Arctic Ice Made Simple

People are overthinking and over-analyzing Arctic Ice extents, and getting wrapped around the axle (or should I say axis).  So let’s keep it simple and we can all readily understand what is happening up North.

I will use the ever popular NOAA dataset derived from satellite passive microwave sensors.  It sometimes understates the ice extents, but everyone refers to it and it is complete from 1979 to 2014.  Here’s what NOAA reports (in M km2):

X-ray Ice Mirror5

If I were adding this to the Ice House of Mirrors, the name would be The X-Ray Ice Mirror, because it looks into the structure of the time series.   For even more clarity and simplicity, here is the table:

NOAA NH Annual Average Ice Extents (in M km2)

Year Average Change % Change
1979 12.532
1994 12.183 -0.348  -2.8%
2007 10.685 -1.498 -12.3%
2014 11.003   0.318    3.0%

The satellites involve rocket science, but this does not.  There was a small loss of ice extent over the first 15 years, then a dramatic downturn for 13 years, 4 times the rate as before. That was followed by a recovery almost offsetting the first period in half the time.  All the fuss is over that middle period, and we know what caused it.  A lot of multi-year ice was flushed out through the Fram Strait, leaving behind more easily melted younger ice. The effects from that natural occurrence bottomed out in 2007.

Kwok et al say this about the Variability of Fram Strait ice flux:

The average winter area flux over the 18-year record (1978–1996) is 670,000 km2, ;7% of the area of the Arctic Ocean. The winter area flux ranges from a minimum of 450,000 km2 in 1984 to a maximum of 906,000 km2 in 1995. . .The average winter volume flux over the winters of October 1990 through May 1995 is 1745 km3 ranging from a low of 1375 km3 in the 1990 flux to a high of 2791 km3 in 1994.

Click to access kwokJGR99.pdf


Some complain it is too soon to say Arctic Ice is recovering, or that 2007 is a true change point.  The same people were quick to jump on a declining period after 1994 as evidence of a “Death Spiral.”


No one knows what will happen to Arctic ice.

Except maybe the polar bears.

And they are not talking.

Except, of course, to the admen from Coca-Cola


  1. rah · October 6, 2015

    Any way you cut it there is no “death spiral” evident and no indication there will be one. Thus what was predicted to happen, supposedly due to AGW, has not happened. No hot spot in the lower or middle troposphere has been found either. Thus two things emphasized as key signs that AGW was in progress have not occurred. Come to think of it I can’t recall that anything that was claimed to be one of the several “canaries in the coal mine” that has become evident. Can anyone else?


    • Ron Clutz · October 6, 2015

      Jerry Brown says California’s water problems are down to CO2. Oh wait, it turns out the shortage is man made all right: bad management and lack of investment.


      • Ted · October 10, 2015

        Moonbeam spent most of his first stint in office cancelling the water and power projects his father had started. Now that he’s back, one of his goals appears to be to dismantle some of those projects his father had already completed. I’m sensing an odd variation on an Oedipus complex.


  2. Climatism · October 7, 2015

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Climate experts, global warming alarmist politicians and complicit mainstream media, tell us that Arctic seaice should have all disappeared by now.
    Arctic sea ice extent is recovering nicely, despite record outputs of CO2 emissions.
    ‘Global Warming’ theory suffers a catastrophic setback once again.


  3. Hifast · October 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


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