VOD: Amazing video showing declining volume of Arctic sea ice (1979-2012)

Video of the day – an interesting way to track the declining volume of Arctic summer sea ice:


Since 1979, the volume of Summer Arctic Sea Ice has declined by 75% and accelerating.

The first summer with an ice-free Arctic Ocean for at least a day is expected to happen within a decade. This video by Andy Lee Robinson illustrates the dramatic decline since 1979 until 2nd September 2012 (day 246). Sea Ice Volume is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) developed at APL/PSC.

4 thoughts on “VOD: Amazing video showing declining volume of Arctic sea ice (1979-2012)

  1. uknowispeaksense says:

    Thanks for that Mike. I am giving a lecture today about the multiple lines of evidence for AGW and have just included this animation. I noticed Peter Sinclair has a couple of telling graphics straight off the press as well.

  2. James says:

    Ice Free Arctic – Lush Green Sahara; not a bad trade; and it has happened recently! I think there is way too much focus on such a short period of ‘recorded’ history of Arctic ice and I would have been more surprised had we not been having record ice melts. After all, the Northern Hemisphere has been warming naturally, and gradually since the Little Ice Age. Not in a linear pattern, which you might expect if CO2 was the main climate driver, but the general trend has been upwards in fits and starts.

    An ice free (or almost ice free) Arctic therefore hardly seems to be news, though I am continually bemused that the news of record sea ice over the same period in Antarctica doesn’t get much press. But back to the Arctic.

    “Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.” Less Ice In Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 Years Ago [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020095850.htm]

    We can’t know for sure if the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free year round, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland 6000-70000 years ago than there is today. And of course no-one can blame human greenhouse gas emissions for causing the ‘big melt’ back then.

    Did it have catastrophic impacts like the ones the greens are predicting today? Well we know that polar bears, and seals and whales and fish and all sorts of arctic animals and sea birds and sea life survived because we have them today. But did we have any catastrophic climatic events?

    Well not as far as science can tell us. But there were some bonuses. like the biggest desert in the world being instead lush green grazing land allowing humans to raise dairy animals.

    “The remarkable rock art found widely across the region depicts cattle herding among early Saharan pastoral groups, and includes rare scenes of milking..” Research has now been able to date this period to the fifth millennium BC which coincides nicely with the warming in the Arctic. First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium bc [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7403/full/nature11186.html]

    So we do know that in the relatively recent past the northern hemisphere has been warmer and the Arctic ice has melted more than it is now, and all without the help of human greenhouse gases. We didn’t have runaway climate change in fact plants, animals and humans thrived.

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