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Arctic Ice Measurements Began In Coldest Year

February 23, 2014

By Paul Homewood




Whenever we hear about “Arctic ice melting”, it is always from a start point of 1979. Why should this be so, when we know there were satellite measurements being made at least as early as 1972?

Whatever the reason, it is a fact that 1979 was a particularly cold one, for instance in Iceland, as their Met Office point out.




But what about the rest of the Arctic? I have taken the following sample of Arctic stations from GISS, giving a reasonable geographic spread.. The example of Angmagssalik in Greenland is shown below.





The stations are:


Akureyri Iceland
Vardo Norway
Nar’Jan-Mar Russia
Ostrov Dikson Russia
Mys Salaurova Russia
Barrow Alaska
Cambridge Bay Canada
Angmagssalik Greenland



Using the GISS data, we can plot the temperatures between 1930 and 1979. In every single station, there is a clear, long term decline in temperatures from the 1940’s. In many cases, 1979 stands out as a particularly cold year, the only real exception being Barrow, reflecting the PDO shift a couple of years before. Even here though, the early 1970’s showed a steep decline, leading up to 1975 being the coldest year since 1924.

It would be hard to find a point since 1930, when conditions were not more favourable for massive Arctic sea ice extent. And they wonder why it has declined since.


Graphs below.




image 9







  1. Joe Public permalink
    February 23, 2014 5:58 pm

    Pure coincidence.

  2. February 23, 2014 6:40 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Good article.
    This is cherry-picking of the first order.

  3. Neil Hampshire permalink
    February 23, 2014 7:02 pm

    Arctic temperatures correlate well with AMO
    As the AMO starts to decline we may see declining Arctic temperatures
    Will we start to see increasing sea ice extents in the Arctic?

  4. igsy permalink
    February 23, 2014 9:57 pm

    Bad move, publishing Stykkisholmur. Whose side are you on? The whizz-kids at GISS will now get on the case. Check it out in a couple of years. The 1940s-1970s cooling will be homogenised into a flat line.

  5. February 23, 2014 11:46 pm

    Thanks again, Paul. I made a couple of notes on 1979 in my climate pages (Sea Ice Extent section).

    Good graphics on the extent of Arctic sea ice are available at the Daily AMSR2 sea ice maps, at

    Please note that the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice was reached in 1979, as shown by

  6. Andy DC permalink
    February 24, 2014 3:31 pm

    in many US cities, the winters 1977, 1978 and 1979 were all in the top 6 or 7 coldest on record. In Waterloo, IA, they ranked 1, 2 and 3. Yes, if I were going to try to prove warming, naturally I would start after by far the coldest 3 consecutive winters in history!

  7. February 25, 2014 4:03 am

    Polar ice has nothing to do with the ”coldness” on the polar caps average temp is minus -35C, that is 35C colder than freezing point, BUT:

    1]on Arctic ice is melted from below, by the salty seawater b] on Antarctic is melted from ”below” by the geothermal heat; therefore:

    2] the amount of ice depends on the amount of raw material to replenish the ice every season
    Q: what’s the raw material for creating new ice? why are the Warmist against ”water vapor”?! :

  8. rtj1211 permalink
    April 3, 2014 6:21 pm

    The only reason 1979 was chosen was that it was when the first satellites were put in orbit to measure ice extent. Before that, it was nigh on impossible to do it quantitatively.

    • April 3, 2014 7:14 pm

      All very convenient, I’m sure!

      Unfortunately, there were previous satellite measurements in the 1970’s, showing lower levels of ice, albeit not as accurate.

      None of this addresses my point that we are comparing Arctic Ice against its highest extent for decades.


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