“sixth lowest on record”

“Sea ice in the Arctic is about sixth lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It’s far below normal “but we’ve seen worse,” Thoman said.”

December serving up baked Alaska and warming most of Arctic | AP News

Arctic sea ice extent is actually the 7,472th lowest on record, is very close to “normal” and the September minimum was up more than 30% from ten years ago.


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6 Responses to “sixth lowest on record”

  1. conrad ziefle says:

    What’s interesting about the bottom graph of Arctic Sea Ice Extent for years 1981 through 2010, is that the band from highest to lowest narrows to a very small difference in December. It doesn’t seem to matter how wide the band is in September, all years end up at about the same place by end of December. This means that a very low ice extent year can easily be followed by a higher ice extent year, and also that whatever global warming has happened since 1981, the start of the year Sea Ice Extent seems unaffected, with a mean of about 13.75x 10^6 km^2 and a standard deviation of about .5x 10^6 km ^2, or about 4% of the mean.

  2. Billyjack says:

    The DMI always makes a major correction whenever the ice extent starts getting too close to their 1981-2010 average.

  3. Wins Triumphs Godel says:

    You wrote:

    “7,472th lowest on record”

    Did you mean “7,472nd” ?

    And where did that number originate? I see 6 years with lower ice on the graph.

    • Caleb Shaw says:

      The scientist actually meant to say “6th lowest for this particular date”. So much of the arctic sea has refrozen that there is far more ice than there was in September, and in fact there are 7,471 day “on record” with less sea-ice.

      Also it should be noted that the records only accurately go back so far. As the satalite data gets more spotty, and then ceases altogether, the records become guess work and vary considerably, depending on the inclinations of the scientist doing the guessing. But here is a very early “Nimbus” satelite picture, I think from September 1969, which shows a very large area of open water up towards the Central Arctic from Bering Strait, which is an event which never is mentioned by those who claim current levels are the “worst ever.”

  4. Caleb Shaw says:

    That AP article reminds me of the old Simon and Garfunkel song, “The Boxer,” which has the line, “A man sees what he want’s to see and disregards the rest.”

    What are they disregarding? Well, the refreeze is complete in all areas except a small patch just north of Bering Strait, and the usual open areas in Barents Sea. Therefore the heat is not coming from “open water” because the water isn’t open. The increase in “extent” this time of year comes from areas outside the Arctic Ocean such as Hudson Bay or the Sea of Oshkosh. Likely the milder temperatures are due to a loopy jet stream bringing moister air north. A slight increase in humidity raises the temperature of bone dry arctic air a surprising amount, but the moisture is swiftly snowed out and then temperatures far dramatically with the fresh snow cover. AP disregarded the record cold in northern Siberia, and the record snow-cover at lower latitudes, which will likely contribute to making the jet even more loopy and bring frosts to Florida (perhaps.)


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