Warning: Arctic alarmism ahead

Warning! Alarmism ahead…

UPDATE [1.45pm AEST]: And, right on cue, the ABC (Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation) comes up trumps:

The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted to its smallest point ever in a milestone that may show that worst-case forecasts on climate change are being realised, say US scientists.

They say the extent of ice observed on Sunday broke a record set in 2007 and there will likely be further melting with several weeks of northern hemisphere summer still to come. (source)

Batten down the hatches for an avalanche of alarmism relating to the impending Arctic sea ice minimum. It looks to be heading for a record low (although some measures are showing otherwise, see here), and whatever the cause, we will be swamped with links to AGW from the climate science consensus and the media.

And whilst it is at least possible that a proportion of the ice loss is attributable to warming from human emissions, the question, as always, is one of degree: how large are those effects relative to other, natural, forces?

Climate Depot details some of the other factors that may worthy of consideration, before we all leap to conclusions about the role of AGW:

  • satellite measurement began just over 30 years ago, and is too short a period to draw such confident conclusions about attribution
  • at the time satellite measurement began, Arctic ice had been growing for many years after a period of global cooling, and so a subsequent decline during a period of warming is to be expected
  • Arctic likely to have had less ice in 1930s and 40s
  • recent ice loss may be attributable to changes in ocean currents, wind or other weather-related phenomena
  • this year, a particularly severe storm caused the disintegration of a considerable area of sea ice
  • cyclical fluctuations of Arctic ice are known to have existed for millennia

I am not making any claim about the significance of any of the above, other than to say they may play a role.

But unfortunately, the AGW believers invariably insist on using Arctic sea ice levels as a crude “gotcha” to “prove” that they are right (canaries, coal mines etc), claiming absolute certainty of attribution, when in fact, as is almost always the case in these matters, it is a subtle combination of factors that lead to the present conditions.

Just another example of the extreme polarisation of the issues when the middle ground is where everyone should be focussing.


  1. It may or may not be happening (polar ice sheet) to the extent promoted (never believe a scientist). The chances of any supposed change being due to human activity is pretty remote. Also, if true, what is all the fuss about? An ice free North Pole is actually more the norm in the geological past and for the present would be welcome situation allowing easier shipping from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans.

    • “Never believe a scientist” ?! How crass can you get? From the very beginning of the global warming beat-up/hysteria/scam, hundreds of scientists have maintained that all scientific questions should be judged on the basis of carefully collected and evaluated objective empirical evidence – and that on this basis, the raging hysteria surrounding “global warming” is simply unsupportable. It’s a bit bloody thick to lump us all in with the Believers.

    • And what is the significance of the reduced sea ice extent this time of year? Doesn’t it imply increased heat loss from the Arctic Ocean through the atmosphere compared with the situation with larger sea ice extent- a negative feedback response? Looking at the various survey tables, it appears that we a seeing a growing increase in the difference between the maximum and minimum sea ice extent. What does that suggest?

  2. Alarmists tend to have little or no perspective. Here’s a more complete picture:


  3. Aren’t there accounts of people sailing the North-West passage in wooden sailing ships, you know, without the aid of specialist high powered ice breakers that are currently required. ?

    And aren’t they still discovering farm houses etc under the greenland ice pack.

  4. 1922: ‘Extraordinary warmth in the Arctic during the last few years’ — Polar ice sheet to melt down? — Scientists astonished by Arctic warming. Northern United States to become “sub-tropical.”

    1923 Shock News: ‘Radical’ Climate Change Melting Down The North Pole

    1935: Russian Ship Sailed 500 Miles From The North Pole In Ice-Free Water catastrophic proportions and people living in lowlands along their shores would be inundated…temps in Arctic had increased 10 deg. F since 1900–an ‘enormous’ rise’

    1947 : International Agency Needed To Stop The Arctic Meltdown: Same story – different millennium — ‘May 30 1947.-The possibility of a prodigious rise in the surface of ocean with resultant widespread inundation if Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland icecap should reduce at same rate as present melting in Arctic…’

    1947: ‘Alarming’ Rise In Arctic Temperatures To Melt Greenland And Flood The Coasts Posted on August 18, 2012 — Ten degrees of warming in Arctic with CO2 at 320 PPM’

  5. rukidding says:

    So did the satellite pick up all those oil rigs moving in to recover all the oil from under the now melted ice cap?.

  6. Confusious says:

    Well it’s odd that Shell was reporting week or so ago that their operations in Arctic were delayed due to unusualy intense ice buildup.
    But such minor facts will not bother Manne and his Australian Broadcasting Communists mob! Goebels would have not done better job than this Green Nazis!

  7. Confusious says:

    Dear Fellow Deniers, here it is……

    The Australian August2012

    ROYAL Dutch Shell is spending
    billions of dollars to drill the first
    oil wells in US Arctic waters in
    20 years, backed by an Obama
    administration eager to show it
    is not opposed to offshore
    But the dosely watched project
    isn’t going the way the company
    or the govemment hoped – illustrating
    the continuing challenge
    of plumbing for natural riches in
    one of the world’s most unforgivinglocations.
    Sea ice in the Chukchi
    and Beaufort seas off the
    northem Alaska coast was slow to
    break up this year, leaving the
    drilling areas inaccessible much
    later than anticipated.

  8. I am currently in the UK. The BBC got their first salvo in on last nights news. Polar bears featured prominently.

  9. Frank Brus says:

    Here is an additional factor worth adding to your list above:

    …..coal use in China is the primary culprit in the loss of Arctic Sea ice, especially in the last ten years. The R-Squared value, the goodness of fit, is almost twice that for global temperature. ……

    As long as China continues to burn vast quantities of coal with few attempts to clean up their particulate emissions, their unintended effort to melt the Arctic will continue.”


  10. Trudi Brand via Facebook says:

    I just saw this discussed on Lateline. Now they’re claiming the increase in billion dollar disasters is caused by climate change! Surely they’ve forgotten that inflation, population growth and increased standards of living make it impossible to compare?

  11. Every year, same story, same government-funded and greenpeace-funded “scientists”.

  12. ‘Scientists’ gave us touch screen phones
    ‘Scientists’ can get robotic rovers to mars
    ‘Scientists’ gave us internet communications around the world
    ‘Scientists’ used rockets to launch satellites for GPS navigation
    ‘Scientists’ gave us electricity, modern medicine, refrigeration, radio, TV, digital camera’s, heart transplants, hearing aids, turbo chargers, cleaning products, computers, it’s a big list folks.
    What would a bunch of ‘Scientists’ know about climate change?
    Wake up you jokers!
    Yes, I’m an ‘Alarmist’, there is a big storm coming and we made it.

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