Why hasn’t the Arctic still not disappeared despite all the announcements that it would?
By Dr. Dietrich E. Koelle
[Translated, edited by P Gosselin]
Announcements that the Arctic sea ice would soon disappear have been among the most favorite of claims made by publicity-seeking climatologists and leading American politicians. According to the following, there isn’t supposed to be any Arctic sea ice left today:
10 Failed Forecasts
(1) M. Murphy, New Scientist, 1960: “The Arctic ocean will be ice free the entire year before the end of the 20th century” (i.e. by the year 2000),
(2) “Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen 1972: “The warming trend can produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.”
(3) Jay Zwally (NASA) said in December 2007 : “The Arctic Ocean could almost be ice-free in the summer of 2012” (National Geographic)
(4) Louis Fortier (Arctic Net, Canada) 2007: “The Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2010 or 2015”.
(5) David Barber (Univ. of Manitoba), 2008: “The North Pole could be ice-free this summer for the first time”: June 2008 (2) (3)
(6) Prof. W. Maslowski (US Naval Postgraduate School), 2008: “In summer 2013 we will have an ice-free Arctic”.
(7) Mark Serreze, NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Centre, Colorado, USA) in 2008: “The Arctic could be ice-free in 2012”.
(8) Al Gore, former US Vice President at the Copenhagen climate conference 2009: “Arctic will be ice-free in five years” = 2014.
(9) US-Senator John Kerry 2009: “The Arctic will be ice-free in 2013”.
(10) Prof. P. Wadhams (Cambridge University), 2007: said in 2007 that the Arctic ice was in a “death spiral”, and in 2011: “the ice could be completely gone in four years”, i.e. 2015.
So what happened?
The Arcic ice has not disappeared, rather after shrinking from 1980 to 2012 it has risen over the past years (Figure 1). 2015 saw a Northwest Passage that was no longer possible to cross – too much ice.
Figure 1: Arctic ice volume from 1979 to 2015. Source: Dominiklenne, Wikipedia. Public Domain.
While we shouldn’t be surprised that politicians like Al Gore or John Kerry would say such things and latch on to claims about the end of the Arctic, it is completely baffling that experts such as Mark Serreze (NSIDC) or Prof. P. Wadhams would reach such estimations.
What do all these false forecasts have in common?
They fully ignore statements that point out polar ice mass and extent are cyclical in nature. This means that it is not possible to simply extrapolate outwards from a short-term trend. There are foremost phases of expansion and retreat. The main causes for this are temperature fluctuations and changes in oceanic and atmospheric currents. Only one thing is certain: The supposedly responsible-for-everything CO2 rise here plays no role. The proof is delivered by the development of Antarctic sea ice, which, at the same atmospheric CO2 level as at the North Pole, has risen steadily over the past 35 years and reached a record in 2014 (Figure 2). Strangely this rarely gets brought up by the media. It just doesn’t fit with the hysteria template.
Fundamentally many conventional climate scientists have a problem with natural climate factors and climate cycles. For them climate first began in 1880 along with the systematic measurement of temperature. Before that there is only proxy data, which however are imprecise and thus are best ignored. That’s why there’s a widespread lack of understanding when it comes to the natural climate factors that were at play long before man appeared on the planet.
Figure 2: Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2015. Source: Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois.
Figure 3 below shows the global temperature from 1860 to 2000, along with the Arctic temperature. Clear to see is the 60-year cycle temperature fluctuation between 0.2 and 1.2°C. Russian Autor Frolov shows in Figure 4 a similar trend for the Barents Sea (70-90° N) and extrapolated accordingly for the coming 50 years. Here a temperature drop of about 1.5°C is expected. Also in a new GEOMAR-paper from 2014 that factors in the NAO impact reaches the result that the North Atlantic region is going to cool.
Figure 3: Temperature in the Arctic, 1860-2000
Figure 4: Temperature and projection at the Barents Sea 1900-2060 (Frolov, 2014)
Clearly there is absolutely no indication anywhere that points to the Arctic sea ice disappearing. American climate researcher David Dilley, who worked 20 years at the NOAA, even said that according to his analyses, cooling will continue over the next 120 years (4). This can be expected due to the anticipated temperature decline associated with the natural 230 year climate cycle that reached its peak in 2005. This trend is shown also in Figure 4 with the reduced maximum in 2060 compared to 2000.
To the contrary, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, are anticipating a long-term-reduction in sea ice cover at the North Pole area in the summer time over the coming decades (5). Ms. C. Habermalz, AWI, believes (8) the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040-2050.
No matter, there is no need to fret over the poor polar bears having their icebergs melt away, which a number of wildlife protection organizations have announced in attempts to get people to donate. Polar bears have already survived a number of warm periods – the most recent being the Holocene Maximum 7000 years ago when global temperature was some 1.5°C higher. Sea ice at the North Pole, David Dilley says, was only half as much back then (see ref. (6)).
(1) Ice-free Arctic Forecasts, Real Science Blog, 27 Aug. 2012
(2) National Geographic News, 20 June 2008 and Telegraph (UK), 27 June 2008
(3) Arctic ice recovers from the great melt, J.Leake, Sunday Times, London, 4 April 2010
(4) “Dramatic Cooling in the Arctic, Extremely Cold from 2025 to 2050″, P.Gosselin,, 12 August 2015, notrickszone.
(5) Press Release AWI “Arktis: Meereisbedeckung – erste Prognosen für 2009″, Sept. 2008
(6) Gudmund Lovo: Less ice in the Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago, , NGU (Norway), 20 Oct 2008
(7) I. E. Frolov et al: Climate Change in Eurasean Arctic Shelf Seas, Springer-Verlag, 2010, 166 pages
(8) P. Gosselin, NoTricksZone, 13 April 2015, Sustainable Postponements
(9) Nick Collins “Arctic Ice to melt by 2015″ (Wadhams), The Telegraph, UK, 8 November 2011
(11) Analysis Shows That Arctic Sea Ice Melt Extent Mostly Occurs In Natural Cycles, by P Gosselin on 17 July 2013
(10) Was macht eigentlich das arktische Meereis? Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt, 17 July 2013, Kalte Sonne Blog
(12) Ian Johnston: Polar History shows Melting Ice-Cap may be a Natural Cycle”, The Scotsman, 9 März 2005