Lack Of Arctic Ice Produces Record Snow

Last year, the lack of Arctic ice caused a warm winter in the eastern US, but this year it causes record cold and snow.

Twitter / oakden_wolf: @ClimateDepot Hey Morano: why …

The logic is simple. A warming Arctic provides either more or less cold air, depending on the need of alarmists to keep their brain damaged belief system alive.

About Tony Heller

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36 Responses to Lack Of Arctic Ice Produces Record Snow

  1. gator69 says:

    I’m so glad Mr Wolf has everything figured out. Now I can make my vacation plans for the next decade, without any questions about the weather.

  2. Sparks says:

    I’m usually a good judge of character but It turns out some people in general are really as thick as two planks.

  3. Andy DC says:

    Lack of Arctic sea ice causes little or lots of snowfall. Heck, under the right conditions, it can even cause normal snowfall!

  4. leftinbrooklyn says:

    I would think that if I were a CAGW guy, I would prefer this to be rainfall.

  5. Chuck L says:

    Arctic sea ice, the Swiss Army Knife of climate – It can do anything!

  6. When you have zero understanding of physics it’s easy to scoff at those who do. Snow requires moisture. The arctic is typically very dry. Open water (the result of decreasing sea ice) adds moisture to the atmosphere. So global warming can both decrease sea ice *and* increase snowfall.

    Of course I realize this is a fantasy-land site populated with followers waiting for the ice to recover – akin to religious fanatics waiting for the rapture. I seem to remember the Bering Sea ice being anomalously large last winter/spring and the deniers on this site and others like it thinking it meant something important … and simply not listening to those of us who tried to tell you that it was meaningless, that the Bering Sea because of its latitude would all melt out anyways – like lake ice. And of course we’ve seen the largest decreases in the Pacific sector – so the fact that ice formed in the Pacific sector had zero bearing (pun intended) on the end of season sea ice extent.

    Back to snowfall. The increase in snowfall is only temporary. Snow also requires temperatures near or below freezing. And while the arctic generally has no shortage of freezing weather, even in summer, we are also seeing a lot of precipitation in the arctic now falling as rain. As global warming continues we’ll see that trend increase as well – *THEN* there will be less snowfall because the increased atmospheric moisture will be falling more and more as rain. And rain destroys ice – another positive feedback that will hasten the demise of the arctic ice pack.

    Our host has long predicted the ‘recovery’ of MYI; instead sea ice over 3 years of age has essentially disappeared. Volume has decreased by 80% over the last 30 years. Sea routes closed to explorers for centuries that even icebreakers feared to attempt are now open to catamarans and sailboats. At some point you have to look yourselves in the mirror and realize you are the stupidest people on earth. The modern equivalent of flat earthers.

    • Except increases in global water vapour content during the entire history of measurement is effectively zero. So yes you can sit in your arm charm and make up stories about what will happen IF X occurs, followed by Y and so on. Meaningless though, unless you have data to support your narrative.

      • I have directed those on this site before to read Judah Cohen. You can also read Judith Curry – she came to the same conclusions in Impact of Declining Arctic Sea Ice on Winter Snowfall

        As co-author Jiping Liu explains

        “We think the recent snowy winters could be caused by the retreating Arctic ice altering atmospheric circulation patterns by weakening westerly winds, increasing the amplitude of the jet stream and increasing the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.”

      • To quote directly from the Curry paper:

        Moreover, the increase in atmospheric water vapor content
        in the Arctic region during late autumn and winter driven locally
        by the reduction of sea ice provides enhanced moisture sources,
        supporting increased heavy snowfall in Europe during early winter
        and the northeastern and midwestern United States during winter.
        We conclude that the recent decline of Arctic sea ice has played a
        critical role in recent cold and snowy winters.

        Do you have any scientific basis for disputing either Cohen or Curry? Or are you just sitting in your arm charm and making up stories about what will happen IF X occurs, followed by Y and so on. Meaningless though, unless you have data to support your naive, unscientific opinion.

      • Maybe because the paper is yet another piece of speculation that tries to explain something through a correlation. You’re talking about an additional loss of ice cover of around 1-2% and then only for 1-2 months. The freezing cold snowy winter occurs 6 months later when the ice cover has returned anyway. You don’t find this paper far fetched, really?

        Look not all science is equal. Some of it is great, some of it (a lot of it actually) is junk. At some point you’ve got to look at these things critically. You can’t just want to believe in a particular paper passionately because it meshes with your convictions, whatever they may be.

      • Eric Barnes says:

        Kevin O’Neill says:
        October 7, 2012 at 12:50 am
        I have directed those on this site before to read Judah Cohen.

        God you are a pompous ass OKneel.

        Lo, the mighty OKneel has shown us the way to the doorstep of those who speculate about the how the dangers of heating our homes in the winter will destroy the earth in 100 years. If you repent and send loads of money their way, the anointed climate scientists can give you a slightly more accurate estimation of when the world will end sometime before the world ends.

        You don’t know the difference between science and first class BS, or second class BS for that matter.

      • I thought his opening post was actually quality BS. He spoilt it at the end because he couldn’t resist adding some insults (Of the I’m clever, you’re stupid variety.) Then he followed up with some sort of weird argument from authority; Cohen & Curry have made pronouncements ex cathedria, how dare you question them! That’s when he completely ruined the pretence.

      • Eric Barnes says:

        I agree Will. In general, Kevin’s BS is superior to most alarmists on this site at least. He has a good sense of humor and can be very reasonable in limited areas. If it wasn’t for the blind eye he turns to his alarmist idols, he’d be a quite decent fellow.

        C’mon Kevin. Put down the idealistic socialist/environmentalist flags of your youth and step confidently into adulthood. You won’t have the burden of covering for second rate schemes to defraud the average joe and jane.

    • Kevin O’Neill says:
      October 7, 2012 at 12:18 am

      When you have zero understanding of physics it’s easy to scoff at those who do.

      Indeed, indeed it must be.

      Back to snowfall. The increase in snowfall is only temporary. Snow also requires temperatures near or below freezing.


      • Where’s the *science* that refutes either cohen or curry. I know, I’ll have to wait until you guys write it . LOL.

        Who asked for the data? When provided the data from two different sources the subject suddenly gets changed. I don’t need your opinions. I can read the science. Good luck waiting for your sea ice recovery rapture.

      • That’s not actually the way science works Kevin. You don’t get a paper published and then demand it be “disproven”. That’s a rather childish way to understand how science works. I could cite a paper by, say, David Archibald, who argues strongly for a new phase of global cooling to begin, and “demand” that you refute it. See the problem?

        The issue with this paper is that it didn’t predict anything. It “explained” the cold winter after it occurred. It contradicts the IPCC’s understanding of the science. There is also an enormous body of work on ocean cycles and currents (e.g., the AMO) which could not be summarised easily in a simple blog comment.

        Anyway, your approach strikes me as rather simplistic and juvenile. Maybe the paper you’ve cited turns out to be mostly correct. If it is, that means it will mean the rejection of a large body of previous scientific work. If that happens, that will be interesting. But usually things don’t work out that way. You sound like a zealot. Take a chill pill, don’t pre-empt others by insulting them even before they post a reply to you, and try to appreciate that science doesn’t usually get turned upside down every time a new paper gets published. Be patient and let’s watch if this goes anywhere or ends up in the junk bin like most papers of this type inevitably do.

    • Meaningless though, unless you have data to support your naive, unscientific opinion.

      Admit it, you’re a spoof. Nobody is actually as stupid as this.

      • Will, climate models have been predicting since at least 1965 that we would see a reduction in sea ice due to global warming caused by CO2 increases. If anything, the climate models have been too conservative.

        Do you disagree with the science that arctic warming has led to reduced sea ice?Do you disagree with the science that reduced sea ice has increased atmospheric water vapor in the arctic?
        Do you disagree with the science that increased atmospheric water vapor leads to increased precipitation?

        If you don’t disagree with the science then A -> B -> C Arctic warming causes reduced sea ice leads to increased water vapor resulting in more precipitation (and at least for now that means snow).

        None of this is speculation – it’s all backed up by observations. Calling it speculation is just denial of the science.

      • Kevin, the climate models have under predicted warming in the Arctic, over predicted it in the mid latitudes and the tropics, and the exact opposite of expected trends has occurred in Antarctica. This is not an argument for the climate models being too conservative, but for the climate models being next to useless.

        “Do you disagree with the science that increased atmospheric water vapor leads to increased precipitation?”

        I don’t agree or disagree with the theory. I look at the data. The data says the theory is wrong. Maybe that will change in the future, but my perspective must ultimately be grounded on evidence, not theory, no matter how clever the theory. (This is what distinguishes believers from sceptics.)

      • I should clarify the above by observing that since an increase in atmospheric water vapour has not yet been measured, what follows from something that hasn’t occurred, is something of a moot point.

  7. I’ve invited everyone before to read the actual scientific literature. For instance, Arctic warming, increasing snow cover and widespread boreal winter cooling, by Cohen et al. From the abstract:

    … evidence suggests that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover, which dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling. Understanding this counterintuitive response to radiative warming of the climate system has the potential for improving climate predictions at seasonal and longer timescales.

    Cohen et al are not alone in this finding.

    • So what? You found a speculative paper that asserts “X” could happen, in an attempt to explain (yet again) why the climate models are getting it wrong. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong. Who knows?

      However, I do love the part where after you ramble on a bit, you toss a few insults in at the end if any ‘unbelievers’ dare disagree with you. Haven’t seen that done like that a thousand times before. 😉

    • Me says:

    • Hugh K says:

      Where’s Gleick?

  8. Scott says:


    While I’m sure you can find some people who think that the idea of reduced autumn sea ice causing increased snow (and even cold) in the NH winter is ludicrous, that is not what this post is about nor is it even the overall view here. What this post is about is that last year’s well below average snowfall was blamed on the low sea ice, but this year the high snowfall (to date) is being blamed on the same event. That also went for the winter of ’10-11, when large snowfalls were blamed on the sea ice. IIRC, the unexpectedly early snowfalls in October of 2011 were blamed on the sea ice, and then just months later in the season the lack of snowfall was also blamed on it.

    Thus, the post is about CAGW getting the blame no matter what the symptoms. Many skeptics acknowledge the lower sea ice area in the autumn and it possibly causing increased snow in the NH. Of course, we also talk about how that reduced cover (in the dark) as well as its resulting snowfalls at lower latitudes are both negative feedbacks. I’d even venture that skeptics are open to the possibility that reduced sea ice cover can cause either, but there needs to be a stated and predictable defined mechanism. For instance, low cover in one sea relative to another, or low cover coupled with El Nino or La Nina, etc. So far, what we’ve seen is blame applied towards CAGW for present or past events, even when they’re opposite in nature to what we’ve seen just the previous year. For instance, we saw the active 2005 U.S. hurricane season blamed on CAGW…but how active has it been since then (hint, one of the least-active 7-year stretches since then). Similarly, we saw last year’s (and very early this year’s) tornado season as being due to CAGW…but then the rest of this year was very inactive.

    So what we want to see is predictions that make sense backed by results that agree…not blaming both extra snow and lack of snow on the same phenomenon depending on which occurred that year.


  9. Scott – there is a difference between weather and climate. GCMs are pretty good at short term predictions (10-day forecasts) and long-term predictions (century scale). But the chaotic nature of the system makes it unlikely if not impossible to predict out exactly what will happen a year from now or two years from now. So looking for those types of predictions is a fool’s errand.

    For 50 years models have been predicting a steady loss of arctic sea ice. They have not wavered in that respect. Over those 50 years the computers have become more powerful and the data feeding them is more comprehensive geographically and more standardized. GCMs today do things that earlier researchers could only have dreamed about. But GCMs in the future will make today’s look like something written for the old Trash 80.

    Probably the biggest limitation today is the resolution. For instance, ECMWF runs their 10-day forecasts with 32 km horizontal resolution. Beyond 10 days the model uses 63 km resolution. Averaging over grid cells of that size leads to errors – errors that are important if you want *specific* predictions. If you need generalized predictions the errors will tend to average out with multiple model runs. So you run the model twenty times and take the model mean. This has proven effective on very short and very long timescales. In between it’s just too chaotic. The goal right now is to reproduce decadal variability. And many of the CMIP5 members are able to do that.

    I’m not sure why you have a problem with global warming being responsible for both increased snow and decreased snow. If you warm a very cold place and add moisture you get snow. If you warm a moderately cool place and add moisture you get *less* snow (because the precipitation falls as rain). Similarly, with a weakened polar vortex you get areas that are warmer than normal and areas that are colder than normal.

    Everything is still susceptible to the chaotic vagaries of weather and natural variability. So predicting *where* those areas will be geographically is still a crapshoot. We’ve had less than a decade with significant areas of the arctic ice free in the summer. It’s too early to be confident in the complex interactions (in regards to making specific seasonal geographic predictions). What we do see is that the AD has become a regular feature – probably induced by the lack of sea ice or part of a feedback system involving reduced sea ice.

    I have never seen any scientist try to claim that a specific weather event is due to global warming. Inevitably when you see a quote highlighted that purports to make that claim further investigation reveals it was usually accompanied by plenty of caveats. Scientists are inherently conservative. Very few are willing to go out on a limb beyond the data and they recognize the uncertainties and limitations better than any outsider.

    If you doubt this consider the predictions of an ice-free arctic summer. All of the data points to sometime this decade. The best fit to SIE data, SIA data and sea ice volume are exponential (or Gompertz) curves that point to sometime before 2020. How many scientists can you name that have been willing to make that claim? Out of the hundreds, or thousands of climate scientists actively working in the field I know of 3; David Barber, Peter Wadhams, and Wieslaw Maslowski. And it should be noted that Wadhams and Maslowski were making these claims before the 2007 sea ice collapse. It’s also interesting to note that both Wadhams and Maslowski have worked intimately with the navies of their respective countries; Wadhams with British submariners and Maslowski at the US Naval Postgraduate School.

    • Scott says:


      There’s a lot of text there, plenty that I agree with and plenty that I don’t. But just like your original comments on this thread, you’re wasting effort on a red herring. What we have here is people claiming that A is caused by a decrease in B and the very same year (or one year later) that -A is caused by a decrease in B. You of course get my argument wrong when you say the following:

      I’m not sure why you have a problem with global warming being responsible for both increased snow and decreased snow.

      When I specifically said this:

      I’d even venture that skeptics are open to the possibility that reduced sea ice cover can cause either…

      The nice thing is that most of your text actually goes to agree with my point – climate vs weather (though I might use a different word than weather for the average winter over the entire contiguous U.S.) If models can’t do that level of stuff, then blaming both A and -A on decreasing B and switching sides with whatever the weather is currently doing is silly. Instead, the people claiming these things need to stay quite until something more definitive (such as Curry’s paper for example) comes in.


      • Scott, there is nothing “more definitive” about the Liu et al paper. It merely reaffirms what others had already discovered and published. As for “If models can’t do that level of stuff” – I’m not sure what you mean. What are models designed to do? They’re not designed to make accurate predictions of weather four months in advance. Anyone who thinks they ‘fail’ at that type of prediction is mad at the screwdriver because it works poorly as a wrench.

        As laid out by Dr. Jennifer Francis, global warming has led to changes in planetary waves. This results in a jet stream with greater amplitude and slower meridional motion (persistence). The effect of this is that both A and -A are due to B. Sorry if you don’t like that, but that’s the way it works. Not only that, but the following year A and -A may have reversed geographical locations – but they’re both still caused by B. Last year the upper Great Lakes region had a very mild winter and parts of Europe saw record cold. Both of these were the result of these changing global and arctic circulation patterns. This winter it could be the exact opposite – where the U.S. upper midwest draws the short straw and gets the persistent cold while Europe wonders what happened to old man winter.

        What you seem to be asking for is scientific silence on the fact that global circulation patterns have changed due to global warming. Apparently until we can predict exactly what will happen months in advance we should just pretend we don’t know why the jet stream has altered its typical patterns.

        Making matters even worse, the system is changing rapidly. If it were a manufacturing process a systems engineer would say it’s out of control. It’s not only arctic sea ice that tells us this: arctic snow cover is retreating faster than arctic sea ice, or look at lake ice on/off dates, plant migrations, animal migrations, growing season length, etc. They’re all moving in one direction – and they’re all accelerating. Ignore one line of evidence. Ignore two. Ignore three. But you’ll have to do a lot of ignoring, because there are literally *dozens* of them.

      • “What are models designed to do? They’re not designed to make accurate predictions of weather four months in advance.”

        I’m confused Kevin, the modelling paper you originally cited about unusual cold weather in Europe due to sea ice lost a few months prior to that occurrence made exactly the type of prediction that you now seem to claim is impossible.

        Could you clarify?

      • Also could you list the dozen lines of evidence you mention?

        Sorry for being sceptical but I’ve seen postings of your flavour a hundred times before and I always see mention of dozen(s) or even hundreds of lines of evidence… but when I seek clarification the poster usually gets very angry or struggles to provide even one or two lines of evidence. Maybe you know things we don’t know, though.

      • Eric Barnes says:

        Looks like Kevin has been doing some heavy koolaid drinking since he was here last.

  10. Chuck L says:

    The point of the post is that alarmists attribute whatever “unusual” weather is occurring to the same phenomenon, in this case, low Arctic sea ice extent, thus, making it impossible to falsify their predictions of climate Armageddon. That is not science, it is religion.

  11. gator69 says:

    1 Curryntians 13: If I could model all the outcomes of earth and of climate, but didn’t frighten others, I would only be a cashless researcher or a dog catcher. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I said I understood all of Gaia’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could model climate, but didn’t frighten others, I would be nothing. 3 If you give everything to the poor and even sacrifice your body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t frighten others to give me their possessions, I would have gained nothing.

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