Ignoring Inconvenient Arctic Data

NSIDC likes to pretend that there is no satellite data for Arctic ice prior to 1979.

ScreenHunter_168 Jun. 15 11.08

N_05_plot.png (420×240)

This makes for scary graphs showing disappearing Arctic ice, which are highly misleading.

The 1990 IPCC report had satellite data going back much earlier than 1979, which showed that Arctic peaked in that year, and was much lower in 1974.

ScreenHunter_170 Jun. 15 11.10


If NSIDC used all of the available data, their scary story wouldn’t look so scary. Starting their graphs during the peak ice year is pretty dodgy.


About stevengoddard

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66 Responses to Ignoring Inconvenient Arctic Data

  1. miked1947 says:

    Here come the Trolls! 😉

  2. T.O.O. says:

    I looked up your link and was intrigued to see a mirror image Southern Hemisphere ice extent graph to your Northern Hemisphere one. And I also found this section in the accompanying text to be interesting: “Recently however, Wadhams (1990) found a 15% or larger decrease in mean sea-ice thickness between October 1976 and May 1987 over a large region north of Greenland.”

    • Yes, the poles always seem to move opposite each other. it is unfortunate that scientists are so tied into CO2 theory that they can’t put some effort into trying to understand what is really going on.

      • T.O.O. says:

        If you read the IPCC reports, you will discover that there is a tremendous amount of effort in trying to understand what is going on. Hundreds, if not thousands, of reports and studies compiled over a 5-year period are disseminated from literally dozens of scientific disciplines. Everything from solar cycles to the earth’s orbit to cfc’s to magnetism to forest-fire soot to undersea volcanoes is addressed. It just so happens that none of them explain the climate observations as clearly as the increase of CO2.

        The IPCC is a very big tent that allows anyone (with some sort of ability) to be part of the process. How would you improve on the process?

      • Cool. Now back to reality. Arctic temperatures have been below normal every day for the last two months.

        • T.O.O. says:

          That was reality. The question in front of you is: How would you improve upon the IPCC process?

          ‘Arctic temperatures have been below normal every day for the last two months.’

          What part of the Arctic are you talking about? Point Barrow, got to more than 50 degrees yesterday. Also the coldest part of the Arctic — the central basin — is thinning down to less than a meter in thickness.

        • snafu says:

          Central Arctic active buoys (current);

          2012G – Deployed, October 1, 2012.
          Conditions at Deployment (10/1/2012):
          Snow Depth: 16.5 cm
          Ice Thickness: 141 cm

          Current Observations (06/16/2013)
          Air Temp: 0.15 C
          Snow depth : 32 cm
          Ice thickness : 224 cm
          Since Deployment (10/01/2012)
          Ice bottom growth : 84 cm (Began 11/03/2012)

          2013A – Deployed, January 24, 2013
          Conditions at Deployment (1/22/2013):
          Snow Depth: 2 cm
          Ice Thickness: 80 cm

          Current Observations (06/16/2013)
          Air Temp: 1.26 C
          Snow depth : 3 cm
          Ice thickness : 145 cm
          Since Deployment (01/24/2013)
          Ice bottom growth : 62 cm

          2013B – Deployed, April 10, 2013
          Conditions at Deployment (4/10/2013):
          Snow Depth: 2 cm
          Ice Thickness: 200 cm

          Current Observations (06/16/2013)
          Air Temp: -3.32 C
          Snow depth : 7 cm
          Ice thickness : 218 cm
          Since Deployment (04/10/2013)
          Ice bottom growth : 18 cm

          2013C – Deployed, May 13, 2013
          Conditions at Deployment (5/13/2013):
          Snow Depth: 7 cm
          Ice Thickness: 346 cm

          Current Observations (06/16/2013)
          Air Temp: 1.49 C
          Snow depth : 4 cm
          Ice thickness : 349 cm
          Since Deployment (05/10/2013)
          No estimated ice bottom growth

          2013E – Deployed, April 8, 2013
          Conditions at Deployment (4/01/2013):
          Snow Depth: 0 cm
          Ice Thickness: 140 cm

          Current Observations (06/16/2013)
          Air Temp: -3.30 C
          Snow depth : 29 cm (Accumulation began 04/13/2013)
          Ice thickness : 139 cm
          Since Deployment (04/08/2013)
          No estimated ice bottom growth

          Not a single currently active buoy in the Central Arctic region is measuring below a metre in ice thickness.

        • T.O.O says:

          I can see why you were so reluctant to show your reference. As always, a little digging finds inconvenient truths. First there are only 4 active buoys for the entire Central Arctic region (an area larger than either Greenland or Mexico) and these are buoys 2013A,B,C and E. Of these, 2013A began at the Canadian Islands and drifted into the Central Arctic. 2013C and E showed no thickening and 2013B showed 18cm thickening over a 2 month period. To base your argument that the Central Arctic is not thinning on the data from three non-stationary buoys that have been in operation for only 2 months is quite astounding. My counter argument is based on satellite data and on the US Navy which covers the entire Arctic region, including the Central Arctic. http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/buoysum.htm


          BTW, I tooled around inside the website and I found this interesting tidbit: The 1999 graph associated with the following text shows that the greatest thinning has occurred in the coldest areas (sorry Steve) – the central Arctic basin “Results from Rothrock et al. (1999) shows changes in ice thickness comparing submarine results from the 1958 through 1976 to results from the 1990’s. The results show that there was thinning at every point of comparison. The thinning average 40%, representing a decrease from about 3 m to less than 2 m.”

        • Ben says:

          RE: T.O.O – “the greatest thinning has occurred in the coldest areas”

          Cool! That explains why the Arctic melts out every year, starting at the North pole, then working its way toward the Canadian and Russian coasts.


  3. snafu says:

    Another interesting thing I picked up regarding the IPCC AR1 was this statement;

    Sea-ice is defined to be present when its concentration exceeds 10% (Ropelewski, 1983)

    Current NSIDC states; “Sea-ice is defined to be present when its concentration exceeds 15%

    Keep shifting them goal posts boys…. 😉

  4. Jimbo says:

    Remember the doomed ski industry in the Alps?

    Just a week ago on Sunday June 9, 2013 Planet Ski reported:

    The torrential rain that caused widespread flooding in parts of Europe has left up to a metre of fresh snow in the Alps. We have never seen anything like it in June. People are also skiing in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada in Spain.

    • alex says:

      strange what global warming can do. In fact one can do it at micro level. Increasing the set-point of the central heating system in one’s house will cause freezing in some rooms. Try it out yourselves. It does(‘nt) work

  5. Rocket City Red Neck. says:

    Has anyone got a link to the California sized chunk of sea ice that went missing a few years back from the computer screens hidden under Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and that was then subsequently “found” by Alaskan residents living on the Artic sea coast who then needed to post pictures of shore fast sea ice as far as the eye can see before the Media believed them. T.O.O. may also find this link, shall we say educational.

    NASA is currently looking for the next big thing now that their mission to make Mohammedans proud of their contribution to science has failed. NASA seized the ICESat program to provide a life time of employment with a pension to government bureaucrats posing as NASA scientists. Bureaucrats by the way who don’t disserve the name “Scientist.”

  6. alex says:

    I’m 61 years old, degree in mechanical engineering, know my thermodynamics and lots more. I have been following climate science since Al Gore told me that my grand children and ther children shall not have a planet where to live due to my lifestyle. I checked out the scince to see what the heck Al Gore was talking about. It’s been years since then and much knowledge hasbeen acquired and the more I learn the more I realise that Al Gore was no scientist, that Al Gore is crook of the first order, that Al Gore is on the verge of being the first carbon billionaire, that climate change is the norm and has been like that for 4.5 billion years and now I learn that arctic sea ice cover history goes way back than 1979 and that anomalies have been worse than the ones the warmists are wailing about. That 12,000 years ago the planet was 6C colder than today and the oceans were 400 feet below today’s level, that most of thenorthern hemisphere was under miles-high ice sheets and when those melted whole civilisations disappeared from the face of the earth etc etc etc etc and when the levels

    The more science I read the better I sleep at night knowing full well that my grand children and their children will be OK.

    Bickering over a few degrees difference at 4 points in the vast arctic region is like judging the Sahara desert by looking at 4 palm trees inside an oasis.

    • T.O.O says:

      Along this path of knowledge you have undertaken did you discover that this crook, Al Gore, the carbon billionaire, hasn’t made a single cent from his climate books and movies? He donates all profits from those ventures to the nonprofit Climate Reality Project. Al Gore can thank Apple Google and Current TV and his savvy capitalism for most of his wealth.

      • Jimbo says:

        He’s made lots of money off of green investments and carbon reduction schemes. How else do you think he’s made all this EXTRA money since leaving office??? He has however recently been bailing out of green investments.

        You need another shot of Cool Aid I think. 😉

        • Jimbo says:

          By the way Al Gore’s family became wealthy from stock holdings in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum. Al Gore has also admitted to cultivating and selling tobacco. He recently sold his Current TV to oil funded Al Jazeera. Do you really want me to tell you more about Al Gore they hypocrite. It’s all about the money and not the climate. You Warmists are just useful idiots. So yeah, Gore is a savvy hypocritical capitalist. Sheeeesh!

          Gore’s Big Oil Connection: An ‘Occident’ of Birth? – TIME
          New York Times – 1996

          “Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco,”……..”I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it.”

          Earlier in the same article the New York Times said:

          “Six years after Vice President Al Gore’s older sister died of lung cancer in 1984, he was still accepting campaign contributions from tobacco interests. Four years after she died, while campaigning for President in North Carolina, he boasted of his experiences in the tobacco fields and curing barns of his native Tennessee….”

        • T.O.O says:

          Al Gore’s worth was 1.7 million in the year 2000. His worth now is about $200 million. Google and Current TV alone netted him over $100 million and Apple and his other investments fill out the rest.

          As I said, Al Gore made most of his money by being a savvy capitalist. What flavor Kool Aid are you offering?

      • NoMoreGore says:

        Uh, that’s Kool Aid. In Russki, the “C” has an “S” sound.

  7. Mariana Torres says:

    My worry is what these bast@@@@@ presenting the ice graphs are going to do next now that the graphs are going the wrong way. What I have observed before is that the delay or freeze the graph until the image goes the way of the team in fact I have NO trust in any of the graphs anymore they could be up anything…

  8. Mariana Torres says:

    Case in point
    DMI frozen for 5 days now!!!!
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php check the others.

  9. Bob B. says:

    T.O.O.—-temeprature data—still below freezing:


  10. Jim Reekes says:

    The NSIDC also gave us this chart going back to 1953. How do we reconcile this with the one appearing in the IPCC report? The IPCC is using NOAA satellite data starting in 1972, but there’s also this data set… (how do we get what appears to be conflicting data from the same source?)

  11. dennisambler says:

    T.O.O Much:
    “Point Barrow, got to more than 50 degrees yesterday. Also the coldest part of the Arctic — the central basin — is thinning down to less than a meter in thickness.”

    It does happen to be summer…….

    Re Rothrock, “Results from Rothrock et al. (1999) shows changes in ice thickness comparing submarine results from the 1958 through 1976 to results from the 1990′s. The results show that there was thinning at every point of comparison. The thinning average 40%, representing a decrease from about 3 m to less than 2 m.”

    The 1999, 2000 Rothrock Wadhams claims were demolished many years ago:

    ACSYS – Ice and Climate News, No. 1, September 2001, Is Arctic Sea Ice Rapidly Thinning?
    Greg Holloway (zounds@ios.bc.ca), and Tessa Sou (tessa@ewok.ios.bc.ca) Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney BC, Canada

    “Results from Rothrock et al. (1999) shows changes in ice thickness comparing submarine results from the 1958 through 1976 to results from the 1990′s. The results show that there was thinning at every point of comparison. The thinning average 40%, representing a decrease from about 3 m to less than 2 m.”

    “Hypothesise that the five early cruises each occurred one year earlier (Sept 1957, 59, 61, 69 and 75) and the three later cruises each one year later (Sept 1994,97,98), “spreading out the baseline” on which to detect change. What would the result have been? The submarine surveys would have shown no change at all to average Arctic ice thickness. Thus the actual results from the actual submarine surveys appear to be a “fluke” of timing coupled with a natural mode of Arctic sea-ice

    “Everywhere the environment always changes, and ability to sample those changes is limited. Inferences from limited observations can be misleading. Numerical ice-ocean modelling together with re-analyses of atmospheric forcing can help refine inferences. In the case of submarine-inferred rapid loss of Arctic sea ice, combined modelling and data argue that a more physically plausible inference is that the ice was not “lost” but only shifted within the Arctic. The pattern of submarine sampling happened to miss the shift. Observations to date, together with model physics, imply only that the loss of sea ice volume is not inconsistent with the 3% per decade loss of ice area, a modest rate itself not inconsistent with multi-decadal natural variability.”

  12. HL Mencken says:

    Where has Rip Van Winkle (aka “TOO”) been for the past several years,
    while average global temperature rise has come to an apparent standstill?
    Almost nothing of importance correlates with the slow, steady rise in
    atmospheric CO2, not the least of which are the disparate outputs from
    various GCMs struggling to reproduce past temperature histories.

  13. Ian says:

    Any idea where the actual data came from that is cited in IPCC report? What sources did they draw the satellite materials from (and where is it now)?

    • Jim Reekes says:

      It was cited as coming from NOAA, who says they archive the pre-1979 data at NSIDC, which has records going back to 1953, which is why I asked my question the other day (scroll up)

      How do we reconcile this with the one appearing in the IPCC report? The IPCC is using NOAA satellite data starting in 1972, but there’s also this data set… (how do we get what appears to be conflicting data from the same source?)

  14. Michael in Nelson says:

    Thanks T.O.O.,

    Your espousal of ‘climate change’ (aka AGW) has encouraged the author and commentators to recheck their data and links to prove you wrong. Never assume a consensus in science, ever!

  15. johnmarshall says:

    I thought that 1979 was the earliest satellite data year. Thanks for that to 1974, no wonder the alarmists start at ’79. This shows that reality is important not those stupid models.

    • Jim Reekes says:

      We’ve had satellite data for the sea ice extent since 1972, but the claim is it’s not “directly compatible” to the satellite data we got starting in 1974. We’ve also got reasonable data going back to the 1950s from both US and UK submarine sonar profiles.

      That’s my question (posted above). Why are is the historic ice data disregarded for not being compatible prior to 1979, but we get proxy data in the mix when it comes to temperature reconstructions?

      My other question, why does the chart in the IPCC report beginning in 1972 not agree with the current charts coming from the same source (NOAA/NSIDC)?

  16. michael says:

    Actually we have a set of data going all the way back to 1870. Want to see it? It’s extremely instructive.


    • Diablo says:

      That is Chapman&Walsh: and the data before 1953 are not very reliable.
      If we compare the Arctic temperature with Chapman&Walsh and NSIDC september sea ice extent, they are in good agreement. The temperature correlates well with sea ice extent.
      But before 1953 the agreement disappears. Prior to that year, the temperature data (based on the thermometers of meteorological stations) are more reliable than the sea ice data (temporal and spatial gaps within observed data are filled with a climatology or other statistically derived data, and large portions of the pre-1953 data and almost all of the pre-1900 data is either climatology or interpolated).
      Taking into account the correlation between temperature and sea ice between 1953 and 2012, what is the sea ice extent that we can expect in the 20s and 30s? Larger than shown by Chapman&Walsh… maybe in 90s`s level. (We could also expect a smaller response of sea ice to the warming in 20s and 30s due to a better start point, i.e. thicker and older ice… but I think this can´t explain all the disagreement, I see the sea ice extent in 20s, 30s and 40s closer to GISS temperature data than to the flat level shown by Chapman&Walsh)

      Blue (Polyakov 2003, Maritime Arctic temperature data)
      Red (GISS Arctic temperature data)
      Black (NSIDC september sea ice extent, 1979-2012, inverted)
      Green (Chapman&Walsh summer sea ice extent, inverted)

      Regarding the early 70s, there are differences between sources: ESMR, NIC… Maybe the sea ice extent in the early 70s could be smaller than in 1979, but it was much larger than in the last two decades.

    • Billy Liar says:

      You obviously failed to read the ‘Instructions for expert users’ in the documentation on that site. It’s not exactly data – more made-up stuff.

    • Do you understand that ‘data set’ is a computer model? (Someone’s theory of what they thought the sea ice was like in 1870. Or in other words, it’s just made up data.)

    • Eco-worriers also have a fairly limited bag of tricks. A fake data set or two, same shaky GRACE measurements, wild speculation about UV, ozone and the heat disappearing to the bottom of the ocean. They don’t distinguish between observations and speculations, but always prefer speculations if they fit into their belief system. (sigh)

  17. joe from Australia says:

    But in 2007 they said sea ice be gone in summer 2012.http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/2007/12/071212-AP-arctic-melt.html

  18. joe from Australia says:

    Steve you may remember these mate as i found them because of you 😉

    Article from 1873 discussing open water in the Arctic Ocean and that they believed the north pole was actually ice free.http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=ST18730328.2.20

    1958 Russian’s wanted to remove all the ice in the Arctic LOL.http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=sm5jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VHkNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5907,465665&dq=arctic+ice+free&hl=en


    As for the Antarctica how come we not doomed??Old maps http://www.nasca.org.uk/Strange_Maps/Rosselli/rosselli.html


  19. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    So Steve shows the graph for May Ice extent, which shows the smallest trend for all the months of the year.
    He could have instead shown you the graph for September which shows a trend 6 times greater
    But that might have ruined his attempt to paint black as white.
    You really are transparent Steve!

  20. danleywolfe says:

    The 2007 FAR have the same plots on page 225 of the WG1 report. So my questions is why didn’t they update the data. The northern and southern hemisphere data are shown separately. Why don’t they show the ice cover extent for total northern + southern. I extracted the data manually and see that the plots / axes are on much different scales northern hemisphere data varies approximately from +0.25 to -0.35, whereas southern hemisphere data varies from +1.2 to -1.0 so the combined has similar appearance as southern hemisphere data. But why didn’t the 2007 FAR present up-to-date data from the NSIDC? They avoided showing data for the past 17 years as of the date of the FAR. That is so suspicious … hokey. Even an amateur would not do that unless they were hiding something.

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