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Lawrence Solomon: Summer 2010, “Yet another Year in Which the Arctic did not melt”

Lawrence Solomon, the National Post’s answer to WTFUWT’s Steven Goddard, has crafted a radical new hypothesis to explain the absence of melting in the Arctic in the summer of 2010. Solomon bases his theory on the graph from the Danish Meteorological Institute illustrated below. It shows daily mean temperatures for the area north of the 80th northern parallel, comparing 2010 temperatures (red) to the mean temperatures for the period 1958-2002 (green).


According to Solomon (added emphasis by FoGT):

Of even greater significance for those concerned about a melting of the Arctic ice, however, is the graph’s blue line, which indicates the freezing point of water. When the red line appears above the blue line, temperatures are above 0 degrees and ice will melt. As the graph shows, the unseasonably cold summer gave the Arctic a short melt season in 2010. With temperatures in September now plummeting, 2010 is unlikely to log any more melt days, and the Summer of 2010 will go down in the history books as yet another year in which the Arctic did not melt.

FoGT technicians have helpfully annotated the DMI graph to illustrate Solomon’s revised ice-melt season. We don’t, however, understand all the nitty-gritty technical details behind this new theory; we leave that to egg-heads like Solomon to elaborate on. For example; why an Arctic ice crystal, deciding whether or not to change phase, should concern itself more about the
mean temperature in the area north of 80° N, rather than its immediate, local thermal conditions, is a question that we are sure that the boffins at the National Post have a ready answer for. (Pedants will no doubt also be quick to point out that the “Arctic” sensu stricto includes vast areas north of 66° 33’N but south of 80°N, the area where most of the sea ice actually melts annually, yadda yadda&hellipWinking

Solomon’s hypothesis is a scientific one in that it is falsifiable. Let’s compare his melt season with
observations (annotated by FoGT).


It is tempting to conclude from this that, because Arctic sea ice is observed to melt, year after year from April to September, the data somehow contradict Solomon’s theory that the melt season lasts only from June through to August. However, this would constitute what epistemologists refer to as naïve falsification. So, instead of throwing Solomon’s baby out with the icy Arctic bathwater, we should, rather, question the tendentious observations themselves and wait for suggestive emails to be published, which will no doubt undermine the whole foundation of satellite-based, sea-ice-extent estimation. Antarctic sea-ice observations are entirely reliable, though.

What it all melts down to, fellow skeptical-deniers—as Groucho might have put it—is: Who are you going to trust, your own lying eyes or the wisdom of Lawrence Solomon?