Sea ice forecasts

Time for a brief break from the viputeration. Dull, I know. But fear not: the daily diet of random insults will resume soon. Speaking of which read Arrse.

PD challenges me to a bet, which I expect to take up once I’ve found time from wiki to actually read the terms properly. He also points to the ARCUS June forecasts for Spetember which are just out. Such fun. It doesn’t look like anyone is going out on a limb – Todd “I used to wrok at BAS, you know” Arbetter has a very low forecast in, but since he also has a very medium forecast he wins both ways, or ut another way stands no chance of winning.

This year’s caution is in sharp contrast to last year, when 4/14 forecasts were for well below 2007. Also interesting to note is the absence of Wieslaw “no sea ice by 2013” Maslowski (to be fair to him, he was probably misrepresented. To be fair to reality, he made no attempt to correct this error as far as I know. To be fair to him, I made no attempt to find out).

M1.25

A good outing tonight with the closest we’ve come to M1 so far – M1.25 perhaps. John-the-coach did an excellent job on us for the first leg then p*ss*d off to the pub when it started raining, which was probably fair enough because it was a real English summer thunderstorm and we all got soaked. Fortunately those of us who grew up in the Andy Nicol school of rowing (you f*ck*ng well square up early and your blade stays 2″ above the saxboard whether the boat is down on your side or not) know enough to bring a change of clothes. And our first outing in the borrowed-for-the-bumps boat from First-and-Third; their M3 Black Prince, and very nice and stiff it was too. No speedcoach wiring so we’ll have to fix that. A pleasant pint or two (cider!) in the Old Spring afterwards (hello Mel!).

Duckling score: 0.

M says: you’ve not going to blog in a way that allows anyone to identify the people and I say “oh I’m not going to blog *that*.

Those hoping for more petrol thrown on the “foaming” fire will have to wait a day or two. Sorry.

In the meantime, you coud read something really boring (I warned you).

Poetry

As I was pondering

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly—and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

I was reminded of Marvell (OK, I know, does it help if the first piece of Marvell I read (also this one) was because of a header in an Ursula K LeGuin story, “Vaster than empires and more slow”?), and when searching for the words delighted to discover that the top google hit for “through the iron gates of life” is… me in a former life. Well it beats rano’s in the bidet1 🙂

It looks like I’ve since returned to the topic, which is my excuse for bringing up the utterly superb The Gods of the Copybook Headings: That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire. But perhaps better for these times of the Downfall of Capitalism:

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind…

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

Livejournal, incidentally, handles the blockquotes better.

1. Coming back to this in 2015 I discover I haven’t got a clue what I meant by that.

Foaming at the mouth with Joe Romm

“A friend” points me towards Why does the New York Times hate science? by Joe Romm. Sigh. Experience teaches me that RP Jr can wipe the floor with Romm without even trying, largely because Romm falls flat on his face without any help from anyone else.

As far as I can tell (because it took me some time to fight through the ranting) Romm is complaining about RP’s post This post is about how the report summarizes the issue of disasters and climate change, including several references to my work, which is misrepresented where “the report” is the new CCSP report, which I haven’t read. RP is pointing out, yet again, that evidence for increased cost of GW in disaster related losses is thin at the very best, and that people seem very happy to quote outdated reports if they support their pov. Unfortunately, this is a message that many people don’t want to hear. RP’s reasonned calm and well-referenced post is attacked by Romm as “both the lamest and the most intellectually dishonest attack in his career” and Romms excuse for not engaging with any or RP’s arguments is “his entire post is the blog equivalent of waterboarding”.

Romm has an audience, I suppose, that wants to be fed this tripe. But it does him no credit. I’m certainly not listening to him any more. For those that *are* listening to him: why? What was the last useful thing you learnt from him?

[Hmm – mt sounds a bit doubty – perhaps he needs to prepare for a visit from the climate police?]

Sea ice: how to describe the possibility of a record?

With all the wild excitement over 2007’s record low there is clearly room for noise to be made about summer sea ice, so predictions must be made! We all know, of course, that whether this year, or any other year, is going to be a record is going to be a matter of chance: on top of the long term negative trend (and we can argue about whether that trend is typified by the slope of 1979-2006, or has got steeper recently) there is a lot of interannual variation. Certainly I’m not aware of any sea ice modeller with enough confidence in their predictions to put any money on them.

But the next best thing is a press release, such as New record Arctic sea ice cover minimum? Climate researchers from Bremerhaven and Hamburg present new prognoses. from AWI. Now the heading is clear enough: they are interested in the question of a new minimum. What is objectionable is the next bit: The German researchers agree upon a continuing negative trend. Another critical minimum of Arctic sea ice is to be expected in the late summer of 2009.

Well, there you go: a clear prediction of a new minimum this summer. No? Well, no. Because the text then gets a bit smaller and says: We have computed in this year’s first prognosis that the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean will lie at the end of the summer with at least 28 % probability under that of 2007 – the year with the lowest-ever measured ice extension. Put simply, “is to be expected in the late summer of 2009” is wrong. It should be “has an approximately 1-in-4 chance in the late summer of 2009”, based on their model. Or you could read a bit further on and find that Hamburg say: We estimate a probability of 7 % that this year will fall below the negative record of 2007.

I feel better for that

Catz women catching FaT (I think) on saturday. Which was all jolly good fun but meant that I didn’t get to row myself all week after monday. And over the weekend I felt somewhat ill. Coupled with pouring rain at 4 this afternoon I was not at all looking forward to being 6 in our “M1” crew for the X-press head today. However, despite light rain as we were boating, we managed to row really quite well given the scratch nature of our crew (well done Phil, especially; and James’s first serious race as stroke) and rowing in a stiff boat was a delight, as was the raw arrogance of James T’s coxing. We don’t have a time yet but given that we overtook (an admittedly rather slow) Radegund crew, and comfortably held off a 9’s crew that we had expected to stuff us, I have some hopes of a decent result.

But this isn’t a blog purely about my tedious rowing. So I’ll briefly mention sea ice. some people have noticed that this years NH sea ice is looking to push 2007’s record, based on curve-crossing (mt’s pic isn’t a snapshot, so it looks rather less impressive now than when he put it up). As I said over there, I prefer http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm, and not just because it makes my money look safer. No, because it gives a more accurate idea of what is going on. As you can see form that last link, 2007 wasn’t consistently low – it was easily beaten by 2006 at this time of the season. mt’s pic is really a perfect example of how to mislead with graphics (note: I’m certain that mt had not the slightest intent to mislead anyone). They need to replace the 1979-2000 average with the 1979-2006 range to produce something meaningful.

[Update: Eli is in on this too, but he doesn’t know what is going on either 🙂 -W]