Temperature Trends

Arctic Sea Ice Recovering from Last Year's Record Low


Arctic Sea Ice
Erectus: Dreamstime

Over the weekend, The Daily Mail reported that there has been a record "return" of Arctic sea ice over this past summer, i.e., less of it melted than it did last year. From the Mail:

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.

The rebound from 2012's record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia's northern shores.

What is going on? The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports:

Sea ice extent for August 2013 averaged 6.09 million square kilometers (2.35 million square miles). This was 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average for August, but well above the level recorded last year, which was the lowest September extent in the satellite record. Ice extent this August was similar to the years 2008 to 2010. These contrasts in ice extent from one year to the next highlight the year-to-year variability attending the overall, long-term decline in sea ice extent.

The 2013 Arctic sea ice trend is still below the 1981 to 2010 average as illustrated below:

Arctic Sea Ice Trends

In any case, back in 2007 the BBC did report alarmist climate computer model projections that Arctic sea ice could be completely gone by this year:

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss.

Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times.

Remarkably, this stunning low point was not even incorporated into the model runs of Professor Maslowski and his team, which used data sets from 1979 to 2004 to constrain their future projections.

"Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007," the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC.

"So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative." …

"My claim is that the global climate models underestimate the amount of heat delivered to the sea ice by oceanic advection," Professor Maslowski said.

"The reason is that their low spatial resolution actually limits them from seeing important detailed factors.

"We use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice forced with realistic atmospheric data. This way, we get much more realistic forcing, from above by the atmosphere and from the bottom by the ocean."

Last week, 18 teams of climatologists reported in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society their efforts to tease out of various data the effect that man-made global warming had on 12 different weather extremes in 2012. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarized the BAMS findings on Arctic sea ice trends as:

The extremely low Arctic sea ice extent in summer 2012 resulted primarily from the melting of younger, thin ice from a warmed atmosphere and ocean. This event cannot be explained by natural variability alone. Summer Arctic sea ice extent will continue to decrease in the future, and is expected to be largely absent by mid-century. 

Perhaps. However, University of Wisconsin climate researcher Anastasios Tsonis and his colleagues believe that they have identified how the synchronization of large-scale climate phenomena like El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation combine to produce dramatic shifts in global climate. Their research suggests that the these phenomena blended together in the 1970s to produce a warming regime and that they have now shifted back toward an overall cooling regime. If so, that might explain why there has been so little increase in global average temperatures over the past 15 years or so.

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  1. Chocolate Nixon saved the arctic sea ice!

    1. Wait. So Obama was right? His election did cause the oceans to stop rising? There is no limit to what democracy can do, is there?

    2. Arctic Sea Ice recovers? What if less ice is better for us?

      1. What about the shipping lanes we could’ve enjoyed? This sucks.

  2. It seems to me that ice volume is more telling than ice extent. Any idea how that is trending? Either way all this says is that climate is chaotic and complicated. Anyone who claims to understand it should be ridiculed.

    1. Either way all this says is that climate is chaotic and complicated. Anyone who claims to understand it should be ridiculed.

      Which is why I absolutely love it when those that predict global warming/cooling/change are proven so wrong on just about every prediction.

      1. Its nice that enough time has passed since the global warming predictions of the 90s and early 2000s to see how off they were.

        1. Wait, does that mean we can blame BOOOOSH for this, too?

        2. You’d think by now that people would be wising up, but that’s just not the case.

          No amount of evidence will sway the faithful.

          1. I vaguely recall a lot of polling data showing climategate significantly shifting public opinion on global warming.

            Maybe people aren’t as dumb as I think they are.

          2. No amount of evidence will sway the faithful.

            We’ll just have to wait a few generations for them to die off.

            I just had a disturbing thought. What if we one day develop a cure for death. Everyone’s immortal. Won’t the world end up being run by whatever generation was in power at the time that happened? We could end up with Boomers or Millenials running the show forever.

            1. Immortality would change everything. I can’t even comprehend the changes to economics alone, which necessarily changes politics.

              Maybe nobody would run the show (finally).

              1. For one thing, Social Security and every other pension fund goes bankrupt. Everybody works forever!

                1. No, with immortality no one needs Social Security. Even at 2 or 3 percent interest rates, everyone can save a fortune in the the first 150 years, then retire for the next 150,000 years.

            2. Everyone’s immortal.

              Don’t be ridiculous. There can be only one.

              1. No, Frylock JW, The Highlander was a documentary, and events happened…in real time.

              2. By the Great Smiter, I hate that movie.

              3. The Highlander was a documentary and the events happened in real time. -Master Shake


  3. Oh no, this can only mean that we’ve been overhunting the arctic iceaters!

  4. Yes, because, as we all know, there is a “correct” amount of Arctic ice. It is the amount there was in…uh…2005? Because…uh…because…HOLY SHIT LOOK IT’S ELVIS

    Climate change: the cult for people too stupid to go into Scientology.

    1. Climate change: the cult for people too stupid to go into Scientology.

      I’m now debating myself on which group is dumber.

      1. Dumb, dumbbbb, dumbdumbdumbd Dumb!

        1. Stop doing the chant that summons Tony.

          1. I’ve decided that Tony isn’t dumb. He’s just too clever for his own good. He wants to be an open-minded pragmatist, and that leads him to attempt to synthesize far too much information. It’s the old problem with progressivism and positivism: that nobody really has enough information to plan an economy or a society. Tony doesn’t know this, so he has driven himself mad. He picks up a principle, and attempts to apply it, but there are so many other principles around that tickle his fancy that he forgets about his toy after the shine has worn off. He may come back to it later, but, in the meantime, he’s constantly contradicting himself and make bold declarations that he later vehemently condemns. He should be pitied rather than reviled.

            1. I’ve decided that Tony isn’t dumb.

              I didn’t read anything past that.


    3. It is the amount there was in…uh…2005

      They put the 1981-2010 average in there for a reason.

    4. Well, there was that time when the artic ice went all the way to the mid lattitudes. When was that? The cold age? No. The snow age? Not it either. I think it might have been an ice age. So if we measure from the glacial maximum, we have a substatial shortage of ice.

    5. I think the correct amount of ice was in 15,000 BCE, when the pestilience of Homo Sapiens was less widespread.

      1. Worse than cockroaches. I hear the CIA sprayed cities with HIV but still can’t get ride of em.

    6. Also, don’t tell them what the ice extent is in Antarctica, that will upset their feeble minds as well.

  5. *pours vodka over Arctic ice – sips*

    1. Did you get that from a vending machine in the Ukraine?

      1. I had my orphan slaves fetch it. It’s a long walk, but worth it. For me.

        1. +2 monacle!

  6. University of Wisconsin climate researcher Anastasios Tsonis and his colleagues believe that they have identified how the synchronization of large-scale climate phenomena like El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation combine to produce dramatic shifts in global climate.

    In other words, their are a large amount of variable unaccounted for, and their are variables who’s magnitude is unknown.

  7. Some villainous supergenius has found a way to steal our precious precious hurricanes and turn them into arctic ice.

    It’s diabolical, I sez!

    1. The Koch brothers are doing this to discredit the IPCC and all right thinking people who aren’t lying teabagger denialists.

      1. I bet I could find that post, verbatim, on DailyKos.

        1. Don’t hurt yourself by actually doing that. I believe you.

          1. He tried writing a script that would do it for him, but his Python uninstalled itself the moment it realized what he was doing.

            1. huh huh huh you said Python…

              Purists right their scripts in ones and zeros anyway…

          2. Don’t hurt yourself by actually doing that. I believe you.

            Well, I found a lot of posts that say essentially the same thing, but I didn’t find one that stated it verbatim.

            I lose. 🙁

            1. Reading DailyKos is like a national police action. You lost the moment you started.

              1. The only way to win, is not to play.

    2. TS Humberto looks to become our first Hurricane of the season… in mid-September…. in the East Atlantic… headed due north.

    3. Yeah, what happened to all the global warming induced hurricanes? The Southeastern US and Eastern Seaboard and Golf Coast were about to be wiped off the map in 2005, I remember.

      1. I haven’t had a decent tee time at Myrtle in nearly a decade.




    echo echo echo

    1. A friend keeps telling me rewatching Jurassic Park makes it seem really cheesy and bad.

      1. If you think watching it now is bad, just wait for the Michael Bay remake that will eventually happen.

        1. I’m sure all the male dinosaurs will have big dinosaur phalluses so that Bay can have tons of HILARIOUS dinosaur dick joke material.

          Dr. Grant: “careful, that triceratops is a male.”
          kid: “oh, how can you tell?”
          Dr. Grant: “it has four horns”

          1. But…all the dinosaurs were female.

            Oh…Michael Bay…nevermind.

      2. I think it still holds up pretty well after 20 years. I took a date to see it re-released in theaters earlier this year after not having seen it in a while and it was actually better than I remember.

        It had flaws, but it was still a good movie.

      3. It’s not the rewatching so much as the casting, script, and directing. The book was scary.

        1. There is a cannibalism scene in his novel about NGOs engaged in the global warming fraud that will make your skin crawl in an attempt at self preservation.

          1. That was “State of Fear”, not “Jurassic Park”

            1. As you’ll note, I described the plot of the later novel which resembles Jurassic Park’s in no way, so how could you make the mistake of thinking I meant Jurassic Park?

              1. Because I wanted to. Duh.

  9. “What is going on?”

    I dunno, normal variability and fluctuations in the massive, ill understood chaotic system that is the earth’s climate?

  10. What impact will this have on the football season though?

    1. “Welcome to the Defrosted Tundra of Green Bay!”

    2. It means when the Jets play in Miami in Week 17, the field won’t be underwater.

  11. All the clowns that slammed Freeman Dyson for slamming the models and encouraging more measurements need to kiss Dyson’s ass now!

  12. Winter is coming.

  13. The amount of sea ice in the Arctic cycles up and down from year to year. Despite these ups and downs, the amount of ice in the Arctic each summer has declined over the last half-century. Why? Because carbon pollution is warming the planet.

    How to 97 percent of top climate scientists and every major National Academy of Science know that man-made pollution is warming our climate? First, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased about 40 percent since humans started burning dirty energy like coal. Second, the carbon from dirty energy has a unique chemical signature that differentiates it from other sources of carbon ? so we can confirm that it’s coming from us. Third, we know it is carbon ? not natural forces like the sun ? that’s responsible for the recent increase in global temperatures. Why? The lower level of the atmosphere is warming, while the middle layer is cooling. If the sun were responsible for most of the recent temperature change on Earth, both layers of the atmosphere would be warming. The evidence is inescapable: Humans are changing our climate – lets stop debating it.


    This is not a political issue with winners/losers. It’s a moral issue and we have solutions. The time is now to tell congress to act. They need to act for the sake of our future, our children’s future, our national security and to be a world leader.

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