GOP Senator Predicts An Ice-Free Arctic

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

– Mark Twain


Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Thursday said the U.S. must prepare for an Arctic Ocean that is ice-free in the summer months within the next 20 years.

Sullivan, speaking at a hearing for the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, which he chairs, pointed to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicating that as of 2011, Arctic sea ice was “42 percent thinner than it was in 1979.”

“If this trend continues, the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free during the summer months within the next 20 years,” he said.

GOP senator: Arctic Ocean may be ice-free in summer within 20 years | TheHill

There has been no trend in sea ice extent or volume over the past 12 years.

data       spreadsheet

data       spreadsheet

Arctic sea ice is about two meters thick –  the same as 60 years ago and 80 years ago.

FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20181214.png (1337×1113)

Some scientists estimate that the polar ice pack is 40 per cent thinner and 12 per cent less in area than it was a half-century ago, and that even within the lifetime of our children the Arctic Ocean may open, enabling ships to sail over the North Pole

Although the idea that a solid ice sheet covers the central Arctic has lingered stubbornly in the popular fancy, the northern cap of ice worn by our planet is actually a thin crust—on the whole, only about seven feet thick—over an ocean two miles deep in places.

October 19, 1958

The Changing Face of the Arctic; The Changing Face of the Arctic – The New York Times

Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen 40 years ago. Ice measurements were on an average only 6½ feet against from 9¼ to 13 feet.

February 23, 1940

23 Feb 1940 – THE NORTH POLE. Is it Getting Warmer. | BUNDABER…

There is no indication of a long term decline in Arctic sea ice. It fluctuates cyclically with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

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12 Responses to GOP Senator Predicts An Ice-Free Arctic

  1. Disillusioned says:

    Whilst Sullivan is spewing that ignorant anti-science propaganda, his neighbors across the Bering Strait are building the largest, nuclear-powered ice breakers the world has ever known.

  2. Gator says:

    Their fascination with 1979 has somehow managed to overlooked this…

    October 12 1979, Near Guam, Typhoon “Tip” reaches a record intensity of 870 millibars, the lowest pressure recorded at sea level. This makes Tip the most powerful tropical cyclone in known world history.

    (Not sure how Tip didn’t cause Guam to tip)

    • Squidly says:

      While 870 millibars may be the lowest pressure recorded (I am suspicious of that), the barometric pressure of a Hurricane or Typhoon is not the measure of its “intensity” as they would like you to believe. In order to even begin to equate the core barometric pressure of such a storm, one would have to include into that calculation the barometric pressure of the surrounding atmosphere and consider the “difference” between the two.

      If you have an 870 millibar storm sitting in the middle of a 920 millibar low pressure system, well, then that is probably going to be a relatively weak storm. It’s all relativity … but I digress…

  3. spike55 says:

    I like the use of the 365 day centred mean,

    It gets rid of any start/end date issues. :-)

    Bound to annoy certain mathematical troglodytes, though ;-)

  4. Squidly says:

    I’m still waiting for my “ice free Arctic” .. I am becoming increasingly more pissed off that there is still ice in the Arctic. I have been promised “ice free” for decades and they aren’t delivering on their promises!

  5. nfw says:

    As soon as a I read the headline I heard Rocky the Flying Squirrel’s voice saying “Again, Bullwinkle”?

  6. Gamecock says:

    ‘Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Thursday said the U.S. must prepare for an Arctic Ocean that is ice-free in the summer months within the next 20 years.’

    Prepare? Prepare what? Fireworks and cake? An ice-free summer Arctic would be fantastic! The Brits could ship Great Circle to the orient, for fantastic savings.

    Most of the Arctic Oceans contact with North America is with Canada and Greenland. ‘The U.S. must prepare’ is just goofy.

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