Arctic Ice Recovery

The dirty little secret of Arctic sea ice, is that it is controlled by winter winds – not temperature. Over the last few years, the older thicker ice has pushed into the Beaufort Sea where it survives the winter and slows summer melt. Thus the Arctic continues to “recover.”



From 1988 to about 2009, the ice was moving the other direction into the North Atlantic. That is what caused the decline in Arctic Sea ice.


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23 Responses to Arctic Ice Recovery

  1. Andy DC says:

    Reggie will have no chance to melt that kind of ice with his blowtorch. A gloomy summer for alarmists.

  2. Ed K says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens in Greenland this summer with a lot of thick ice around. Last winter a lot of snow fall, I do not know what happened this winter. summer melting was a lot less in the summer of 2013 than 2012 in Greenland.

  3. tomwys says:

    The Eastern shore of Greenland is the source for its (moisture and) snowfall. As those waters have become increasingly open, low pressure systems augmented by the Polar Easterlies have added prodigious amounts of snow to central Greenland, even as its Western edges calve their glacial rivers. From a volume standpoint Greenland is likely gaining snow/ice.

  4. Curt says:

    So now we’re going to get lots of stories of how the far north of the Atlantic is warming, because it’s not having to melt sea ice any longer…

  5. Brian H says:

    Re-cover? Wassamatta with open seas? Warm > cold.

  6. New disovery: Warm river water melts arctic ice.

    So maybe it isn’t ice albedo feedback™ after all. It’s all that evil CO2 warm arctic amplification river water.

  7. Tony says:

    No dirty secret here. It has nothing to do with the winds.

    The ice is recovering because of the ice dam that holds back the warm MacKenzie river waters. It broke in 2012, allowing the river to flow into the Arctic Ocean and melt it. Thanks to global warming, the ice dam is back in place now. That’s why the ice is recovering, not because of winds.

    Before reading Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog yesterday, I mistakenly thought that when a river is dammed, a reservoir forms behind the dam. I mistakenly thought that water could flow under surface ice.

    But now I know better. An ice dam is a special type of dam. The ice dam prevents the entire river from flowing. Even the tiny tributaries that feed the river are suppressed until the ice dam breaks. Sea ice is a very special type of ice. A thin layer on the surface can hold back an entire river. The mighty river is incapable of flowing under the thin surface ice.

    • stewart pid says:


    • Dmh says:

      I agree, the warmists’ explanations rarely resist more than 15 secs of critical thought…
      Now, seriously, what caused the winds to blow until recently in the “wrong direction”?
      If I had to guess I’d say that the increasing warm phase of the AMO (starting around 1995)

      almost simultaneous with the increasing negative PDO,

      would tend to create an average pressure in the direction of N. Atlantic.

      In 2013 the AMO continued warm

      but the PDO anomalies increased to near zero

      and this would have caused the winds to change back to the “right direction”.

  8. Sparks says:

    Are the winds over the Arctic driven by the energy from the sun and Earths orbital parameters around it, or is it driven by the composition of the entire planets atmosphere?

    • stewart pid says:

      No sun in the winter sparky.

    • Dmh says:

      I believe the oscillations of the Atlantic and Pacific have a greater influence in the long run. The direct influence of solar radiations would affect only short periods of no more than few weeks, but the Sun is the main force behind the AMO and PDO too, then…
      OTOH, I really think that the increased radiations of the “2nd peak” of the present solar cycle (#24) have affected negatively the Arctic ice in the last few months.
      I hope this trend is reversing now…
      The influence of Earths orbital parameters is so strong that obliquity and minimum insolation at 65N are considered central parameters to determine the end of interglacials,

      These parameters vary slowly though and could not cause the oscillations of Arctic ice or recent decades.

      • Sparks says:

        The second “solar peak” has been satisfactorily explained, it is not a sunspot peak, there was a spike recently in the amount of tiny sunspots. just an fyi 🙂

        • Dmh says:

          Thanks. I usually follow Geoff Sharp’s site to guide my thoughts about solar radiations,

          He considers NOAA’s estimate too large and inadequate to compare with previous cycles in part due to the large amount of tiny spots, even SIDC is too large in his opinion. I tend to agree with him, but the spike of recent months is clear,

          What I find most impressive is how fast the Arctic ice “reacted” to the increase… the fast fall of the Antarctic anomaly in the last couple of months too I believe reflects this “forcing”.
          I think Earth’s low magnetic field and low humidity of the atmosphere are to blame for this high “sensibility”.

        • Dmh says:

          BTW, the behavior of the polar fields

          and south:

          seems rather unusual in comparison with previous “normal cycles”- another indication IMO that we’re entering a grand minimum…

        • Hugh K says:

          “a grand minimum” – Perfect term for this Administration as well…

  9. Snow White says:

    Actually the Arctic doesn’t “continue to recover”. Whilst a bit hard to see on their rather cluttered chart:

    the latest PIOMAS Arctic sea ice volume estimates shows that the so called “recovery” had almost completely “melted away” by the end of February:

    • Gail Combs says:

      “the latest PIOMAS Arctic sea ice volume estimates shows that the so called “recovery” had almost completely “melted away” by the end of February”
      READ what Steve said: “The dirty little secret of Arctic sea ice, is that it is controlled by winter winds – not temperature.”

      THINK: At present the temperature is 30C to 40C BELOW FREEZING. Temperature Graph

      The Sun is NOT SHINING on the pole yet and just peaking over the horizon for ~10 hours at lower latitudes. So what does a reduction of Ice volume mean???

      It means the winter winds have piled the sea ice up into nice deep piles that are less likely to melt during the summer.

      Right now the Ice is within one standard deviation of normal and there is the same amount compared to the last few years:

      Please engage brain before mouth.

      • Snow White says:

        Dear Gail,

        I have read what Steve said, and looked at his picture as well. Apart from your own personal opinion (and presumably Steve’s too?), what evidence do you have that “the winter winds have piled the sea ice up into nice deep piles that are less likely to melt during the summer”? Please note that the image Steve presents at the top is merely the (doctored) output of a computer model!

        The graph you link to reveals that the surface temperatures in the far north have been above “normal” for the entire freezing season, sometimes by as much as 15 degrees Kelvin. Currently they appear to be about 20 degrees below zero Celsius, not “30 to 40”. I’m not sure why you mention it though, if temperature is in fact irrelevant.

        I am aware that “The Sun is NOT SHINING on the pole yet”, but it IS SHINING on the Beaufort Sea, which is what Steve appears to be on about in his all too brief article.

        For comparison purposes, here’s a graph showing that right now the Ice extent is in fact two standard deviations away from “normal” and very close to record low levels for the date:

        Please provide some credible evidence for your assertions instead of incredible opinions.

        Thanks in anticipation,

        Snow White

        P.S. How do you define “amount”?

  10. Snow White says:

    The latest thickness estimates from a different model of Arctic sea ice. Here’s PIOMAS’s take on things for you:

    Since you can’t actually see it without clicking the link, perhaps I should point out that the thicknesses in the Beaufort Sea range from around 3m in the North East down to around 1.75m in the South West. Which version of “the truth” do you choose to believe?

    Whilst we’re on the subject of “Recovery”, here’s 7 questions that are still waiting for an answer:

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