Chasing The Wrong Story In The Arctic

We have had a lot of discussion recently about the loss of 5+ year old ice in the Arctic. Most of the older ice loss occurred between 1988 and 1996 – during a period of normal global temperatures.


1988 (5+ ice is red)


There was very little older ice loss between 1996 and the end of the “record 2007 melt season


Conclusion : There is a story here, but it is not the one people are chasing after. 2007 is not the story. What happened between 1988 and 1996?

About stevengoddard

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7 Responses to Chasing The Wrong Story In The Arctic

  1. R. de Haan says:

    The story is that the Arctic Sea Ice is subject to natural cycles and there is nothing we can do about it.

  2. Douglas DC says:

    Given what I am seeing with La Ninas that seem progressively stronger and more like
    ah, the last cold PDO shift (1950-1977/78) I agree with Bastardi’s “Two steps forward,
    one step back” in regard to ice redevelopment..

  3. “Average January sea ice thickness increased during 1982-88 in most regions of the Arctic (+7.6 ± 0.9 cm yr-1), decreased through 1996 Arctic-wide (-6.1 ± 1.2 cm yr-1), then modestly increased through 2003 mostly in the central Arctic (+2.1 ± 0.6 cm yr-1).”
    Belchansky 2008

    Tshudi 2010 ( shows the drop in overall multiyear ice in the first half of the 90`s. And a new drop since 2005:

    From 2005 to 2008 a 40% drop in the overall MYI area in the arctic.

  4. What happened between 1988 and 1996?

    A sharp shift in the AO/NAO index, from the negative to the positive state.

  5. Scott says:

    This may go to show how unimportant 5+ year ice is in the scheme of things, as 1996 was the fifth highest minimum on record according to CT’s area numbers (at 5238185 km^2, only 1979, 1980, 1986, and 1987 were higher).


  6. And the highest september monthly mean sea ice extent according NSIDC.

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