The Extent of Arctic Sea Ice 2013

We are approaching the time when Arctic sea ice is measured at its seasonal lowest extent. Some sources have inaccurately reported that sea ice concentration this year is the highest ever. It is not. The extent of sea ice is significantly below the average extent of sea ice from 1981 to 2010.

There is no doubt that the extent of Arctic sea ice is declining over the last decades and continues to decline, and can be see from the data at  http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ . Unfortunately there is no reason to believe that the slightly larger extent of sea ice at the Arctic this summer is an indication that global warming is not happening.

This year the Arctic has had a cool summer, so it is unsurprising that the extent of its summer sea ice has grown compared with the last year, when the summer was warmer, but the sea ice extent is still lower than it was in 2009 and a quarter less in area than it was in 1978.

A very helpful graph published by the Arctic Sea Ice Monitor can be seen at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm.

Climate changes have usually  taken place over hundreds or thousands of years. The effect of human activity upon our climate seems to indicate that changes that once took centuries now take decades. Only the less informed media expect the climate changes to be shown from year to year and every year.  One swallow does not make a summer or one snowfall a winter.

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