17 May 2012

AMSR 2 on the way!

My contact inside JAXA sent this note:

GCOM-W1 was launched at 1:39 18 May (Japan Standard Time) as scheduled, and the satellite was separated from the rocket successfully.

This is the satellite carrying the AMSR-2.  Keep your fingers crossed for successful deployment.  But this is a major step to operations!

09 May 2012

Sea Ice Predictions 2012 Open Poll

The poll for your guesses on September 2012 sea ice extent (NSIDC) is open.  All the way to the bottom of the page.  If you'd like to explain how you arrived at your guess, please do post a comment explaining it.  If it's a substantial explanation (i.e., one I could steal research for my professional use), I'll also bring it up here to the main post.

Poll is open to the end of June, EDT.

08 May 2012

2011 Sea Ice Outlook Verification

Sometimes time passes faster than you'd think.  I'm sure that's where Einstein got the principle of relativity from.  In any case, I realized that we're about to be submitting our guesses for the 2012 sea ice outlook and I never did get around to examining, on the blog, how our guesses for 2011 did.  In brief, pretty well.

As I'd expected,  the statistical ensemble was low, and the Wang et al. model was high.  The June Wu et al model was a touch high, and the August version was right on (given its reporting precision).  Also, and reassuring, is that all our guesses were within 0.5 million km^2 of the observation.  That's what we've estimated as the standard variation in sea ice extent.

It's a good sign that we were within that range.  Also, 0.5 million km^2 is the variability estimated by almost all groups that provide an estimate for it.  Even though that number is suspiciously round, we actually arrived at it by data analysis.  It's a statement of how much the ice pack varies, rather than the quality of the methods.  The quality of the methods is how their error compares to the 0.5.

For the coming year, we've got some modifications in mind (experiments) for the Wu et al. approach, and I've already made some for the statistical ensemble. 

Plus, I'm going to be taking a look, perhaps getting Wu to play too, at whether this past winter's heavy sea ice cover in the Bering Sea was something we could have (or did) estimate in advance.  The model runs are already done.  It's 'just' a matter of analyzing them.

07 May 2012

Heartland on Ice

What's old is new once again.  I'd actually written most of this in February, when Heartland was in the news.  But between one thing and another, hadn't posted it.  Now that  they're in the news again, it seems once again to be apt.  As usual, my interest is on the science.  Since a number of Heartland supporters are saying things in the vein of Heartland made a misstep in acting as they did, because it takes away from their message on the science.  The supporters think Heartland is doing well on the science.

Now that I've looked in to what Heartland Institute has had to say on sea ice, I can say with confidence that they are not doing well on the science.  They don't know (or lie about) the difference between ice area and ice extent, don't know how much area of ice there is, don't know where it forms, make up numbers even if you ignore the difference between area and extent, lie about what authors say in their scientific papers, treat 2 years as plenty for establishing a climate trend if it is in one direction, but ignore the 30 year trends when it isn't, don't know the difference between sea ice and ice shelves, don't understand how sea level changes, and others I'll let you classify yourself.

The gory details, examples being from their web site, are below the fold.  A different point is, I don't expect everyone to be expert on sea ice, or even pay attention to it.  If Heartland had ignored sea ice, that's fine (at least it is if they're not saying things which require understanding sea ice).  But they chose to write about it.  And the people whose articles I'm quoting are Jay Lehr, their science director, and James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for the Heartland Institute focusing on environmental issues.  In other words, major players in deciding what Heartland says about science, not someone who might once have said something stupid about sea ice while passing through the office.

Having done my homework, I'm comfortable in saying that Jay Lehr and James M. Taylor are unreliable sources on the science, and Heartland Institute is as well.  See below for my homework example.