By WUWT Regular Just The Facts
For those beating the “imminent Arctic ice death spiral” drum, 2013 has not been a good year. Per the graph above, Global Sea Ice Area has been stubbornly average in 2013, Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly had its smallest decline since 2006;
and Arctic Sea Ice Extent has remained within the 30 year (1981 – 2010) “normal” range for the entirety of 2013:
Conversely, Southern Sea Ice Area is within striking distance of a record high;
and has remained above average for most of the last two years;
while Antarctic Sea Ice Extent has remained above the “normal” range for much of the last two months:
However, these facts haven’t dissuaded desperate “imminent Arctic ice death spiral” advocates from trying to promote their narrative. Apparently their new angle is Gathering Walruses, i.e.:
“An estimated 10,000 walrus have come ashore on Alaska’s northwest coast, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported, as the sea ice the animals normally rely on to rest continues to melt at alarming rates.” NY Daily News
National Geographic and CBS News add flavor to this gripping tale:
“An estimated ten thousand Pacific walruses have huddled together on a remote island in the Chukchi Sea (map), an unusual phenomenon that’s due to a lack of sea ice, experts say.
The giant marine mammal is known to “haul out”—literally haul its body onto ice or land to rest or warm up—on various places along the Arctic coast.
But with the Arctic warming up and melting much of its floating ice, there are limited areas for the walruses to gather. This forces them to cluster on land in huge aggregations rarely before seen.” National Geographic
“As temperatures warm in summer, the edge of the sea ice recedes north. Females and their young ride the edge of the sea ice into the Chukchi Sea. However, in recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond continental shelf waters and into the Arctic Ocean, where the water is 10,000 feet deep or more — too deep for the walruses to dive to the bottom to feed.
Walruses in large numbers were first spotted on the U.S. side of the Chukchi Sea in 2007. They returned in 2009, and in 2011, scientists estimated 30,000 walruses had come ashore along one kilometer of beach near Point Lay.” CBS News
However, it seems that the “experts” National Geographic cite didn’t have an opportunity to visit the WUWT Northern Regional Sea Ice page. If they had they would have noticed that this year the anomaly in Chukchi Sea Ice Area was the smallest since 2001;
and Chukchi Sea Ice Extent is currently more than 300,000 sq km greater than last year:
It would seem that, rather than “an unusual phenomenon that’s due to a lack of sea ice”, the Walrus Gathering might be due to the increase in Arctic Sea Ice Extent.
For reference, there were also similar increases in Sea Ice Extent in the East Siberian Sea,
and Canadian Archipelago
Also interesting is that, in addition to the Chukchi Sea, a several Northern Polar regions saw their smallest Sea Ice Area anomalies in the last decade including the East Siberian Sea;
and the Sea of Okhotsk:
Additionally, the Canadian Archipelago;
and Laptev Sea;
both had their smallest anomalies since 2004, and Arctic Basin Sea Ice saw its smallest anomaly since 2005:
If this is what an “imminent Arctic ice death spiral” looks like we might need to invest in more icebreakers to help keep shipping lanes and drilling rigs ice free, and to make the Arctic more hospitable to those Gathering Walruses…