Arctic Sea Ice: Brace Yourself for the Spin

The extent of Arctic sea ice peaked on March 31, 2010, the latest date for the maximum Arctic sea ice extent since the start of the satellite record in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Co. The ice also reached an extent that was 670,000 square kilometers (260,000 square miles) above the record low for the month, which occurred in March 2006.

From these two factoids, you may expect a round of stories in the DenierSphere trumpeting a return to global cooling - an end to the worrying decline of Arctic ice that hit a low point in 2006. Just as they have done with the unusually warm year in 1998, the campaigners for inaction will grasp onto the historic low as a new starting point for their graph - which will then show an actual increase in ice: hallelujah.

Of course, if you look at the graph to the left, you’ll see the trend. If someone tries to take your attention away from that declining line, ask them to explain why.


I check the NSIDC site regularly, and have been tracking the sea ice all winter. Up until very recently, it was neck & neck with the record low line. The sceptic camp was pretty quiet on the subject, and I have been wondering when they would notice the spike. I hope you haven’t tipped them off! Fern


FYI, I wrote a post comparing the day of year chart and monthly trend charts. Link.

Many climate commentators,including Watts and Bastardi, use the JAXA day-of-year chart which only shows 9 years of data in a jumbled color display that is not suitable for evaluating long term trends.

D Kelly O’Day

If everyone not think about all this then the day is not far from us when everywhere is only heat & no one is able to survive & it happens to our generations.

It’s not just the extent of the Polar Ice Cap we have to worry about; we have to consider its thickness as well. Mark Serreze with the National Snow and Ice Data Center(NSIDC) points out that the satellite data his graph is based on offers no information on ice thickness. He suggests that most of the recent ice in the Bering Sea is likely to be very thin and won’t last.

“Once the winds change, temperatures change, we’ll probably lose it pretty quickly.”

At West Coast Climate Equity we posted about this on March 31: “Why had the surface of the Arctic sea ice remained frozen this March?”

Our article contains an impressive graphic of the thinning Arctic sea ice produced by NSIDC at the end of February, 2009.

We need more data and this may be on the immediate horizon. The European CryoSat-2 is scheduled for launch tomorrow, April 8 at 15:57 CEST, which I think will be about 7:00 AM here on Friday. (Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.) We really need this launch to succeed to provide us more accurate information on the Arctic ice thickness. The US ICE-Sat failed last November, and a replacement is being considered. But don’t hold your breath.