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« Jolly green giants toppled | Main | Déjà vu - Josh 364 »

Sea ice holds firm

This morning's story appears to be the hoary old "Arctic sea ice in freefall" one.

The Arctic is in crisis. Year by year, it’s slipping into a new state, and it’s hard to see how that won’t have an effect on weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere,” said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the Colorado-based NSIDC.

As usual on these occasions, I take a quick look at the Cryosphere Today anomaly page, where I find the sea ice apparently still stuck firmly in "pause" mode.

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Reader Comments (278)

So are you saying NASA etc are wrong, or are you just asking someone to explain the graph to you?

Mar 29, 2016 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commentergubulgaria

As the measurements start at the end of the “We are heading into a new ice age!” scare, could it not be possible that the ice extent at that time was unusually high? The USS Skate is renowned for surfacing at the North Pole in 1957 (or thereabouts); there are records and accounts of ice-free areas in the 1930s that are not yet ice-free; the retreating ice in Alaska is exposing the remains of forests, so that area has been a lot warmer in the past. Quite why we should be getting so alarmed over records covering so few decades is a bit of a mystery – unless you want to be dismissed as being a conspiracy-theorist crank. Hmmm… I wonder why that should be?

Mar 29, 2016 at 10:48 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Re: gubulgaria

Welcome back Mr Thompson of Greenpeace press office. Haven't seen you post for a while.

Mar 29, 2016 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

If he feels the need to be here, then this is obviously very bad news for his cause.

Mar 29, 2016 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The frequent fluctuations of Arctic sea ice are a fount of fearsome forecasts for fanatics of hot doom and of cold doom. Alternately. The coldsters have never made much of a living from it. Their turn could well come again - but will the prospering hotsters stand aside to let them in, or will they just change direction 'in the light of new data' and keep their graspers on the grants? We unwilling patrons of this pantomime will just have to wait and see.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:05 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

It looks like the anomaly is back to the level the IPCC provided for 1974, i.e. ~= -1m km2.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterigsy

1. Gentlemen, It will, without doubt, have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice, has been during the last two years greatly abated. This affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened, and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them, not only interesting to the advancement of science, but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”

President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817.

2. “The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.”
As reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post. November 2, 1922.

3. William Scoresby a whaling captain 1789 – 1857 wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, one of Captain Cook’s companions and an Arctic explorer, that for the last two years he, Scoresby, had not found any ice on the coasts of Greenland between 74 degrees and 75 degrees. “Such an opportunity to reach the pole by travelling up the Greenland coast will not come again for a while!”

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Just looked at the JAXA graphs on Anthony Watts' blog Sea Ice Page...

Looks to be holding up pretty well to me (higher than 2015 at this point in the year) - but - hey - the satellites could be LYING....

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

One could yawn and wave gulberia off - but the PR grot pump lever is being worked hard again - the near hysterical braying about weather "records" seems to be everywhere - a bit like shots of windmills in any "factual" programming the BBC is presently producing.

@gubulgaria - I'd be more inclined to believe NASA if they didn't fiddle with the data without adequate explanation (or any in fact) - and Gavin started to act like a proper scientist.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:22 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Bish doesn't make it clear that there are 2 different things
#1 The sea ice average anomaly
#2 The day that winter ice is the highest ...that is news the alarmists have cherry picked today
And as WUWT explains it "a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second year in a row,"
It's a lower than previous years, but the sea ice average anomaly is not in steep decline as Bishes graph shows.( and that is a more important issue)

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:26 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


Climate history began in 1985 - anything before that is irrelevant....

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

"So are you saying NASA etc are wrong, or are you just asking someone to explain the graph to you?"

NASA have, unwisely in my view, and like Julia Sling, have put themselves front and centre in what is a power grab by environmentalists. They have been party to persuading governments to implement policies to avert global warming that will, inevitably damage the lives of the people, the last thing they want is to find the Arctic sea ice expand, and I doubt they've got a prepared position for such an event. If it does, however, they are in deep doo doo.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:29 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

Graphs are often deliberately designed to send the message the sender wants. (eg the scale offered for the X or Y axis) Try looking at an image that introduces context and scale. Lo, the 'catastrophe' vanishes.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Crisis! What crisis?

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:41 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Aloha Ice loving people
Keep promoting the appeal of permanent ice. The thought of uninhabitable icy places motivates tourism to friendlier latitudes. The tourists to these Hawaiian Isles seem to like water and warmth.
Have a cold day,
King K

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterOffice of Hawaii Affairs

Are they looking at a different graph? All that can really be concluded is that the record is far too short to say anything meaningful.

We've been here twice before of course with the 'arctic death spiral' clowns. Serreze of course is the man who said the Antarctic must be cooling because of global warming while everyone else coughed and walked away.

However those who make the policy are listening only to such charlatans. Greenpeace cannot be blamed for these shameless scientivists though, only for the enduring energy policy fantasy that renewables can easily replace fossil fuels which our feckless political leaders will seemingly continue to believe right up to the point where it is far too late to fix things.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The idea that minus 20 Celsius is "relentlessly hot" (in the words of Mark Sereeze) is delicious.

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Ted Scambos(lead psientist at the Colorado-based NSIDC).
The clue is in his name, "scam".

Mar 29, 2016 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

@JamesG: throw another pensioner on the fire Samantha, we've got to find a way of dealing with these drains on society.

But who in the Royal Society failed to warn us about this new bloody Little Ice Age?

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

That RealScience post is well worth a visit, so many thanks for the link Cheshire Red.

I liked the 'The Arctic Ice is screaming.' remark in 2007 from one Mark Serreze, who was, believe it or not, a senior scientist at that Boulder place wherefrom the current little flurry has hit us. He seems still to be there, but may have calmed down just a little bit.

Here is something he said in 2016 “I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “The heat was relentless.”

OMG, he's said to be a director there now!!! Who writes the scripts for this show? And who handles the contract with Central Casting? They're good at their jobs!

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:04 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Also from CT

Sea ice extent averaged over the Northern Hemisphere has decreased correspondingly over the past 50 years (shown right). The largest change has been observed in the summer months with decreases exceeding 30%. Decreases observed in winter are more modest

We all look forward to this graph making a reappearance here in September.

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Additionally, Cheshire Red, it is a graph of 'anomalies,' not sea ice. So the negative ice, as depicted, is actually a million square kilometers of ice. Oh noes!

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Having already predicted that Mears would adjust his satellite dataset due to alarmist peer pressure and off the back of previous Hadley, Noaa, Nasa and Argo adjustments to the alarmist side, I feel safe in further predicting that the Arctic pause will soon be adjusted away too. It will be introduced as 'we found a better way to measure it' which was the attempted method used to disguise the satellite-determined greening of the planet.

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Re: Phil Clarke

It made an appearance last September.

What is your point?

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I think it might be far more interesting to consider how much energy was lost to space from inside the Arctic Circle over the past six months. Less sea ice cover implies more high emissivity open ocean, rather than low emissivity ice and snow. Higher temperatures imply more S-B radiation, especially from the warmer open ocean areas. Just what we need in El Niño conditions.

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

@geronimo: the Sir Joseph Banks in your third para was the very same PoRS in your first para. As Einstein said, a scientific concensus can be undone by a single fact! More over, this linking of "facts" by warmists regarding ice loss to globull warming is curious seeing as the satellite data shows no significant warming for almost 19 years!

I do hope these people keep a record of their data "adjustments", so that one day, the "data" can be restored!

I noticed there were a couple of progs (old I think - didn't watch them) over the weekend on the Arctic, & its response to "climate change". You gotta give credit, the good old Communist/Socialist propaganda of constant reinforcement so that repeating the lie often enough it becomes the truth.

Mar 29, 2016 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Current Arctic Sea ice area records begin in 1979 ignore all the data from the US military prior to 1979 for a reason:


Richard just posted a link to this animated gif over at Tony's:

Arctic sea ice minima, 1971 (National Geographic) and August 2015.

As we sceptics have been saying for many years now, what is all the fuss about?

Mar 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

On the strength of the reports The 1700 berth cruise liner Crystal Serenity has planned a cruise from the Northwest Passage to the Bering Sea this summer. Coastguards are worried.

Mar 29, 2016 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Elliot

Radiation lost to space has an error measurement 10 times higher than the signal so that's an odd suggestion.

Mar 29, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Re: gubulgaria

Welcome back Mr Thompson of Greenpeace press office. Haven't seen you post for a while.

"Welcome"...........? Wrong word. A womble? Or, uncle bombast in green tights?

NASA, are a set of gimps playing God and thinking that they are scientists.

Whereas, Greenpi88 are a set of gimps playing a serial con trick on the public, posing as some sort of philanthropic chimera, a set of do gooders but actually a claque of unwashed hippies, and aging students who can't throw Mao's little red book out of the window. If it were just that but it isn't is it? All given to, egregious sock puppetry as advocates of a man devised supposition.

As greenpeace, swan about EU corridors of power, the world and take the plane, visiting plush 5* hotels around the globe congratulating themselves on scarring, disfiguring another world heritage site and jawjawing about things beyond their ken, redistributing western taxpayers enforced taxation - agenda 21 or whatever it has been renamed these days.

Ultimately, the consequences of which (the greenpi99 argued agenda) and vastly disproportionate influence on the legislators and body politic in general, which is at total variance with greenpi88's woeful expertise (see comment above) and if you lose the argument on science there's always; virtue signalling and the old fall back of extreme left wing gesture politics, "I keep my exec job and exes while I harangue people about inequality, injustice and fraternite".... works every time. Aye and consequences here in the UK - through, shutting down viable, efficient technology - fossil fueled power generation and swapping these for, contraptions which not only kill birds in their thousands but are utterly useless at their primary function ie the provision/generation of electrical power.

Thanks to Greenpi99 and their like, Britain is, we are about to suffer, an energy policy crisis which will cause untold misery and death, counted in hundreds of thousands.

We will remember, what you agitated on, politicked for and what you caused through and by it.

Mar 29, 2016 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

And in other news... the number of weather customers experiencing a white Christmas has reached the lowest level since 1978. Climate experts announced that red-nosed reindeer may become extinct before the world finds a useful occupation for these people.

Mar 29, 2016 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Why no mallets for climate stakeholders?

Mar 29, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

In addition, current Arctic ice extent is similar to the early 1970's. It only appears to be a "record" low because 1979 was a peak year in a multi-decadal cycle, as reported in Figure 7.20a in the 1990 IPCC report.

Mar 29, 2016 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeW

I've posted quotes (and the links) from both the press release and the regular news page at NSIDC on this "event" - interesting to compare.

And as I note, this is unlikely to make any difference to polar bears: the late date of the max means that it was higher on that date (24 March) than 2015 but also 2006 and 2007.

The difference in area between last year and this years "lowest evahh" max is less than the islands of the Bahamas.


Mar 29, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crockford

Like all imperialists, the climate imperialists require a distant crisis that can only be defeated by the self-appointed imperialists, who just happen to have the enlightenment and skill sets with which to solve the problem they discovered.
The crisis must be distant and remote because the other requirement of the climate imperialist is to control the information flow. Arctic ice pretty much fits the need for the climate imperialist perfectly.

Mar 29, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


So it did, and the anomaly has jumped 0.6m sq km since then! Congratulations are due for resisting a 'massive recovery in Arctic Ice' headline.

But then, this is not Heller's place.

Mar 29, 2016 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Terry S: The person calling himself gubulgaria is a Greenpeace employee then? I'm glad that you're alert to professional propagandists. How did you know his real name was Thompson? What do we know about him?

Mar 29, 2016 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Mainly from these links.

Mar 29, 2016 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Cryosat's hoary message confounds ancient inuit wisdom,

provoking climate chatterati to new excess.

Franklin's ghost, meanwhile, smiles with secret, inner knowledge.

Mar 29, 2016 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I think you should be careful of how you interpret the graph in the post. As I understand it, it's showing anomalies relative to a 1979-2008 mean. This means that each data point is really the anomaly relative to the 1979-2008 mean for the same time period (probably month) and the anomalies are absolute, not relative. Hence a large anomaly in a month when the sea ice extent is expected to be large is not necessarily as significant as a large anomaly in a month when you'd expect the sea ice extent to be small. If you consider the sea ice extent figure here, it's pretty clear that Arctic sea ice extent has been close to (or outside) the 2sigma range (for a 1980-2010 average) for most of 2016.

Mar 29, 2016 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Of course in 2013/2014 we achieved maximum ice extents in the Antarctic, accompanied by a whole slew of excuses amounting to 'don't look here for global warming, look over there!' and when it regressed in 2015 we were told it had 'returned to normal'. If it bleeds it leads!

Mar 29, 2016 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"I think you should be careful of how you interpret the graph in the post"

Then apply this to all graphs. Thanks, ATTP-NMS (Newly Minted Skeptic).


Mar 29, 2016 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"I think you should be careful of how you interpret the graph in the post...."

Thank you Ken. I would also appreciate it if you could explain how to open a door, and also any tips you might have on tying my shoelaces. They are very hard. It's just so lovely that the extreme left take time out from their incredibly useful jobs to come here and explain stuff. God bless you, and your love of humanity.

Mar 29, 2016 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Thank you for that 'crocodile' link. Further evidence that mendacity is the eco-activist stock-in-trade.
Ridley does not "own" a coal mine, neither did he "inherit" Northern Rock.
But hey! Who needs truth when they're saving the planet?!

Mar 29, 2016 at 6:18 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Having lived in an area where ice and snow sublime overnight at temperatures below zero Celsius, i can state that there's a lot more than temperature at work in the Arctic: wind, humidity, clouds, currents, subsea volcanism, particulate deposition, and so on.

In the 1940s, Russian farmers were farming in parts of the Arctic they were never able to farm before, it was great news back then as harvests around the world increased.

Mar 29, 2016 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen

James Evans, 5:06pm:
You are forgetting that Ken is a Professor - he probably has plenty of under-grad and post-grad minions to do such menial tasks as tying his shoe-laces and opening doors for him.

Mar 29, 2016 at 7:54 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Once there was a continuous trend in rising temperatures...
A loss of snowpack on Kilimanjaro...
Ever expanding deserts...
Unprecedented heatwaves...
And, of course...
Our children wouldn't know what snow was.

But now, the only canary left not skipping merrily along is the good old Sea Ice. Arctic Sea Ice, I mean, not total and certainly not Antarctic Sea Ice.

So forgive the Alarmists their hyperbole over this narrow subject matter. They're desperate.
They've nothing else left.

Mar 29, 2016 at 7:59 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Here's another source that may be of interest...

Mar 29, 2016 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Since Hansen's bit of theater in 1986 we have been subject to what is turning into the biggest marketing campaign in history. Year after year of being told in louder and more expensive ways that the Earth is facing a climate crisis that only the climate enlightened can deal with. Yet nothing unusual is going on with any metric of climate the climate imperialists can produce.
Thirty years and all we have to show for it are useless ugly windmills littering the landscapes of much of the Western world.
And huge costs borne by tax payers and rate payers.
Now these climate imperialists want to tell us that Arctic sea ice, famous for its variability, is somehow a control knob for the Earth's climate. Despite any evidence to support their claim at all.
What an entertaining time we live in.

Mar 29, 2016 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

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