Skip to content

The 1930s – The Decade Arctic Alarmists Forgot!

August 25, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Further to recent posts on the Arctic, No Tricks Zone posted a relevant graph yesterday, showing historical Arctic sea ice  extent trends.

It is based on a reconstruction by Alekseev et al in 2016:


It shows how meaningless it is to compare current levels with 1979, which both NSIDC and DMI do.

Pierre Gosselin has also patched the Alekseev graph with the AMO index (inverted). The correlation between the two is blindingly obvious.


Alekseev puts ice extent in the 1930s at a similar level to now. Other reconstructions tend to show the 1930s a bit higher relatively, but all show the same cyclical nature as Alekseev.

  1. nigel permalink
    August 25, 2018 6:21 pm


    With AMO leading by a few years.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      August 25, 2018 6:49 pm

      Yeah. It’s called thermal inertia.

      • dave permalink
        August 26, 2018 10:20 am

        Yes, Bitter@twisted:

        If the two phenomena are connected causally (which, of course, they might not be), then it would seem the causation must run from the ‘dog’ that is the AMO to the ‘tail’ that is the Arctic sea-ice extent in late summer.

        Therefore AMO should lead ice.

        It is a considerable stretch to say the detailed, and noisy, time series show ‘blindingly obvious’ correlation. Whether the chart actually shows a lead rather depends on how much you believe the bold, broken, blue straight lines, which have been drawn to smooth the ice data. Especially the handling of the ‘triple peak’ near 8 million.

        A similarly cavalier handling of the MAIN TURNING POINTS of the smoothed AMO does enable us to find hints of a five to ten year lead over the commencement of decadal trends in the ice.

    • August 26, 2018 5:28 am

      What correlation?

      If anything, in the 1920s-30s the AMO doesn’t lead, it lags.

      OK, if you stand at the other side of the room there are two bumps and two dips, but that is all there is.

      Explain how the long descent of ice extent from 1980 correlates to the AMO in that period. Should’ve gone to specsavers…

      PS: I’m a den**r too, but there is a limit.

      • August 26, 2018 10:47 am

        There is no simple correlation, as the climate system is far more complex then that. And it is not a case of the AMO influencing sea ice extent. It is more that they are both part of a wider system, and change together.

        There have been several papers exploring the relationship between AMO and sea ice, and all conclude that there is a strong correlation:


        Click to access miles_et_al_grl_2014.pdf

        Click to access Curry,%20Wyatt%20paper.pdf

      • August 26, 2018 12:06 pm


        Thank you for your response.

        I have no idea whether in practice there is or there is not a correlation – it is beyond my knowledge horizon. I am quite happy to bow to your superior knowledge. But that was not my point.

        My point was that the curves on Gosselin’s graph show as good as no correlation, certainly not to the naked eye, and that your(?) statement ‘The correlation between the two is blindingly obvious’ seems to me to be unjustified.

        In your response to me you say as much yourself ‘There is no simple correlation…’.

        I have the greatest respect for the magnificent job you do at this website, so it pains me to be so picky. But you have deservedly gained an authoritative reputation over the years and stuff gets copied and passed around from your site – best not to give the enemy an attack point.

  2. Tom Dowter permalink
    August 25, 2018 8:15 pm

    Melting ice is inevitable in a warming world just as refreezing is in a cooling one. The real issue is what causes the warming or cooling.

    One of the “fingerprints” of a greenhouse gas induced warming is that the outgoing long wave radiation should be on a falling trend. This includes any substantial feedback from water vapour which could be associated with any warming howsoever caused. Yet, over most of the world, the OLR is on a rising trend. Only in the Antarctic is this not the case.

    The Antarctic is also on a warming trend but the rate of increase is only some 22% of that occurring in the Arctic. It is tempting to assume that this is the maximum that can be attributed to GHGs. However that would be premature.

    Some greenies might be tempted to attribute the Arctic warming to changes in albedo caused by melting ice. This would certainly explain a rising OLR. However OLR is also rising in the tropics which are hardly noted for having large amounts of ice!

    The mystery remains.

  3. August 25, 2018 8:17 pm

    Good research sir. Thank you. Incidentally, i found that even starting in 1979 the data do not show that sea ice decline can be explained in terms of global warming. Please see

  4. Broadlands permalink
    August 25, 2018 8:57 pm

    The temperatures around the world in the 1930s are well documented in the Smithsonian’s World Weather Records. Few of them are significantly different from those now at the same locations. Guy Callendar (1938) made careful selections from these data to avoid the urban heat island effect to show rising temperatures up to that time were correlating with rising CO2. It is ironic that temperatures peaked in 1938 and began their decline for the next 38 years…while CO2 kept rising. Alarmists tend to forget that also.

    • nigel permalink
      August 25, 2018 9:47 pm


      The vigorous cyclone called Lane did NOT directly strike Hawaii and is now dying.

      Furthermore, the Atlantic is calm.

      So, to all true lovers of news of CAGW-induced hurricanes:-

      “Oh dear…how sad…never mind!”

  5. August 25, 2018 9:46 pm

    So Alekseev et al. show a cyclic variation in the Arctic with a periodicity of about 70 years. I’ve been saying this for years, albeit based on a different set of data.

  6. saparonia permalink
    August 25, 2018 10:43 pm

    Our whole Solar system is lit up at the poles at the moment. It’s temporary.

  7. Tom Dowter permalink
    August 25, 2018 11:26 pm

    The reason why NSIDC and DMI choose 1979 as their starting point is because they base their series on satellite images. With satellites, all you need to do is to apply a grid to the image, use a bit of spherical trigonometry and hey presto there is your extent, coverage or whatever.

    This has nothing to do with a wish to peddle alarming stories.

    • Broadlands permalink
      August 26, 2018 1:51 am

      Yes Tom… without that global coverage they might have to use actual measurements made at the ground…where most people live. Life up in the mid troposphere is a bit different? But what was it like pre-satellite? That’s where empirical observations over the years make a difference?

    • Pethefin permalink
      August 26, 2018 7:33 am

      Tom, you should know that you are peddling av alarmist version of the history:

    • August 26, 2018 8:42 am

      The first weather satellite dates back to 1960.

    • August 26, 2018 5:21 pm


      What you say is true if the data are offered as…here is some interesting data but it is based on satellite imaging from the last thirty years so while it **is** interesting it has no bearing on historic trends.

    • August 26, 2018 5:42 pm

      Yes, Tom, but it’s called a Sin of Omission and many eminent theologians in the past have considered that more serious than Sins of Commission!

      Maybe 2016 was the hottest year evah(!!). Maybe Arctic ice coverage in 2012 was “the lowest in record”. These things may be factual in a sense but they are not truthful. They may not be designed to mislead (it’s Sunday; I’m in Christian mode!) but Eric and Michael and Al and all the others know damn well that they will mislead and that suits them fine.

      It is not research; it is not science; it is socio-political advocacy and it is, in simple terms, wrong.

      • dave permalink
        August 26, 2018 7:16 pm

        Sins of Omission

        And of misdirection.

        In one of the Inspector Clouseau films he – played by Peter Sellers – enters a hotel where there is a large dog and asks the receptionist

        “Does your dog bite?”

        “No Monsieur!”

        Clouseau proceeds to attempt to pet the dog, who savages him.

        “I thought you said your dog does not bite!”

        “That is not my dog.”

  8. August 26, 2018 1:20 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 26, 2018 8:50 am

    NSIDC get a different very dubious picture all the way back to 1850 – a sort of reverse hockey stick – by combining reconstruction/obs/satellite. See page 3.

    Click to access G10010_SIBT1850.pdf

  10. Chris Lynch permalink
    August 27, 2018 9:50 am

    To be filed, along with recent Greenland ice accumulation, under “Inconvenient Truths for Alarmists” and hidden away from public view.

  11. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 28, 2018 9:56 am

    The graph, and a lot of other info available, show that the definition of climate as being a 30 year period used by the WMO and many others is badly flawed. The basic cycle that dominates and defines world climate systems seems to be 60 – 70 years,
    This fundamental error in definitions leads to many misleading statements and claims which appear correct at first sight that prove incorrect on detailed analysis.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: