North Pole To Be Ice Free Three Years Ago

Human history began 5,000 years ago for warmists and creationists.

Friday, 27 June 2008

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.



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48 Responses to North Pole To Be Ice Free Three Years Ago

  1. Ill wind blowing says:

    Deja vu.

    Or is it recycling?

    • julienne stroeve says:

      Maybe for some that’s easier to accept than the fact that the ice cover has been retreating quickly again this summer. The Eurasian sector in particular is seeing significant ice retreat, which may result in the Northern Sea Route being open 4 summers in a row. A lot can still happen though, as the summer circulation pattern remains important for the evolution of the summer ice pack. Air temperatures for June remain above normal for most of the Arctic however, and the Arctic Dipole Anomaly has returned, so at the moment both are favorable for continued ice loss.

      • Mike Davis says:

        Is that the same area that has been used for commercial shipping since WWII by the former Soviet Union?

      • Latitude says:

        and what exactly is “normal”…..

        Is normal the LIA? something in between? the MWP? the marauder minimum? the carboniferous, mesozoic, or cenozoic? holocene?

        Who exactly defined “normal” and what is it?

      • Mike Davis says:

        Normal is long term variations in regional climate patterns. The extents are what makes climate, not some arbitrary AVERAGE. Climate is not static but dynamic so needs to be appreciated as such. If you want to appreciate music do you want your music Averaged to a single note that is the average of the composition? To appreciate a butterfly do you average the colors? Do you average the colors of a spring or fall day?

  2. Mike Davis says:

    Never before in the history of the globe has the North Pole been ice free:
    These pictures were taken on a sound stage in Arizona! 😉

    • PhilJourdan says:

      I thought it was an Oklahoma sound stage?

      The funny part – many of those same people who claim the world was created (at least for man) 5k years ago, sneer at the biblicists that claim it was 6k years ago. But what is 1k years for kooks in any event! 😉

  3. julienne stroeve says:

    Mike, commercial exploitation by the Russians began before WWII. The ships were aided by ice-breakers. But 2008, 2009 and 2010 saw ice-free conditions in summer along the entire NSR.
    As far as the North Pole goes, there has been open water numerous times at the pole. I believe Dr. Serreze was talking about ice-free water all the way to the Pole in that interview (based on the fact that first-year sea ice covered the pole in spring of 2008, which is typically about 1.5 m thick), rather than individual leads/polynyas.

    • suyts says:

      Dr. Stroeve,

      I find that recently, I’ve been considering the arctic ice more than I wish, but my curiosity is getting the best of me. We know there are some oscillating events that directly effect ice flow in the arctic…… PDO, AO, and AMO, but we also know wind plays a large part. So, my question is this,……

      In your observations and study, have you noticed any similar oscillating wind currents, or is the wind something of a constant, or is it more random than anything?

      Any insights towards this question would be appreciated.

      Thanks much,

      James Sexton

      • julienne stroeve says:

        James, the past 5 summers in a row, the Arctic Dipole Anomaly appears to be a persistent pattern. Not sure why that is, but this pattern certainly has been shows to be favorable for sea ice loss. It was most persistent and strongest in 2007 helping to lead to the record minimum of that year, but if you do MJJA means of SLP for 2007-2010, and June 1-June 15 2011 you see the pattern.
        That pattern as you may know helps to bring in warm air from the south, helps push ice offshore from Siberia and Alaska and enhances ice export out of Fram Strait.
        Then there are feedbacks that are becoming enhanced. If the melt season starts earlier and open water forms earlier, that allows the ice-albedo feedback to kick in earlier and enhance lateral and basal ice melt. Work by Perovich has shown the timing of melt onset is more important in enhancing the amount of total absorbed solar energy during the summer melt season, so the fact that air temperature anomalies have been positive in all seasons the past decade are also playing a role.

        And then there are warming SSTs. The region I’m interested in looking into further right now is the Beaufort and Chukchi seas which have recently become a region of MYI loss (more than is currently being exported through Fram Strait). So the big question is why is that,? why does the ice that enters the Beaufort Gyre mostly melt out in summer before being recirculated into the Canada Basin?

        The attention in the Arctic is increasing. In the past year I have met with the US Coast Guard, the CIA, the Canadian Navy and of course oil/gas companies. The changes currently happening have important strategic importance besides allowing access to resources. I know some on this site don’t think the changes happening are important, but others certainly feel differently.

      • suyts says:

        Dr. Stroeve,

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I think Perovich has shown what I think many others probably already suspected as much anyway. (I’ve only recently renewed my interest in the arctic ice.) Has there been any supposition as to why Dipole is being persistent?

        Another question, have you seen this? Tietsche, S., D. Notz, J. H. Jungclaus, and J. Marotzke (2011), Recovery mechanisms of Arctic summer sea ice, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L02707, doi:10.1029/2010GL045698.

        And if you have, what are your thoughts?
        BTW, by your response, you seem to be saying there are a lot more questions than there are answers, in which case, I agree 100%.

        Your use of the word “importance” may have different meanings to different people here. I’ve stated in the past, but you may not be aware, that I believe the earth (more accurately humanity) would benefit more than be harmed by an ice free arctic. I do have a great appreciation for the military strategic aspect of this, but that is an entirely different conversation. So, yes, in that regard, it is of great importance. Also, as you mentioned, the availability of resources and potential increase in commerce is also an important aspect. So, yes, arctic ice great importance. But, usually, conversations about the arctic ice is confined to what it would mean to our global temp anomaly and polar bears. In that regard, I don’t think it is of much importance.

        You’ve given me a bit to ponder…….

        Thanks again,


  4. Mike Davis says:

    From what I have read the ships are still being aided by ice breakers and satellite navigation aides that were not available before 1979.
    Look at the photos and the dates they were taken of subs surfacing at the North Pole. March 1957? Or was it 58?

  5. Dave N says:

    What’s with the “first time in human history” crap?? Boats were able to sail to the North Pole back in the 1920’s, and have probably been able to on and off for at least centuries.

    When did we begin being humans?

  6. Blade says:

    julienne stroeve [June 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm] says:

    “Air temperatures for June remain above normal for most of the Arctic …”

    This is a topic of considerable discussion around these parts. Julienne, how many data points exist in most of the Arctic? Can you please point to a map of the sites and hopefully some way we can see the temps for ourselves?

    julienne stroeve [June 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm] says:

    “… at the moment both are favorable for continued ice loss.”

    Well at this moment we are 5 days ahead of the NH summer solstice. Exactly what *should* the ice being doing right now?

    • julienne stroeve says:

      I use this site:

      This is based on reanalysis data that assimilates satellite observations, surface observations, station data, weather balloons etc. in to a model to produce values globally.

    • Blade says:

      Julienne, respectfully …

      [Question was:] “Can you please point to a map of the sites and hopefully some way we can see the temps for ourselves?”

      [Julienne:] “I use this site. This is based on reanalysis data that assimilates satellite observations, surface observations, station data, weather balloons etc. in to a model to produce values globally.”

      Non-Responsive. How many data points and where are they? I am genuinely curious as to how many exist and are consistently reporting. I am assuming that on your wall at NSIDC is a big map like this complete with markers showing the data collection points. I was hoping that each of them would be attached to a webpage showing their working history. These questions are prompted by the matter-of-factness in your statement: “Air temperatures for June remain above normal for most of the Arctic …”. Does that mean the Arctic Circle or some gerrymandered subset? (Cherrymandered?)

      The link is to an interesting NOAA page work in progress that “may be taken down w/o warning”. Furthermore, it seems that for ‘geographic location’, everywhere *except* the Arctic is presented in the drop-down box. Presumably you select custom Lat and type in 90 to 66 degrees? Also, since you said Arctic and you said air temperature, how are satellites involved and what does the word globally have to do with it?

      I’m sorry if these seems to be devolving into nit-picking (which I despise), but all I was really getting to by asking those questions is this: Is there enough data collection going on up there to make such an affirmative statement like you did? Or, as I suspect, are those maps we always see with big swathes of red up North nothing more than political propaganda?

      [Question was:] “Well at this moment we are 5 days ahead of the NH summer solstice. Exactly what *should* the ice being doing right now? “

      [Julienne:] “”

      Non-Responsive. Considering this is pretty much a binary choice, and I believe the logical and historical choice in mid-June would be for continued ice loss. I am fairly certain that if the ice were gaining, and the date is June 16, well, that would be a bad thing for all people except for AGW devotees. Is there any way to come to another conclusion?

  7. Latitude says:

    I want a number!
    “Air temperatures for June remain above normal”

    What is “normal”? How was it decided?

    I hear this crap trap all the time from almost anyone involved in “climate”/”weather”.

    Are we supposed to be colder, in a mini-ice age?

    • Paul H says:

      Hi Lat

      According to UAH the Arctic anomaly for May was 1.03C which compares to the 1980’s average of minus 0.55C. While this is not insignificant, records from the 1930’s + 1940’s show much bigger increases in temps in many locations up there, often of the order of 4 to 5 degrees.

      I would need to be convinced if we are currently seeing anything out of the ordinary.

      • Latitude says:

        Thanks Paul!
        Is there a number? Does it change?
        When these people say “above normal”, what’s the set point?

      • Paul H says:

        Ostrov Dikson which lies at the Northern edge of Siberia on the Kara Sea seems to be fairly typical of Siberian locations. May mean temps have been around – 7.0C in the last few years, so a change from – 8.0C would not exactly be catastrophic.

        More importantly though is the fact that during the 1940’s the recorded temperature was less than – 5.9C with 1941 down to – 3.3C.

        Greenland stations show similar patterns.

    • julienne stroeve says:

      The anomaly I was referring to was derived relative to 1968-1996. That is the standard at the NOAA web site I refer to above. You can also chose a different reference period with their plotting tool. Obviously you have to work with the data you have, since we don’t have globally gridded data 1000 years ago, we can’t do anomalies relative to period that doesn’t have the data.

      • Latitude says:

        Julienne, that’s my problem with it………obviously this planet has longer cycles than that.
        The standard is just too convenient.

  8. Bob Washburne says:

    You may want to add “Historians” to the list of Warmers and Creationists.

    “History” reffers to the written record, which began with the ancient Sumeritans about 5500 years ago (possibly earlier if you count Linear A tablets, but since no one can read them it is hard to count them as history).

    Anything before that is “Prehistoric”.

    The point isn’t that Warmists are denying that the North Pole was ice free in the prehistoric past, but that they have attempted to make it look more scarey by choosing a convenient starting point (human history).

    And we are all familiar with the tricks which can be played by choosing a clever starting point.

  9. julienne stroeve says:

    Here is a new site some of you may be interested in.

  10. julienne stroeve says:

    Steve, the ice 5+ years is at an all time low. Residence time of ice in the Arctic Basin has changed. The mean model MYI thickness of ice going through Fram Strait has dropped from values near 4m to values around 2m (this is based on upward looking sonar measurements) – this is in line with ice not sticking around in the Arctic Basin for as long as it did back in the 1980s. There are many papers coming out now documenting these changes and how more MYI is lost in the Beaufort/Chukchi seas than exported through Fram Strait. If you want a copy of these papers, I will send them to you.

  11. Latitude says:

    This is stupid, it all depends on when you start looking…………………
    If you start at the MWP, it’s gone way up.
    If you start at the LIA, it’s gone way down.
    If you start in the 1980’s it’s gone down, but start in the 1920’s and it’s gone up……………………….

    • suyts says:

      Yep!!! Nothing like an arbitrary start date! I think our friend Omno has writ a good piece on that, but painkillers are kicking in so retrieving links is becoming great effort.

      • Latitude says:

        If you really loved me…………you’d share! LOL
        (honest, I feel for you and sorry you’re having to do that right now)

        It’s about the stupidest “science” I’ve ever seen.
        They decide what’s normal.
        They decide that it’s not normal.
        They know so little about CO2 and what makes climate, they can back up and make it fit……
        Then push it forward to claim it’s “unprecedented”

        And when it doesn’t pan out, they still claim it………..

        If this was your investment broker, you’d fire them in a heart beat

      • suyts says:

        “If this was your investment broker, you’d fire them in a heart beat.”

        Depends on where I stood in the ponzi/pyramid scheme and whether or not I’d get taken down with the Madoff’s of climatology! You know, if I was one of them that got the payback and returns to show other people how well it works,j …………. 🙂

      • Latitude says:

        LOL….that’s why we’re on the same team

        I still want to know how we became so stupid, we allowed these people to define “their normal” and do not even question it…………
        When you start questioning “what’s normal” their whole science falls apart.

  12. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Steve, the reason why earlier retreat of sea ice does matter, is that those earlier formed open water areas are already absorbing the sun’s energy and further helping to melt the sea ice from the sides and from below. That is part of the ice albedo feedback that many studies have shown to be an important player in recent September ice extents. If you have that open water for a longer period during summer (i.e. earlier melt onset, earlier formation of polynyas/leads), such as what we have right now, that means a longer time for the ocean to absorb heat and melt ice. You recently mentioned the late breakup of ice from Barrow, AK (i.e. the fast ice in Elson Lagoon), yet you are very quiet about what is happening on the Eurasian side of the Arctic right now.

    • Julienne,

      The low extent numbers of the last few years have been due primarily to deficiencies on the western side of the Arctic. The ice tends to move west to east, so it seems that the first year ice loss in the Barents and Kara Seas is much less interesting.

      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Actually, ice loss in September is from both sides of the Arctic Ocean in recent years. Back in the 1990s, yes, it was common for a low sea ice year to have less sea ice on one side of the Arctic (i.e. the Beaufort) and more on the other side (i.e. E. Siberian, Laptev seas) and vice versa. But now the ice retreat encompasses both sectors (you can see that clearly in the monthly means that NSIDC posts every September, check out: I’m sure you have also noticed the early formation of open water in the E. Siberian Sea this June, so it’s not just the Barents and Kara seas that I’m talking about.

      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Are you denying the importance of ocean heat absorption in the absence of sea ice?

        • Julienne,

          I think it is about six weeks too early to start looking at extent. The regions of perennial ice are all still intact.

          I do think it is unfortunate that PIPS has shut down their web data. Do you know anything about that?

  13. julienne stroeve says:

    I didn’t know PIPS shut down their web site…not sure why that is. I do know they were working on a new model, so maybe it has something to do with that. I personally hope to see some CRYOSAT thickness data published soon. The only recent estimates I have seen lately come from upward looking sonar measurements in Fram Strait where they tried to separate out level MYI from ridged ice and look at changes in thickness distribution between the 1990s and the 2000s.

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