Sea Ice Mysteries

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve never seen either the Arctic or the Antarctic ice pack. I have, however, commercially fished for roe herring in the Bering Sea, setting purse seine net in “brash ice” off of Nome, Alaska. Brash ice is the broken-up remains of the pack ice. It looks like this:

As a result, polar ice has been a long-time interest of mine. So let me invite you to take a wander with me through the current state of the Arctic and Antarctic ice packs. First, here are the changes in the Arctic Sea ice cover:

Figure 1. Changes in the Arctic Sea ice cover anomaly during the satellite era. Values are anomalies from the 1991-2020 thirty-year average

Since around 1990, people have been talking about how human-emitted CO2 is busily reducing the amount of Arctic Sea ice. When it started dropping very fast around 2015, there was talk that we’d passed a “tipping point” from which the Arctic ice would never recover. And over this entire time, predictions of an “ice-free Arctic Ocean” abounded.

But then … around 2018, the Arctic Sea ice rebounded.

Why did it suddenly start dropping so fast post-2015?

Nobody knows. Not one scientist on the planet can tell you.

Why the quick turnaround and rebound starting in 2018?

Nobody knows. Not one scientist on the planet can tell you.

Having seen those mysteries, how about the Antarctic Sea ice? Here’s that data:

Figure 2. Changes in the Antarctic Sea ice cover anomaly during the satellite era. Values are anomalies from the 1991-2020 thirty-year average

More mysteries. Why did the Antarctic ice pack, unlike the Arctic pack, start increasing quite rapidly around 2008?

Nobody knows.

Why did it again differ from the Arctic by plateauing from 2010 to 2015?

Nobody knows.

And why did it then mirror the Arctic by dropping very rapidly from ~ 2015 to ~ 2018, and then, again like the Arctic, turn around and start rebounding?

Nobody knows.

Finally, here’s the global situation.

Figure 3. Changes in the global sea ice cover anomaly during the satellite era. Values are anomalies from the 1991-2020 thirty-year average

It was basically flat from 1981 to 2008, rose until 2010, stayed level until 2015, dropped until 2018, and then rebounded almost all the way back to the 1990-2000 average.

And not one climate scientist on our benighted planet can tell you why … except a couple of things are for certain.

First, in addition to not being able to explain the recent radical sea ice changes in retrospect, there wasn’t one climate scientist on the planet who predicted those large changes in sea ice.

Second, it’s highly unlikely that the cause of the recent gyrations is CO2.

Figure 4. The increase in atmospheric CO2.

As you can see, the rise in atmospheric CO2 has been steady, strong, and unchanged … but the ice cover has been going up and down like a drunken yo-yo.

Here’s the strangest part. Despite the failure of the many predictions of an “ice-free Arctic”, despite the falsified claims that we’ve passed a “tipping point”, despite the fact that the reasons for the curious and unexpected changes in the polar sea ice cannot be explained by anyone and the changes weren’t predicted by anyone … climate scientists STILL insist that they can tell us what the global temperature will be like in the year 2100.

You are free to believe those failed serial Doom casters if you wish.

Me … hard pass. I’ve seen too many of their predictions crash and burn.

Warmest regards to everyone,


My Boring Refrain: As always, I ask that when you comment you quote the exact words you are referring to. I can defend my own words—I choose them very carefully for that exact reason. But I cannot defend your (mis)understanding of my words. Thanks.

via Watts Up With That?

November 12, 2022

Sea Ice Mysteries — Watts Up With That?