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21/07/15

Arctic Bounces Back, World Returns To Sea Ice Levels Seen In 1980s

Arctic Sea Ice May Be More Resilient Than Thought, Satellite Data Suggest


Just one cool summer caused the much-worried-about Arctic icepack to swell by no less than a third in 2013 and it has grown even more since - more than making good its losses during the previous few years. Meanwhile of course, the southern sea ice around Antarctica has continued to spread out and cover bigger areas all the time, a circumstance which has frankly stumped climate scientists as their models cannot account for it. Antarctic ice hit a new all-time record last year, in fact. --Lewis Page, The Register, 21 July 2015
 
 
Dr Benny Peiser, director of The Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the paper "doesn't change anything". "We've been monitoring both Arctic and Antarctic ice caps for a long time, and the basic problem for everyone trying to understand what's going on is that our observational data only starts with the satellite age - so it goes back about 30 years. We don't fully know what the ice caps looked like 50 or 100 years ago, and therefore it is difficult to make long-term predictions. The melting of [Arctic sea ice] may be slower than thought, as there were predictions it would be gone by now. Basically it all depends on what global temperatures are going to do in the coming decades. The good news about this study is it is not a one way street, there are periods where the ice can recover. I don't think one paper can tell you much, we know global temperature has more or less stalled over the past 10 to 15 years. We are increasing CO2 emission at an accelerating rate but temperatures aren't rising as fast as predicted." –Lucy Sherriff, 
Huffington Post, 21 July 2015 
 
 
1) Arctic Bounces Back, World Returns To Sea Ice Levels Seen In 1980s - The Register, 21 July 2015
 
2) Arctic Sea Ice May Be More Resilient Than Thought, Satellite Data Suggest - Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
3) Has Pacific Ocean Cycle Flipped To Warming Phase? - Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
4) Senior Cardinal Questions The Pope’s Authority To Pronounce On Global Warming - Daily Mail, 20 July 2015
 
5) And Finally: Anti-Capitalist Naomi Klein May Be Conflicted Under Holy Orders - PR Week, 21 July 2015

 
 
 
Arctic sea ice may be more resilient than previously thought, according to new research. Satellite data reported in a new paper shows that sea ice volumes in the spring months have been stable over the four years from 2010 to 2014 and that Autumn sea ice volumes in 2013 and 2014 were significantly up on prior years. --Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
 
Dr Benny Peiser from the Global Warming Policy Foundation says that the poles are "much more stable" than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought. He said: "The Antarctic is actually growing and all the evidence in the last few months suggests many assumptions about the poles was wrong. Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted.” --Levi Winchester, 
Daily Express, 25 December 2014



The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) may have moved into a warming phase during the last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US. The PDO plays an important role in the overall transfer of heat between the world’s ocean and the atmosphere. NOAA suggests that the Pacific may have moved to a phase where the Pacific Ocean surrenders more heat to the atmosphere than it absorbs. Some climate scientists believe that these changes in the Pacific Ocean may presage an end to the so called pause – or hiatus – in global warming that has been apparent in some surface and atmospheric temperature records since the late 1990s. --Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
 
 
The Papal Encyclical on the environment (see below) may have come as a surprise to non-Catholics, but an even greater surprise came with Pope Francis' appointment this month of radical author and anti-capitalist campaigner Naomi Klein as his ally in the battle against climate change. Apparently, Klein is to lead a high-level conference on the environment set up by the Catholic Church. But you can’t help wondering why one of the world’s greatest communicators (the Pope) needs or even wants the help of Klein. True, she is a great communicator. But she’s also an atheist. It turns out that it’s not really her climate change credentials that he is after. --Alex Benady, PR Week, 21 July 2015
 
 
 
A senior figure in the Vatican has questioned the Pope’s authority to pronounce on climate change. Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed by Pope Francis last year to manage the Vatican finances, said the Roman Catholic church had ‘no mandate’ to lay down doctrine on scientific matters. His remarks indicated concern among some high-ranking Catholics at the direction and tone of Francis’ encyclical on climate change last month. His criticism of the Pope’s encyclical was carefully phrased – the Pope said in his own paper that ‘The church does not presume to settle scientific questions’ – but it reflects signs of dissent among other prominent Catholics. --Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, 20 July 2015
 
 
 
There have been concerns in the Church of England that many churchgoers have failed to be impressed by their leaders’ anxiety over climate change. The CofE’s environmental adviser David Shreeve wrote earlier this month that the church had not been ‘successful in dragging environmental concern into its mainstream’. He added: ‘The majority of those who do link their faith with environmental concern are still on the edges – members of special environmental groups rather than in the main body of the church. --Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, 20 July 2015
 
 
  
 
1) Arctic Bounces Back, World Returns To Sea Ice Levels Seen In 1980s
The Register, 21 July 2015
 
Lewis Page
 
Just one cool summer caused the much-worried-about Arctic icepack to swell by no less than a third in 2013 and it has grown even more since - more than making good its losses during the previous few years.

 
A figure illustrating Arctic sea ice from September 2012 and August 2013 developed at the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio (svs.gsfc.nasa.gov).
 
 
"It would suggest that sea ice is more resilient perhaps - if you get one year of cooler temperatures, we've almost wound the clock back a few years on this gradual decline that's been happening over decades, ice scientist” Rachel Tilling tells the BBC.
 
The Beeb was reporting on newly published updated research which has confirmed the Arctic ice's remarkable resurgence over the last couple of years, for all that last year was tied for warmest-ever with 2005 and 2010.
 
The Arctic ice has indeed cheered up a bit, particularly in thickness of the key areas north of Greenland and Canada, which had been getting nearly as thin as the stuff north of Siberia - which regularly breaks up enough to let ships through, though they generally have to be escorted by icebreakers. Thus actual ice volumes are looking especially good.
 
Arctic ice has also stabilised in area, which is a marked change from much of last decade when the northern sea ice extent over time seemed to be in free fall. (That said the drop was much less than normal seasonal variation, as can be seen in these graphs from Cryosphere Today.)
 
Meanwhile of course, the southern sea ice around Antarctica has continued to spread out and cover bigger areas all the time, a circumstance which has frankly stumped climate scientists as their models cannot account for it. Antarctic ice hit a new all-time record last year, in fact.
 
This growth, combined with the recent bounce-back in the Arctic, means that the world's total area of sea ice today is little different to that seen thirty years ago and more, when people first started monitoring it.
 
Full story
 
 
 
2) Arctic Sea Ice May Be More Resilient Than Thought, Satellite Data Suggest
Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
Arctic sea ice may be more resilient than previously thought, according to new research. 
 
Chart of Arctic sea ice volume as measured by CryoSat-2 and as estimated using the PIOMAS ice-ocean model over the period 2010 to 2015. Courtesy: CPOM/Planetary Visions/ESA
 
Satellite data reported in a new paper shows that sea ice volumes in the spring months have been stable over the four years from 2010 to 2014 and that Autumn sea ice volumes in 2013 and 2014 were significantly up on prior years.
 
Five years of sea ice measurements by radar carried out by the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 spacecraft are analysed in the paper published today (20 July 2015) in Nature Geoscience.
 
Significant variability in the volume of autumn Arctic sea ice is described in the paper entitled Increased Arctic sea ice volume after anomalously low melting in 2013, and this appears to be linked to summer surface air temperatures over the ice.
 
Full story
 
 
 
3) Has Pacific Ocean Cycle Flipped To Warming Phase?
Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
 
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) may have moved into a warming phase during the last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US. 

A graph showing NOAA’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index. Red bars correspond to a positive index and blue bars to a negative index. Courtesy: NOAA
 
The PDO is a long term pattern of heat exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere that is centred over the mid-latitudes of the Pacific basin and is linked to a cycle in sea surface temperature (SST) variations.
 
The PDO plays an important role in the overall transfer of heat between the world’s ocean and the atmosphere. NOAA suggests that the Pacific may have moved to a phase where the Pacific Ocean surrenders more heat to the atmosphere than it absorbs.
 
Extreme phases of the PDO are classified as being either warm or cool, as defined by SST anomalies in the north east and tropical Pacific Ocean. The PDO had been in a negative or cooling phase for a number of years prior to 2014 but several factors suggest this may have changed:
 
The monthly PDO Index maintained by NOAA has been consistently positive for the year to end-June 2015 (see table right);
 
Waters in the tropical Pacific, off the west coast of North America, and north eastern Pacific waters off Alaska, have all been warmer than normal;
Waters east of Japan have been colder than normal;
 
Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the North Pacific Basin hit record highs during 2014. 
 
The PDO tends to remain in a predominantly warm or predominantly cool phase for many years but can be subject to relatively short and repeated excursions into the opposite phase during these periods. This means that it will be some time before data can confirm whether the current positive PDO Index indicates a short term warming excursion during a continuing cold phase or the beginning of a longer term sustained warm phase.
 
During a warm phase, the west Pacific becomes cooler and part of the eastern ocean warms; during a cool phase, the opposite pattern occurs. When SSTs are anomalously cool in the interior north Pacific and warm along the Pacific coast of North America, and when sea level pressures are below average over the north Pacific, the PDO Index has a positive value. When the climate anomaly patterns are reversed, with warm SST anomalies in the interior and cool SST anomalies along the North American coast, or above average sea level pressures over the north Pacific, the PDO Index has a negative value.
 
NOAA reports in its recently published State Of The Climate In 2014 document that the SST anomaly pattern in the north Pacific during 2014 “resembled the positive phase of the PDO”. NOAA oceanographer Greg Johnson told a NOAA press conference last week that he believes that the PDO may have shifted: “2014 was the first year in that shift and it is possible that it may slip back into a cold phase but we won’t know for five years,” he said. 
 
Some climate scientists believe that these changes in the Pacific Ocean may presage an end to the so called pause – or hiatus – in global warming that has been apparent in some surface and atmospheric temperature records since the late 1990s.
 
Full post
 
 
 
 
4) Senior Cardinal Questions The Pope’s Authority To Pronounce On Global Warming
Daily Mail, 20 July 2015
 
Steve Doughty
 
A senior figure in the Vatican has questioned the Pope’s authority to pronounce on climate change. Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed by Pope Francis last year to manage the Vatican finances, said the Roman Catholic church had ‘no mandate’ to lay down doctrine on scientific matters.
 
His remarks indicated concern among some high-ranking Catholics at the direction and tone of Francis’ encyclical on climate change last month. 
Cardinal George Pell was appointed by Pope Francis last year to manage the Vatican finances
 
In the encyclical, which carries the full authority of church teaching, the Pope said that the world risked becoming ‘an immense pile of filth’ and that ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.’
 
Australian Cardinal Pell made his misgivings clear by telling an interviewer that Francis’ paper has ‘many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful.
 
‘But the church has no particular expertise in science. The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,’ he added.
 
The Cardinal said in the interview with the Financial Times that the encyclical, called ‘Laudato Si’, was ‘very well received’ and the Pope had ‘beautifully set out our obligations to future generations and our obligations to the environment.’
 
The Cardinal is the most senior Roman Catholic yet to sound a note of caution over the encyclical, which argues that the world must take precautions against climate change at the summit to be held in Paris in December. It said that climate change is doing most harm to the world’s poor.
 
Cardinal Pell, who took over the management of Vatican spending last February with a brief to tighten financial controls, has provoked anger among green campaigners in the past.
 
In 2006 he declared that ‘hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness’ and a year later wrote that he was ‘sceptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes.’
 
His criticism of the Pope’s encyclical was carefully phrased – the Pope said in his own paper that ‘The church does not presume to settle scientific questions’ – but it reflects signs of dissent among other prominent Catholics.
 
A senior British Catholic layman, Labour peer Lord Donoughue, last week criticised Francis’ faith in renewable energy, saying that ‘wood and dung fires may be renewable energy sources but their disastrous impact on human health is undeniable.
 
‘We would have liked to have seen the encyclical address moral dilemmas like this head on. We would also have liked to have known Pope Francis’s view on the bans on development aid for fossil fuel plants that so many western governments have put in place.’

In the same paper published by the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, the Church of England Bishop of Chester, the Right Reverend Peter Forster, said:
 
‘Pope Francis should certainly be commended for his desire to deal with poverty in the developing world, but it is hard to see how he hopes to do so without economic growth and fossil fuels, both of which he thinks are unnecessary evils.’ 



image & blog post: Archbishop Cranmer 20 July 2015

The Bishop of Chester did not speak in the Church of England General Synod’s debate on climate change last week, during which at the prompting of the Archbishop of Canterbury it adopted a string of green policies, including a promise to teach ‘ecotheology’ and ‘eco-justice’ to its trainee priests, and a request to the faithful to fast in protest on the first day of every month.
 
There have been concerns in the CofE that many churchgoers have failed to be impressed by their leaders’ anxiety over climate change.
 
The CofE’s environmental adviser David Shreeve wrote earlier this month that the church had not been ‘successful in dragging environmental concern into its mainstream’.
 
He added: ‘The majority of those who do link their faith with environmental concern are still on the edges – members of special environmental groups rather than in the main body of the church.
 
Full story
 
 
 
5) And Finally: Anti-Capitalist Naomi Klein May Be Conflicted Under Holy Orders
PR Week, 21 July 2015
 
Alex Benady
 
The Papal Encyclical on the environment (see below) may have come as a surprise to non-Catholics, but an even greater surprise came with Pope Francis' appointment this month of radical author and anti-capitalist campaigner Naomi Klein as his ally in the battle against climate change.




Apparently, Klein is to lead a high-level conference on the environment set up by the Catholic Church. But you can’t help wondering why one of the world’s greatest communicators (the Pope) needs or even wants the help of Klein. True, she is a great communicator. But she’s also an atheist.

It turns out that it’s not really her climate change credentials that he is after. The Pope is famously radical and a key part of his analysis is that he thinks consumption and consumerism is a bigger problem than a growing population.

Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

Klein is best known for her anti-consumerist views. While the activist has expressed pleasure at the Pope’s appointment, it remains to be seen how pleased she will be when she wakes up to the fact that she is being used as a beard for the Pope’s conflicted position on global warming and population control.

Full story
 
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