Predictions of an ice-free Arctic Ocean

Arctic Ice - wikipediaGlobal warming alarmists and climate scientists have predicted that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 1979, or 2000, or 2008, or 2012, or 2013, or 2015, or 2020, or 2030, or 2050 or…

There is some debate about whether an ice-free Arctic Ocean would be a good thing or a bad thing. On the good side is that an ice-free Arctic Ocean would allow faster shipping of goods between continents and open the area for mineral exploration. On the allegedly bad side is that the albedo of the Arctic Ocean would decrease and thereby absorb more sunlight that might cause warming. The sea level issue is moot because floating ice displaces it own weight of water and there is only a minor difference between the mass/volume of salt water versus fresh water, so sea level rise would be minimal.

Let’s look at some recent melting Arctic predictions in the press.

BBC December 12, 2007: “Arctic Summers Ice-Free by 2013″

The BBC’s 2007 report quoted scientist Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who based his views on super-computer models and the fact that ‘we use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice’. This story was within a more rational story in the Daily Mail.

ABC News, April 7, 2008: “North Pole Could Be Ice Free in 2008″ (source)

Because of the large ice melt in 2007, Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said “This raises the spectre – the possibility that you could become ice free at the North Pole this year.”

Sierra Club, March 23, 2013: “Why Arctic sea ice will vanish in 2013″ (source)

“”For the record—I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean.”

Tony Heller (aka Steve Goddard) has compiled scans of newspaper articles predicting an ice-free Arctic:

The Argus (Melbourne) July, 17, 1954: “Arctic Ice Thaws” (source)

“The ice-packed Arctic Ocean may become navigable in another 25 to 50 years if the present warming-up tendency of the polar region continued.”

New Scientist, December 1, 1960 : (source, see bottom of second column)

“The Arctic Ocean will be open year-round before the end of the twentieth Century.”

Tuscaloosa News, May 18, 1972: “Arctic Ocean to be ice free by 2000?” (source)

“Washington (AP) -Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.”

National Geographic News, December 12, 2007, “Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?” (source)

“This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Huff Post October 16, 2009, “We Can’t Ignore the Security Threat from Climate Change “ (source)

Article by then Senator John Kerry in which he claims:

“The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now.”

The Guardian May 2, 2013: “White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral” (source)

“Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.” We will just have to see if the Arctic becomes ice-free this summer.

Now that previous predictions of an ice-free Arctic Ocean have failed to materialize, the alarmists are extending their wolf cry to predict it will happen in 2030 or 2050 etc.

Such are the predictions of “climate scientists” for whom, it seems, computer models are their reality.

Arctic sea ice melt is nothing new. To put things in perspective, consider these older reports:

“A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated.”

“2000 square leagues [approximately 14,000 square miles or 36,000 square kilometers] of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74 and 80 N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.”

The paragraphs above come from a letter by the President of the Royal Society addressed to the British Admiralty, written in 1817 (Royal Society, London. Nov. 20, 1817. Minutes of Council, Vol. 8. pp.149-153). When this report was written, the planet was in the midst of the Little Ice Age. How could the ice disappear in a Little Ice Age if the melting was due to global warming?

Another story:

Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish And Icebergs Melt

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the waters too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen , Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are being found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

This is from an AP story which appeared in the Washington Post, November 2, 1922.

It seems that “predictions are hard, especially about the future.” – attributed to the great philosopher Yogi Berra.

As you can see from the graph below global sea ice extent is nearly on average since 1979 according to satellite measurement. Arctic sea ice is slightly below average and Antarctic sea ice is above average. The total sea ice extent shows no obvious influence from global warming.

To keep track of ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic, visit http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

Sea ice global

P.S. This one came in on April 11, 2015 after I wrote the article:

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry Maurie Trewhella, of Victoria University (Australia), claims that both Arctic and Antarctic ice will melt away in the next decade or two.  See post at WUWT.

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Comments (15)

  • Avatar

    Gator

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    Jean Dixon had a better success rate! 😆

    But then she did not rely on agenda driven predictions.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    The only thing certain is that the Church of Global Warming disciples will continue to predict an ice free Arctic on a regular basis because they are never held accountable for their predictions of doom .
    You could build a model that more accurately predicts the frequency of scary global warming stories .

    Extreme green is uncomfortable with not being able to set the world’s thermostat
    while Mother Nature is saying quit talking to me when I am talking to myself .

    They have smoked one too many reefers
    if they think adjusting CO2 (.004% of the atmosphere) is going to do anything to offset the overwhelming influences of natural variability .

    What a Con .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Andrew Coleman

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    People can dismiss the realities of climate change all they want. I believe there will be some who will deny it even as the human race goes extinct because we have so disrupted the natural cycles that we cause an abrupt climate change of over 6°C worldwide. Why is it we have faith in the science that brings us the new gadget that everybody loves but not the science that says we are killing ourselves?
    We Americans are just 5% of the world population yet we consume 50% of the resources consumed each year. It is unsustainable, even an idiot can understand that but not us! The sad truth is we in America are largely responsible for the climate change yet we deny it the most and that will most likely be the reason we will all die.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

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    Hey Andrew! I don’t mean to bash your faith, but we here hold science very dear, and demand that those who make wild claims back them with hard science. Now is your chance to shine, and show us skeptics we are all wrong.

    1- List [i]all[/i] climate forcings, order them from most to least effective, and then [i]quantify[/i] them.

    2- Please provide [i]even one[/i] peer reviewed paper that refutes natural variability as the cause of recent, or any, global climate changes.

    There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about our climate, or how we got here. For 4,500,000,000 years climates have always changed, naturally. This means there has been a set precedent, and the burden of proof falls on natural climate change deniers like yourself.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    richard b

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    Those who say that there is no man made global warming would have you believe that we can pump unlimited amounts of co2 into the atmosphere without any consequences.

    this notion is contradicted by solid science and physics as well as the temperature on Venus.

    And while it is quite true that our climate has always changed, we are looking today at catastrophic effects in decades rather than the epochs of the past.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    If the planet was cooling the consequences would obviously be more detrimental than a continuation of the current long term warming trend .
    Humans will undoubtedly have some minor influence and if they help with a bit of warming great .
    All these failed predictions of climate “catastrophes ” are proven to be
    hyperbole . It is time to stop lying to people about the big bad wolf stories of climate
    Armagedon .
    Hasn’t the world be bullshitted enough about false predictions of increased
    hurricane activity , ice free Arctic ,disappearing glaciers and the earth having a fever ?

    The scientific community in general has sat
    by or abetted one of the biggest frauds in history . Time to restore some credibility .

    The media don’t have to worry about their cheerleader role because their business plan is in free fall anyway . Let’s see how they explain their roll of the dice green investment bets to their pensioners .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    @Richard b

    The temperature of Venus ?

    Venus radiates into interplanetary space MORE energy than it receives from the Sun.

    Now you go right ahead and explain the temperature of Venus.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Kingofspace

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    Every few years the department of defence comes out and says climate change is the biggest threat to our security. Oh I guess I forgot that it’s a global conspiracy that involves 97% of scientists and every military and all the politicians.
    US Navy says arctic ice will be less than 1million square kilometers (know as blue ocean event) in 2016. They must only be saying that because they are stupid and hate America.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Kingofspace

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    This article is actually embarrassing. Just a lost of failed predictions in the media. Weird how no peer review was criticized. Followed by a graph of sea ice that is deliberately misleading. It couldn’t possibly be that the richest corporations in the world are spending billions in a PR campaign to convince the world they are not liabl for damages.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Kingofspace

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    This article is actually embarrassing. Just a lost of failed predictions in the media. Weird how no peer review was criticized. Followed by a graph of sea ice that is deliberately misleading. It couldn’t possibly be that the richest corporations in the world are spending billions in a PR campaign to convince the world they are not liabl for damages.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

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    [quote]Every few years the department of defence comes out and says climate change is the biggest threat to our security. Oh I guess I forgot that it’s a global conspiracy that involves 97% of scientists and every military and all the politicians.[/quote]

    This comment is actually embarrassing. Just a list of hyperbole and lies spread by the media. Weird how no peer review was brought forth. Followed by a rant about sea ice that is deliberately misleading. It couldn’t possibly be that the least scientifically literate in the world are advocating the spending of billions on a leftist campaign that will starve seven million people every year.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Dave Burton

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    There’s also Al Gore, who said in 2009 was that some climate models were predicting that there was a 75% chance that ALL the Arctic ice would be gone, not just momentarily, at the annual minimum, but for MONTHs (plural) at a time, during the summers, by 2014, 2015 or 2016. Here are his exact words:

    “Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”

    Hear him say it here:

    Reply

  • The Arctic: A New Travel Frontier

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    […] this date is hotly debated, it is difficult to argue that the ice is melting. For the first time in history, mainstream travel […]

    Reply

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