At 50% the Chance of a 2020 Blue Ocean Event is now a Coin Toss

State of the Arctic per August 25th, 2020. Maps & data from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

There is now an equal chance of 2020 seeing an ice-free Arctic and it not happening this year, according to this particular data-sourced setup. There’s a 50% chance of having an ice-free Arctic or Blue Ocean Event, defined by scientists as less than a million square km of sea ice.

There are several reasons for the bar being set at 1 million instead of zero km2 of ice, perhaps first of them being that glaciers also calve a lot due to the same heat trend that is melting ice out at sea. So because no one expects glaciers to stop running into the fjords in a record warm year in the Arctic, we also do not expect there to be absolutely no ice in the sea. So zero is totally impractical and won’t happen, because of the way ice at sea is regarded as sea ice, regardless of it having originated in, say, the Greenland high mountains.

Method: Using a calculated figure for ‘required sea ice area loss’ for each day remaining of the melt season, every day is then characterised as either a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ melt day. The figure will fluctuate up and down through the summer, based on what is needed for the current day and the days that are left. If we are very far from succeeding with a 2020 BOE, the figure may get very high, and it will be near impossible to meet the requirements and actually have a BOE. You’ll perhaps see this in September.

For the past 30 days, 15 days may be ‘Good melt days’ and 15 ‘Bad’, which is the case right now. Then 15/30 translates into a 50% chance, basically because half the days were capable of meeting the requirement for that particular day.

The initial chance or percentage is calculated just using sea ice area. However, twice a month there are figures published from the PIOMAS sea ice volume project, and so some of the ‘Bad melt day’ judgements (meaning ‘not enough melt’) may be overturned, if more recently available sea ice volume figures from that same day, suggest that the melt was actually quite good (based on a similar calculation for required sea ice volume loss).

As you no doubt understand by now, the setup laid out above is an informal, practical way of getting at a reasonable chance/risk figure for the current running melt season, and its sole reason for being is simply that it’s Better Than Nothing. It’s based on some real data, and the chance WILL go up or down depending on how the melt season develops. Its memory is only 30 days, so soon all the melt from June & July will be out of sight, out of mind, and the chance percentage will be entirely based on Aug / Sep events.

Lastly, only the main central sea of the Arctic Ocean is used in this setup, basically because late September sea ice is overwhelmingly (90% +) located there in high melt record low years. When Earth has its first BOE in 3 million years, that figure may be even higher than 95%, and so clearly, this particular sea (Central Arctic Basin, or CAB) is the one to watch.

Right now we’re at 50% chance of a 2020 BOE, so it is a coin toss. That means it’s not unlikely at all, and even though this method or setup is just developed for the current summer melt season alone, I believe it also has some application for the larger debate on when we will see the first Blue Ocean Event in 3 million years. We know the scandalously conservative IPCC — the UN Climate Panel — has been treading the water here, reluctantly leaving its 2007 position of the 2090s for Earth’s first BOE over the past decade via 2050 down to 2035. But their number is more of a literally political number, and worse still: It’s the political number that every nation’s government on Earth can agree on, for something that’s in its very nature a purely scientific question.

It’s kind of like having a totalitarian government decide whether or not it’s raining in the capital city, instead of just opening a door or a window to see what is actually the case.

Sadly, instead of being the allegedly scientific organ that would advise politicians, the entire science part itself is politicised bordering on the absurd, with member states having full veto powers, so that in reality, you’re left with conservative politicians advising conservative politicians.

As a key indicator of the severity and fast pace of global warming, sea ice in general and the arrival of the first sea ice-free late summer in particular, has the potential to overturn these vast political structures of politically directed science, allowing us all to Get Real already, and start preparing for what’s coming our way very soon.

Some of us following the climate and the Arctic have been aware of these faster developments for a number of years, and may not be as shocked as the regular guy when it’s finally crystal clear for all to see with their naked eyes. But even we may be in for quite an emotional ride, because there is a difference between knowing something in your head, and knowing it in your heart. Many of us have even been hoping for the longest time that we were wrong, that we were merely some pessimistic Negative Nancys.

For the Man in the Street, it might mean an abrupt end to all games or sports of any kind, and for young people an equally abrupt end to their education or imagined career. This blog post won’t go into the full picture of a Collapse in the Arctic, but rather guide worried and interested folks to go check out the brilliant social initiative called the Deep Adaption movement, spearheaded by Professor Jem Bendell, which was just recently updated for 2020 here.

Bendell has been connected to the broader XR movement in England, or Extinction Rebellion, which some of you may be familiar with. His work and community building for dealing with all of these massive changes together, is just impressive, and I’ve no qualms with recommending his forums and social circles to anyone feeling the sense of losing the ground beneath their feet, due to something as mundane as snow and ice melting in summer in parts of the Earth that they’ve maybe never even visited: Suddenly we are all together in this!

Smells Like Teen Spirit

First of all, a short message to Galen Hall, Colleen Schmidt & Thomas Nicholas, who launched the defamatory attack on the Planet’s most prominent field researcher of Arctic sea ice and Oceanography:

Galen Hall, Colleen Schmidt & Thomas Nicholas
Young future scientists? Galen Hall, Colleen Schmidt & Thomas Nicholas. (Source: YouTube & Twitter)

A message to Hall, Schmidt & Nicholas

Like all relative beginners into this field, you guys need to reflect on the state of ‘climate politics’ for the past 50 years, and its very strong urge to do nothing, in part because such vast profits are involved in the fossil fuel scene and the economic growth scene, and in part because of the Tragedy of the Commons and because the fatal consequences of doing nothing are so far away.

Mechanisms like the above conspire to paint a real field research expert like Professor Wadhams as an outcast, a fringe or an extremist, or indeed, like you say, a gentleman who is ‘just wrong’.

History of Science, as exemplified by Tyson’s Cosmos 2

Sadly, the world of science and the history of science have largely been driven by motives like your own, where somehow you don’t personally appreciate the findings of some other scientist, and thus you choose to dismiss him, not based on the science per se, but rather on whatever you can find to discredit the scientist in question. Therefore, Wadhams isn’t completely right when he says you guys are not scientists, because the history of science supports the likes of you, because while the scientific process actually is, the science community was never perfectly scientific.

The scientific community and individual scientists are fallible and fall victim to discrediting campaigns, rumours and propaganda, just like the rest of humanity. That’s partly why the IPCC can get Climate Change so vastly wrong!

Can we Fix It? Really?

Lastly, when scientific exploration reveals a situation for the Planet and our Civilisation that’s significantly dire, there’ll be some scientists (and some activists) saying we can still fix this if we do XYZ, and others who say it’s now beyond fixing. You cannot then as a young person, with Teen Spirit or whatever, simply judge those two major camps and say you ‘like’ the camp saying we can fix it, even though that sounds nicer to you! (Incidentally in this case, you’d support Peter Wadhams, whom you just insulted in the worst way.)

The We Can Fix It camp could be wrong, and personal non-scientific reasons might cloud their judgement and make them cling on to the Fix It attitude.

The following is Professor Peter Wadhams’ remarks on your attack paper & videos.

Just slightly edited for clarity.

I was very surprised, I mean, I don’t mind at all having my work analysed critically by other scientists who know something about science, but to be insulted by little kids who have absolutely no knowledge whatever about the Arctic, is pretty annoying, because Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall & Colleen Schmidt are using that simply as a way of getting at Bendell, because they don’t approve of his philosophy.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University

So these kids who know nothing, took it upon themselves to insult my entire lifetime of scientific work, because of a political aim of their own. And that sort of arrogance — it’s arrogance as well as ignorance — doesn’t stand them in a good way, if they want to be scientists in the future. Because Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall & Colleen Schmidt are not scientists now, and at this rate they’ll never become scientists.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University

There are no ‘hundreds of scientists’ ganging up to say nothing much is happening, this is complete fantasy dreamed up by these students. And then Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall & Colleen Schmidt say that even a cursory search reveals that the magnitude of Wadhams’ predictions are off and so is his timeline, well, they haven’t even done a cursory search! Because if they had’ve done, they would have seen that it’s absolutely in line with what we know about how albedo changes when ice disappears.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University

Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall & Colleen Schmidt are arguing from a position of personal ignorance and malice at the same time, which I find distinctly revolting. And you wouldn’t want a new scientist to start off with that kind of arrogance, because he’s wrong, they’re wrong.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University

It’s defamatory because any claims I make about what’s going on are based on 50 years of field research, which is about 49.5 years more than Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall & Colleen Schmidt have done, and it’s based on scientific results.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University

Sea Ice Lies and Why People Post Them — Part 2

Beavies & Butthead ought to make an attempt at reading this post, which examines a claim from a tweeter who’s very confident our first Blue Ocean Event is many decades away, and who claims it can’t happen this year. The post proves 100% he is lying about this summer, question is more like, why?

Another interesting question is how many paid scientists make similar mistakes or intentional errors, because they’re so careless, lazy or determined to prove that we’re safe for at least 2 or 3 decades?

I recently brought a climate scientist from Bergen, Norway, where I was born, to silence after he admitted that his 100% linear logic, as published in Norwegian media, for why the 2D ice extent that had taken 40 years to reduce by half, would need another 40 years to go to zero, was likely wrong and too conservative, as he also admitted we should really be looking at 3D volume, where trends look a lot more dire.

I’ve explained to him, and tried with others, my point that it’s not up to him or me to choose between 2D extent and 3D volume of the ice, when estimating when it finally crashes. There’s a way sea ice works, and for that way it has a 3D body, swimming in the Arctic Ocean.

The problem of having one conservative and admittedly wrong scientist in one particular Scandinavian city wouldn’t be so bad, if he didn’t publish the official word on the ice situation in the national media, or if his sloppy science wasn’t also characteristic of the entire UN and its so–called Panel on Climate, the IPCC. For they also much prefer the far cosier and more slow–moving trends of 2D extent demise of the ice.

Why do they lie, or why do they “make all these stupid mistakes”? Well, it’s no longer a question of mere mistakes, when it repeats in assessment report after assessment report, often 7 or more years apart. Clearly, this is a waiting game, with huge profits involved for every new period of 7 years that everyone waits to see if they finally get it right. For we cannot close down the gas stations, the car sales and airports before they do.

Another benefit of making such mistakes, is young snotty self–proclaimed “Fact Checkers” like Beavies & Butthead here, will find their high-authority sloppy reports and quote them against people with real insight, whenever they want to publish a hastily researched so–called “Fact Check”. And see, they’ve debunked every resource person on climate change over the age of 25 in Extinction Rebellion! Easy.

Sea Ice Lies and Why People Post Them

Let’s pick this lie and its lying liar apart, shall we?

We know we haven’t seen ‘a perfect storm of meteorologically possible weather conditions’ for even a day in Summer 2020, but we know we lost about 81,000 km² of sea ice area from the Central Arctic Basin (CAB) on the 6th of July:

Daily Sea Ice Area Losses in the CAB, with July 6th highlighted.

It could be argued that ‘a perfect storm of meteorologically possible weather conditions’ would cause a daily loss of at least 250,000 km², easy, but to be polite, let’s just go with the highest loss this far in the Summer of 2020, 81,000 km². Pete talks about ‘a perfect storm of meteorologically possible weather conditions for the remainder of the melt season’, so every single day we’ll get this high loss. Let’s look at where that would land us.

Daily Sea Ice Area Losses in the CAB, with (less than) a perfect storm of meteorologically possible weather conditions for the remainder of the melt season simulated from August 2nd to September 4th.

We can easily see that all it takes is way less than a perfect storm, to take us to a BOE by September 4th. The blue dotted line for ‘Required Loss for a Blue Ocean Event’ bows down to zero, at which point no further losses are needed, as we are already at that 1 million mark.

Even if we had a perfect storm of meteorologically possible weather conditions for the remainder of the melt season,

Yes, as simulated above.

the probability would still be infinitesimally low for a BOE.

Nah, it would be done in the first week of September, even with non-perfect conditions.

We’re probably at least a decade from the first BOE and probably longer.

That’s not your scientific assessment, that’s just what you like to tell yourself, or what you like to pretend outward is your assessment. Let’s keep in mind you said “even IF perfect storm rest of summer” then “BOE probability would still be infinitesimally low”. That is just BS, as with perfect storm conditions the probability would clearly be 100%.

So we have demonstrated that Pete lies blatantly about the sea ice in the Arctic. Everyone knows that Pete lies about the sea ice in the Arctic, but do we know why Pete lies about the sea ice in the Arctic?