Global Sea Ice

Words on Weather & Climate

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Global Sea Ice by CRAIG JAMES Last week I wrote about the Arctic Sea ice extent and how it was very likely to have been significantly lower in the past than during the recent period of satellite observations begun in 1979. Let’s take a look today at the sea ice extent on a global scale, not just in the Arctic Ocean. You may be surprised. The graphic above is from the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today website. The line across the bottom of the chart shows how the daily global sea ice has deviated since 1979 from the overall average between 1979 and 2008. You can clearly see that the global sea ice area is currently sitting right at average. How can that be when all we have heard about is how much the ice is melting? The above chart clearly shows that since satellite observations began, the extent of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere declined until 2007 when it reached a minimum. However, it has recovered back almost to the average since then. I wrote about this last week. This last chart is of the Southern Hemisphere sea ice. You can see that in 2007, when the Arctic ice was at a minimum, the Southern Hemisphere was at a record high extent. The ice in the Antarctic was not cooperating with the alarmist point of view. What is really interesting is that the long-term ice increase and decline at the two poles tends to be out of phase. When ice is increasing at one over several years, it is decreasing at the other. Several studies have been done on this, but no known reason for this behavior has been found. I’m sure common experience has taught you that ice melts quicker when it comes in contact with warm water rather than warm air. If you have a sink full of ice, the quickest way to melt it is to add warm water, not turn up the heat in the room. However, all the alarmist predictions about the Arctic becoming ice-free were assuming the melt was due to warm air temperatures from global warming. If you take a look at any year from the website of the Danish Meteorological Institute at, you will […]