Arctic Sea Ice Trend May Have Turned The Corner As Ice Volume Picks Up Over Past 5 Years

As Arctic sea ice approaches its annual maximum level for the year, now is a good time to look at how it stands – especially in what some are claiming to be the hottest year on record.

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) here shows currently Arctic sea ice is at its highest level in years for this time of the year. Hat-tip: Kirye at Twitter.

Sea ice extent in recent years (in million km2) for the northern hemisphere, as a function of date.

In fact it appears it has reached its highest level ever over the last decade, and its only mid February. The DMI ice extent values are calculated from the data from the Ocean and Sea Ice, Satellite Application Facility (OSISAF), where areas with ice concentration higher than 30% are classified as ice, the site reports.

On the other hand, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) here reports that January, 2016, saw the lowest Arctic sea ice extent (15%) on the satellite record. Other sources depicting 15% sea ice concentration extent also show similar low values.

The overall trend, however, shows nothing alarming. The following chart from the Cryosphere Today of the Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois shows Arctic sea ice remaining flat over the past decade.

The chart above actually shows a slightly upwards trend over the past 5 years, which is also confirmed by the following Arctic sea ice volume trend from PIOMASS:

Overall, globally, sea ice extent is depicted by the following NSDIC chart:

Source:, U. of Oslo Dept. of Geosciences.

According to the NSIDC, global sea ice has in fact been trending upwards over the past decade.


56 responses to “Arctic Sea Ice Trend May Have Turned The Corner As Ice Volume Picks Up Over Past 5 Years”

  1. posa

    Is there a TOTAL Polar Cap Ice Index? If not, some entity will do the world a big favor by constructing one that begins in 1979 (the earlier estimates farther back as an Appendix).

    NASA says that the Antarctic Ice Sheets are increasing. The Greenland Ice Sheet on balance I believe is at equilibrium.

    So that if GLOBAL Sea Ice and Ice sheets are all added up it may very well be that the polar caps are slightly increasing.

    1. Graeme No.3


      For an interesting graphic of arctic ice at certain times try:

      It is some distance down – below Welsh Village sues government over false ocean rise predictions.

      1. Mindert Eiting

        Not only the missing heat is hiding in the oceans but the missing water in those oceans is hiding in the thirsty soil. Probably, the missing heat went with the rain directly into the soil. The Welsh should do a bit of digging in stead of falsely accusing their government.

        1. yonason

          Welsh? Oh, that explains it then.

          Wales is in S. Yorkshire, btw.

          1. yonason

            Oops. My bad. The Wales your talking about is
            Not the village in S. Yorkshire.

  2. BobW in NC

    Another point in the DMI chart: the recovery from annual melt appears to start a few weeks earlier than in the previous 10 years. Then, slope for recovery of ice extent also appears greater from that time on until at least November, when it parallels past years. Significance? At least it’s interesting.

    1. David A

      Yes, in the DMI 30% graphic, it is the shortest melt season on record.

  3. yonason

    There could be an innocent explanation for that curve, which they no longer directly link to (if you don’t know where to find it, you won’t). Perhaps we could use polar bears as a proxy for arctic ice extent?
    No, that’s not going to work for them.

    1. DirkH

      Less ice kills bears, more ice kills bears; my, those fickle critters. They need all the help from effeminate leftist granola eaters they can get!

      1. Graeme No.3

        But the bears wouldn’t like the taste.

  4. yonason

    Oh, and I’ve noticed that recently in Google news search, when searching the terms__ arctic sea ice extent __(not in quotes)one retrieves not a few articles like this from (Un)Scientific American:

    “Arctic Sea Ice Hits New January Low
    The extent of sea ice in winter is diminishing, just as it is in summer”

    But even the DMI in their “new” and improved plot of arctic sea ice doesn’t show that at all.

    What’s disappearing is not ice, but scientific integrity, and it could take a long time to recover from that.

  5. sod

    so we pick the one arctic graph, that is showing ice above average, and barely mention that the other ones show a low record?

    And we are constructing 5 and 10 year “trends” again?

    And we are talking about arctic in winter?

    And we want to shift focus to the global sea ice, as that is mostly wiggles and just an increase in noise?

    n the past, people did focus on the Jaxa graph. It is not by chance, that this one is the link to the sea ice graphs over at WUWT.

    the relevant number to look at, is arctic volume. arctic extend or area can also give information. The relevant time is the sea ice minimum in summer (that is when the sun is shining and adding heat to the water).

    Cherrypicking an januar outlier is a horrible trick.

    1. DirkH

      “the relevant number to look at, is arctic volume.”

      (I assume you mean arctic sea ice volume.)
      Well the warmunists say that since the time that the area started to grow. Before, they were very glad to use area, cherrypickers that they are.

      They never say, though, that PIOMAS is just a MODEL that is always corrected post hoc as contradictory observations come in – it has never shown predictive skill. It’s guess of the volume that it currently shows may or may not be correct.

      So we can be sure that PIOMAS is a LAGGING indicator. Anyway. PIOMAS indicated total collapse for the future just 5 years ago; they had to correct it. I think they do yearly revision but I might be wrong there.

      Finally. As LOW sea ice kills polar bears, AND high sea ice kills Polar Bears, according to warmunists; AND the Polar Bear population is bigger than ever before since the start of hunting ban, we can deduce that low AND high sea ice don’t kill enough polar bears to even keep their population stable; and the effeminate leftist granola eater warmunists turn out to be simple political agitators and liars AGAIN pretending that there is a problem where there is none , for political gain.

    2. David A

      Besides the other comments Sod please realize that the 15% DMI SI graphic shows a deficit of about 1 million sq.K of 15% ice, where as the 30% graphic shows a surplus of about one million sq K. There is about twice as much sea ice in the 30 percent area, thus an overall increase in extent, and per pio-mass, since you brought it up, a five year mostly upward trend there as well.

    3. yonason


      That was obviously a defective satellite, as climate models have clearly shown. //s//

      In case the post at RealScience didn’t give the reference, that graph is figure 7.20 from p30 of the pdf, which is p.224 of that IPCC report.

      And note that in figure 7.1c on p.8 they show the medieval warm period, and that it was warmer than present.

      That information has been deleted from subsequent reports. They know the truth, and yet they persist in their cover-up and lies.

      1. Pethefin

        Yonason, yes that must the explanation for the curious treatment of the data by the IPCC since in their the 1990 IPCC WG1 Report page 224, the figure 7.20 (above) was introduced in the following manner:
        “Sea-ice conditions are now reported regularly in marine synoptic observations, as well as by special reconnaissance flights, and coastal radar. Especially importantly, satellite observations have been used to map sea-ice extent routinely since the early 1970s. The American Navy Joint Ice Center has produced weekly charts which have been digitised by NOAA. These data are summarized in Figure 7.20 which is based on analyses carried out on a 1° latitude x 2.5° longitude grid. Sea-ice is defined to be present when its concentration exceeds 10% (Ropelewski, 1983). Since about 1976 the areal extent of sea-ice in the Northern Hemisphere has varied about a constant climatological level but in 1972-1975 sea-ice extent was significantly less.”

        In the 1996 IPCC SAR WG1 Report, a similar but updated figure was presented on page 150, with the following introduction:
        “ Sea ice extent and mass
        Neither hemisphere has exhibited significant trends in sea ice extent since 1973 when satellite measurements began (Figure 3.8).”

        By 2001, the data had been “reinterpreted” and the corresponding figure found here:
        looks dramatically different compared with the two previous figures (7.20 from 1990 and 3,8 from 1996). The “reinterpretation” was rather embarrassing since they used sea ice data from the Great Lakes. When one looks at the three graphs (1990, 1996 and 2001) side by side, one can not but wonder what were they thinking.

        By 2007 the IPCC abandoned both the early data and its 2001 reinterpretation altogether and pretended that the early data did not exist. Thereafter, the data from the early years seems to have been conveniently forgotten and we are usually told that the satellite observations began in 1979.

        1. yonason


          I’ve heard that story before, but not with the detail you provide. I’ll have to bookmark that for reference. Thanks.

          sorry for duplicate post, but it belongs here if this is posted where I want it to be.)

    4. yonason


      “so we pick the one… graph…” – סוֹד

      You mean like betting the farm on a hockey stick?

      Two peas in a pod. Sod is as transparent as Michael Mann. We can’t trust anything you say.

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  7. Rich

    I found these comments on climatedepot with a graph associated with it (Arctic sea ice extent through 2/12/16?). Could someone direct me to it’s source?

    1. DirkH

      Rich, go to the blogroll on the right to WUWT. There, go to <resource pages and there sea ice or icecap. Anthony at WUWT has it all wonderfully collected and documented and links back to the sources at various institutes.

    2. Pethefin

      Rich, here’s the link to the graph:
      The DMI has removed all links to it from their website but has the webpage for it up and running:

      1. Rich

        DirkH and Pethefin 13: Thank you for the link. I am not a scientist and do not pretend to be one. I find it fascinating that my frustration in trying to locate the graph was explained in the earlier posts (but actually posted later in time to mine) as well as the distinction between the 15% and 30% graphs. I am, in fact, a trial lawyer, and it would appear there is something rotten in Denmark. lol.

        1. yonason

          lol – If a trial lawyer smells a rat, then I do believe there is definitely a rat to be smelled.

          1. Rich

            My experience has led me to the conclusion that there are no coincidences. There are many well known and documented instances of data manipulation and fabrication–but always intended to support warming. There are do not seem to be any from skeptics or challegers. Therefore, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the DMI 30% graph is difficult to locate (and next to impossible using most common search engines) because of intent to deceive. Ergo, rat stench.

      2. BillW_1984

        They have been saying that the 30% ice link was older
        and would remain there for awhile. Did they take the
        links down before or after it was obvious that the graph
        would show an increase? 🙂

        1. yonason


  8. John F. Hultquist

    Might be of interest to some:

    I have friends that live near the Great Lakes of North America and so watch the ice formation there. Great Lakes Ice
    A couple years back the Lakes froze over nearly 100% and a big deal was made of it in the US press & media.
    The code for the maps linked to is called the “Egg Code” because of its oval symbol. A description is here: Egg Code

    Go to a place like AccuWeather and read about the severe cold that is settling along the eastern part of NA. Environment Canada thinks Québec will be -17°C during the night on Sunday. With already cold surface waters ice cover will increase rapidly.

  9. Gerkmonster

    The posted chart excludes coastal areas as well.. That’s the difference between the new and old DMI charts along with the 30%/15%.

    Sea Ice volume is really at a statistical standstill for the last 5 years.

    We’ll see what this year’s La Nina brings… It looks like sea volume started declining a little early this year due to El Nino and some arctic typhoons and RSS shows it consistently at an anomaly of +5C.

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  11. DirkH

    Dimwit at Bertelsmann’s SPIEGEL: Adelie penguins in a certain region go extinct because an iceberg blocks open waters. Well so far so good. Unfortunately the dimwit goes on to say, that this is not the only problem for the penguins – but that climate change makes the sea ice shrink.
    Well who can blame him – he read the propaganda about the ARCTICS for years on end and never looked at data to see that the ANTARCTIC sea ice never shrank.
    That is the quality of warmunist journaliars you get. It doesn’t get better than this.

    Warmunists never look at data.

    1. Graeme No.3



      for facts.

      Turney believes he is an expert on birds, but he is just a bird brain.

      1. DirkH

        Oh. It’s a Turney research result. SPIEGEL wouldn’t tell.

        Turney should have stayed in the practical joke business. I *LOVED* the live reporting from the Guardian treehugger he had on board.

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  13. yonason


    I’ve heard that story before, but not with the detail you provide. I’ll have to bookmark that for reference. Thanks.

    1. Pethefin

      Good luck with bookmarking, since my reply has now disappeared. However, you’ll find the same information and much more in the comments here:

      1. yonason

        “…my reply has now disappeared.” – Pethefin

        Looks like the whole exchange did?!

        Oh well.

        Thanks for the rclutz link.

      2. yonason
        1. Pethefin

          Yup, it has been moved, although my original reply with the link to the IPCC figure at realscience went missing.

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  17. mojomojo

    “so we pick the one arctic graph, that is showing ice above average, and barely mention that the other ones show a low record?”

    Below is quote taken directly from from DMI 30% sea ice page 2015.They are quite clear that 30% is the more accurate measurement.

    “The total area of sea ice is the sum of First Year Ice (FYI), Multi Year Ice (MYI) and the area of ambiguous ice types, from the OSISAF ice type product. However, the total estimated ice area is underestimated due to unclassified coastal regions where mixed land/sea pixels confuse the applied ice type algorithm. The shown sea ice extent values are therefore recommended be used qualitatively in relation to ice extent values from other years shown in the figure.”

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  20. Neven

    According to the NSIDC, global sea ice has in fact been trending upwards over the past decade.

    Out of interest, do you have a link to a quote or text where the NSIDC says this?

    And isn’t it obvious that that old DMI SIE graph has some serious issue or other (two black trend lines, no 2016 in the legend, massive deviation from every other SIE and SIA graph out there), and that it isn’t fixed because it has been replaced by a newer graph? At least, that’s what the DMI told me when I asked them about this several weeks ago.

    BTW and FYI, the Cryosphere Today Global SIA record minimum has been broken last week (and again today). NSIDC Global SIE might break the record in the coming days, depending on what happens at the poles.

    1. yonason

      “‘According to the NSIDC, global sea ice has in fact been trending upwards over the past decade.’

      Out of interest, do you have a link to a quote or text where the NSIDC says this?” – Neven

      Perhaps this is what he was referring to.

      Also, over at the Judith Curry blog I noticed that you were asking someone for a ref for NAO effects on the arctic.
      Hows this?

      “…temperatures at the Greenland coast follow those of the Arctic Ocean, and hence the pattern of the changes of sign of the AO/NAO, with which they are highly anti-correlated.”

      There was another quote or two I wwanted to use, but reconstruction the material that pastes as one word per line is just too much trouble.

    2. Pethefin

      Thanks for the google-link Neven.
      However, the rest of your post is pure hand-waving. The 30 % coverage by DMI is different from the rest of sea-ice indexes since the others measure 15 % coverage. A true scientist would be interested in the reasons why the different ice coverage products show amazingly different trends at the moment, rather than try to hide the fact or come up with ridiculous excuses (your two-trend-lines excuse is a beyond pale). That’s probably the reason why DMI keeps on updating their 30 % coverage product, regardless of it being against the CAGW-dogma: there are still true scientist working for the DMI.

      1. Pethefin

        Heck just as I was applauding the DMI, the did it. They have now finally discontinued the inconvenient 30 % ice coverage index and replaced it with a picture where the recent rise of the sea ice after October 2015 has been “reinterpreted”:

        Luckily I had been archiving their website with help of WayBackMachine:*/

        So there were no true scientists left at the DMI after all.

        1. yonason

          Down the memory hole, like everything else that exposes their schemes. Probably were getting nervous that it had been discovered. Of course, I’m sure that others beside myself made screen shots, so it’s not all gone.

          “Luckily I had been archiving their website with help of WayBackMachine:” – Pethefin

          Make copies and keep them on your own machine. Did you know that they can “disappear” their material with the use of robot texts? I had a huge file of American Muslim sites that showed how bad they were, then, after 9/11 the all went poof, with nothing on the wayback machine. Oh, and did you know that Muslims have a TON of stuff by some of their worst offenders archived there? I posted about that before.

  21. yonason

    “…do you have a link to a quote or text where the NSIDC says this?” – Neven

    Don’t need one. They adjust Temperatures to falsely claim it’s warming. They falsely claim that sea levels are rising abnormally. And I’m supposed to believe what they say about Arctic sea ice? Please, Neven, let’s not be ridiculous.

    It’s credulous people like Neven, sod, and David Appell that the Warmunistas rely on to spread their propaganda, and attack others who question it.

    1. yonason

      Judith Curry has some excellent material on the topic, see here…
      …as well as the embedded links for lots more.

  22. yonason


    Must have linked to it directly, instead of showing a screen shot. But not to worry, for now at least you can still see it at the Kirye on twitter link, referenced above.

  23. sod

    Sorry folks, but this story is going to seriously explode into your faces.

    The graph was not updated. That is the simple story. It does not make the slightest sense, that 30% cover is showing a completely different picture to 15% cover.

    Neven has explained this in detail.

    I also think that you have a huge problem. The same handful of people with very little information and knowledge are posting the same stuff on the same websites and are confirming each others opinion on the other websites.
    This leaves the impression that multiple sources are analysing/discovering an important fact and confirming each other, when in the real world it is the same story reposted over and over again by the same people.

    Please try to be “sceptic” for once!

  24. yonason

    “Please try to be “sceptic” for once!” – sod

    Don’t worry. As much as you and Appell and Neven get wrong, it’s a pretty safe assumption that whatever opinion you hold, we know it will be incorrect in whole or in part.

    Neven writes that “…no one at DMI was correcting it because it had been replaced…”

    Ah, yes, the perennial “corrections,” i.e., “adjustments,” like those that work so well to create warming from cooling. (And he wonders why we don’t believe them now?!)

    Neven addresses the adjustments with what appear to be speculation masquerading as explanation. His arguments are all too laden with attacks against the “climate risk deniers,” which is cheap theatrics that he repeats 6 TIMES!

    If he had a simple factual explanation, why all the venom? His personal attacks, which he embellishes with repetitive speculation and shrill innuendo, were totally unnecessary, unless his main purpose was to deceive, rather than educate and persuade.

    Clean up the act, and make it readable, and if you have anything of value to add, maybe then we can find it.