Arctic Ice Natural Variability

By Javier

A year ago I wrote an article at WUWT analyzing the recent upward trend in summer Arctic sea ice extent. Despite challenges of statistical irrelevancy, the trend has continued another year. Arctic ice experts, that have repeatedly predicted the demise of summer ice, don’t have an explanation for a 10-year trend that contradicts their predictions, beyond statistical variability or unexplained natural variability. They believe the upward trend will end any year, and there were high expectations that 2017 was going to be that year, due to the low maximum in March. As we will see a low maximum has no predictive value.

However, the upward trend was predicted by Divine & Dick in 2006, based on the analysis of Nordic sea melt-season ice changes for the period from 1750-2002, where they identified two periodicities of ~60-80 years and ~20-30 years.

our results suggest that the Arctic ice pack is now at the periodical apogee of the low-frequency variability. This could explain the strong negative trend in ice extent during the last decades as a possible superposition of natural low frequency variability and greenhouse gas induced warming of the last decades. However, a similar shrinkage of ice cover was observed in the 1920s– 1930s, during the previous warm phase of the LFO [Low Frequency Oscillation], when any anthropogenic influence is believed to have still been negligible. We suppose therefore that during the decades to come, as the negative phase of the thermohaline circulation evolves, the retreat of ice cover may change to an expansion.”

So, when nearly every expert was predicting the collapse of Arctic summer ice, these two Norway-based researchers correctly predicted the trend observed for the past 10 years.

In science your hypothesis can only be correct if it not only explains, but also predicts the behavior of the studied phenomena. Therefore, the hypothesis of Divine & Dick is superior to the more popular hypothesis that assigns sea-ice behavior to the anthropogenic effect. For this year’s article I have decided to examine the hypothesis of Divine & Dick to analyze the importance of natural variability on summer Arctic sea ice evolution.

I am using NSIDC monthly Arctic sea ice data for March and September available here. The data are plotted in figure 1.

Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent

Then I define the melt value for the year X as the September X value minus the previous March X value, resulting in a negative number. The refreeze value for the same year X is the March (X+1) value minus the previous September X value, resulting in a positive number.

Plotting the Melt and Refreeze curves on the same graph produces the amazing result shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. Arctic sea ice melt-refreeze cycle.

Both curves are very close. So close that the winter growth in Arctic sea ice is >80% predictable based only on the ice extent lost in the previous melt season. In fact, I can predict that the Arctic will gain between 9.3 and 9.7 million square kilometers from this past September to March 2018.

I’m not sure how surprised you are by this result. I don’t doubt this must be known by plenty of ice researchers, but I haven’t seen it reported anywhere despite reading a great deal about Arctic Sea Ice. This result leads up to some very important conclusions:

  • Arctic sea ice dynamics are driven by unpredictable melting. Freezing is reactive and largely predictable.
  • This indicates a very strong negative feedback in action. A small melting is followed by a small refreezing, and a huge melting by a huge refreezing. Surprisingly this is not known by many ice experts that expressed surprise after the huge refreezing that followed the huge 2012 melting.
  • The negative feedback stabilizes sea ice. Alarmism and spirals of death are unjustified.
  • The much-touted albedo effect can only have a small effect in the Arctic, as the lost ice is recovered during the following “dark” season, during which albedo has no role. An example that evidence always trumps logic.
  • Inter-annual changes in sea ice are due to the small residuals indicated in the figure by the colored areas. Red for decrease and blue for increase.
  • Around 1998 Arctic sea ice changed its dynamics and entered a period of higher volatility. One possibility is that below a certain size the Arctic sea ice sheet becomes more unstable and sensitive to weather phenomena.

To continue, we must concentrate on the annual difference between melt and refreeze. I define the anomaly for a year as the summation of the melt that occurs on that year and the refreeze that starts on that year and ends in the next year. This produces another amazing chart.

Figure 3. Arctic sea ice extent anomaly

The anomaly graph is very homogeneous for the 38-year period analyzed, despite huge changes in Arctic sea ice. So, there are more interesting conclusions to be extracted from the data:

  • The yearly anomaly appears to be range bound. No positive or negative changes bigger than 600,000 square kilometers are observed.
  • Despite periods when the anomalies are skewed towards one side, overall the observed linear trend is flat at –53,000 square kilometers/year. This means no acceleration of the Arctic sea ice loss is observed for the 38-year period, during which atmospheric CO2 levels have increased enormously to values not observed in over a million years.
  • This result supports the hypothesis that cyclical changes in ice cover, over time, average out. As opposed to the hypothesis that ice cover loss is accelerating due to an increasing anthropogenic effect.

Since the loss of ice during the melt season is the driving factor in the Arctic sea ice dynamics, I have constructed a very simple model to explore the relationship between natural and anthropogenic factors in Arctic changes. The model rests on unproven assumptions and is not intended to represent or predict Arctic sea ice changes. It is simply a learning tool that uses several of the proposed mechanisms acting on ice. The main assumption is that to be observable above the high noise of September ice data, the four main factors, thought to participate in the process, must be between 15 and 33% responsible for the observed changes.

Figure 4. Components of the Arctic sea ice melt model

The first component (A) is a 21.33-year sinusoidal oscillator that is set to explain 25% of the observed variability.

y = (-0.25) sin 0.2944 (x)

The lows of the cycle are identified at 1990 and 2012 based on local minimum ice values.

The second component (B) is a 65-year sinusoidal oscillator that is set to explain 33% of the observed variability.

y = (-0.35) sin 0.096664 (x+24) – 0.306

The low of the cycle is placed at 2007, when the current upward trend started, and when North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures started to decrease.

The third component (C) is the anthropogenic factor based on atmospheric CO2 changes. It is set to explain 24% of the observed variability.

y = 0.5 – 3.2 Ln ([CO2]/290)

The fourth component (D) represents the long term natural variability, since the end of the LIA. It is essentially the ~ 1000-year cycle. Since it is very long term, it can be adequately represented for a short period with a line that is set to represent 17% of the observed variability.

y = (-0.34/32) x + 21.04

The model is initiated at 1980 at a melt of –8.1 million square kilometers

Such a simple model is not expected to adequately represent a complex phenomenon that likely responds to many more factors, but it reproduces the general shape and behavior of Arctic sea ice melt, and compares well with a polynomial fit to the data.

Figure 5. Arctic sea ice extent melt.

By comparing figure 5 and figure 1 we can see that the melt graph is extraordinarily similar to the September extent graph. As we have seen, Arctic sea ice dynamics are driven by the melting. The model therefore can be set to reproduce and project September Arctic sea ice data into the future. For that I have used RCP 4.5 scenario that contemplates a stabilization of CO2 levels at around 540 ppm soon after 2100.

Figure 6. September Arctic sea ice extent.

While I don’t expect future Arctic sea ice data to follow the model, I do expect it to perform better than the models that are based mainly on anthropogenic factors. As I said the goal of the model is to examine the possible effect of the different natural and anthropogenic factors on sea ice dynamics. It can be seen as a graphical representation of Divine & Dick hypothesis with fictitious but reasonable values.

I do believe we are entering a period of Arctic sea ice stabilization, and even expansion, that should last until around 2042, and this is a prediction in stark contrast with IPCC’s ice models that see an end to summer Arctic sea ice by 2040-2080 for most scenarios and near constant decline until then.

High sea ice variability could produce some ice-free summers around 2075, but the conditions for the existence of summer Arctic sea ice are likely to remain for the foreseeable future. By 2100, atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to stabilize in the more credible RCP 4.5 scenario, and the millennial cycle is expected to change phase, so there won’t be a net negative ice driver. From then on, Arctic sea ice should start growing for many centuries to come.


286 thoughts on “Arctic Ice Natural Variability

  1. How reliable are sea ice measurements from before 1980? As that was probably near a recent peak in what is a cyclic phenomenon in the post 1980 record, do the relationships apply in the earlier records?

    • They are quite reliable for a few areas and not reliable at all for most. It is better not to use the whole Arctic data reconstructed by some authors, as it is different from the reconstructions by other authors.

      • In August you thought it was “obvious” , now you are “surprised”.

        Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
        August 11, 2017 at 6:59 am

        Interesting. Is there also a shift in the freezing season?

        August 11, 2017 at 7:06 am

        Obviously. It goes from the same dates, just the other half of the year.

        August 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        Not so obvious, since they only share one date. They can not be totally different but looking at freezing period gives another outlook on the dataset which has very few points and large variability.

        But thanks for confirming my results, even if you used a less rigorous method, simply using monthly averages rather than daily data.

      • Yes, but not with the right instruments and the right frequency to reconstruct arctic sea ice as since 1979.

      • javier, regarding the current arctic situation ,what if anything could be expected from the stage of the amo we are in at the moment . when the ice extent began decreasing to the low of 2007 the regime was warming ocean water with cooler but warming air temperatures . now we have warm air temperatures with a cooling atlantic as the amo heads toward the cooler part of the cycle.

        i would imagine this will have an effect in terms of water capacity of the atmosphere in certain areas leading to impacts on snow and rain fall. i note on the east coast of scotland fog was something rarely seen for many years, the last 3 years have seen an increase in foggy days, on my part of the coast anyway.

        thanks for post, you are always an enjoyable clear and thought provoking read.if my above query makes no sense just ignore it .

      • There is also the difference between how wet and dry snow accumulates volume and effects how stable it is to melting.

      • Bit chilly,

        It’s just difficult for me to answer because of my limited knowledge of the issues involved.

        The relation between AMO and September Arctic sea ice is clear, except when below 5 million square kilometers.

        AMO appears to have reached peak and is starting to decrease. The decrease in AMO means that winter NAO is likely to be more often negative. NAO is the difference in pressure between Iceland and the Azores. When winter NAO is negative westerlies are weaker, weather systems over Western Europe are weaker, and conditions are colder.

        The weaker westerlies mean less contribution from the subpolar gyre to the North Atlantic current, that becomes warmer and releases more humidity over Western Europe all the way to Norway. The colder conditions means more fog and more snow.

        A solar minimum makes the whole situation stronger, like in 2010, when NAO was very negative and there was a huge snow storm over Western Europe.

        But as everything that involves weather we are talking about increasing probabilities, not determinism.

  2. “So close that the winter growth in Arctic sea ice is >80% predictable based only on the ice extent lost in the previous melt season. ”

    I’m confused as to why this would be surprising…..probably from lack of coffee right now

    ..if open water allows more heat to escape

    • That is the most probable explanation. But it is not what we have been told repeatedly. Albedo was supposed to be driving sea ice collapse. Low ice leading to lower ice, not recovery as is observed.

    • I would have thought this was utterly obvious. There’s an area that freezes in the winter. All things being equal it will freeze. If it is already frozen, it can’t double freeze.Thus the only areas that CAN freeze are those that have melted.

      • As you say, utterly obvious. But climate scientists appear to be professionally charged with finding ways around the utterly obvious.

      • There is one more thing Javier is missing
        This has been discussed before on Blogs.
        he just doesnt read outside his bubble

      • @Mosher, instead of trying to be mysteriously wise with “There is one more thing Javier is missing” why don’t you put that ‘one more thing’ forward ? Put up or shut up.

      • The one big thing I see is that one big storm at any time during a cycle can massively skew any forecasts or projections of the sea ice in any metric, be it extent, volume, or age. This is why I think it is ludicrous to try and use Arctic sea ice as a proxy for climate except in multi decadal time frames.

      • RAH,

        Thirty-year averages are however meaningful.

        The thirty years 2013-2042 are liable to average higher than the interval 1983-2012.

      • Willy Pete, you have got to be kidding, or unable to read any of the information presented to you in the post above.

      • We’re off to a good start, with the five years 2013-2017 showing a higher average minimum than 2008-2012.

      • Steven says obvious irrelevant trivia: that I don’t read blogs where this has been discussed previously. He forgets that I say in the article that I am sure plenty of people know about this. The comments leave very clear that some people known, but plenty don’t. So the article fulfills its double goal of informing and fostering discussion. It is actually very good news that so many people already know about it. The level of awareness about climate is rising and it will be more difficult to deceive people.

        I already knew that Arctic sea ice acts as an insulator. I have read several articles on that. I knew that more heat is lost when the ice cover decreases. What I didn’t know was that the data fitted so well as to essentially reduce albedo role to a small factor. If science was so clear, why have some scientists claimed that albedo was an important factor driving Arctic sea ice collapse?

        The Arctic is an important battleground between skeptics and believers. Polar amplification has been reduced to Arctic amplification, and if that is lost, if Arctic sea ice grows consistently for decades, that battle will be lost by believers. Not by science because science always wins.

        Arctic sea ice has been growing for 10 years, yet you won’t read a single newspaper headline about it. One would think that in a planet obsessed with climate change that would be newsworthy.

      • Javier
        “Arctic sea ice has been growing for 10 years, yet you won’t read a single newspaper headline about it”

        It’s far worse than that. What one finds are many headlines stating or implying the exact opposite. One of many such postings from Tony Heller’s blog:

      • “Steven Mosher October 5, 2017 at 8:42 am
        There is one more thing Javier is missing
        This has been discussed before on Blogs.
        he just doesn’t{sic} read outside his bubble”

        No details. No facts. Zero direct observations.
        All Mosher has to use is all emoting and hand flailing.
        i.e. When Mosher starts with ad hominems, his arguments are toast.

      • Anymore I mentally tack onto the end of any Mosher post the phrase ‘You won’t believe what happens next’.

        It really helps me put them into proper prospective.


      • I know this is hard to believe but most people think that the Arctic ocean is freezing cold, not the main source of the warming and melting of ice. Warm(ish) water entering the basin cools off – no big surprise there. So, how? By escaping through the ice which is cooled on top and warmed from below, or, directly by infrared radiation and evaporation. Water radiates strongly in the IR, even more than ice which is a strong emitter.

        Also, naturally, people tend to automatically think that the whiteness of ice is responsible for it being ‘reflective’. Of visible light, yes. Of IR, no. It is nearly as black as water at IR wavelengths.

        So what we have is a seriously flawed model of how the Arctic loses energy and ice by melting (or not) proposed by people who really ought to know better. This message is spread to a public that thinks ‘visually’ not the way a thermodynamicist does.

      • Steven Mosher October 5, 2017 at 8:42 am

        One of the many things that you are missing is an elementary science education.

      • “he just doesnt read outside his bubble”

        Mosh lives inside a bubble gum bubble. !

        WAKE UP, mosh .. get away from BEST,

        they are POLLUTING your mind and your relevance.

  3. “They believe the upward trend will end any year, and there were high expectations that 2017 was going to be that year, due to the low maximum in March. As we will see a low maximum has no predictive value”
    I think low volume and ice thickness already has prediction quality. Only the question is, was the Arctic sea ice really thin and without volume or did the various US American ice thickness institutes just juggle? We should not forget that in December 2015, the Paris Climate Conference was held, no one, really no one expected Trumps victory in November 2016, and a Hilary would have needed only a hand-proof for the dramatic global warming to make with the Republican-dominated house the Paris climate deal under a Pres. Hilary. I maintain that these ice thickness measurements 2016/2017 were pure climate alarming for the purpose described above, not covered by Cryosat2. On the contrary, Cryosat2 shows in its measurements that the volume was by no means down. And second, Cryosat2 showed a better distribution of the ice thickness compared to the previous years in the Arctic basin. Although the ice thickness was not as high as in previous years short above the Canadian archipelago, it was increased in the rest of the Arctic basin (despite the supposedly warm winter). For comparison:
    Spring 2017:

    Spring 2012:

    Spring 2011:

    2013 an 2014 the spring thickness was also arctic wide lower, but the weather was in the summer favorabler for the ice.
    The Arctic sea ice thus depends less on the air temperatures in the winter than thought, but more on atmospheric pressure conditions and sea currents. Finally, a thick ice cover acts as an isolator, so that from a certain ice thickness (I estimate it to 1.30 meters first year ice) no change in thickness due to low or high air temperatures can occur, but this is then done by other patterns.

    • Back when congress was debating the great ozone scare, NASA produced a report that showed, for the first time in history, an ozone hole over the arctic.
      In no small part, because of this paper, congress, which had been wavering, went ahead and voted for the Montreal Protocols.
      The next year NASA announced that there had been a “mistake” in interpreting the data, and there never was an Arctic ozone hole.
      A very convenient “mistake”. NASA unfortunately is getting better at creating this kind of “mistake” whenever their political masters need scientific cover.

    • The arctic sea ice, although covering only a small part of the earth’s surface, is best suited to demonstrate global warming. And it is not far from global warming to human-made global warming. So we will see many such “predictions”. And if they were not to stand out, they did not harm the agenda of the Scarmongerians. Because it is so beautiful: What care my words of yesterday.

  4. This may be the most revealing post on Arctic sea ice I have ever seen here at WUWT!
    Especially the Figures 2 and 3 deserve widespread attention.
    I have one question for dr Javier: could he expand a little on the millennial cycle that he refers to?

    • Hi Wilt,

      The millennial cycle I refer to is a ~1000 year quasi-cycle in solar activity that is corresponded by the same periodicity in climate variability. It was detected in solar cosmogenic isotope proxies. It is very clear during the first 6000 years of the Holocene, when it corresponds to every peak in the Bond series of increased iceberg activity in the North Atlantic, and to other long proxy records of temperature and precipitation.

      After about 5000 years BP the cycle became inconspicuous, both in climate and solar proxies, but it has increased again since ~ 2000 years ago, maintaining the same phase, with its highs marking the Roman, Medieval, and Current Warm periods, and its lows marking the Dark Ages Cold Period and the Little Ice Age. The new apex in this cycle should be around 2100 AD.

    • i am sure a few people on the arctic sea ice forum will take your bet.many of them are convinced it will be gone any day now. jim hunt was the only person i could find to take my bet a few years ago. the bet is out to 2022 though the group providing the metric appear to have stopped reporting . even though i gave him all the advantages by using sea ice area, not extent, it doesn’t look good for him at the moment. time yet though.

  5. Arctic temperature variability is a clear example of a plain and simple natural variability but an explicit explanation is not readily available.

    • Another Vukcevic correlation from way out in the wild blue yonder!

      Three comments:

      1. Your graph ends in 2000. Why?

      2. Are you ever going to start theorizing about possible mechanisms that might underlie your correlations between climate things and geophysical or geological things?

      3. Arctic geomagnetic field. The geomagnetic field varies in space as well as time. The field that you plot (with quite high precision) is at what location(s)? Could the changes you plot (if they come from a single location or a localized group) be related to the moving magnetic pole? Which seems to be accelerating.

      Need more info, but as ever, thank you Vuk, for thought-provoking observations.

    • Arctic temperature variability is due to sea ice extent. The ice extent is determined by the water temperature.
      Low ice extent means marine climate in the Arctic, high heat loss and cooling ocean temperatures. After several years of this the water cools to a point where the ice extent begins to increase again.
      When the ice reaches maximum extent the water temperatures start to rise as the ice insulates the water from heat loss.
      The accumulation of heat in the Arctic and its eventual dumping during low ice conditions is the cause of the ~60 year cycle we see in climate conditions.
      The open Arctic water and associated heat dumping are the main factor affecting global temperature
      This phase is over! It will become colder and drier for the next 20 or 30 years as the ice grows

      • That’s exactly what I have been saying after analyzing my own results. It will be cooler and drier at the higher latitudes and you will get more clouds and rain / bad weather at the lower latitudes. The latter is already happening, for quite some time. The colder and drier at the higher latitudes is what I am waiting for. Anyone, any reports on this?

  6. Good grief, a diagram purporting to describe the Arctic variability with sine (or cosine) and a bunch of other curves, when everyone knows that only one curve describes the Arctic’s variability and that is a death spiral.

    • Its only a death spiral …. until it ceases to be a death spiral and reverses and turns into a glaciation spiral.

      What are you going to say then??

      • Oh my, I’ll say — “Oh NO!”

        We need the planet warmer! Just like the Roman optimum when life and getting food was easier. And nobody died because of rising sea levels — clever buggers those Romans…

        However I get your point, solar low point approaches (Paris Accord date 2020 — coincidence?).
        As I’ve survived the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, I know how fast the climate can change, and I know that the kids today do not understand what cold is! It can so easily get worse than that — back to 1800s? I hope not.
        Till then we have the heartfelt humanity of John P. Holdren to keep us warm —

        “The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.”
        Obama’s science czar John P. Holdren, Co-author of “Ecoscience”

        P.S. I lost the /sarc-Off from the original comment.

        [The mods noticed that lost /sarc, but elected not to insert it. .mod]

    • I wonder who the “everyone” you say knows the Arctic is in a death spiral actually is?
      Perhaps fashion designers, Hollywood actors and other experts? Or former tobacco baron Al Gore whose various predictions are giving science fiction a bad name?
      I think I’ll form my own opinion based on some of the factual evidence on this site coupled with the failure of all the death spiral claims by your “everyone” and their deaf (to reason) spiral.

      • Your list of the most respected and honored members of civil intelligentsia “hits the nail straight between the eyes!” (as Ben Jabituya says in Short Circuit). :)

      • If you start with Al Gore, Jr. being the son of a U.S. Senator, Al Gore, Sr., then you might not weaken your statement with Jr. being a “tobacco baron.” Had either been tobacco barons, politics would not have been a way of life for them.
        Of much more value to the Gores than tobacco was the relationship between Armand Hammer, of Occidental Petroleum, and the $20,000 per year payments for (useless ?) mineral rights.

        If you also think Al Gore owns a mansion on a beach, you will find that science fiction, too.
        [ BTY, I think Jr. is a bore, a moron, and should be charged with crimes against humanity. ]

  7. Dr. Javier …. great article. Time will tell how accurate you are with regards to % attribution. However, what about adding in the 5th impact, which is a linear increase since the halocene optimum?

    Based on historical sea level rises and falls, and other long term data, I think we are just seeing wiggles in the data on its way to a complete glaciation. History tells us that we will gradually fall back into a glaciation, and no amount of CO2 is going to stop that from happening. I personally don’t think that the melt will reach as low as your model predicts, unless you have data showing such levels have been reached before within the interglacial/glacial time spans of previous glacial cycles. According to the study discussed here at wuwt … … arctic ice was less during the optimum, as would be expected. Today, ice is greater than 6000 years ago, and I’ve seen no evidence that says we are heading back to Climate Optimum conditions.

    Like I said, … just wiggles. I would not be surprised to see that your “floor” of 2 million is too low …. But then … I probably won’t be around to see if your model is correct in 2080 either. :-)

    • Yes, I will ask my grandkids to set an alarm for 2080 to check this prediction – by then hopefully someone will have invented a way to get the message back to me, wherever my being is located. In the meantime (I mean my remaining time), it looks like ice growth and vindication will be my pleasure to observe.

    • IMO 2012 shows us what the floor is for the Current Warm Period, ie ~3.3 million sq km. No doubt it was lower during the Holocene Climate Optimum, and the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. But earth has been in a long-term cooling trend since the Minoan, if not before.

    • Dr. Deanster, you might be right. It all depends on how much sea ice is capable to grow over the next 25 years to see how well it will resist the next warming period. Given that from 1980 to 2012 September sea ice lost 4 million square kilometers the possibility remains. Also the negative feedback could become stronger the less ice is left, preventing the floor to fall below a minimum.

      I agree also with the glaciation part. Climatic history repeats itself. That much is clear. We are lucky we are around for the warm part.

  8. Anyone have a view as to how this might have played a role:

    NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face – Nov. 2007

    Begins on this note:

    PASADENA, Calif. – A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming. [..]

  9. Any effect of CO2 on Arctic sea ice is still negligible. It was negligible at 322 ppm and is still negligible at 402 ppm.

    • This year was vital, since without a new record low, it would have meant the first time since 1979 in which a lower low didn’t occur within five years. Now the barn door is open. There is unlikely to be a new low for decades, without freak weather events such as those which caused the 2012 record low.

      Arctic ice should continue on an uptrend for around 25 to 30 more years, extending its current five years of growth, which happened despite a Super El Nino. Sea ice extent might have peaked in 1977, the year of the PDO flip, rather than 1979, when dedicated satellite observations began, for a 35 year decline cycle. The increase cycle ought to last about as long.

      • Except a blast of solar winds (from a coronal hole), like that which happened intermittently between November to January last winter, would decrease Arctic ice while freezing the brass knockers off any intelligent beings trying to live just south of the Polar region.
        We are in a relatively unknown era of what the effects of this solar minimum might do in the next decade or so. Was there a coronal hole persisting during the LIA? We just don’t know. What causes a coronal hole?

      • I don’t know, but paleoclimatic data show the cyclicity of Arctic sea ice in the Holocene and prior interglacials, from whatever causes.

      • My surmising is about what triggers a rapid cool down further south from the pole (like the LIA).

        Yes the coincidence of ocean cycles occurring during a solar minimum, but a few persistent blasts of solar winds would start a more rapid and colder movement of the freezing weather southward.
        Maybe then the cooling ocean cycles would just maintain the established cold regime (and later ensure a larger and thicker polar icecap) until the oceans cycles change over to a warmer period. And by then the combination low solar output and the vast area of ice and snow (high albedo) covering the land, conspire to ensure the exit from the cold period is slow.

      • Tom,

        Increased solar wind might well have an effect, in concert with generally lower solar activity during minima such as the Spörer, Maunder and Dalton of the LIA.

  10. So if I read this correctly, he is predicting roughly 15 million square kilometers of sea ice at peak in March. This feels like science – a theory, a prediction, and a chance to test it. So far, the “powers that be” have failed spectacularly, so it looks like we have a contest between this theory, and whatever models of sea ice the AGW crowd have.

    This is likely to require many bags of popcorn…

  11. Javier,
    Clearly, arctic ice extent is driven by the solar cycles
    which we [at least you and me] have mostly identified.
    The question that still remains with me: what is driving the SC’s, exactly?

  12. At maximum ice extent (circa 1970-ish) The ice insulates the ocean from heat loss and protects it from the wind (which in the Arctic is a powerful agent). In this phase Northern air temperatures are low, albedo is high and the ice is fairly self protecting and sustaining.
    While this condition persists, however, the ocean temperature creeps higher year after year due to the insulating effect of the extensive ice. The total rise in ocean temperature is probably only a few tenths of a degree but it accumulates.
    Eventually, the higher ocean temps thin the ice and it becomes unstable.
    The winds take over and begin to destroy the ice. The reason for this is that the ice perpetuates itself by limiting the interaction between wind and waves. So once this destructive phase starts it accelerates toward the minimum conditions we have seen up to 2012.
    The lower ice extents cause higher air temperatures as the Arctic becomes much more of a marine climate. This causes higher global temperatures just by this regional effect. This is a a high heat loss condition. The Arctic dumps its accumulated heat. We are past the peak of that as the hiatus shows-the Arctic ocean is cooled and the ice is beginning to grow again. We are headed for 20-30 years of colder temps.
    Where does the Arctic ocean gets its heat from?
    I think probably the Pacific mostly but that would be a job for a little research. It won’t be found through computer models. I believe this is the cyclic mechanism that explains the ice variability AND the recent warming phase AND why the warming phase has stopped.
    It also means that any effect from CO2 is completely overwhelmed by natural heat loss mechanisms inherent in the climate system which should be readily apparent to anyone with even a minimal knowledge of physics.
    This entire climate fiasco is an embarrassment to science. Hundreds of scientists spending millions of dollars and not even looking in the right places.
    Dendro-chronology for Christs’s sake!

    • Interesting hypothesis, John. It might contribute to the maintenance and reinforcement of the ~20 and ~65 year oscillations. But the oscillations manifest also in temperatures, sea level, wind, and the speed of rotation of the Earth. Its cause is likely to be outside the Arctic, but as it appears that the energy for the oscillation is mainly provided by internal variability, the ice seesaw you describe could very well contribute to it.

      • Thank you Javier. I have great respect for your contributions on this site as i find them logical, coherent and well stated and supported. My hypothesis is only that, but I do believe it stands up logically. It depends I think on infiltration of slightly warmer water into the Arctic during the phase when ice is around its maximum. As this mixes with the existing ocean water it raises temperatures by a few tenths of a degree over 20-30 years until the destruction of the ice begins.
        If you look at the Arctic temperature plot on the sidebar it clearly shows that temperatures are radically different ( and higher) now than the long term average. I realize this is only some sort of averaged temperature but it says to me that we are seeing marine temperatures now as opposed to frozen sea surface (high ice extent) temps in the past.
        My hypothesis is the only explanation I can think of for this. The sea temp must determine whether the sea freezes or thaws. The air temperature is the result.
        The insulating effect of the ice and its reduction of wind induced wave action is the delay mechanism that creates the extended cycle.

      • John,

        I agree that water temperature is determinant in the freezing of the sea ice. Abnormally high winter air temperatures don’t appear to affect ice extent much. The heat is essentially lost to space through radiation, and the very cold, dry, winter polar air doesn’t contain much energy to start.

      • Javier
        Air temperature increases are due to the heat dumped during low ice conditions versus lower air temperatures during the maximum ice, heat retention phase. I was not aware of any sea level periodicity but if that exists it could be explained by the air temperature cycle caused by this mechanism. Sea level reality is extremely difficult to even determine. It is a separate issue which may be related in some ways, as is the case with the other cyclic indices you mention. It certainly isn’t difficult to see a connection between Arctic ice, heat loss and wind patterns and strength.

    • John Harmsworth, I suppose that the arctic gets most of its heat from the Atlantic Ocean. In an article (in Dutch, see figure 13) Jan Ruis performs a linear regression of an AMO version with arctic sea ice area. His conclusion is that the AMO explains 80 % of the arctic sea ice area variability. The frequency and the phase of the AMO agree very well with the 65 year cycle Javier applies in his analysis.

      • Exactly. And the AMO is most likely driven by the geography of the North Atlantic + Earth’s revolving driving the AMOC. I would also agree this is probably 80% of the variability with maybe 20% due to other factors.

        Also keep in mind there is a large lag between the AMO and amount of ice in the Arctic. It takes time to melt all that ice with a difference of at most 1 C at the surface.

      • Interesting. I wish I could read it but I expect my rudimentary German wouldn’t help me enough. Regardless, I believe that cyclic heat loss in the Arctic is huge and important. This so-called science is infested with government grant whores staring at computer screens while the elephants of climate variability stomp and trumpet all over the planet unseen and unheard by those whose religion forbids questions.

      • No problem on that point. It was a guess on my part. The important thing is how this explains ice extent variation. I believe this, in turn explains most of our climatic variation on multi-decadal scales. At least in the N.H. The Arctic stores vast amounts of heat for decades and then dumps it for decades. Any heat loss delay caused by CO2 is lost in the noise of this process .
        It is utterly laughable that a field of study has been built on this. I can’t wait to see how they explain global cooling in terms of global warming! CAGW is an eco-Socialist political gambit, not science at all.

      • this is how is see the big picture as well john .i think the best we can hope for is the longer the physical climate confounds the “experts”,some of them will start looking at the natural processes happening right now .models and re analysis data certainly seem to be leading many down the wrong path.

      • You would think that the evidence we already see (expanding sea ice, record Antarctic extent just two years ago and 60 years into catastrophic warming, 18 year hiatus, mass gains on multiple ice caps, no troposheric effect as the AGW hypothesis requires) would have the science self reflecting by now.
        That just demonstrates that it isn’t science at all. It is an evil deception perpetuated by Socialists and radical environmentalists who seek to destroy Capitalism and rule over us.

  13. Javier, this recent article bolsters your conclusion. It decribes the internal variability and the limited role of the ice-albedo-effect. The author writes:” …These headlines were usually related to claims that the Arctic would lose its remaining summer sea ice within just few years. The underlying reasoning of such claims was often related to a discussion of a possible ’tipping point’ that is related to the ice-albedo feedback. Given the substantial loss of Arctic sea ice in the past few years, the ocean could potentially absorb enough heat to rapidly melt the remainder of the sea ice cover.
    However, our current understanding of the Arctic climate system strongly suggests that this reasoning is unrealistic. A first indication for this finding derived from model experiments in which all Arctic sea ice was synthetically removed from the Arctic Ocean at the onset of summer, thus maximising the possible ice-albedo feedback (Tietsche et al., 2011). Despite such maximised feedback, the ice cover recovered in these experiments within just a few years. This is because on annual time scales, negative feedbacks dominate the evolution of the Arctic sea ice cover. Three negative feedbacks are particularly important: First, the open ocean very effectively releases its heat to the atmosphere during winter, causing a rapid loss of much of the heat that was accumulated in the icefree water during summer. Second, the thin ice that forms during winter can grow much more rapidly than ice that survived the summer, because heat can more effectively
    be transported from the ocean to the atmosphere when the ice cover is thin (Bitz and Roe, 2004). Third, as ice forms later in the season, it will carry a thinner insolating snow cover as any snow fall occurring before ice
    formation simply falls into the open ocean (Notz, 2009)

    The alarmistic predictions of a “cliff” in the next few years are contrary to the scientific knowledge, pure propaganda.

    • Sounds about right. Another unrecognized factor may be that the old, thick ice that tends to survive longer into the summer is probably ice that has been piled and folded by the wind. Many of these are pieces of former pan ice and can be piled up into min- mountains that are 30 or 40 feet high and very resistant to melting. They can make up quite a bit of the overall ice pack.

    • Hi Frank,

      Thank you for the citation. Some of its conclusions agree with the observations discussed here. However the claim that 3 square meters of ice are lost per ton of CO2 emitted that they seriously claim look to me as science fiction.

      I’ve always been a Sci-fi fan, perhaps that is why I like climate science so much. Always describing interesting things that will never come to pass.

      • Hi Javier, I think one should not take the AGW-metrics in the article too seriously because every scientist must make some accomondations especially when he makes such strong statements versus the propaganda. And this is what counts in the end…

    • The range of albedos of ice and sea water overlap. Also, it’s hard to overcome that T⁴ radiative energy dump during the winter night. There will always be ice at the Arctic in winter.

      • this is a point often lost on arctic alarmists. it does not matter how much energy the arctic ocean gains in the summer when ice extent is low. it loses all of it and then some come winter.incoming solar energy in the arctic is only net positive for around 10 weeks from what i can see.

  14. From the conclusion in this paper —
    Arctic Decadal and Interdecadal Variability
    Igor V. Polyakov
    International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Mark A. Johnson
    Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    The recent retreat of arctic ice requires an understanding of whether the ice reduction is a persistent signature of global warming due to anthropogenic impact on climate or it is a minimum of a low-frequency natural climate oscillation…

    …Vinje [2000] using observations over the past 135 years showed that the recent decrease in ice extent in the Nordic Seas is within the range of natural variability since the 18th century. A combination of century- and half-a-century-long data records and model integrations leads us to conclude that the natural low-frequency oscillation (LFO) exists and is an important contributor to the recent anomalous environmental conditions in the Arctic. This mode of oscillation is related to fluctuations in the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic [Delworth and Mann, 2000]. Comparison of the century-long NAO index time series and half a century time series of the polar region SAT, SLP differences, and wind vorticity index shows the existence of the LFO mode in the latter time series. There is evidence that the LFO has a strong impact on ice and ocean variability.
    Our results suggest that the decadal AO and multidecadal LFO drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult.

    Published in GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 27, NO. 24, PAGES 4097-4100, DECEMBER 15, 2000

  15. Javier, as you can see it’s hard to impress most commenters on this site. For me, this is an elegant analysis. I like your use of the four factors, one of which the CO2 warming. It will be interesting going forward to adjust your initial attribution among the factors. With CO2, proving to be less and less a major connection to warming (presently 3x too hot), it seems a prime factor to adjust downward if your model runs below observations on ice extent.

    One factor to consider is the ice thickness dimension. When ice extent is growing, 2yr, 3yr…extent is expanding and this serves to preserve extent going forward, even if annual growth is modest. It seems, coupled with your model, some estimates of the different thicknesses might be reasonably forecast.

    One other point to make is that such a finding by Divine & Dick and your work is impossible to discover if you slavishly adhere to a foregone conclusion of a consensus. No consensus ‘scientists’ would see the value in examining the data to discover something new if they won’t accept something can be new. How dull and routine is consensus science!

    • Hi Gary,

      as you can see it’s hard to impress most commenters on this site.

      As it should be. Curiosity and skepticism should be the main attributes of anybody interested in science. I welcome skepticism to what I say as much as to what others say. Let the evidence speak by itself.

      And yes, good science is always open to being challenged. That consensus climate scientists are trying to shut down opposition is a very bad sign. Good science is always reinforced from being challenged and surviving.

    • How dull and routine is consensus science!

      While there is a lot of truth in that, I doubt whether Vavilov found being starved to death in a Socialist Workers’ Paradise gulag (as a result of Lysenko’s consensus science) “dull and routine.” It was evil then and is evil today.

  16. Yes, Javier! Very informative. It seems whenever actual science is directed at this issue the CO2 monster disappears and natural variability is found and better understood.

  17. Hey! Where’s Griff! Somebody tell him the good news! We’re headed for miserable cold and failing crops! Icesome!

  18. That model is rather strange. Over the plotted time interval, the “anthropo” component is almost linear, so why introduce another explicitly linear component? Also, where to the exact parameters of the sinusoid components come from? The numbers quoted from the Divine-Dick paper are a lot more vague (“~60-80 years and ~20-30 years”). I’m not sure we can “learn” anything from this model.

      • He considers three local minima, and he assigns them to two distinct “cycles.” Fixing a cycle based on <=1 period of observation isn't possible. This could only be justified when a longer preceding time interval were taken into account. I assume he did that, but it should be made explicit.

      • Michael,

        This article is only about Arctic sea ice, but the 60-80 year oscillation is well known in climatology. It was first described in an article in Nature in 1994 by Schlesinger and Ramankutty, using data since 1850.

        Schlesinger, M. E., & Ramankutty, N. (1994). An oscillation in the global climate system of period 65-70 years. Nature, 367(6465), 723-726.

        The timing varies depending on the system being studied as described in the “Stadium wave” hypothesis of Wyatt and Curry, 2014. In the North Atlantic the change took place in 2007:

        This is the same year Arctic sea ice stopped decreasing, so it is the obvious choice for the 65 year oscillation minimum.

      • Javier,

        “Stadium wave” hypothesis of Wyatt and Curry, 2014. In the North Atlantic the change took place in 2007: This is the same year Arctic sea ice stopped decreasing, so it is the obvious choice for the 65 year oscillation minimum.

        According to the monthly NSIDC data you linked to, Arctic sea ice did not stop decreasing in 2007. It has decreased at a rate of 0.724 million km2/dec since Jan 2007 (to Aug 2017).. That’s a total loss of around ~ 3/4 of a million km2 of sea ice in that period.

        In what sense does this represent a halt in Arctic sea ice decrease?

      • Javier

        We are comparing September to September data. The increase since 2007 is clear.

        Yes, but this is a cherry-pick.

        You only want to discuss the month of minimum extent. A reminder that it was *you* who linked to the monthly data from NSIDC, and that this monthly data shows a continued strong decline since 2007, irrespective of year-on-year September values.

        If all you are saying is that sea ice extent during the September hasn’t changed much over the past 10 years then I’d agree 100%. But that’s trivial.

      • DWR54,

        It is not cherry pick. It is standard practice to follow March data for the maximum and September data for the minimum. That’s what the Danish Meteorological Institute does for example. Here is the graph they use from OSISAF (Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility) from the European Meteorological Satellite service

        If the minimum (September data) is not going down, the Arctic is not melting. That much is obvious.

    • Two linear components are required. One to represent anthropogenic effect and the other to represent natural long-term variability that is known to exist. After all the world has been warming for over 350 years, long before emissions became significant.

      • They are significant enough to raise atmospheric CO2 levels. What effect that atmospheric CO2 has is a different issue.

      • I read your comment to mean that increased CO2 had a significant effect, not that emissions raised CO2 significantly, which I agree they have done. Sorry if I misunderstood.

        Going from 316 ppm in 1959 to 404 ppm in 2016 has had not detectable effect except to increase plant growth, a good thing. The world continued cooling from 1959 to 1977, as it had dramatically since the 1940s, despite increasing CO2. Then, after the PDO flip in ’77, it warmed slightly until c. 1999, a Super El Nino year, then stayed flat or cooled slightly until 2016, another Super El Nino year. Hence, no discernible GHE from 88 more parts per million of essential trace gas.

      • The question is not whether two linear components are “required.” If they are both linear, you can’t separate them by fitting; assigning them separate weights becomes arbitrary.

      • Willy Pete. One cannot say this small amount of CO2 is insignificant. It supports all life on the planet and the bit more that has accumulated has caused a greening of the planet and in particular added 14% more forest. With 3 trillion trees on earth, that’s 420billion new trees.

        We humans are expanding habitat and have doubled harvests and are making an enormous economic contribution to a prosperous and healthy planet with our emissions. Now perhaps the warming is only a fraction of what alarmists calculate and that part might be insignificant but we’re this molecule known to the ancients it would have been the basis for a gassy deity.

      • Michael,
        Of course it is arbitrary. Nobody can separate natural warming from man-made warming. If CO2 levels stabilize or natural warming turns into cooling we can make some inferences.

      • Gary Pearse October 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

        You are correct that the fourth molecule of CO2 per 10,000 air molecules which we now enjoy and benefit from has had a significant effect on plant life. Arctic sea ice, not so much. As in, not at all.

      • Willy Pete

        Going from 316 ppm in 1959 to 404 ppm in 2016 has had not detectable effect except to increase plant growth…

        Apart from the observed the surface and lower troposphere warming, of course.

      • DWR54 October 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

        Please show how you determined that whatever warming has occurred since 316 ppm CO2 is due to that increase.

        Also please explain why the earth cooled so dramatically for 36 years, from 1941 to 1977, while CO2 grew rapidly.

        And also why the atmosphere has warmed more slowly and less than the surface, if AGW be the control knob on warming.


      • Willy Pete – The 1940 – 1970 cooling can be easily attributed to the massive increase in industrial aerosols in war and post-war boom. Aerosols, whether natural (volcanic) or anthropogenic (industrial aerosols) have a known cooling effect. The Clean Air Acts of the 1970’s, designed to deal with smog, resulted in fewer industrial aerosols and hence the warming trend from the 1970’s onward.

        How you you explain troposphere warming and stratospheric cooling?

      • Jack, that you can explain the cooling in terms of aerosols does not mean that the explanation is correct. The aerosol cooling effect has been assumed, to match the observed cooling (after reducing the cooling).

        One of the problems of the CO2 hypothesis is that it requires a different explanation for every phase of the 65 year oscillation in temperatures. The 1945-75 cooling due to aerosols, the 1975-2003 warming due to CO2, the 2003-2014 pause due to something unknown. People defending this hypothesis must have not heard of William of Occam and his famous razor. A single 65-year oscillation is the most economical and therefore probable explanation for all the phases. This means CO2 effect is lower than assumed. The paleoclimatological data agrees with a low effect for CO2. The first 20 ppm of CO2 take care of the biggest part of its effect. At above 100 ppm it is mainly the plants that care about changes in CO2. Going from 300 to 400 ppm hasn’t changed much the warming rate that was taking place prior to our emissions.

      • So according to hypothesis we should look for positive correlation between Arctic temperatures and NAO/AO. Has this been done in those terms?

      • Javier

        So according to hypothesis we should look for positive correlation between Arctic temperatures and NAO/AO. Has this been done in those terms?

        Down south, the time-relationship between changes in the Antarctic sea ice (daily anomaly) and the northward-flowing Peruvian current “might” appear to easily relate to the El Nino and La Nina changes (warmer water or cooler water off the Peruvian-Equadorian coasts), but the “classic” time-motion images for water oscillation across the Pacific show warmer water “regions” moving AGAINST the southern equatorial currents. If water were warmed by increased sunlight absorption around Antarctica, then flowed north by Chile, then turned at Peru and headed west towards Polynesia, these warm spot would go the other direction. Or the simulations that create the images could be flawed. Or surface currents might be different than deeper circulations. Or the time lag doesn’t match the time-needed-at-current-speeds doesn’t match.

        I don’t know the answer, nor the relationship. But it is worth looking at deeper.

      • Seems like a fair assessment. We know very little of the Atmosphere we can see and far less about the deep oceans we have. With Jet Stream changes we have modern technologies that monitor them from space. In the depths of the ocean’s only a limited few in submersibles know how deep currents differ from surface currents.

      • Javier

        So according to hypothesis we should look for positive correlation between Arctic temperatures and NAO/AO. Has this been done in those terms?

        For the Arctic, what needs to be studied BY MEASUREMENT (by computer models) are actual flows into the Arctic Ocean basin through the Bering Strait: Flows at each depth over 15-20 years, temperatures at those flow rates, temperatures and flows from the (few, but very large) freshwater rivers into the Arctic from Siberia, Northwest Territories, and the small ones in Alaska. Maybe try the outflows through the Davis Strait and Greenland Straits, but the bouys would be wiped out by the deep icebergs regularly going past, grounding and eroding the granite and mud.

        regardless of outflows, you’d know the energy inflow (mass x cp x temperature) changes over time. Don’t know what you would know, but you would know how they changed.

      • Willy Pete

        Please show how you determined that whatever warming has occurred since 316 ppm CO2 is due to that increase.

        I haven’t determined it so much as the broad scientific community. The impacts of all other known forcings on climate have been assessed by numerous studies over several decades and a clear consensus has emerged: that the observed temperature rise post 1950 is inexplicable without considering the increased radiative forcing brought about by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Also, that the observed warming would be even higher were it not for the countering effect of man-made aerosols, which have, over the same period, acted as a dampening force on surface warming.

        Also please explain why the earth cooled so dramatically for 36 years, from 1941 to 1977, while CO2 grew rapidly.

        You say the earth “cooled dramatically” between 1941 and 1977. In fact, the rate was -0.006C per decade cooling (GISS). If that rate’s “dramatic” then how should we describe the +0.175C per decade warming seen from 1978! Setting that aside; no one is saying that greenhouse gases are the only short-term drivers of climate. As previously mentioned, even human activity affects climate in different ways. The post-war period was one of heavy industrialisation with little thought given to emission reduction. Pumping billions of tonnes of reflective sulphates into the upper atmosphere has a cooling effect. That, alongside natural dampening effects like declining PDO and AMO over that period are the likely explanation for the (very slight) cooling trend between 1941 and 1977.

        And also why the atmosphere has warmed more slowly and less than the surface, if AGW be the control knob on warming.

        That’s a question that requires an answer no matter what’s causing the warming, since it would be a consequence of surface warming whatever its source. As far as I know it’s only really in the tropics where there is a big discrepancy between the models and the satellites. The latest RSS global TLT and TTT products actually show a faster rate of warming in the troposphere since 1979 than GISS shows at the surface.

      • “So according to hypothesis we should look for positive correlation between Arctic temperatures and NAO/AO. Has this been done in those terms?”

        Of course, but needless to say very messily with their fundamental premise being the reverse of reality, they claim positive NAO drives Arctic warming (the Q+A link):

      • DWR54 October 6, 2017 at 5:05 am

        The broad scientific community has no clue what are all the forcings on climate. It’s preposterous to imagine that they do, or that they’ve properly assessed the known knowns. Clearly, they haven’t, since the models have failed so miserably.

        We do however know that the early 20th century warming was indistinguishable from the late 20th century warming, hence, no space for an increased CO2 forcing exists. We also know that for all but about 20 of the 72 years since the end of WWII, during which time CO2 has risen, earth has cooled dramatically or stayed about the same temperature. Again, no CO2 control knob on climate. We also know that the air has warmed less and later than the surface, ie the exact opposite of what the AGW conjecture predicts.

        Case closed.

      • Willy Pete,

        I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate, but:

        We do however know that the early 20th century warming was indistinguishable from the late 20th century warming, hence, no space for an increased CO2 forcing exists.

        Is not necessarily true. It is possible that natural warming has been decreasing and anthropogenic forcing increasing giving an indistinguishable warming. The assumption that natural warming has continued at the same rate is just another assumption, same as the assumption that it is no longer operating and all warming is anthropogenic.

  19. So you seem to be saying that if the ice disappears in summer then the winter recovery would be a record large amount? – and we should therefore be overjoyed ?

    • Ghalfrunt,
      Your choice of emotional response (“…We should therefore be overjoyed?”) is irrelevant. Javier is illustrating physical relationships in summer arctic ice melting and winter arctic ice freezing rates.

    • The world would be far better off with less summer Arctic sea ice rather than more, but that’s unfortunately probably not what is going to happen in the next 30 years as in the previous three decades or so.

  20. The 2014 Wyatt and Curry stadium wave paper concluded something similar. So did Akasofu’s 2010 paper. This is an excellent additional contribution. IMO Arctic ice is one of the major memes that will prove fatal to CAGW

  21. But, but … The “world’s foremost expert on sea ice” (Peter Wadhams) says “A Farewell To Ice”. (But I think his well-wishes are disingenuous.)

  22. vukcevic
    seems you have picked up on the relationship between earth’s magnetic field strength and the arctic melt.
    Hence to explain my results showing warming in the NH and no warming in the SH: i.e the inner core of earth has shifted….
    Very much like a magnetic stirrer effect – the sun being the source of the change.
    My question is still the same: what moves the solar polar magnetic field strengths, as per the known SC’s
    My results indicate a correlation with the planets’ position and the solar polar magnetic field strength but is it caused by the [position of the] planets?

  23. Javier, thank you for the essay.

    How exactly did you “set” the parameter values to obtain the target R^2 values? Or is it not R^2 but something like the % of the amplitude?

    That’s within the model. What is the R^2 value for the fit of the model to the data?

    • Hi Matthew,
      I assigned the percentages of variability. I don’t know enough about the variables involved in sea ice melting and I saw no point in running a multiple regression that would be as incorrect as my quick and dirty approach. I didn’t bother calculating their correlation. It is bound to be very low and improve slightly if I start smoothing the data to eliminate weather variability, but why bother? The model is incorrect from design. Its purpose is just to illustrate the effect of the oscillations discovered by Divine & Dick so people can have a visual image on how they can affect future Arctic ice evolution.

  24. We noticed this trend several years ago: Each extremely low-Sept Arctic sea ice extent has been followed by a very high March-April Sea ice extent.
    Now, the reverse is true most years: Low sea ice in March-April-May causes increased heat loss from the now-open water through the summer, and subsequently higher-than-recent-normal September sea ice recoveries.
    Now. low sea ice in June-July-August DOES increase the heat received into the open Arctic waters, and DOES tend to cause somewhat more sea ice levels during the Sept minimum. But those low Sept sea ice extents cause more cooling Sept – Oct – Nov – Dec – Jan – Feb _ Mar and parts of PAril, and so sea ice goes back up.

    Realize that I am addressing sea ice “normals” based on recent years. How high sea ice was 38 years ago when the satellite record began in 1979 can have nothing to do with recent 2006 – 2017) sea ice levels. The ocean waters mix through the Arctic too much for 38 years for long-term average levels to matter.

      • Yes, very interesting RACookPE1978. The jumps in 1998 and 2007 are very noticeable in the data. These climate shifts are not well understood, and impossible to explain in terms of a constantly increase in CO2 forcing.

      • Javier

        Yes, very interesting RACookPE1978. The jumps in 1998 and 2007 are very noticeable in the data. These climate shifts are not well understood, and impossible to explain in terms of a constantly increase in CO2 forcing.

        What is sobering about the +3 million sq kilometers jumps (after the admitted record low points in Sept of the preceeding year!) is that the recoveries alone were 1-1/2 times the ENTIRE area of Greenland.

        In June 2014, at the days of record-breaking highest-ever Antarctic sea ice area, the “excess” anomaly around Antarctica alone was larger than the entire area of Greenland.

        Now, granting that the CAGW alarmist propaganda was able to completely ignore that increase, it is not surprising they chose to ignore the spring rebound after their 2006 and 2012 well-advertised low points. (However, they then subsequently managed from April 2016 through today to erase 1.3 million sq kilometers of Antarctic sea ice (The Cryosphere staff at University of Illinois Urbana retired/quit at this same time, but I will NOT claim any conspiracies).

        Regardless, the Antarctic sea ice has continued to its steady increase after its sudden drop in 2016 when the Cryosphere sensors failed at 3.16 Mkm^2. Coincidentally, the sudden loss of 1.3 Mkm^2 of Antarctic sea ice equals the total area of the Antarctic shelf ice – previously specifically excluded from the Antarctic sea ice totals by all ice labs. A program difference is likely.

      • Javier,

        The pronounced growth in Antarctic sea ice from 1979 to 2014 is also inexplicable if CO2 has any effect on sea ice extent.

      • Willy Pete,

        Observations in one of the poles are not very applicable to the other pole. Antarctica is climatically isolated and surrounded by oceans and the Southern Annular Mode. Then there is the issue of the polar seesaw. There is the observation that sea ice appears to follow opposite trends in both poles. Whether they are connected or not remains unknown at present.

      • Javier,

        If the man-made GHG warming hypothesis were valid, Antarctica is where it should be most noticeable, but it’s not at all. Indeed, just the opposite has occurred there. Antarctic sea ice has a much greater effect on planetary albedo than Arctic sea ice.

        If there is a seesaw, then obviously natural factors totally swamp out whatever minor effect comes from having four rather than three molecules of CO2 per 10,000 dry air molecules, and 400 water vapor molecules in the tropics.

        The repeatedly falsified hypothesis of significant global warming from 88 more ppm of CO2 in 57 years should have been laughed out of the room long ago. If increasing CO2 causes Arctic sea ice to diminish, then why did it grow from the 1940s to 1970s, while CO2 rose?

      • RACook,

        There are times I have wondered if El Nino is simply a response to high Antarctic sea ice levels.

      • The “Combined Sea Ice Trend” graphic is wrong. Antarctic sea ice, because its latitude is closer to the equator every day of the year, and because the Arctic sea ice is exposed to what little sunlight arrives at the earths surface in May-June-July (when TOA radiation levels are at their minimum), absorbes or reflects 1.7 times the yearly energy that Arctic sea ice reflects. Arctic sea ice is also darker (lower albedo) during its summer months than Antarctic sea ice does during its summer months in Dec-Jan-Feb. Arctic sea ice tends to melt from above rather than below, so there is almost no second and third year (thick) Antarctic sea ice.
        You are drawing a simple, flat-earth linear extrapolation for the arctic. Why? For ten years now, the Arctic sea ice anomalies have been oscillating about a steady average, NOT decreasing. Drawing a straight line 30-year-everybody-knows-climate-uses-a-thirty-year-average just because everybody uses a thirty year straight line average is a grade-school stunt. Not “science”.
        Now, granted, we do not have enough information to even plot a complete half-cycle of the visible short-time cycles. But there is NO evidence of ANY linear trend.

      • RACookPE1978 – I gather you are unaware that 30 years is the standard for the WMO when considering climate. I expect that the meterologists at WMO have more that grade-school education.

      • Jack Dale

        I gather you are unaware that 30 years is the standard for the WMO when considering climate. I expect that the meterologists at WMO have more that grade-school education.

        And I am well aware of how many trillions of dollars of carbon futures trading, how many trillions of dollars of new tax revenues, and how many billions of dollars of their future grants, travel allowances, lab budgets, and promotions depend on the “assistance” and support of the EPA, the NSIDC, the NOAA, Mann, Hansen, and their tens of thousands of academic-government cohorts in government-paid research industrial complexes. Yes, thirty years is the definition of “climate”. So why are they not using the most recent years of sea ice areas for their “average” sea ice extents? Because it makes their propaganda less effective.
        Why are they ignoring the 216 MKm^2 of “excess” Antarctic sea ice in June 2014? That “little area” was larger than Greenland. But they promote one tiny crack – that didn’t float off. It moved sideways a bit because of pressure from behind due to increases in land ice!

        Those who chose to deliberately ignore (potential) 70 year cycles and extrapolate straight lines using only 30 years of data would have to argue against elliptical orbits in favor of perfect circles around the earth, wouldn’t they?

      • Long term linear trend (with a few cycles) of Arctic Sea ice Extent

        The linear rate of sea ice decline for September is 86,100 square kilometers (33,200 square miles) per year, or 13.2 percent per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. For comparison, the decline rate was calculated at 13.7 percent after the 2013 minimum, and 13.4 percent in 2016. Although sea ice shows significant year-to-year variability, the overall trend of decline remains strong.

      • And what is the nice, neat straight-line projection for temperatures from December through July? Makes the next December very high doesn’t it?
        What is the nice, neat pretty straight line approximation for energy reflected from each sq meter of sea ice at 60 degrees north latitude from March through late May? Makes the total energy reflected very large (huge, even!) by late July, doesn’t it?

        But there is NO sea ice south of latitude 70 by the middle of July. It all melts away every year in the Hudson Bay, Bering Strait, and Sea of Okhotsk. There is NO energy reflected (or absorbed) by sea ice after Hudson Bay clears up each summer.

        How much sea ice does your simple little straight line show was present in 1975? In 1965? 1935? In 1925? You do realize that, once your theoretical linear straight line for Arctic sea ice is drawn larger than 14 Mkm^2, there is no more room for sea ice in the Arctic Basin. You MUST “add” sea ice – according to your simple little nice straight line – to regions south of the arctic basin. And those areas are very, very small until you reach regions below Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska, Kamchatka Peninsula and Japanese Sea.

        That nice simple straight liine is easy to use for propaganda. It is also dead wrong.

      • RACookPE1978 says: “I am well aware of how many trillions of dollars of carbon futures trading…”

        Really, please show me your data displaying “trillions” of dollars, specifically the market(s), the volume and the recent pricing information.

      • Nice straight line is a mark of deception through IGNORANCE

        late 1970s was an extreme up there with the extremes of the LIA.

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

        Those graphs are the ultimate in Climate Change DENIAL, because they show the farcical DENIAL that the current Earth temperature is still only just above the COLDEST period in the last 10,000 years.

        Ignorance and DENIAL is all the arctic sea-ice bed-wetter have in their mindless yapping

  25. It’s basic. It’s 101.
    If you step back and ask fundamental questions
    You will see.
    If you can’t see it…when I point it out you will deny it.
    You have to look.
    Just look.

    Why is winter growth so predicable.


    • Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
      Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
      All mimsy were ye borogoves;
      And ye mome raths outgrabe.

      [Twas broken, the mod’s spellchecker, and their rath’s tumbled the gymbling wabe. 8<) .mod]

    • Hi Steven
      “It’s basic. It’s 101”
      My daughter is currently travailing along west coast, only couple of hours ago she got off route 101 at Legget now driving to Mendocino,
      basic no sir, “very impressed” she said in her whats app comment

    • Thank you for once again demonstrating that you either can’t, or won’t defend the claims you make.
      I must also give you credit for an excellent attempt to move the goal posts.
      The issue is not the fact that ice increases when it gets colder, it’s how the extents of the ice vary from year to year. As you already know.

  26. I admit I don’t have the time to research everything to find if this has already been done… With Arctic and Antarctic Poles having opposite Winters and Summer’s. How much ice does one gain in Winter and the other lose in its Summer. With the Axis tilt and the changing elliptical orbit from more eliptical to a rounder elliptical that occurs periodically effect the ice more at one pole than the other? Solar Magnetic Reversals effect planet orbits. Active Cores like Earths Magnetic Core move when the Magnetic Poles of the Sun change and they have their own reversals or partial reversals that effects our magnetic field by reducing it and then increasing it to a different level of stability. Something occurred that made our Magnetic Poles move more rapidly in the past decade. You cannot expect that to not change how the Solar Radiation enters the Atmosphere.

  27. In Canada, ice scientists invite artists…

    Artist onboard

    Ho was inspired to write his Arctic Symphony in 2010, following his participation as an “artist onboard” for a tour of Canada’s Arctic on the CCGS Amundsen. This was an initiative of scientist David Barber, who invited artists from various disciplines to visit the region.

    Barber, the “rotten ice” guy… with millions in grants…

    Propaganda at every corner

  28. Am I missing something or is Javier not predicting a “death spiral” for Artic Ice? His model has a number of
    oscillating terms which average to zero plus two terms which are monotonically decreasing and so the only long term trend in his model is the complete disappearance of artic sea ice.

    • He indicated the Millennial cycle would peak in 2100 which would then change the direction of that decreasing trend. I suspect we are at the peak of that cycle at the present time so would change the direction of that cycle right now.

  29. Around 1998 Arctic sea ice changed its dynamics and entered a period of higher volatility. One possibility is that below a certain size the Arctic sea ice sheet becomes more unstable and sensitive to weather phenomena.

    Generally, I disagree – when refuting a hypothesis – that an alternate explanation is required. Why provide the “one possibility is…” segue into a separate discussion? That way, your alternative explanation can be attacked without addressing your core points.
    As for another possibility, how about ocean floor volcanoes? So far as I can see, no real effort has gone into determining whether or not have millions of tons of molten rock under the ice might have an effect. In either the Arctic or Antarctic.

  30. Unless I am missing something Javier is predicting a “death spiral” of the Arctic sea ice. His model has
    a number of oscillating terms which average out to zero plus two monotonically decreasing terms and so
    the only long term trend is downwards leading to the complete disappearance of sea ice at about 2100 or
    so which agrees with all the other climate models based on rising CO2 levels.

    • Germinio, you have looked at the figures but have not read the article. I believe lower summer ice extent will be taking place around 2080-2100 if the assumptions are correct, but by 2100 the CO2 levels are expected to stabilize and the millennial cycle will change to a cooling phase, so from then on summer sea ice should start growing for centuries. While an occasional “free-ice” summer could take place, I believe summer Arctic ice is in no risk of disappearing.

  31. Javier,

    I am surprised that the AMO isn’t mentioned in this article! Isn’t this the longer 65-year +/-cycle that you refer to?

    The AMO, AMOC, PDO, etc appear to have good explanatory power for both temperatures and ice extent. CO2 not so much. A very simple hypothesis is that as the AMO turns to a negative cycle over the next 30+ years that Arctic ice extent will increase to levels seen in the late 70’s. My reading of the ARGO data is that the North Atlantic is cooling from below, as a consequence, the ice extent in the artic and snow accumulation in Greenland are increasing.

    • Hi Nelson,

      I discussed the AMO in relation to Arctic sea ice in last year article. I even cited Miles et al., 2014 that have analyzed precisely that issue.

      AMO is one of the several records that display the 65-year periodicity. However I am convinced that both AMO and Arctic sea ice are responding to the same cause rather than one being the cause of the other. Perhaps it is the NAO, or perhaps it is the AMOC. We don’t lack candidates. The “Stadium wave” theory that I subscribe suggests me that this is simply a climate resonance that travels through the system, created and timed by some external forcing, but amplified and modified by the energy within the system. Just a thought.

      The most likely cause of the North Atlantic cooling is increased upwelling, coupled to lower solar forcing. Another explanation not necessarily incompatible is a higher contribution from the subpolar gyre versus the subtropical gyre to AMOC.

      We always have the comments to increase the level of the discussion, but I wanted to keep the article simple and to the point.

      • “stadium wave” is an accurate description…..of all things that are naturally buffered
        …that’s exactly what they do….wax and wane around some set point

      • “The most likely cause of the North Atlantic cooling is increased upwelling, coupled to lower solar forcing.”

        But the North Atlantic has warmed since 1995 ‘coupled to lower solar forcing’.

      • When I say lower solar forcing, I mean lower than average, not decreasing. Lower than average solar forcing started around 2005, coinciding with the extended Eddy solar minimum (2008-2032?) that is currently taking place.

    • “the ice extent in the artic and snow accumulation in Greenland are increasing”. Just a thought. Could it be that low arctic ice extent would result in an increase in Greenland snow accumulation due to sea effect snow (like lake effect snow) ?

  32. And no mention that current levels are still in the top decile fro sea ice extent for the last 10,000 years

    The ONLY time sea ice extent has been higher was during the Little Ice Age.

    According to Icelandic sea ice charts, the late 1970’s extent was up there with those LIA extremes.

    Arctic sea ice is still anomalously HIGH compared to most of the Holocene.

  33. It’s still wiggle-matching in which both wiggles are semi-constrained–geographically on the upside, zero on the downside.

    ∆ = Xmar2017 – Xsep2016 + Xsep2016 – Xmar2016 = Xmar2017 – Xmar2016

    The wiggles match horizontally because Mar and Sep are 6 months apart.
    The variation is small because Xmar doesn’t vary much from year to year.

    • You have it backwards. Xmar doesn’t vary much from year to year because the variation in melting and refreezing is small.
      Xsep2016 – Xmar2016 approximately equal to Xmar2017 – Xsep2016.
      Separating cause from consequence is often difficult, but not in this case.

      • Xsep2016 – Xmar2016 is a large negative number. Xmar2017 – a large positive number. No way are they “approximately equal.” Xmar is the independent variable; variation in Xmar is a dependent variable and does not exist independent of Xmar(n) and Xmar (n-1). You’re right, though; separating cause from consequence is not difficult in this case.

  34. I didn’t check every five year interval since 1978-82 and 1983-87, but am pretty sure that 2013-2017 is the first such period to show an increase over the preceding one, 2008-12. (Sea ice for 1978 is available from non-dedicated satellites and other estimates.)

  35. The article is O.K., as far as it goes, but it is like the vast majority of the climate doomsday predictions. Data points are collated and analysed, trends are identified, then predictions are made.

    There is very little understanding of the factors involved and it is, at root, yet another exercise in curve-fitting. The article’s predictions may well be correct but, lacking a fundamental understanding of the processes involved (and how they all interact), it is likely that, as time passes, the predictions will deviate ever further from observed reality.

    • The point of the article is not to make an accurate prediction, Sceptical lefty, but to highlight the importance of natural oscillations on Arctic sea ice, to provide an explanation for the current upward trend, and to predict that the new trend could last until around 2022, and that Arctic sea ice could be stable until around 2045.

      It is a very different Arctic ice scenario than the one postulated by the consensus hypothesis of IPCC.

  36. “This indicates a very strong negative feedback in action. A small melting is followed by a small refreezing, and a huge melting by a huge refreezing. Surprisingly this is not known by many ice experts that expressed surprise after the huge refreezing that followed the huge 2012 melting.”

    Surprisingly this is not known by many ice “experts”… fixed it. Al Gore is an ice “expert” dontchaknow…

    • Much of the 2012 refreeze came from the fact that ice hadn’t really melted. The late summer storm merely turned a lot of it to slush, which the satellite sees as water.
      Slush refreezes a lot faster than does open water.

  37. Just for reference, here is the melt from maximum to minimum amounts over the last 10 years. (NSIDC)

    And the day 244-273 (September except leap years) gain of sea ice in the last 10 years

    • That’s hardly a long-term trend. It doesn’t show the shockingly low ice of the interwar years, for starters.

      Long-term, as in the past 3000 to 5000 years, land and sea ice have been increasing.

      • That is because, according to Milankovitch cycles, we should be in a cooling period which we are not.

      • Jack,

        Milankovitch only cares about very long time frames in human terms. You cannot measure temperatures for 150 years and say that they go against Milankovitch theory. Such multi-centennial warming periods are common in Holocene temperature records. What matters to Milankovitch is that the first millennium AD was colder than the previous one, and the second millennium AD was colder than the first, despite last century warming, because it contains the coldest period in the Holocene, the multi-centennial LIA. As long as the third millennium AD is colder than the second, Milankovitch theory will be intact. We are only 17 years into the third millennium. It is ridiculous to claim that the third millennium is going to be warm at this point.

    • And you KNOW that current levels are in the top decile of Holocene sea ice levels.

      What scam are you trying to push ???

      • Gee -about 2.5 centuries we started to dumped 1.5 trillions tonnes of CO2 a known GHG, into the atmosphere. Using carbon isotope analysis the 40% can be directly attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

      • Poor Jackass.

        Still ZERO evidence of any CO2 warming

        You really are at the very bottom of that deep, deep hole, aren’t you.

    • Jack,

      Some LT trends for you.

      Arctic sea ice lower than now in circa:

      6000 BC (Holocene Climatic Optimum resumed after 8.2 Ka cold event)
      5000 BC
      4000 BC
      3000 BC (End Holocene Optimum)
      2000 BC (Egyptian Warm Period)
      1000 BC (Minoan Warm Period)
      BC/AD (Roman WP)
      AD 1000 (Medieval WP)

      A pattern emerges.

      • Stein summarised a whole heap of proxy studies , based on very solid biodata in the following graph.

        (Some text added for the nil-informed, yes, you, Jack)

      • And the Icelandic sea ice charts clearly show the late 1970s as an EXTREME , up there with some of the EXTREMES of the LIA.

      • Andy,

        Why the 18th and 19th centuries were so high is a bit of a mystery. Global LIA temperature was lowest during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, ie the Maunder Minimum.

      • Things changed about 2.5 centuries ago when we dumped 1.5 trillions tonnes of CO2, a known GHG, into the atmosphere. Using carbon isotope analysis the 40% can be directly attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

      • Come on Jack… 250 year’s ago even Steam power was in it’s infancy and few used it. How could a global population of a few billion produce the amount of CO2 you say happened when the majority was still burning wood?

      • Friends, have you noticed that Jack Dale ignores everything you post?

        He also has made statements about how much CO2 has been emitted,but doesn’t make any case on why that is relevant.

        He wrote this at least twice now:

        “Things changed about 2.5 centuries ago when we dumped 1.5 trillions tonnes of CO2, a known GHG, into the atmosphere. Using carbon isotope analysis the 40% can be directly attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.”

        He has no idea what he is talking about since he didn’t explain why we should worry.

      • Jack
        Probably the optimum atmospheric CO2 concentration is in the region of 700-1400 ppm for plant vigour and ecosystem health, so lets all just hope there are enough fossil fuels in the ground to take us over the line. With clear evidence of CO2 starvation at the last glacial maximum, we’ve started returning fossil carbon to the atmosphere just in time to revitalise the biosphere. The wild is greening. This is GOOD NEWS. Urban “progressives” hide themselves from this fact seeing only grey and listening only to dystopia.

      • Why does everyone ignore that after the last glacial maximum ended and Earth began a warming period that evolution has increased flora and fauna and that increases fauna and flora exponentially increasing CO2 in the environment creating more flora that supports more fauna that produce more CO2 for the flora exponentially. The last glacial maximum killed most of the flora and fauna on land and in water depleting CO2 and thereby Oxygen production too. As the ice melted the trapped CO2 has been releasing back into the environment as well. Volcanic activities have increased too, so although one volcano doesn’t add much CO2 and aerosols… hundreds do. So even before the industrial age the Earth was recovering all by itself to create a more populated flora and fauna. Fossil fuels advantages are under appreciated because of the scientific community that has demonized them for political ideologies against Capitalism. We are not polarized enough in our messages against their demonizing of fossil fuels and our support of their benefits. Without the increase of Carbon Dioxide the Earth could not support the population of fauna that rely upon the increase of flora that rely upon the increase of fauna… Without the added CO2 it would have stunted the population of flora that by cause and effect would have stunted the population of fauna. We have been in the Defense Mode far too long and need to be in a Offensive Mode promoting the benefit of Carbon Dioxide. Global Warming failed to happen as predicted by the alarmist with the increase of Carbon Dioxide, proving their ideologies wrong. It’s time to educate the masses with a media that can counter the current media.

      • “CO2, a known GHG, ”

        Poor Jackass.

        Still ZERO evidence of any CO2 warming

        You really are at the very bottom of that deep, deep hole, aren’t you. Yet yo keep yapping.

      • Jack can always move to Siberia if he wishes to go back to the freezing cold of the LIA.

        But I bet he chooses a warm inner city ghetto, powered by fossil fuels, right Jack.!

  38. Javier,

    Thanks for putting in all the hard work. I appreciate this input. It seems a step in the right direction, because you seem more interested in what is “shown” than in “showing”. The problem with some of the early studies was they were seemingly far too enthusiastic about proving a particular point. Even an initial probe of their ideas tended to suggest bias was involved.

    As questions continued the bias was increasingly exposed. This swiftly separated the wheat from the chaff. The more classy people tried to answer the questions, and took steps to reduce bias. The “chaff” just got mad they were questioned. This resulted in all the silly stuff, where one was called a “denier” for asking a perfectly sensible question.

    Hopefully we are moving past all that. We can drop needing to only use data that politicians approve of. Instead we are getting down to the real business at hand. What is that? It is getting a handle on what to expect, weather-wise, so we can advise our fellow man whether they should buy more or less fuel, and advise fishermen where the fish may be found and farmers when to expect frosts. Such knowledge, if we grasp it, benefits all.

    I do have one reservation about focusing on “cycles” too much that I’d like to share. It involves the fact knowing that cycles occur doesn’t mean we understand the engineering involved. By “engineering” I mean the cause and effect, the nuts and bolts of why the sea-ice increases and why it decreases. It involves how the sea-ice is shifted by winds above and currents below, and also whether such winds and currents hurry or slow the melt.

    I myself have focused on “cycles” too much, in my curiosity, and have seen cycles utterly fail to produce the results I expected. Without going into the details of my botched forecasts, what I seemed to fail to do was understand the engineering. You can see, focusing on cycles, that opposite results can occur when a 30-year cycle hits bottom, and some other cycle is at a high point in one case, and at a low point in another. What you cannot see is what perhaps is a cycle we haven’t yet discovered, and is therefore described as a “rouge.” It manifests as an exception-to-the-rule. It happens outside our expectations, if we only see in terms of cycles.

    I think we also need to focus on what is actually the present tense, in terms of currents and ice and wind. The more buoys the better, in my book. Why? Because if we can learn more about the mechanics, we will be quicker to see when a “cycle” is not proceeding as expected.

    • Javier may have his own comment, I’m speaking for myself. But, I agree to a point with your comments. Good science begins with observation and measurements, progresses to speculation of what the causes are, and finally to experimentation and the generation of a theory. We are in the very beginning of this process with climate. We are observing and trying to measure what climate does. We have no idea what the causes are, just speculating at this point. A focus on measuring cycles, at this stage of the scientific process, is total appropriate IMHO. Climate science is not only not “settled.” It is barely even born.

      • “Climate science is not only not “settled.” It is barely even born.” That Andy May is what I’ve been saying most of my life. No one knows what it going on and yet all these scientist have the answer to the problem as Carbon Dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Science cannot prove CO2 does anything to the climate, they can only observe what effects are and the correlating CO2 amount in that time frame. We have all these scientist that have been taught by scientist that formed their ideologies decades ago and made them into reality by teaching it to others and calling themselves “Climate Experts”…and yet they cannot prove what happened in a test tube in a lab, happens in our environment that has thousands if not millions of variables. Climate Science is less than a century old with thousands studying some fraction separate from others studies and each comes to the same conclusion theirs is the most accurate and of the most importance to do something about it ASAP because of CO2. Even in my 1953 2nd edition Basic College Chemistry textbook by Joseph A. Babor professor of chemistry, College of the City of New York. Page 512 it says “There is a balance between the carbon dioxide liberated by animal life and other sources and that absorbed by plant life, so that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air does not vary to any great extent.” This comment is what was being taught back then. So student of those days, alive today, may still think that way and believe that the only way CO2 can increase is by burning fossil fuels as the media says it does.

    • Caleb,

      I agree that quasi-cycles are not to be trusted too much. Those of unknown causes can come and go or even change periodicity so an expected change might not happen when expected. However ignoring them because we don’t understand their causes and mechanisms is unwise. Quasi-cycles lead to quasi-predictability which is a step up from the unpredictability that comes from ignoring them. The unexpected pause, the unexpected lack of Arctic melting, all very embarrassing to science.

      If we accept their importance we can start learning what causes them. My hunch is that the tide example applies. Tides cannot be deduced from first principles despite understanding very well what causes them. They are specific for each port due to basin geometry and a host of other factors, so the only way to predict them is through frequency analysis at each port, something that it is now done by computers, and previously by “brass brains” machines, the first built by Lord Kelvin.

      The climate system is so complex and contains such chaotic elements, that understanding the cause of the climate oscillations might not lead to a good predictability. After all there is a reason why weather forecasts are not good after a fortnight.

      However while we are set in the CO2 hypothesis frame, we cannot accept the importance of natural climate oscillations, because they reduce the importance of the GHG effect and that is resisted by an important part of the climate community that has found a very good way of life from it.

  39. Folks you are making this far too complicated for the likes of Griff and Steve M. The whole “game” depends on selling the peons very simple statements. (1) We are burning every more fossil fuel. It increases the amount of carbon dioxide. Since humans are doing it it must be very bad. And (2) It is getting warmer so ice must melt wherever it is found. Remember a group of environmentalists got egg on their face when they announced that the melting of Arctic Ice was going to raise sea levels even faster than had been predicted. Then someone pointed out that their drink was about to overflow because the ice in their glass was melting. Not!

  40. There is no upward trend in summer arctic ice.

    The volume and thickness consistently declines: this year’s extent was in lowest 3 till near end of August.

    and there’s a downturn in winter ice… it is freezing with the same lack of speed we saw last year and heading further towards ‘lowest x for this date’ territory

    • Griff, you are denying the reality of climate change.

      Unlike ice extent that is measured, ice volume is modeled. No point in trusting a computer output over what our satellite eyes see. It is unlikely that the Arctic ice sheet is transitioning from a pancake to a crepe.

      Do you care to predict next year minimum to see if you fail as spectacularly as this year? I have shown my prediction of a continuation of the current upward trend to 2022.

      • Observations by whom? There’s nobody in the Arctic and it’s huge. And checking against observations is proof that is not measured. Extent is not checked against observations because it is an observation.

        Why are we going to believe the volume, when we have the extent that is measured?

        Are we supposed to believe that when extent is growing year after year, the non-measured volume is going down?

        The believers are truly capable of believing anything. Hey, Griff, I have a book that was written by God himself. The consensus agrees on that. Are you interested?

    • Poor Griff, Climate change deniêr extraordinaire.

      You KNOW that current levels are FAR above any time in the large 10,000 years, apart for the Little Ice Age , and the late 1970s (which had similar extremes.

      Why do you continue to DENY CLIMATE CHANGE?

      Why do you continue to DENY that the world is really just a small amount warmer than the COLDEST period in the last 10,000 years?

    • I was aware of the negative feedback that more open water leads to more freezing. Everybody knows that. What I was not aware was how close the melting and the refreezing are. The two curves practically overlap.

      • Apparently not. Your words:

        “This indicates a very strong negative feedback in action. A small melting is followed by a small refreezing, and a huge melting by a huge refreezing. Surprisingly this is not known by many ice experts that expressed surprise after the huge refreezing that followed the huge 2012 melting.”

      • I have talked about the insulating effect of ice and the loss of heat by open ocean several times previously. It is the close match between melting and refreezing leaving only a small residual what I was unaware. One has to look at the data to see that the recovery is all done in a single season, and not spread over several.

      • Certainly you have graphed it in an interesting and useful way. But the negative feedback where relatively less Sept sea ice extent leads to stronger rebound in the following March and relatively more Sept ice extent leads to a weaker rebound, was not widely known, despite being in plain sight. Most people are busy looking at trends rather than making sense of the noise in the data.

  41. Captain obvious reminds me that maximum extent of sea ice is limited when the ice reach the land, which it does in arctic pretty much everywhere except between Greenland and Norway.
    So, while it may appear a surprise that the refreezing is more or less equal to the previous melting, it actually is not.
    That’s why we focus on the minimal extent, not the maximal

  42. Melting season summary:


    “The decline of Arctic ice didn’t set a record this year, with sea ice extent coming in eigth after record-setting 2012. On September 13, at the summer minimum, sea ice covered 4.64 million square kilometers; that’s 1.25 million square kilometers more than 2012.
    However, that fact was overshadowed by another: experts say what matters most in the Arctic is the total volume of ice — a combination of thickness and extent. 2017 saw summer volumes among the lowest ever recorded.
    The Arctic set still another record that concerns scientists: no other 12-month period (September 2016 to August 2017) has had such persistently low sea ice extent.
    The Arctic ice is therefore showing no signs of recovery, scientists say, and its decline is likely continuing to impact the Earth’s weather in unpredictable and destabilizing ways.”

    • griff says
      The Arctic set still another record that concerns scientists: no other 12-month period (September 2016 to August 2017) has had such persistently low sea ice extent.
      The Arctic ice is therefore showing no signs of recovery, scientists say, and its decline is likely continuing to impact the Earth’s weather in unpredictable and destabilizing ways

      henry says
      no need to worry.
      the amount of energy coming in is governed by the various SC’s one of which is the 1000 year Eddy cycle. There is indeed historical evidence that the Vikings colonized Greenland in areas that were only uncovered from snow and ice recently. These Nordic rumors of a NW passage at the beginning of the last millennium were indeed so persistent that the Dutchman Willem Barentz in the 16th century got a ship and crew to ‘find’ it. Unfortunately, as we know, he got stuck and he and his crew all lost their lives. That is why they now call it the Barentz Sea.
      So, where we are now, is exactly where we have been before, a 1000 years or so ago. There is no denying to it, as the records will show.

      That there is no man made global warming can be proven from simple observations.

      • Willem Barentsz was looking for a NE passage. His ship became entrapped in the ice near Novaya Zemlya where the crew stayed almost a year. Willem Barentsz died on 20 June 1597 on the return voyage. 12 of the original 16-men crew reached Amsterdam in November that year.

      • You tell me. The NE I can believe if I look at directions but I thought they all froze to death on NZembla. Have to check that. It does not change my narrative. Willem was convinced that a passage existed to the other side of earth which he must have surmised from nordic myths or stories being passed on from generation to generation. Javier knows all about the 1000 year Eddy cycle.

    • Well, since scientists have been consistently wrong on the Arctic, we will just extrapolate that and assume they are still wrong.

      Volume never mattered when extent was decreasing, and volume is the output of a computer model. It is to be trusted as much as CMIP5 models that are unable to reproduce temperature.

      • Javier October 6, 2017 at 10:54 am
        “Well, since scientists have been consistently wrong on the Arctic, we will just extrapolate that and assume they are still wrong.”

        The same goes for Griff.

    • “saw summer volumes among the lowest ever recorded.”

      Again with the abject ignorance of anything to do with Arctic sea ice.

      You are talking about an insignificantly short period of RECOVERY from the highest extents in 10,000 years

      The current levels are FAR above what they were for 90-95% of the last 10,000 years.

      So stop you monotonous chicken-little sea-ice bed-wetting, and face facts for a change.

    • Griff,

      Arctic sea ice has been growing since 2012. No amount of gibberish can change that fact.

      Antarctic sea ice is still growing here in mid-October. Yesterday it took out its September high.

  43. Javier – can you comment on the trend of advancing date of ice maximum and minimum over the last few years? Did it continue this September? This (unsustainable) trend is presumably leading to some kind of regime/state change.

    • Hi Ptolemy2

      Yes, the melt season ended on the 13th of September, with only one year, 2016, ending earlier for the past 11 years.

      In my opinion the trend is a reflection of cooler summers in the Arctic. According to NSIDC:

      “Looking back at this past summer (June through August), air temperatures at the 925 hPa level averaged for June through August were near or below the 1981 to 2010 average over much of the Arctic Ocean, notably along the Siberian side centered over the Laptev Sea (1 degree Celsius or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit below the 1981 to 2010 average).

      Like 2016, the summer of 2017 was characterized by persistently stormy patterns over the central Arctic Ocean, reflected in the summer average sea level pressure field (Figure 2b) as an area of low pressure centered just south of the North Pole in the Siberian sector of the Arctic. As has been shown in past studies, low pressure systems found over the central Arctic Ocean in summer are typically “cold cored.” This helps to explain the cool summer temperatures noted above.”

      • Cooler summers and warmer winters. The alarmists just can’t seem to get it through their heads that the heat to melt that ice has to come in the summers and not the winters. Right now about the whole of the warming anomalies are at the poles.

  44. Antarctic sea ice is still growing. Maybe it will take out the Sept high after all. In 2015, its high came in Oct rather than Sept.

    • Sea Ice Extent Sinks to Record Lows at Both Poles
      Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent, according to scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. And on the opposite side of the planet, on March 3 sea ice around Antarctica hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, a surprising turn of events after decades of moderate sea ice expansion.

    • Jack,

      You are mistaken. Arctic sea ice did make a very slightly new low in March, due to a weather event. But Antarctic sea ice did not set a new low. At least 1986 was lower. And, as I noted, it is still growing and liable to take out the September high today or tomorrow. Fairly unusual for it still to be growing this late in Oct.

      The reason Antarctic sea ice was low this year was because of a combo of freak weather events late last year, in the austral spring.

      Sorry, but sea ice globally is on the rebound. Antarctic grew from 1979 to 2014, then backed off due to the Super El Nino, followed by the aforementioned late 2016 events. Arctic sea ice has been growing since 2012 and has been flat for a decade. The past five years averaged higher than the previous such interval, despite the effects of the El Nino.

      Reality shows you wrong.

  45. Javier: “Around 1998 Arctic sea ice changed its dynamics and entered a period of higher volatility. One possibility is that below a certain size the Arctic sea ice sheet becomes more unstable and sensitive to weather phenomena.”

    WR: Oceans might have played the main role in the change of the dynamics in the second half of the nineties. Huge subsurface (!) warm water pulses were entering the Arctic in the mid-nineties and 2000’s, enough to melt all the Arctic ice several times.

    For more information about warm water pulses and their effects:

    Arctic Ocean Warming Contributes to Reduced Polar Ice Cap
    Analysis of modern and historical observations demonstrates that the temperature of the intermediate-depth (150–900 m) Atlantic water (AW) of the Arctic Ocean has increased in recent decades. The AW warming has been uneven in time; a local ∼1°C maximum was observed in the mid-1990s, followed by an intervening minimum and an additional warming that culminated in 2007 with temperatures higher than in the 1990s by 0.24°C.

    Fate of Early 2000s Arctic Warm Water Pulse
    The water mass structure of the Arctic Ocean is remarkable, for its intermediate (depth range ~150–900 m) layer is filled with warm (temperature >0°C) and salty water of Atlantic origin (usually called the Atlantic Water, AW). This water is carried into and through the Arctic Ocean by the pan-Arctic boundary current, which moves cyclonically along the basins’ margins (Fig. 1). This system provides the largest input of water, heat, and salt into the Arctic Ocean; the total quantity of heat is substantial, enough to melt the Arctic sea ice cover several times over.
    Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean
    Abstract: Arctic sea-ice loss is a leading indicator of climate change and can be attributed, in large part, to atmospheric forcing. Here, we show that recent ice reductions, weakening of the halocline, and shoaling of the intermediate-depth Atlantic Water layer in the eastern Eurasian Basin have increased winter ventilation in the ocean interior, making this region structurally similar to that of the western Eurasian Basin. The associated enhanced release of oceanic heat has reduced winter sea-ice formation at a rate now comparable to losses from atmospheric thermodynamic forcing, thus explaining the recent reduction in sea-ice cover in the eastern Eurasian Basin. This encroaching “atlantification” of the Eurasian Basin represents an essential step toward a new Arctic climate state, with a substantially greater role for Atlantic inflows.

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