Ice Reality Check: Arctic Ice Now 31.3% Over Last Year, plus Scientists Counter Latest Arctic 'Record' Warmth Claims as 'Pseudoscience'

Sea Ice Extent

10/17/2007 5,663,125 square kilometers

10/17/2008 7,436,406 square kilometers

Δice = 1,773,281 sqkm or 31.3% more than last year

Source data here: (Excel file)

UPDATE 10/22: The trend has entered the point where last year’s recovery started to get closer to previous years, and the Δice is now about 21%

You’ve probably heard by now how this new story circulating this week claims “record warmth” and that we are in the peak time of melting. Meanwhile, “back at the ranch”, sea ice extent continues a steady upward climb as shown above.

Scientists Counter Latest Arctic ‘Record’ Warmth Claims as ‘Pseudoscience’ – Comprehensive Arctic Data Round Up – October 17, 2008

Claim: Newspaper article claims Arctic Temps Peak in November – Claims Arctic offers ‘early warning signs’ – McClatchy Newspapers – October 16, 2008

Excerpt: Temperatures in the Arctic last fall hit an all-time high – more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Centigrade) above normal – and remain almost as high this year, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. “The year 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic,” said Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate expert at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H, and editor of the latest annual Arctic Report Card. “These are dynamic and dramatic times in the Arctic,” she said. “The outlook isn’t good.” Arctic temperatures naturally peak in October and November, after sea ice shrinks during the summer. […]  Scientists say these changes in the Arctic are early warning signs of what may be coming for the rest of the world’s climate.

Arctic Reality Check: Why isn’t the cooling Antarctic considered ‘an indicator of what might happen to the rest of the world?’

By Climate Scientist Dr. Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona is a member of both the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth’s Executive Committee and the Committee on Global Change.

Herman Excerpt: First of all, the Arctic sea ice is at its minimum in September, not October or November as the scientists in the McClatchy article states. As Arctic ice experts, they certainly should have known this. Another point is that the Arctic temperatures do not “naturally peak in October or November”. They peak in mid August generally. Also the article states that since the world’s climates are interconnected, what happens in the Arctic may be an indicator of what will happen in the rest of the world. How about what happens in the Antarctic then? Since its ice area has been increasing, is this also an indicator of what might happen in the rest of the world?

See the full article: Vast majority of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years and ice coverage has grown to record levels

Reality Check # 2: ‘This is pseudoscience’ – By German scientist Ernst-Georg Beck, a biologist Rebuts Arctic Reports – October 17, 2008

Excerpt: The annual report issued by researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other experts is the latest to paint a dire picture of the impact of climate change in the Arctic. […] The real averaged temperatures of the whole Arctic circle (70-90 N) can be found in the same data base used by NOAA (CRU, Phil Jones): The graph shows a strong Arctic warming during 1918 and 1960, stronger than today with a rise of about + 4°C up to 1938. Referencing only a rise since 1960 we got the illusion of a dramatic rise in modern times. Conclusion: The news item:” Arctic air temperatures climb to record levels” is selective science and wrong because the Arctic Ocean ( covering an area of more than 50% of the Arctic circle) has been left unconsidered. The NOAA study summarizes: „5°C record levels in temperature in autumn”, presents the averaged temperatures only on land stations and discusses melting sea ice as a cause! This is pseudoscience. In contrast the current Arctic warming mimics the 1920s-1940s event, as a recent study from the Ohio State University reveals. The scientists recognized from using weather station records, maps and photos from the past century that temperatures in Greenland had warmed in the 1920s at rates equivalent to the recent past.

See these articles:

Get the facts on Arctic ice conditions below:

Latest Arctic Info: Updated October 17, 2008

Update: Arctic sea ice now 28.7% higher than this date last year – still climbing – October 15, 2008

Excerpt: A difference of: 1,576,563 square kilometers, now in fairness, 2008 was a leap year, so to avoid that criticism, the value of 6,857,188 square kilometers can be used which is the 10/13/08 value, for a difference of 1,369,532 sq km. Still not too shabby at 24.9 %. The one day gain between 10/13/08 and 10/14/08 of 3.8% is also quite impressive. […]  Watch the red line as it progresses. So far we are back to above 2005 levels, and 28.7% (or 24.9% depending on how you want to look at it) ahead of last year at this time. That’s quite a jump, basically a 3x gain, since the minimum of 9% over 2007 set on September 16th. Read about that here. Go nature! There is no mention of this on the National Snow and Ice Data Center sea ice news webpage, which has been trumpeting every loss and low for the past two years…not a peep. You’d think this would be big news. Perhaps the embarrassment of not having an ice free north pole in 2008, which was sparked by press comments made by Dr. Mark Serreze there and speculation on their own website, has made them unresponsive in this case.

Alert: National Ice Center says satellites interpreting Arctic ice as open water! – By Andrew Revkin – NY Times Dot Earth Blog – September 6, 2008

Excerpt: And one of the groups focusing most closely on possible Arctic shipping lanes, the National Ice Center operated by the Navy and Commerce Department, says flatly that the satellites are misreading conditions in many spots and that there is too much ice in a critical spot along the Russian coast (highlighted in the smaller image above) to allow anything but ice-hardened ships to get through. In an e-mail message Wednesday, Sean R. Helfrich, a scientist at the ice center, said that ponds of meltwater pooling on sea ice could fool certain satellite-borne instruments into interpreting ice as open water, “suggesting areas that have substantial ice cover as being sea-ice free.” The highlighted area is probably still impassible ice, including large amounts of thick old floes, he said. I sent the note to an array of sea-ice experts, and many, including Mark Serreze at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, concurred.

National Weather Service: SEA ICE ADVISORY FOR ARCTIC WATERS AS WATER TEMPS DROP 8° IN 2008 – September 22, 2008



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Leon Brozyna

Good summary. Now all that’s left is to see how close the 2008 &2009 lines come to the 2002 & 2003 lines. Or perhaps they’ll even exceed them. That ought to chill the alarmists chatter a bit.

Mike McMillan

. . . ponds of meltwater pooling on sea ice could fool certain satellite-borne instruments into interpreting ice as open water
Once they’ve examined the instrument problems, perhaps we could get a recount for 2007.


As this election slides southward I turn my eyes northward for the ‘cold comfort’ of seeing the ice grow and grow.
The satisfaction of watching the AGW idiocy and its adherents revealed as the global sham that it is – will be one of my few consolations.
That – and watching the sun specks fizzle out.
Cold comfort, indeed.

Terry Ward

Now it is cold once more the galciers will again take up the CO2 that they have been giving up to the atmosphere all the time they have been ablating, melting or sublimating as they were retreating in the recent past.
I wonder how much and for how long? Could I have a research grant please?


Has anyone told CNN?


The olympics shut down substantial parts of Chinese industry for a long period. Impacts on the “refreeze”?

David Walton

Global Warming junk science like this will be ridiculed at large 20 years from now. I hope I live long enough to see a more than a few careers deservedly self destruct for foisting garbage like the sea ice scare on the public and for completely disgracing the scientific method and the scientific profession.

Alan S. Blue

The slope of the current (fortnight-plus) trend would seem to rank extremely high on the chart of two week ice gains – in satellite recorded history.


I assumed Ms Richter-Menge was some environut masquerading as a real scientist, but she is indeed a real scientist. I can only assume (hope?) she has been misquoted on temperatures peaking in oct/nov.


Nancy Pelosi just announced (I think today) that Climate Change would be a top priority. Looks like the full blown carbon cap and trade tax fraud is upon us.
I need to go stock up on firewood, but, I imagine I will need to have allowances to release that carbon dioxide. Perhaps anything cut and split and stacked in a licensed firewood storage area will be exempt, so i better get cutting. (I know. they’ll prevent that by not issuing the firewood storage area regulations until they’ve hired a bunch of EPA firewood storage area inspectors, and then there will be a 2 year wait. What are they going to say to that in Alaska?
This CO2 fraud is making me sicker every day. Someone mentioned having a Boston CO2 Party. I’ll 2nd that.

Mike Clark

How do you counter or correct these kinds of lies and misleading stories? This is terrible!


2007 2008
566.3125 7,354,844 10 16 29.8725%
578.9688 7,436,406 10 17 28.4423%
599.1719 -9999 10 18


My day-mare:
I was visiting my nephew in Alaska on a cold winter night (40 below),
not a creature was stirring as the fire crackled away,
keeping us warm,
when at the front door there arose such a clatter.
Nancy Pelosi stopped by to check on our carbon dioxide emissions.
She asked about carbon credits and lo and behold,
We hadn’t bought any,
So she put out our fire
as she left us to freeze.
She cackled away about Bears and about ice,
And her Messiah needs money to give to the masses,
As she climbed in her jet to continue her rounds.
She blew off our roof,
Then the polar bears came.


I had a question about the chart if someone feels like speculating. You can see a small upward blip right about June 1 in at least 3 of the years that are plotted. Doesn’t seem like there is any weather reason this should happen, seems more like a data collection error, but yet it happened several times. Anyone want to explain that one?


“Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate expert ”
Not meant to be ad hom, I fail to see why a civil engineer who performs measurements and tests on ice should be acknowledged as a climate expert.


Since NASA claimed 2007 to be the hottest year on record using their fudged data and claiming it was hot due to the artic being hot despite record cold in many places elsewhere in the world, will 2008 GISS data therefore show 2008 to be one of the coldest years on record??? Hmmm

Vincent Guerrini Jr

why is cryosphere today so different?
shows nearly record low global ice like 2007. NH = -2 mil, SH = 0 km2

Leon Brozyna

@Patrick (13:30:30)
That’s a good question; I’ve always assumed, since it appears in such a consistent manner, that it may have something to do with adjustments to the satellite.
I’ve also noticed that there are consistent periods that lack data every year, mostly during the month of November. I’ll take the IARC-JAXA explanation at face value; “we couldn’t conduct the observation during the period for the reason that the satellite went into constrained operation mode or stand-by mode to avoid harmful effects by meteor showers and solar flares.” I won’t be surprised to see more blank periods this November as well.


Hi Anthony,
I just came across a post over at Accu-Weather that, quite frankly, has me stumped. Since you have a way of explaining things to the layperson, I was wondering if you could take a look at it and maybe apply your decoder ring for the rest of us. 🙂 Thanks.
REPLY: I’m full up today but maybe somebody else can chime in – Anthony

Funny how the so-called experts can’t seem to explain the data that CONTRADICTS their ‘agenda’….Glenn, I’m with you…what makes that person an ‘expert’…oh, I know…it is their lock-step following of the ‘Gore-on’ crowd.


Sir Anthony Watts (The Rev.)
I read this wonderful site every day.
Really!!! I lost something.
I have not seen any indication that the coverage of ice in the Arctic, could increase (suddenly) so impressive (31.3%). In a few days (hours).
Certainly there is a transistor hiding somewhere.


I am embarassed that this “climate expert” is from my state of NH.
Any bold predictions for sea ice extent in 2009? I say there will be more sea ice compared to 2008.
Sound the alarm, here comes the flood!
I never thought lunacy would surpass insanity so quickly.

J.K. and Anthony…I checked it out and found a very ‘interesting’ paragraph tucked in at the end.
“Carbon dioxide is difficult to measure and track,” said Moustafa Chahine from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “No place on Earth is immune from its influence. It will take many independent measurements, including AIRS, to coax this culprit out of hiding and track its progress from creation to storage.”
Moustafa calls it a ‘culprit’…interesting choice of words. This culprit is something we breathe OUT. Guess he prefers we all hold our breath? Dr. Chahine received his post hole digger (Phd) at UC-Berkeley in 1960. Sheeez, that was 48 years ago! He is also studying climate ‘change’ on other planets. Wonder how they will blame that on humans….since they don’t have any! 🙂

Alan S. Blue

Leon Brozyna,
“..stand-by mode to avoid harmful effects by meteor showers and solar flares”
Well. I wouldn’t pin hopes on the solar flares! Even an immediate start to cycle 24 wouldn’t normally be all that interesting in November.

Burch Seymour

Anthony.. I flew from Germany to Chicago yesterday and our flight took us over the southern tip of Greenland. I got some pretty good photos from the plane if you happen to have any interest in them. Lots of snow and ice! Drop me an email if you do, and I’ll be happy to share them with you. I assume you can get my email address from this comment. If not, that’s OK too.
The cool part is how clear the air was. It’s hard to believe that the plane was 36,000 feet up. It felt like we were really close to the ground when I snapped these.

Steven H.

Hello all- I have been a reader of this interesting blog for some time. Having followed the link to a report on the Ohio study of Greenland in the 1920s to 1940s (highly recommended), I find myself flabbergasted and compelled to comment. Despite the apparent fact having been revealed that, far from being “unprecedented” as has generally been trumpeted, the Greenland melt was precedented indeed, and not too long ago, the only comment on this data by the researchers appears to be even shriller calls of alarm! This is completely astounding, no? Am I missing something. There is not so much an elephant, as a polar bear in the room which they seem to be ignoring. Why on earth not a whisper of comment regarding the fact that the most striking feature of this study is the very real precedence it shows for events which, post 1940, didn’t turn out alarming, at all!


Just wondering if anyone else has seen this site:
Apparently Gore,Hansen and Suzuki are saying they exaggerated.
I am glad you explained the “high temperatures in the Arctic”. I had seen articles about it, but I was sure they were wrong. Just a gut feeling.

Patrick Henry

Within nine months of Obama’s inauguration, he will be taking credit for the Arctic ice recovery and global cooling.

Who is going to break it to Al Gore? The modern maxima has ended, about 70 years long, just as the hoaxers were ramping it up.
We see the product of government schools everywhere we look these days.

Patrick Henry

I flew over southern Greenland in mid-August on a very clear day. What struck me was how little melt there was this year even along the low elevation southwest margins of the ice sheet. Only a few small meltwater ponds were visible. We haven’t seen NASA’s usual Greenland melt map this year, and I’m guessing that is because it hasn’t followed the trend they were claiming over the last two years.


Pretty amazing.
I wonder how many economic growth destroying measures will be put in place as the temperatures continue to drop and the ice spreads.

Glenn (13:33:55) :

“Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate expert ”
Not meant to be ad hom, I fail to see why a civil engineer who performs measurements and tests on ice should be acknowledged as a climate expert.

CRREL is a pretty neat place. I jumped at the chance to go along as a chaperone with my daughter’s high school chemistry class.
They do a lot of civil engineering work there with concretes that cure in subfreezing conditions, adding styrafoam beads to make building foundations with better insulating properties, etc. It would be a good place for a civil engineer to morph into an arctic climate scientist.
They also develop clothing, study ice cores, labs that are essentially walk in freezers, and study arctic biology and chemistry.
However, it might be worthwhile to hang on to that story on the off chance that some other mainstream media story dismisses some skeptic because she’s not a certified (i.e. degreed), professional (i.e. makes her living from the trade) scientist.
I didn’t meet Richter-Menge on the field trip, but I might just Email her about the recent ice growth.


CookevilleWeatherGuy, don’tcha know it’s because the eviiile Rovian plants (lizardians in human suits) on those planets?
Patrick Henry, don’t you remember that at The Messiah’s acceptance in June, he told us that THAT was the point when history would point to that as the time that the oceans would receed, and the temperatures would began to fall?
/political, I know, but seemed proper response to the comments.


BTW, I got some awesome glacier pictures from Alaska last month, both up close, and flying low over them. Saw some awesome calving too!

Steven Goddard

One thing i have learned from my conversations with Dr. Meier at NSIDC is that a large volume of Arctic ice melted during the winter of 2007-2008. There was a strong trans-polar drift through the winter, which pushed a lot of multi-year ice out into the warm waters of the North Atlantic. As a result, there was a lot of thin ice going in to the melt season this summer.
This summer, there has been very little drift and the ice is freezing earlier. It is entirely possible that the extent of multi-year ice going into the 2009 melt season will be close to double what it was in 2008. This will depend on the wind, as much as the temperature.
NSIDC’s early predictions of a possible “ice free pole” were based largely on the age of the ice, which may be less of a concern next summer. It will be interesting to watch NSIDC’s press releases over the next year.

Retired Engineer

If the slope of the ice change continues, there will be a whole lotta ice up there. Looks steeper than any previous year. Another month of this and the poor polar bears will have to stert eating Climate Scientists as they won’t be able to get to any fish.

Pat Gris

My whole family travels to the arctic every November to swim and lay out on the beach. It is a family tradition that began back when George Bush knocked the normal climate out of whack and instituted Global Warming by executive order.
I dread the day that Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama put things back the way they should be. Arctic rates in November are considered out of season! We always get good deals on travel and rooms. Lately we have to haul away the drowned Polar Bears that keep washing up on the beach. But everytime we go back to check, some Eskimo has taken the carcass for its hide. As long as everything is used.
Oh well. We get one more November in paradise before the do-gooders fix things back. Then we’ll have to find another good vacation deal.


I had heard that satellites were misreading melt-water-atop-ice as open-water, but couldn’t confirm it. I was interested to see you mention it. Unfortunately the link to dot-earth seems to bring me to an erased item. Is the problem in my computer, or did the NY Times decide the discussion needed to be “edited?”
I think this topic is worthy of its own post, at this site, (if you have the time.)
I was suspicious of the “open water” last summer, while following the postings of two different yachtsmen who were squeaking through the Northwest Passage. The were sweating about floes of ice that didn’t seem to show on the satellite.
I guess it just goes to show you that things look different when you go out in a sailboat and have a look for yourself.
I wonder if the captain of the Titanic had just finished reading a NY Times article about ice-free waters, when he hit the iceberg.

John D.

Interesting how so many put so much weight on anecdotes and observations made over such a short time period. Is this not just another example of people confusing weather with climate?
Just wondering;
John D.

I’ve only been visiting for a few months and during that time I have read a lot here about the Arctic (which, if my memory is correct, is the bit at the top of the world). Presumably the Arctic has featured because the last few months have been Arctic summer.
Can I look forward to a series of scare stories about the Antarctic over the next six months or so?
I can hardly wait. Agog I am, veritably agog.


Would it no be better to do the plots starting at the spring or autumn Equinox? This way you get an idea whether the system is more responsive to solar input or to heat output. It looks clear to me that the change in area above the June Solstice is much grater than the area below.


Leon Brozyna,
“..stand-by mode to avoid harmful effects by meteor showers and solar flares”
Isn’t the Leonids Meteor shower in mid November?


I would like to first thank George Orwell. I must admit that even though he was in a time machine some how he got the date 1984 fixed in his head and it was off by 24 years. Dr. Meier from the ministry and Dr. Menge would have me believe according to orthodoxy without even a doubt. But Anthony keeps publishing confusing data, 30%. I wonder if Dr. Hansen had a chance to infill the proxy data or improve the math. Just random thoughts, where is my time machine? I know it is not all played out but not even a hint, where was George when they needed him.


The link to the blog has a trailing space which makes it fail.


John D. (18:16:43) :
“Interesting how so many put so much weight on anecdotes and observations made over such a short time period. Is this not just another example of people confusing weather with climate?”
I think we’re just having fun, because that’s what the other side was doing for so long when things were “going their way”. It’s the only language “they” know and at this point we’re near a political tipping point with economic disaster on the other side. If we can’t have fun…?

Leon Brozyna

@TerryS (18:34:22) :
Leon Brozyna,
“..stand-by mode to avoid harmful effects by meteor showers and solar flares”
Isn’t the Leonids Meteor shower in mid November?

As a matter of fact, it is. It’ll happen mid-November, plus or minus a week. So we can expect to see a break in that fast moving red line some time next month.

Ted Annonson

It says here that polar bears may be in worse trouble with too much ice.

Ted Annonson