This is what’s happening: Global sea ice just had its best year, basically a full calendar year with a zero-anomaly, since 2004. Scientists told us that global warming was accelerating at the poles, through the polar amplification process. Part of that, they said (after consulting global circulation models), was that both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice would diminish. When Antarctic sea ice stubbornly refused to shrink as predicted, scientists scrambled for an ex-post-facto explication. This was a little like a magician whose rabbit has jumped off the stage explaining to the audience that this was part of the show.
This is what’s happening: The rabbit’s not coming back on stage.
This is what’s happening: NASA’s Walt Meier and the Climatic Research Unit’s Phil Jones both explained that only the naive are interested in global sea ice.
“A plot of global sea ice is just not informative or useful,” said Meier.
“Adding the Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice extents doesn’t make that much sense as the two regions are at opposite ends of the world and the seasons are opposite,” said Jones.
This is what’s happening: Meier and Jones are two of the foremost experts on climate in 2014.
This is what’s happening: With the Sun nearly as high as it gets in Antarctica at this very moment, Antarctic sea ice is nearly 1.5 million square kilometers above average, reflecting copious sunlight back to space and protecting goodly swaths of the sea from absorbing solar radiation. At the same time, with the Sun below the horizon during the seemingly endless winter night, Arctic sea is slightly more than 0.5 million square kilometers below average. Thus, where the Sun is high, a lot of solar radiation is getting reflected back to space. Where the Sun is below the horizon, no additional solar radiation is getting back to space. Yes, it’s January.
Meier again: “It is scientifically incorrect to directly compare the Arctic [to the Antarctic].”
This is what’s happening: Every time I read Meier’s words I’m more amazed than I was before.
This is what’s happening: In addition to increasing sea ice skirting the southernmost continent, the South Pole itself has been cooling for decades.
This is what’s happening: Russian solar physicists suggested that the solar downturn would have important cooling effects on Earth’s ocean-atmosphere system, a.k.a. our climate.
This is what’s happening: Cairo just had its first snow in more than a century.
This is what’s happening: The coldest location in the Lower 48 United States, International Falls, MN, recently set a record for the greatest number of days below minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the month of December: 8. During the same month, the temperature rose above freezing for a total of 3 hours.
This is what’s happening: International Falls started the New Year the way it ended the old one, with record cold, with a minimum temp of minus 42 Fahrenheit on January 2.
This is what’s happening: Southern Hemisphere sea ice set an all-time record for December 31.
This is what’s happening: A Russian ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, that routinely travels in the waters encircling Antarctica became stuck in sea ice on December 24 and is still stuck 10 days later. The ship’s passengers — a combination of scientists, journalists, and tourists (with plenty of crossover among groups) — have been rescued by helicopter, at significant peril and expense.
This is what’s happening: As the passengers grew increasingly restless, and likely nervous, and increasingly interested in the chances of their ship getting free of the ice, they reached out to a prestigious oceanographic institute, namely Scripps, in San Diego, California. Scripp’s staff reached out to a San Diego TV station’s meteorologists for help, one of whom, John Coleman (founding meteorologist of The Weather Channel), reached out to Anthony Watts, the most famous climate blogger in the world, who just happened to have been following the possibly doomed group’s doings for the better part of a week. Watts and fellow skeptic meteorologist and blogger Joe D’Aleo promptly gathered information about the winds that either would or wouldn’t be freeing the Akademik Shokalskiy anytime soon and sent it to the imperiled scientists.
This is what’s happening: According to satellites, Earth’s temperature hasn’t increased in 17 years.
This is what’s happening: So far, the snowiest Northern Hemisphere winter on record was last winter.
This is what’s happening: Thunder Bay, Canada, just “shattered” its previous record for coldest temp on December 31, according to the Canadian meteorology service (part of Environment Canada). The previous record low temperature for the date: -28F. The new record low temperature: -38F.
This is what’s happening. Iceland recorded it’s lowest ever temperature for the month of May in 2013: 0F.
This is what’s happening: the cold snap about to take place in the American midwest will get headlines. And one person, one exceedingly bright person, waking up on Tuesday morning and trying without success to get their car to start will walk back in the house and press click to buy the only book by an American journalist about the possibility of Sun-induced global cooling.