Settled science: no Arctic "tipping point"?

Clouded with doubt

The alarmist argument goes like this: if the ice disappears from the Arctic, the darker sea will absorb more sunlight than the more reflective ice, which will increase warming, which will reduce the ice even further, etc etc. The climate tips over the edge of the abyss and it’s goodnight.

But as always, there are other factors at work, and a new paper which looks at the forcing caused by the total loss of the Arctic ice sheet includes the following caveat:

The potential for changes in cloud cover as a result of the changes in sea ice makes the evaluation of the actual forcing that may be realized quite uncertain since such changes could overwhelm the forcing caused by the sea ice loss itself, if the cloudiness increases in the summertime.

In other words, the higher evaporation from the sea surface due to the lack of ice may actually increase the cloudiness during periods of low ice, therefore reducing the incoming solar radiation, and acting as a negative feedback to prevent the mythical tipping point being reached.

Again, without a thorough understanding of cloud feedbacks, predictions of Arctic tipping points (and the outputs from most climate models) are virtually worthless.

Abstract here. (h/t Hockey Schtick)


  1. apart from the fact that the earth tilts…and thus the arctic is in darkness for a significant period of time

  2. It doesn’t matter what evidence you present that counters the GW argument, people wont believe it because most of them – like sheep – like to follow the herd.

  3. Arctic Sea ice, like everything on this planet, goes through cycles of more, then at other times, less. If you look at a graph of Arctic Sea ice you will see that so far 2011 is well within normal variants, since 2003 … but there in lies the problem. We have no way of measuring with any accuracy, past Arctic Sea ice, so all we can rely on is data which is several years old.
    Considering the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old, the Arctic Sea would have frozen and melted hundreds, if not thousands of times, since it’s creation and a carbon dioxide tax will have no more effect on the Earth’s weather/climatic cycles than urinating on a bush fire.

  4. You mean Fat Al is wrong again? Darn it. I think God has this one Al so just SHUT UP!

  5. well the ets in the uk and nz is working they have serious cold in winter, summer, autumn, spring…etc…still a few “cold” events are just weather, but a few “warm” events are AGW…

  6. Cathy Myors via Facebook says:

    Yes….NZ is going through a bit of GW at the moment. It’s causing bleaching turning the trees, mountains and ground white, and making people wear winter clothes to block out harmful UV.

  7. froggy uk says:

    How about this bunch of eco idiots who have obviously listened to the wrong people, I wonder if their attitudes will change IF they get back!.

    Or you can leave them a message here:

  8. The idea of a tipping point never made sense to me. Melting is gradual, and each cm^2 of ice you melt will reduce the Artic’s albedo. Tipping point implies that it is a sudden change, as if you have an ice cube at the north pole, it melts and all of a sudden, we’re doomed.

  9. Treasurer Wayne Swan becomes delusional:

    12 AUGUST 2010:
    ” … certainly what we rejected is this hysterical allegation that somehow we are moving towards a carbon tax from the Liberal (Party) and their advertising. We certainly reject that.”
    “… no it’s not possible that we’re bringing in a carbon tax. That is a hysterically inaccurate claim that’s being made by the Coalition.”
    “We have made our position very clear, we have ruled it (carbon dioxide tax) out,” the treasurer told ABC Television.

    16 AUGUST 2011:
    “The issue of climate change risks massive damage to Australia’s environment and economies and in a country like this, damage to our coastal cities and damage to our tourism industry, and of course damage around the world to some of the most vulnerable countries and people on earth.”
    “… a first-grade economy had to be powered by clean energy. A clean energy strategy is a growth strategy.”

    Will the ‘real’ Julia Wayne please stand-up!

  10. Just one problem with your ‘theory’. Aren’t clouds made of water vapour, a very potent green house gas?

  11. •Ice reflects sunlight, water also has mirror affect. For 6 months in a year, there is no sunlight to reflect on the polar cap. 2] without ice as insulator, water absorbs extra coldness from the air. With that double coldness, soon Europe / USA will have even colder winter than the last. The Skeptics M/F will have the last laugh. Unless one believes that is sunlight 365days a year on Arctic – Flat Earth Believers.

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