Arctic sea-ice extent ends up not even close to setting a new low record

I called the Arctic sea-ice turn upwards a few days ago here. From NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER and the “you could also say 31st highest on record” department.

End-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent is eighth lowest on record

Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its yearly lowest extent on Sept. 13, NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder have reported. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that at 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers), this year’s Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the eighth lowest in the consistent long-term satellite record, which began in 1978.

Arctic sea ice, the layer of frozen seawater covering much of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas, is often referred to as the planet’s air conditioner: its white surface bounces solar energy back to space, cooling the globe. The sea ice cap changes with the season, growing in the autumn and winter and shrinking in the spring and summer. Its minimum summertime extent, which typically occurs in September, has been decreasing, overall, at a rapid pace since the late 1970s due to warming temperatures.

This year, temperatures in the Arctic have been relatively mild for such high latitudes, even cooler than average in some regions. Still, the 2017 minimum sea ice extent is 610,000 square miles (1.58 million square kilometers) below the 1981-2010 average minimum extent.

“How much ice is left at the end of summer in any given year depends on both the state of the ice cover earlier in the year and the weather conditions affecting the ice,” said Claire Parkinson, senior climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The weather conditions have not been particularly noteworthy this summer. The fact that we still ended up with low sea ice extents is because the baseline ice conditions today are worse than the baseline 38 years ago.”

The three years with the lowest Arctic ice extents on record –2012, 2016 and 2007– experienced strong summer storms that hammered the ice cover and sped up its melt. “In all of those cases, the weather conditions contributed to the reduced ice coverage. But if the exact same weather system had occurred three decades ago, it is very unlikely that it would have caused as much damage to the sea ice cover, because back then the ice was thicker and it more completely covered the region, hence making it more able to withstand storms,” Parkinson said.

On the other side of the planet, Antarctica is heading to its maximum yearly sea ice extent, which typically occurs in September or early October. This year’s maximum extent is likely to be among the eight lowest in the satellite record — a dramatic turn of events considering that 2012, 2013 and 2014 all saw consecutive record high maximum extents, followed by a sudden large drop in 2015 and a further although smaller decrease in 2016. So far, the September Antarctic ice extents this year are comparable to those of a year ago.

“What had been most surprising about the changing sea ice coverage in the past three decades was the fact that the Antarctic sea ice was increasing instead of decreasing,” Parkinson said. “The fact of Arctic sea ice decreases was not as shocking because this was expected with a warming climate, although the overall rate of the decreases was greater than most models had forecast.”

Parkinson said that although it is still too early to talk about a long-term reversal in the behavior of Antarctic sea ice, the decreases witnessed in the past two years provide important data to test the various hypotheses that scientists have put forward to explain why Antarctic sea ice coverage had been increasing, overall, between 1979 and 2015.

Adding the Antarctic and Arctic sea ice extents month by month through the satellite record shows that globally the Earth has been losing sea ice since the late 1970s in each portion of the annual cycle of ice growth and decay.

“In fact, this year, every single month from January through August experienced a new monthly record low in global sea ice extents,” Parkinson said.


NSIDC concurs here



176 thoughts on “Arctic sea-ice extent ends up not even close to setting a new low record

    • Wasn’t Arctic ice free in the summer under Holocene Optimum, 8.000 – 5.300 years ago? I worry if there is more sea ice and glaciers and I cheer up if there is less. Who wants a new ice age?

      • “Who wants a new ice age?” Probably the traditional print-media in a year or five, when they think it might help advertising revenues.

        While the North Atlantic Oscillation may work to a ~sixty year cycle, the MSM probably doesn’t, and can’t afford to.

      • “PS: For perspective, sea levels around Australia in the Holocene peak 7,000 ya were 1 – 2m higher and have been falling since then. (But notice the resolution on those Australian graphs at that link are nowhere near as good as this new study). Further back in the past, sea levels were 9m higher around Kalbarri Western Australia circa 120,000 ya.” Jo Nova.

        Asian sea levels changed rapidly 6,000 years ago — natural sea level rise “unprecedented”

      • Sorry, that is nonsense. There has been plenty of variability. Are you saying that it is the same this year as it was 8 y ago?

        Sea ice volume jumped by 45% in one years in 2013. The 2016 OMG low was the same as the 2007 OMG low and also significantly greater than the 2012 OMG OMG low.

        Certainly not “unchanged”.

    • “The minimum ranked 8th ( i. e.: after a record minimum Max in the winter 16/17, for which Super El Nino was responsible)” It is amazing that the ice, which is very well-regarded for thin, is hardly thicker than a half meter after Piomas and ARC in wide parts of the eastern arctic. But it survived until september. Are PIOMAS and ARC Fake News performers in terms of ice thickness? There are still a few swamps of impossibilities to dry. Good luck Mr Trump. At least, Cryosat 2 from europe did not support these ice thicknesses until its ending of the data in May (because ice mass measurement by satellite in summer is a heavy to impossible business), but the ice was remarkably thicker in this region in may, which is so poorly regarded by PIOMAS. This is noticed even by starved AGW fans in the Sea Ice Blog. Bravo!

      • Yes, I was going to comment on that too. Is the graph recent data that wasn’t available when the misstatement was made? (I’m trying to be charitable)

      • I believe they were referring to the global sea ice extent. With the step change in Antarctic ice downward from 2014 and the low-ish Arctic extents this year, the combined might well be lower. I have not done the actual math myself.

      • So NOW the CAGW scare-mongers comment on the total sea ice going down (Arctic+Antarctic), but didn’t want to talk about the previously increasing Antarctic sea ice, excluding it and only talking about the decreasing Artic sea ice.

        What’s the betting that now they will switch to talking about decreasing and/or records for TOTAL sea ice minima, even if the Arctic starts increasing again?

  1. While the daily average extent for the last 10 years bottomed out on day 260, years like 2016 and 2009 hit minimum on day 254. This year’s extent was at 4.7M km2 for a week, hit bottom at 4.6M on day 253, then rose up and over 4.8M km2. SII (Sea Ice Index) 2017 is similar to MASIE, though a bit lower lately. The graph below shows September comparisons through day 260.

    Some take any year’s slightly lower minimum as proof that Arctic ice is dying, but the image below shows extents from 2007, mostly smaller than 2017.

    • In that animation from 2007, it’s amazing how stable the Greenland icecap looks through those years…no real change, and according to recent measurements – the Greenland icecap is actually growing…

      • Greenland’s ice sheet is not growing. It is losing ice, almost every year.

        But the rate is slow. At the current estimated average rate of net ice melt in Greenland it would take between 90 and 150 centuries to melt it all (depending on whose estimates you believe).

        That doesn’t have much effect on sea-level: just 0.5 to 0.8 mm/year of sea-level rise (= 2–3 inches per century).

        The rate doesn’t seem to have been much affected by anthropogenic CO2, but even if it were, it wouldn’t matter much, because the anthropogenic spike in CO2 levels will probably last only another century or two, at most — not nearly long enough to put much of a dent in Greenland’s ice.

      • Yes, the Sept. monthly average will be used to indicate the annual minimum, and that is looking to end up at least 4.8M km2, compared to 3.6M in 2012 and 4.2M in 2007.

      • Dave, you asked a great question on my blog, and let also respond here:

        Dave, thanks for asking a great question. All queries are good, but a great one forces me to dig and learn something new, in this case a more detailed knowledge of what goes into MASIE reports.

        You asked, where do they get their data? The answer is primarily from NIC’s Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:



        Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

        The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

        The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts. Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995). The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice. With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

        The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November, 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

        As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February, 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

        Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

        In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology was preserved during the migration. Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on horizon.

  2. I saw an article which claimed the the early 1980’s typically had greater than normal ice extent than much earlier years, although there was questions about the credibility of that article.
    If it were true it would indicate that comparing 2017 to 1981 might be cherry picking.
    Can some verify or discredit the claim that the early 1980 period had abnormally high Arctic sea ice extent?

  3. Antarctic ice has 5yr ‘bounces’ and last year was due for decline. The strong 2016 El Nino likely aggravated the larger than expected drop. With the entire SH covered in cold water, this year will see a strong return to recovery.

    Similarly the cold water in the NH and a deepening approach to La Nina aided by the cool global oceans overall, will see a substantial, steep recovery in Arctic ice and cold winters in North America.

    The cooled Gulf stream waters, intercepted by the mass of cold water in the north Atlantic will deliver a bitter cold winter to UK, Scandinavia and Siberia. Cold lobes from NE Russia could chill continental Europe, particularly Germany and eastern Europe, but France is likely to suffer, too. Heavy snows in the Alps.

    Global temperatures will drop and the Pause will re-establish itself to likely 10years without warming. Remember this forecast. It is based entirely on dropping Ssts.

    • Noted Gary. Thanks.

      The Farmer’s Almanac has been spot on all year for Southern Ontario. We are loving our first real summer weather just as the equinox approaches. They call for snow in mid-October. We’ll see. No El Niños around here now.

    • I have also been of the opinion that Europe will face a severely cold winter at the end of this year. Here is a spot in Siberia which I have kept track of for the last 2 years, …,66.32,672/loc=128.537,62.442

      That area is where the first deep fall/winter cold has set in over the last 3 winters. This winter I think that this Siberian cold spot will set in more to the west. If that happens, then this should lead to minus temps penetrating as far west as into France. Last winter the -12 F temps or lower stopped in eastern Poland.

      Here is a new location which I have kept track of this year. This location as well as a corridor running north and south of this spot remained fairly cool ever since the end of last winter. It is only in recent weeks where surface winds warmed this area slightly as compared to points further to the east in Siberia. I am wondering if this indicates that the fall/winter cold spot will develop here first. The cold spot will show itself next month. …,66.32,672/loc=94.389,62.565

      • Goldminor, I’ve ordered an extra cord of wood this year for no other reason than I had some left from last year. I’ve book marked those links and watch what happens, and see if that wood gets used (Plan for the worst, hope for the best).

    • It would seem that the date of minimum ice is a better indicator of a warming planet than total volume. Can anyone tell me if the date has gotten substantially latter in recent decades?

  4. Antarctic ice this year simply results from the freakish weather conditions late last year and early this year.

    The actual gain in Antarctic sea ice from low to high was impressive, but couldn’t offset the very low minimum, due to the combo of ENSO variability, winds off the continent and other purely weather phenomena last year and early this.

    Meanwhile, it looks more and more as if the low of 2012, confirmed by a triple bottom with equal lows before and after it, signals the end of Arctic sea ice decline in the dedicated satellite era, ie from 1979.

  5. In the arctic, the difference in reflectivity between ice and water is very small, due to the low angle at which sunlight hits either ice or water.
    The arctic is the world’s air conditioner because the more exposed water up there, the faster heat is lost to space. It’s one of the world’s largest negative feedbacks.

      • The long term trend is almost universally UPWARD

        The first 7000+ years of the Holocene had FAR less sea ice than now, often essentially ice-free in summer

        Current levels are above what they have been for 90-95% of the last 10,000 years.

        Anonymously HIGH !!!!

        Icelandic sea ice graphs show that late 1970’s extent was up there with the EXTREMES of the LIA, the coldest period in 10,000 years.

      • And what warming ?

        Warming by “data adjustment” does not affect sea ice.

        The only warming in the satellite period has come from ocean events and ocean cycles.

        But those two main ocean cycles are starting to reverse.

      • “The long term trend of the loss of Arctic ice shows that …”

        We have DAILY data on sea ice coverage for 35 years. Do you think the most informative scientific analysis we can do to try to understand the functioning of the cryosphere is to fit a straight line to all that data?

        This obsession with “trends” is the biggest obstacle to understanding anything.

      • Greg, the use of trends is OK if one covers at least one full period of any cyclic behavior. A satellite-derived trend of Arctic sea ice extent out to about 2040 would be acceptable to me.

      • Greg, I wonder what their “long term trend” would look like for the period 1944 to 1979? What would the field of climate look like if it began in 1944 instead of 1975. CO2 was negatively correlated with temperatures over that earlierperiod.

      • Look at the chart I posted. Essentially 3000 years of upward trend in Arctic sea ice. !!!

        Then a slight dip since the LIA, which was the coldest period in 10,000 years.

        Move to Siberia if you want it like the LIA again.

        But you won’t will you, Mark.

        I bet you choose to live somewhere warmer, with lots of fossil fuel powered heating in winter.

      • What long term trend?
        Ice has been declining since the record highs of the late 70’s, but so what.
        Ice has been growing for the last few years.

    • MarkW,
      As demonstrated with igloos and recommendations for snow blocks to construct an emergency survival hut if stranded in the mountains, snow is a good insulator and probably plays a more important role in reducing the rate at which ice melts from insolation than does simple reflectivity.

      • Yes Mark’s point was exactly what I wanted to point out and he saved me the time. So-called scientists always go on about the positive feedback and tipping points of more incident solar but the facts simply to not support that idea.

        Once vase starts tipping it gets ever faster until it smashes on the floor. You can not have a pause half way down. Last years ice min was the same as 2007 and this year is significantly more. That is absolutely incompatible the idea of a positive feedback being the cause of the 1997-2007 decline.

        Yet this failed hypothesis gets trotted out year after year by those incapable of doing anything more intelligent that straight line fitting to the data.

      • 1 – There isn’t that much snow lying over the arctic ocean ice. It’s basically a desert.
        2 – The arctic sea ice starts melting from the bottom up and the ice starts getting thinner way before the air temperatures get anywhere near the melting point. The heat is supplied by the ocean. The thickness of the ice depends on the air temperature above. The temperature at the top of the ice has to cause enough heat flow to keep the bottom of the ice at the freezing point or lower.
        3 – If anything, a nice thick blanket of snow would speed up the melting of the ice by slowing down the heat flow through the ice.
        4 – My then employer used to send me to the arctic. We camped on the ocean ice because that allowed us to create temporary landing strips. The nearby land was never flat enough. We measured the ice thickness every day and left when the ice became so thin that the aircraft couldn’t safely land on it. You could not tell from the top that the ice was getting thinner.

    • I think MarkW is bang on with this comment. When ice cover is high the water is building heat and air temps are colder. When the ocean warms a little the ice becomes unstable and moves toward minimum extent phase where heat loss is maximum and air temps are warmer. We are near the end of that phase now. Get out your woolies! Cold and dry, coming right up!

  6. So the sea ice is one and a half Wadhams this year. What was the extent in the 1930’s, which might have been warmer? 1981 seems a curious start point, as there are satellite images earlier, back to the 1960’s. Perhaps they give the “wrong” impression?

      • Which goes to my prior comment that one needs to wait to look at the period 1979 to about 2040 to determine the satellite-measured Arctic sea ice extent trend.

      • But five years without a new record low is a trend not predicted by CACA adherents.

        Look at the alarmist posters here who were sure that this year would see a lower low than 2012. Didn’t happen, just as they were told would be the case.

        While the ten years 2007-16 averaged lower than 1997-2006, what will alarmists say when and if 2017-26 proves higher than the previous decade?

      • Yes S, there are many things the alarmists have predicted which have not come true and even more that a scientist worthy of the name would have investigated.

        What will alarmists say if their favourite trend reverses? They’ll just choose a new favourite. Some say remember the Alamo. I say remember the polar bears.

  7. “The fact that we still ended up with low sea ice extents is because the baseline ice conditions today are worse than the baseline 38 years ago.”

    Why are changes in conditions that favor ice loss “worse”? Why can’t they just be more favorable for ice loss than 38 years ago? In other words, “why always with the negative vibes?”.

    • What planet are they living on? We certainly did NOT have an above-average temperature cycle this summer in my area or anywhere around here, north or south.

      I think those Warmians and Globull Extremists need some time with professional counseling, someone who will nod understandingly, and offer them sympathetic understanding and tranquilizers.

  8. Arctic ice growing again. 8th lowest minimum this year.

    After a record warm winter in the Arctic last year leading to the lowest ice maximum, the ice melted at the slowest rate recorded, leading to the 8th lowest ice minimum.

    On Greenland the situation was quite different. It snowed and snowed, leading to the largest yearly ice gain recorded, which was quite a change from years and years of ice loss.

    This year the ice gain started even earlier

    Are these changes only temporary, or are they an early harbinger of the ice age to come?
    With the Greenland chart from DMI:

      • “The underlying data used to produce these images and graphs may be obtained from NSIDC. NSIDC produces the daily extent values using a five-day trailing mean. Graphs shown here may vary slightly from graphs displayed in Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis, due to differences in handling leap years. However, the underlying data values are the same that NSIDC displays for its daily extent image and graph.”

        Still hoping someone can answer my question as to why the graphs, both from nsidc look different. As near as I can figure, the underlying data is the same, graphs should be the same….. except they aren’t.

      • David , look at the legend in what you link to. There are several (three) grey marks in the key. “interquartile , interdecile and 2StdDev”

        I don’t see three levels of grey on the graph, just two. My guess is that the shaded areas are NOT std dev on that graph.

      • In fact if you click on “std dev” in the key you get the 2SD intervals shown and it looks to be the same as what is shown here.

      • Just noting that the NSIDC are using the 5-day “trailing” average for this announcement. The actual lowest day was Sept 12 at 4.611 M km2.

        While 5 day averaging is a good idea in the Arctic sea ice, using a 5 trailing average for dates is just not right mathematically. In addition, they will likely add about 280,000 km2 to these numbers later (for the area around the north pole that is not counted in the numbers). I didn’t say climate scientists were good at math, just the opposite of course.

        So, the NSIDC will record the September average as being around 5.07 M km2 (last year 4.74 M km2 and still the 8th lowest) and when it is compared to the Arctic Sea Ice Prediction game. Only the top three are in the ball-park this year.

    • Because you can drag a zoomable area on the chart and turn various options on and off. You can also click on most extent points and will be shown an image of the actual extent on that day.
      The legend at the bottom left of the image above show what options were active at the time the chart image was captured.

      • Okay, never mind. I found the answer. Graph at top of page shows standard deviation, Charctic graph shows interquartile and interdecile deviation. I’m not a statistician but clearly they are measuring differently.

    • Because you have a choice with Chartic, you can click on the menu items, ‘median and interquartile, interdecile’ which the version you show does, or ‘average +/-2SDs’ which the other one does. You can also choose to plot the record from any other year by selecting it from the menu.

      • Belated thanks to you and to Greg. I thought I had used all of the features of the Charctic graph but clearly I had not.

  9. Whatever the facts are, the CAGW enthusiasts will continue to tell us that it is worse than they predicted and we have to double down on the Paris Agreement to offset the loss of Trump….or we are all going to die.

    • “… all going to die.” Okay, but they should go first, don’t you think?

      Then the rest of us can just get on with our lives. I have things to do.

    • No, the downward spiral doesn’t continue – look at the trend over the last 10/11 years – flat. Arctic now in “pause” – will be interesting to see if that continues. If 15 years (per climate scientists) was enough to confirm a pause in surface temperatures, how long must Arctic ice extent show no trend before a pause is confirmed there? I’m guessing we are in for at least a few more years of variable extents within the current range (given potential La Nina, and other factors), so there’s a good chance for at least a 15 year period, given we are now at 11 years (since 2007).

      Any ideas about how such a standard might be set (the definition of a period that would confirm an Arctic Pause)?

      • Yes, but if you ignore the data for the last 11 years and fit a straight line to over 13,000 daily observations you get a … a straight line.

        You then call this straight line a “death spiral” and say OMG, it worse then we thought.

        You clearly do not understand how to do climate analysis.

    • ” The downward spiral continues.”

      You mean the RECOVERY from the extreme levels of the late 1970’s?

      …….. When it was up there with the extremes of the LIA?

      Still a ways to go to get down to MWP levels,

      and MUCH further to get down to the levels of the first 700+ years of the current interglacial.

      Wouldn’t you agree, Bruce. ;-)

    • “So basically 3rd lowest in the arctic ”

      NO. 8th lowest in the Arctic in a paltry 38 year record since the end of the global cooling scare.

    • Bruce,

      No it doesn’t. Arctic sea ice quit getting lower in 2012. It has grown since then. This year was eighth lowest, not third.

      Antarctic sea ice has been low this year because of weather events last year. It was the highest on record since 1979 in 2014, before the Super El Nino, so it grew while Arctic sea ice was shrinking, which alone shows that CO2 isn’t to blame for sea ice loss or gain.

      • So you’re admitting that since 2014, the antarctic has been in a death spiral too – it’s worse than we thought! /s

  10. These statements from NSIDC are so carefully constructed to not violate their sea ice “meme” that it is really starting to disgust me. The headline should be “remarkable recovery of sea ice from last year’s low value”, but instead they talk about “8th lowest”, conveniently pushing the fact that this year’s extent is much larger than 10 years ago (2007) under the CAGW rug.

    Instead they give excuses that the weather was favorable to low melting. Note that when the significant storms of 2012 broke up ice and led to massive melting, they blamed it on global warming, not weather. Why can’t they just state the facts, and quit the editorializing? Are they so afraid that skeptics are going to use this to destroy their carefully built story that they can’t present a simple factual analysis? What a joke!

    • There are still a few swampos to drain in the US. But also here in Germany. “Wetteronline” a weather-provider with a long history in climate-alarmist storys sees the minimum in this years only little over a new Minimum-Record. ( In reality it was up to 1 million km² over 2012 according to many ice graphics providers). And only “cooler weather” had us prevented from a new Rekord. But they use a graph from 1980 untill 1999 for comparison and simply overturn the last 18 years. An email to the weather service remained as yet unanswered, however, the contribution yesterday disappeared in the archive.

    • I notice this constantly that contrary observations are ignored. But if they actually believed that changing climate was indeed dangerous, wouldn’t contrary news be rejoiced? If a tornado was heading towards me, I would be screaming with joy if it then turned away from me. This constant rejection of what ought to be good news gives great insight. This is not a reasonable debate, they are not thinking logically or at all, this is not a scientific question. This issue is merely a team they cheer for.

      PS I have no reason to imagine more ice is better than less!

      • Dave, I observed long ago that government documents concerning global warming were, at their core, sales jobs. That was before I developed any opinions concerning AGW.

        Please look at the language used in IPCC and U.S. Government reports, especially their summaries. They are deliberately obtuse and omit direct and clear information contrary to the CAGW meme. [God, I love that word: meme.]

      • When ice does melt as much as they would like this is due to “mild” weather. When it melts more it is not due to weather it is due to AGW.

        “This year, temperatures in the Arctic have been relatively mild for such high latitudes, even cooler than average in some regions. ”

        The Arctic is extremely cold all year round, every years. How the hell does being colder than average make it “mild”?

      • Oh, I get it, she means not “extremely hot” as it has been in recent years !

        Parkinson said that although it is still too early to talk about a long-term reversal in the behavior of Antarctic sea ice

        Yes, and it is similarly too early to talk about a long-term reversal in the behavior of Arctic sea ice, but it’s starting. 2012 was the turning point.

      • Wind has a huge effect on Arctic ice extent. The ice protects the surface from wind disturbance and so reduces ice destruction. Open water means more wave action and ice destruction. These modes are self reinforcing and explain the 60+ year cycle. When ice cover gets to maximum, water temps slowly rise as no heat is being released to the atmosphere. Eventually the ice extent and thickness cannot be sustained. At that point the wind takes over and drives ice destruction toward the minimums we have seen lately where only old, folded ice is left and the water temps have dropped.
        We are at that point now where ice extent and thickness will start to build again. Maximum ice extent means minimum air temperatures.

  11. The bias in thought is so evident “… ice conditions today are worse than the baseline 38 years ago. …”. Where is the evidence that less sea ice is “worse” for the planet? Is there prior evidence from the past that shows that less sea ice is worse for the planet?

  12. Who was it that bet they could fly from Svalbard to the N Pole not seeing ice this year? Where are they now?

  13. It was running at 3rd lowest and contesting 2012 for August… a cold central arctic and storms saved it from being the record it looked likely to be after a record low ice extent through the winter.

    The volume is low… though the extent held up – remember that 15% or more ice covered counts as extent – the state of half the ice cap was little better than broken slush.

    The thickness is about the worst it has been in recent years… only a thin band of 2m plus ice hung on crammed against the land.

    This was a bullet dodged… not a recovery. The weather causes variation in the downward trend and this year was at the cold extreme/poor melting extreme limit of that variation.

    Now we see what kind of freeze we get… so far only the central slush has frozen and the limits of the ice pack aren’t growing. If we get another low extent winter and next year an average melt season, we’ll see continued decline.

    and we are going to see a new record and open water from coast to pole… don’t fool yourselves any other possibility is on the cards. We have low volume, thin ice…

    • Griff

      You were wrong all year long (as I told you all year long) and you are wrong now as usual, take the bet or go away.

    • and we are going to see a new record and open water from coast to pole… open Arctic water is a cooling earth. So now you admit the earth will cool?

    • Priceless, Griffie! During the decline, no mention of weather on Arctic sea ice extent. Having flattened out over the past 11 years, now it’s weather impacting increasing ice extents.

    • It’s freezing rapidly at the moment.

      Give it up. You lost. There is no excuse.

      The 2007, 2012 and 2016 lows were all because of weather, too. Arctic sea ice since 1979 has never gone five years without a new low. Now it has, and that run is liable to be extended indefinitely, perhaps for decades.

      The fact is that Arctic sea ice extent has stopped dropping for the past eleven years and has grown for the past five. A rational person would conclude that the bottom is in, as wiser heads told you was the case.

      Arctic sea ice, like most climatic phenomena, is cyclical. We’ve entered the up cycle. CO2 has nothing to do with it.

      • PS: A number of other years also tracked 2012 in August. It doesn’t mean anything, as you were told before hand. If there are storms in August or September, then extent will be lower. If not, then not.

      • A big gale has blown up on the Siberian side of the Pole (Sept 21) but it is too late to shrink extent much and may increase as the winds are below freezing, and as low as -7C. It is the gales in late July and August that can give the lowest extents, though by chilling and churning the water they also may increase the following year’s extents.

        There is a Nimbus satellite picture of sea ice from September 1969 which shows a very large lagoon of open water in the sea-ice well north of Alaska. Alarmists conveniently forget the Nimbus pictures, though WUWT politely pointed them out in 2014.

    • What bullet did we dodge there, Griff? Too nice out? Happy polar bears lolling around in the sun? Longer growing season? More active Arctic food chain?
      You are not living in reality, man!

    • Griff,

      How many more years without a new lower low record will it take to convince you that Arctic sea ice extent is growing, and has been doing so since 2012?

      Another five years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Never, ever, no matter what?

  14. And yet the Antartic set a record lowest maximum, or so I am told elsewhere. Could someone say if the total sea ice (north and south) has set a record for the lowest high?

    Listen folks, you cannot have records every year. But we got 2 this year.

    Now 2 out of 3 is bad.

    • Less ice is 99% GOOD! But sadly, it is nearly meaningless as it is just a function of short term variability.

  15. This underlines how irrelevant ice extent in winter is.

    A few years back when winter Arctic ice extent was higher than usual, the warmists said “winter extent does not matter since it’s bounded by land, etc.”

    This year when winter Arctic ice extent was lower than usual, the warmists changed their tune and said “OMG it’s worse than we thought we must act now!”

    They were right the first time.

    • And its winter high was just barely lower, due to an event in March.

      Antarctic ice however was much lower in summer than usual at the end of the melt season there, significantly lower, which did affect its winter high.

  16. Poor old warmists – they had such high hopes for this summer in the Arctic after the mild (El Nino) Arctic winter and consequent low maximum ice extent. Probably the reason that they are investing so much hyperbole into the current hurricane season.

  17. Greg, 9:48 am your vase analogy is completely wrong.
    The analogy should be of a block of ice in a bucket. Upon bringing it to a warm environment the temperature will rise at a rate dependant on delta T . As the warming continues the surface rate of rise temperature will slow down due to the ratedlte T decreasing due to the subsurface warming and later on due to the latent heat of ice. When the ice melts there will be very little rise in surface temperature until the ice melts when the temperature rise rate will increase again. Ice has this effect of putting a lull in the increas in temperature.

    I.e. it is not expected to be linear,

    • Negative feedback in action where winter sea ice melting keeps the summer temperature cool. While winter ice is always there, the summer temperature will never change much, unless significant change occurs in the AMOC.

  18. Been saying it all summer long, bet Tony Mcleod and now he’s gone, told Griff and all the others, low winter high doesn’t mean low summer low. They kept saying all summer long the ice is extremely thin and broken up, i kept telling them they are crazy. The more sophisticated our equipment gets the more dumb the comments get. Just like the hurricanes, “unprecedented, largest ever, most hurricanes at one time” No just better equipment detecting hurricanes we would never have noticed in the past. Same with the ice, there is nothing unprecedented about the melt this year and nothing different about the quality of the ice, we just have better satellites looking at it so everyone can be an expert.

    • ++++1000.
      Not every fish storm was covered in 1850, nor was its “sustained wind” ever measured, and yet the AGW providers produce a sea-ice graphic from 1850, initially with whale catcher watching data from the Bering Sea. This, of course, explains a lot.

  19. Reminds me of the joke about a 1960’s automobile competition sponsored by the Soviets, featuring only US and Soviet cars. The American cars won, but the Soviet headlines read: “In an International car competition, the Soviets came in 2nd and the Americans 2nd to last.”

    • This year the arctic car came in the 8th to last. Who knows, maybe in 2018, NASA and the NSIDC will be counted differently?

  20. Low Arctic sea ice during 2012 and 2016 may have been triggered initially by submarine volcanic eruptions.
    For 2012, see climatic impacts of the El Hierro eruption in the north Atlantic Ocean (
    For 2016, see explanation on the North Pacific Blob and the strong 2015-2016 El Nino using geothermal heat released into the Pacific Ocean ( and

  21. What are the odds that if Arctic sea ice recovers over the next decade, Antarctic sea ice takes its place? Therefore leading to a reversal of fortunes.

    Yet another “Negative feedback” could be demonstrated.

    Arctic ice influences the NH more than Antarctic ice influences the SH because it is surrounded by land. Still if it was to vanish in future, it would only be for a very short time near end of summer and would soon refreeze again after. I doubt anybody in the NH would notice any difference living away from there.

    • IMO Antarctic sea ice will recover, too. Its growth this year has been normal, but it started from a low point, due to the combination of rare weather events last year.

  22. “Arctic sea ice,…, is often referred to as the planet’s air conditioner…”
    I think of it more tile the planets toque (aka wool cap as you southerners call it). The ice is a great insulator and prevents massive energy loss. Just think how much energy would be lost to space as the days get shorter (then end) if there was more open water. This is why we usually get record breaking freeze-up immediately after a record breaking low extent.

  23. Minimum ice extent is caused by slightly warmer ocean water. The open water causes the higher, marine temperature environment in the Arctic that we have seen lately which is a very significant aspect of the higher global temperatures that are sure to doom us all, dontcha know? This is all a fabricated and deliberately misstated and temporary feature of the longer Arctic ice cycle.
    The planet is probably actually warming very slightly and slowly from the LIA but it is a good thing and has nothing to do with CO2. That warming is probably due to deep ocean currents which affect climate on longer time scales of hundreds or even thousands of years. The fantastic contortions of logic that the AGW mainstream uses to avoid investigating these phenomena speak to the utter falsity of what they call their “science”. It is a joke!

  24. Um, you’re quite underestimating the alarmists’ creativity. It ain’t over til it’s over, and OSISAF shows the way with their Arctic Sea Ice Extent graphic at (click the graphic to get the latest). Their “Operational Product” which shows this year’s mundane Arctic minimum is progressively being replaced by their official “Climate Data Record” which lags 6 weeks behind and displays a considerably lower sea ice extent. I see little connection between the two — the operational product is being wholly superseded and will never be heard from again, once replaced by the “climate data record”, but OSISAF can claim they used the observations. So the “official” minimum will be pronounced in 6 weeks’ time, and it will conform to whatever they want it to be. Wait for it, and take screen shots in the meantime.

    • I guess they must err on the side of caution with the operational product, which I assume is for use by mariners plying to/from Danish Greenland. They would want to avoid a situation where a sea captain could accuse them after he has found dense ice in a sea-lane which they had declared to practically ice free.
      Even so, I can’t understand how this sea-ice measurement is so different to the others.

  25. It seems to me that the Arctic sea-ice benefitted greatly from a number of “the right sort” of storms during the Arctic winter. While the alarmists were all alarming about and getting their shorts in a twist about some anomalously high temperatures (but still well below freezing), they don’t seem to have noticed that these were caused by storms. I remarked to someone at the time that these storms would probably be beneficial because they would a) compress and compact the ice so that it became thicker and stronger; b) facilitate the creation of new ice by cyclically opening up leads and then freezing them over again.
    While summer storms tend to destroy the sea-ice (as in 2007 and 2012); winter storms create and strengthen it.

  26. Is it ok to question “the record” ? The mean, as I understand it, begins just after the horror stories of the pending ice age of the 1970s which ended a nearly continuous temperature decline from the 1930s. I understand the satellite record just happened to start in 1979, but why are we continuing to ignore the starting point for “the record” aligns with laser precision at the end of a cooling period in 1981? What’s up with that? And then the end date for the extent period is what – 2002? What the hell’s up with that? Did I miss the memo that this period 1980 – 2002 is sacred and untouchable? This should be a Monty Python skit.

  27. they are liars, two storms compacted ice in the beaufort sea late 2016 early 2017, it was clear as day on sat images breaking up and compacting the ice, NASA are pathological liars

  28. Arctic sea ice is rapidly growing. Next year is liable to elicit yet more lame excuse-making from alarmists, when summer minimum again makes no new record low.

    As often happens in late September and early August, Antarctic sea ice has been growing for three straight days. It probably won’t keep going to make a higher high than in mid-September, but this gain augurs well for next year. It was low ice due to freak spring weather events which set up this year’s lower than normal Southern ocean sea ice. More pain and suffering in sight for Warmunistas in 2018.

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