A Study in Infra-Red
Part twenty-one – The World’s Stage
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances…”
Shakespeare - As You Like It
Beyond the ice curtain and through the ring of fire we arrive once again at the centerpiece in the grand theatre.
Phil-anthropogenic Global Warming has been wearing away at the Arctic ice for nearly five decades now through methods such as:
Albedo modification by means of black carbon.
Cirrus cloud over-seeding, trapping heat to transform the ocean and the atmosphere into a giant heat reservoir.
Alteration of the upper atmosphere by means of atomic bombs, rockets and electromagnetic pulses leading to ozone destruction and formation of Polar Stratospheric Clouds.
Nurturing and guiding unprecedented perfect storms and hurricanes of ever greater intensity and frequency towards the North Pole. These extreme weather events and winds increasingly break up the remaining ice, both mechanically and by enhancing ocean heat transfer to the under-ice surface.
This process will accelerate as the area of open water in the Arctic ocean increases, as the albedo plummets, as convective cloud from the melting ice adds to the artificial cover already in place, and as the methane beneath the melting permafrost is released.
As they become increasingly impossible to play down, the cover story for these changes in atmospheric circulation and heat transport - Anthropogenic Global Warming caused by CO2, will assume more of the foreground. However, efforts are still being made to impede awareness of the severity of the loss of Arctic ice.
There are two factors to be taken into account when considering this process, ice extent and, the more important, ice thickness.
It’s important to establish that Ice extent is indeed decreasing over time, though the decline in ice thickness is more dramatic. Skeptics often cherry pick the brief upticks and scream recovery but the line of best fit reveals the truth as can be seen from this graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
“Monthly May Arctic sea ice extent for 1979 to 2016 shows a decline of 2.6 percent per decade. Photo: National Snow and Ice Data Center”
The public awareness, however, clouded by the Mediarologists, oscillates between ice extent decreasing and recovering without perceiving the overall decline clearly. This also generates perpetual vitriol between the two camps of skeptics and AGW proponents.
This image below from Climate.gov also shows the decline in ice extent.
Arctic sea ice concentration on the date of the 2016 minimum extent, September 10, 2016. NOAA Climate.gov image based on NOAA and NASA satellite data from NSIDC.
What Lies Beneath – Ice Thickness
Scientists confirmed in 2013, that ice thickness, the more significant factor, had dramatically declined:
“A team of scientists led by University College London has now generated estimates of the sea-ice volume for the 2010–11 and 2011–12 winters over the Arctic basin using data from ESA’s CryoSat satellite.
This study has confirmed, for the first time, that the decline in sea ice coverage in the polar region has been accompanied by a substantial decline in ice volume.
The new CryoSat dataset shows the volume’s continuing decline observed from 2003 to 2008 by NASA’s ICESat satellite.
Since 2008, the Arctic has lost about 4300 cubic km of ice during the autumn period and about 1500 cubic km in winter.
The team confirmed CryoSat estimates using independent ground and airborne measurements carried out by ESA and international scientists during the last two years in the polar region, as well as by comparing measurements from NASA’s Operation IceBridge.
“The data reveal that thick sea ice has disappeared from a region to the north of Greenland, the Canadian Archipelago and to the northeast of Svalbard,” said Katharine Giles, co-author of the study ‘CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume’, recently published online in Geophysical Research Letters.
“Other satellites have already shown drops in the area covered by Arctic sea ice as the climate has warmed, but CryoSat allows scientists to estimate the volume of sea ice – a much more accurate indicator of the changes taking place in the Arctic,” added Tommaso Parrinello, CryoSat Mission Manager.
To do this, CryoSat’s high-resolution radar altimeter sends pulses of microwave energy down towards the ice.
The energy bounces off both the top sections of ice and the water in the cracks between. The difference in height between these two surfaces allows scientists to calculate the ‘freeboard’ – the height of ice above the water – and, as a result, volume of the ice cover.” Emphasis mine
When taking the total volume of ice into account, both factors, ice extent and ice thickness, it is clear that there is a steep decline.
“Where has the thick ice gone?
When we consider the multi-year ice and look at the various measurements of it, we see a steep decline in this thick ice. As you might imagine, thick ice takes a lot more heat to melt, so the fact that it is disappearing so fast is of great concern.” Emphasis mine
“It is clear from the various data sets, terrestrial and satellite, that both the sea ice extent and multi-year ice volume are reducing. Sea ice extent recovered slightly during the Arctic winters of 2008-09, but the full extent of annual ice reduction or gain is seen in September of each year, at the end of the Arctic summer. The volume of multi-year ice has not recovered at all, and is showing a steeply negative trend.”
This video from Nasa Goddard, shows clearly how the Arctic ice has decreased in thickness in addition to ice extent.
Farewell to Arctic Ice
This decline in ice thickness is something that Dr Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, and leading member of the AMEG group, has been observing for over 40 years, using submarines to gather data from underneath.
“The average thickness of ice in the Arctic now, is about half what it was 30 years ago”
Dr Peter Wadhams
Polar Ocean Physics Group
He has recently published a book entitled “A Farewell to Arctic Ice.”
In this video, he discusses his research and its implications for mankind:
Sam Carana, member of the AMEG group and author of Arctic-news blogspot.com, produced this image illustrating the dramatic shift in ice extent and ice thickness over three years:
The green, yellow, and red end of the scale indicates thicker ice, while the light blue, dark blue and violet end indicates thinner ice.
While there is a clear and dramatic thinning of ice, it would at first appear that the ice extent is recovering or even growing, as if we are seeing two, mutually-exclusive trends, simultaneously.
Curiously, though the ice extent for 2015 was in a steep downward decline, it suddenly began an anomalous recovery around September.
An explanation for this curious recovery may lie in 5 satellite images taken on September 15th 2015, in the Arctic Ocean during the same period as the anomalous upturn in ice extent.
Dane Wigington of geoengineeringwatch.org covered this:
“The 5 shocking satellite photographs below were taken in the Arctic Ocean on September 15th, 2015. What these images show is extremely anomalous ice formation in open water, far from any existing remaining ice. They also show extensive geoengineering aerosol cloud cover with very clear radio frequency signature patterns (my sincere thanks to anti-geoengineering activist Cori Gunnels for locating these alarming Arctic Ocean NASA satellite images).” Emphasis mine