by Steven Goddard,
We have been watching temperatures and webcam images closely at the NOAA North Pole drifting weather station this year. Except for a few days in early July, they have looked like the series of images below – snow, ice and clouds. No open leads and little or no surface meltwater.
June 15 (NOAA 2) more images follow…
June 22 (NOAA 2)
July 6 (NOAA 1) Small ponds covered with ice
July 24 (NOAA 2) Small ponds covered with ice
August 2 (NOAA 2) Small ponds covered with ice
This correlates closely with the record cold temperatures this summer north of 80N
It hasn’t always been like this. John Daly did an excellent writeup on this topic a few years back. During May of 1987, Navy subs arrived at the North Pole and found lots of open water.
In 1959, the USS Skate surfaced at the North Pole, and reported this :
“the Skate found open water both in the summer and following winter. We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick.”
By contrast, the New York Times published this misinformation in 2000 :
The thick ice that has for ages covered the Arctic Ocean at the pole has turned to water, recent visitors there reported yesterday. At least for the time being, an ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, something that has presumably never before been seen by humans and is more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting climate. The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.
This is in sharp contrast to the NYT prediction of an imminent ice free Arctic in 1969
Expert Says Arctic Ocean Will Soon Be an Open Sea”
Almost 200 years ago, the President of the Royal Society wrote this to the admiralty :
“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.
(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”
The image below from September 1, 1996 shows what summer ice typically looks like in the Arctic. Lots of open water between the ice. That is why places like NSIDC report extent as regions which have more than 15% ice concentration. The location below would be considered ice covered by NSIDC.
Sadly, UIUC seems to have “lost” their archive of ice concentration maps. It has been offline for two weeks now, so we can’t use that valuable resource for the time being. I wonder what’s up with that?
Two years ago, this news was famously reported :
(CNN) — The North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September as global warming melts away Arctic sea ice, according to scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is ‘does the North Pole melt out this summer?’ and it may well,” said the center’s senior research scientist, Mark Serreze. It’s a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen in autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said. The ice retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage, the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, opened briefly for the first time in recorded history. “What we’ve seen through the past few decades is the Arctic sea ice cover is becoming thinner and thinner as the system warms up,” Serreze said….Serreze said it’s “just another indicator of the disappearing Arctic sea ice cover” but that it is happening so soon is “just astounding to me.”
Later in the summer, Mark Serreze reported on WUWT
The north pole issue: Back in June, there was some coverage about the possibility of the North Pole being ice free by the end of this summer. This was based on recognition that the area around the north pole was covered by firstyear ice that tends to be rather thin. Thin ice is the most vulnerable to melting our in summer. I gave it a 50/50 chance. Looks like I’ll lose my own bet and Santa Claus will be safe for another year. There was indeed some coverage a some years back of an open north pole (and I was interviewed). This opening, however, was pretty clearly causes by unusual winds breaking up this ice, and not from melting out.
And yet, in 1959 the US Navy reported ice less than two feet thick at the North Pole. North Pole ice is probably 2-3 times as thick now as it was a half century ago. The Navy knows ice and ice thickness – that is why I trust Navy PIPS over academic models like PIOMAS.
Our global warming friends seem to believe that the Arctic data set began with satellites in 1978, and they appear to have difficulty interpreting even that time period in an objective fashion. Satellites (unfortunately) came on line right at the start a period of warming, after 30 years of cooling temperatures and dire forecasts of an impending ice age.
Video of rising temperatures during the satellite era.