Guardian Needlessly Alarmed By Late Freeze

By Paul Homewood

 

The Guardian is working itself up into a lather over the Arctic again!

 

 

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For the first time since records began, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing in late October.

The delayed annual freeze in the Laptev Sea has been caused by freakishly protracted warmth in northern Russia and the intrusion of Atlantic waters, say climate scientists who warn of possible knock-on effects across the polar region.

Ocean temperatures in the area recently climbed to more than 5C above average, following a record breaking heatwave and the unusually early decline of last winter’s sea ice.

The trapped heat takes a long time to dissipate into the atmosphere, even at this time of the year when the sun creeps above the horizon for little more than an hour or two each day.

Graphs of sea-ice extent in the Laptev Sea, which usually show a healthy seasonal pulse, appear to have flat-lined. As a result, there is a record amount of open sea in the Arctic.

“The lack of freeze-up so far this fall is unprecedented in the Siberian Arctic region,” said Zachary Labe, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University. He says this is in line with the expected impact of human-driven climate change.

“2020 is another year that is consistent with a rapidly changing Arctic. Without a systematic reduction in greenhouse gases, the likelihood of our first ‘ice-free’ summer will continue to increase by the mid-21st century,’ he wrote in an email to the Guardian.

The warmer air temperature is not the only factor slowing the formation of ice. Climate change is also pushing more balmy Atlantic currents into the Arctic and breaking up the usual stratification between warm deep waters and the cool surface. This also makes it difficult for ice to form.

“This continues a streak of very low extents. The last 14 years, 2007 to 2020, are the lowest 14 years in the satellite record starting in 1979,” said Walt Meier, senior research scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. He said much of the old ice in the Arctic is now disappearing, leaving thinner seasonal ice. Overall the average thickness is half what it was in the 1980s.

The downward trend is likely to continue until the Arctic has its first ice-free summer, said Meier. The data and models suggest this will occur between 2030 and 2050. “It’s a matter of when, not if,” he added.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/22/alarm-as-arctic-sea-ice-not-yet-freezing-at-latest-date-on-record

 

Let’s deal with a couple of points first:

1) As Walt Meier notes, all of these so-called “records” only date back to 1979, in the middle of the period when the Arctic was undergoing substantial cooling and a massive increase in sea ice extent, as HH Lamb observed:

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HH Lamb: Climate, History & The Modern World

The idea that the 1970s and 80s represent some kind of norm, either in the short or long term, is unscientific and absurd.

2) The article also notes:

The warmer air temperature is not the only factor slowing the formation of ice. Climate change is also pushing more balmy Atlantic currents into the Arctic and breaking up the usual stratification between warm deep waters and the cool surface.

In fact, the influx of warmer Atlantic waters is key to the recent warming of the Arctic, just as it was in a similar period of Arctic warming between the 1920s and 50s,

It is that factor which is increasing air temperatures, and there is no evidence that this influx has been caused by global warming.

 

3) Once again, we see the nonsense about “ice free Arctics”, which keep getting put back another decade or two. Previous scares have not materialised, and these latest one won’t either for a very good reason. The Arctic is a very cold place from autumn through to spring when the sun goes down, and as a consequence there is always far too much sea ice around by June for it to melt away in the short Arctic summer.

Now to the current situation.

Ice growth has just begun in the Laptev, about a week later than last year:

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 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20191019

CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20191026

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icethickness/thk.uk.php

 

However, if we compare the whole of the Arctic basin with the same date last year, we find that sea ice is much more extensive this year on the western side, off the Canadian coast,. Also ice is much thicker in the central Arctic currently than it was last year.

As a result, sea ice volume is actually up on last year:

image

 

In other words, swings and roundabouts.

 

One final consideration. At this time of year, virtually no heat from the sun enters the Laptev Sea. Instead, open seas mean that a lot of the heat escapes into the atmosphere, and thence lost to space.

Low ice extent in the Arctic actually cools the earth, not the opposite. It is one of the ways in which the earth’s climate regulates itself.

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October 27, 2020 at 07:27AM

New Video : The War On Science

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October 27, 2020 at 06:32AM

War On Science

The left is hysterical about the appointment of David LeGates to NOAA. They say the “agency’s mission is under attack.”  This reminds me of six years ago when Judith Curry and Anthony Watts contronted NOAA about some of my claims of temperature manipulation, and they didn’t deny they were doing it – they simply said their “algorithm is working as designed.”  So the question becomes, what is the agency’s mission?

Climate alarmism depends largely on the accuracy of NOAA temperature graphs, and alarmists are afraid David LeGates will expose the fact that the graphs are not accurate portrayals of reality.

War on NOAA? A Climate Denier’s Arrival Raises Fears the Agency’s Climate Mission Is Under Attack | InsideClimate News

The article claims that summer 2020 was the hottest on record in the US, when in fact the measured NOAA data shows it was just about average, and three degrees cooler than 1936.  Summers have been getting cooler in the US for more than 90 years.

The number of hot days was among the lowest on record.

The number of warm days for the first nine months of the year has been well below average and on a declining trend.

Here In Cheyenne, Wyoming we had our coldest October afternoon on record yesterday at 9F. This was almost 50 degrees below normal, and beat the previous record by two degrees. Denver is likely to set a number of records for cold as well.

Denver Weather: Record Lows Nearly 100 Years Old May Fall By Tuesday – CBS Denver

Autumn snow cover has been increasing across the Northern Hemisphere for 50 years, as Arctic air penetrates further south and the freeze line moves closer to the equator.

Rutgers University Climate Lab :: Global Snow Lab

The article claimed that the US has seen the most hurricane landfalls since 1916. This isn’t true, and why would the same weather as 1916 be considered a sign of climate change? According to NASA, 1916 was one of the coldest years on record.

graph.png (1130×600)

Hurricanes in the US peaked in 1886, and have been generally declining ever since.

Hurricane landfalls in the United States

Four years ago there was a record lack of hurricanes.

Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record – Scientific American

US in Longest ‘Hurricane Drought’ in Recorded History | Live Science

The Washington Post was terrified by the lack of hurricanes.

The U.S. coast is in an unprecedented hurricane drought — why this is terrifying – The Washington Post

The Arctic fear mongering goers on endlessly.  Six thousand years ago, the Arctic was likely ice-free, with CO2 at much lower levels

Less Ice In Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 Years Ago — ScienceDaily

Trees grew all the way to the edge of the Arctic Ocean, yet Polar Bears survived just fine.

Climate: Present, Past and Future (Routledge Revivals) – Google Books

Millions of years ago, redwood trees grew near the North Pole.

Scientist Probes Fossil Oddity: Giant Redwoods Near North Pole — ScienceDaily

Despite all of the fear mongering, there has been little change in Arctic sea ice extent over the past 14 years.

masie_4km_allyears_extent_sqkm.csv

Our top experts said the Arctic would be ice-free by 2008.

Expert: Arctic polar cap may disappear this summer_English_Xinhua

North Pole May Be Ice-Free for First Time This Summer

BBC NEWS | UK | Swimmer aims to kayak to N Pole

Star-News – Google News Archive Search

Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’

Gore: Polar ice cap may disappear by summer 2014

Wayback Machine

The Argus-Press – Google News Archive Search

Why Arctic sea ice will vanish in 2013 | Sierra Club Canada

Ice-free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe – scientist | Environment | The Guardian

The End of the Arctic? Ocean Could be Ice Free by 2015 – The Daily Beast

A farewell to ice | Review | Chemistry World

And President Obama’s science adviser predicted ice-free winters.

…if you lose the summer sea ice, there are phenomena that could lead you not so very long thereafter to lose the winter sea ice as well. And if you lose that sea ice year round, it’s going to mean drastic climatic change all over the hemisphere.

– John Holdren, 2009

Alarmists are terrified that David LeGates will expose their scam.

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October 27, 2020 at 06:32AM

The Curious Incident of the Test that was Negative in the Night Time

Before I start, I must confess that I am no Sherlock Holmes. What is more, my understanding of virology extends no further than is to be expected after having caught influenza more than once. Nevertheless, such experience alone should be sufficient to instil a healthy fear of what SARS-CoV-2 may do to an ailing and aging male body – no matter how sceptical that body may be. But when one witnesses and experiences the civic and economic damage that a government is prepared to inflict upon its people in order to manage a pandemic, the fear can become anything but healthy.

Given such mental health challenges, one certainly would not welcome any further distress arising from the simple desire to understand the case statistics upon which governments are basing their decision-making. Unfortunately, that is exactly the position I am in. There are things I think I know for certain, and there are things that have happened that appear to flatly contradict those certainties. This is all very destabilizing. I’ll start, if I may, with the widely understood certainties, after which you are invited to follow me down the rabbit hole.

Firstly, when interpreting a medical diagnostic test result, one has to take into account the possibility of false negatives (i.e. tests that fail to detect the presence of a disease) and false positives (i.e. tests that record the presence of the disease, notwithstanding its absence). These are respectively referred to as the sensitivity and specificity of the test. RT-PCR testing is no exception to this rule. Indeed, Lancet has advised that the specificity of RT-PCR testing is such that between 0.8% and 4% of positive test results are likely to be false positives. When the a priori probability of the disease is high (for example, when testing those who are presenting symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case) the number of false positives will be significantly exceeded by true positives, and so a positive test result is highly significant. However, once testing becomes more random, the a priori probability drops and the false positives start to dominate, to the extent that the test results become pretty meaningless. All of this is all very uncontroversial; it is just standard Bayesian statistics and a reminder of the dangers of base rate neglect. Indeed, the British Medical Journal has produced an online tool that enables anyone to try various a priori probabilities to see how this affects the reliability of RT-PCR test results.

So imagine my surprise when the UK’s Office of National Statistics wrote this about their national COVID-19 Infection Survey:

“We know the specificity of our test must be very close to 100%”

Their logic was impeccable. If, as they claimed, only 159 positive test results were found in a sample of 208,000, then the least that the specificity could be was 99.92% — a full order of magnitude more specific than the most optimistic figure quoted by Lancet. Given the random nature of the ONS testing, and the relatively low prevalence of Covid-19 within the broader community, the specificity suggested by Lancet would have meant encountering far more false positive test results than genuine ones, and it seems more than a little convenient to me that this had not proven to be the case with the ONS survey. Even more puzzling was the apparent lack of curiosity within the scientific and journalistic communities. Rather than question these results, everyone seemed happy to assume that the ONS was using some especially accurate test technology, despite there being nothing on the ONS website to justify such an assumption. On the contrary, the ONS academic partners have confirmed there was nothing out of the ordinary about their testing arrangements:

“The nose and throat swabs are sent to the National Biosample Centre at Milton Keynes. Here, they are tested for SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). This is an accredited test that is part of the national testing programme.”

On the face of it, a team of top-class statisticians were working back from their data to deduce a test specificity that flew in the face of all of the known science regarding RT-PCR testing, and no one seemed the least bit concerned about this.

Normally, in these circumstances, it is safe to assume that one is missing something very significant. It would only require someone to point out my mistake and I would be able to move on, albeit somewhat chastened and embarrassed. I have tried to resolve the mystery myself, but the best I have come up with is the rather outlandish theory that the ONS sample size of 208,000 was completely misleading. If (let’s say, due to quality control problems) the effective number was nearer to 50,000, then the small number of positive results can still be reconciled with the expected Covid-19 prevalence and a more plausible RT-PCR specificity. But other than to point to the fact that survey participants from 12 years old upwards were allowed to self-administer the swabs, I could think of no credible excuse for assuming that such a catastrophic failure in quality control had taken place. I had no alternative but to live with the prima facie contradiction and get on with life. But then I came across the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 statistics.

If New Zealand is to be believed, by early May, only 25 of its 1,138 Covid-19 cases had been asymptomatic. That represents only 2.2% of the cases, and it contrasts sharply with the statistics arising in other countries (e.g. 40% in US nursing homes and 90% in Northumbria University). Just as problematic is the fact that the New Zealand figures were determined as a result of extensive community testing, i.e. circumstances where false positives would be certain to dominate the asymptomatic Covid-19 headcount, and single-handedly account for far more than 25 individuals. Not only does New Zealand owe the world an explanation for its low asymptomatic count, it also needs to explain how, like the UK’s ONS, they were able to achieve near 100% specificity with RT-PCR testing. Furthermore, there is this online statement to be accounted for:

 “When tests were done on samples without the virus, the tests correctly gave a negative result 96% of the time.”

This is a far from impressive specificity, and one which should result in a significant false positive problem for the NZ Ministry of Health to deal with. And yet, only a couple of paragraphs later they say:

“We expect very few (if any) false positive test results…”

And yet, despite this completely illogical expectation, they are proven correct? This is beginning to make the ONS conundrum look perfectly straightforward in comparison.

I trust that you can now see why I should be left so utterly confused. Two organisations that we should presume to be above reproach are making statements that just do not add up. It is no wonder that I am beginning to doubt my own rationality and powers of comprehension. I am hugely sceptical regarding the ONS and New Zealand figures but I feel obliged to be simultaneously sceptical of my own scepticism. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously believed in fairies, so I ought to feel in good company. However, I can’t help but suspect that entertaining such cognitive dissonance for any length of time is the sure path to madness. If someone doesn’t rush to my rescue soon and point out where I am going wrong I may end up in an institution listening to the sceptical voices in my head.

Oh yes I will.

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October 27, 2020 at 05:00AM