Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, Data, Global Warming, Omniclimate > Arctic Sea Ice? There Is Only So Much Space For Arctic Sea Ice…

Arctic Sea Ice? There Is Only So Much Space For Arctic Sea Ice…

Very quickly, a couple of notes on something that keeps bothering me…Arctic sea ice is the darling of AGW catastrophists, obviously not because its extension getting away from the 1979 maximum has been the most consistent “warming signal” (sorry, hurricanes!). But the geography of the Arctic makes it very difficult to beat the maximum.

For example looking at yesterday’s figures from Cryosphere Today (visual estimates) we have the Kara Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Basin and the Arctic Basin pretty much at 100% or slightly lower of maximum-ever sea ice. Only thing, there is no way they can get ABOVE that 100% line, simply because they are already 100% covered by sea ice.

Greenland sea ice runs at -0.05 million square kilometers (84% of its possible maximum, but it usually peaks later in the season). Similar the situation for the Chukchi Sea, the St Lawrence area and the Barents Sea.

So we’re down to where the sea ice actually is missing: Baffin (it’s half of what it should be, but what is should be is “completely covered by sea ice), Hudson Bay (almost the same), Okhotsk (there is 0.1 m sq km missing, despite the ongoing drama, and again the expected value seems to be “completely covered”).

—–

It is obviously very difficult for anybody to be above the zero-meter line if the zero-meter line is defined as the top of Mount Everest. Likewise, we should never expect news of a “healthy” Arctic sea ice extent unless it gets chocked-full of ice: in other words, we should never expect news of a “healthy” Arctic sea ice, really…

Therefore, the use of Arctic sea ice extent to investigate the effects of climate change, and in particular the use of the late-1970s as reference period, is bound to be limited.

 

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  1. PKD
    2011/01/18 at 10:56

    from the 1979 maximum has been the most consistent “warming signal” (sorry, hurricanes!). But the geography of the Arctic makes it very difficult to beat the maximum.

    Surely NSIDC measure against a 30 year average total not a value for a single year?

    Who is actually measuring current ice extent against 1979 as a single year of reference Omni?

  2. 2011/01/14 at 14:10

    Good post (as usual). I think that since we’re in the beginning of a cold PDO phase of about 30 years it may take a decade before we start to hit average of 1979 to 2000. 1979 to 2000 was mostly in an early phase of a 30 years warm PDO phase, “inheriting” conditions of the late cold PDO phase. In 15 to 20 years I think we’ll be above average again. The data we got , since 1979, after all lacks information about Arctic sea ice at the end of warm periods.


    I blogged this comment yesterday (you probably know all this, but it may interest someone…) :

    “What has a lot of ice in the Arctics to do with animals’ and nature’s well-being? The period 6000-7000 years ago is considered to have had an ice free Arctic ocean (NGU; Lyså 2008), and it was also ice free during a period of 5000 years about 125,000 years ago (Science Daily; Willerslev 2007).”

    The links:
    http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705153019.htm

    (But I’m no ice professional, only a university engineer. Most seriously I lack the CAGW gospel of professionals at NSIDC and other organisations and businesses who don’t plan to quit their jobs. We’re in an Orwellian era?)

    (But, again: “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pain to bring it to light.” — George Washington.)

  3. Grumpy Old Man
    2011/01/14 at 14:10

    May I suggest that while the 2-dimensional extent of arctic sea ice is finite, the 3-dimensional extent is not. While there are reasonably accurate records of extent going back for a couple of centuries (?) is it not the case that detailed accurate records of thickness have only been available since the advent of satellite survey and those records only cover what seeems to be a peak of a warming cycle. Until we have records covering both a peak and a trough of a cycle, I would imagine it would be very difficult to define either, ‘healthy’, or, ‘ailing’, polar ice cover to meaningful scientific criteria.

  1. 2011/01/17 at 13:16

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