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“Rotten” sea ice? – Not even in Denmark

Watts Up With That
December 14, 2009

There’s plenty of stories about how Arctic sea ice is now “rotten”. There’s darn few that talk about yearly comparisons or what other scientific outlets are saying about the claim.

As many WUWT readers know, 2007 was the minimum year of summer extent in sea ice, a year that is routinely held up as a cause for alarm. Another cause for alarm has been the “decline of multi-year sea ice”. Most recently we’ve gotten claims of “rotten ice” in the news media. That “rotten” ice is “duping the satellites” they say. This all from one fellow, Dr. David Barber on a  ship that took a short expedition in the Arctic and observed what he called “rotten ice”. Here’s Dr. Barber using the poster child for sea ice loss in a  presentation.

http://www.umanitoba.ca/research/media/barber_dave_web.jpg
David Barber hypes polar bears – Image from University of Manitoba files

Seems that his “rotten” message resonated, even the media in Alaska (who can observe sea ice on their own) are saying it: New study: Arctic ice is rotten (Anchorage Daily News)

Over at the Greenbang Blog, they say that: ‘Rotten’ sea ice creates false impression of Arctic recovery

They cite:

Satellite data in 2008 and 2009 appeared to indicate that Arctic sea ice cover had started to grow again after reaching a record low, leading some to claim that global warming was reversing. However, University of Manitoba researcher David Barber found that wasn’t the case after he viewed the ice firsthand this September from an ice breaker travelling through the southern Beaufort Sea.

What the satellites had identified as thick, multiyear ice, it turned out, was in fact thin, “rotten” ice, Barber and his colleagues discovered.

This apparently was the conclusion from watching Dr. Barber’s YouTube video:

You can read Barber’s study here (Word DOC file)

So if the satellites are “duped” into seeing more ice than actually exists, then 2007 ice must have been really, really, rotten:

From Cryosphere today – click to enlarge

Compare for yourself, here.

Looks like it has firmed up since then. So no matter how you spin it, there has indeed been improvement in sea ice in 2007. Going from “really, really rotten” in 2007 to simply “rotten” Arctic sea ice in 2009 is definitely an improvement.

One other note, if this “rotten ice” problem and satellite duping proposed by Dr. Barber is in fact real, I’d fully expect that the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) would make some sort of announcement or post a caveat about it on the “Arctic Sea Ice News and analysis” web page where they present the satellite data. I couldn’t find anything on that page about “rotten ice” or satellite data being inaccurate.

Looking further, I used a Google search for “rotten” within NSIDC’s web site (available from their search tool in the upper right of their web page) reveals no recent documents or web pages using that word. Odd.

OK maybe Cryosphere Today? Nope nothing there either.

JAXA’s sea ice page? Their News page?  Not a peep.

Nansen’s Arctic ROOS sea ice page? Or their news page? All quiet on the Arctic front.

Maybe the Danish Meteorological Institute (in Copenhagen no less) sea ice page? Surely, something must be “rotten” in Denmark, no? Alas, they don’t mention it either.

Gosh, the Arctic ice is rotten, the satellites are duped, and none of the major scientific organzations that track sea ice have anything to say about it?

It seems Dr. Barber’s conclusions are being left out in the cold by his peers.

December 15, 2009 - Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science

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