Miriam O’Brien says: An unsustainable planet – and yellow submarines in Antarctica

New Post at HotWhopper. Miriam comments on comments.

WattsUpWithThat post: Surprise: Robot Sub Finds Much Thicker Than Expected Antarctic Sea Ice

HotWhopper Reply from Tuesday, November 25, 2014 [archived]:  An unsustainable planet – and yellow submarines in Antarctica

The comments are open…there’s no moderation, except for comments with 3 or more links. There is a new moderation policy in place.

Please refrain from ad hominem comments. I realize that will be difficult for many people, especially if you’ve just returned from Hot Whopper. But try; ad homs hurt your arguments.

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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12 Responses to Miriam O’Brien says: An unsustainable planet – and yellow submarines in Antarctica

  1. nielszoo says:

    My first foray here and after reading that archived link I have to ask if Ms O’Brien has a reading comprehension problem as most of the comments at WUWT were supportive of the actual science presented in the paper.

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  2. Nigel Harris says:

    What I don’t understand is Watts’s claim that this finding “really isn’t a surprise to climate skeptics”.

    How could this observation be expected? As far as I know, we don’t commonly see ridges that thick in the much better studied Arctic sea ice, even though there is a substantial (and growing) amount of multi-year ice there. In contrast, the Antarctic sea ice essentially all melts away each summer, so these 17m thick ridges must be formed within a single season.

    Can someone please enlighten me as to why skeptics shouldn’t find this result to be a surprise?

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  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Nigel Harris. Allow me to explain. We know Antarctic sea ice extent and area have been growing. One would also thought thickness would have gone along with that as well.

    Sea surfaces in the Southern Ocean have also cooled over the past 33 years:

    That graph’s from the most recent sea surface temperature update:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/october-2014-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/

    And the subsurface temperatures of the Southern Ocean to depths of 2000 meters don’t show any increase during the ARGO era:

    That’s from this post:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/there-is-a-wide-range-in-the-argo-era-warming-and-cooling-rates-of-the-oceans-to-depths-of-2000-meters/

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  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    nielszoo, welcome. Nice observation and summation. You’ll find that Sou cherry-picks comments, quotes things out of context, and misrepresents what’s she’s quoting. Looking forward to your future comments here.

    Cheers.

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  5. Richard Barraclough says:

    Personally I think this petty back-stabbing, as practised by a very sour and pitiable woman, has no place in WUWT. If you do want to try to score points off each other, playground-style, then why not swop email addresses, and keep the rest of us out of it.

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  6. motogeek says:

    I’ve noticed that about her too – she cherry-picks comments to quote on her blog, and then somehow claims that she’s representing the “skeptical commentators” with them. Um, *excuse me*? Does anybody else find that completely insane? Anybody can post on comments, and they’re not censored (unless they are inappropriate). Quoting the ‘worst of “skeptical” comments’ does nothing – as there is no way to know who actually posted the comment (could just as easily be one of her fellow warmists aping skeptics). Besides, sometimes even intelligent people misunderstand something – and commenting about it can help by letting someone else clarify it. She’s either a fool, or she’s disingenuous.

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  7. Bob,

    We know Antarctic sea ice extent and area have been growing. One would also thought thickness would have gone along with that as well.

    From the first two paragraphs in the body of the paper:

    Antarctic sea-ice extent has seen an overall positive trend with large regional variability over the past three decades 1 , the causes of which remain under debate 2–5 . Some models suggest greater trends in ice thickness 6,7 , providing another metric with which to evaluate sea-ice–climate interactions. However, there remains considerable uncertainty in even the climatological large-scale distribution of Antarctic sea-ice thickness, its smaller scale distribution (that is, the degree of deformation), and seasonal variability. This uncertainty limits our ability to evaluate sea ice and climate models 6,8 and the role of sea-ice deformation in controlling ice thickness 7 , ice production 9 , and ice–ocean buoyancy forcing 10 .

    While US and British submarines have been critical in the monitoring of Arctic sea-ice thickness 11 , no similar data set exists for the Antarctic. Direct in situ measurements are restricted to short drilling profiles (∼100–200 drill holes per floe) 12 . Draft measurements from upward looking sonar (ULS) are available during several years, but only for the Weddell Sea 13,14 . While a small number of electromagnetic measurements of sea-ice thickness have also been made, there are known limitations in areas of thick, deformed ice 15,16 . The only circumpolar estimate of sea-ice thickness is from visual estimates of thickness from ships while underway 17 .

    To summarize, these researchers show awareness and recognition of the following:

    1) Antarctic sea ice extent and area have been growing.

    2) The causes are poorly understood and are the subject of much debate.

    3) Observational data of thickness are known to be unrepresentative and thought to be biased toward thinner rather than thicker ice.

    4) It’s a logical no-brainer that extent and thickess likely go hand in hand.

    5) Some models agree with logic.

    6) Relying on models is no substitute for in situ observation.

    7) Models are only as good as their inputs.

    8) Obtaining more and better empirical data is the only thing for it.

    These researchers expected to find thicker ice than had previously been observed, and like good scientists actually set off to test their hypothesis so they could both quantify the growing thickness and hopefully learn more about ice dynamics in the process.

    Clearly climate contrarians don’t have a monopoly on not being surprised. How nice that it was consensus climatologists who were so willing to set about actually gathering the data for you.

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  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    Brandon Gates, thanks for copying and pasting the intro of the paper. But I think you missed something in my reply above, a portion of which you quoted.

    You ended you comment with, “Clearly climate contrarians don’t have a monopoly on not being surprised…”

    I never said they did. Read my comment again. What’s your point?

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  9. Bob,

    Anthony thinks someone is surprised: WattsUpWithThat post: Surprise: Robot Sub Finds Much Thicker Than Expected Antarctic Sea Ice

    If not climate contrarians, who? My point is “not the researchers who did this paper”.

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  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Brandon Gates: First, you forgot to quote the last sentence of the abstract of Williams et al. (2014):
    “We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.”
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/Williams%20thick%20deformed%20Antarctic%20sea%20ice.pdf

    If it’s “thicker than previously thought”, then the results were likely a surprise to someone.

    Second, there’s a critical word in your quote and it has to do with climate models. That word is “Some”. The second sentence from the first paragraph of the paper reads, “Some models suggest greater trends in ice thickness…” which suggests the other models don’t.

    Third, then there’s the press release from the Science Media Center:
    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-research-on-antarctic-sea-ice/

    It includes sentences like (my caps) “‘These findings CALL FOR A RETHINKING of the interaction between ocean and atmosphere around Antarctica and how it is represented in our climate models,'” and “‘This new paper presents important results obtained from a novel underwater vehicle that RADICALLY CHANGE OUR CONCEPTS of the structure of Antarctic sea ice…”

    Sounds to me like people were surprised, Brandon.

    And what really surprises me, Brandon, is that you’re wasting my time over one word in a headline.

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  11. Bob,

    If it’s “thicker than previously thought”, then the results were likely a surprise to someone.

    Now it’s my turn to use the “I never said otherwise” argument.

    “Some models suggest greater trends in ice thickness…” which suggests the other models don’t.

    All the more reason to actually go out and look at the stuff and see what’s what, don’t you think?

    Third, then there’s the press release from the Science Media Center:

    “‘These findings CALL FOR A RETHINKING of the interaction between ocean and atmosphere around Antarctica and how it is represented in our climate models,’” and “‘This new paper presents important results obtained from a novel underwater vehicle that RADICALLY CHANGE OUR CONCEPTS of the structure of Antarctic sea ice…”

    Great! When new data are gathered I expect rethinking to happen. Significant discoveries that lead to radical conceptual changes mean progress. This is all good stuff … isn’t it?

    And what really surprises me, Brandon, is that you’re wasting my time over one word in a headline.

    I didn’t realize I was holding a gun to your head. Of course my initial post mostly focused on good scientists doing good science so I get it there isn’t much in the way for you to formulate a more substantive rebuttal. “A” for effort though.

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  12. Bob Tisdale says:

    Brandon, have fun quibbling about the use of a word in a headline. I’m not going to play games with you any longer. It appears to be important to you. Fine. Have a good day.

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