Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
I keep reading that one of the horrible terrible predicted consequences of the ~ 300-year gradual warming since the depths of the Little Ice in 1700 is the decrease in Arctic sea ice. Here are a couple of points of interest about that claim.
First off, before the current decrease in ice and glaciers in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, there was the increase in ice and glaciers in those regions. For example:
Villagers from deeply Roman Catholic south Switzerland have for centuries offered a sacred vow to God to protect them from the advancing ice mass of the Great Aletsch glacier.
Since the vow was established in 1678, the deal was simple: the citizens of the isolated mountain hamlets of Fiesch and Fieschertal would pledge to lead virtuous lives. In exchange, God would spare their homes and livelihoods from being swallowed by Europe’s largest glacier as it expanded toward the valley with heavy winter snows.
Global warming is making them want to reverse their prayers, and the Alpine faithful are seeking the permission of the Pope.
Now, you are welcome to believe that the reason that the temperatures started warming in ~ 1700 was the intercession of the Pope … but if you want a slightly more scientific explanation, you’ll be disappointed. Nobody knows why temperatures didn’t just keep dropping in 1700 to a true ice age. And nobody knows why temperatures didn’t simply stay cold, but instead started warming in 1700, although one thing is very clear:
It wasn’t CO2 …
Figure 1. Ljungqvist et al. Northern Hemisphere temperature anomaly, AD 1 – 1999
The takeaway message from Figure 1 is that increases and decreases in polar ice are not a sign of an impending apocalyptic Thermageddon™. Instead, they are an expected part of the natural variations in global temperature.
Second, it’s important to remember that the Arctic is not the only part of the planet with year-round sea ice. The Antarctic is generally overlooked by the failed serial climate doomcasters, for a simple reason—while Arctic sea ice has generally been decreasing since 1978, the start of the satellite measurements of global sea ice area, Antarctic sea ice has generally been increasing since 1978.
So what does the total global sea ice look like? Glad you asked. Figure 2 shows the global and hemispheric sea ice areas since 1978. The data is from NSIDC, NOAA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Figure 2. Total and hemispheric sea ice areas.
Now, there are a couple of curious aspects to this record. First, the average total global sea ice over the period was 18.06 million square kilometers … and the most recent total sea ice area, in May 2021 was … wait for it … 18.13 million square km. Here’s what climate alarmists don’t want you to notice—there’s been no statistically significant overall trend in global ice area since we started keeping accurate records.
Next, just as with the warming since the Little Ice Age, nobody knows why Antarctic ice increased until 2014 … or why both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice areas plunged for a few years from 2014 to 2018 or so … or why since then the total ice area has completely rebounded to its long-term average. Here’s a quote from a 2019 paper on the subject (emphasis mine):
The Antarctic situation has been quite different, with sea ice extent increasing overall for much of the period since 1978. These increases have been far more puzzling than the Arctic sea ice decreases and have led to a variety of suggested explanations, from ties to the ozone hole; to ties to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, and/or the Amundsen Sea Low; to ties to basal meltwater from the ice shelves. None of these has yet yielded a consensus view of why the long-term Antarctic sea ice increases occurred.
In the meantime, while the unexpected, decades-long overall increases in Antarctic sea ice extent are still being puzzled out, the sea ice extent has taken a dramatic turn from relatively gradual increases to rapid decreases. On a yearly average basis, the peak sea ice extent since 1978 came in 2014. Since then, the decreases have been so great that the yearly averages for 2017 and 2018 are the lowest in the entire 1979–2018 record, essentially wiping out the 35 y of overall ice extent increases in just a few years. This dramatic reversal in the changes occurring in the Antarctic sea ice will provide valuable further information to test earlier suggested explanations of the long-term Antarctic sea ice increases.
And remember … despite being unable to explain these mysterious increases and decreases in sea ice, despite being unable to explain why the world cooled from about 950 AD to the depths of the Little Ice Age, despite being unable to explain why the globe stopped cooling around 1700, despite being unable to explain why the current warming period started a hundred and fifty years before the modern rise in CO2 …
… despite all of that and much more that is unknown about historical and modern climate variations, alarmist scientists are quite happy to assure us that they know what the global average surface temperature will be eighty years from now, and to warn us endlessly that the Arctic will soon be ice-free. Yeah … that’s totally legit.
The good news is that people are starting to notice that fifty years of dire predictions have all cratered and that Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1983 until his retirement in 2012 and author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies of climate, was 100% right when he said:
Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.
Switzerland recently held a referendum on signing up for more taxes to meet the insane Paris Climate Agreement commitments … and guess what? They soundly rejected them. Folks are waking up to the truth.
My suggestion? Don’t be the last one to get the memo. There is no climate emergency.
Regards to all of you,
My Usual Quixotic Quest: Please, please, QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING, so we can all know just what you are referring to.