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Arctic Sea Ice Extent–October 2017

November 2, 2017

By Paul Homewood



A year ago, the Washington Post was worried that a spell of mild weather in the Arctic meant that Arctic sea ice could disappear within our lifetimes:


Sea ice extent in the Arctic is as low as it has ever been measured in late October, and air temperatures are record warm. Sea ice experts say it is difficult to project what the current ice depletion means for the next year, but the unmistakable long-term trend toward less ice is troubling.

“The overall trajectory is clear — sometime in the next few decades, maybe as early as 2030, we’ll wake up to a September with no Arctic sea ice,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), in Boulder, Colo.

The present ice levels reflect a record slow recovery after the summer minimum on Sept. 10, which tied for the second-lowest extent on record.

Shortly after the minimum, it seemed as if the ice was headed for a fast recovery. But then the ice growth abruptly slowed because of unusually warm temperatures in the Arctic.



Fast forward twelve months, and we find that October sea ice extent is amongst the highest since 2006.



No honest scientist could look at the last decade and claim that ice extent is anything but stable, albeit at lower average levels than we were used to seeing in the 1980s.


While we’re at it, isn’t it time DMI and NSIDC dropped their misleading trend line? After all, ice extent could remain unchanged for another 100 years, but the trend would still show as downwards.

The simple reality is that ice extent shrank during a short period up to 2007, but was there was little change either prior or since.

As such, that short period tells us nothing at all about what may happen in future.

If a company published a graph like that, and used it to claim that its profits were increasing, it would probably be had up for fraud!

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 2, 2017 11:50 am

    When considering Arctic sea ice extent, it is always worthwhile remembering that much of the expansion of area is limited by coastlines. As such, much of the variation in extent is due to prevailing winds blowing either towards areas that are constrained, or towards more open water. If the later, there may be a peak, which is then followed by a trough, as the ice is exported to warmer latitudes where it melts away.

  2. November 2, 2017 11:58 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  3. November 2, 2017 12:17 pm

    First glances count
    ” and we find that 2017 October sea ice extent is amongst the highest since 2006.”
    yes but the bloody graph has a misleading trendline
    cos of the cherrypick of beginning at 1980
    ..I would cut that trendline off the graph
    and look for data beginning 1900 or something
    ..also the graph shows no error bars

  4. November 2, 2017 12:24 pm

    A much more likely explanation of the declining Arctic ice coverage in the last few decades is that ice coverage has a cyclic pattern. We know that the same concerns about Arctic warming were raised ninety-five years ago. In November 1922 the U.S Monthly Weather Review contained a report from the US Consul in Bergen, Norway, saying “The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fisherman, seal hunters and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.”

    We also know that the North-West passage was navigable in the 1940’s, because the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St Roch sailed the passage both ways between 1940 and 1944.

    Between about 1960 and 1990 the Arctic froze up again, because the ice extent was at a maximum during those years, although satellite records did not become available until the early 1970’s. Then round about 1990 the ice extent began to decrease. All of this tends to the view that Arctic ice has a cyclic pattern of roughly 70 years in extent. If we assume that the warm peak of the last cycle was in the 1940’s, then we should expect to see another warm peak in the 2010’s, with a gradually increasing ice extent thereafter – which is what appears to be happening now.

  5. Malcolm Bell permalink
    November 2, 2017 12:30 pm

    Linear trend lines belong in the “damned lies” section of statistics.

    What is the re-freeze looking like so far please Paul?

    • dave permalink
      November 2, 2017 6:30 pm

      “…the refreeze…”

      As normal as can be:

      • dave permalink
        November 2, 2017 6:41 pm

        It is a little less cold than normal but it is still “brass monkey” weather;

      • chrism56 permalink
        November 3, 2017 3:17 am

        I notice that “dave”s graph shows sea ice volume while the discussion was about sea ice area. Does the area one show a different trend?

      • Malcolm Bell permalink
        November 3, 2017 2:52 pm

        Thank you Dave, just as I hoped.

    • dave permalink
      November 2, 2017 6:49 pm

      The Antarctic is also close to its normal extent for the time of year:

    • dave permalink
      November 3, 2017 11:18 am

      “Does the area one show a different trend?”


      The reference “normal curve” is different ,as the series for extent is of longer duration than for volume. The sea-ice volume, of course is actually the result of a calculation, rather than a direct observation.

  6. November 2, 2017 12:38 pm

    Year to year changes in seasonal extreme sea ice extent not a global warming thing

  7. tom0mason permalink
    November 2, 2017 2:04 pm

    It is no more than a death spiral of deception to think that the amount of Arctic ice tells us any more about the planet’s climate than just the local conditions at the North Pole.

    Just because Hansen said it was so, does NOT make it so! It is a fallacy of science that the Arctic ice amount predicts anything about the coming climate. Arctic ice amount just tell you how much ice there is, or has been, its variation and the trend in that variation tell you all about the local conditions and NOTHING else. Only scaremongering ‘climate scientists™’ would try to make you believe otherwise.

  8. November 2, 2017 6:34 pm

    “The overall trajectory is clear” – translation: our confirmation bias is final.

  9. Jack Broughton permalink
    November 2, 2017 8:13 pm

    I know little to nothing about the arctic but can discern lies and hyperbole. Simple history shows that the arctic has been much warmer in several previous times; even people inhabiting Greenland tells one a lot. The long-term cyclic behaviour is so clear that it is almost unbelievable that the short term history is the prime focus of alarmists.

    The “Fear-campaign” has to keep raising this as a visual, but clearly untrue, threat of dying bears and walruses as it has failed dismally to show any true evidence of any climate warming: belief in computer models trumps facts any time! Sadly, many people believe these images to be genuine science and evidence of a problem.

    • RAH permalink
      November 3, 2017 11:57 am

      The focus on short term history is all they’ve got. Mann and the EAU CRU failed in their efforts to revise the past. So they must only concentrate on what they disingenuously term “the satellite era” as starting in 1979.

      It does not matter since it seems most mature and rational people have caught on to their deceptions and lies due to sites like this one spreading the word. The alarmists made shorter term projections that failed to materialize and so their alarms concerning what “may” happen decades from now carry little weight. They can have “scientists” continue to try and spread alarm with their plethora of weasel words all they want, but it will do no good. Those “scientists” and the departments of the academic institutions at which they abide, have long ago lost any claim to credibility because what they have said will happen, has not, and there are no indications that it is going to.

  10. whelper permalink
    November 3, 2017 7:00 pm

    “No honest scientist could look at the last decade and claim that ice extent is anything but stable, albeit at lower average levels than we were used to seeing in the 1980s.”

    It’s much worse than that. The graph discussed begins in 1980, right at the multi-decadal peak of arctic sea ice!

    Tony Heller has discussed it in several articles but here is the latest one:

    Here is the relevant sea ice extent graph:

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