik (so Bernie, ol’ pal, just what sort of contemptible prick are you that you would pull a weasley, scum-bag stunt like that?) simply because I publicly RENOUNCED house-burning.

        Bernie, are you lefty flakes for real? I mean, like, what is wrong with you preposterous weirdos?

      • Mike I think you are letting your emotion get in the way of practical common sense here.


        1) Time Zones. Yes you can expect the president to wake up at 3am to answer the phone, but this is a completely different ballgame. This is an international conference consisting of hours of meetings and wrangling over many days, involving many delegates from many countries. Who decides which countries get the luxury of the meeting happening during the daytime when their delegates are more fresh and effective? Countries will argue with each other bitterly over the advantage to have the conference during daytime in their timezone. A whole new level of diplomatic haggling that gets in the way of the meeting.

        2) Jumping the gun. Why are you expecting an international conference to work using videoconferencing when videoconferencing hasn’t even been demonstrated to work at the country-level? Last time I checked all your politicians were traveling to the same “congress” building to debate rather than video-conferencing. Aren’t you jumping the gun demanding video-conferencing for international events when your own politicians don’t even use video-conferencing within their own country?

        3) Debate/Arguments. You don’t seem to be appreciating that the nature of these conferences is argumentative. It’s not like a business conference or where everyone largely turns up to nod at presentations, or a skype conversation where people are just socializing. In international conferences many countries will look for *excuses* to argue – think of your congress but on a bigger more fractured scale. The technology of video-conferencing opens up many new avenues for them to use stall/delay tactics.

        4) The Software. Video-conferencing for an international conference sounds great in principle, but it’s full of the same flaws that all these technology-at-any-price pie-in-the-sky ideas have. When you come to implement it you discover that it’s a lot more complicated than you think. You can’t just take off-the-shelf video conferencing software and host an international conference off it. You need tailor made software. You have a video conference in which delegates from potentially hundreds of locations around the world are dialing in. Okay great now they can talk together at the same time, but how do they hold private discussions with each other? What is the replacement for casual mixing in crowded rooms that generates spontaneous exchanges?

        5) How do you ensure all the connections are stable and stay up? It’s inevitable with so many lines in from so many locations around the world that there will be technical hiccups. Delegates of countries #81 and #94 have lost sound and are demanding the conference doesn’t proceed until it’s fixed. One hour passes until the issues are resolved (perhaps on *their* end). Now delegates of country #55 are seeing the video link breaking up and is demanding the conference be postponed further – afterall we waited for countries #81 nad #94 so it would be unfair to proceed without country #55, it would suggest country #55 was irrelevant. At a key moment, country #80 who doesn’t want to make a decision on a matter suddenly claims they haven’t been able to reach a decision because they lost sound yesterday…

        6) Training. Who is going to train all these delegates in the use of the technology? These delegates are used to meetings, in person. They could deal with that. They are not used to this software that has been foisted on them just for this conference.

        7) Technical Support. Do we need to post engineers in every country to be able to fix problems at their end with the software/hardware? Will we need to fly them out?

        8) Distractions. If they are not physically at a conference some leaders will get distracted and will try to do other stuff, treating the conference as a kind of “phone call meeting” that happens during the day. Cue a load of absences as leaders and their teams doing show up to the meetings because they got delayed in traffic doing something else.

      • lolwot,

        Yr: Apr 21, 5:33 a. m. comment.

        Enjoyed the response, lolwot. Indeed, it was a thought-provoking comment. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my thoughts:

        1) You wonder, lolwot, how a time-zone could be decided for an international video conference–suggesting that such decision-making poses an insuperable challenge to contemporary diplomacy. C’mon, lolwot, you mean to tell me that you trust the wannabe philosopher-king attendees, at the current enviro-boondoggles, to design “green economies” that will span the globe and devise “sustainability” policies that will burden and cripple the quality of life of the next umpteen generations and, yet, you don’t “trust” those same geniuses to be able to figure out how to select a time-zone for a video-conference? So how is selecting a time-zone for a video-conference any different than deciding which time-zone will enjoy the “home-town” advantage in the case of an on-site conference? You know, who’ll suffer the jet-lag and who won’t? And if the guys with the atomic-brains, who hold the fate of the earth in their hands, can’t figure it out any other way, here’s some suggestions:

        -draw straws
        -hold a lottery
        -arm wrestle for it
        -consult the magic 8-ball
        -or, my recommendation, hold a “vegan mother” blue-flamer contest–winner chooses the time zone. I mean, that last would not only provide for a good pre-conference photo-op, but it would also burn off some of that copious, noxious methane that lefty vegetarians are forever ripping-off like cattle in a feed-lot.

        2) Then, there’s your “jumping the gun” worry. Well, lolwot, if the “science” of video-conferencing is too immature at the present time to support an international conference, then just maybe we need to divert a big bunch of that dough we’ve been throwing at climate models and carbon-hoggy, fun-in-the-sun watermelon-conferences and use it to fleet up video-conferencing technology to the requisite level–and just not hold any more conferences in the meantime.

        -lolwot–you’ve got to be kidding me! Again, you think these smarty-pants, know-it-all’s seeking ever more power and control over our lives–who claim to have the answers and techniques by which they can command the very climate of the earth–can’t, at the same time, figure out video-conferencing? I dunno, lolwot, maybe you’re right. Maybe our illuminati are just a bunch of bumbling, useless-eater incompetents, after all. But if so, then we need a whole new crew of fearless leaders, and, like, right now–wouldn’t you say?

        -And as far as the U. S. Congress not using video-conferencing goes–well, that’s a well deserved privilege Congress has earned by not ratifying that idiotic Kyoto Protocol and otherwise fending off the worst of the CAGW scam and its phoney-baloney claims of carbon peril. Good for them! Enjoy your carbon, guys!

        3) Then, there’s your concern, lolwot, that a video-conference won’t allow for arguing among virtual attendees. So are you sure you can’t argue via video-conferencing, lolwot? But let’s say you can’t–well then, the participants can take their burning little issues and apply chit-chat to them to their heart’s content via conference calls, e-mails, or maybe even via comments on a conference blog–I mean, don’t people argue here at Climate etc.? Aren’t I arguing with you, lolwot? Is this sort of thing so very hard to figure out?

        4) Ah yes, we also have your software anxieties, lolwot. Already provided the answer in 2) and 3), above, except to say that if the UN permanent-hire leeches can’t figure our how to set up a video-conference, then we need to jettison their loser butts and get a crew in there that can get the job done. Though I do appreciate that the eco-hive’s party-animal, carbon-swine, hypocrite faction (the greenshirt majority caucus, I’m sure) will do all in their power to sabotage the video-conference option–GHG emissions be damned!

        5) You also raise the issue of “glitches” in connectivity. No more of a problem, lolwot, than that currently posed by the delayed arrival of a delegation due to a connecting flight that was snowed-in. So muddle through, lolwot, when you have a connectivity lapse. Figure it out. Massage egos. Assure the poor babies who lost their connectivity that their murderous kleptocrat boss wouldn’t have gotten any bigger hand-out even if they had participated. That’ll mollify ’em. And for Pete’s sake, lolwot, start using your initiative and imagination from now on so that you can begin to work some of this out on your own!

        6) You’re worried about training? You can’t figure out training, lolwot?!! You’re fired, lolwot!!!!

        7) And you’re also worried about technical support, lolwot? You mean you can’t figure out technical support either? O. K., lolwot, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna hire you back–but just so I can fire your butt again. You’re fired, lolwot!!!!

        8) And, finally, you’re concerned that participants in a video-conference might blow-off the whole stupid event due to “distractions”. In other words, you’re concerned, lolwot, that video-conference participants are likely to find something better to do than waste their time with a bunch of quarrelsome, party-line hack, prima donna, fellow creep-outs. Probably so, lolwot. I mean, I think you’ve got a legitimate fear here. But, at the same time, lolwot, if your fears are realized then that’s a good thing–right, lolwot? And, oh by the way, lolwot that “distraction” objection to video-conferences that you’ve raised serves as the best possible proof that the only reason you lefties ever bother to show up at your Gaia-bashes is for the party-trough. Again, right, lolwot?

        My best shot, lolwot. At a minimum, I think I can say that I didn’t get carried away by my emotions this time, don’t you agree?

      • Mr. mike,

      • Mike my point is that video-conferencing for an international conference has huge, if not insurmountable problems that could very well cripple the conference. From a practical point of view it’s jumping the Gun. The world hasn’t even got video-conferencing working for local parliaments yet.

        Lets be clear: You aren’t demanding video-conferencing for any practical reason (any emissions saving would be irrelevantly small), you only demand it as a daft form of tit-for-that. Ie if they debate carbon emissions they aren’t allowed to make any carbon emissions while they do it.

        That’s emotion not practical. It’s not how the world works. It’s letting your hatred for politicians get such in the way that it creates roadblocks. It’s similar to those who demand that any politician who votes for war must be on the front-lines of that war or send their kids to fight, and if they can’t for some reason there can’t be a war.

      • lolwot,

        Nice try, lolwot, to slip a discussion that was obviously causing you some genuine and well-deserved discomfort. It is true that I’m not convinced of the CAGW peril or the U. N.’s abilities to effectively address such a peril, even if real. But if I, like you, lolwot actually took the CAGW peril and the U. N. seriously, then I’d most certainly be looking to reduce the carbon footprint of U. N. conferences through video-conferencing as a model, if nothing else, for similar carbon-reductions elsewhere in government, academic, and business contexts. I mean, isn’t carbon reduction supposedly what it’s all about in your view of things?

        And lolwot, forgive me, but I think you’re trying way too hard to avoid a serious examination of the the video-conferencing option. Think about it, is it really harder to move electrons and electro-magnetic waves about the earth than people by the thousands in CO2 belching planes, trains, limos, and ships? Maybe there are insuperable barriers to international video conferencing, but you haven’t made that case and your initial pessimism defies common sense. Though your “push-back” just might serve the purpose of protecting one of your most cherished, carbon-piggy good deals–taxpayer funded, carbon-fuglie, eco-party conferences at really swell vacation destinations, most often noted for their sex tourist amenities–right, lolwot?

        But the most revealing part of your last comment was to subtly and indirectly characterize my leadership expecations as a “daft form of tit-for-tat”. You know, like, my expectation that those demanding sacrifices of others should lead from the front and by example is–how might you put it lolwot? Oh yes!–like a really dotty, totally un-hip, low-rent, trailer-trash type of anti-science, Republican-brain, denier sort of thinking. And I realize and sadly accept, lolwot, that my notion of leadership is sure to provoke howls of self-serving, contemptuous laughter among the sophisticates of the hive.

        So it’s obvious now where the divide is between you and me lies, lolwot. You, lolwot, believe that bug-out cowards and clever shirkers and manipulative profiteer-weasels should rule the roost and, in good conscience, enjoy their obscene good-deals provided by the “heavy-lifting” of the “little people.”

        And, you assign to the “little people” the duties of self-sacrificing protection of your privileged access to the big-shot trough, the onerous funding of your obscenely hypocritical good times, and a meek submission to your brave-new-world social engineering experiments on the “good comrade”, human lab-rat model. In other words, lolwot, you believe in the lefty “hive” model of society, which has been so very good to you, in which contemptible, grasping, well-connected parasites prosper while the rest of us are required to suffer in silence.

        And then there’s the “other” model for society, which in contrast to your favored rule by leeches with a sense of entitlement and a slicko knack for ducking the tough jobs, favors rule by the productive, decent, hard-working citizenry of our societies–those of proven character, good-judgement and ability and whose leadership style, when sacrifices must be made, is of the disinterested, LEADERSHIP FROM THE FRONT! AND LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE! variety. The model for my kind of society.

        So I’d say the lines are pretty clearly drawn between us, lolwot. But, please, whoop it up in Rio, lolwot. We’ll all be watching and forming our judgements–so put on a real show for us, will yah, guy?

      • R Gates asked

        1) Are Human Actvitiies changing the climate?

        Yes. Ancient Rome was 100 miles from side to side and it was noted that all the urban buildings caused the climate in the city to be much warmer than outside it, to the extent that certain trees died out to be replaced by those that liked a warmer climate. Nero redesigned the city to try to mitgate the urban heat,.

        2) What the the likely consequences going to be, assuming we take no action at all?
        In many cities and large urban areas a warmer climate will ,mean lower heating bills and a longer growing season. Undoubtedly some cities will become too warm and cause problems. Cities need to be designed accordingly

        3) If action seems warranted, what actions will be most effective in the long-run?

        See above but personally I am much more concerned with the consequences of An Internet disaster due to hacking.

      • The R. Gates Quiz,

        1) Are Human Actvitiies changing the climate?
        2) What the the likely consequences going to be, assuming we take no action at all?
        A warmer world, primarily northern hemisphere, by approximately 0.8 degrees C.
        3) If action seems warranted, what actions will be most effective in the long-run?
        Land use changes to reduce soil warming and water loss. Improve energy efficiency and promote responsible growth in alternate energy options with tax incentives. Relax ridiculous politically motivated regulations to provide a level playing field for entrepreneurial opportunities.

    • Steven Mosher

      talk to the DoD about your skepticism.

      • Meaningless. DoD does contingency planning for MANY low probability events.

      • Steven Mosher

        talk to them about your skepticism. I’m familiar with DoD planning. worked in threat analysis.

      • And DoD is more forward thinking than any other body.

        We have been warming for more than a century and it’s roughly better than 50% chance we more or less continue this warming into the next century.

        To expect a warmer arctic and a more ice free arctic in the next century is not a wild idea. I would expect if we do not cool much in the next century we will have a warmer arctic.
        But expecting significant changes within the next decade is unrealistic, whereas a measurable difference or significant difference within a century is something that is in accordance with leaving the cooler period of the Little Ice Age and returning to conditions of warmer conditions in the current interglacial period.

      • LOL- my skepticism about what specifically?

        I am certainly not skeptical about the fact that the DoD doing contingency planning for many events that may or may not actually happen. I find nothing wrong with the practice.

        For someone to argue or believe that because the DoD has done contingency planning for a potential outcome necessarily means that the potential outcome will, or is even likely to happen is simply wrong.

  3. It seems (as the saying goes) someone is dividing the bear’s skin before it was killed.

  4. See today’s brouhaha over the manipulation of Sea Ice Extent graphs by the NSIDC.

    The globe is cooling, folks, and maybe the Arctic is icing back up again.

    • sun is hesitating. running out of iron?

    • Of course the globe is cooling. That always happens when the globe gets warm and the Arctic Sea Ice Melts. That is when the snows come that replenish the glaciers and ice packs. That ice then advances and cools the earth. This is a normal and natural and desirable part of a normal and natural and desirable cycle.

  5. Time will tell us to what degree the arctic actually opens up from melting or not.
    So far the amount of melting has not been very well predicted, so the models seem of very low value. Did anyone have a model in 2007 that predicted that the arctic ice area in Mid April 2012 would be at the average from 1979 to 2006? I suppose not.

    • The models are of little or no value. The models are based on flawed theory. They do not take into consideration that when the Arctic Sea Ice is melted, it snows like crazy. We saw that in Alaska, parts of Canada, Europe and Asia during this past winter. We saw that in the lower US last year. Every year with an open Arctic is a year of huge snowfall.
      How many times does Mother Earth need to say. I keep giving you the data, why do you keep closing your eyes to the data?

      • I agree that the Arctic sea ice plays important role in earths climate. It seems to be very variable as well, more than other parts of the world. Especially the north atlantic side.

  6. When the earth is warm, the Arctic opens as much as is needed to cool the earth. This is happening now. We live in a great time. This time we have the ability to watch and measure the data for this event. When the earth is cool, the Arctic closes and allows the sun to warm the earth again. This has been happening for all the time that we have Antarctic Ice core data, over eight hundred thousand years. The modern ten thousand years has the same cycle, but it is tightly bounded in a much more narrow range. LOOK AT THE DATA!

    • “The wreck of HMS Investigator has been discovered only because she is no longer hidden beneath what was once considered the Arctic’s eternal ice..”
      Stupid question: How did HMS Investigator get there in the first place? Drilled through the eternal ice?

  7. Bernie Schreiver

    Fans of Arctic exploration history (I am one of them) are encouraged to visit Patrick Lockerby’s web page Arctic Heroes #3 – Robert McClure for a vivid account of how rapidly this remote area of our world has been thawing in recent years.

    The Arctic of 2010 bears little resemblance to the Arctic that 19th century explorers encountered. Most of the ancient ice shelves are gone. Most of the thick shorebound multi-year ice is gone. Most multi-year ice in the main pack is gone. The North West and North East Passages look to be freely navigable soon. An ice free Canadian Archipelago and a circumnavigable Greenland are becoming ever more plausible. The wreck of HMS Investigator has been discovered only because she is no longer hidden beneath what was once considered the Arctic’s eternal ice..

    Another thrilling classic of scientific literature is T.H. “Lone Wolf of the Artic” Manning’s article “Narrative of an unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate Banks Island by canoe in 1952”, which a Google search will find. Kayak outfitters now organize regular tourist river-float trips to the northern regions of Banks Island that Manning (and his hapless graduate student!) found locked in ice, that they escaped only by trekking across hundreds of miles of Arctic wilderness.

  8. Sorry to hear of the passing of this mentor and friend of yours, Untersteiner.

  9. Norm Kalmanovitch

    The world has been cooling since 2002 so the only mechanism for the melting of arctic ice is a change in flow of warm ocean currents and the same change that causes ice cover to decrease can just as easily revert back to one that increases ice cover so these military leaders are not working from very sound intelligence ( not only in the context of information)

    • The Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period both did last awhile. They should give us an idea of how long this open Arctic Window might last.

    • Norm,

      The direction of the Navy’s research is driven by many factors. One of those is direction from its civilian leaders. Another is following where the dollars are. Take biofuels. They could care less about them, but because the political leadership has made biofuel research an area of focus and has specifically directed the Navy to investigate the practicallity of supporting or at least supplmenting their fuel requirements with it, the Navy is doing so. As for the Arctic, maintaining open sea lanes is a primary mission of the US Navy. If a change in climate is going to result in greater use and activity in Arctic waters, then it is the Navy’s responsibility to plan for increased operations in that area. All in the normal course of business for them.

  10. Bernie Schreiver

    Norm: “military leaders are not working from very sound intelligence”
    Norm, at least one person is certain to disagree with your assertion: the US Navy’s chief oceanographer, Rear Admiral David Titley, is a *reformed* AGW skeptic for data-driven and theory-driven scientific reasons that Adm. Titley discusses at length.

    Needless to say, when it comes to Arctic climate data, *no one* in the world has better access than Adm. Titley.

    • Military leaders are generally very good at adapting so as to not be seen as strongly disagreeing with their civilian leadership. Titley says absolutely nothing to rationally justify why he is a believer in cAGW.

      What he does say shows his complete misunderstanding of the difference between weather models and long term climate models. He also shows he has no understanding of the unproven forcings which some theorized would drive a change from a little over 1C for a doubling of CO2 to what some believe to be a much higher number.

      Bernie—so you really like to appeal to authority huh?

    • Bernie Schreiver

      Rob, when the weight of mathematics, physical theory, experiment, natural history, and observation points overwhelmingly in one direction, and the weight of considered opinion of religious, business, military, and scientific leaders points also in that direction, then I have found it prudent to assume that the truth too is likely is to be found in that direction.

      • Oh Bernie- there you go again making unsupported and unsupportable statements.

        What rate of warming will result from a doubling of CO2? Is it closer to 1C or 4C and what is the supporting evidence to support your belief?

        What will the rate of warming be for the next 5 to 30 years? Do you have a model that can predict that with a reasonably tight margin of error?

        Why has not sea level risen at the rates expected? If the rate of sea level rise does not change dramatically in the next 5 to 10 years will you agree that you were wrong?

        What makes you believe that you know how any overall temperature change will impact any particular place around the world? Will the US be better or worse off overall as a result of the planet being warmer? You have ZERO reliable information to draw conclusions on this don’t you? Somehow that does not stop you from your religious like belief that something terrible is likely to happen. Sadder still, you seem to advocate taking actions that cost a great deal and accomplish virtually nothing measureable relative to the climate.

      • Why has not sea level risen at the rates expected?

        What sea level rise was expected? Current rates have seen sea levels rise faster than the upper end of AR4 projections.

      • Why don’t we use data for a change?
        The data says sea level rise has stopped in the last 4 years. (Apart from up and down changes).
        So it seems our esteemed high officer is wrong after all?
        Besides, look at the sea ice too. Do you see a trend? yes. it is growing again.
        In short – NOBODY HAS A CLEW.

      • Paul that is an incorrent statement. Sea level is rising at an observed rate that will lead to less than 1 foot of rise by 2100. That rate is far lower than the rate forecasted by the IPCC. Now maybe something will change, but there is no reliable evidence to support that fear.

      • Rob,

        These things can actually be checked, very easily. This page shows the AR4 projections.

        According to the most extreme A1FI scenario the predicted sea level rise between 1980-1999 and 2090-2099 has a range from 0.26 to 0.59cm. Even in the highly unlikely event that sea level rise doesn’t accelerate under this scenario the current rate would still just about get into this range.

        Under the oft-referenced A1B scenario the current rate would produce an end-of-century sea level rise around the median of the predicted range.

      • “Weight” of mathematics, physics? Things are either mathematically and/or physically right or wrong – no “weight” involved.
        And no amount of “opinion” is going to make it right if it’s wrong, or vice-versa, regardless of who’s “opinion” it is.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        Rob and Peter, it is well to reflect that in climate science as in medicine:

        Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile.

             — Hippocrates.

        “The art is long, life is short, opportunity fleeting, experience perilous, and decision difficult”

        Physician who wait upon utterly certain diagnosis and definitively effective treatments are poor physicians … indeed almost useless to their patients.

        And in this regard climate science is no different.

      • …and doctors who rush in and prescribe the wrong treatments tend to kill their patients

      • … & we all know that the numbers don’t lie.

      • So Bernie,

        A patient comes to and says “Doc, I have this low grade fever and constant headache.”

        You going to diagnose him with a brain tumr, prescribe chemo and radiation treatment, plus massive does of anti-biotics, in case you are wrong about the tumor?

      • Not sure why but after the first line or two I can’t view what I’m writing.

      • Looks good from here.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        timg56 supposes: “A patient comes to and says ‘Doc, I have this low grade fever and constant headache.'”
        Certainly if those symptoms were observed to increase year-by-year, then any competent physician would be gravely concerned to determine whether a tumor, immune disorder, or persistent infection were present, and would be unsurprised if such were found.

        A celebrated medical maxim (from Sir William Osler) is this: “Listen to the patient and the patient will give you the diagnosis.” The patient earth is telling us plainly: “I am feverish in flesh (the land); my blood is becoming acid (the sea); my hair is falling out (the polar icecaps), and these symptoms are increasing year-by-year.”

      • And if you listen long enough, the patient will tell you the effective treatment, too. We haven’t listened to the Earth long enough.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        Kim, it’s common for sick patients to deny that their habits of smoking, drinking, over-eating, etc. are harming them and their families … and oftentimes these patients become exceedingly angry at physicians who tell them otherwise.

      • Bernie,

        The problem as I see it is that the planet is NOT telling us that. The planet is going about its business and instead we have some people trying to tell us that the planet is sick. It is slightly akin to having a lab technician or pharmasetical representative take a couple of measurements and pronounce you are ill. Or going to the university computer lab and having them run a simulation of you riding your bike to work, telling you you are going to die because that ‘s what the model predicts 5 times out of 10.

        In discussing the impacts of human activity to our biosphere, those that can be positively linked to climate change are miniscule to many of human activities. Worrying about CO2 is like telling the patient to eliminate salt from his diet because we have studies showing it contributes to hypertension and ignoring the fact he smokes 3 packs a day and consumes a fifth of gin every night.

      • But Doc I only drink 18 beers a night.

      • ‘Only one drink a day’ turned out to be ‘in a tall glass, holding a pint of gin, and starting at ten in the morning’. Revelation three days post op after the nurses reported DTs.

      • Bernie

        Climate science is not the same as practicing medicine.

        Medicine involves an individual (or family) consulting with a doctor (or group of doctors) regarding the treatment of that individual. If the treatment succeeds or fails it impacts the individual in question.

        Climate science as it relates to AGW or cAGW is a group of individuals that have formed a series of conclusions or theories and have tried to convince the rest of the world’s population that they should change their basic behaviors as a result of their conclusions/theories.

        The fact is that there is very, very little reliable evidence to support the theory that a gradually warming world is actually worse for the US or humanity overall over the long term, and there is even less evidence that the trend of rising CO2 can or will be changed.

    • Bernie,

      Interesting video you linked to. You may have noted that Admiral Titley referred to his prior views on CAGW as “pretty hard core skeptic.” So I checked out youtube and guess what?!!–I couldn’t find any videos of the Admiral airing his skeptic views of yore!!! How ’bout them apples!
      So can you help me out, Bernie, and point me to those earlier videos, if you would be so kind.

      You know, Bernie, I’m so pumped up to see if the Admiral’s earlier speeches, advocating the “skeptic position” he formerly held on CAGW, were offered up with the same sort of smooth and well-rehearsed polish we see in the video you linked. I mean, Bernie, I’m sure you agree it would be of interest to see the admiral’s delivery of his prior and current views in a contrasting then and now comparison. At any rate, I’m glad we’ve got a flag-officer on the CAGW case with Admiral Titley’s extraordinary ease before an audience and exemplary public speaking skills–you know, like, much better Admiral Titley than one of those crusty, totally-inappropriate, no-nonsense, ol’ sea-dog type of Admirals with too much time at sea, I think we can all agree.

      Digging in a bit more, Bernie, I discovered I couldn’t find any videos, at all, of U. S. uniformed personnel, speaking in an official capacity, casting doubt on CAGW. Those videos are out there, I’m sure, but I just couldn’t find them–like I said, not even Admiral Titley’s old flicks. Again, I need your help finding those videos, Bernie.

      Incidentally, Bernie, it seems Admiral Titley’s educational background is all in meteorology and oceanography (and politics). I mean, aren’t meteorologists supposed to be in there with other useless-eater dummies like astronauts and physicists and engineers and all when it comes to understanding CAGW? I mean, Bernie, aren’t we supposed to only “trust” climate scientists (except those in the pay of the Koch brothers, of course) and Al Gore on the CAGW business? I mean, Bernie, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work and all? Or is the Admiral an exception? I mean, what’s the deal here exactly, Bernie?

      • Bernie Schreiver

        Mike, in answer to your questions, please let me commend to the attention of Climate Etc. readers the report Uncharted Waters: The U.S. Navy and Navigating Climate Change, which was commissioned by Admiral Gary Roughead (the Chief of US Naval Operations) in summer of 2008, and which contains dozens of references to earlier military literature.

        Summary: What Admiral David Titley is saying today is what earlier military strategists and analysts have been saying for several decades.

      • Bernie,

        I read the first few chapters of that report. First off, you should note that the CNO was directed to produce the report. Secondly, you should note that the conclusions reached all support what the Navy’s current missions are. In other words, it helps support arguments for continued funding of Navy programs. The Navy’s interest isn’t in climate change. It is in being able to compete for budgetary dollars and justify the continuing need for a Navy.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        LOL … TimG56 the earliest reference that I can find to the strategic implications of an ice-free Arctic induced by AGW is a brief mention in the concluding sentence of the abstract of a 1981 article by an obscure NASA scientist named … James Hansen … titled “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide“, which foresees the eventual “opening of the fabled Northwest Passage” (an opening that in fact has happened in 2009, 2010, and 2011).

        How many decades farther back do you reckon this conspiracy extends, and how many distinguished mathematicians, scientists, businessmen, religious leaders, and military leaders (like Adm. Titley) have been caught up in it? :)

      • Bernie,

        Just out of curiosity, Bernie, since you’ve exhaustively studied the military literature in the area of climate change, just what are the military studies and conclusions (and videos) attached to global cooling scenarios? I surely hope there are such studies. If not, why the hell not? At one time, at least, the armed services were expected to be prepared for multiple contingencies. Or has the CAGW scam further degraded our national capabilities so that our strategic planning is now only of the one-trick-pony variety? I hope not.

      • Bernie,
        “gullibility, thy name is Bernie”.

      • Bernie,

        I never said anything about a conspiracy. That the Navy has issued a report about climate change and has been spending a lot of money on biofuel research is not the result of any conspiracy. They are simply doing as ordered.

      • Bernie,

        I got about half-way through that paper you provided. But that was enough to assess it with regards to the point I was attempting to make in my original comment. In particular, the study starts with the assumption that the CAGW “science”, circa 2008, together with it’s fashionable scare-stories of that era are a “given” and that CAGW is in the can. Again, given those assumptions, the implications are considered from a naval perspective. Just like a jillion other op-plans with their assumptions (always spelled out) and war-games with their scenarios (sometimes really off the wall). And, most certainly, the study is not an independent review and validation of the CAGW science (I mean they didn’t even get access to any of Michael Mann’s e-mails)–to include the work of the CRU, which the study authoritatively references, or the conclusions of the IPCC to which the study defers.

        And just because some guy in a sailor suit says he believes in all that hotly contested CAGW “science” doesn’t make it so unless he’s personally done the work and acquired the knowledge that entitles him to speak with unimpeachable authority in the matter. Especially, when there doesn’t seem to be any other published studies by military entities or publicly available videos by military members contesting CAGW “science.” Just astronauts. Retired astronauts. And some of the retired and former military guys on this blog and others like it. I mean, like, it gives the appearance that one best keep one’s doubts about CAGW to themselves when in uniform, now-a-days. Or, alternatively, it means there is no one belonging to any of the uniformed services who has the slightest doubt about the CAGW orthodoxy you’re pushing Bernie–until they retire, that is, and then their minds change, like we saw with the NASA astronauts.

        You know, that sort of thing, Bernie.

      • mike,
        Bernie is immune to critical thinking- and apparently actively avoids it- if the path leads to doubting his faith based conclusions.
        True believers have a radar tuned to high sensitivity towards anything that might undermine their extremist views.
        You are wasting time with the Bernie’s of the world. AGW serves to fill a deep need in their psyches and they will cling to it no matter how mental gymnastics are involved.

      • Hunter, try using ‘analytical thinking’. ‘Critical thinking’ has a newly perverted meaning.

      • It’s been a couple months since I read the position paper, so I forgot about the part Mike points out – namely that the Navy was given a set of parameters to work from. In other words, they were following orders.

        Not much different than war gaming against an assumed opponent in a global nuclear war. The Navy doesn’t expect to have to fight a nuclear war and knows that the probability of having to do so is remote, but it is part of their mission to be able to do so. The SecNav tells the CNO that I want you to produce a paper that says what the navy will need to do if certain predictions were to come true with climate. It’s an exercise, not evidence that the US Navy believes climate change is a grave concern to it.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      Are these the same military leaders who went into Iraq based on their intel which showed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which never materialized?

  11. Would it not be wise to see these studies on Arctic futures using modifiers like “if” and “may”?
    Dr. Curry, Thank you for sharing the personal memories as well as biography of your mentor, Norbert Untersteiner. He sounds like a true explorer and scientist. My sympathies to his family and close friends. I am sure he will be missed.

  12. How sad to read that “the United States is pouring funds into figuring out what climate change will bring, and has been working closely with the scientific community to calibrate its response.”

    There is no money in unpredictability. The big policy question is how much is the US betting on these forecasts? What will it have cost if they are wrong? As they very likely will be wrong, their being so many possibilities.

  13. You mention that Steve Goddard is unhappy with the latest NSIDC plot. We should all be unhappy for fraud is fraud whether by Wall Street, academia, or agents of Governments. The only difference is the amount of money involved. Usually Government fraud is most expensive: maintaining military bases open solely to keep the local population busy; buying more transport trucks or tanks than the military requested; buying technology that, as designed, were not fit for purpose.

    Today we witness Governmental Agency fraud, yet again. Whether adjusting sea levels with imagined increments; or, manipulating plots to hide an inconvenient talking point, fraud by leading climate luminaries of NASA and NOAA is on display.

    We seemed to have lost our voices in protest. Bad behavior of climate scientists in the academic realm had to be brought public, not by academia, but by a motley crew of outsiders and pirates. Unwarranted adjustments pass uncritically from paper to press to talking points.

    A cornucopia of academic department drivel emanates from psychology to sociology drumbeating a catastrophic future. Bad science mixed with bad politics adds to the opportunity lost costs.

    And where oh where are those dissenting voices? not in Government, nor academia. Those dissenting voices are scattered, except in the blogosphere. It will be up to the masses, the supposedly ignorant and dozing masses, to marshal an offensive against the tyranny of data manipulation, against the name calling by those in government and academia of dissenters, and a crowd insisting upon a financial tightening and accounting for projects.

    One caveat; for voices to be heard the Media has to pay attention and report and relearn the lessons now apparently forgotten: self-educate, investigate & research, remain objective.

    • RiHoo8
      I don’t often commend Anthony Watts but a short perusal of his post on this topic demonstrates that there is absolutely no suggestion of fraud at all. You should apologise for your diatribe and do so wherever you have posted your hateful rant.

      • Thank you Louise for redirecting me to Anthony Watts blog. I was operating upon the information provided by our hostess of April 18th. I now observe that the running 9 day smoothing has been withdrawn, the 5 day smoothing returned with center on day 2.5 as well as the 5 day mean including April 18 data. All this posted today April 19th.

        Steve Goddard has revised his statement with an apology and observes that the running mean now has crossed the baseline mean:

        I read on AW’s blog the NSIDC explanation of the original plot as a not yet ready for prime time exercise. The public view of the plot was a mistake brought to their attention by Anthony Watts and others.

        To address my diatribe and “hateful rant” I wish to extend to you and any others who are so offended with my apology for my accusations of fraud. I ascribed malevolence where there was simply a mistake in communication. Again, I apologize.

        If you are interested in the specifics attached to the other entities I label as fraud: military bases, trucks, tanks, technology not fit for purpose, sea level increments, leading luminaries of NASA, NOAA, etc., I commend to your reading regularly Anthony Watts blog as well as that of Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit. Specifics abound in these sources as well as others of a more political nature and are in finer detail than my mere mentionings.


  14. Rusija uspostavlja granicu na Arktiku
    16. Apr. 2012. | 10:58 Rusija namjerava da uspostavi 20 pograničnih prelaza radi kontrole sjeverne granice i sjevernog morskog puta….

    Russia is establishing border in the Arctic
    Russia has intention of setting-up 20 border crossings, in order to control the northern border and the northern sea lanes ….

    • John from CA

      International maritime law and conventions specify sea boundaries. They have every right to monitor and patrol their borders.

      What’s the big deal?

  15. The quickest way to figure out if the Arctic is warming is for some greenies to set off on an expedition to prove the Earth is doomed if we don’t start listening to the Western schoolteachers AGW. That usually ends in some Herculean rescue effort and amputated, frostbitten fingers or worse: eco-whackpots being rescued by an oil tanker.

  16. Sigh. Seems things are always going missing in climate sci… Missing Medieval Warming Period, missing ocean heat and now Arctic ice has gone missing. What’s happened to the missing ice date of April 16th?
    The way they’re telling it, the Vikings will soon be moving back to Greenland.

    May 30.

    A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, and in the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland ice cap should reduce at the same rate as the present melting, oceanic surfaces would rise to catastrophic proportions, and people living in lowlands along the shores would be inundated, said Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist today, at the University of California’s Geophysical Institute. Dr. Ahlmann added that temperatures in the Arctic have increased by 10 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. An ‘enormous’ rise from the scientific standpoint. Waters in the Spitsbergen area, in the same period, have risen from three to five degrees in temperature, and one to one and a half millimetres yearly in level. ‘The Arctic change is so serious that I hope an international agency can speedily be formed to study conditions on a global basis.’ said Dr. Ahlmann. He pointed out that in 1910 the navigable season along the western Spitsbergen lasted three months. Now it lasts eight months.
    Saturday 31 May 1947

    • +100

    • You’re talking about Svalbard, probably the most accessible part of the high Arctic.

      Spitzbergen is navigable almost all year around, now, compared to a quarter of the year a century ago.

      Though much of the rise between 1900 and 1950 is generally attributed to the North Atlantic Current, I believe, which keeps the west island at least 30F warmer than Baffin Island at the same latitude.

  18. Howling Winds

    Another science that might benefit from the Arctic warming (assuming it’s true) might be that of archaeology, if there are in fact the remains of humans or other civilizations there to be uncovered.

  19. I was thinking of putting up , just as a joke, a comment disputing that the Arctic is actually warming. But I see genuine climate change deniers have already done that in all seriousness!
    I really wonder why Judith bothers to run this blog which seems to have attracted the attention, and mostly the favour, of the worst of the anti-science crowd.
    The only justification would be if she actually bothered to correct some of the more bizarre claims. Or is the melting ice just another one of those uncertainies with all points of view are equally valid?
    That’s not the way hard headed corporations and governments see it. They know the sea ice they’ve been used to is going to disappear this century. They know its cause, and are all working steadily and aggressively to ensure they are are well positioned for that change.

    • Bernie Schreiver

      Certainly there is a remarkable degree of resistance on this forum — and even animosity — with regard to the notion that the US Navy, having driven its nuclear submarines under the polar ice for more than fifty years, might actually know something about the cumulative effects of AGW in this region, and appreciate the strategic consequences.

      • The Navy cannot know about the cumulative effects of AGW because it cannot know about things that are not known to exist, and probably do not exist.

      • Hey Burnie – I have some questions for you on the UQ thread, if you don’t mind taking a look. It’s a real communications opportunity.

      • Bernie,

        Your all-worked-up snit and petulance is wasted–sorry, guy. I mean, let me assure you, Bernie, that no one (and I’ve read everyone’s mind on this blog) has “animosity” to the “notion” that the “US Navy, having driven its nuclear submarines under the polar ice for more than fifty years,” might actually know something about the cumulative effects of ice-loss “in this region.” Repeat: NO ONE BEARS ANIMOSITY TO THAT NOTION!

        But, Bernie, there might be a few folks on this blog that get just a little “testy” when you try to slip a cutie-pie scam-booger into the discussion. You know, like, when you say, Bernie, that the U. S. Navy knows something about the effects of “AGW” in the Arctic. You know, Bernie, like, as opposed to simply saying the Navy undoubtedly has expert knowledge of the actual ice conditions in the Arctic independent of any putative AGW attributions.

        Rather, both the Admiral’s video and the CNO study you linked generally addressed CAGW, not merely the changes in Arctic ice over the last decade or so. In that regard, of the 83 references in the CNO study’s “Endnote” (one authored by Dr. Curry, I might add), there is not one that is obviously, at least, original research on Arctic “AGW” by the Navy based on its fifty-years of submarine operations in the area.

        But maybe you can be of help in this area, Bernie? So, Bernie, just what are the studies–top ten will do–the U. S. Navy has conducted that independently demonstrate, scientifically, that the change in Arctic ice conditions, over the last decade or so, are due, predominantly, to AGW? I mean, the Navy’s original research-based, actual cause and effect linkage of anthropogenic CO2 with recent Arctic sea loss, to the substantial exclusion of all other causes? With a further demonstration that such Arctic sea ice loss is unprecedented and irreversible and is not a part of a naturally recurring, cyclic decline and recovery of Arctic sea ice and other good stuff like that. I mean, like, Bernie, you should even feel free to throw in any pictures of dead polar bears, baby Harp seals being clubbed to death for their fur, death-spirals, or anything else like that you might have readily at hand–those sort of items are always a big hit on this blog.

        But let’s see what you got, Bernie. I mean, other than a red-face.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        Mike, perhaps it will help you (and other Climate Etc. skeptics) to appreciate that:

        (1) the thermal structure of the ocean controls sound propagation paths in the ocean

        (2) sound propagation paths control ballistic missile submarine (SSBM) detection capabilities

        (3) SSBM detection is a vital national security concern

        That is why the US Navy has (for many decades) supported the research program of America’s foremost senior oceanographer, Walter Munk of the Scripps Institute. Moreover, Munk is a prominent member of the US/DoD scientific coordinating committee JASONS, which gives Munk access to compartmented (that is, beyond Top Secret) intelligence information, that the US Navy acquires (for example) during its submarine patrols.

        With this in mind, you are cordially invited to watch Walter Munk’s on-line video lecture Perspectives on Ocean Science: Global Sea Level: An Enigma . It is essentially upon foundations of Walter Munk’s science that James Hansen and his colleagues have constructed their predictions of accelerating sea-level rise in coming decades.

        Through JASON, the US Navy of course appreciates all of this. And of course, Walter Munk works hand-in-hand with the Navy in helping the Navy to integrate its understanding of the world’s changing oceans.

      • Bernie,
        So Dr. Munk was wrong about slr. It is not the first time a great scientist was wrong. And I bet it is not the first time that a military got somethign wrong, either.
        Your odd reliance on authority is a touching testimony to the depth of your faith.

      • Bernie,

        As someone who has been aboard one of those submarines and been north of the Arctic circle, I do not doubt or question whether the Navy possesses a good understanding of what conditions in the Arctic are like and how they may have changed. I have no idea whether the Navy, as an institution, holds an opinion on said changes being the result of AGW. And assuming for the sake of argument that they did, so what? Their mission is to be able to operate in that environment, whatever the conditions and to be able to respond to NCA directives.

      • Bernie Schreiver

        Your starting assumptions are incorrect, tim56. The US Navy, like all US agencies of Defense and Intelligence, has the duty of foresight. These views are consolidated in large measure through the Strategic Futures Group of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Therefore, please let me commend to your attention (and the attention of Climate Etc. readers) the NIC’s ongoing Global Trends Project, in which the strategic and economic consequences associated to the progressive and accelerating effects of global climate change are regarded (quite properly) as very serious indeed.

      • Bernie,
        Pearl harbor, 911, Vietnam, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, etc. etc. etc. are all great examples of what happens when relies on government foresight.

    • Temp, you are the one who is anti-science, as I have noted many times before. You have no scientific case so you resort to repeated name calling.

    • Bernie Schriever

      Temp, please let me say that I agree whole-heartedly with David Wojick’s post … name-calling posts are entirely futile in themselves, and even are harmful to the scientific community as a whole.

    • A prediction is that the American fossil fuel companies will quietly join in the “gold rush” for fossil fuels in the Arctic as it opens up which amounts to ditching the ideas of the think tanks they set up to dispute that this would ever happen.

      • Jum D,
        What skeptics dispute is that the world is facing a climate crisis.
        And, by the way, the vast majority of oil company money is going to AGW promoters. That you true believers still persist in falsely claiming that skeptics are somehow well significantly funded by big oil is a nice example of the mental derangement that is caused by deep irrational belief systems. The derangement you exemplify is discussed in more depth in one of Dr. Curry’s latest blog posts.

  20. Military activities in the water around Great Britain during the First World War are likely to have contributed to the immense Arctic Warming (particularly during the winter season) from 1919 to 1939. The Norwegian- and West Spitsbergen Current carried all the water to the Arctic Ocean. (more: )
    In winter 1918/19 the temperature made a colossal jump, see the Vukcevic-graph “Temperatures in the Arctic”
    If military activities during WWI had anything to do with the warming of the Arctic from 1919 to 1939, which actually warmed up the Northern Hemisphere (in the USA until 1933, in Europe until winter 1939/40), than it would be time to understand it soon, before the Arctic “new military activity“ materialise.

  21. In 1974-after extensive consultation -THe CIA decided that the climate was cooling, possibly to alaming proportions. This document looks at the overall ecidence and examines some of the overall implications for security, food, politics. That this has considerable cold war implications and would have set the US defence alarm bells ringing, perhaps explains some of the actvity in the Arctic around this period.

  22. Thanks Tonyb. For fun I checked out The Cooling a 1976 non fiction by Lowell Ponte about the coming ice age. Starts with “Our planet’s climate has been cooling for the past three decades.” NAS published a 1975 report warning about the cooling trend and recommended quadruplihg of funds for climatged research, from the NAS Committee on Climate Variation.
    Who said follow the money? Scott

    • Scott

      Do you have links to those please?

      • Tonyb, I looked at the NAS web page but no luck with the study. It was quoted in the book, The Cooling. I checked the 1975 book out of the library for the first time anyone looked at it in a long time. The quote on page 4 and the reference was in the bibliography as NAS 1975 study, “Understanding Climate Change; A Program for Action.” I guess it was before the interenet was invented by VP Gore and all this stuff was readily available. Scott

      • Scott

        Thanks for trying. Fortunately I live near the Met office library in Exter so I will see if I can find it there.

      • Tonyb, did you write the guest blog on WUWT blog? Said by Tony Brown and I wondered. That was very good and interesting.

      • Scott

        Yes, I write here and at WUWT. Some dozen articles so far on everything from Arctic Sea Ice to Sea surface temperatures, generally through a historic context.

      • It is interesting to look for books that have fallen off the grid thanks tot he internet. I finally found a book tracing the history of aopcalyptic fads I barely recalled reading in the 1980’s. It took 2 tries to find a re-seller with it in stock, but I now have it on the way.

      • Hunter

        I positively seek out old books that are pre AGW scare as they don’t have an axe to grind. I have got eight books out at present from the Met office library, none of which are mentioned on the Internet. Several have not been lent out for over 6 years. It seems to be becoming the case that If it doesn’t exist digitally it may as well not exist at all

  23. “The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas is in the Arctic. Shipping lanes could be regularly open across the Arctic by 2030”

    Yet another aspect of positive feedback.

    • Dean | April 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm |

      Because everyone wants annual $50 million rescues of stranded containter ships by ice breaker, more dead drillers and an unstoppable version of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster?

      Sounds positive to me. In a certain direction.

  24. … a very strong case that in 2012 or 13 we’ll have an ice-free Arctic, as soon as that.

  25. It could be the greatest change to the planet’s environment many of us will ever see.

    Within a few decades the vast sea ice that spreads over the North Pole could disappear for weeks or even months in the Arctic summer.
    The last time this happened, scientists tell us, was long before humans set foot on the earth.

    The Arctic sea ice is retreating as climate change advances. The change being felt in this fragile world is caused, in part, by us. And it’s happening so fast, it’s defying scientific models.

    DR TED SCAMBOS, NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER USA: What you have to remember is that even three or four years ago the scientific community was saying, this is an emergency, this is something serious. We could have an ice-free Arctic by the year 2070, by the year 2080. In the last few years those predictions have come way, way in towards the present and now we’re saying maybe 2030, maybe 2020. There’s a group that makes a very strong case that in 2012 or 13 we’ll have an ice-free Arctic, as soon as that.

  26. Arctic is the refrigerator of the N. Hemisphere, it is continuously bombarded by cosmic rays and the high energy solar protons. Intensity of the impact is inversed to the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, which is not constant.
    We have a reasonable estimate of changes for the last 8000 years.
    Keen climate sceptic would be able to identify (delta Bz, red line) Roman, MWP & LIA periods. Rise of the ancient civilisations: Mesopotamian (3500 BC), Egyptian Old Empire (3000BC) and New Empire (1500BC), China (2000 BC), Japanese and Mayan (0 AD) may be just another coincidence.

  27. ceteris non paribus

    What Arctic warming?

    Obviously, 2,000 scientists from 60 countries with hundreds of published papers are just making it all up.

  28. John from CA

    All I had to see was Huffington Post article to draw an initial conclusion.

    When scientists state “ice free” they don’t mean completely free of all ice nor do they mean year round. At best, the Arctic may offer the opportunity for military Naval engagements during a 90 day period. But the idea is stupid. What idiot whats to lunch a naval engagement in an Arctic that’s monitored by a full metal jacket of NASA and military satellites and surrounded by missiles.

    The other ridiculous assertion relates to resources. There are only a handful of companies that can drill at sea and the global free market fosters international cooperation.

    Naval exercises in the Arctic are an absurd waste of tax dollars.