Sea Ice Sets All Time Record High

Antarctica has broken the record for the greatest sea ice extent ever measured at either pole.

NSIDC seems disinterested in their own data, choosing instead to write stories about Penguins being threatened by declining Antarctic sea ice.

If current trends continue, the Earth will be completely covered with ice much faster than the climate models predicted.

h/t to sunshine hours

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124 Responses to Sea Ice Sets All Time Record High

  1. Chewer says:

    It’s sure to be huge news, all over NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and NYT, by tomorrow morning:)

  2. What wonders record low ice in the Arctic can do.

  3. Marian says:

    “NSIDC seems disinterested in their own data, choosing instead to write stories about Penguins being threatened by declining Antarctic sea ice”

    So as the record Antarctic sea ice is concerned, NSIDC should rather stand for: No Such Ice Data Currently.

  4. gator69 says:

    “Antarctic Sea Ice Reporting Sets All Time Low”

  5. bob sykes says:

    That should be “uninterested” not “disinterested.” NSDIC is anything but disinterested in their own data.

  6. Andy OZ says:

    Obama saved the Southern Hemisphere from AGW in 4 years. In his next 4 years he will save the Northern Hemisphere. Time to celebrate.

  7. Hugh K says:

    Mann’s response – I knew it was a bad idea to send Gore to Antarctica.
    Establishment media response – Look over there! We created another Romney gaffe.
    NSIDC response – Forget the ice. It’s the penguins, stupid!
    Obama response – You didn’t build that ice.
    Team response – See, our models predicting a name change from global warming to climate change were correct.

  8. Tobias Forsberg says:

    In Sweden (Svenska Dagbladet one of our biggest news papers) they reported that the ice was at a record low. I am confused?

  9. The problem, of course, is that the Arctic is melting much faster than the Antarctic is gaining ice: -54 Kkm2/yr compared to +14 Kkm2/yr, since the beginning of satellite records.

    That means the global sea ice-albedo feedback is net positive. Plus, most of us live in the northern hemisphere, and will be affected by any impact the melting Arctic has the jet stream and associated atmospheric patterns.

    The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice will mean a net anthropogenic forcing similar to that caused by halocarbons:

  10. Bob Hobbes says:

    I’m looking at the graphic and I don’t see anything other than seasonal variability over a 35 year span. What record?

    • Look at the Arctic graph and you will see exactly the same thing.

    • Can you do math?
      In particular, can you calculate a linear trend by Newton’s method of least squares?

      • For most of the year, temperatures are far below freezing in the Arctic. Instead of blogging about melting ice, why don’t you travel up there and report how quickly you freeze your ass off.

      • Me says:

        Gyro-Robo got some math lessons at the Air Vent just recently, err something…. 😆

      • Yes, it’s cold, blah blah blah.
        The fact is, Arctic sea ice is melting 4 times faster than Antarctic sea ice is gaining.

      • PS: Of course, I don’t mean that it’s melting 4 times faster *now* — I mean since 1979.

      • And it did the same thing from circa 1915-1940 (depending on which temperature data set you used). And it cooled equally rapidly from circa 1950-1980. There is no scientific dispute that this region of the planet is highly susceptible to large swings in natural variability. So the actual issue is whether CO2 has or will enhanced the natural upswing and if so, to what degree. To cherry pick a convenient start date and huff and puff about that is something, surely, only a moron would do…

      • Do you understand that the trend is for the last 34 years, and not on what’s going on right now? In that time the loss of global sea ice has been 1,300 Kkm2.

      • What data did you use for the 1915-1940 period? I’d like to download it myself and repeat the calculation, so can you please provide a link?

      • Do you understand that this has happened before? And during the 20th century the trend flipped direction several times? And that the cooling and warming was very rapid each time this occurred?

        Or do you prefer to ignore the history of the various data sets and sprout gibberish instead?

      • David, since you know SFA about climate why are blogging on the topic? Why are you trying to “educate” readers here when you are constantly begging for links from others? Shouldn’t you do you homework first? A few days ago you refused to believe that the climate models predicted significant Antarctic cooling. You had to be pointed 3 times to the IPCC report on this…

        You obviously know nothing about climatology and it’s obvious you haven’t even read (or understood or remembered) the IPCC reports… You are not doing your “cause” any favours.

      • Will: Where is the data for when this has happened before? I’d like to download it and do the calculation for myself.


      • It’s only daft for people who can’t do the math: the Arctic melting trend is -54,000 km2/yr since 1978.

      • I’m more worried about his abuse of logic…

      • gator69 says:

        “PS: Of course, I don’t mean that it’s melting 4 times faster *now* — I mean since 1979.”

        The dawn of time for AGW zealots. Cherries anyone?

      • No, it’s not the dawn of time:

        “20th Century Changes of the Arctic Sea Ice Cover,” Norbert Untersteiner

      • gator69 says:

        So 1900 was the dawn of time? No wonder you are so very confused. Time to clean out the mental litter box catboy!

      • Ben says:


        Long before CO2 rose precipitously, sea captains were documenting disappearance of miles of glacier, even during the little ice age.

        Please don’t be the person who only seeks quantifiable evidence. Seek both quantifiable and qualifiable evidence.

        How much ice disappeared before high CO2? A lot.
        How many tree stumps were found under glaciers? Many. To which approximate date? About 1500 years ago. What does this imply? That ice receded. Trees grew. Ice expanded again. Trees died in place. Stumps remained. Ice receded. We found stumps.

        That is qualifiable evidence sir.

      • The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data.’ “A lot” and “many” aren’t scientific answers, and are meaningless for answering scientific questions.

      • The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data.’

        Did you borrow that “clever” one-liner from the back of your tampon box?

      • charles nelson says:

        Can you understand that trying to calculate a ‘linear’ trend about a ‘non linear’, chaotic system on a ‘spherical’ object, subject to external forces (cosmic/solar etc) is the pursuit of fools?
        And if I were a Warmist I really really wouldn’t mention Newton…because according to normal ‘physics’ you guys really are talking bollocks.
        By the way are you a genuine masochist or do you get paid to appear here?

    • cordeg says:

      Ah, note that the current peak is the highest point in the graph — i.e., the highest seasonal peak since the graph began in 1979. Moreover, the most recent trough appears to be about the 3rd highest seasonal trough, suggesting it isn’t shrinking as much in the summer as it normally does either.

      Of course, in measuring an geologic phenomena, the period from 1979 to 2012 is but a blip. I wouldn’t say this discounts anthropomorphic global warming anymore than any of the other data mentioned here by adherents supports that notion. But I also wouldn’t say it discounts the notion any less either. I think the whole business is taking a snapshot at a spot a mile into a marathon race and trying to predict the ultimate winner from what you see.

      Here’s a data point for you to make you wonder if the “Global” part of AGW isn’t highly suspect: the winters have been getting decidedly cooler here in Central Florida for more than 30 years, as evidenced by the fact that Orange County — so named because it was once wall-to-wall orange groves — now has no commercial orange growers left (they all moved south) because where freezing temps used to be an occasion for “the end of the world is coming” news coverage, we now have “hard freezes” (temps below 28 for several hours) several times every winter. So, if indeed the “globe” is warming, I think I know where all that heat actually came from — forget CO2, the heat has been leaking out of this area 🙂

      • Tobias says:

        The worst thing is that the climate cult followers would just bash you with two arguments:

        1) You cannot look at one place and draw conclusions for the whole planet. The world is warming up, but at your place there is an anomally (never mention that there are anomallies all over the world).

        2) Florida will not get warmer because the world is growing warmer. It will actually grow colder and get really nastier weather. In fact every weather type weather it follows the general warming trend, gets colder or stays just the same is actually an effect of the climate change.

        The problem is that you cannot win. This is not science but religion.

  11. Brad says:

    Pure comedy. Thanks Mr. Appell.

  12. Interesting graph here if people want to do an eye ball test…

    The logic as far as I can follow is that the diverging blue line is proof of catastrophic global warming and the diverging red line is something that shouldn’t be talked about because it’s not scientific, or something. 😉

    Data for the graph found here:

  13. Interesting graph here if people want to do an eye ball test…

    The logic as far as I can follow is that the diverging blue line is proof of catastrophic global warming and the diverging red line is something that shouldn’t be talked about because it’s not scientific, or something.

  14. Will.E.Waw says:

    S.Goddard- you really need to go read an oceanography book; learn the difference between first year ice and multi year ice; ocean temps as they relate to freezing and melting, and air temp etc etc etc… Go to the American Meteorlogical Societies website, and read; then come back to the discussion and support your assertions with some data.

    • Typical comment from a time waster. No specific disagreement, just mindless opaque appeals to authority.

    • Ben says:


      If you spent any time on this site, you would know that Steve already knows the differences between first and multi-year ice, that he already knows about ocean temps regarding freezing and melting. He has read for more than you realize, and has documented his assertions with satellite data, satellite videos, historical scientific data, archived peer reviewed articles, books, magazines, newspapers, photographs.

      Steve put up his data. Put up yours.

      Steve is not ignoring the multifaceted reasons for ice sheet collapse, it’s you sir.

      It’s you.

  15. Bob Maginnis says:

    Increasing Antarctic Sea Ice under Warming Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions
    “…..The ice melting from ocean heat flux decreases faster than the ice growth does in the weakly stratified Southern Ocean, leading to an increase in the net ice production and hence an increase in ice mass. This mechanism is the main reason why the Antarctic sea ice has increased in spite of warming conditions both above and below during the period 1979–2004 and the extended period 1948–2004.

    Click to access Zhang_Antarctic_20-11-2515.pdf

    • Sea ice is increasing because it is getting warmer? Brilliant. I have bridge in Brooklyn which you might want to buy.

    • Rosco says:

      If someone can supply with a reasonable explanation how 1.29 kg/cubic metre air is capable of transferring sufficient energy to 1000 kg/cubic metre water then I’ll listen to this CAGW nonsense.

      Water requires 4 times the energy to increase 1 degree C and is almost 4000 times more dense – so the atmosphere cannot possibly warm the oceans especially as the mass of air at a higher temperature than the oceans is tiny – anywhere on Earth.

      These guys have forgotten it is the temperature that generates the radiation. They apparently never understood that CO2 has no observable properties to transfer the quabtities of energy they claim – unless there is some magical property that somehow isn’t observed in the myriad of experiments to determine physical properties that are well established – CO2 has less effect than ordinary air at 100% concentration – at 0.04% it is negligible,

      Stay away from the quark soup – it is clearly hallucinogenic.

      • Rosco says:

        Sorry ~1000 times density

      • OK, so that’s why if I take a block of ice out of my fridge it doesn’t melt. Makes sense.

      • Ben says:

        Make a fair comparison Will.

        If you could set the ocean on the counter, of course it would heat up faster.

        Enclose the block of ice on five sides (like the deep ocean), and you have much slower transfer of energy.

        Wind, sun, pressure, surface tension. So much more going on here

      • OK so long as you’re not questioning the physics but the time periods involved, that is another matter. However, I will note that the surface of the ocean is not ‘smooth’ and oceans have currents that can transport significant amounts of both warm and cold water.

  16. I’m only aware of one long-term time series on Arctic sea ice, from Walsh and Chapman 2000

    Oh please. Do tell.

  17. newsel says:

    Great banter….but is the ice mass more or less? I hear “more”. QED

  18. Dajake says:

    All warming is global. All cooling is regional. So shut up.

  19. Bill Vetter says:

    Wasn’t there cyclone activity in the Arctic Sea in August 2012 that broke up much of the sea ice and moved much of the sea ice to warmer water where the sea ice melted? How come Appel does not mention that cyclone event? How come the warming alarmists cherry pick climate data and climate events? Why can’t warming alarmsits just tell the truth? What is being achieved by name calling and dishonesty? Are you really interested in science and the advancement of knowledge, Mr. Appel? Why can’t you be honest? What is wrong with you and your fellow warming alarmists?

    Massive cyclone blows over central Arctic ocean

    Scientist says cyclone is causing sea ice to melt faster this year

    CBC News

    Posted: Aug 12, 2012 10:39 AM CT

    Last Updated: Aug 12, 2012 11:58 AM CT

    In this Aug. 24, 2009 picture provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice ahead of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent in the Arctic Ocean. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer Patrick Kelley)

    Related Stories
    Greenland’s massive ice sheet meltingGiant conference to discuss ‘dramatic’ Arctic changes

    A massive cyclone blew over the central Arctic Ocean this past week, north of the Beaufort Sea, and some Arctic researchers said they have never seen anything like it.
    Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, said cyclones are common at this time of year, but he said this week’s storm was stronger than any he’s seen.
    Serreze said he believes the cyclone is causing Arctic sea ice to melt faster this year.
    “It causes a lot of break-up of the ice floes. These can drift into warmer waters where the ice can then melt very quickly, and it looks like we’re seeing some of that now, or we have, over the past week with the storm. So the point is, in terms of the sea-ice cover, it does have a big effect because with the strong winds and a big storm like that, it really chews things up,” said Serreze.
    He said it’s likely the Arctic sea ice cover will hit a new record low this year, thanks in part to the cyclone. Serreze added that about 600,000 square kilometres of sea ice was lost in the central Arctic in the last week.
    Serreze said the Northwest Passage had been clear of ice, but now pieces have blown in to block the western entrance.

  20. Peter Salonius says:

    I have wondered about the phenomenon that you wrote about (The Arctic melts, Antarctic ice is getting thicker) and the most plausible explanation I have seen recently deals with Svensmark’s hypothesis that cloud cover (modified by the cosmic ray flux) is very important in influencing the
    global climate ……….

    …… it goes like this:

    — when global cloud cover decreases – then more solar insolation reaches the Arctic’s open water and snow free
    land masses so that extra heating occurrs //////////// while in the Antarctic, the albedo of the ice is much higher than the albedo of the clouds so that when
    global cloud cover decreases the Antarctic gets cooler because more of the solar insolation is reflected back into space.

  21. Sleel says:

    I’m still waiting for an answer to one of my questions.

    Who was it that declared that climate is supposed to STOP changing, in this cushy, post-glacial era we live in just for our convenience? The planet has gone from Ice Age to warm enough to have Greenland covered in a boreal forest (as found under the glaciers by ice cores), leaving fossilized plants in the Arctic that only occur in much more temperate growing zones, yet for some reason, it’s supposed to stop doing what it has done forever cause WE SAY SO!

    Climate change is a redundant phrase since it climate always has and always will do just that. Change.

  22. The amount of sea ice in the Antarctic is of very little significance. It pretty well melts away each summer and reforms each winter. What is important in the Antarctic is the amount of ice on land and with the break up of bay ice, glaciers will flow faster to the sea. As far as I remember from numerous announcements, Land ice in the Antarctic has decreased since satelite measuring has begun. The Arctic is a completely different situation. If the Arctic becomes ice free and this occurs earlier and earlier in the year, then the ocean absorbs energy that would have been reflected back into space. The Polar Hadley cell is powered by cold air falling, spreading out over the tundra and rising at about 60 degrees north. If the Arctic Ocean collects enough heat to reverse this flow, all the climate patterns in the Northern hemisphere will lurch northward. Look to your South to see what weather is in store for you. The Polar Jet Stream has been weakening, moving north and wobbling (deeper Rossby waves) and the Rossby waves have been stalling (over Russia in 2010 for instance). The Polar jet stream is powered by the speed of rotation of the Polar Hadley cell so it looks as if this process is well under way. Many climate change deniers have pointed to the Arctic storm of Aug6 as a freek occurance that led to the huge ice melt this summer. Sorry guys. Such storms are powered by open warmer water and can be expected to be a constant feature of Arctic summers in future. To the contrary, they are not freek occurances but are part of the feed back mechanism or if you will, tipping points.

    • Yet another “ice cubes melt from the inside out” person.

    • He lost me in the first part where he claimed Antarctic sea ice was irrelevant because only ice on land counts, but Arctic sea ice was deeply important because it wasn’t found on land.

      • Glacierman says:

        Classic case of just say as much as you can thinking you can dazzle them with a wad of psuedo facts. Sprinkle in a bunch of Ifs, and call people that aren’t as “knowledgeable” (appeals to authority) as you are deniers.

        Seems he has recieved his Climate Chatterbot programming and is out on the prowl!

      • If we put aside the pseudo scientific babble I think the point he was trying to make was that albedo changes will enhance the greenhouse effect. Which strictly speaking isn’t wrong. If we’re generous it might increase the effect by around 1% of something that for the last decade or two is almost nothing.

      • Actually, a complete melting of the Arctic has been calculated to be about 0.7 W/m2, about 25% of the current anthropogenic greenhouse effect:

        “Estimating the Global Radiative Impact of the Sea-Ice-Albedo Feedback in the Arctic,” Stephen R. Hudson, JGR 2011

        Click to access Hudson11_AlbedoFeedback.pdf

      • I was talking about reality David… not some bizarre apocalyptic fantasy whereby all the ice in the Artic melts even in the middle of winter (where temperatures presently range from -40 to -50C.)

      • Of course, it is dark in the Arctic in the middle of winter, so ice extent then has no effect on the ice-albedo feedback.

      • You are sprouting gibberish David… If the ice is going to always return in winter, it’s going to still be there when it’s no longer winter… And go through the usual melt cycle again. That affects ice-albedo feedback. What does your ice free Arctic claim got to do with anything that could happen in the real world? Can you make a comment that’s not asinine?

    • LLAP says:

      @William: How do you expect to be taken seriously when you can’t even spell the word “freak”?

    • glacierman says:

      We will pass a tipping point just aboit the time Trenberth finds his missing heat……..and O.J. finds the real killer.

    • Ben says:

      1. It’s obvious that William has never seen “Deadliest Catch”.

      2. RE: “Such storms are powered by open warmer water”? Sir, go look at the SSTs for the storm dates in question. You’re assertion is incorrect.

  23. Clearly, some of you have spotted that a linear graph is not the best one to draw through the points on the ice decrease graph. The ice is pretty clearly, by eye, going down faster and faster. Here is a graph done on ice volume, It makes far more sense and gives one a much more likely prediction of when there will be an ice free Arctic ocean one year soon in the middle of September.

    • PIOMAS has 300,000 elves measuring the ice.

    • Ben says:


      Thank you sir for posting the PIOMAS graph. I learned a lot. I learned that you have no idea that Steve has posted the PIOMAS graph many times. I learned that PIOMAS does not stand for “Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Measuring and Actuality System”

      It stands for “Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean MODELING and Assimilation System”

  24. physicist says:

    So when do you plan to get to any science? This primarily looks like nothing more than the paranoid rants and supposedly clever comments of the right wing denier crowd.

    • If this is an organised strategy in the alarmist activist world to visit sceptical blogs and make sceptics look dumb, I don’t think the tactic is working. ;-P

      • physicist says:

        Deniers do a bang up job on their own of making themselves look dumb when they go to sites which do have the ‘real science,’ such as RealCliimate or skepticalscience.

        So, tell me some science. Is it getting warmer, or not? If it is getting warmer, which the BEST study says it is, agreeing with what is already known, why is it getting warmer? Tell me the science, if you can.

        50 ways to leave your lover, and 170 ways to deny global warming

      • gator69 says:

        Here is Glenn Tamblyn (Skeptical Science author/moderator) secretly conversing with his SkS pals on their off limits forum and saying “we need a conspiracy to save humanity”. The Viet Cong comparison is a nice touch too. There’s talk of convening a “war council” too…

        “And this isn’t about science or personal careers and reputations any more. This is a fight for survival. Our civilisations survival. .. We need our own anonymous (or not so anonymous) donors, our own think tanks…. Our Monckton’s … Our assassins.
        Anyone got Bill Gates’ private number, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson? Our ‘side’ has got to get professional, ASAP. We don’t need to blog. We need to network. Every single blog, organisation, movement is like a platoon in an army. ..This has a lot of similarities to the Vietnam War….And the skeptics are the Viet Cong… Not fighting like ‘Gentlemen’ at all. And the mainstream guys like Gleick don’t know how to deal with this. Queensberry Rules rather than biting and gouging.
        ..So, either Mother Nature deigns to give the world a terrifying wake up call. Or people like us have to build the greatest guerilla force in human history. Now. Because time is up…Someone needs to convene a council of war of the major environmental movements, blogs, institutes etc. In a smoke filled room (OK, an incense filled room) we need a conspiracy to save humanity.”

        Yep! The “real” science websites have it all figured out! 😉

  25. Talking about the increase in the Antarctic sea ice as if it somehow balances the decrease in Arctic sea ice in the debate on climate warming is deceptive, if not downright dishonest. The Antarctic sea ice freezes in winter and pretty well disappears each summer. It has been doing this for years and probably will continue to do so. Besides it may be an artefact. The satellite that measures ice extent sees anything over 15% ice cover as complete ice cover. It is reasonably likely that the Antarctic sea ice is simply spread out a little more by the winds rather than that there is more ice. And finally, the increase, if real, is so small that it hardly signifies.
    The important factor in the Antarctic is what is happening to the land based ice and it is decreasing. In addition, the West Arctic area is warming, probably faster, than any place on earth. Watch this space.
    It is unlikely that any time soon the ice cover will disappear over Antarctica and hence it’s albedo will continue to have its usual effect on our climate. It may loose enough ice to raise sea level but that is another story. The Arctic is a completely different story.
    Melting the Arctic ice cap will have no effect on sea level but will likely cause the reversal of the Polar Hadley Cell which, if it happens, will suck climate zones of the northern hemisphere northward. If you think the little crop decrease in Russia of 2010 or the American and Russian crop decrease of this year is bad, just wait until we have a complete northern hemisphere crop failure for wheat, barley, corn and a whole raft of other crops. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    • LLAP says:

      @William: “The important factor in the Antarctic is what is happening to the land based ice and it is decreasing. In addition, the West Arctic area is warming, probably faster, than any place on earth.”

      Here, try this:

      Money quote: “They can’t find any recent warming, so they took a broken sensor with “intermittent gaps and other problems”, “recalibrated” it, “used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps” and “discovered” warming that “happened in the 1980s”. If you believe that this is science, then I strongly suggest you prep your telescope, lest you miss out on a spectacular sleigh sighting…”

      P.S. Lose, not loose.

    • sunsettommy says:

      Ah another alarmist goal post movement to show what dishonest guy you are.

      The IPCC long ago predicted that BOTH poles would warm up a lot and LOSE a lot of ice.

      They are mostly wrong but for CAGW fanatics like you just continue the bullshit long after it stops smelling bad.

      • To argue that warming at one pole is deeply significant but cooling at the other is of no consequence is obviously bizarre. However the important point is that predicted global warming is dependent on climate models. If the climate models predict significant warming at both poles but warming is only observed at one, that is deeply problematical.

      • Me says:

        Changed something Will?

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