AGU Carl Sagan Lecture: “We can look forward to an ice free pole in 20-30 years”

Another great lecture from the AGU conference in San Francisco:

Details here:

Presented by Piers Sellers, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA 

The Planetary Sciences and Biogeosciences Sections of AGU and the Planetary Society jointly sponsor the Sagan lecture. It is presented annually by a prominent scientist at the AGU Fall Meeting who addresses issues in Astrobiology and the development of life on Earth. With the lecture, we honor Carl Sagan as a scientist, educator, and critical thinker who brilliantly combined the disciplines of biology, physics and planetary science in his work, and who inspired countless young people to pursue the study of the Earth and other planets.

Sellers gives us an overview of what has been happening to the planet these past decades in a series of stunning sateliate images; temperature increases, the loss of sea ice, population increase and glacier retreat.

As Sellers notes: “Things are happening faster than the models.”

Note 1: I’ll continue to post the most interesting video presentations from the AGU conference for those interested.

Note 2: To clarify, we can look forward to an ice-free pole during the summer months in 20-30 years time.

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27 thoughts on “AGU Carl Sagan Lecture: “We can look forward to an ice free pole in 20-30 years”

  1. Eric Worrall says:

    Pinning down the expected date of an “ice free arctic” with you guys is like trying to pin down a Jehova’s Witnesses on when Jesus is expected to turn up – always in the next 20-30 years, but never quite now. But they insist you pay attention to all the signs that the end times are upon us!

  2. john byatt says:

    Now here is a turn up at WUWT

    Coke says:
    December 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    OOPS! Please ignore my last comment, I had both the graphs that you and Werner Brozek posted in two different tabs in my browser, and confused his with yours when I wrote that comment! (note to mods: would you be so kind as to remove the comment?) [Reply: OK, hope I got the right one. -ModE]

    I actually do agree with you that it is hard to believe there is a lack of warming from looking at the graph you posted. I am currently fiddling with the parameters to generate my own graphs on that site, and you are indeed correct that it is hard to discern a halt in the warming trend.

    However, I would also like to state that, given the continuous rise of carbon dioxide concentrations over the period in question, one might expect that temperatures would have continued to rise at a rate that is complimentary to the rate of carbon dioxide emissions…. and not level off over the last decade like they have!

    now I reckon given a bit of time I could get that guy to work it out

    • john byatt says:

      john byatt says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      December 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm
      To Coke

      perhaps a better understanding might then come from comparing the radiative forcings over the past 16 years, of course additional CO2 increases the forcing but we also have other negative forcing at work eg aerosols.

      I am ignoring the GISTEMP data for the time being which has both 2005 and 2010 above (wittle bit) 1998 ,

      I noticed that one commentator wanted only to count the SST and ignore the data to 2000m which also shows warming,

      If temperatures where actually to remain flat over the last sixteen years then that would surely mean that the system is in equilibrium, i do not think that is is, do you?

      your no nonsense reply most welcome

  3. Eric Worrall says:

    Looks like Russia, Japan and Canada have pulled out of the Kyoto process – the countries willing to extend the Kyoto treaty only account for 15% of CO2 emissions.

    The only thing Australia can do to help stop the rise of CO2 now is to ban coal exports.

    I look forward to your campaign.

  4. john byatt says:

    WUWT fun for all

    john byatt says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 7, 2012 at 2:03 am
    richardscourtney says:
    December 7, 2012 at 1:07 am

    not sure what you are saying about imaginary equilibrium nor why you did not address my question re radiative forcing

    If you have to start at 1997.25 and use the unadjusted HADCRUT3 data then it would be a bit hard to convince many people, who might then use a later start date and HADCRUT4 or GISTEMP and say hey look the temperature stopped for a few years then started warming again in 2000, or in 2002
    It becomes even harder to convince others when you say that, not you, GISTEMP is fudged

    people will look at me like I need help or something

    • john byatt says:


      john byatt says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      December 7, 2012 at 2:19 am

      If the IPCC was emphatic that the decadal trend would be 0.2DegC then surely the 20C3M model would reflect that.

      that does not seem to be the case here for the 95% confidence range ??

      • john byatt says:

        john byatt says:
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        December 7, 2012 at 2:56 am
        Richard, another problem I have with your answer is that it was only in june last year when Phil Jones declared that the warming since 1995 was now statistically significant,

        WE cannot confuse people to going from significant to not significant in just twelve months, it is not something that i would find convincing and again it would make it hard to convince others

  5. Mark Porter says:

    Thanks for putting this up.

  6. Eric Worrall says:

    Lord Monckton’s COP-18 stunt.

    • rubber taster says:

      Monckton is like your Nazi forefathers who visited the UK and other European countries in the 1930’s. Still wearing that swastika Eric?

      • john byatt says:

        At WUWT

        loved this reply

        richardscourtney says:
        December 7, 2012 at 4:04 am
        john byatts:

        At December 7, 2012 at 2:51 am you write to me with disingenuous bunkum starting with this

        Richard you said that the question of equilibrium and radiative forcing are both red herrings,
        I would think that investigation into both would help you get the understanding that you may seek

        We are discussing what Lord Monckton said, where he said it, how he said it, and responses to his having said it.

        He said

        In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming,

        He did not mention “equilibrium” or “radiative forcing”. You raised them as ‘red herrings’.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        How is Monckton like the 1930s NAZIs?

    • a rational troll says:

      This is a high stakes game, the skeptics are really not doing their credibility any favours by playing the Monckton card.

    • a rational troll says:

      Funny? I hope your grasp of climate science is slightly better than your grasp of humour. If Monckton had gone to the climate talks in a tartan onesie that might have resembled humour. In this case he just comes off as an attention seeking Michael Moore wannabe.

      Monckton’s proclivity to jab his fingers into every nut-job pie he comes across is an excellent reason not to believe a word he says. While the likes of Monckton are the pin-up boys for the skeptics cause, their going to suffer from a serious credibility problem.

  7. […] 2012/12/07: WtD: AGU Carl Sagan Lecture: “We can look forward to an ice free pole in 20-30 yea… […]

  8. Is Worrall the resident Turing test? Is he a human or a machine generated Poe? I vote Poe. Anyone who would post Monckton in response to the AGU keynote obviously doesn’t understand irony.

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