Friday, September 20, 2013

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Annual Minimum Extent- 6th Lowest Extent Recorded: Deniers Desperate To Spin Even That...

Arctic Sea Ice Recovers To 6th Lowest Extent In Millenia

"A study published in 2010 by 18 leading Arctic experts examined Arctic records throughout geologic history and concluded,

"The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities."

Thus the scientific data and literature indicate that this year's minimum Arctic sea ice extent is not just the 6th-lowest in the past 34 years, but most likely the 6th-lowest in at least the past few thousand years.

The current Arctic sea ice decline is remarkably rapid, and often referred to as a "death spiral." As Dr. Julienne Stroeve from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) told The Guardian,

"Overall, the Arctic has lost about 40% of its sea ice cover since 1980. Most scientists believe the Arctic could be entirely ice-free in the summers by the middle of the century – if not sooner."

The Arctic ice has also been thinning rapidly, losing approximately 75 percent of its summer volume since 1980.

So what to make of the many claims over the past two weeks that the Arctic sea ice is "recovering"? These counter-factual arguments primarily originated from David Rose at the Mail on Sunday, whose article Bob Ward accurately described as containing "embarrassing errors" to the extent of being a "humiliation" for the Mail on Sunday.

Unfortunately many other media outlets (the Telegraph and Fox News, for example) assumed David Rose to be an accurate source of climate information – despite his long track record of getting nearly everything he says with regards to climate change wrong – and echoed Rose's embarrassing errors. Rush Limbaugh engaged in what Graham Readfearn has described as 'a bad game of Chinese whispers,' amplifying Rose's errors further by wrongly asserting,

"Now, if you haven't heard this, the ice at the North Pole, arctic ice, is at a record amount this early in the post-summer season."

Sadly, the climate contrarian media echo chamber (which has been working overtime in advance of the publication of the next IPCC report) has taken factually inaccurate reporting and twisted reality even further, asserting that the 6th-lowest Arctic sea ice extent in millennia is "a record amount."

In reality, because last year's Arctic sea ice minimum shattered the previous record low, and the ice had declined the previous two years as well, statistically speaking a short-term 'recovery' this year was likely to happen. In fact, it was predicted by most Arctic climate experts.

However, when we examine the long-term trend in the Arctic sea ice extent, it becomes clear that contrarian declarations of a "recovery" are based on viewing the data through Rose-colored glasses."

End of excerpt


As I have posted here previously, Arctic sea ice has declined by 40% since 1980. The years 2007, 2011 and 2012 all saw record loss not only in extent, but more importantly volume. There are many factors involved in the rapid melting of sea ice and there are also seasons when extent will increase beyond what it was in the previous season. I'm not a climate scientist, glaciologist, or someone who has a degree studying the cryosphere. However, even I understand the dynamics of the cryosphere and can see trends emerging that back up the claims of real scientists regarding the "death spiral" of Arctic sea ice. One cooler season does not a recovery make.

Which is why it is not only laughable to see deniers scrambling in their ignorance to declare that ice has recovered by 60% as if to say in one season all is now well. It is also truly frightening and dangerous to see them ignoring the reality of the world they live in. It is tantamount to tobacco company executives announcing that smoking no longer causes cancer because there were no deaths from it this year.

I as well as many others would like nothing more than to wake up tomorrow and see the same amount of sea ice in the Arctic that was there in 1750... ain't gonna happen however (especially since we continue to burn fossil fuels at break neck speed) and writing misleading false information in order to make it so only confuses and clouds the truth.

Extent is not only factor as volume under water is melting more rapidly as more perennial ice melts and extent becomes thinner. Positive feedbacks in the system must also be taken into account as well as time lag effects of CO2. These changes are changing life for the species there, the landscape and the people who live there. It is disingenuous to the extreme to use this as an ideological/ politically partisan football. The effects of continued amplification of the greenhouse effect on this area of the world will have a cumulative negative effect the longer we continue to engage those who profit from lying to us. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a climate scientist to see that. Just take off your rose colored glasses.

NASA Earth Observatory-2013 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News

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