Julienne’s Response

Steve, well first off you have to define what is meant by ice-free. We often refer to ice-free as less than 1 million sq-km since even with most of the Arctic Ocean ice-free, it is likely that some ice will remain north of Greenland and in the Canadian archipelago.

Also you have to consider if you define ice-free the first time the extent is 0 or below 1 million sq-km, or if it stays that way for consecutive summers.

There are some climate model simulations that show the September extent dropping below 1 million sq-km before 2020, but not necessarily staying below that value until later in the century.

Then you have to consider that even though the ice cover continues to shrink and thin, weather still plays an important role in the summer ice cover. So I think it’s impossible to say that the arctic ocean will be ice-free in september in 2015 without being able to predict the weather.

I think it’s important to remember that while the ice cover is in a period of long term decline (at least since the 1950s for which we have good data to assess the changes) that doesn’t mean the decline is linear and there will be ups and downs.

Even as we look to this coming September, we cannot say with any certainty that this summer will have less sea ice than last summer.

I personally would be very surprised if the Arctic Ocean was ice free in 2 years, but I do think it is likely to happen in the next couple decades.


About stevengoddard

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75 Responses to Julienne’s Response

  1. John S says:

    Huzzah! At least she is civil about it and willing to respond.

    but with logic like ‘ice-free can mean anything except ice-free’ and ‘we have no idea what the weather will be like but can predict the climatic conditions’ how do you argue?

  2. Mike says:

    So Julienne… Mark is WRONG? Just askin’. It’s hard to tell when you use words like “probably”. Go out on a limb here….

  3. gator69 says:

    I never knew “ice free” could be so complicated. I always assumed that ‘x’-free meant that there was no more ‘x’.

    Climate math is hard. 😉

  4. Glacierman says:

    I think my prediction was pretty much right on.

    “Condescending tone spoken from a higher plane.”

  5. Stephen Richards says:

    Christ, such a simple question made extremely complex by stupid climate scientologist. Julienne, You said ice free by XXXX. You know, in english, no ice by that date. How many differrent types of ice free artics are there? I’ll give you ice free = broken open ice across the Arctic at the peak of the normal max ice gain. When will that be? 2013 or 2310?

  6. ACR says:

    Normal People:
    1 million sq km of ice = 1 million sq km of ice

    “Climate” Alarmists:
    1 million sq km of ice = ice free

    • Latitude says:

      …the size of Egypt…..that’s HUGE

      decline……you could just as easily say “back to normal”……because not one single person knows

  7. Justa Joe says:

    An artic with 1 million sq-km instead of, for example, 1.1 million sq-km is enough to cause some kind of security threat that would call to action DHS and DOD?

  8. Kaboom says:

    Calling 1 million square miles of ice “ice free” is like calling someone with $1 million in the bank broke.

  9. Andy DC says:

    Any prediction two decades off can’t be disproved, but not proved either. It is easy to follow a trend line, but no guarantee, especially with such a short history of data.

  10. bubbagyro says:

    I personally believe that less than 2,000,000 km2 should be equated with ice-free (/sarc). I think that Julienne’s (and others) deeply held, sincere beliefs should not be ridiculed. Especially when these positions also put very nice bread on their tables.

  11. The thing to note (and I have mentioned this before) is that, as she mentioned, the ice has been declining since the 1950’s–and that was well before the “global warming” started, in 1975 or so, that was shortly (and falsely) labelled as “anthropogenic”. So it is an historic fact that the arctic ice decline is totally irrelevant to global warming. And I have also communicated here, based upon the revolutionary result of my Venus/Earth temperatures comparison, that changing polar ice extent does not affect global warming.

  12. BC says:

    A 1,000,000-square-kilometer goalpost move is quite the feat. Not many people could pull that off. Do Barcelona and Real Madrid know about Julienne’s upcoming free agency? 😉

  13. Ok, so when she is talking to journalists it will happen in 2 years. When she’s talking to rational people with a brain, it becomes 2 decades.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      please find a journalist article where I said the Arctic would be ice free in 2 years, or 2015, or any date before 2030. I have looked in depth at the climate model predictions over the last several years. Models participating in the next IPCC report show that 50% of the models are ice-free by 2060. One model ensemble member shows ice-free before 2020, and as I stated ice-free in one year, doesn’t necessarily mean ice-free in the following year. How you define ice-free is important. If you define it as ice-free for at least 5 years in a row, you may get 2030 by a couple of the models. But most have it occurring in the second half of this century.

      But even so, since the rate of ice loss in the observations remains faster than the majority of the models, many scientists, including myself believe it will likely happen within the first half of this century.

      While many of you who have posted may not want to believe the climate model projections or the scientists analyzing the data, you may want to ask yourself why industry does. They have been using the climate model projections to ramp up resource extraction in the Arctic. I’m sure they wouldn’t be investing billions of dollars if they didn’t think the Arctic Ocean wasn’t transitioning towards seasonally ice-free conditions. important

      • Julienne,

        It looks to me from NSIDC graphs that MYI bottomed in 2009, and has increased substantially over the last four years. If that trend continues, there will be substantially more ice in 20 years than there is now.

        Why should we trust climate models any more than a Ouija board?

      • Latitude says:


        The same models that predicted flat temps for the past decade…and the same scientists that analyzed the data…and said it didn’t

      • gator69 says:

        Hey Julienne! Thanks for dropping by.

        When do you plan to update your meaningless mean on your graphs?

      • Ben says:

        RE: Julienne Stroeve – “you may want to ask yourself why industry does. They have been using the climate model projections to ramp up resource extraction in the Arctic.”

        Dr. Stroeve, First, thank you for commenting and correcting the record.

        Would you consider rewording your assertion above, given the facts below? Contrary to ramping up, Shell has abandoned operations in 2013 .

        1. How can scientists claim thinner ice, when Shell states the reason they packed up was unusually thick ice?

        “Last summer’s drilling season proved a disappointment as unusually thick late-sea ice covered some of the company’s lease sites”


        2. Can you explain why they packed up a second site last September, due to a 30 mile ice floe that showed as open ocean on NSIDC charts?


        Thank you very much for your willingness to educate, and learn. I know its not always easy to do so.

      • Julienne,

        You were quoted in an article claiming that the ice would melt within 2 years. Did you write a letter to them strongly dissociating yourself from those claims? If so, then you deserve an apology. If not, then don’t complain if the public think your research field is a laughing stock, because it is.

      • Dustin says:

        Climate models and stock market “prediction” models have a lot in common. There’s dozens of them because none of them actually predict anything. IF one model actually worked, then everyone would use it and throw the rest away. How do Climatologists account for the garbage coming out? Why they sum them all together! Brilliant! Why couldn’t I think of that??? Probably because I’m not desperate and my career doesn’t rest on a failed theory.

    • Latitude says:

      LOL….yep, that’s about it

  14. Steve says:

    So ice-free will be the interpretation of the doomsday cult. Yeh it will not be because it is actually ice-free, but because the nutters interpreted it as ice-free. God help us. I cant take anymore of this lunacy.

  15. Latitude says:

    since the rate of ice loss in the observations remains faster than the majority of the models
    So the computer games were wrong about temperatures….wrong about arctic ice…..wrong about the tropical hot spot…

    …I’m sorry, what was your point again?

  16. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Steve, the MYI hasn’t increased like you thought it has. First off, September 2012 hit a record low extent, so therefore the FYI fraction was a record high when the Arctic Ocean froze back up in winter. Interestingly though by this spring, there was slightly more MYI than in spring 2008 because this year was dominated by the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation and less MYI was transported out of the Arctic than in winter 2007/2008. The current fraction is 29% vs 28% in 2008.

    BTW..here is the time-series of MYI extent for the Arctic Basin this spring (in million sq-km):

    Not sure where this large jump in MYI has occurred over the last 4 years that you mention.

  17. Julienne Stroeve says:

    Steve, you don’t have to trust the climate models, but the oil companies do, the mineral companies do, and the Chinese do.

    • Juliennne, From ARC maps, it looks like there is a huge mass of MYI blocking the western end of the Northwest Passage.

      That is going to make commerce tough this summer.

    • Ben says:

      RE: Julienne Stroeve – “you don’t have to trust the climate models, but the oil companies do”

      Dr. Stroeve, you keep making that assertion.

      The facts say otherwise. Shell has abandoned drilling in 2013, and cut short the 2012 season due to dangerous ice conditions, in an “ice-free” part of the Arctic.

      The Russians delayed opening Prirazlomnaya by a full year due to safety concerns.


      They are so nervous that they will only continue by partnering with GazProm, Rosneft and others to reduce individual risk.

      If they believed you, would they not go it alone and keep all the money for themselves? Can you point me to links that support your assertion?

      • Me says:

        With that statement of, “you don’t have to trust the climate models, but the oil companies do” from her, it doesn’t bold well for the satatment they expell that “all skeptics are well funded and paid by Big Oil” Har De Har har har!

      • Me says:

        Noted, it may not have been her specifically that made the statement that “all skeptics are well funded and paid by Big Oil” but we keep hearing it from that side!

    • Ben says:

      Here is another oil company that doesn’t trust the climate models.


      “Russia’s Lukoil buys $2bn onshore oil producer, refuses to invest in Arctic shelf”

      Would you consider qualifying your assertion to read “some oil companies do not trust the climate models”? It appears to be a more accurate statement.

      Thank you.

    • Ben says:

      StatOil delays drilling until at least 2015.

      Dr. Stroeve, Please forgive me, but I have a hard time interpreting these news stories as “the oil companies believe the climate models”


    • Ben says:

      Dr. Stroeve,

      Please consider qualifying your assertion.

      “ENI postpones Arctic project. The operator of the Goliat oil field in the Barents Sea experiences delays and surging costs.”


      • Julienne Stroeve says:

        Ben, I have consulted for oil companies, so I have a little idea of what they are thinking. I also participated in December on a panel discussion at the National Academies of Science with Exxon Mobile (you can google for the video of that). For just as many stories as you can find for oil companies delaying drilling you can find others moving forward. If you are interested in keeping abreast of political, environment, industry activities in the Arctic, you may consider subscribing to the Arctic Daily Update (The US Arctic Research Commission Daily Email Newsletter).

      • Me says:

        Yet you made a blank statement of “Steve, you don’t have to trust the climate models, but the oil companies do, the mineral companies do, and the Chinese do.!” and now that isn’t so?????

      • Me says:

        So do you see the problem here, or not!

      • Me says:

        But continue with it Julienne, I think you need to speak out here more to let us know what’s going on.

      • Ben says:

        Dr. Stroeve,

        Thank you for your reply and the recommendations. I look forward to reviewing the video and the Arctic Daily Update.

        I also appreciate the following statement, which I believe is more accurate than your original: “For just as many stories as you can find for oil companies delaying drilling you can find others moving forward. “

    • Glacierman says:

      Do they really believe them, or are they just doing their due diligence? What kind of track record do they have for long-term accuracy? I think you are kidding yourself if you think they are looking at your models and making actual plans. You don’t know what the ice will do in six months let alone decades from now.

  18. kirkmyers says:

    It appears she’s not blaming human-induced CO2 for the decline in arctic ice since the late 1970s, the period when satellite measurements began. That’s a positive sign. There’s never been any empirical evidence of rising CO2 (a minor “greenhouse gas” compared to water vapor) warming the arctic and melting sea ice. We have seen fluctuations in sea ice extent as a result of natural variability — AMO positive to negative phases, changing wind patterns and ocean currents, and, over the long term, waning solar activity.

    I agree with meteorologist Joe Bastardi, who predicts that arctic ice will return to historically high levels as soon as the AMO switches to its negative (cold) phase, which should occur within the decade.

  19. NoMoreGore says:

    Read an article in the last week (I think by the Russians) noting that arctic passages will increase in the future irrespective of minor changes in Ice thickness…. Simply because Icebreaker technology has increased, and the economic benefit is great. For drillers, technology will also be a factor. They’re regularly turning to exploration in areas that previously were too hostile to consider.

  20. tckev says:

    I think it’s important to remember that while the ice cover is in a period of long term decline (at least since the 1950s for which we have good data to assess the changes) that doesn’t mean the decline is linear and there will be ups and downs.

    Why 1950? Another magic date eh?
    “…is in a period of long term decline Long term for humans only – for climate it is a blink!
    Why not research back further, more data should give better weight to you hypothesis, right? The Russian’s apparently have piles of data, why not ask them?
    1930-1950 ice was lacking or abundant?
    Or could it be that looking back too far (in time) shows up the thin ice you dance on, by not showing that the poles (Antarctic and Arctic) naturally vary, and their variations are opposites. Currently the growth of Antarctic ice more than makes up for the very slight lack in the north.

    But I still hope that all the ice (that is not one ice-cube) is left, all gone. As soon as that happens the theory of sea-level rise is blown and the scam will fall. A mere trace gas in the atmosphere can give so many people a lucrative livelihood will end.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      1950s because that’s when we have the most reliable data and most frequent observations. Efforts are still going into incorporating any earlier data into the record. NSIDC recently processed Nimbus data from the 1960s to fill in some of the data gaps, especially for the Antarctic. Perhaps you’ve seen the story on the BBC? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22271972

      • Ben says:

        It was a heartening story. Cross discipline data archaeology at its best

        “Efforts are still going into incorporating any earlier data”

        Is NSIDC considering including the ice maps from the 1920s-1938 sourced from Danish and Scandinavian expeditions? It may fill in a few more gaps. In just a short time, a large area of the Arctic became ice-free, and has remained ice-free.

        Early 20th century scientists were very alarmed at the rate of change.

  21. NoMoreGore says:

    Julienne, I recall a few years ago, that just as the average of extent was about to exceed the mean, it suddenly turned back, and there were inquiries, and (Perhaps it was Walt, not sure) told us there had been changes in the algorithm that were intended to better estimate extent.

    When this occurs, is this method then applied to the ever changing pattern of every single previous year such that the new method can be fairly analyzed in context with previous years averages?

    If the method has improved, wouldn’t it be applied to the entire record so that we can accurately see how the current year has performed to previous years?

    The reason I ask is because I am curious if such year round record of past year ice flow is retained. If it isn’t, and the new method is not used on the entire record, the integrity of the comparison is lost.

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      NoMoreGore, the data record that we show at NSIDC has been processed to provide the most consistent data record possible. When we have data from overlapping sensors, those are used to cross-calibrate the data to make sure the extent is consistent between platforms. Every time a change is made to the sea ice algorithm or the brightness temperatures going into the algorithm, the entire time-series is reprocessed. You can see the impacts of that when you download the data from NSIDC as the filename contains the version number. If you have any questions, feel free to contact NSIDC user services. thanks, Julienne

  22. BC says:

    Kudos to Julienne for having the intestinal fortitude to come here and make her case. (Misguided as it may be.) The same can’t be said for the Hockey Schtick Team. Not a pair of testicles between the whole lot of ’em.

    With the way things are going, I’m selling my stake in the Hudson’s Bay Surf & Sun Shop that I had planned on opening when the palm trees started popping up and polar bears started eating the iguanas moving in. Anyone want to buy into a chance of a lifetime investment?

  23. What kind of people don’t believe in climate models?

    See page 40 of the AR5 draft report. A link here:

    Click to access ch1-introduction_wg1ar5_sod_ch01_all_final.pdf

    I suppose the answer is rational people…

  24. david says:

    Julienne Stroeve says:
    May 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm
    please find a journalist article where I said the Arctic would be ice free in 2 years, or 2015, or any date before 2030. I have looked in depth at the climate model predictions over the last several years.
    Sorry, but LOL is called for. The climate models, from T to SST to OHC to atmospheric hot spot, to increasing hurricanes storms droughts etc, etc is a dismal, but happy for humanity, failure. The economic disaster of anthropogenic economic impacts however is terrible to see, and the proponents of CAGW should be ashamed.

    It is somewhat ironic that the only area the predictions have tracked close to CAGW forecasts is with regard to arctic ice loss; and the proponets of CAGW , like you, are arguing for the economic benefit of said changes. (Where is the C in CAGW?) Please do not shame yourself by proclaimg how a month or so of low ice is causing all the cold weather in the US and Europe. There is a reason meterologist are as a whole, are sceptical of CAGW.

    BTW, I have seen many links showing MAJOR oil companies pulling back on Arctic plans. (Is it possible that when the only ONE, (of many proved by observations to be false) GW predictions was moving as predicted, the oil conglomerates ramped up, but since reality is hitting and they are now backing off. So far I have seen ZERO links from you on plans CURRENTLY moving forward. BTW, moving forward is not setting up plans to take advantage of predicted future changes. Clearly some companies that started to move forward, have backed off. But you have not backed off one little bit.

    Julienne, where is the C in CAGW?????????????????????????????

  25. Ben says:

    Dr. Stroeve,

    The Arctic Daily Update, which you recommended, predicts an ice-free Arctic in 2015.


    Should we regard only the oil news as solid, or should we consider ice-free predictions as also solid?

    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      Ben, they don’t actually predict that, they link to a story, the same one Steve did.

      They also linked to this story:
      Gazprom Given Green Light for Arctic Work. Russian energy company Gazprom has the right to try to access the estimated 63.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the arctic, the prime minister said. Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree Friday that gives Gazprom the right to explore four natural gas fields in the Barents Sea. The four fields combined may hold more natural gas than the 2.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas produced by Gazprom last year, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reports. UPI

  26. Ben says:

    Dr. Stroeve,

    I don’t understand a quote from your recent paper.

    “show essentially ice-free conditions by 2050, with the CanESM2 model having an ensemble member reaching nearly ice-free conditions as early as 2016 (0.54 x 10^6 km^2)”


    If ice-free is defined one million kilometers squared, then how is “nearly ice-free” 0.54 million kilometers squared? Are there multiple definitions for ice-free?

    • Latitude says:


    • Julienne Stroeve says:

      Ben, in our paper we assert ice-free as less than 1 million sq-km of ice. We make that clear in the paper, and it is chosen as it represents an Arctic Ocean that is ice-free but with some ice remaining in the Canadian Archipelago and north of Greenland (where the thick ice is currently found). The CA used to have about 500,000 sq-km of summer ice, but in recent years it has dropped to about 150,000 sq-km so it’s probably worth looking at changing that threshold, But since this discussion started about the news article that Steve was referring to, I made it clear that you need to define what you mean by ice-free in these news stories. There are no model simulations that I have looked at with 0 ice by 2015, but there is one ensemble member from the CanESM2 model having 540,000 sq-km of ice left in 2016 (which leaves the Arctic Ocean ice-free, but keeps some ice in the CA).

      You can also look at the graphics in the paper and pick the date when the ice does go entirely to 0 if you prefer.

  27. oeman50 says:

    This makes me think of one of my pet peaves. When something is “90% Fat Free” it is not actually “fat free, ” it means it has 10% fat all through it or else I could cut off the fat part and be left with the 90% that is fat free. Right? So when the Arctic is “ice-free” with 1,000,000 sq. miles of ice, it is really 90% “ice-free.” Nobel Peace Prize type thinking, eh?

    • Ben says:

      If we use miles, then 1,000,000 sq. miles of ice would be 81.6% ice free
      If we use km, then 1,000,000 sq. km of ice would be 92.9% ice free

      Arctic Ocean area := 5.427 million sq miles (14.06 million km²)

      Caution: In the “ice-free” areas, unshielded vessels would still suffer damage from frazzle, abrasive skim ice, bergy bits and pan ice. They don’t show up

  28. Ben says:

    We are now on 8 year delays for many projects, and 54 fatalities on a Gazprom capsized rig. GazProm refused to safely transport their workers.


    Please emphasize worker safety as you consult the oil companies. Ken Salazar recently reviewed 2012 Alaskan Arctic offshore drilling program. It simply isn’t safe. Inaccurate information and unworthy vessels have placed a lot of capital at risk.

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