Could Arctic Sea Ice Decline be Caused by the Arctic Oscillation?

March 22nd, 2012 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

While the IPCC claims that recent Arctic sea ice declines are the result of human-caused warming, there is also convincing observational evidence that natural cycles in atmospheric circulation patterns might also be involved.

And unless we know how much of the decline is natural, I maintain we cannot know how much is human-caused.

In 2002, a paper was published in the Journal of Climate entitled Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation, where the authors (one of whom, Mike Wallace, was a co-discoverer of the AO) shows that changing wind patterns associated with the AO contributed to Arctic sea ice declines from one decade to the next: from 1979-1988 to 1989-1998.

The Arctic Oscillation involves sea level pressure patterns over the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic, and North Pacific. Since sea ice moves around with the wind (see this movie example), sea level pressure patterns can either expose or cover various sections of the Arctic Ocean.

When there are many winters in a row with high (or low) pressure, it can affect sea ice cover on decadal time scales. Over time, ice can become more extensive and thicker, or less extensive and thinner.

There is a time lag involved in all of this, as discussed in the above paper. So, to examine the potential cumulative effect of the AO, I made the following plot of cumulative values of the winter (December-January-February) AO (actually, their departures from the long-term average) since 1900. I’ve attached a spreadsheet with the data for those interested, updated through this past winter.

Consistent with the analysis in the above-cited paper, the sea ice decline since satellite monitoring began in 1979 was during a period of persistent positive values of the AO index (note the reversed vertical scale). Since the satellite period started toward the end of a prolonged period of negative AO values, this raises the question of whether we just happened to start monitoring Arctic sea ice when it was near peak coverage.

Note that back in the 1920’s, when there were reports of declining sea ice, record warmth, and disappearing glaciers, there was similar AO behavior to the last couple of decades. Obviously, that was before humans could have influenced the climate system in any substantial way.

I won’t go into what might be causing the cyclic pattern in the AO over several decades. My only point is that there is published evidence to support the view that some (or even most?) of the ~20 year sea ice decline up until the 2007 minimum was part of a natural cycle, related to multi-decadal changes in average wind patterns.


46 Responses to “Could Arctic Sea Ice Decline be Caused by the Arctic Oscillation?”

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  1. Fred N. says:

    There’s a recent paper published regarding snow-cover variations due to Arctic Ice variations.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/17/1114910109

  2. salvatore del prete says:
    March 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM
    I am not going to waste my time on the subject of how much warming or little warming an increase in CO2, A TRACE GAS WITH A TRACE INCREASE , may or may not have.

    What I am concentrating on is abrupt climate change, and the chances of this happening again going forward.

    Again the potential set up is being put into place, due to the low solar activity(started in year 2005) expected to last at least another 30 years, the potential increase in volcanic activity which seems to be associated with low solar minimum activity, when spurts occur within the minimum ,the weakening of earth’s magnetic field ,which just compounds solar event effects, here on earth, the cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with the Atlantic to follow, the more frequent La Nina’s coming on, along with the much more meridional jet stream circulation ,indicative of a negative Arctic Oscillation,although as is the case currently , it can happen with a +AO.

    In general,however, the more negative the AO, the more extreme the climate will be due to a more meridional jet stream.

    Milankovitch cycles, if anything still favor cooling, due to earth’s closet approach to the sun during the N.H. winter.

    So we have the above in place ,which if those factors should phase in at a level strong enough, and a duration of time long enough, will cause a decrease in earth’s temperatures. In addition, those factors will in turn promote,an increase in clouds,an increase in precipitation and more substancial snow cover. These three factors will in turn increase earth’s albedo. Even a mere 1% increase in earth’s albedo, equates to more then a 1F drop in the average temperature of the earth.

    Ocean heat content,is the last to react , but that to has been shown to have leveled off since 2003 or so. In contrast the atmospheric circulation seems to react within months to solar changes.

    The more negative AO ,will cause the temperature distribution of warm and cold to change in the N.H. in a way which should result in more snow cover.

    If these factors come together properly,in a degree of magnitude strong enough, and duration of time long enough, that is when an abrupt climatic change could come about.

    The basic need for the above to perhaps come about ,is for solar activity as measured by the solar flux to be 90 or less for the balance of this decade.

    Past history suggest this solar minimum is going to persist ,and past history shows (if one just reviews the Dalton, and Maunder solar minimums) ,that each time solar minimum conditions prevail, the temperatures go down, the climatic extremes increase,(hot,cold,wet,dry) along with geological activity.

  3. First of all the IPCC, and their models all said that the AO due to man made CO2 INCREASING, would become more and more positive over time. They are 100% wrong, as usual. If anything the AO has had a tendency, toward trending more to the negative side, causing the jet stream in general to be much less zonal.

    Still as we have seen of late ,you can still have a jet stream which is meridiomnal, even with a positive AO.

    It can be shown Dr. Spencer, that the AO , tends to be influenced by solar/volcanic activity.

    During times of prolong minimum solar activity and high volcanic activity (in the high latitudes)the AO will be more negative, while during times of high solar activity and low volcanic activity (in the high latitudes) the AO will tend toward a more positive mode.

    The IPCC’S reasoning behind their wrong theory about the AO,becoming more positive as a consequence of an increase in CO2 ,was that this extra CO2 would cause the stratosphere to cool,and cool more near the poles relative to lower latitudes, thus giving a more +AO, and a more zonal jet stream. This in turn called for much less in the way of climatic extrems. Another blunder on their parts.

    The IPCC ,does not know what it is talking about when it comes to the climate and why it changes.

    I can just imagine thenm trying to address abrupt climate change. It would be a joke.

    On another note,you should address the missing lower tropospheric hot spot near the equator, another famous 100% blunder made by the IPCC. Due to the lack of any positive feedbacks they claimm, would have resulted from an increase in CO2. Wrong again.

    One last item . Ocean currents and ocean flows,ALLOWING warm water at times to get into the Arctic ,and at other times not being able to get into the Arctic, due to wind circulation changes ,accounts for just about all the changes in the Ice Coverage near the Arctic.

    What verifies this theory to a great degree ,is if it were man induced, then a similar pattern with the Ice, should be present in the Southwern Hemisphere. There is no such similar pattern in the behavior of Ice, in the S.H versus the N.H.

  4. RW says:

    Roy,

    Very interesting. I know Lindzen has been saying Artic sea ice depends mostly on summer winds, and I think he has even said recently that at one point a few decades ago this was standard text book stuff. Was it when you were in school?

  5. I am one of the few ,on these boards that has cut to the heart of the issue on the climate situation, while others talk a good game , but never say anything of practical use.

    LET’S HEAR SOME PREDICTIONS ON WHAT THE CLIMATE WILL BE DOING OVER THE NEXT 10 OR 20 YEARS AND WHY.

    I AM WAITING.

  6. Kasuha says:

    This was quite a surprise to me as for a while I was thinking I am looking at the sea ice record and was wondering where did you get data so far to the past. Especially since just recently there was northern sea ice related discussion on WUWT with some interesting information.
    Then I looked at actual graphs and found the diffenerces. It’s hard to tell whether it’s related or just random coincidence, I guess we may need another ~40 years of observations to have at least some level of certainity.

  7. Charlie A says:

    I note that the ad at the top of this article is an ad by the League of Consevation Voters.

    Assuming that dr. Spencer’s website gains advertising revenue from click- thrus, I recommend checking out the ad.

    It leads to a petition/message to the EPA in support of CO2 regulation, with an option for changing the message.

    I changed the wording appropriately and the LCV will deliver my comment to the EPA.

  8. don penman says:

    But are we confusing cause and effect here,is the low arctic pressure causing arctic sea ice to diminish or is the decline in arctic sea ice causing the arctic to exhibit lower pressures.I note that the recent negative AO winters in Europe occurred following a relative increase in the amount of Arctic sea ice while this positive AO winter followed a decline in arctic sea ice.

  9. Stephen Wilde says:

    The recent record negative AO was accompanied by a record solar minimum.

    The subsequent more positive AO was accompanied by a partial recovery from that solar minimum.

    However, the jetstreams remain highly meridional as Salvatore says with North American warmth more than offset by Eurasian and Southern Hemisphere cold.

    The bulk of the late 20th century warming was accompanied by a positive AO, a period of highly active sun and increasing ocean heat content with stronger El Ninos.

    The cause and effect looks pretty clear to me but others will no doubt require a longer period of observations to make a decision.

  10. Dave Springer says:

    Look up the speed of the oceanic conveyor belt then calculate the time it takes to get from the tropical Pacific to the Arctic circle.

    Then compare the Arctic ice extent record to the 1998 El Nino and see if the timing is right for a pulse of warm water from it to arrive in the Arctic and cause a step change of approximately 1 million square kilometers less ice and where that approximate deficit has persisted to this day.

    Can you spell latent heat of fusion? I knew you could.

  11. “But are we confusing cause and effect here,is the low arctic pressure causing arctic sea ice to diminish or is the decline in arctic sea ice causing the arctic to exhibit lower pressures.”

    This comment makes zero sense because it fails to address Dr Spencer’s graph. Did you actually read Dr Spencer’s article?

  12. Stephen,has said it exactly correct. If solar activity goes back to where it was ,watch the AO become more negative once again.

  13. JJ says:

    “My only point is that there is published evidence to support the view that some (or even most?) of the ~20 year sea ice decline up until the 2007 minimum was part of a natural cycle, related to multi-decadal changes in average wind patterns.”

    And given the typical discussion of albedo feedbacks – sea ice decline lowers albedo, which raises heat uptake, rinse, repeat – then some (or even most) of the arctic warming over that period was part of a natural cycle.

    And we know that a disproportionate amount of “global warming” is specifically arctic warming, so some (or even most) of “global warming” over that period is changes in wind pattern, not planetary energy imbalance from CO2 …

  14. WillyW says:

    In response to Salvatore’s request for predictions, I thought I was going to quote Mark Twain, but found out the quote is more likely credited to his friend and neighbor, Charles Dudley Warner: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

    And since the IPCC seems to think they can do something about it, I am including an interesting observation of Mr. Clemens’ that seems to somehow relate to the IPCC’s confusion over cause and effect:

    “Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.”
    -Mark Twain

  15. Jon says:

    I read on wattsup that the sat record actually goes back to 1971. Can you explain further if this is true.

  16. amblin says:

    It doesn’t seem to fit very well. The decline in the AO graph has deaccelerated since 1990 whereas the decline in arctic sea ice has accelerated:
    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20111004_Figure3.png

  17. Jeff T says:

    The cumulative AO index was significantly lower in 1935 than in 2011. But multiple sailing vessels navigated both the northwest and northeast passages in 2011, not 1935. Wind surely affects arctic ice, but it doesn’t appear to be the dominant effect.

  18. Phineas Kujanapski says:

    Sir Spencer, you are a guru of remote sensing meteorology and technology, there’s no doubt about this and your contributions to humanity in this regard are greatly appreciated, but I worry when I see scientists with specializations in one area step into adjacent areas that are less chartered territory for them. Hence, why not just come out and state something as simple as “The AO isn’t my specialty” rather than leave it at “I won’t go into what might be causing the cyclic pattern in the AO over several decades.”?

    Furthermore, would you kindly please address the 3 and 4 sigma climate event the U.S. Midwest and Great Lakes just experienced the past ten days? Please explain in meaningful terms so lay people watching TV (be it Fox or otherwise) can understand. I trust you won’t, for example, create a red herring by citing the alleged Japan tsunami debris pool floating in the Pacific the way AccuWeather recently did as an explanation for their horrid Chicago winter forecast (as Tom Skilling correctly stated in the Chicago Tribune a few days ago, the AccuWeather winter forecast for Chicago was horrifying). What natural cycles (sans anthropogenic influence) all combined together to smash, obliterate, whale upon the string of 10 days of record high temperatures Chicago and numerous Midwest / Great Lakes locations experienced (in Chicago’s case, taken from an observational period of 142 years)? With 14 decades, that is more than enough to look for fluxes in decadal cycles and signals with phenomenon combining be it the PDO, the AMO, sunspots, you name it. All of Chicago and much of the United States and Canada eagerly awaits your hypothesis on the recent 3 and 4 sigma event!

      • Dave Springer says:

        Phineas, at the risk of being called an ass I’m wondering if you can explain to me how the earth which receives 342W/m2 at the top of atmosphere from the sun somehow radiates 390W/m2 from the surface and keeps it up ad infinitum. This is a clear violation of conservation of energy. 342W/m2 is what a body at a temperature of 279K emits. 390W/m2 is what a body at a temperature of 288K emits.

        The average temperature of the global ocean is 3.9C which is 277K. It would appear the ocean is already within 2C of the maximum possible average temperature as set by the solar power input at TOA. The greenhouse effect is then by consequence very close to saturated. There is a such thing as a runaway greenhouse but it has a limit imposed by the input power to the greenhouse! Ice cores indicate that when an interglacial period begins temperature shoots up like a rocket until it very suddenly stops rising like an elevator reaching the penthouse. It would appear the earth undergoes a runaway greenhouse during every interglacial period and it proceeds very rapidly to the peak possible temperature.

  19. Dave Springer says:

    There’s about an 18 month delay for oceanic conveyor belt to get from tropical Pacific to Arctic ocean. Modern Arctic ice began to retreat in a step-change fashion beginning around the year 2000 and finished the step change in 2006. It has persisted, more or less, with a 1 million square kilometer deficit since then. This timing is extraordinarily well correlated with the mother of all El Nino’s in 1998 plus transit time for oceanic conveyor belt.

    One might protest that Arctic ocean water temperature did not rise in sychronization with the ice loss which might inspire one to look elsewhere (such as wind piling up or not ice to change its extent) but one needs to keep in mind that latent heat of melting means it takes a lot of energy to change a pound of ice at 32F into a pound of water at 32F. I’m pretty convinced that Arctic ice extent in the previous decade is merely a consequence of the 1998 El Nino. When we get the mother of all La Ninas the ice extent should recover.

    In the meantine one should keep in mind that Arctic sea ice acts like a thermostat. Ice cover is very good insulator and so when there’s less of it more ocean heat can escape and when there’s more ice less heat can escape. Lindzen postulates an iris effect from cloud cover. There’s also an iris effect for sea ice cover as well.

  20. Jim Steele says:

    To:amblin says: It doesn’t seem to fit very well. The decline in the AO graph has deaccelerated since 1990 whereas the decline in arctic sea ice has accelerated

    The impact of the AO is not linear. There is enough heat in the subsurface waters to melt all of the Arctic Ice. The warmer high salinity water brought in via the branches of the Gulf Stream takes 14 years to circulate through the Arctic Ocean. Similar warm intrusions occur via the Bering Strait. Not only the ice but the layer of surface freshwater from the melt serve to stratify the ocean’s layers. However once the ice is removed, and freshwater is removed by the same winds, the subsurface water is exposed to greater wind driven turbulence that brings those denser but warmer layers to the surface.

    Pour some colder cream into your hot coffee. It sinks. Then blow on the coffee and it brings the cream to the surface. The cream is denser due to being colder, but in the Arctic the warmer water is denser due to increased salinity from evaporation during the Gulf Stream’s journey. As the wind stirrs ice free water it then brings that warmer water to the surface. This has been documented in the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea. Even though moorings show that water entering through the Bering Strait has been getting colder for the past 4 years, this stirring of ice free water maintains the ice free conditions by bringing up warmer subsurface water. So although the AO can go negative the re-coupling of the ice free water and the atmosphere generates a feedback that maintains the ice free conditions for several more years despite the declining AO.

    The PDO has gone negative and the intrusion of warm water has stopped and has probably been sufficiently vented that the Pacific sector of arctic ice should start growing. The Bering Sea is now at 160% of average extent. Most of the eastern Arctic loss of ice starts in the Barents due to the warm Gulf stream intrusions. This is pattern is clear in the asymmetric loss if winter and spring ice. After 5 years of the NAO going negative and a resulting slow down of warm water intrusions, I would predict the Barents Sea Ice will increase and the Arctic Ice will follow.

  21. Thanks Dr. Spencer. Excellent article, well supported.

  22. Joe Bastardi says:

    Yes but what is causing the positive arctic oscillation? Or could it simply be the warming of the Pacific until recently means that the continents around the Ice cap warmed, and naturally melted some of the ice? This should reverse in the coming years with the now cold PDO in the longer term and the turn in the AMO

    The huge key though is the approximate increase in ice in the southern hemisphere matching the increasing in the northern hemisphere. This indicates to me there is a simple distortion of global temps that is the natural response of the the warm pdo and amo , which in turn warms the continents around it, 75% of which are in the northern hemisphere, When the pdo turned, its like turning down the thermostat in you house and the air above cools quicker than the surface. This in turn in the large scale would increase vertical temp gradients and lead to a stronger winter jet and a stronger positive ao as this winter It is not a change in the total energy budget of the earth, simply a distortion that will in the earths cyclical manner work its way back. Look for an increase in the arctic ice cap the next 20-30 years, probably a corresponding decrease in the southern Hemisphere ( we better hope so, or the implications are this is not just a correction to the norm, but a swing even more wildly) and the return of global temps by 2030 to where they were at the start of the warm pdo, after the cold pdo.

    A fascinating and startling global temp forecast is on the frontier research model SON forecast as over 85% of the land masses are cold, with a cold pdo and amo to boot, After rising back to .15t0 .25 above normal for a time another major drop in global temps against the normals is my forecast for fall and winter, meaning the jagged drop as seen here since the flip in the pdo will continue

    http://policlimate.com/climate/cfsr_t2m_2011.png

    Blessings to all
    JB

  23. Joe Bastardi says:

    note L I met decrease in the northern hemisphere above, Total global sea ice is pretty close to normal in other words

  24. I agree, and Joe Bastardi,AND like myself is not afraid to give a future climatic forecast, and more importantly the reasons for that forecast.

    Most others on this board talk a good game but won’t give a climatic forecast and the reasons for their forecast. I say it makes what they have to say shallow and not meaningful.

    Dr. Spencer , in my opinion can’t really step up to the plate in that regard. Nevermind not giving any thoughts and considerations to abrupt climatic change , which needs to be addressed ,in order to get any handle on why earth’s climate changes in the first place ,that being abrupty or gradual.

  25. What Joe Bastardi says I agree with but the two wild cards are how much future volcanic activitywil there be, and how low will solar activity be .going forward. The big question being how will that future solar activity impact future volcanic activity.

    That will be the key in determining how cold temperatures will become ,as this decade proceeds.

    As I have said everything is in place fro a cool down, from the cold PDO,with AMO to follow, to more LA NINAS, a weakening of earth’s magnetic field which compounds the effects from spurts of solar activity, Milankovich Cycles, and the AO/NAO tending toward a more negative trend overall, which will at the very least change the distribution of temperatures in the N.H. ,which will increase snow cover ,which will in turn increase the overall ALBEDO of the earth, further aiding to the cool down, which has already started.

    We will be proven correct, and if solar flux readings drop to sub 90 watch out!!!

  26. Anyone that thinks CO2 has any effect on climate ,does not know what he/she is talking about. End of story.

  27. The IPCC , isn’t worth 10 cents in my opinion. I am done. I just can’t stand the fraud they keep trying to put on the public.

    As we head into cooling, the fools keep preparing for warming.

  28. Adam Gallon says:

    OK, warm in Chicago, look at Mumbai.
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-11/mumbai/31144954_1_western-disturbance-cold-wave-maximum-temperatures
    At 12.7 degree celsius , Saturday Mumbai’s coldest ever March morning
    Both Chicago & Mumbai are experiencing “Weather”!

  29. Doug Cotton says:

    Floating ice can be melted more by faster running currents under the ice, and of course by warmer weather. The Arctic was warmer than it is now in the late 1930′s and the 1940′s – see http://climate-change-theory.com

    The Arctic is obviously affected by cycles in the North Atlantic as that is the main entrance to the Arctic Ocean.

    However, long wave (low frequency) “backradiation” from a source in the atmosphere which is colder than the ice will neither melt nor warm the ice. So how can it affect sea levels?

    You can see this from the fact that even much higher intensity low frequency radiation in a microwave oven does not melt ice, as discussed in a series of posts here

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/03/slaying-the-slayers-with-the-alabama-two-step/#comment-41043

    where you will read an explanation of how a microwave oven heats water by friction, not absorption.

  30. Philip Bradley says:

    Perhaps the problem here is the assumption that some Arctic wide effect causes the measured Arctic sea ice decline to 2007. In the same way some global effect is assumed to cause the change in the measured global average temperature (surface or satellite take your pick).

    I’ll suggest that the decline in Arctic sea ice isn’t due to an Arctic wide effect at all. It’s merely the average of a number local and regional effects.

    Some of those effects have been discussed above, Arctic weather patterns, and I’d add aerosol declines post 1970 from North America, aerosol declines post 1991 from Russia. Plus albedo changes from multi-year black carbon accumulation in ice.

    If you want to know why the Arctic ice is declining look at where it it is declining (predominantly off the coast of Russia), what kind of ice – disproportionately older ice, indicating a solar insolation effect, and where ice is increasing.

  31. anything is possible says:

    There is already enough heat in the Arctic Ocean to melt all the sea-ice thousands of time over. The only reason it doesn’t is the way the ocean stratifies so that cold, fresh water on the surface is less dense, and hence “floats”, on the warmer, saline water below.

    Roger Pielke Sr. has a very interesting article on this…..

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/interesting-climate-science-relevant-article-temperature-steps-in-salty-seas-by-carpenter-and-timmermans-2012/

  32. Q says:

    For the sake of argument, assume there is AGW. How would one decouple the natural and anthropogenic contributions to the Arctic Oscillation index. Surely AGW would affect the measurements.

    • Jim Steele says:

      Q lets assume there is AGW. How trivial is the contribution of CO2?

      One way to separate the warming effects of heat released from ice free arctic seas versus added CO2 is to look at temperature trends over the north pole where the ice is more constant. Research say: Co2 warming trivial:

      Absence of evidence for greenhouse warming over the Arctic Ocean in the past 40 years
      JONATHAN D. KAHL*, DONNA J. CHARLEVOIX*, NINA A. ZAFTSEVA†, RUSSELL C. SCHNELL‡ & MARK C. SERREZE§

      ATMOSPHERIC general circulation models predict enhanced greenhouse warming at high latitudes1 owing to positive feedbacks between air temperature, ice extent and surface albedo2–4. Previous analyses of Arctic temperature trends have been restricted to land-based measurements on the periphery of the Arctic Ocean5,6. Here we present temperatures measured in the lower troposphere over the Arctic Ocean during the period 1950–90. We have analysed more than 27,000 temperature profiles, measured by radiosonde at Russian drifting ice stations and by dropsonde from US ‘Ptarmigan’ weather reconnaissance aircraft, for trends as a function of season and altitude. Most of the trends are not statistically significant. In particular, we do not observe the large surface warming trends predicted by models; indeed, we detect significant surface cooling trends over the western Arctic Ocean during winter and autumn. This discrepancy suggests that present climate models do not adequately incorporate the physical processes that affect the polar regions.

  33. Doug Cotton says:

    .

    Roy

    Perhaps you’d like me to write

    No Virginia, a microwave oven does not melt ice

    Subtitle:

    so carbon dioxide radiation does not either.

    .

  34. racing says:

    Brilliant stuff, correct spelling and punctuation is a lost art!

  35. Harold H. Doiron says:

    There is a well-matched matched correlation in the Earth’s average yearly Length of Day (LOD) record maintained by NASA JPL (inversely related to spin rate of the Earth’s mantle), and your plot of the Winter Arctic Oscillation (AO) Index. See the last plot in http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/18309/1/99-1782.pdf

    Since 1972, at the time of the last AO Index maximum, the Earth’s average spin rate has been increasing, in stark contrast to its known long term spin rate slowing due to tidal friction. Note the LOD minimum in 1935 also corresponds to the minimum in your AO Index plot.

    This correlation in LOD and the AO Index could be due to the Earth’s spin axis Moment of Inertia changes as equatorial water is transferred to the poles as ice, and vice versa, in hydrologic cycles that can explain much of the natural variations in the Earth’s climate.

    As partially explained in the recent Liu, Curry et. al. paper http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2012/02/arctic-sea-ice-winter-snow-usa-blizzard-climate-change/1, and by Ewing and Donn in the 1950′s and 60′s; early Fall and late Spring heavy snowfalls in the Northern Hemisphere at times of low sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean can transfer water to the poles in the form of ice build-up at heads of glaciers, while they are still melting at their lower lattitude terminus. See also Wysmuller http://www.colderside.com

  36. Doug Cotton says:

    Seeing that a microwave oven produces low frequency radiation far more intense than carbon dioxide could ever do, and yet its radiation is not absorbed* and converted to thermal energy in ice, what makes anyone think that radiation from carbon dioxide could warm all the snow and ice covered areas of the planet?

    The mechanism by which microwave ovens heat water molecules is totally different from the excitation of atoms which happens when high frequency solar radiation warms water. The oven emits radiation at a very specific frequency which happens to resonate with natural frequencies of the water molecules which then “snap” or “flip” through 180 degrees and back again in synchronisation with the passing waves of electromagnetic radiation. The molecules in water do have the space to do this, and when they flip there is frictional heat generated by collisions of the molecules. In ice there is not sufficient room to move and flip like this.

    There is no violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics simply because electrical energy was added to the system.

    But the fact that the ice was not melted demonstrates the phenomenon of “resonant scattering” in which radiation is not reflected, not transmitted and not absorbed with conversion to thermal energy. See Section 5 of my publication here.

    * Try this home experiment:

    Obtain two identical small microwave bowls which do not get warm in the microwave oven. Ensure that they both fit in the oven together. Obtain a small ice cube tray and fill it with filtered or distilled water. Pour that water into one of the bowls. Then refill the tray with similar water and place the ice cube tray in your freezer and both the bowls in your frig overnight. Next day, empty the ice cubes into the bowl without water, then place both bowls in the microwave oven and operate for about 60 to 80 seconds depending on the volume of water – try to bring the water nearly to the boil. Observe that the ice has not been affected – you might even try comparing its temperature with other ice in the freezer. To do this, pack the ice samples in a tall insulated mug and insert a meat thermometer with a metal spike.

    Why wasn’t the energy in the radiation shared equally between the water and the ice? If you pour the hot water into the bowl with the ice it will easily melt the ice within a couple of minutes, so this demonstrates that sufficient energy did enter the water.

  37. Eli Rabett says:

    Bunnies, take two ice cubes. Place one in the microwave. Turn the microwave on. Observe.

    Oh yes, the magnetron frequency is not resonant with water vapor absorption lines. You could look it up.

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