Saturday, August 7, 2010

Insight From Climate Central

When I was preparing the post about Dr. Heidi Cullen's article (below), I went to the website of Climate Central which is her employer since she left The Weather Channel.

They have a lead article about soot in the Arctic, a topic I wrote about on July 30th. However, there is an apparent error in the article when it says,

...the Arctic, which is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet.

Since the article is about ice melt, it is the temperatures during the summer that are important because temperatures are well below freezing the rest of the year. Here is a graph from the Danish Meteorological Institute:

Temperatures over the last 50 years, during the melt season, are headed down -- not up.

So, why has the ice melted?

In 2007, it was primarily due to unusual wind currents. But, much of the melt is due to increasing soot. On that point, ClimateCentral and I are in complete agreement. When snow is "snow white," the sunlight bounces off and adds little heat. But when dark soot coats the snow, the soot absorbs the sunlight and transfers the heat to the snow and it melts much faster. If you would like to see my demonstration of this, click here.

As I said on July 30, it is vital that we understand and correctly assign cause and effect.

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