Surprising sea ice thickness across the Arctic is good news for polar bears

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on May 27, 2021

This year near the end of May the distribution of thickest sea ice (3.5-5m/11.5-16.4 ft – or more) is a bit surprising, given that the WMO has suggested we may be only five years away from a “dangerous tipping point” in global temperatures. There is the usual and expected band of thick ice in the Arctic Ocean across northern Greenland and Canada’s most northern islands but there are also some patches in the peripheral seas (especially north of Svalbard, southeast Greenland, Foxe Basin, Hudson Strait, Chukchi Sea, Laptev Sea). This is plenty of sea ice for polar bear hunting at this time of year (mating season is pretty much over) and that thick ice will provide summer habitat for bears that choose to stay on the ice during the low-ice season: not even close to an emergency for polar bears.

Ice thickness over the last decade at 25 May (selected years to 2011, the earliest available)

From the Polar Portal of the Danish Meteorological Institute

North of Svalbard in the Barents Sea and the Southeast coast of Greenland

There is more thick ice north of Svalbard than there was last year, when thick ice caused some trouble for the Arctic research vessel Polarstern. And the thick ice off Greenland this year is hardly surprising, given the current record-breaking accumulations of snow and ice in that area of Greenland (see chart below, from DMI). It must be very cold indeed.

Thick ice in Foxe Basin (west of Baffin Island) this year is to be expected, but in Hudson Strait north of Quebec, not so much (see below, a closeup of the 26 May 2021 chart):

Thick ice along the coasts of the Chukchi and Laptev Seas in Russia seems to be reasonably common, see closeup of the 2021 chart below:

About that “dangerous” tipping point? According to this BBC report (27 May 2021), the WMO model concluded that there is a 40% chance that the global temperature in one year by 2026 being 1.50C higher than pre-industrial levels (we are currently at about 1.20C above that threshold). However, the caveats are rather huge:

The researchers point out that even if one of the next five years is 1.5C above the pre-industrial level, it’ll be a temporary situation.

Natural variability will mean the following few years may be slightly cooler and it could be another decade or two or more before the 1.5C limit is crossed permanently.

The Paris Agreement established the goal of keeping the increase in the global average temperature to no more than 2C and to try not to surpass 1.5C – and that’s understood to mean over a long period rather than a single year.

According to Dr Joeri Rogelj, director of research at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, “the 1.5C in the Met Office announcement should not be confused with the 1.5C limit in the Paris Agreement”.

“The Paris targets refer to global warming – that is, the temperature increase of our planet once we smooth out year-to-year variations,” he explained.

“A single year hitting 1.5C therefore doesn’t mean the Paris limits are breached….

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May 28, 2021 10:38 pm

Perhaps the Polar Bears would prefer less ice. Has anyone asked them/

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 29, 2021 1:48 am

How many of the last 200 Ma have we seen ice at the Poles ? How many years do we have Polar Bears on this planet ?
So what is ”normal” climate for this planet ?

Reply to  Robertvd
May 29, 2021 9:02 am

By DNA analysis polar bears differentiated from brown bears around 150,000 to 600,000 y (the lower based on mtDNA and the latter based on nuclear DNA). Fossil evidence dates back as far as 130,000 y. So 200 Ma is not relevant, more like 1Ma.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 29, 2021 8:42 am

Snacking on seal pups on the beach is their preference to hunting them out on the ice…

David Guy-Johnson
May 28, 2021 10:43 pm

I’m confused. Wasn’t it always the case that the CAGW people always said “man made” CO2 could only affect temperatures from about 1950 onwards. When did the rules change to include all the warming since the start of the industrial revolution?

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
May 28, 2021 11:29 pm

Because the rise in temperature wasn’t fast enough from 1950 onwards, the goalposts had to be moved to also include all the temperature increase since the bottom of the little ice age. Only then could they get close to the 2 degree increase that they call catastrophic

Julian Flood
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
May 29, 2021 12:25 am

When the fact of warming from 1910 to 1945 (including “the Blip”, copyright Tom Wigley) became general knowledge. Then the fact that they couldn’t see a CO2 warming signal before 1975 had to be explained. How to reconcile the contradiction? Fudge, obfuscate, hide in the numbers. If that doesn’t work make up more numbers because climate “science” controls the past* and can do that..

*see the quote by George Orwell about the power of those who control the past.

Leo Smith
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
May 29, 2021 4:29 am

THeh UK/USA alone and western europe wasnt enough to put much CO2 into the air – post WWII everybody was in on the game

john harmsworth
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
June 1, 2021 10:23 am

Because they realized that with the media batting for them, science was no longer relevant.

May 28, 2021 11:10 pm

The polar bear issue in climate science has to do with year to year decline in September minimum sea ice extent. In this context, what is the relevance of the sea ice extent in May, I wonder?

Reply to  Chaamjamal
May 29, 2021 2:02 am

I wonder how much ice there would have been in September during the climate optimums we have seen during this interglacial period when trees could grow much closer to the poles and much higher up the mountains ?

May 28, 2021 11:31 pm

Click on 2007 in the legend of the NSIDC interactive sea ice graph and you will see this year is identical to 2007 when AR4 came out and all that stupid predictions about catastrophic, run-away melting and “ice free” Arctic all started.

That is ZERO change in 15 years.

The only tipping point is the quantity FAKE science and total BS we are expected to put up with.

Climate believer
Reply to  Greg
May 29, 2021 12:47 pm

Two images taken 14 years apart, one is May 2007 the other May 2021, same date.

Which is which? Frankly I’m gobsmacked by the similarity.

Chukchi sea and wrangel island 2007 2021.png
Andy Espersen
May 28, 2021 11:32 pm

I really do not think the polar bears care one hoot about the thickness of the ice. All they worry about is whether they get enough to eat.

Vincent Causey
May 28, 2021 11:44 pm

So according to them, we have to witness another few decades of temperature anomalies not being permanently above 1.5C before their hypothesis can be falsified.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 29, 2021 2:04 am

Job security

Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 29, 2021 3:45 am

So according to them, we have to witness another few decades of temperature anomalies not being permanently above 1.5C before their hypothesis can be falsified.

Au contraire, since ~1970 the climate doomsters have a perfect track record of being wrong at least 48 consecutive times, with their very-scary false predictions of runaway global warming and wilder weather.

The probability of that result being mere random stupidity is 1 in 281 Trillion. The probability of that being deliberate falsehoods, ~50 years of outright lies, is ~100%.

We don’t have to wait “another few decades” to call out these climate fraudsters. At odds of 1 in 281 trillion, we can call them out right now.

Alleged dangerous human-made global warming (“CAGW”) is a ~50-year deliberate fraud, promoted by lying scoundrels and believed in by imbeciles. No rational person or group could be this wrong, this obtuse, for this long.

The warmist leaders know they are lying; they’ve been lying all along.

Previously published:

The ability to predict is the best objective measure of scientific and technical competence.

Climate doomsters have a perfect NEGATIVE predictive track record – every very-scary climate prediction, of the ~80 they have made since 1970, has FAILED TO HAPPEN.
“Rode and Fischbeck, professor of Social & Decision Sciences and Engineering & Public Policy, collected 79 predictions of climate-caused apocalypse going back to the first Earth Day in 1970. With the passage of time, many of these forecasts have since expired; the dates have come and gone uneventfully. In fact, 48 (61%) of the predictions have already expired as of the end of 2020.”
To end 2020, the climate doomsters were proved wrong in their scary climate predictions 48 times – at 50:50 odds for each prediction, that’s like flipping a coin 48 times and losing every time! The probability of that being mere random stupidity is 1 in 281 trillion! It’s not just global warming scientists being stupid.
These climate doomsters were not telling the truth – they displayed a dishonest bias in their analyses that caused these extremely improbable falsehoods, these frauds.
There is a powerful logic that says no rational person or group could be this wrong for this long – they followed a corrupt agenda – in fact, they knew they were lying.
The global warming alarmists have a NO predictive track record – they have been 100% wrong about every scary climate prediction – nobody should believe them.
The radical greens have NO credibility, make that NEGATIVE credibility – their core competence is propaganda, the fabrication of false alarm.
A Climate, Energy and Covid Primer for Politicians and Media
By Allan M.R. MacRae, Published May 8, 2021 UPDATE 1e
Download the WORD file

May 29, 2021 1:08 am

This is just unbelievable… utter misrepresentation… cherry pick 2011, without looking back before 2007?

and this year extent is only holding up because huge amounts of ice are being pushed out past Svalbard into the Barents… the ice is breaking up on the Atlantic side more than halfway to the Pole.

The ice is still in trouble: there is 1.3k sq km less than the 1980s average for this date, 920k sq km less than 1990s average, 428k less than 2000s average…before 2007 the 4m ice would have been extensive along the Greenland side and much older…

Reply to  griff
May 29, 2021 7:42 am

You have been ignoring the evidence that summer sea ice isn’t in decline anymore, that Polar Bears are not suffering from it and that the current sea ice level are above the interglacial level of ice extent. There is no climate danger either, you need to drop your silly concern over it.

You have been a one note whiner over a non problem in the arctic sea ice concentration, why don’t you let science research and reality creep into your life?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Sunsettommy
May 30, 2021 5:03 am

I knew this article would upset Griff. At least he didn’t direct any deragotory personal attacks at the author this time.

Reply to  griff
May 29, 2021 8:47 am

Beside the usual melting ice, just 2007 and 2012 the reason of strongly disappearing ice was not melting but storms braking the ice in pieces pushed out of the arctic region. That’s all.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  griff
May 29, 2021 10:32 am

Give it up. The polar regions are just fine and exhibit nothing but natural variation. Not one of the predictions/projections made by AGW true believers has been correct … EVER. Either you don’t understand the basics of science or you’re liars. Both of those defects disqualifies you from commenting at all.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
May 30, 2021 5:01 am

“he ice is still in trouble: there is 1.3k sq km less than the 1980s average for this date, 920k sq km less than 1990s average, 428k less than 2000s average”

What was the average in the 1930’s?

Matthew Sykes
May 29, 2021 2:49 am

we are currently at about 1.20C above that threshold”

No we arent, HADCRUT4 data:

We are about 0.8 C above late 19th century. No where near 1.2

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
May 29, 2021 4:23 am

They are only off by a third. That is pretty accurate for a climate scientist.😲🤷‍♂️

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
May 29, 2021 8:29 am

Actually they are off by 50% If the REAL # is.8, than 1.2 is ,4 more, 50%

Don’t give them anything.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
May 31, 2021 4:18 am

According to GISS, 2016 was the hottest year in the 21st century and it was 1.02C above the GISS average.

The temperatures are currently 0.7C cooler than the 2016 highpoint, according to the UAH satellite chart.

comment image

The month of May has been a very cool month, too. We’ll see in a day or two whether this takes the temperatures even lower.

Bob boder
May 29, 2021 7:10 am

When does Griff show up with his never ending arctic ice nonsense?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Bob boder
May 29, 2021 1:09 pm

It must be horrible to be obsessed with and live in utter fear of something over which you cannot have any influence. Griff has not yet learned that life is short then you die. There are more important things to worry about, like can the Tampa Bay Lightning get past the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
May 29, 2021 3:18 pm

Indeed psychologists say that if you can’t change something, then it’s OK. Don’t bang your head against brick walls. But we Anglo Saxons need to endlessly wrinkle our foreheads with weaponised worry. At least then we get to inject Botox into them.

May 29, 2021 10:12 am

No, this is the thin mushy ice disguised to fool the ice trolls.

May 29, 2021 1:03 pm

North Atlantic Ocean cooling could be finally exerting an effect on climate.

May 30, 2021 4:24 am

Global warming is approaching the level of the guy who when caught “in flagrante delicto” asked his wife who she was going to believe, him or her lying eyes. We have had three years now of cooling temperatures, obvious to anyone who spends any time at all outdoors. This year is the first year I can remember that Center Hill Lake was not warm enough for swimming on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start to summer her on the Upper Cumberland. They can say the temperature is rising all they want, but if things continue to cool, they are going to look pretty stupid.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Tim
May 30, 2021 3:10 pm

The historic average temperatures for this date (30 May) where I live are a low of 56 F and a high of 79 F. Today’s low was 44 F and the high 56 F.

But that’s just weather. We can predict global average (climate) temperature to the nearest tenth of a degree 100 years from now.

William R. Casey
May 30, 2021 6:50 am

This was predicted several years ago by scientists studying deep ice cores from Greenland’s permanent Ice cover. They were ignored. “Late Pliocene to Latest Pleistocene”, Geological Society of America Memoir 145, 1976.

June 1, 2021 6:14 am

And then, just like that, global warming stopped

john harmsworth
June 1, 2021 10:21 am

I was watching a video on the pursuit of the Bismarck in 1941 the other day. The location of the ice pack along the coast of Greenland appears to be about identical in May of 1941 with what is shown on the maps above. A massive change of 0.0% over 80 years. We’re doomed!

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