2011 Northern Hemisphere Ice Tracking 2006/2007

2006 had the highest minimum in the DMI record. 2007 had the lowest minimum in the DMI record.

You can’t tell anything about the summer minimum from March ice extent, because a deficiency of ice in Quebec tells you absolutely nothing about the state of ice in the Arctic basin.


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30 Responses to 2011 Northern Hemisphere Ice Tracking 2006/2007

  1. suyts says:

    You know, I love that graph. It is excellent at demonstrating the illogical preoccupation daily observations of the ice. One day its “the lowest evuh!” and the next day it’s the same as it has been in the several years.

    And just to demonstrate my predictive prowess, I predict the arctic ice cover will fall within the parameters of 2006 and 2007 between Sept and October. But it probably won’t achieve the most evuh in the last 7 years like 2010 did.

  2. PJB says:

    Here in Quebec, the winter has been mild and there is no surprise that the sea ice in the St-Lawrence and along the Labrador coast is the lowest in years. Last time I looked, tho, we were not part of the arctic so why that sea ice is included in the graph is beyond me. That they include the Baltic sea, as well, is silly. No relation whatsoever to the Arctic ocean and it’s ice coverage.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      PJB…they include the entire NH in these graphs, just like NSIDC does. It’s about mapping the spatial extent of the sea ice and it extends south of the Arctic in winter. The mild winter you observe in Quebec has been also observed over the Arctic with warmer than normal winter temperatures–which does impact on ice growth. Export out of Fram Strait at least in December was stronger this year than last year, which does influence the spatial distribution of old versus first-year ice. While Steve doesn’t want to make a big deal about less sea ice this winter than last winter, last winter he did make a big deal about the winter ice cover nearing the 1979-2000 mean (such as in this posting: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/31/arctic-sea-ice-about-to-hit-normal-what-will-the-news-say/)

      What would be really nice to see in these types of blogs is the ceasing of cherry picking and changing of opinions/rants to get a point across that changes constantly according to how the data looks (last year the winter ice cover was super important, and this year it’s not? why the constant changing of opinion?), and instead get to real discussions of science.

      btw…it’s true that the winter ice extent does not influence the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean during summer. The southerly reaches of the winter ice cover are thin first-year ice that melt out easily in summer.

      • Julienne,

        There hasn’t been any change of opinion. I’ve been talking about PIPS Arctic Basin thickness/NSIDC age/wind for as long as I have been writing about the Arctic. I have continuously highlighted the folly of being obsessed with ice extent outside of the Arctic Basin, other than as an indicator of cold spring temperatures at low latitudes (like last year.)

      • PJB says:

        Thanks, Julienne.

        As you surmised, my comment was more oriented towards arctic sea-ice longevity and less about NH extent variation.

        Sadly, over the last couple of centuries (As SG and MM point out repeatedly) the fluctuations in Arctic ice has been mostly anecdotal and limited in scope (where were those satellites? lol)

        Based on perusal of the various datasets, cyclical ice variation has too many factors for the amount of reliable data that has been produced over the appropriate time scale.

        Thanks for the response.

      • AndyW says:

        JS said

        “What would be really nice to see in these types of blogs is the ceasing of cherry picking and changing of opinions/rants to get a point across that changes constantly according to how the data looks (last year the winter ice cover was super important, and this year it’s not? why the constant changing of opinion?), and instead get to real discussions of science. ”

        Totally agree. Things are only mentioned when they backup a point wished to be made. It’s not just ice extent either, temperatures are another one.

        Steve says his viewpoint hasn’t changed but it seems it is no longer worth posting about, he hasn’t done any extent posts for a long time now. Same with Anthony Watts, he castigated NSIDC for not mentioniong the Antarctic positive anomaly when that was present, but now doesn’t even mention Antarctica because the anomaly is negative 😉

        It’s not only cherry picking, it is brushing under the carpet as well. Shame because Steve puts up some interesting stuff about the Arctic as well, it is just heavily biased.


      • I don’t know if I should pity AndyW, ridicule him, ignore him….. is he lazy minded, brainwashed…. what exactly should one do with his poorly constructed viewpoints? Where do they come from?

      • suyts says:

        Julienne, sorry, you’ve got that backwards. The reason why climate discussion is a moving target is because of the alarmists. Blogs such as these is simply a counter to MSM and alarmist tripe that is perpetually in news releases.

        Julienne, one of the problems with a climate discussion, is that it is very difficult to discern an honest, legitimate climate scientist from a political advocate. I’m finding that many scientists are unaware, or claim to be, of all of the alarmist tripe out there.

        This list is a bit dated, but this itemizes many things the public is told is caused by Global warming. Each item is linked to the article that makes such claims. It may be worth your while to see what some of your purported colleagues have been up to.


        Just as an example I’ll give you two, that I randomly picked.

        The moving targets………..

      • suyts says:

        Global warming causes the Atlantic to be less salty.


        What a wonderful journal…..

      • suyts says:

        Global warming causes the Atlantic to be more salty.


        What an outstanding journal……….

  3. Andy Weiss says:

    Those years are so clustered so tightly that anyone trying to claim any significant trend is really trying to count the angels on the head of a pin.

    • Mike Davis says:

      I counted them last night!
      Last week I got 3,457,650 and learned the discrepancy was due to a couple of Angles getting to drunk and falling off. If you try you will probably get a different number because rumor has it that a large group are set to retire and the latest graduating class of dancing angles are due to replace those lost and retired.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      perhaps look at the entire satellite record, not just the AMSR-E record.

      • Mike Davis says:

        Peraps better to wait 200 years for the technology to get better an for a decent historical record so natural variations can be detected. When we know there are long term weather patterns that have been seen in proxy records from the Arctic region 31 years is much to short a period to make any claims. I would suggest some history books!
        31 years can be compared to a Candle in the Wind!

      • Julienne Stroeve says:
        March 7, 2011 at 1:05 am

        perhaps look at the entire satellite record, not just the AMSR-E record.

        Too bad there weren’t satellites for the last 100 years. Or the last 1500 years going back to the Medieval Warm Period. The ~30 years of satellite data is not long enough to draw any conclusion as to what is happening is climate. People should stop drawing conclusions from it.

      • Julienne

        I just wanted to say I’m happy to see you commenting here.

  4. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Steve, it’s just that statements like these below appeared in the posting I linked:

    So now that Arctic ice has returned to normal extent and area, we eagerly await the explanation from the experts about how that fits into the “death spiral” theory. Richard Feynman famously said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

    Time will tell. 2010 is looking promising for sea ice recovery again. After all, who wouldn’t want the Arctic Sea ice to recover? WUWT is predicting a recovery again this year, which we started mentioning as a prediction last fall.

    So last year the “normal” winter ice extent was cause for WUWT to suggest a recovery and that the winter ice cover being “normal” was very important. If you knew better, then why let these statements pass in these postings? I don’t know of anyone talking about the disappearance of the winter ice cover, or that a low winter means a low summer (though ice thickness does play an important role). I apologize if I’m wrongly accusing you of changing your mind, or that you are responsible for these statements at the end of the blog post.

    I would love for us all to get to a point where neither side makes alarmist/inflammatory statements not backed by data or understanding of the physical processes involved.

    • Julienne,

      I think it would take a number of winters with minimal transport of ice out of the Arctic to get back to the NSIDC mean summer minimum. Most of the MYI flowed out of the Arctic between 1988 and 1996, and the thinner ice left behind has been more vulnerable to melt.

      The discussion I would like to have is the one started in the three articles below.

      https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/most-old-ice-was-lost-before-1996/ https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/loss-of-old-ice-in-the-early-1990s-due-to-el-nino/ https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/the-dirty-little-secret-about-satellites/

      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Hi Steve, on your first post, I think you are aware of the positive winter AO’s influence on ice transport in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, so that should help answer your first question: What happened between 1988 and 1996? I do note that you didn’t address that despite the strongly positive AO phase between 1988 and 1996 that the amount of old ice in the Arctic has continued to decline. Kwok recently published a paper about MYI survivability in the Beaufort, and you also have a copy of our recent GRL paper. Both of these further discuss the loss of old ice.

        I don’t quite understand what you mean by the second link. You seem to have ignored the published papers regarding the impact of the positive winter AO phase on the ice export, and instead talk about El Nino. And you mention a recovery. I don’t see a recovery in the data.

        • Julienne,

          You propose a theory that the AO was responsible for loss of old ice between 1988 and 1996, then you present evidence that the theory doesn’t work. Instead of assuming that something has changed, perhaps it makes sense to look at a different theory – like ENSO?

  5. Anything is possible says:

    Mike Davis says:
    March 7, 2011 at 1:13 am
    Peraps better to wait 200 years for the technology to get better an for a decent historical record so natural variations can be detected. When we know there are long term weather patterns that have been seen in proxy records from the Arctic region 31 years is much to short a period to make any claims. I would suggest some history books!
    31 years can be compared to a Candle in the Wind!



    Everybody getting their panties in a bunch about a data set which covers 0.3% of the current inter-glacial is flat-out ridiculous. The Global Surface Temperature record, which encompasses 1.3% of the Holocene isn’t a whole lot better either.

    Just because it happens to be all we have, is no legitimate reason to over-inflate its importance. That is just rank bad science.

  6. omnologos says:

    I predict that the Sep 2011 extent will be below 2007’s (30%), between 2006’s and 2007’s (40%) or above 2006’s (30%).

    Spot on, uh?

    ps Yes, I have acquired my predictive abilities from the Met Office.

  7. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Mike, that doesn’t mean the ice is not currently in a state of decline. While we don’t have good enough proxy records that will allow us to be able to know exactly what the summer ice was like throughout the Arctic Basin, there are no studies to suggest that the Arctic Ocean had less summer ice than today 200 years ago, and in fact the records suggest otherwise. If you want me to point you to some studies that have looked at proxy records in the Arctic, I’m happy to send you some.

    • Anything is possible says:

      With respect Julienne, 200 years ago still only encompasses 0.2% of the Holocene.

      What about 1,000 years ago, when Danish colonists were trying to grow wheat on Greenland? What about 6-7000 years ago?


      Nobody say for certain (keywords for certain) that an ice-free Arctic isummer has not been the norm for say 75-80% of the last 10,000 years. We simply have no way of knowing and short of inventing time-travel, I’m not sure that we will ever have any way of finding out.

      Anything is possible (:-

    • PJB says:

      A nice offer that I would accept, notwithstanding Mike’s answer. As a compensation, I could send you some of our 100% natural, plant-based skincare products. The site is in the e-mail address and google translate works okay if your French is inadequate.

      While I am concerned by typical global temperature fluctuations on a millennial scale (the Holocene won’t last forever and my locale will return to its sub 3 km of glacier during an ice-age) I would like your opinion on the “effect” of a 0.7C temperature change (about the worst that CO2 can do) on Arctic ice and its potential to trigger an ice-age.


    • Mike Davis says:

      Tree lines north of their current locations over the last 8 thousand years.
      Trees being uncovered by glacial retreat.
      Graves being uncovered by Glacial retreat.
      Paleobotany records of plant matter in the Arctic region for the last 8 thousand years.
      Sediment records covering the last 8 thousand years.
      Pictures from 1957 showing submarines surfacing at the North Pole about this time of year.
      Ships logs reporting less ice conditions during periods in the last 200 years!
      Natural conditions of ice in the Arctic is either decline of growth depending on what phase the long term weather patters are experiencing.
      200 years is a short period in geological time but provides evidence of the short oscellations that exist within the longer term oscellations that are represented by LIA, MWP, DAC, RWP and many more over the last 8,000 years as seen in the GRIP ice core and the LAW DOME from Antarctica.
      I guess it depends on which records you consider accurate! Then I am a sceptic!

  8. Mike Davis says:

    Historical records show the “Slide” we are experiencing towards the next Glacial Maximum will last in the neighborhood of 80 thousand years of overall trend being cooling with minor intermissions ow slight warming like we are experiencing at this time. There are many opinions about the length of the cycles around the thousand year periodicity. I have read claims of 8 cycles during the last eight thousand years seen in the Swiss Alps and the Arctic region. There are claims of twenty thousand year cycles over the last eight hundred thousand years as seen in the Law Dome ice cores! The glacial/ interglacial cycle appears to be about 100 to 130 thousand years with a probable best guess of 120K!
    All the above is WAGs based on what I have read but “Any Thing is Possible” 😉

  9. Julienne Stroeve says:

    AndyW, we will do a post soon on the low Antarctic sea ice extent when we discuss the maximum for the Arctic this year. And yes, I have noticed that WUWT and Steve are avoiding the Antarctic right now because it is anomalously low at the moment.

    I believe the cherry picking on both sides of the debate needs to stop. Showing only 6 years of sea ice extent data, such as in this plot, and trying to draw conclusions from it while ignoring the entire satellite data record is a good example. Yet in this posting I do at least agree with Steve that you cannot tell anything about the September extent based on the winter extent (ice thickness though is a different story).

    there aren’t any climate scientists that I know of that do not believe natural climate variability plays a large role in climate changes over internnual, decadeal, century or much longer time-scales. But even folks like Judy Curry believe that the current changes observed in our climate are from a combination of natural and anthropogenic causes. The difficulty comes from trying to separate out how much of the changes we are witnessing today are from human activities. Just because natural climate variability exists, that does not in any way prove that human activities are not impacting climate.

    • intrepid_wanders says:

      Anomalously low…hmmm… Lets see… If a process is operating under normal variation, it would be within 3 sigma (3 standard deviations)

      That to me seems to be within 2 stdevs (for sat data 1979-2006). Not anomalously low, just low in the “process”. We in other industries call that “normal low”. How about 15% conc.?

      It seems to be bouncing between 2-3 stdevs (again average is 1979-2006). Without a CPk analysis to find the true process capability, again, it is normal, but interesting. Remember, it is trying to capture the true mean.

      Again, anomalous, not really. Process of ice making, lower than the average (1979-2006), yes.

      It is a shame that NSIC does not publish their standard deviations and cherry-pick averages of 1979-2000 without discovering the true mean to baseline (Who is to say that 1979-2000 is not “anomalously high”).

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