Government agencies and corporate media bemoan the melting and thinning of Arctic sea ice — indicative of the scourge of man-made global warming:
Extraordinary melting of Arctic sea ice in 2012!
Arctic sea ice declining at a rate of 13.3% per decade!
The Arctic to be devoid of sea ice by September 2016!
[But then…] Record low Arctic sea ice, November 2016!
Here’s a screenshot of the first page of results when I Google-searched for “Arctic sea ice melting”:
Writing for The Deplorable Climate Science Blog on Jan. 3, 2017, tonyheller provides the screenshot below of government and news agencies claiming that Arctic sea ice is getting thinner:
But is that true?
Tonyheller presents the empirical evidence, which I verified and updated.
(1) In 1940, Arctic sea ice was about 2 meters thick
On February 23, 1940, the Townsville Daily Bulletin of Queensland, Australia, reported that Soviet explorers to the North (Arctic) Pole obtained ice measurements of an average 6½ feet (1.98 meters).
(Source: Trove – National Library of Australia)
(2) In 1958, Arctic sea ice was about 2 meters thick
On October 19, 1958, the New York Times reported that Arctic sea ice was “on the whole” about 7 ft. (2.13 meters) thick.
(3) In 2017, Arctic sea ice is — wait for it — about two meters thick
Below is the Danish Meteorological Institute‘s map-diagram of the Arctic Sea Thickness for January 6, 2017, which shows that most of the Arctic sea is covered by ice from 2 to 3 meters thick.
But Jeff Nesbit of U.S. News wrote on Dec. 28, 2016:
“global warming is now permanently altering the region in ways that will have untold consequences. In fact, the Arctic system has changed so dramatically that it may now be vulnerable to tipping points that affect the entire planet.
For instance, a significant portion of the ice that covers the Arctic Ocean during the long winter used to be ‘multi-year’ ice – which means that it was there over a long period of time and never melted. That’s no longer the case, and partially explains why sea ice in the Arctic right now is dramatically lower than it’s ever been at this time of year.
NASA satellites (the ones that would likely be shuttered if the incoming Trump administration shifts the agency’s mission completely away from earth sciences) and scientists on the ground estimate that multi-year ice used to make up a fifth of the ice cover in the Arctic just 30 or 40 years ago. Today, it’s at 3 percent.
The implications of this should be obvious, even to people who think climate change is a hoax or a political invention by progressives. The planet has warmed rapidly in a very short period of time, over decades. And in the region most sensitive to that warming, the ice at the top of the world that used to remain there all the time is now disappearing almost entirely during the summer. The ‘multi-year’ ice that served as a barrier against ice disappearing entirely is now gone. We will see essentially ice-free summers in the Arctic soon.”
The only problem with the claim that multi-year ice has diminished to just 3% of the Arctic sea ice is this GIF map of the ages of Arctic sea ice in March 2016, from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) of the University of Colorado, which shows nearly half of the Arctic sea was covered by multi-year ice (colors that are not dark blue).
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