Arctic sea ice continues decline, hits 2nd-lowest level

Arctic sea ice continues decline, hits 2nd-Lowest level
NASA satellite data reveals how this year's minimum sea ice extent, reached on Sept. 9 as depicted here, declined to a level far smaller than the 30-year average (in yellow) and opened up Northwest Passage shipping lanes (in red). Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

( -- Last month the extent of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean declined to the second-lowest extent on record. Satellite data from NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder showed that the summertime sea ice cover narrowly avoided a new record low.

The grows each winter as the sun sets for several months and shrinks each summer as the sun rises higher in the northern sky. Each year the Arctic reaches its annual minimum extent in September. It hit a record low in 2007.

The near-record ice-melt followed higher-than-average , but without the unusual that contributed to the extreme melt of 2007. "Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were not as conducive to ice loss this year, but the melt still neared 2007 levels," said NSIDC scientist Walt Meier. "This probably reflects loss of multiyear ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as well as other factors that are making the ice more vulnerable."

This video shows Arctic sea ice from March 7, 2011, to Sept. 9, 2011. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Joey Comiso, senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said the continued low minimum sea ice levels fits into the large-scale decline pattern that scientists have watched unfold over the past three decades.

"The sea ice is not only declining, the pace of the decline is becoming more drastic," Comiso said. "The older, thicker ice is declining faster than the rest, making for a more vulnerable perennial ice cover."

While the did not dip below the 2007 record, the sea ice area as measured by the on NASA's Aqua satellite did drop slightly lower than 2007 levels for about 10 days in early September, Comiso said. Sea ice "area" differs from extent in that it equals the actual surface area covered by ice, while extent includes any area where ice covers at least 15 percent of the ocean.

Arctic sea ice extent on Sept. 9, the lowest point this year, was 4.33 million square kilometers (1.67 million square miles). Averaged over the month of September, ice extent was 4.61 million square kilometers (1.78 million square miles). This places 2011 as the second lowest ice extent both for the daily minimum extent and the monthly average. Ice extent was 2.43 million square kilometers (938,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

This summer's low ice extent continued the downward trend seen over the last 30 years, which scientists attribute largely to warming temperatures caused by climate change. Data show that ice has been declining both in extent and thickness. Since 1979, September extent has declined by 12 percent per decade.

"The oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic continues to decline, especially in the Beaufort Sea and the Canada Basin," NSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve said. "This appears to be an important driver for the low sea ice conditions over the past few summers."

Climate models have suggested that the Arctic could lose almost all of its summer ice cover by 2100, but in recent years, ice extent has declined faster than the models predicted.

NASA monitors and studies changing sea ice conditions in both the Arctic and Antarctic with a variety of spaceborne and airborne research capabilities. This month NASA resumes Operation IceBridge, a multi-year series of flights over sea ice and ice sheets at both poles. This fall's campaign will be based out of Punta Arenas, Chile, and make flights over Antarctica. NASA also continues work toward launching ICESat-2 in 2016, which will continue its predecessor's crucial laser altimetry observations of ice cover from space.

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Winter Sea Ice Fails to Recover, Down to Record Low

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Oct 05, 2011
Keep in mind that the "record" isn't very long. :-/

Oct 05, 2011
Obviously this is leftist propaganda..

But seriously, when are these asshats going to realise climate change is fact.../

Oct 05, 2011
This asshat realizes there is going to be climate change on a million year timeframe.

Oct 05, 2011
Obviously this is leftist propaganda..

But seriously, when are these asshats going to realise climate change is fact.../

when chumps like u will realize climategate proved once and for all that global warming its a elite bankster scam to introduce the new global carbon tax ponzi scheme to further empoverish and control the world nations?

Oct 05, 2011
People whose opinions are determined by their ideology rather than facts cannot be persuaded by scientific evidence that they're wrong.

Oct 05, 2011
My opinions are determined by personal research, not by what some comrade or the "news media" tells me. It is easy to see that most climate "research" is propaganda, bought and paid for. The "research" organizations are the special-purpose creation of leftists seeking to impose world taxes and world government.

Oct 05, 2011
But seriously, when are these asshats going to realise climate change is fact

Adhom attacks really don't make you sound very bright, and certainly don't qualify as a good debate tactic.

The longer record shows considerable ice loss as well.

Can you provide a link to the 'longer record' you are looking at? I can't find one at NSIDC. There is some evidence that Vikings were able to sail the North coast of Canada, but that may suggest that the 2007 record low (in our 32 year record) is not unusual on longer scales.

Just FYI, the recent low ice extents have been caused mainly by a semi-permanent low pressure system near Iceland. It has been pulling the ice down towards the Atlantic where it melts. You do understand that the ice cap actually moves around in response to prevailing winds and pressure systems, don't you? In the top picture, notice how the ice is pushed up against Greenland, leaving the far side ice free. It's not global warming.

Oct 05, 2011
It's worth noting that the ice is receding faster than what the models have predicted. The usual lame excuse of calling them "alarmist" falls pretty flat on it's face here, not that this is going to make the slightest difference to the same old tired parade of fringe lunatics who can not and will not accept the staggering evidence in favour of climate change caused by human emissions of CO2.

Oct 05, 2011
@GSwift7, Please provide some links to the literature which support your assertion that the Arctic ice cap can exhibit a large shift to lower latitudes, I am dubious. There are several sources of information relating to long-term ice records in the Arctic, this wikipedia page is a good place to start: http://en.wikiped...e_Arctic Pay particular attention to the graph labelled "1870-2009 Northern hemisphere sea ice extent". Here is the original source: http://arctic.atm.../SEAICE/

Oct 05, 2011
Unlike the emotional people posting above, I will provide a link to an official source for my claims, as usual.


Atmospheric conditions
In 2007, a persistent dipole anomaly weather pattern, with unusually high pressure over the Beaufort Sea and unusually low pressure over the Kara Sea, helped contribute to the record ice loss. This pattern resulted in strong southerly winds from the Bering Strait region across the North Pole, which brought warmer winds and ocean waters northward to melt the ice edge and push the ice northward. In addition, especially strong high pressure over the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in June 2007 resulted in less than average cloudiness, allowing more sunlight to reach the ice.

The Arctic saw a similar weather pattern this summer, but not as strong and persistent as in 2007

It had very little to do with global average temperatures. It could even happen on a cold year.

Oct 05, 2011
by the way. My source is from an October 4 2011 NSIDC official report on ice extent, with quotes from several top experts. That's the most currrent opinions of the scientists who work with this stuff every day. You can't get a better source than that.

to GMurphy:

wikipedia? really? puuuhleazzze, give me an f'n break. wiki can't be used for anything climate related. Everybody knows that.

Oct 05, 2011
@GSwift7, you obviously didn't read the post properly, I linked to the original source, the University of Illinois Sea Ice Dataset, here it is again, since you seem to have had trouble with the first one: http://arctic.atm.../SEAICE/ Move your mouse over the link and click it.

Oct 05, 2011
@GSwift7, I examined the link to your article, you've totally cherry-picked that for an explanation which suits you. I invite you to read the section titled "Ice remains younger, thinner" It concludes that the reason the sea ice exhibited such a dramatic loss this year was not due to exceptional conditions but due to sustained loss of old ice over several years: "Continued loss of the oldest, thickest ice has prevented any significant recovery of the summer minimum extent.", that's from the link you provided.

Oct 05, 2011
Yes, I saw your link. I didn't bother getting past the first sentence before I saw your mistake. That dataset is for sea ice concentration. That isn't the same thing as extent, as my link from NSIDC explains.

You say that I AM THE ONE CHERRYPICKING? That's a good laugh. I just quoted the parts that Physorg left out of their cherrypicked article. I didn't think it made any sense to re-quote the parts that are already shown above. Good lord, why do you have to be so obtuse ALL the time?

Oct 05, 2011
@GSwift7, at the bottom of that page, here it is again: http://arctic.atm.../SEAICE/ There is a section titled "latest seasonal sea ice extent timeseries", once again, *sea ice extent*

Oct 05, 2011
Earliest return of winter conditions to Lake Tahoe since 1969.

Oct 05, 2011
Earliest return of winter conditions to Lake Tahoe since 1969.

hmmmm..... with a predicted high of 64*F on Sunday according to NOAA. That's hardly a "return," is it?

Big whoop. It snowed 4 inches at my place 3 weeks ago. Then highs in the mid-60s for two weeks after that. This is normal for the Rocky Mountains.

We have a word for these types of events. Weather.

Oct 05, 2011
GSwift7 is a closed denialist who tries to bloviate in a moderate-sounding voice. But his agenda is transparent. Despite years of such corrections and attempts to enlighten him, he reliably keeps on "forgetting" everything he had "learned", and returns to the same tired old arguments, evasions, obfuscations, misrepresentations, misinterpretations, and the general spreading of FUD. What a snake in man's clothing...

Oct 06, 2011
Venereal DicTard:

Lying as usual. You must be a leftist.

The only "quote" from Limbaugh that shows up in google is the last one, but you of course have conveniently omitted a critical word - "Passive", i.e., "second-hand", without an ellipsis which would have been a dead giveaway that you're pulling this way out of context. The whole quote is "Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer".

The EPA was cited by a federal judge for disregarding their own stated methodology and statistical protocols in faking their wholly political conclusions re: second-hand smoke. But dishonest leftlings (but I repeat myself) never, ever let facts or evidence or truth get in the way on their journey to force the rest of us into the Workers' Utopia as prophesized by St Karl of Marx.

Googling the other two "quotes" from Limbaugh brings up nothing but more mis-"quotes" from comments made by...none other than Venereal DicTard himself. How convenient.

Making up "quotes" is a standard Alinskyite tool.

Oct 06, 2011
Okay Gmurphy, I see that they do have some extent data too, but all of the illinois data prior to 1979 includes a note similar to the following:

Please note that much of the pre-1953 data is either climatology or interpolated data and the user is cautioned to use this data with care.

And of course, I see the usual personal attack from PinkElephant. Some people never change. Why do you think the arguments from alarmists are usually so weak? Personal attacks, anctedotal evidence, lies, misdirection, straw man arguments, misquotes, namecalling, etc. I really grow tired of pointing them all out. If you cleared all of those type comments from this thread, there wouldn't be much left.

Oct 07, 2011
And of course, I see the usual personal attack from PinkElephant.

Except that he's 100% right. I've noticed the same pattern of behavior in your posts: trying to appear fair and balanced, veiled digs meant to be taken as 'jokes' (usually through folksy anecdotes), asking rhetorical questions meant to sow the seeds of doubt, etc.

It's a very clever approach that comes across very reasonable to the casual reader, but the pattern becomes obvious to posters of longer standing.

Oct 07, 2011
I don't have a "stance". I am open to the truth, no matter what it is. The truth just doesn't always support any one view when it comes to environmental beliefs. Nuclear and Hydro power are good examples of cases where there are good arguments on both the pro and contra sides. Even solar power has opposition from some green activists.

I think there are too many special interests, and people should read carefully, check sources, and call out inconsistencies when they see them. That's all I do. I do it when the activists on the Right say silly things too. You don't see that because there aren't any Rightist articles here. It's funny to me that you guys said what you just said, because I get the same accusations from the extreemists at Wattsupwiththat. They think I'm an agenda driven Leftist troll. So, which is it? Can I possibly be both a Leftist AND a Rightist?

I seriously don't think so.

The sad truth is that neither side likes to see their propaganda challenged.

Oct 07, 2011
Lord Monckton had a very lengthy series of posts on Watt's site recently. I offered repeated challenges to some of the points he made. His response was misdirection, straw man arguments, and repitition as a means of proof as if saying something wrong a second time will make it more true than it was the first time.

That's the same falacious reasoning you guys use, so you aren't any better.

Do you honestly think the story above is a balanced summary of the October issue of the NSIDC report? Do you think the parts they chose to include and the parts they chose to leave out were by chance? Ask yourself why you "feel" any emotion when I pointed out that they didn't publish a significant portion of the report. I didn't make up the part of the report I quoted. That came straight from NSIDC. How does that make me agenda driven? Why do you not want people to read that part? What is wrong with me pointing out a significant factor that apparently NONE of you knew about?

Oct 07, 2011
They think I'm an agenda driven Leftist troll. So, which is it? Can I possibly be both a Leftist AND a Rightist?

Definitely 'Rightist'. You've let your guard down a number of times which betrayed your ideological bent.

Oct 07, 2011
Sure, both sides have their valid points. It's an incredibly complex issue and maybe we are relatively powerless to control it. Yes, people are calling for economic sacrifices that /might/ not help much. However, who is /really/ comfortable with doing *nothing* about it? The rich, is the answer; rich individuals, rich communities, and rich nations. They know they will still have a comfortable life if they are wrong. I personally couldn't care less if there is some conspiracy or not. There's enough obvious observational evidence to convince us that /something/ needs to be done.

Can we go from there and discuss reasonable solutions that will at least mitigate the risks for our brothers and sisters all over the world? Or do we really not give two shits about people outside our "tribe?"

Oct 07, 2011
There's enough obvious observational evidence to convince us that /something/ needs to be done

Or do we really not give two shits about people outside our "tribe?"

for the first part, haven't you heard of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act? I think we are already doing our share here in the US.

for the second part, once again, I think we already do more than our share. Here's a thought: lets kill two birds with one stone. How about if we set up laws that prevent outsourcing of American jobs to any country that doesn't meet Clean Air and Water Act standards? That would really be "doing something".

Oct 07, 2011
I'm not as plugged in as some here. I didn't think those Acts had anything to do with CO2. ?????

Your proposal is really only significant for India and China, no? At least at this moment, before the other emerging markets, well, emerge more. So, you are proposing that we drastically change our fundamental economic partnerships, and therefore drastically change the global economy. How is this less risky than merely leading by example and sacrificing a very small amount of economic growth to get a handle on consumption and invest more in greener tech? Even if we aren't followed, have we not invested in our future by separating our energy from national security, and diversifying our energy sources?

I'm a total novice on this issue; just seeking info and brainstorming here....

Oct 09, 2011
My opinions are determined by personal research, not by what some comrade or the "news media" tells me. It is easy to see that most climate "research" is propaganda, bought and paid for. The "research" organizations are the special-purpose creation of leftists seeking to impose world taxes and world government.

Do you have any evidence of this? If people are getting paid to crank out results, I´d like to kick down the doors of some of my colleagues and try to get a slice of that pie for myself. I can make numbers. I like money.

Where do you guys get this global conspiracy of liberals and scientists crap? If anything, these aluminum-foil hat wearing people do nothing but further convince me that we need to increase taxes and spend it on education because clearly folks are missing the ability to think critically. Once science has been discredited in popular opinion, I´m sure they´ll go after doctors, economists, and Kermit the Frog.

Oct 09, 2011
Look here, people, here's what the data shows.


This is the VOLUME, not just the extent.

You can't just blame the lows in 2007 and 2011 on isolated "weather" events, because guess what? The TREND is still downward the whole way.

Moreover, 2010 was 2000km cubed BELOW 2007, and 2011 was lower still.

Additionally, 2007, the "dipole year" was actually only just BARELY lower than 2008 and 2009, which were non-dipole years.

then 2010, a non-dipole year, was much lower than 2007...

So any claim that it was "only" because of the arctic dipole is just BS.

Compare dipole year to dipole year, and non-dipole to non-dipole:

2011 is around 2500km cubed below 2007.

2010 is around 2500km cubed below 2009.

Then you have to consider all the calving which took place in Greenland and replenished the "sea" ice, and you still have this much net loss of "sea" ice, because all of the new ice bergs melted too...

Oct 09, 2011
Look at the anomaly trend:

-2.9 Plus or minus 1 (1000km^3) per decade...

So that's between -1900 and -3900 per decade.


There was only 4300km^3 of ice remaining at the minimum this year.

so if the trend continues, based on just a naive linear average according to this data, the meltdown will be 11 to 23 years away, with the middle of the range being 17 years.

That might even be faster than my own calculations, because I had 15 years as the SHORT end, and 2053 (42 years) as the long end. The linear trend on this volume graph suggests as little as 11 years for the SHORT end and just 23 years for the long end.

These changes will be devastating.

I kid you not.

England and Spain will start getting hit by major hurricanes (coming up over the bermuda high,) within a few years after the first complete meltdown, because the cooling system on the central and East Atlantic will disappear.

That might be the LEAST concern at this rate...

Oct 09, 2011
Yeah, I was doing some new linear and non-linear calculations based on the PIOMASS volume numbers, and here's what I found for the first complete summer meltdown...

Linear projection of the 10 year trend from 2001 to 2010 suggest the ice will melt in 5.44 years, so round up to the nearest whole year, giving 6 years, or summer 2017.

But because 2001 was a local peak, it slightly skews the slope of the curve to steeper than it maybe should be, so I backed up to 1999, which was a local minimum so as to compare local minimums to local minimums.

Linear projection (going from local minimum to local minimum) from there gives only 7.81 years, so round up to 8 years, gives 2019.

Using local maximum to local maximum, 2001 to 2008, and then projecting that forward produces, after rounding up, 10 years from 2008, or 6 years from 2011, giving 2018 and 2017 respectively.

The reason these numbers are so much shorter than the long term linear trend is that is weighted by 1979-1999.

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