Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic Sea Ice At Second Lowest Extent in Modern Record

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at twice the rate they are at lower latitudes.



Arctic sea ice extent is the second lowest in the satellite record beginning in 1979. Although the vagaries of storms and wind affect the amount of sea ice that survives summer melting, it is clear that increased warming in the region is responsible for most of the decline. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports:

Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its seasonal minimum extent for 2016 on September 10. A relatively rapid loss of sea ice in the first ten days of September has pushed the ice extent to a statistical tie with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record. September's low extent followed a summer characterized by conditions generally unfavorable for sea ice loss.


On September 10, Arctic sea ice extent stood at 4.14 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year and is tied with 2007 as the second lowest extent on record. This year's minimum extent is 750,000 square kilometers (290,000 square miles) above the record low set in 2012 and is well below the two standard deviation range for the 37-year satellite record. Satellite data show extensive areas of open water in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. …

Why did extent fall to a tie for second lowest with 2007? The 2016 Arctic melt season started with a record low maximum extent in March, and sea ice was measured at record low monthly extents well into June. …

The late season ice loss appears to have been greatest in an extended area of patchy ice reaching from the eastern Beaufort Sea to the northern Chukchi Sea. This is in the area influenced by the two strong cyclones … —the strong winds appear to have compacted the ice cover and may have led to an upward mixing of warm ocean water.

Last December, a report from researchers associated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Arctic temperature trends reported that "the mean annual surface air temperature anomaly (+1.3°C relative to the 1981-2010 mean value) for October 2014-September 2015 for land stations north of 60°N is the highest value in the record starting in 1900. This is an increase of 2.3°C since the 1970s and 2.9°C since the beginning of the 20th century. The global rate of temperature increase has slowed in the last decade (Kosaka and Xie 2013), but Arctic air temperatures have continued to increase. Currently, the Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of lower latitudes."


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  1. And the Antarctic…?

      1. Shut up! The science is settled! What are you going to believe, a political scientific consensus, or the lying facts?

        1. I like this part best.

          “It will contribute to solving the problem of Antartica’s mass balance by providing………”

          See boys and girls. Antartica has a porblem. It’s out of balance. And that is a problem that can only be solved by a carbon tax and further grant money. Mother Gaia is no longer able to solve her own balance problems and needs help from a liberal Democrat party.

          Cuz if Antartica gets too far out of balance XER MIGHT TIP OVER.


      3. Do you think that this might make the Earth flip over?

        1. Dammit. Came here to type this and announce my candidacy for congress.

        2. Dammit. I came here to type this and announce my candidacy for congress.

          1. Oof. We must already be tipping.

          2. Squirrels voted for you twice.

    1. (R): And with regard to Antarctic sea ice there is this possible explanation.

      1. Isn’t there always an “explanation”? And isn’t it rarely “We may have been wrong”?

        1. Sure, like the “pause” was because the heat was “hiding in the deep ocean”. Of course with no plausible explanation as to how the warming could reach the deep ocean without the atmosphere and shallow ocean also being warmed. Fuck it, anything to keep the grant money and graft flowing!

          1. Sure there is: the thermohaline circulation.

            1. Nope, doesn’t explain how AGW could cause greater warming of the deep ocean without warming the atmosphere and shallow ocean.

              1. It’s like a thermos bottle.

        2. That’s not an explanation. That’s an admission.

          1. Yup.

            Also, explanations that don’t fit the narrative or aren’t controlled don’t count either.

            All the globe’s coldness is just being concentrated at the Antarctic, duh. – Doesn’t count.
            Weakening polar vortex because global warming, duh. – Counts.


      2. That seems a rather Rube Goldberg explanation. But I snagged a copy of the actual paper and will give it a more careful read.

        1. My thought as well after skimming it. All things being equal, wouldn’t we still expect that the ice shouldn’t increase if the climate was really showing any meaningful warming? But I will also give it a more thorough read.

          1. Since neither NASA nor Ron gave an actual cite, I’ll save you a bit of time.


            Never trust a popular article that doesn’t give an actual link or full citation to a paper.

            1. I should also note that the author is neither a climatologist nor a geophysicist. He’s an EE.

              1. EE’s are the worst – all math ‘n’ shit 😉

                1. Note that I’m not one, despite many accusations.

                2. BTW, a mutual friend of ours (a Dutch fellow with the initials JD) took a trip down to Antarctica a couple years ago. He emailed me to let me know he had arrived.

                  “How cold is it?” I asked.

                  He responded, “About 1 cm.”

            2. Antarctica sounds like an awful place. Katabatic ice factories, shiver.

              1. Watch out huskies on the loose.

      3. Hey, I am just happy that bowhead whales will have that much more habitat in which to thrive. As will all the other animals that will flourish because of the increased krill populations. In fact, no animals will suffer from this decreased ice cover.

      4. By definition the GCM should be capturing major circulation features such as a multi-thousand km current (hint: what does the ‘C’ in GCM stand for?) So by hiding behind a circumpolar flow as the explanation you are admitting that the models are unphysical. Sure you want to go there and simultaneously retain your belief in CAGW?

      5. That’s the Thing! It wants to freeze us out! It can survive the freezing, we can’t!

    1. I was just thinking about all the lives lost on explorations seeking the nortwest passage.

      1. -1 Sir John Franklin expedition

    2. How much of that goes to icebreaking costs?

    3. Funny, I was just going to bring that up. You must have gotten the same brochure I got yesterday.

      All the place names reminded me of Stan Rogers’ Northwest Passage, ‘for which so many died…'[1]
      And now you can take a cruise on it.

      I’ve always been a little skeptical of AGW, but between Ron’s posts and that brochure I’m slowly being convinced it really is a thing. I just don’t think Leviathan (the metaphorical one, not the ones swimming around the Northwest Passage) is the best way to deal with it.

      [1] find this on Youtube (e.g. for a fragment) — it’s a terrific song.

  2. Uh-oh. Looks like we need a carbon tax and a more heavily subsidized green energy plan.

    1. Because that will most assuredly fix “the area influenced by the two strong cyclones … ?the strong winds appear to have compacted the ice cover and may have led to an upward mixing of warm ocean water.”

  3. Ah, back in 1979, when the world was pristine and untouched by the works of man…

    1. Twas a beautiful time, with Schlitz cans strewn across the landscape like ornaments on Christmas day.

      1. Damn, my dad used to drink that stuff.

      2. +1 single tear running down Iron Eyes Cody’s cheek

      3. Yeah, I’ll take six schlitzs. Whatevers free, then.

    2. And new episodes of Magnum P.I. were still being aired on TV!!!

      To this day, I wear a mustache, drive a Ferrari, and wear Hawaiian shirts 365 days a year, despite the fact I live in the frozen north.

      1. You misspelled Fiero.

        1. He’s looking Minnesota and feeling California…

        2. Oh, can it, Higgins!

    3. *Wistfully remembers days when gasoline contained lead.*

      1. Compression ratios have mostly recovered. Still, that was a cost worth paying in my opinion.

        1. Of all the EPA initiatives, removing lead from gas probably helped the most people. And I despise the EPA.

  4. I keep waiting for the government to fix global warming.

    And I keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

    1. They can’t because of RethugliKKKan obstructionism.

    2. Get in on the lawsuit, that ought to get them moving.

    3. They’ll get there one day, when the rich are finally made to pay their fair share once and for all!

      – progderp

      1. I love to ask progs what the fair share is. If the rich are 10% of the population, what percent of the total tax bill should they be paying, and why? They almost always state a % quite far below what they are actually already paying.

        1. That’s surprising to hear. I would expect the answer would be 100 percent, because I’ve actually heard progs say that it boggles the mind to wonder how many thousands or even millions are impoverished in order for even one new billionaire to be created. They actually believe the global economy is a zero-sum game. It’s like their grasp of economics never grew beyond the game of Monopoly they last played at age 9.

          1. That’s amazing considering how much money they continue to print.

            1. Which, again, is how you play monopoly. 28 fixed properties, unlimited amounts of money:

              The Bank never “goes broke.” If the Bank runs out of money, the Banker may issue as much more as may be needed by writing on any ordinary paper.

              1. +1 rule number 9.
                Or is it 11?

              2. So basically the Fed is playing real world Monopoly?

          2. Most of the ones I know actually try to sound reasonable; I’ve never heard one say 100%. Most of the progs I know are also not complete idiots, either.

    4. We haven’t given them enough money and authority over how we live. As soon as the bureaucrats get richer and more powerful they will control the weather.

      Because Science.

    5. They don’t have to fix it, global warming isn’t broken. It’s generating a satisfactory amount of grant money.

      1. And direct industry subsidies. And improving wealth redistribution payments so places like the soon to be submerged maldives can continue to build airports and hotels 3ft above sealevel.

    6. I thought Obama fixed it in Paris when he signed that Treaty non Treaty thingy.

  5. It’s important to note that while this is the second-lowest arctic extent, it is only just barely that. The lowest in 2012 was much lower. Things have been holding relatively steady since then.

    1. Shush, you denier! It is sin to question settled science. There is a special circle of hell reserved for heretics and blasphemers, or so I’ve read in a peer-reviewed journal called Acta Sci-Theologia.

    2. It’s also worth noting that arctic sea ice is a feature of the Ice Age, not the Earth’s “normal” climate. If we ever warm back up to “normal,” the North Pole will be liquid, and the South Pole will be forested.

      1. In fact, at the hottest point of the last 65,000,000 years, crocodiles lived at the North Pole, and it got so hot that there actually was a mass extinction event (second only to the dinosaurs).

        You know who survived and came out on top and thriving for the first time?


  6. “New Papers Confirm Sea Levels Aren’t Rising Fast Enough ? Coastal Land Area Growing, Not Shrinking

    A year ago, several geologists (Kench et al., 2015) published a paper in the journal Geology that revealed a curious phenomenon occurring along island coasts in the tropical Pacific. Despite some of the highest rates of sea level rise in the world in this region (over 5 mm/yr on average since the 1950s), the total land area for these islands has not only not shrunk while sea levels were rapidly rising, the coastal land area has expanded ? by a net +7.3% ? over the last 118 years.

    Kench et al., 2015

    “The geological stability and existence of low-lying atoll nations is threatened by sea-level rise and climate change. Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (?5.1 ? 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ?0.30 ? 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897?2013). ”

    1. Cont’d-

      Coastal areas were also analysed, and to the scientists’ surprise, coastlines had gained more land ? 33,700 sq km (13,000 sq miles) ? than they had been lost to water (20,100 sq km or 7,800 sq miles).

      “We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart. “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.”

      The researchers said Dubai’s coast had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts.

      “China has also reconstructed their whole coast from the Yellow Sea all the way down to Hong Kong,” said Dr Baart.

      But yes, let’s impose a massive new tax that will primarily affect low income individuals making life more difficult all so we can pretend to do something -ANYTHING- about a problem yet to have been even remotely falsified by any data.

      1. We need to stop Global Swelling before this increases the landmass so much our property taxes have to be adjusted upwards!

        1. Canada might tip over.

            1. I can’t think of anything…

            2. …spill its beer

            3. America’s mullet falls out?

        2. Won’t someone think of the beachfront property?!

      2. “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…”

        Thanks, Obama!

      3. Where’s the Mighty Midget to refute your findings with his sneering charm?

      4. Nice link, Tman. The bottom line from the article:

        As Testut et al. (2016) concluded in a paper published online a few months ago, “sea level rise is not the primary factor controlling shoreline changes.” It’s the “non-climate” factors that predominantly determine relative sea level changes over time.

        1. Yep, I especially like this line-

          Tide gauges averaged from all over the globe indicate that sea levels are rising very modestly, and well within the range of natural variability. In the regions of the world where sea levels are rising, the rise is predominantly due to internal processes, as an anthropogenic fingerprint in sea level rise trends has not been detectable.

          But oh noes the ice is melting!

  7. Well, this is an emergency. We need to capture all the polar bears to save them before they drown. We should air transport them all and turn them loose in Oberlin, Ohio, where I hear is a perfect climate and plenty of blubber can be found nearby for their diet.

  8. Guys, this is finally going to be the year! The year all the arctic ice is gone! The year we’ve been predicting every year for 15 years!

      1. Santa is a fat old white guy, probably a Trump voter, definite racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamaphobe, and irredeemable deplorable. Who cares about him, save the bears!

        1. Santa only lives up there to doge taxes. And I guarantee you his elves aren’t unionize and are probably horribly exploited like miners and steelworkers in the 19th century.

          1. his elves aren’t unionize and are probably horribly exploited like miners and steelworkers in the 19th century

            Wait… Santa is a libertarian? I’m rethinking this…

    1. Whatever happened to the Polar Vortex which was supposed to totally freeze us out while allowing the rest of the planet to bake?

      1. We got better.

  9. I would just like to point out that the “Modern Record” is less than 40 years of data. Since global cycles are usually measured in hundreds or thousands of years, I don’t think I would trust a data set shorter than my lifetime.

    1. Inoceramusthinks the weather is too cold and the sea level way too low.

    2. I don’t think I would trust a data set shorter than my lifetime.

      They really should say it as the ‘Lowest anyone remembers.’

      If you’re gonna brandish the “It’s a problem too big and too long term for people to conceptualize!” you’ve gotta be aware that both sides are sharp.

  10. Good article. Thanks for posting, Ronald.

  11. No Stan in this comment thread? Really?

  12. Might add this:

    “Claire Parkinson, climate scientist and main author of the report, said since 1986 there had not been a single record high for Arctic sea ice in any month ? in contrast, there had been 75 record lows.
    “It’s just an incredible contrast. It is definitely not just September that’s losing sea ice. The record makes it clear that the ice is not rebounding to where it used to be, even in the midst of winter,” she said in a statement.”

    75 straight months of record lows for Arctic ice.

    1. Um, no. Not 75 straight months. 75 of the 360 months between 1986-2016 – half of the natural 60 year cycle. Also sea ice extent, not sea ice volume. And of course arctic only, not global, because the global sea ice extent is not alarming.

      1. Correct. Poor wording on my part. 75 months of record lows with nary a record high. Not straight.

        Here is a graph of ice volume in Arctic.…..ntV2.1.png

        Not any better.

      2. By the way, if interested, most discussions of Antarctica ice gains is extent as well, not volume. Here is one attempt at it.


        Note that the gain in Antactica is an order of magnitude less than the loss in the Arctic.

        You know, apples to apples.

        1. It’s at least a fair attempt to explain why they were wrong. Because when this whole “global warming science is settled” shit started in the 90s, we were supposed to be losing ice in volume and extent everywhere.

        2. What’s it like to be a chicken little?

  13. In the scope of things, the “modern record” is but the blink of a knat’s eye.
    Some people need to get a life.

  14. Holy crap this just in Ice Melts!!!!!! It’s as if in the past the ice never melted nor refrozen back and it’s as if sun has that 11 year cycle it goes through where it’s at the tip end now. I for one am glad the sun spews out energy at a constant and never spews out more or less from sun blasts.

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