gallopingcamel commented recently on Flap over Arctic Ice Rebound
“Short term variations to Arctic ice were not a big deal for me, but you piqued my interest so your blog has been added to my favorites.
To date, my interest has been the long term record based on ice cores:
Do you have any comments to share?”
His linked post is a tightly reasoned analysis regarding CO2, temperatures and ice cores. I appreciate greatly his summary showing that present warming is much too low if CO2 has been causing warming all along. I’d not seen the contradiction put so succinctly.
His comment causes me to reflect on several facets of ice in relation to climate, and this is the point of this post.
The immediate facet: What do Sea Ice Extents tell us about climate change?
As Peter says, my blogging on Arctic Ice extents is quite immediate and is motivated mainly by my concern to get some factual perspectives out there as a possible antidote to feverish claims the media will promote. In that sense, this facet of ice is an immediate and socio-political one. The issue: should Arctic ice extent cause us to be alarmed about the climate? My blogs on Arctic Ice Rebound provide my conclusions, but this battle for public opinion has not yet been joined in earnest. In my post on sea ice factors I make the point that among many things affecting ice extents, CO2 is the least likely. And Antarctic ice extent is another story which I have left to others.
The Longer View: The Ice Core Story of CO2 and Surface Temperatures
I am convinced as Peter is that in the ice core record, changes in CO2 follow temperature changes and are more effect than cause. The natural CO2 sources and sinks are estimated with large error bands and their behavior is likely to be dynamic, that is, changing with changing climate conditions.
This blog is like a personal journal where I try to articulate realizations that form from my engagement in climate topics. It is idiosyncratic in that I often have a new discovery, quite exciting to me, but long understood by others unknown to me. For example, John Holtquist just linked to a webpage by John Daly where he said years ago most of everything I’ve learned about Arctic ice and more.
My journey this year was marked by discovering we live on planet water, not planet earth, and it led me to read much more oceanographic material which is categorized here as Oceans Make Climate. That led me to ice, and to some theories regarding longer-term Arctic cycles summarized here.
The Big Picture: The Sun and the Earth, From Hot House to Ice House
Peter’s post has a comment thread that gets into the larger arena of climate shifts involving ice-covered ages (most of earth’s history) and the more hospitable inter-glacial periods such as we have enjoyed for the last 11,500 years. I wrote a post on how I believe the ocean’s thermal flywheel is responsible for keeping our climate so stable most of the time, until it is overwhelmed by external forces, primarily astronomical in nature.
I have not wandered far into the sun-climate controversy, and my present understanding is probably best expressed here: