According to climate models of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Potsdam Germany, the recent cold winters in Europe are caused by low sea ice extent (due to AGW) in the Barents and Kara Seas. Juraj Vanovcan now has an essay that shows the opposite seems to be true.
Debunking PIK’s Low Barents/Kara Sea Ice – Cold Winters Claim
By guest writer Juraj Vanovcan
In dealing with three consecutive cold winters in NW Europe, orthodox climatology is now doing all it can to avoid mentioning the changing trends in NAO/AO and the cooling Atlantic. Instead, various bizarre theories have been floated out – from the Big Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico slowing down the Gulf Stream, to tremendous melting of Greenland ice sheets having the same effect. They all ignore the fact that the Gulf Stream is powered by tropical trade winds.
Another tactic that warmists have used for damage control is claiming that low sea ice extent in Barents and Kara Sea may cause changes in air circulation, thus allowing cold Arctic air to pour down to the mid-latitudes. But this theory is dubious, as we shall see. It is the prevailing direction of air circulation and not the “increased greenhouse effect” that rules the European winters.
Such attempts to tie the cold with warm elsewhere, here the alleged decrease of ice cover in a part of the Arctic, reminds us of Kevin Trenberth’s search for the “missing heat”.
Climate data are freely available via KNMI Climate Explorer, so let’s investigate the PIK claim.
Figure 1 shows the area of Barents and Kara Sea (65-80N, 10-100E), and North-West Europe (45-70N, 10W-15E), where it is being claimed low winter ice extent there is causing low winter temperatures and snow in Europe.
Figure 2 shows winter (D-J-F) ice extent in Barents and Kara Sea, combined with winter temperature anomalies over the Northwest Europe.
Figure 2 Barents/Kara winter sea extent and NW Europe winters, 1979-2010.
Eyeballing the relation between those two curves, there is a relation, but the opposite of what is claimed by PIK! For example, low winter sea ice extent in 2007 and 2008 were tied with mild European winters. Also cold winters in the mid-1980s happened despite rather high ice extent in Barents and Kara Sea. Figure 3 as follows shows the two parameters in direct relation:
Figure 3 Relation between Barents/Kara winter sea ice extent and NW European winters, 1979-2010.
Mathematicians could argue about the statistical significance of observed trend, but the trend itself is rather logical: Cold Barents/Kara Sea with more ice means cold winters in Northwest Europe. One does not know yet, where the 2010/2011 winter plot will appear on the graph above, but even if it is an outlier it will not change the overall trend.
The claim that cold European winters are caused by low ice extent in Barents and Kara Sea is therefore not supported by observed data.
Since the Arctic ice extent depends mainly on North Atlantic SST, as presented elsewhere, there is a good chance that in near future we will see remarkable growth. Figure 4 shows the North Pacific and North Atlantic SST monthly anomalies, based on Reynolds OI.v2 dataset.
Figure 4: Monthly SST anomalies for North Pacific and North Atlantic since 1982.
There seems to be a 1-year lag between the two plots, with the Atlantic trailing the Pacific SST trend. Warm SST peak in Atlantic, observed in 2010, seems to mimic similar event in North Pacific in 2009. But Pacific SST have since dropped to levels seen only in the 80s. If the Atlantic follows, then 2011 summer sea ice extent may see a considerable gain.
Future attempts to explain increasing Arctic ice cover with warming somewhere else will no doubt raise more amusement and doubts about the ”scientific consensus”.