(FAIRUSE NOTICE: This blog site may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a 'Fair Use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 USC Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.)
* According to near-real-time data, this year’s minimum extent is slightly lower than 2009. However, the ranking between 2009 and 2013 is close, and may change once the final version of the data are processed. See our Frequently Asked Questions: Do your data undergo quality control? for more information about near-real-time data.
** Note that the dates and extents of the minimums have been re-calculated from what we posted in previous years; see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Figure 5: plot of September Arctic Sea Ice Extent Mean forecasts submitted to ARCUS in August 2013.
- - - snip - - -
Apparent recovery of Arctic sea ice this year is illusory, say experts Top scientists (WHO?) dispute claims that Arctic sea ice is on the rebound.
Science Recorder | Delila James | Saturday, September 21, 2013
Climate change skeptics shouldn’t get their hopes up by the reported increase this year in sea ice on the surface of the Arctic Ocean. It isn’t a sign that global warming is abating or was a mere fantasy concocted by environment-obsessed hand-wringers. The extent of sea ice is still the sixth lowest on record and would have been a record low in 2006, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
While it is technically correct that the extent of Arctic sea ice grew approximately 60 percent in August 2013 as compared to August 2012, “sea ice extent remains quite low compared to the long-term 1981 to 2010 average,” according to the NSIDC. The agency explains that the increase in sea ice this year compared to last year’s record-breaking decrease is due, at least in part, to unusually low sea level pressure over the central Arctic and Greenland. Because low sea level pressure inhibits the transport of warm air into the Arctic, temperatures this year were colder and sea ice melted less.
Climate experts also say this year’s increase in sea ice has to be viewed in light of last year’s record-breaking decline. Because the decrease in Arctic sea ice in 2012 was so extreme, they say, a less drastic reduction this year is to be expected.
Some sensible writers and bloggers have been quick to provide the public with hard data, complete with charts and diagrams, debunking suggestions from Rush Limbaugh and other die-hard pooh-poohers of climate change that this year’s increase in sea ice extent undermines the notion of global warming. Both Brad Plummer in his Washington Post blog and Dana Nuccitelli at the Guardian provide detailed and credible evidence showing that Arctic sea ice isn’t really “recovering.”
Annual variations are not as important as long-term trends when it comes to assessing the health of planet Earth. Despite this year’s dramatic recovery of Arctic sea ice this summer as compared to last year, the current extent of sea ice is still almost 400,000 square miles below the average minimum over the past 30 years. Indeed, since 1970 when satellites first began tracking sea ice extent, it has been declining at a rate of about 10.6 percent each decade.
A reduction in sea ice volume, or thickness, is even more important that sea ice extent when it comes to measuring the effects of climate change and may be a more accurate indicator when trying to predict when the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free, according to The Arctic Institute’s Center for Circumpolar Security Studies (CCSS). According to the CCSS, sea ice volume has declined rapidly since 1979 and continues to do so, saying that if this trend persists, the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2015.