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Arctic Sea Ice Recovers Strongly In 2021

September 22, 2021

By Paul Homewood




For years we were assured that the summer sea ice in the Arctic would be long gone by now. After all, even that expert Al Gore pronounced in 2009 that it would have all melted away within four years, and many other Arctic experts concurred.

But when it comes to climate clowns, surely the gold medal must go to Peter Wadhams, who is amazingly still Professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University. His predictions included these beauties:

In 2012, he predicted that the Arctic would be ice-free by 2015/16
• In 2014, he thought it might last till 2020.
• In 2016, he confidently predicted the Arctic would be ice -free that summer (though curiously he now defined ‘ice-free’ as less than 1 million square kilometers!)

In reality, the ice has robustly recovered from its low extent in 2012, and this year has seen the highest minimum extent since 2014, and the fourth highest since 2007:




Moreover there is plenty of thick ice left in the central Arctic, in stark contrast to September 2009:



The message from the data is by now abundantly clear – Arctic sea ice is going nowhere. Since 2007, sea ice extent has actually been remarkably stable. I am often criticised for cherry picking 2007 as the start point. There was certainly a declining trend prior to that year, which began in the 1980s, and it is often claimed that shorter term trends are meaningless.

However, a lot of thick, multi year ice was lost in 2007/8, much swept out into the Atlantic by ocean currents. Basic physics tells us that the thinner ice which replaced it melts more easily in summer. Indeed, it was this very factor which prompted the forecasts of Wadhams and co. Like it or not, current sea ice extents are still largely determined by the events of 2007/8.

In short sea ice extents are not going to simply return to pre-2007 levels just like that. Indeed, it will probably not start to happen until the return of the AMO cold phase, which saw rapid refreezing in the 1970s.

  1. Ben Mietes permalink
    September 21, 2021 5:19 pm

    “In stark contrast to September 2009:”
    You See no 2009 but 2008.
    I think it must be “in stark contrast to September 2008”

  2. Andrew Harding permalink
    September 21, 2021 5:35 pm

    Climatology: The art of making predictions based upon hysteria and flawed ‘science’ by ‘Useful Idiots’!

  3. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 21, 2021 6:04 pm

    People who draw lines where they think they see trends and extrapolate to some huge or tiny number are so rarely right, it really is astonishing that anybody still does it.

    Arrogance and hubris.

  4. September 21, 2021 6:30 pm

    Recent and continuing low solar activity seems to have put a spanner in the alarmist works.

    • HotScot permalink
      September 21, 2021 7:11 pm

      Tat’s what the mad rush for NetZero is all about. Bozo and his clown compatriot Biden know the world’s cooling. NetZero is all about taking credit for it so they can continue the scam in an adjusted form.

      • T Walker permalink
        September 21, 2021 8:00 pm

        Yes Scotty – I have had similar thoughts for a while now. The constant barrage of Climate Change on news and in all programming is well funded propaganda designed to make lies the only truth.

        Either, as you say, to take some credit for a cooling – or in the hope of making changes before the cooling becomes obvious.

      • Mack permalink
        September 21, 2021 8:13 pm

        The only problem with that scenario for them is that the earth will be cooling as Co2 levels continue to rise, thus driving a stake through the heart of the belief that emissions drive temperature rises. And, if emissions don’t drive temperature rises even the ‘true believers’ might start to ask what’s the bloody point of plunging themselves into fuel poverty and economic ruin if their efforts make absolutely no difference to the climate as they have been led to believe. Of course, being cynical, as I am, our leaders will probably then ensure that the ‘Adjustocene’ tidies up any ’emission counting issues’ that may cause them embarrassment.

      • HotScot permalink
        September 21, 2021 8:51 pm


        Most people haven’t a clue what CO2 is doing. What governments will declare is that the reduction in harmful, HUMAN induced CO2 has fallen and therefore temperatures as well. That’s all that matters to the technically illiterate Guardian readers and BBC watchers.

        No one but people like us will bother to visit the Manua Loa website to see that it’s all just clap trap.

      • George Lawson permalink
        September 22, 2021 12:18 pm

        He has to continue the scam, more than he has ever done before otherwise he will be kicked out by his fanatical wife!

  5. HotScot permalink
    September 21, 2021 6:42 pm

    I don’t actually see expanding Arctic ice as a ‘recovery’. I see it as a bl00dy disaster. What is Arctic and Antarctic ice useful for other than in a G&T? Nothing, absolutely nothing other than sinking Ocean liners.

    The entire continent of Antartica and Greenland ice bound. Good productive agricultural land completely wasted, utterly barren.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      September 22, 2021 7:51 am

      Antarctica has got 2 degrees C COLDER since 1979.

  6. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 21, 2021 7:07 pm

    The 2007 prediction – 2013, but that might be “conservative”.

    • September 21, 2021 7:53 pm

      The ice has all gone. It went as predicted by the good professor in his ripping yarn “A Farewell to Ice”, available at charity shops for 10p. Dunno if this image from the swamp of Arctic News will appear:

  7. Brian Smith permalink
    September 21, 2021 7:44 pm

    You can’t believe a word – or figure – they say.

  8. T Walker permalink
    September 21, 2021 8:02 pm

    Have we heard of Prof. Wadhams at all recently????? or is he still stuck in the ice somewhere!!

  9. Coeur de Lion permalink
    September 21, 2021 9:27 pm

    The nsidc language betrays teeth-grinding resentment at the permanence of Arctic ice. Oh the volume is what counts – we are doomed!

  10. Jordan permalink
    September 21, 2021 9:47 pm

    This is how I see things. Feel free to challenge.
    DMI Arctic ice extent data shows ice melt during the first 3 months of the melt season is consistently 4-5 Msqkm (million square km). This period goes from Spring to mid summer solstice, where solar insolation steadily increases as the NPole tilts into the Sun.
    During the second 3 months, from summer solstice to Autumn minimum ice extent, sea ice melt is up to 6 Msqkm. The higher melt figure is probably due to thinner ice and more dark surfaces during this period.
    Over the two periods, solar insolation rises from circa zero to a peak, and then (possibly symmetrically) declines to circa zero. My assumption is that solar insolation is the primary reason for the ice melt (and the lack of the same for the re-freeze period), and the same process repeats each year to give a familiar and predictable pattern.
    DMI data suggests the second half of the ice melt season cannot melt more than 6 Msqkm.
    The very end is the crucial stage, if zero sea ice is to be reached. At this time, daily total solar insolation in the Arctic will be diminishing towards zero. Angle of incidence (to horizontal) will be declining towards zero too and the surface will be increasingly reflective. To get to zero sea ice in this period, the very last sea ice to melt will need to be particularly sensitive to solar insolation. This could be a question of location (how the last sea ice is distributed across the Arctic), although I don’t suppose it would be possible to reliably predict ice distribution in any model.
    On that reasoning, an ice free Arctic won’t happen unless sea ice extent is less than 6 Msqkm by the summer solstice, AND the final ice melt follows a particular pattern.
    As the first half of the season melts about 5 Msqkm, the Spring Arctic maximum sea ice extent will have to be under 11 Msqkm to have any chance of reaching 6 Msqm by the solstice and then onto zero by the Autumn.
    DMI data shows the Spring maximum is always above 14 Msqkm. That’s hardly surprising when the Arctic spends 6 months pointing into the freezing depths of space each year.
    The ice-free Arctic question can therefore be posed as: what could cause the re-freeze season fall at least 3 Msqkm below the normal 14 Msqkm Spring peak?

  11. Graeme No.3 permalink
    September 21, 2021 9:59 pm

    If there is criticism for starting the trend at 2008 why not offer to start at
    1958&59 when USN submarines surfaced at the (ice free) North Pole.
    Or 1962 when repeated (must have been a warm year)
    or 1986 (LA Times May 6)
    or 2021 when 3 Russian subs surfaced (although they had to break through the thin ice).

  12. September 21, 2021 10:18 pm

    Here’s how the Arctic ice extents compare on day 260 in 2021 and previous years:

    Arctic Ice Abounds at 2021 Minimum

  13. Tim Spence permalink
    September 22, 2021 9:43 am

    It’s usually a good idea to think of climate as cyclical but with the Arctic it’s another dynamic, it really is at the mercy of weather and ocean currents. It’s ephemeral, a satellite era record one day and just 6 weeks later in the normal zone.

  14. September 22, 2021 11:53 am

    We also are dealing with climatologists and meteorologists.

    Climatologists, such as Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy research the climate involving changes over long periods of time. In order to do this, an understanding of historical climates and changes are needed to draw conclusions and make predictions. Climatology is a long term business.

    Meteorologists, on the other hand are dealing with weather and thus the more immediate. They are making weather predictions based on recent information.

    The whole “climate change” issue has deliberately confused the two in order to make tomorrow’s rain look dire. They have conflated climate and weather for their agenda.

  15. Neil Hampshire permalink
    September 25, 2021 7:55 am

    The sea ice minimum since 2007 seems to have stabilized.
    Solar cycles are suggested above.
    Nobody seems to have mention the AMO which reached its maximum about 2000
    It will soon start to decline.
    Will we then start to see a rise in Artic sea ice?

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