Don’t Panic! Arctic Ice Hits ‘Record’ Low!? Climate Depot Explains Arctic melting hype
Climate Depot Editorial
First off, Climate Depot extends congratulations to the global warming activists as they celebrate current Arctic ice conditions and try to convince the public that it is a significant event that is due to man-made global warming.
But now, after years of waiting, the Arctic sea ice extent has – at least according to some monitoring sources (See: Update: NOAA Showing 28% More Ice Than The 2007 Minimum) – dipped below the 2007 amount. Of course this is only since satellite monitoring of Arctic began in 1979, so we are in reality talking about 33 years of monitoring. [Update: Has the Arctic record been achieved yet? See Anthony Watts: ‘The NSIDC product, the new and improved “multi-sensor” MASIE product, shows no record low at ~ 4.7 million square kilometers’]
Is this Arctic ice event significant and does it prove man-made global warming claims? Will skeptics now recant and call for carbon taxes to control the weather?
No, no. And No. Global warming activists are clinging to Arctic ice shifts as their number one claim of scientific “proof” as they seek to keep the man-made global warming movement alive.
Current Arctic ice shifts are not “proof” of man-made global warming, nor are they unusual, unprecedented or cause for alarm, according to multiple peer-reviewed studies, data analyses and experts.
In December 2011, Climate Depot released the A-Z Climate Reality Check report, noting: “The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim — from A-Z — the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing.” Since that report was issued and presented to the UN climate conference in Durban South Africa, the claims of man-made climate promoters have continued to fail on every issue from sea levels to polar bears to global temperatures to Mt. Kilimanjaro to extreme weather claims to hurricanes to tornadoes to Antarctic ice. The failure has been so complete that global warming activists and many in the media are now forced to point to any bad weather event as somehow “proof” of man-made global warming.
Here is how the media is presenting the current Arctic ice conditions: AP’s Seth Borenstein: Scientists say critical ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to record low levels this overheated summer. — The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007. Figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979. Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.
The New York Times Justin Gillis reports: “The amount of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen to the lowest level on record, a confirmation of the drastic warming in the region and a likely harbinger of larger changes to come.” Gillis also posits that changes in the Arctic sea ice extent impact our weather. But other analyses refute that. See: No Correlation Between Arctic Ice And N. Hemisphere Winter Weather: ‘Winter snowfall has been increasing for fifty years. The peak year for Arctic ice was the lowest year for winter snowfall’ & Global Warming Causing Winters To Simultaneously Get Colder And Warmer
Could AP’s Borenstein and NYT’s Gillis be on to something unique in the annals of reporting?
First, some perspective on Arctic ice: See: Six Thousandths Of One Percent (0.006%) More Of The World’s Ice Melted This Summer — ‘At this rate it’ll take 166 years to see a 1% reduction. This is like taking a glass of ice from a frozen swimming pool. The number is so small that it is outside the statistical margins of certainty’
And the reduction was aided by a super storm this year. See: Did ‘The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012’ reduce sea ice?: ‘Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC’s current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible…’ & See: Reduced sea ice extent due to storm? The ice loss was mainly in the Chukchi Sea, where the storm was. The storm brought warm water to the surface
Note how eerily similar all of this sounds to a November 2nd, 1922 article in the Washington Post article titled “Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt”:” 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 Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone…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.”
But there more Arctic hype from yesteryear. See: The Arctic Con: Polar Meltdown Claims – We Have heard them all before – in the 1930s, 40s & 50s etc.
Here is a very small sampling of past Arctic ice scares when Arctic was in warm cycle:
1922: ‘Extraordinary warmth in the Arctic during the last few years’ — Polar ice sheet to melt down? — Scientists astonished by Arctic warming. Northern United States to become “sub-tropical.”
1935: Russian Ship Sailed 500 Miles From The North Pole In Ice-Free Water catastrophic proportions and people living in lowlands along their shores would be inundated…temps in Arctic had increased 10 deg. F since 1900–an ‘enormous’ rise’
Flashback 1947 : International Agency Needed To Stop The Arctic Meltdown: Same story – different millennium — ‘May 30 1947.-The possibility of a prodigious rise in the surface of ocean with resultant widespread inundation if Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland icecap should reduce at same rate as present melting in Arctic…’
So what does the 2012 Arctic ice minimum mean scientifically? Satellite monitoring of Arctic ice began in late 1979 at end of 40 year cold cycle (remember the fears of a coming ice age in the 1970s?) when ice was probably at its highest. In fact, we have satellite monitoring of Arctic ice going back to 1974.
‘Graphs conveniently start in 1979 — peak ice year of last century…Arctic sea ice extent was much lower prior to 1979’ — ‘In 1990, IPCC published graph based on NOAA data. It shows Arctic ice extent in 1974 was almost 2 million km^2 less than 1979. 1974 Arctic ice coverage was similar to current coverage, which is also about 2 million km^2 less than 1979…CIA published document in 1974,which tell us prior to 1974, Arctic ice coverage was an additional 10% lower. Deducting another 10% puts us back to about 2007 levels of ice. If IPCC, NOAA and CIA know about this, why is the information being obfuscated?’
See: NSIDC wants us to believe that Arctic satellite measurements began in 1979. — ‘But satellite records go back much further, and showed ice gain in the 12 years prior to 1979. Former CRU Director HH Lamb: ‘Kukla & Kukla (1974) report that the area of snow and ice, integrated over the year across the N. Hemisphere, was 12% more in 1973 than in 1967, when the first satellite surveys were made’
Multiple peer-reviewed studies have shown that the 2007 low point in Arctic ice of the modern satellite era was due to high pressure days, unusual winds and ocean currents. In 2012, an analysis showed ‘High Arctic Summers Have Been Colder Than Normal 12 Years In A Row’ ‘Every summer since the year 2000 has had below normal temperatures north of 80N’
In 2009, Arctic Ice Changes in past 3 years were blamed on ‘shifting winds’ – The Star Canada – July 28, 2009 – Excerpt: Oceanographer and Arctic researcher Jane Eert said “dramatic [Arctic ice] changes in the past three years are the result of shifting winds.” “Enormous amounts of ice have ‘been exported from the Arctic,’ driven by winds that are shifting,” according to Eert.
Here is a small sampling of studies on the causes of Arctic ice shifts:
A NASA study published in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters on October 4, 2007 found “unusual winds” in the Arctic blew “older thicker” ice to warmer southern waters. Despite the media’s hyping of global warming, Ignatius Rigor, a co-author of the NASA study, explained, “While the total [Arctic] area of ice cover in recent winters has remained about the same, during the past two years an increased amount of older, thicker perennial sea ice was swept by winds out of the Arctic Ocean into the Greenland Sea. What grew in its place in the winters between 2005 and 2007 was a thin veneer of first-year sea ice, which simply has less mass to survive the summer melt.” […] “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” said Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and leader of the study. (LINK)
A November 2007 peer-reviewed study conducted by a team of NASA and university experts found cyclical changes in ocean currents impacting the Arctic. Excerpt: “Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,”
NASA Study Blames Natural High Pressure Leading to More Sunny Days for Arctic Ice Reduction Excerpt: But experts say it was the peculiar weather Mother Nature offered up last summer – whatever caused it – that is largely to blame for the recent unusual events. There was a high-pressure system that sat over the Arctic for much of the summer. It shooed away clouds, leaving the sun alone to beat down.
A November 2007 peer-reviewed study in the journal Nature found natural cause for rapid Arctic warming. [The study] identifies a natural, cyclical flow of atmospheric energy around the Arctic Circle. A team of researchers, led by Rune Graversen of Stockholm University, conclude this energy flow may be responsible for the majority of recent Arctic warming. The study specifically rules out global warming or albedo changes from snow and ice loss as the cause, due to the “vertical structure” of the warming
Arctic Ice Changes in past 3 years due to ‘shifting winds’ – 2009 – Oceanographer and Arctic researcher Jane Eert said “dramatic [Arctic ice] changes in the past three years are the result of shifting winds.” “Enormous amounts of ice have ‘been exported from the Arctic,’ driven by winds that are shifting,”
According to a 2003 study by Arctic scientist Igor Polyakov, the warmest period in the Arctic during the 20th Century was the late 1930s through early 1940s. Excerpt: Our results suggest that the decadal AO (Arctic Oscillation) and multidecadal LFO (low-frequency oscillation) drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult. (LINK)
UK Met Office: Arctic Ice Changes ‘Could Easily be Due to Natural Fluctuations in the Weather’ – Feb. 11, 2009 – Excerpt: The scientists at the UK Met Office lamented the “recent ‘apocalyptic predictions’ about Arctic ice melt,” according to the UK Guardian newspaper. Dr. Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, warned that “there is little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so,” according to the UK Guardian. “The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years,” Pope explained. Pope’s Arctic ice view echoes the 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report on Arctic sea ice and polar bears. The January 20, 2008, report featured “the latest peer-reviewed science detailing the natural causes of recent Arctic ice changes.” Climate researcher Dr. Peter Stott echoed Pope, warning that “dramatic predictions of accelerating temperature rise and sea ice decline, based on a few readings, could backfire when natural variability swings the other way and the trends seem to reverse,” the paper reported. “It just confuses people,” Stott added. Despite these attacks on the claims of their fellow scientists and the media, both Pope and Stott continue to believe that man-made global warming is real and should be addressed, in contrast to a growing number of scientists who now believe “the science has, quite simply, gone awry.”
A January 2008 study in the peer-reviewed journal Science found North Atlantic warming tied to natural variability. Excerpt: A Duke University-led analysis of available records shows that while the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface waters warmed in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000, the change was not uniform. In fact, the sub-polar regions cooled at the same time that subtropical and tropical waters warmed. This striking pattern can be explained largely by the influence of a natural and cyclical wind circulation pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), wrote authors of a study published Thursday, January 3 in Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science. Winds that power the NAO are driven by atmospheric pressure differences between areas around Iceland and the Azores. “The winds have a tremendous impact on the underlying ocean,” said Susan Lozier, a professor of physical oceanography at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences who is the study’s first author. […] “It is premature to conclusively attribute these regional patterns of heat gain to greenhouse warming,” they wrote. (LINK)
It is also very likely the 1930s and 1940s had the same or even less Arctic ice. Arctic climate goes in cycles.
See: 1935 Arctic Russian Ship’s Trip In Perspective: The map shows the ‘2007 record low’ Arctic ice extent, and the red dot indicates where a Russian boat sailed to in 1935 – in ice-free water’ — ‘Apparently there was less ice in the Eastern Arctic in 1935 than there was during the all-time-record-lowest-Armageddon-we-are-all-doomed-irreversible-tipping-point summer of 2007’
Arctic Ice Same Thickness As 1940: ‘CryoSat shows that Arctic sea ice averaged 2.0 meters (6.5 feet) thick in February, 2012 — ‘In Feb. 1940, Arctic ice also averaged 6.5 feet thick. Ice thickness is the same as it was 72 years ago’
NASA data shows Arctic was warmer in the 1930’s and warmed 75% faster: ‘According to a graph published on the NASA Earth Observatory site, Arctic temperatures were warmer in 1930’s than at the end of the 20th century. In addition, the graph shows the Arctic warmed ~1.6C over the 19 year period from ~1918-1937 at a rate of 0.84C/decade, 75% faster than the 0.48C/decade from 1980-2000. Thus, alarmist claims that recent Arctic warming is unprecedented or accelerating are bogus’
Also, studies show Medieval times were warmer: Paper finds Medieval Warm Period in Arctic was much warmer than the present — ‘A paper published in Polar Research finds that temps at two sites in Arctic were much warmer than at the end of 20th century. At one site, Longyearbyen, the11-year running-mean peak winter temperature was a remarkable 9C warmer than at the end of the record in 2000. At the 2nd site, Vardo, the11-year running-mean peak winter temperature was about 3.3C warmer than at the end of the record in 2000’
In addition, Arctic ice fluctuations have been documented going back thousands of years.
New Arctic Study published in Climate Dynamics, and the work was conducted by Håkan Grudd of Stockholm University’s Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology – Published online: 30 January 2008 – Excerpt: “The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Torneträsk record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A ‘Medieval Warm Period’ is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia, although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetraäsk suggests that this period was much warmer than previously recognised.” < > “The new Torneträsk summer temperature reconstruction shows a trend of -0.3°C over the last 1,500 years.” Paper available here: & Full Paper (pdf) available here:
PNAS study on Arctic temps: ‘These results support the notion that the enhanced wintertime warming over high northern latitudes from 1965 to 2000 was mainly a reflection of unforced variability of the coupled climate system’ – Prof. Judith Curry: ‘While there is a trend in the Arctic, the amplification is associated with natural internal variability’
See: Paper finds Arctic sea ice extent 8,000 years ago was less than half of the ‘record’ low 2007 level — ‘A paper published in Science finds summer Arctic Sea Ice extent during the Holocene Thermal Maximum 8,000 years ago was ‘less than half of the record low 2007 level.’ The paper finds a ‘general buildup of sea ice from ~ 6,000 years before the present’ which reached a maximum during the Little Ice Age and ‘attained its present (year 2000) extent at 4,000 years before the present’
At the same time, the Antarctic has been at or near sea ice extent satellite record.
Warmist Brad Johnson Adopts Young Earth Creationism: Johnson: ‘As RNC climate deniers party, Arctic sea ice is in free fall, about to go under 4 m km2 for first time in human history’ — Reality Check: ‘According to Dr. Walt Meier at NSIDC, the Arctic was completely free of ice sometime between 5,000 and 15,000 years ago. Apparently Brad Johnson believes that human history is less than 5,000 years. There is nothing unusual happening the Arctic. Some years are a little higher or lower than others’
Media Charged with Performing ‘Climate Porn’ on Arctic Ice Shipping Claims — ‘Shipping transits prove nothing concerning increase or decline of sea ice’