Arctic non-shocker: Ever-thinning sea ice melts out as area, extent, and volume approach record lows

Disinformers puzzled by reality, try to game prediction contest

In May, I wrote “Arctic poised to see record low sea ice volume this year.”  The latest analysis from the Polar Science Center suggests that in fact we are going to break the record of “5,800 km^3 or 67% below its 1979 maximum.”

The anti-science disinformers have been insisting that the ice is getting thicker and, as recently as mid-August, asserted that we would see a ‘recovery’ in Arctic ice to 2006 levels (see “WattsUpWithThat breaks own record for fastest overturning of a prediction by reality“).  Not.

That plot is sea ice area from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

UPDATE:  You can read an attempt by the discredited Steven Goddard to rewrite history and spread more disinformation in the comments section here.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) tells me that “at this time of year area would be a better indicator of the health of the ice pack than the extent.”  NSIDC explains the difference between extent and area here:

A simplified way to think of extent versus area is to imagine a slice of swiss cheese. Extent would be a measure of the edges of the slice of cheese and all of the space inside it. Area would be the measure of where there is cheese only, not including the holes.

UPDATE:  NSIDC has its August update here, noting, “This August, ice extent was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007.”

SEARCH, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change, runs a contest of sorts in which different scientific groups predict the Arctic extent minimum using NSIDC’s numbers.  The group average for the predictions made at the end of August was for “4.8 +/- 0.77 million square kilometers.”  NSIDC tells me today that the extent is 4.89 (click to enlarge):

NSIDC 9-10

While Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard have been insisting pretty much every week for the last month that the melt season was over, it has persisted and, if this were a typical season in the last decade, extent would keep shrinking for another week or so.

While Goddard was insisting as recently as August 22 that “My forecast remains unchanged. 5.5 million, finishing above 2009 and below 2006. Same as it has been since May,” somehow he duped the SEARCH folks into letting him sneak in a different prediction for their August report of 5.1 million:


Well, he’s still going to be wrong, but I guess if you make enough predictions and look around hard enough among the different data sets, eventually somebody somewhere someday may think you know what you’re talking about.

The fact that the ice has kept melting to near-record levels of extent and area is a pretty good sign that the disinformers were wrong about their claim ice thickness had recovered, a claim that was widely disputed by NSIDC and the actual data.  It now looks more and more like the PSC’s PIOMAS model is correct:

Daily Sea Ice volume anomalies for each day are computed relative to the 1979 to 2009 average for that day. The trend for the 1979- present period is shown in blue. Shaded areas show one and two standard deviations from the trend.

Again, that is a figure of the volume anomaly.  If I am reading the 1979 to 2000 average right, it looks like we are already below last September’s volume record, but that will become clearer in about two weeks — and I suspect PSC will take its time in making a final pronouncement.

New Scientist did a very nice version of this, which makes clear we are indeed in a death spiral:

Volume NS

Finally, back in July, Tamino made a prediction of the September sea ice extent minimum using a simple quadratic:

The decline is obvious. What may not be obvious (without the regression line) but is still clear, is that the decline has accelerated. That’s why I’ve fit a quadratic trend line. So here’s a simple projection: I’ve extrapolated the trend line to this year. Which gives a predicted September extent of 4.78 million km^2 (plotted as the red dot on the graph). I’ll call that my forecast for the summer minimum.

Looks like he is going to be pretty darn close.  The death spiral lives!

Needless to say, if the quadratic trend continues, then I am quite likely to win my bet of a 90% ice free Arctic by 2020 (see “Another big climate bet “” Of Ice and Men“).

[JR:  Note:  I’m temporarily changing the date on this post to put it on the top of the front page.]

Related Post:


46 Responses to Arctic non-shocker: Ever-thinning sea ice melts out as area, extent, and volume approach record lows

  1. catman306 says:

    Kaj Luukko, not off topic at all.

    We’ll want to see a posting about this. Isostatic rebound (or adjustment) is real. It’s figured into sea level rise projections in some areas.. The seashore is rising as fast as the water level, so sea level appears to not be rising at that spot.

  2. John McCormick says:

    Joe, please; enough of the record-breaking aspects of Arctic sea ice melt. Talk about what scientists know or should learn about impacts of an open Arctic Ocean on Northern Hemisphere climate and particularly the heaart of the world’s grain basket and th Asian monsoon.

    The absolute focus on record-breaking actually trivializes the impact of melt back and relegates it to a lottery.

    John McCormick

    [JR: Uhh, no. First off, I’ve written about the implications a dozen times (and will many times again). The most important is the melting of the tundra. The regional weather impacts are much less certain, so I’ve written about it less.

    But this is the big climate new for the next couple of weeks, and if you don’t know the half dozen reasons I’m blogging on this, then you haven’t been here very long.]

  3. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    To be honest I thought that the ice extent was going to reach a record low. Do we currently have a record divergence between area and extent, must be close?

    Although it is good that I was wrong, the ice looks more vulnerable than ever. So much is broken up, swell gets well into the icepack and so much of the old ice is rotten.

  4. Lore says:

    Watching the Arctic ice melt is like watching grass grow. Suffice it to say, it’s a given. I know it’s one of those big battle grounds among the opponents, but from my side I view any information on it as a post mortem. While blogs battle it out with bets on sea ice minimums we are quickly losing the war on more immediate fronts. Climate change is rapidly turning the world’s food security inside out and many millions will long succumb to starvation well before a victor is declared at the poles.

    [JR: Huh? This analogy makes no sense. The grass always grows, slowly. The ice is melting faster and faster because of human emissions. All observations are post mortems. So what? If you could find a climate blog that discusses the impact of climate change on the world’s food security more than this one, let me know. And the Arctic will be ice free in the summer long before climate change causes millions to starve. That’s the whole point of this post.]

    For instance…

    “A decline in bees and global warming are having a damaging effect on the pollination of plants, new research claims
    Researchers have found that pollination levels of some plants have dropped by up to 50 per cent in the last two decades.

    The “pollination deficit” could see a dramatic reduction in the yield from crops. The research, carried out in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, is the first to show that the effect is real and serves as a “warning” to Britain which if anything has seen an even greater decline in bees and pollinators.

    “This serves as a warning to other countries,” said Professor James Thomson at the University of Toronto, who carried out the research.

    “For quite some time people have been suggesting that pollinators are in decline and that this could have an effect on pollination.

    “I believe that this is the first real demonstration that pollination levels are getting worse. I believe it is a significant decline. I believe the pollination levels have dropped by as much as 50 per cent.

    “Bee numbers may have declined at our research site, but we suspect that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor.”

    According to a previous study, England’s bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of hives dying out over the last 20 years.

    Butterflies and other insects are also in decline due to habitat loss and climate change.”

  5. Robert Brulle says:

    Is there a measure of the total thermal energy in the Arctic Ocean? Area, volume, and extent are all good measures. But the actual temperature of the ice could also be rising (say from 25 F to 30 F), and there would be no melting (yet). But as the total thermal energy stored in the polar ice cap increases, we would first get changes in the temperature of the ice, then it melts. Does anybody know if this is actually measured?

  6. Steven Goddard says:

    I’ll bet you sensor this like my last post.

    First, please contact Julienne Strove at NSIDC and ask her if ice volume is lower than 2008.

    Second, here is my SEARCH submission.

    1. Extent Projection
    5.1 million km^2 based on JAXA. Reduced from initial June projection of 5.5 million

    2. Methods / Techniques 3. Rationale
    Statistical. In late May, I performed a numerical and visual comparison of the PIPS2 thickness distributions in the Arctic Basin for the last ten years vs. the current year – and found a closest match with 2006. I also calculated the ice volume by integrating the thickness across all pixels. It showed that 2010 should come in below 2006 and above 2009. Verification of previous years showed that this is a highly accurate forecasting technique, with the exception of 2007 – which was dominated by unusual winds which compacted and melted vulnerable areas of ice. Until mid-August this approach appeared to be working very accurately. Since then, strong southerly winds have developed and extent has dropped below predicted values. Thus the 8% reduction from the initial forecast.

    4. Executive Summary
    Our projection is based on comparing short term PIPS2 thickness forecasts with those of previous years. It was found that May 2006/ May 2010 made a close match of ice thickness distribution inside the Arctic Basin, though absolute 2010 extent/volume was lower. We now expect 2010 to finish the summer slightly below 2009.

    [JR: You lose yet another prediction. I’m letting this through.

    That said, it is bad enough that you spread your unfiltered disinformation at WattsUpWithThat -– stuff that is so bad even Watts has to take it down from time to time or back off your extreme anti-scientific statements and absurd analysis.

    Now, I can’t help it if you don’t even know the rules of SEARCH (that it goes by NSIDC, not JAXA). And even though you snuck in a very late call, you still got it wrong!

    BUT it is beyond risible to claim that 5.5 million was just an “initial June projection “ when everybody on the planet can got to WattsUpWithThat (after putting their head in a vise, please) and see your August 22 statement, “My forecast remains unchanged. 5.5 million, finishing above 2009 and below 2006. Same as it has been since May.”

    Yes, I get it. You wanted to have it both ways – a 5.1 million prediction and a 5.5 million one. You aren’t like one of those broken clock that are right twice a day – you are like a clock that tells two different times.

    Why can’t you just admit that in some two dozen posts this year you were dead wrong. As recently as August 9 you were reasserting “Conclusion : Should we expect a nice recovery this summer due to the thicker ice? You bet ya.”

    The point is that your statistical analysis was proven faulty by reality within days! The ice ain’t thicker!

    Watts invited NSIDC’s Meier to post and he explained why he trust PIOMAS over PIPS – and you still don’t get it.

    There simply is no objective set of data that would persuade you that you are completely wrong.

    So why on earth would I keep letting you post transparently wrong disinformation here? Your goal is either to mislead my readers or waste my time or both. Please stick to WUWT where they apparently like your kind of disinformation.]

  7. Chad says:

    Joe, when you publish the graphs of arctic sea ice, could we see a baseline year that isn’t within the last decade? Thanks.

    [JR: Uhh, this post contains more than one graph of Arctic sea ice with a baseline year that isn’t within the last decade. Try reading the whole post before commenting!]

  8. Ryan T says:

    From the article linked in comment 1: “We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted.”

    Apparently, that’s based on the ’07 IPCC projections of average change this century, which made no attempt to estimate future acceleration from feedback-related ice sheet dynamics. Most of the change will occur down the road, so how significant is this finding about current melt levels, if it’s found in peer review to be robust?

    [JR: No, it’s based on something that was not a “prediction” but was merely an earlier study of GRACE data (that isn’t necessarily overturned by this new single study). The IPCC projected that there would not be substantial loss of ice mass this century from GIS and WAIS, so this study provides no solace whatsoever to anybody concerned about catastrophic sealevel rise, ssuming future studies confirm its conclusions.]

  9. Ryan T says:

    Thanks for the clarification. Of course, the IPCC may still be wrong about substantial loss this century, given their relative lack of consideration for ice feedbacks. Presumably that might change a bit with the next assessment, considering research since.

  10. Lore says:

    Quote JR: “And the Arctic will be ice free in the summer long before climate change causes millions to starve. That’s the whole point of this post.”

    I think you do a stellar job of juggling all the implications of climate change, don’t get me wrong. However, my point is the Arctic probably will not be ice free in the summer before climate change causes millions to starve.

    Food riots are happening once again as wheat prices escalate in poor third world countries due to Russian drought. Floods are destroying crop lands and preventing food distribution in Pakistan and this is all happening now, this year. In fact commodities are up all across the board. What about next year and the coming several?

    While it’s alarming to see the Arctic ice cap melt, (I firmly believe you should continue to report on it) it’s just a sign post which forebodes more immanent problems. I feel we often spend far to much time trying to read the bones then worrying about what they are actually trying to tell us. Watts and Goddard have already lost this argument a long time ago even though they refuse to admit it. My worry, is that part of the problem is we always get hung up on plowing the same ground with these denilists, which exactly plays into their strategy.

  11. Bob Wallace says:

    Chad – try this page. The bottom two graphs show area and extent along with the 1979-2006 average and one standard deviation spread.

    Click on each graph to see it larger. I think you’ll see that what has been happening in the last very few years is way out of the “ordinary”.

  12. Andy says:

    Two things.

    First, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it appears to me that there is a lot of ice extent where the ice area is quite low, quite far south, and therefore vulnerable to melt. That would be the horse head nebula looking thingy in this satellite image. If this melts out then ice extent maybe on par with 2007.

    Second, in terms of ice loss estimates from Greenland, it is very important to get the actual volumes of loss right in order to better understand how much heat the ocean is gaining; especially the deeper waters as these are poorly measured. Subtracting the amount of water added to the oceans from measured sea level rise is one way of better estimating change in ocean heat content.

    However, the rate of change of ice loss volume for Greenland is (like Tamino’s ice extent graph) best described by a quadratic equation and so is accelerating over time. In terms of sea level rise this century, I suspect the error is insignificant. It’s important to get the loss estimates as accurate as possible, but we’re still screwed in the not so long run.

  13. Gregg Thomas says:

    Oops, my bad. Area vs extent.

  14. From Peru says:

    Steven Goddard says:

    Second, here is my SEARCH submission.

    1. Extent Projection
    5.1 million km^2 based on JAXA. Reduced from initial June projection of 5.5 million”

    Well, JAXA has now ice extent at 5.034 million km^2 (September 7, 2010):

    Steven Goddard forecast was proven wrong, again.

    And there are still 1-2 weeks of melt ahead!

    This image:

    Shows a relatively narrow zone of ice between the Central Arctic and the East Siberian Sea. Warm winds from the south-east are melting and pushing the ice towards the Central Arctic. If the pattern of the Dipole Anomaly persist in the next weeks, this stretch of ice might melt, resulting in a minimum comparable to that of 2008.

    In two weeks we will see how this melt season ends, but surely not as the people of WUWT wants.

  15. jorleh says:

    Area versus extent.

    There is a point. You can have thousands of 100 km2 “lakes” inside the extent, and all speak only of extent, right?

  16. jyyh says:

    #3 John McCormick, as most large grain producing areas (well exluding India, what you specifically asked) in the world are located in the southern part of the zone of mixing (also known as the Ferrel cell) one also has to look to the developments in the tropical Hadley cell. The development in the Arctic have more influence on fall and winter weather, IMHO. Ferrel cell area (30-60 deg. N and S) is unfortunately the most difficult to predict climatologically. If I was in a position to suggest research topics I’d say some weather patterns of the subtropical high-pressure areas (stemming from the oscillations over and under the ITCZ) should be identified to predict the development of local springs from wintertime weather in the tropics… this might be possible to do. I’ve no doubt the overall wind and rain/drought damage to crops will increase as the system contains more energy than previously.

  17. dizzy says:”>Watts quote from my earlier post —

    // Prediction: Arctic Ice Will Continue to Recover This Summer
    Posted on February 9, 2010 by Anthony Watts
    Steven Goddard writes below that he agrees with the prediction I made in late 2009 that we’d see another 500,000 km2 of Arctic sea ice recovery in 2010.

    [that is; a prediction of 5.9 million km2]

  18. villabolo says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can get either current or archived ice thickness images of this particular type?

  19. sod says:

    everyone should really read the Goddard post. it is [snip] beyond belief.

    he decided to paint his guess into the middle of a bullseye, while sea ice extent fell past his guess.

    hint: if your guess is too HIGH, it will inevitably be quite in the bullseye at one moment in time!

  20. Neven says:

    Area versus extent.

    There is a point. You can have thousands of 100 km2 “lakes” inside the extent, and all speak only of extent, right?

    Exactly, my recent posts (1 and 2) on the North Hole (or pole hole), that part of the Arctic over the North Pole that can’t be measured by satellites, show that while there’s approximately 75-100K square km extra melt under the North Hole when measuring area, this probably isn’t having any effect on extent numbers. BTW, the people from Cryosphere Today try to account for it the best they can.

    Here’s a short animation of the last two days skies over the North Hole were clear enough for me to make a combined satellite image to give you an idea of area vs extent. In these images area loss is approximately 75-100K square km, extent a lot less, if not zero.


    Joe, with regards to Goddard’s (and Watts’) predictions, without the links to WUWT:


    Prediction: Arctic Ice Will Continue to Recover This Summer (February 9th 2010): “Steven Goddard writes below that he agrees with the prediction I made in late 2009 that we’d see another 500,000 km2 of Arctic sea ice recovery in 2010.”

    500,000 square km more than 2009 minimum extent would be 5.75 million square km.


    WUWT Arctic Sea Ice News #9 (June 14th 2010): “My analysis indicates the highest late summer extent since 2006.”

    2006 minimum extent was 5.78 million square km.


    And then finally, Sea Ice News #10 (notice how ‘WUWT Arctic’ disappeared from ‘WUWT Arctic Sea Ice News’?): “I’m forecasting a summer minimum of 5.5 million km², based on JAXA. i.e. higher than 2009, lower than 2006.”

    I have written some sort of time-line at the time. It’s interesting to see for instance how Steven Goddard started his PIPS-is-better-than-PIOMAS-because-it-shows-thicker-ice narrative, exactly one day after someone mentioned PIPS in a comment on one of his WUWT articles.

    What is also interesting is that Goddard was recently thrown under the bus by Watts plain to see for all, based on some triviality in which Steven Mosher had a hand. I say triviality because it’s not the first time that Goddard said something unscientific, but all of a sudden it bothered Watts so much that he terminated Goddard’s guest blogger status, for the second time and this time right around the time when all suggestions of recovery are being destroyed. Utterly destroyed. It’s a shame that Watts didn’t let Goddard finish his updates until the end of the melting season, but something like this was to be expected. They fooled a lot of people for quite a while, and still are, showing only part of the truth and implying untruths for others to pick up.

    If you want to mention these disinformers in a future post you could use this information.

    [JR: Thanks for this documentation! Watts and Goddard are fully discredited.]

  21. toby says:

    On the topic of Steve Goddard’s recommendation of “check with Julienne Stroeve”, here is a video of her giving a lecture at Spokane Community College in 2009. Scroll down to find.

    The blurb says:

    “The planet is presently experiencing the “collapse” of a major geo/ecosystem. Loss of the Arctic (seasonal) summer ice cover will have profound and negative effects to Arctic ecosystems (ocean and land) as well as to subsistence populations. Observations and measurements (2007 record low year) are causing scientists to rethink the rates of Arctic ice loss due to global warming; rates of warming, glacial and permafrost degradation are accelerating faster than believed just five years prior. This talk presents the most recent research in the Arctic and observations being made by glaciologists and atmospheric scientists working in the Arctic regions”

  22. Neven says:

    [JR: Watts and Goddard are fully discredited.]

    Perhaps not fully yet, but I have a feeling they will be once CryoSat-2 data becomes available.

    [JR: Two dozen posts — all dead wrong! Three prediction was made in August — all proven wrong within days! How do you get more fully discredited?]

  23. NeilT says:

    Whilst the impact on the Arctic has been long in the news, I’m more surprised about the impact on Wilkins and the complete lack of news on it.

    I monitor the Antarctic ice levels all summer and do an occasional look over the winter.

    Whilst the initial small breakup of the Wilkins was trumpedted all over the news, the loss of the ice bridge and the breakout of about 1/3 of the total shelf was simply ignored.

    Right now you can see the floes breaking away and pushing out through the sea ice and it’s dead of winter there.

    This is important stuff in the light of the WUWT assertion that the seasonal winter ice in the Antarctic somehow counteracts whats happening in the Arctic right now.

    Doing a piece on how Summer Arctic ice loss Gains heat from the sun and winter Antarctic ice Retains heat when the sun has gone down might be a useful comparison.

    Especially as the Antarctic seas are warming rapidly.

    The difference is fairly obvious but I just never se a consolidated article which does the comparison.

    My feeling is that it would take WUWT and Goddard apart on their “Ice is the same Globally (or growing) and so the impact is nil” stance.

  24. Neven says:

    [JR: Two dozen posts — all dead wrong! Three prediction was made in August — all proven wrong within days! How do you get more fully discredited?]

    I agree with you up to a certain point, but there’s a nuance. There’s nothing wrong with making a wrong prediction for the Arctic. By starting up the Arctic Sea Ice blog I have learned a tremendous amount about the Arctic, but mostly that it’s incredibly complex. I recently joked around with Steve Bloom with the remark: Nothing is a dead certainty in the Arctic. But it’s true.

    So there’s nothing wrong with getting it wrong. My problem with Goddard and Watts is that they never used caveats to express this uncertainty (unlike the scientists that participate in SEARCH). ‘There will be another recovery while we thump our chests at the bedwetters!’

    The other problem is that they are not transparent about their predictions. Steven Goddard keeps maintaining he never predicted anything other than 5.5 million, even after I confronted him with the quotes and links (follow that link, it speaks volumes).

    Why shove it under the rug? After May and June I thought we would get a record minimum extent for sure, and was even considering betting Goddard on it (good that I didn’t, hehe). But that was because I didn’t expect the Arctic Dipole Anomaly to go dead in July and the first two weeks of August, effectively clouding over the Arctic, stalling the Beaufort Gyre and spreading the thin ice out (as an aside: it looks like the ice is still being spread out, more than it’s being compacted, and thus total extent could be artificially high). I was wrong, so what?

    So that is what’s discrediting Watts and Goddard: The lack of transparency and the narrow view they offer their readers on the Arctic (their two dozen posts weren’t necessarily wrong, but most of all cherrypicked: hardly any satellite images of the Passages or the holes in the central ice pack, no Uni Bremen or CT high-resolution sea ice concentration maps, no explanation of the influence of atmospheric patterns, just PIPS ice thickness, DMI 80N temperature, etc). And then finally when their predictions are proven wrong, Watts throws Goddard under the bus on some flimsy pretext and both deny even higher predictions were ever made.

    As PIPS ice thickness maps were the core of Goddard’s prediction, I’m looking with great interest towards CryoSat-2 data. This is what might fully discredit Goddard with regards to his expertise on Arctic sea ice. Like I’ve said on my blog: Goddard isn’t stupid (I actually learned a thing or two from him), but his belief that AGW must be a hoax is severely impairing his judgement. CryoSat-2 data might destroy the last bit of credibility he has left.

    And Watts? There’s no need to discuss his credibility, anyone with eyes can see what he’s doing. Watts is addicted to page view statistics, so he’ll do whatever it takes to keep WUWT visitor numbers high. He’s already shifting more and more towards energy efficiency and renewable energies, and letting guest bloggers gently inform his rabid readers that it is warming and that AGW theory is correct up to certain point. Soon WUWT will be a bastion for geo-engineering, mark my words. With the occasional stirring up of the masses by Monckton and the like for some good old retro-denialism, of course. Anything that keeps the lights (and the money?) on Anthony Watts.

    You know, I really enjoyed writing that!

  25. DavidCOG says:


    > …all of a sudden it bothered Watts so much that he terminated Goddard’s guest blogger status…

    Incredible! Watts does have a desire to maintain some kind of credibility. Who knew?!

    But what a devastating indictment of Steve Goddard that he slipped below Watts’ subterranean cut-off point for accuracy and honesty!

  26. Anderwan says:

    I suppose the strategy is this: 1. Every week of every melt season, scream that extent or something will increase. 2. The few times you’re right (because of random variation), claim victory even though you contradicted yourself several hundred times already on the issue.

  27. NeilT says:

    They even apologised to me for the ripping up I got in the comments…… Amazing.

    Maybe they’ll apologise to Joe, Hansen and all the others soon then??? I won’t hold my breath.

    I had a quick look at the satellite images today

    I know it’s not complete yet but I put a ruler up against the open water just off the pole. I make that about 1,600 sq miles of virtually open water and also about 17,000 sq mailes of 50% (ish) open water.

    This is not reflected in the extent, but it certainly isn’t any kind of “regrowth”

    My suspicion is that we’ll overestimate the ice left at the end of the 2010 season by at least 20%.

  28. Neven says:

    Jimbo, I read that paper once fleetingly a few months ago. I see that the text in the middle of your comment is neither from the paper or the press release, but from the pseudo-skeptic website CO2science. Thank you for not linking properly.

    From the press release you do link to:

    However, the scientists are very careful about drawing parallels with the present-day trend in the Arctic Ocean where the cover of sea ice seems to be decreasing.

    From the paper itself:

    Clearly, further work is needed to document the millennial
    nature of hydrographical changes in the western Arctic and
    better understand the causes and mechanisms involved.

    Please come back with some more papers and try not to quote CO2science if you want to look credible.

    And remember, yes, there might be cycles, but now on top of these cycles human activities are speedily adding a lot of energy (warmth) to the atmosphere, and more importantly, to the oceans. What will that do to the cycles? Yes, that’s right: change ’em.

  29. Doug Proctor says:

    This pattern is solid. The Arctic ice is disappearing. If the skeptics are to be right with their 60-year solar cycle (including the Pacific oscillation), then they will have to see HUGE ice gains by 2012, and increasing by the year, to refute CAGW. They have their own falsibility rule facing them.

    Personally, I don’t want the world to be in a literal melt-down. Ironic – I’d like the CAGW hypothesis to be right so we as a species will be forced to refute our consumerist, consumptionist lifestyle, and I’d like it to be wrong as I hesitate to believe that, even with disaster, any but the elite has the power to do anything, and the elite can protect themselves from personal harm, so they won’t do anything.

  30. MapleLeaf says:

    John @31,

    I think you meant to show this graphic:

    No, everything is most definitely not OK with the Arctic sea ice.

  31. Ian Forrester says:

    Steven Goddard said (post #7)

    I’ll bet you sensor this like my last post.

    He is exactly right, Joe has “sensor” out for all of SG’s posts. It is also known as a “BS detector” and it goes of the scale every time SG posts.

    It is no wonder deniers have such a hard time with the science when they show over and over again that their biggest problem is with the English language.

  32. Beth Deuble says:

    Hi Joe — great article – great research; i have posted your link and some excerpts of various articles on my blog, Path to Well-Being; i am in the process of writing my second book, this one on collective narcissism and the damage to our societies and the environment due to grandiose entitlement behavior. I would love to see you develop an iphone app as your message is very important and deserves wider distribution.

  33. robert says:

    John (#31)…

    The discussion is about arctic sea ice, not global sea ice. (Though the global sea ice graphic you’ve referenced is also not encouraging).

  34. NeilT says:

    John you throw up this diagram as if expanding Sea Ice in the Antarctic is making any difference.

    Have a look at the Wilkins Ice Shelf I mentioned earlier

    The initial article about the breakout March 25 2008

    The visible evidence of the small breakout on March 17 2008

    March 24 2010

    Note the complete collapse of the ice bridge and a massive breakout of the shelf behind it.

    May 16 2010

    Not stopping for winter ice onset

    Aug 4 2010

    In fact dead of winter ice not making much of an impact at all

    And to cut a long story short, whilst the Arctic sea ice melting will not affect global sea levels, the resulting acceleration of the WAIS discharge, as a result of the ice sheet breakup; Will.

    So please don’t try and makes us all beleive that SH sea ice growth is making any difference.

    Other than locking winter heat into the southern oceans that is….

  35. MapleLeaf says:

    One is almost tempted to pity Watts and Goddard…almost.

  36. Steve Bloom says:

    Joe wrote re Watts and Goddard: “How do you get more fully discredited?”

    This presents a serious philosophical conundrum since they will both surely do even worse in the future. :)

  37. GFW says:

    Assuming PIOMAS is right, we’re looking at something like 4000 km3 of Arctic sea ice this September. The first ice-free summer is going to be very interesting, and I think I’d expect it in about 15 years now. (Sooner if the recent acceleration is real, longer if we regress back to the existing PIOMAS trend.)

    What Neil is saying about Antarctic sea ice is right. There’s a seasonality to the anomaly that is more of a heat-retaining feedback than a sunlight-reflecting one. Hopefully Cryosat-II will not only refine/confirm PIOMAS for the Arctic, but will give us a picture of volume trends in the Antarctic. Based on the physical understanding of what’s going on down there (warming ocean, but more stratified with colder, fresher surface) we’ll probably see volume decreasing well before extent does.

  38. Steve Bloom says:

    GFW, I don’t think Antarctic sea ice ever has a major volume trend distinct from extent given that it pretty much disappears every year (i.e. no multi-year ice to speak of). So in a sense the concern is that the Arctic sea ice is starting to behave the same way.

    Also, my understanding is that the (very slight) expansion of the Antarctic sea ice is a consequence of AGW warming the atmosphere above the ice, resulting in more moisture in the air, resulting in more snow, resulting in fresher water at the surface, resulting in more ice since fresher water freezes at a higher temperature. At some point the warming will become great enough to counteract this effect and we’ll see shrinkage in the south as well.

    BTW, this demonstrates just one of several reasons why it’s meaningless to lump the northern and southern sea ice together into a single global trend. They’re just not being affected by the same things in the same way.

  39. Michael Hauber says:

    ‘somehow he duped the SEARCH folks into letting him sneak in a different prediction’

    I think this is unfair on Steve, as he has just as much right to change his prediction as anyone else submitting to SEARCH. (unless he submitted later than the cut of date, in which case this should be clearly stated, and supporting evidence given)

    There are different types of people, those who want to judge a theory by facts, data and evidence, who will ignore this statement. There are those who decide based on ideaology, and they will ignore this statement. And those who are not confident in their ability to judge by facts, data, evidence, and will use other clues such as who is more polite etc to decide who to believe, and who will be inclinded to believe the opposing view as a result of this statement.

  40. MapleLeaf says:

    Michael @41,

    I agree that Steve can submit a prediction to SEARCH. What I dislike is the fact that the others made their predictions in June and July, whereas Goddard (or whoever he really is) did not. The others were also, to my knowledge, not claiming one number on the web and while submitting another (lower) number to SEARCH like Goddard has done.

    There are lots of opposing views in the SEARCH forecast, no problem with that. The others are just not trying to BS people like Goddard is.

  41. NeilT says:

    If we’re talking polite then the slight sniping on this site has it hands down over WUWT which has the nature of a barroom brawl rather than a discussion.

  42. villabolo says:

    Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. 1984, George Orwell

    [JR: Watts and Goddard are fully discredited.]

    Is anyone actually documenting the rotten ‘sea ice’ predictions that Steve has been cranking out of his refrigerator’s ice maker? If they are purged or altered he will not be discredited in the eyes of those who were not exposed to the issue while they were occurring.

    All they have to do is to eliminate or rewrite their history and those who are just getting into the issue; today, a few years from now, or in ten years, will not know any better.

    Orwellian mindf(snip)rs don’t lay down and die when reality blows their fantasy away; they merely mutate and evolve new falsehoods. The WUWT already had a three pronged fantasy-fest. 1)The ice is returning! Really, it is! 2)The Antarctic will balance it out. 3)So what if it’s melting. It’s happened before.

    Number one, of course, is dead. But in the minds of their future victims, #2, #3 and others, yet to be imagined, will be fresh and have an extended shelf life.

    We have to get more organized, aggressive and most of all inventive.

  43. MapleLeaf says:

    Villabolo @44,

    Tom Fuller has already started the #3 meme above– see his latest spiel at WFUWT. The meme? Polar bears are OK, and besides they have “survived warmer periods than today that almost certainly included eras when Arctic ice was completely gone.”

  44. Kenn says:

    You can lead a horse to the sea ice but you can’t make him believe it’s getting thinner.
    I remember years ago NASA invited a centenarian to watch an Apollo launch (14 or 15, I think). The reporter explained to the old guy that the astronauts were going to the moon. “Nope,” said the old timer, “Ain’t nobody been to no moon.” The reporter tried to explain that previous missions had been there and had brought back moon rocks. “Ain’t nobody been to no moon,” the old guy repeated. And that was the end of it; he would not hear that we had visited the moon. Period.
    Humans among all creatures have the ability to discard reality in favor of their own internal creation of the universe that more suits their comfort level. Thus our inherent design, which includes this imagination, will lead to our demise, because we end up removing ourselves from nature/reality rather than living with it.