Arctic Ice Rebound

Update October 14, 2014 at the end of the post.

MASIE Proves Yearly Arctic Ice Recovering

You will be hearing a lot about 2015 having the fourth lowest minimum Arctic ice extent ever recorded.

Here is what they are not telling you:

masie annuallarge

MASIE has very helpfully provided their records for the last ten years.  Since stormy weather can affect both maximum and minimum ice extents, emphasis on March and September averages can be misleading. From a climate change perspective, a better metric is the average ice extent over the entire year. By that measure we gain a realistic perspective on the last ten years of Arctic ice fluctuation.

While Arctic ice varies a lot seasonally, the graph shows that it is not that variable annually during this decade. Fluctuating about +/- 4%, there was a slightly increasing trend, particularly in the last five years.  Here are the ice extents in M km2:

Year Annual  Average March Average Sept Average Sept Minimum March Max
2006 10.667 14.260 5.831 5.641 14.663
2007 10.414 14.543 4.298 3.987 14.907
2008 10.995 15.372 4.427 4.223 15.662
2009 10.825 15.005 5.091 4.871 15.326
2010 10.732 15.221 4.997 4.717 15.397
2011 10.564 14.832 4.511 4.303 15.110
2012 10.688 15.533 3.633 3.369 15.822
2013 11.119 15.230 5.083 4.677 15.505
2014 11.130 15.133 5.368 5.066 15.523
2015 11.263 14.625 4.564 4.442 14.910

The value for 2015 is for the record so far; the final number will be known at year end.  As for minimum extents, 2015 September average will likely be the fifth lowest in the last ten years, so ranked in the middle of the years in this period. For it to be the fourth lowest ever would require ignoring earlier history, especially the 1930’s and the age of the Vikings.

MASIE dataset is here:

Background on MASIE and NOAA:

And Arctic Ice is Rebounding As We Speak

Now let’s put this year’s minimum in perspective.  2014 daily ice extent minimum was ~5M km2 on day 262.  2015 extent went below 5M on day 240 and has now regained back to 5M on day 268.  So the reduced ice extent this year lasted for exactly 28 days.  Why is this fact not mentioned in articles talking about the 4th lowest extent recorded?  How can a 28-day event (produced by a major storm) be called “climate change” when it is so temporary and natural?

masie day 268

For the current 2015 ice watch report see:

Update October 14, 2015

There was some criticism of this article following publication.  I addressed the issues in subsequent posts:

Flap Over Arctic Ice Rebound

Ice House of Mirrors

Arctic Ice Made Simple


  1. Pingback: Annual Arctic Ice Recovering | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
  2. 4TimesAYear · September 27, 2015

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.


  3. Climatism · September 28, 2015

    Reblogged this on Climatism.


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  5. ClimateOtter · September 28, 2015

    Ron, sorry to bother you on a side matter, but: I’d like to repost a portion of the above article and link back to your blog… but I’d like to be able to tell readers at my page a bit about you?


    • Ron Clutz · September 28, 2015

      Sure. My profile can be accessed from my home page


      • ClimateOtter · September 28, 2015

        Thank you sir!


      • Ron Clutz · September 28, 2015

        Just open the page” Why Science Matters.”


  6. K. Kaiser · September 28, 2015

    I’ve been wondering for some time about the influence of ship traffic in that area on the ice extent, especially the kind that uses ice-breakers to get around, including attempts to reach the North Pole. For example, quite recently (22 Sep. 2015), the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy made it there (

    These voyages are taking place in the period of approx. mid-July to mid-August (with return voyages to mid-September), when the ice extent is at a seasonal minimum and the ice at its thinnest. Therefore, breaking off large parcels of ice from the contiguous ice cover can reduce the “extent” in several ways.

    Looking at the ice-extent ( during that period of time over the last few years, one can clearly notice sudden sharp declines. Could they be related to such ice-breaking activities?

    Would you please comment on that?
    Best regards,
    K Kaiser


    • Ron Clutz · September 28, 2015

      Thanks for commenting K. Kaiser. I have no definitive study on your issue, though I know Russia operates a fleet of more than 50 icebreakers, several of them nuclear-powered, and they are building more. Their mission is to keep the NSR (Northern Sea Route) open for shipping. It should be a good year for that route with Barents and Kara ice free, only Laptev above normal. Mind you, they have to work now against the ice recovery in BCE (Beaufort, Chukchi and Eastern Siberian).

      I don’t know if their effect on extent is any more than retarding the eventual closure of those seas.


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  8. Gingerbaker · September 29, 2015

    Tamino vetted this little post of yours over at Open Mind ( as an example of a rookie mistake and for being less than, shall we say, informative.

    Just so your readers know “…what [Ron Clutz] [is] not telling you:”


    • Ron Clutz · September 29, 2015

      Thanks GB for the heads up. I am aware of that discussion, and traffic coming to view this post. I have made a few comments there and will respond in a few days.


  9. craigm350 · September 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    The post that so upset Tamino


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  12. uwe.roland.gross · June 23, 2019

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.


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