Arctic sea ice melt has turned the corner

I almost called this yesterday, but I needed more data to be sure. All of the data I’ve looked at agrees, Arctic sea ice is now on the upswing, and in a big way.

Here is the plot from NSIDC:


This graph from Wipneus shows the abruptness of the change:


And the physics of ice is also a dead giveaway. Here, the Arctic temperature shows a dramatic upswing.


This is why: when water freezes it releases its specific latent heat.

The specific latent heat is the amount of energy required to convert 1 kg (or 1 lb) of a substance from solid to liquid (or vice-versa) without a change in the temperature of the surroundings — all absorbed energy goes into the phase change — is known as the specific latent heat of fusion.


For water, that’s about 334 KiloJoules of energy per kilogram.

Added: Note that in the record low year 2012, the date of the turning point was September 16th, this year was just a little bit earlier, but didn’t come close to a record, nor did it come close to predictions made for an ice free Arctic or less than 1 million square kilometers.

The value this year looks to be about 4.139 million square kilometers according to NSIDC data on September 11th of 2016.



186 thoughts on “Arctic sea ice melt has turned the corner

      • Toby,
        Polar bears eat lots of thing on land during the summer (grass, berries, kelp, garbage, bird eggs) but they are primarily living off their stored fat.
        The fat comes from eating lots of baby seals in the spring. A few eggs may help them retain a pound or two but not much more than that (except for the exceptional few who specialize on raiding bird rookeries).
        So far, declining ice has not impacted the spring feeding period and sea ice predictions suggest that will not change.
        Hence, the focus of doom on summer ice changes.

    • “””””……
      This is why: when water freezes it releases its specific latent heat. …..”””””
      Nope !
      ……. When water releases its specific latent heat, it freezes. ……
      The latent “heat” (noun) still in the water, is what is keeping it in the liquid phase. The molecules are moving too fast to become a solid.
      So the Temperature (of water) does not go up when water freezes.
      Something else might cause the Temperature of some thermometer somewhere to go up, but it has nothing to do with the ocean freezing.

      • george e. smith said…..Something else might cause the Temperature….. to go up, but it has nothing to do with the ocean freezing.//////Some latent energy could be releasing to the atmosphere, but generally, abrupt leaps of High Arctic temperatures in late summer, fall, winter & early spring are caused by excess AGW energy fronts from the south, thrusting into the High Arctic. That why High Arctic average temps during fall, winter & early spring have been leaping up since 1958 & before(?).

  1. I don’t think the “Slayer” comment works. The ice is freezing at 0 deg C (or maybe slightly lower due to the unknown salinity of the ice) and releasing heat to a COLDER atmosphere by a degree or two.
    [it was a joke, but I forget that these people are humorless, so I’ve removed it. – Anthony]

  2. Is the data already smoothed or is there a chance, however slight, that there might be a late down-tick?

  3. Admittedly, I had noticed over the years the abrupt up and downs in the Arctic air temperature but had not thought about the cause. Storms, winds, open water, and “specific latent heat of fusion.”
    You just answered the question.
    Thanks very much.

    • I was eyeing it Monday as well, but experience has told me to wait, because compaction is a tricky thing, and sometimes reverses with the vagaries of wind and weather a couple of days later. I had to be sure before calling it because there’s a whole flock of irrational haters that follow WUWT looking for just such an opportunity to find some claim to beat me over the head with. It’s what gives them joy in life, since they have little else.

      • Anthony, I applaud and appreciate your efforts with WUWT, and providing this venue for all of us to express conflicting views. You deserve positive feedback. While I too, have made contrarian comments, I am truly trying to bend the arc of our intellectual pursuits towards the truth. And you have provided me the opportunity to do so.

      • Thomas
        Plus a lot.
        I try, in my (very) small way, too.
        Auto – a very appreciative reader/submitter of comment.
        Note – the oceans are huge, and deserve appropriate understanding . . . . . .

      • Anthony,
        When the ice melt turns the corner, it is like the 4th of July all over again.
        We look forward to your formal announcement each year.
        And we like tweaking those arctic Kayakers anyway; it’s nearly as much fun as cow tipping.

      • “experience has told me to wait”
        yes I remember in 2007 you were predicting a recovering of Arctic sea ice. According to you prediction, now it should be back to the 80s…
        It was so stupid, isn’t it ?

      • toncul troll wrote, “yes I remember in 2007 you were predicting a recovering of Arctic sea ice. According to you prediction, now it should be back to the 80s… It was so stupid, isn’t it ?”
        Actually, seven of the eight subsequent years have had higher Arctic sea ice September minima than 2007’s. So who do you think is stupid?

    • Yeah, well I called it on Sunday, as per:
      ” See – owe to Rich
      September 11, 2016 at 1:02 am
      Yep, 10 hours before ptolemy2 I wrote “JAXA data at show two days of increases by 7000 from the 7th to 9th of September. It is possible that minimum, at 4.017M, has been achieved on the 7th, slightly earlier than average (which I’ve seen quoted as being the 11th).”
      And today, JAXA records a 45000 sq. km increase for the 10th, which will take some reversing. I’m calling it.”
      which was at
      However, I can understand Anthony being a little more conservative, given what he says about the consequences in his case of being wrong.

      • It is possible that minimum, at 4.017M, has been achieved on the 7th, slightly earlier than average (which I’ve seen quoted as being the 11th).”

        So you did not call it, you hedged your bets. So if you want to play “I said it first”, you didn’t. Saying “I may call you” does not count.
        Anthony has been silent until he felt he could make a clear statement.

      • Whoa Greg, I think you’ve mis-parsed my quotes, or deliberately igonred my:
        “And today, JAXA records a 45000 sq. km increase for the 10th, which will take some reversing. I’m calling it.”
        That was written on the 11th, at the comment I referenced with a URL to make it easy for you to find, and the bit you quoted was written on the 10th. So, I didn’t call it on the 10th, but I did on the 11th.
        Not that it really matters a hill of beans…

      • Well I think that Anthony may have been late in calling when the arctic sea ice reached its annual average level for 2016 also, but it’s pretty darn hard to call the average before half the data is in the bag.

  4. nor did it come close to predictions made for an ice free Arctic or less than 1 million square kilometers.
    This cries out for a link to a page with at least some of those predictions. There must be such a page somewhere and it deserves to be in the Climate Fail menu.

    • I guess you mean this (9/17/2012) sort of stuff:
      Arctic waters will be completely ice free within four years, according to leading Arctic ice expert Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University.
      This “final collapse” of Arctic sea ice in summer months could occur by 2015, solidifying a “global disaster,” which has arrived faster than previous predictions suggested.

    • 2007 Nobel prize laureate Al Gore predicts North Polar ice cap falling off a cliff seven years from now by 2014 based on scientific studies.
      Al Gore Nobel lecture.
      2007 Prof. Wieslaw Maslowski from Dept. Oceanography of the US Navy predicts an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer by 2013, and says that prediction is conservative.
      Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’
      2007 NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally predicts that the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012.
      Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?
      2010 Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2030.
      Arctic ice could be gone by 2030
      2012 Prof. Wieslaw Maslowski from Dept. Oceanography of the US Navy predicts a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer by 2016 ± 3 years.
      US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016.
      Scientific article: The Future of Arctic Sea Ice
      2012 Prof. Peter Wadhams, head of the polar ocean physics group at the University of Cambridge, predicts a collapse of the Arctic ice sheet by 2015-2016.
      Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
      Peter Wadhams impressive Arctic scientific CV
      You can see the pattern that when the time arrives they just move the prediction a little farther, while not recognizing the failure.

      • Javier
        This sounds like the predictions on the recovery of the ozone hole – sometime about 2050 to 2060. All (most) of the actors making the predictions will have passed on by then, so what does it matter. What they are really saying is I dont have a clue. In the mean time we get meaningless reports.

      • Macha
        The ozone hole responds to certain northern hemisphere conditions, and like those NH conditions it is cyclical. It holds many secrets. Mother nature is a master (mistress) of disguise, however she is not complicated, it is humans that complicate the signals.

    • “nor did it come close to predictions made for an ice free Arctic or less than 1 million square kilometers.
      This cries out for a link to a page with at least some of those predictions. There must be such a page somewhere and it deserves to be in the Climate Fail menu.”
      Ice free predictions?
      Typical skeptic cherry pick.
      Here are some predictions×569.png
      OR look at the Official consensus prediction. Its entirely different than the random shit you will read in the Press. You wont find science in the Press. Period.
      Dont get your summary of the science from the Press or from INDIVIDUAL scientists who talk to the press.
      IF you are not an ice expert, and you want to minimize the stupid things you could say,
      Then you best bet is just to read Ar5.
      1. the Metric of interest is 5 CONSECUTIVE years of seasonal ice falling below 1m sqkm
      2. There is a good chance of that before 2050.

      • Mosher
        There appears to be no ice experts, and Ar5 does not provide any clarity. When someone can stipulate with a high degree of certainty what actually controls the polar sea ice volumes and reason for area movements, we will see the emergence of an “expert”. An annual signature of repeatable predictability.
        Personally I make up my own mind after looking at ALL the available evidence.
        From my observations there is a unique signal / link between the Antarctic and Arctic activity. I will write it down when time permits.

      • Yawn,
        according to you,1 million square kilometers can be the same as ZERO.Here you post a chart with a large range listed,showing that they have a long way to go to be making credibly precise prediction. You call it a, he he he…. he,consensus prediction. Should I have to explain why this is a truly dumb statement?
        Last of all, IF Wadhams,Beckwith,Box,Gore,Serrezze and others, would stop making ludicrous statements and predictions ,TO the media,the media would have little to work with.
        Please take your silly stuff elsewhere.

      • “There is a good chance of that before 2050.”
        So how do you quantify “a good chance”? Is that consistent with “there’s a good chance it won’t”?
        If you are going to be that fluffy you can say just about anything. And when extrapolating 35y hence, based on 35y of data, it’s probalby best to stay nice and fluffy.
        zero = 10^6 ? Whooosh , was that the sound of passing goalposts again?
        It seems most alarmists are now accepting that the arctic will not be ice free now, so have to redefine what that means in order to give a little chance of being right far enough into the future that everyone will have forgotten about all this climate crap by then anyway.

      • Al Gore may be an idiot but he’s the CAGWers’ idiot. Gore made the stupid prediction and he is a major spokesman for the CAGW cause, whether you like it or not. People like him are serially wrong, and they do great damage to the CAGW cause.
        I’ve read enough of what you’ve written to know that you don’t subscribe to the catastrophism, and that you enjoy giving unprepared skeptics a hard time. I have no problem at all with that since it sharpens the issues. Also, no one should be able to get away with cherry-picking and unsupported comments.
        Too many here and elsewhere regard Steve Mosher as the enemy. He should be engaged – not dismissed and dissed.

      • “IF you are not an ice expert, and you want to minimize the stupid things you could say,
        Then you best bet is just to read Ar5.”
        How condescending of you. An ad hominem. Whodathunkit?
        “There is a good chance of that before 2050” means what, exactly, in scientific terms? After all, turnabout is fair play! I would love definitive language on “good chance”.

      • 1. the Metric of interest is 5 CONSECUTIVE years of seasonal ice falling below 1m sqkm
        2. There is a good chance of that before 2050.

        Based on what?
        Even IPCC doesn’t see that before 2080, unless you are a big fan of the bonkers RCP 8.5
        I think you are just making that up and pulling probabilities from your hat.

      • Mosh – perhaps you would be so kind as to provide the links to where you said the same to the Alarmists who embraced these individual scientists predictions? (what a lovely sound those crickets make). You’ve had tens of thousands of opportunities to do so… yet you only post that here. Perhaps being consistent in your response would minimize the stupid things you could say.

    • And just for comparison, the size of Texas is 700000 Km² (0.7 million)
      Since the 2012 prediction failed, now they are changing the popular definition of “ice free arctic”

  5. Bring on the increased reflectivity with those ocean cooling cycles, or should I say fossil solar effects that no one has figured out.

  6. There’s also Al Gore, who said in 2009 that some climate models were predicting that there was a 75% chance that ALL the Arctic ice would be gone, not just momentarily, at the annual minimum, but for MONTHs (plural) at a time, during the summers, by 2014, 2015 or 2016. Here are his exact words:
    “Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”
    Hear him say it here:

    • Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.

      In the words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

      Giles: Something’s coming, something, something, something is – is gonna happen here. Soon!
      Buffy: Gee, can you vague that up for me?

    • Don’t mean to quibble, but is what he said literally true?: i.e. that some models said there was a 75% chance of an ice-free arctic within 5-7 years? If so, then the models are at fault, right?

      • By 2009 Gore could not have known that the predictive failures of many climate models were so extreme that to continue to make those claims was an outright fabrication. There’s no rational excuse for his statements.

    • Only idiots get their science from Gore, or think that proving Gore wrong is a meaningful excercise.
      Dont get your science via hearsay and check your calendar

      • Steven,
        Thanks for your honesty concerning Gore’s science.
        The movement would have more credibility if more scientists would have the integrity of Gore rather than being afraid to expose his wild claims.

      • Gore got his Arctic ice prediction from Prof. Wieslaw Maslowski from Dept. Oceanography of the US Navy.
        So we could say that only idiots get their Arctic sea ice predictions from expert cryologists. Projecting an AMO graph is probably much more accurate.

      • “Only idiots get their science from Gore”
        “The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”

    • “during some of the summer months”
      Note the use of the plural form “months”. Not ONE day per year but MONTHS.

      • I was thinking it’s his second chakra playing up again. But it might just be his habit of turning off the aircon and opening the windows in summer when he speaks.

  7. Another reason for the spike in temperatures may be a plume of Atlantic air heading north, as a sort of feeder-band for yet another arctic storm. Likely not a gale this time, but still the persistence of low pressure over the Pole seems new and interesting to me.
    As the “Death Spiral” was suppose to be an accelerating ice-loss, can we declare the “Death Sporal dead yet?

  8. I don’t think the release of latent heat (heat of crystallization) can actually cause temperature to spike upward. Rather, as temperature falls, the rate of water freezing into ice increases, which increases the release of latent heat, which reduces the rate of temperature decline. Conversely, if temperature spikes upward, it reduces the rate at which water freezes into ice, reducing that heat source, and thus moderating the temperature spike.

      • I was trying to get my head around that too. Remember that General Science experiment you probably did in school? Heat mothballs (Naphthalene) in a test tube to about 100 deg C. Remove heat, and plot temperature as it cools down. You will get rapid cooling to down to 80 deg where it will sit for the rest of the class period.
        It doesn’t go back up. As I write this I’m realizing that this is a lot like the back radiation from CO2 that doesn’t warm anything, but does impede the rate of cooling.

      • The experiment of refreezing of molten mothballs shows how latent heat of fusion causes a pause of a temperature drop when the heat source used for the melting is removed.
        As for increased CO2 reducing cooling: The analogy is different here, because the heat source (the sun) is not removed. When a cooling mechanism has a decrease of its cooling ability while a source of heat flux (the sun) is unchanged, then the temperature of the object in question increases.

    • Sea ice acts as an insulator between the sea and the atmosphere. As heat moves from the sea to the air, sea ice warms the sea and cools the air. But the amount of latent heat released by all those million square kilometers of ice is not negligible.
      Polar sea ice is like an insurance against excessive planetary cooling. It sets a limit to the amount of heat that the planet polar oceans can lose. It is therefore another negative feedback that works against cooling through more ice and against warming through less ice.

      • The temperature profiles record the transport in of heat from lower latitudes that along with the wind are responsible for ice reduction. It appears that the removal of latent heat is transported by air also. Working with refrigeration gives a good practical understanding of heat removal during freezing applications

    • Changing state is generally an isothermal process. It resists temperature change. A convective parcel rising to the lower condensation level and cooling in the process, then finds itself in a near isothermal layer up to the cloudtop, as the latent heat resists and counters the cooling. The energy is still released but resists the cooling process without it. If it did warm when water became ice then the water wouldn’t condense or freeze.
      If you placed a large body of liquid water in your freezer, would the temperature rise suddenly as the water changed state? Or would the compressor run relentlessly for some time as the water changed state isothermally until all the water was ice?
      Home experiment there.

    • It can raise the air temperature up to the freezing point of water. If it could go any higher, then the freezing process would have to stop and melting begin.

  9. Joe Romm needs a huge volcanic eruption soon or in just 4 years more he will lose the bet that I accepted him back in 2009 or 2008 regarding ice disappearing by 2020. A huge volcanic eruption would save him (he said it would be gone *unless* this happened).

  10. This

    seems to be the source of acute Danish meteorological worries. But the Danes are pretty bad in seeing the context.
    85% of Greenland is covered with ice, that comes down to roughly 1.850.000 km². The area that has just decided to separate is <100 km² in size.
    It makes little difference if from a 18.5 litre bucket of water 1 cm^3 is missing. I wouldn't even be able to notice it. But the Danes are kicking up a fuss about it, without realizing -as Anthony wrote here- that the arctic ice is growing again and, more important, this incriminated small portion of ice hasn't melted away. Chances are, as reported, that this won't happen.

    • Seems that such ice shelf can only get to a certain size before detaching. Is it detaching because it has pushed so far out (it glacier is actually “growing”) or for some other reason?

      • “Because of the warming…” according to Jason Box. The Danish Meteorological Institute stated that the average temperature had been 2.5° C higher than during the past 35 years. Hmmm…

      • Previously ‘fast’ ice is detaching all along the NE coast of Greenland this season.
        It is warming that’s doing it…

      • So, this ice “peninsula” was static for “X” years, not growing, not shrinking, and this year it separates because of recent warming? I don’t know….
        I am more inclined to believe it was Eldir & the spirit of Fimafing – if you look really close at the photo you can see their faces in the water on each side of the peninsula. Eldir is on the right, with the big nose and the pointy hat; Fim’s white nose is just above the water (Since his death there hasn’t been a lot of substance to him).
        Prayer to Aegir (and mebbe eben moreso Ran), and a good night of drinking, might just keep the ice from separating.

      • Griff
        September 15, 2016 at 1:01 am
        Wrong again. At least you’re consistent.
        The Greenland Ice Sheet is gaining mass, hence its glaciers run faster and calve more.

      • Gabro wrote, “The Greenland Ice Sheet is gaining mass…”
        I doubt that. All the studies I’ve seen indicate that Greenland is losing net ice mass. Not rapidly, but not zero, either. It’s apparently gaining mass in the middle, but losing mass faster at the edges.
        Based on the sea-level record, there’s been a slow, steady, ongoing loss of grounded ice in the world for at least eighty years, probably longer. Much of it is thought to be coming from Greenland.
        (Note the obvious lack of correlation with CO2 levels.)
        Antarctica might be gaining mass, but not much. Ice accumulation and loss are very, very close to being in balance there.
        Based on GRACE, Shepherd 2012 concluded that Antarctica ice mass change since 1992 has averaged – 71 +/- 83 Gt/yr, which means they couldn’t tell whether it’s actually gaining or losing ice mass.
        Based on ICESat, Zwally 2012 found that Antarctica is gaining ice mass: +27 to +59 Gt/yr (averaged over five years), or +70 to +170 Gt/yr (averaged over 19 years).
        Based on CryoSat, McMillan (2014) found Antarctica is losing 79 to 241 Gt/yr of ice, though that’s based on only 3 years of data.
        More recently, this 2015 NASA study reported that Antarctica is gaining 82 Gt of ice per year:

      • Calving more/faster because of more ice accumulation in the interior doesn’t necessarily mean more or less total ice mass today (instataneus measure). The two are obviously related, but there is a lag time associated with the interior accumulation and the calving at the shelf.
        Griff, keying in on one variable and ignoring all others certainly does eliminate annoying distractions … the guy that first developed and used blinders on his horse realized this a long long time ago.

  11. But there is still a lot of anomalous warm water around the North Pole:,89.20,466/loc=-147.688,45.864
    The seas around the Pole have the highest decadal UAH trend 60N-90N: 0.26 vs. 0.12 global. And vs. global ocean 0.10. Source: //
    The decadal trend for the Antarctic region 60S-90S is the reverse from the North: cooling down -0.05.
    What is happening? It doesn’t look very ‘global’, but more ‘regional’.

    • The +AMO is probably the largest single factor in the loss of Arctic ice which makes is regional. In addition, more melting of Arctic ice could lead to more upwelling of cold water around Antarctica through the MOC. This has been hypothesized as the reason for the bipolar nature of the ice.

    • While is a masterpiece, and to me, groundbreaking global simulation; many of the things simulated are not reality! Not yet, at least.
      On the page, down at the bottom left, click on the ‘About’ page! This little notice is there:

      “ocean surface temperatures and anomaly from daily average (1981-2011) updated daily”

      A little further down the ‘about’ page and one finds this:

      “Sea Surface Temperature RTGSST (Real Time Global Sea Surface Temperature)
      MMAB / EMC / NCEP / NWS / NOAA

      With a link that takes us to:

      “The RTG analyses are aimed at weather prediction and modeling, particularly at high resolution and short range.”

      Prediction and modeling, not observations, nor satellite Passovers, or even oak sailors with thermometers and buckets.
      The prediction may even be accurate, sometimes. Then again, I assume that weather predictions, even SST, are just as vulnerable to inaccuracy as my local weather predictions, which makes accuracy rare.
      Following the NCEP links to where their prediction originates, there are these graphs:
      Neither of which use the same Earth.nullschool base period 1981-2011. Nor do the graphics exactly resemble each other. Pay attention to the Arctic near shore temperatures. No, I am not color-blind.
      Searching for more information from the NCEP modeling group:

      “NOTICE: Due to ongoing network issues with our supercomputers we may have to temporarily suspend our web site updates periodically while our sysadmins work on the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience.
      Welcome to the Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch of the Environmental Modeling Center at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction in College Park, Maryland. We are responsible for the development of improved numerical marine forecasting and analysis systems within the NOAA National Weather Service. ”

      NCEP SST Analysis
      Because there are a number of different uses for sea surface temperature analysis, a number of different analyses have developed in NCEP. The two families are the RTG — Real Time Global, and the OI — Optimal Interpolation. The RTG analyses are aimed at weather prediction and modeling, particularly at high resolution and short range.

      In describing sea ‘surface’ temperature, there are actually several surface levels that data initially arrive on. For all 5 of our SST analyses, we reference a ‘bulk’ temperature — a temperature representative of the upper layer of the ocean. This is approximately the temperature seen by buoys and some ships. Other ships observe lower in the water column. Infrared instruments, such as AVHRR and VIIRS observe most directly the ‘skin’ temperature, the upper 10 microns of the water. Microwave instruments, such as AMSR-E and WindSat, observe the upper couple of centimeters.”

      Approximately the temperature seen by buoys and some ships… In the Arctic. Modeled!
      Nor have we reached a source for the models, yet.
      Still not the source, but self explanatory as to the quality.
      The estimated monthly progression of SST temperature profiles from several weather forecasting models.
      I expect that the Earth.nullschool data is sourced from one of the favored NOAA models (CFSv2?) and the daily SST buoy imitation temperatures start from the one observation point, (still unknown), and are extrapolated from there. I believe the initial prediction ‘analysis’ is run every sixteen days

      • thanks for that atheok,for a long time i have suspected stated sst is nothing of the sort due to local experience . personally i think the error bars in the charts you provide should be a lot wider.

      • bit chilly:
        I agree with you on the error bars.
        NOAA and most major temperature collecting centers, completely ignore basic engineering/physics practices for calculating error bars.
        This is a topic that has been explored before on WUWT.
        Any group that assumes increasing the magnitude of data collection points allows them to ignore individual collection point errors, is specious, at best.
        Nor is it possible that worldwide distributed thermistors have any chance of meeting maximum accuracy levels based on theoretical or laboratory derivations of accuracy.
        Nor are any of the individual data collection point maintenance discovered temperature errors caused by wildlife or debris.
        Has a description by one of the maintenance people for surface stations.
        There are similar accounts by buoy maintenance staff about the having to scrape barnacles, seaweed, algae, mussels, etc from the sensors.
        Here is their recent recover/deploy schedule.
        Bluntly stated; there are no analysis of potential errors or potential error introduction points from the atmosphere, location, thermistor, recording, transmission, storage, recovery, adjustments, etc., in existence for NOAA/MetO,/BOM/etc. data collection profiles and usage.
        There is no such thing as adjusting a data point without identifying/quantifying an error range! That should then be tracked and represented by error ranges.
        The UAH/RSS satellite sensor sweeps give a good indication of expected surface temperature, perhaps the best, and should not be discounted; but even they are fallible when attributing explicitly accurate temperature at a specific position.

  12. Arctic summer ice disappearance by anout now is one of the few BIG warmunist statements that will eventually end the CAGW scare without folks needing to understand all the problems in the underlying climate science. Al Gore indelibly said it in his Nobel acceptance speech. All the evidence pre-satellite suggests about a 60-65 year full Arctic ice cycle. DMI August ice maps. Whaling records. Larsen completed the first ever single season NWP transit in 1944. Around a minimum. Sat coverage started 1979, around a maximum. Somewhere around 2010 would have been another ‘natural’ minimum. There has been mutiyear ice recovery since 2012.
    Other fatal BIGs include accelerating SLR when it isn’t (Obama’s disappearing Miami), demise of polar bears which depend on spring ice to hunt seals, not late summer ice when they come ashore in a state of walking hibernation (WaPo was on this canard again today),and ECS of 3 when all the recent observational methods suggest ~1.65. And with growing penetration, renewable intermittency is beginning to show the folly of that mitigation solution.

      • Those Russians are lucky the bears are fat from spring feeding and thus not *really* hungry (although always looking for food). If they were really hungry, they would be EATEN, just like the folks in my novel.
        Breaking a window or busting down a cabin door would be an easy feat for a big male, if he *really* wanted in.
        Just saying…
        Susan Crockford, Novelist as well as zoologist

      • Yes, laughable statement from some russian “scientist” quoted in the Guardian today, saying the bears are agressvie due to global warming.
        No, bears are aggressive because they are bears.
        I certainly would not accept a job like that in a remote location frequented by large aggressive carnivores unless they gave me a gun and box of bullets and promised not to prosecute me if I needed to use it.

      • Now I have some field experience of Polar Bears, and n,o they are rarely or ever aggressive except occasionally to other Polar Bears (particularly females defending their cubs).
        Dangerous, yes quite, but not aggressive like e. g. a Grizzly defending his territory. A Polar Bear may kill and eat you, but he will do it quite calmly and dispassionately, simply because he is hungry.

      • Seems to me that the polar bears are thinkers … they don’t need to get excited (call it emotion) to do their killing. Grizzlies seem like they need to get pissed off.
        Susan (if you are still watching) … is this a completely goofy statement?

      • While more omnivorous, usually, than their polar bear kin, grizzlies can also kill quite dispassionately and matter of factly.

      • Males surely kill the cubs of other males apparently as instinctively as do lions.
        And here’s a griz sow hounding an elk:

      • I caught myself rooting for the elk … jump over the big logs … jump over the big logs to create more space … oops.

      • A bigger elk could have made it. Whether the attempt was a tactic or simply desperation, I don’t know. But it might have worked.

    • This article introduces the recent research collecting all available ice extent data back to 1850… all of it, submarines, soviets, whalers, the lot.
      It summarises the research conclusions:
      “the new dataset allows us to answer the three questions we posed at the beginning of this article.
      First, there is no point in the past 150 years where sea ice extent is as small as it has been in recent years. Second, the rate of sea ice retreat in recent years is also unprecedented in the historical record. And, third, the natural fluctuations in sea ice over multiple decades are generally smaller than the year-to-year variability.”
      and it has a handy couple of charts, showing extent is now much lower than last century.
      If this is the low point of a cycle, it is lower than the last one and going lower…

      • Griff,
        That construct is literally incredible, as to be expected from a NOAA product.
        It shows way too much ice for the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Arctic travelers noticed and commented on the pronounced decline from the oughts and ‘teens to ’20s.
        Also, note that the year chosen to represent this century was 2012, whose alleged record low owed to a big August cyclone, same as in 2007 and this year (in which there were two, but the thicker ice was better able to resist their effects). Sea ice has been gaining since 2012.

      • And if the claimed cause of Arctic sea ice decline is air temperature, why then has the Antarctic gained over the same period?
        Can NOAA bureaucrats really be so multiyear dense, as it were, seriously to imagine that air temperature matters more than water temperature and winds?

  13. Re: Simon September 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm
    “Area of ocean with at lest 15% sea ice” ?? Now that’s what I call a rough glance. Ships still get trapped down there due to the unpredictable nature of sea ice flow dynamics. Statisticians would have a field day with this. Margin or error?

      • The Antarctic continental ice (land ice) is 14.0 Mkm^2. (million sq kilometers).
        It is surrounded by 1.5 Mkm^2 of shelf ice (an area NOT included in the daily “sea ice” reports!)
        That total area is surrounded by an oscillating amount of Antarctic sea ice, that varies from a minimum of 3.0 to 4.0 Mkm^2 in late February each year, to a maximum of 16 to 20 Mkm^2 in mid-September.
        Note that Antarctic sea ice has been setting record HIGH anomalies recently; in June 2014 just the “excess” sea ice around Antarctica was greater than the entire area of Greenland. This year’s Antarctic sea ice anomaly has been oscillating above and below 0.0 since Sept 2015 – the start of the record high El Nino. The last time Antarctic sea ice anomaly was at 0.0 was during the 2010-2011 El Nino. Does the Antarctic sea ice anomaly lead the El Nino conditions closer to the equator (since the cold Antarctic currents flow from the Antarctic past the Chilean and Peruvian coasts towards the warm “region” of hot water that characterizes an El Nino?) Or does the warmer equatorial waters remain warm all around their South Pacific cycle and subsequently cause greater melting of the sea ice when it arrives off the Antarctic coast?
        Both are good questions. Both conditions are possible, but both, either, or neither may be absolutely correct in this world of feedbacks and months-long current cycles. I do not have a specific answer yet.
        So the total Antarctic ice area = 14.0 + 1.5 + 3 mkm^2 (at minimum) = 18.5 Mkm^2.
        14.0 + 1.5 + 20 Mkm^2 (at maximum) = 35.5 Mkm^2 .. Larger than all of the other land areas combined south of the equator.

  14. Anthony,
    This might be a good time to mention (in the name of balance) that the cruise ship Crystal Serenity made it through the Northwest Passage safely with its 1100 massively over-charged passengers. Many were predicting a disaster akin to the one experienced by Chris Turney and his gang of idiots in 2013. From looking at the shipboard camera pictures, it looked like the ice breaker escort had little to do this time.
    Of course, the pictures also showed that the Crystal Serenity trip must have been one of the most boring in the history of cruising. I can’t imagine too many people are going to pay $20,000 per person next time, just to look out their windows at…….nothing.

  15. “This is why: when water freezes it releases its specific latent heat.”
    wouldn’t that be built into the concept of average arctic temperature?

  16. I picked a record melt this year but did forget that the 2012 melt was, in large part, an artifact of the 15% measuring rule which was also fudged to make that year’s melt look bigger than it was. With the Sun cooling, I reckon that summer melts will return to 1990’s levels. That’s my long term prediction, in case you don’t see me around.

    • The 15% measuring rule that I know of is NSIDC’s report being “sea ice extent”, which is area of sea that is 15-plus percent ice-covered. That has been their rule since well before 2012 and it is the same now. Another place often cited in WUWT is, which counts area of the ice itself. They also have 2012 being the year with the record low for Arctic sea ice. Sadly, unlike NSIDC, they did not switch over to another existing satellite sensor when the one they were using failed around the beginning of April 2016. Such a switchover requires intercalibration work, and NSIDC did that in just a few weeks.

  17. Regarding the 3rd graph and the explanation for the temperature uptick: I saw lack of mention of what the graph is of more specifically than Arctic temperature, or where it came from. I think I found it at
    and this is a plot from DMI of a determination of daily mean temperature north of 80 degrees north.
    As for release of latent heat of fusion due to freezing water into ice explaining the temperature uptick: That does not sound quite right to me; release of latent heat of fusion typically slows a temperature drop. The uptick could be from something else: The NSIDC plot is not of ice area, but the area of sea that is at least 15% covered by ice (which they call sea ice extent). They have said before in their Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis page ( that changes of wind can make the ice pack either spread out or be compacted. I suspect a wind change caused the ice pack to be more spread out, and that exposed more water within the icepack and the exposed water releases heat into the atmosphere more than ice does. This abrupt an uptick (or for that matter a downtick) in Arctic sea ice extent is usually caused by a wind change. If such a wind change is the explanation and it reverses, then the Arctic sea ice extent can shrink – although I think probably not to a new low for the year.

  18. Source:
    Anthony, please don’t use WP as a reference. That article was full of errors and seems to have been written by a high school student.
    It does not make much sense to criticise WP as being totally useless, inaccurate and biased on climate issues and then still use it as a reference.
    We know that Google always returns WP at the top, but it would not be hard to find a reliable academic link provide a definition.

  19. Yes, we hit minimum – second lowest extent, second lowest area…
    In a year with less than ‘ideal’ melting conditions, which has seen the loss of much the oldest and thickest multi year ice… ice was very dispersed and broken up, with large areas of open water near the pole
    The NW passage was open again… as was the northern sea route in the end…
    This is an assessment of this year’s melt which sums it up:

    • Someone who thinks that the term “climate change” was invented by a Republican spin-doctor or even by some scientist in 1975 is incredibly ignorant.
      I took down Ladurie’s classic “Times of feast times of famine. A history of climate since the year 1000” written in 1967 and started leafing through it. The term first turned up on page 7!

      • climate change as an alternate for global warming was manufactured and publicised by a Republican…
        which is why it is so funny when skeptics rage about the name change…

      • Not paid at all – this is just something I’m interested in.
        The arctic sea ice clearly shows the impact of global warming… I am concerned to see the situation accurately reported, based on the scientific evidence.
        I have connection with any green (or leftist) group, renewable energy firm, etc.

      • oops! no editor…
        I think you can spot where I intended there to be a ‘no’
        unless you think its a Freudian slip 🙂

      • Griff,
        You really ought not to regurgitate the lies that you read on SkS uncritically. Its own graph of relative usage of the two terms shows that “climate change” took off under Clinton, c. 1994. He hosted a “climate change” conference in 1997, if not before.
        SkS looks ridiculous, as usual and to be expected from a cartoonist who likes to dress up as a N@zi, by asserting right below this graph that Frank Luntz was responsible for popularizing the term in a 2003 memo to Bush.

      • Griff,
        Is that a Clinton thing you just did there with the comment:
        “I think you can spot where I intended there to be a ‘no’
        unless you think its a Freudian slip :-)”
        You didn’t actually answer, but appeared to answer.

      • That UIUC map of ice cover is far from accurate. They have been only updating the date on the map and not its depiction of ice coverage since a failure of the satellite they were using around the beginning of last April.

    • “The arctic sea ice clearly shows the impact of global warming…”
      Why does the Antarctic sea ice show no such impact? Because this is all natural variation. Did you know there is satellite data all through the 70’s which is never shown, because 1979 was the maximum?
      How did you do in Statistics 101, or Design of Experiments 457? Not so well I am guessing…

    • is this griff person for real????? the claim the oldest ice broke up and is one now is patently FALSE….the multi year ice is EXPANDING as i type this because areas that had no ice this time last year do have ice now that froze last year, so each day more of that ice reaches its birthday and becomes multi year ice…….the core of the ice is THICKER now than last year and the core is much larger.

  20. Whilst it’s nice to finally be appreciated after all these years, it would also be nice if Anthony provided proper attribution for the graph from “Wipneus” displayed above.
    Can somebody sort that out please?
    [the graphic itself is self-referencing and has this in it along with the name that same link has been added to the name in the text for those incapable of noticing it. /mod]

  21. One thing that is not being considered by commentators on this site is how relatively small the thaw was in the Arctic this summer given the exceptionally low ice extent at the start of the melting season.

  22. Did the crystal serenity cruise ship make it through from anchorage to NYC? It is due to arrive in two days but there is nothing on the net about current progress.

  23. This year’s thaw was greater than average. The difference between record low and average is less at the start of the melt season than at the end, so an above-average thaw from a record low high point does not necessarily lead to a record low low point.

    • This years extent was second lowest in a 37 year record… and second lowest area too.
      Doesn’t matter where you measure the start from – more melted out this year than in 35 out of last 37 years…

      • The past 37 years have been like the low ice interval c. 1909 to 1946. The decline in the satellite record is because it started in 1979, at or near the Arctic sea ice high for the past century, after the postwar chill of the late ’40s to ’70s. Which three-decade-plus cold cycle I should note occurred under monotonously rising CO2.

      • Gabro wrote, “The decline in the satellite record is because it started in 1979, at or near the Arctic sea ice high for the past century…”
        You might be right. It is clear that at least one-half to one-third of the reported decline is because of that.
        The climate campaigners, these days, like to start with the 1979 Nimbus 7 data, but it wasn’t always so. The first two IPCC Assessment Reports graphed sea ice extent data starting in 1973, with Nimbus 5 data. Those graphs were not included in later Assessment Reports, but here’s what the First Assessment Report (FAR) showed (I added the red circles):
        The units are millions of sq-km, but they used an ice concentration threshold of 10%, rather than 15%, which makes the numbers a bit larger. That 1979 peak appears to represent a growth of somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 million sq-km over five years.
        For comparison, since the 1980s it appears that Arctic ice extent maximums have declined about 1 million sq-km, and minimums by about twice that:
        (Note: ignore the last few months in that graph. It is broken, due to the failures of the DMSP F17 & F19 satellites.)
        However, if Arctic sea-ice extent increased throughout the 1950s-1979s, as seems likely, then it is quite possible that the post-1979 decrease in Arctic ice extent is entirely due to the convenient 1979 starting point.
        I imagine that if you asked why the IPCC no longer uses sea ice data from prior to 1979 you’d be told that the Nimbus 7 multichannel instrument was superior to the earlier instrument aboard Nimbus 5. That is true, but, as you can see in the FAR graph, above, it is also true that the 1979 starting point is very convenient to the alarmist narrative of steadily declining Arctic ice.

        • [snip you might want to fix your accusation before trying to post here
          …our polite request for that to be corrected remains invisible over at Watts Up With That.
          No. It’s been dealt with, and in full view, even though the graph was self-referenced and included a URL.
          This is why Anthony has us watch out for you, you don’t play fair. /mod]

      • Dave,
        Thanks for the charts.
        There is also sketchy satellite observations from the 1960s. Whether that imagery can distinguish surface melt water from open seawater, I don’t know.
        It is entirely possible that 1979 was the high for the past century, given waning Arctic sea ice extent in the 1910s to ’40s and then a build up during the ’50s to ’70s.

      • @ Griff, Your statement:
        Doesn’t matter where you measure the start from – more melted out this year than in 35 out of last 37 years… is total BS.
        The average melt from NSIDC 9.87 X 10^6 Km2 per year, 3 sigma is 1.64, so anything from 8.23 to 11.51 is ‘normal’. This year was 9.52, just BELOW average.

      • Dear mod,
        I said “thanks” and modified my article more swiftly than you released my original comment from purgatory.
        Can’t you come up with a better excuse that that?
        [yes, you are mostly a persona-non-grata here, pushing your own website while taking pot-shots there. if you throw rocks at our house, we may not bother to throw rocks back, but we can certainly decide not to let you inside to throw them. occasionally some of your comments have merit, and those get let through. mostly your comments are pot-shots. /mod]

Comments are closed.