The Polar Ice Caps Are Not Disappearing

Update February 1, 2017: This post and the comments are, if nothing else, a plea for evidence based research. The evidence continues to mount that, actually, the polar ice caps probably are disappearing and we’re probably doing it. Please continue to comment and and use science as a tool to uncover the truths in the world.


TJIC points out that the Arctic Climate Research group at the University of Illinois has very detailed records on world ice coverage, compiled in cooperation with the National Center for Environmental Prediction/NOAA.

There is no ice crisis. So, if you please, shut up now.

Click and understand:

globaldailyiceareawithtrend

That image was lifted directly from the ACRG site, except for TJIC’s comment of course. As of 5-14-09, you can find the most recent version of this chart on the ACRG site by looking about 2/3 of the way down on the right.

Update March 3, 2013: There is a lively and informative discussion about this subject in the comments below. I especially would like to direct you to comments by Cyrus who has some good refuting arguments.

 

76 Comments

  1. coreyfro says:

    Dude, dig deeper…

    From the same sight: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/global.sea.ice.area.pdf

    What this is saying is that, while the artic ice is decreasing, the antarctic is receiving more snowfall due to increased evaporation:

    “In fact, there have been some recent studies suggesting the amount of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere may initially increase as a response to atmospheric warming through increased evaporation and subsequent snowfall onto the sea ice.”

    So, polar bears are still fucked, while Penguins are now getting more fresh powder to slide around on.

  2. lee says:

    Hey, why don’t we just move the polar bears to Antarctica?

    OMG! Apparently, there is a whole organization devoted to doing just that! Tada!

    But wait…
    Polar bear vs Penguins? This will end poorly.

    polar_bear_kills_seal
    cute-penguins

  3. awesome... says:

    okay well if their not fucking disapearing then where they hell are they if the polar ice caps were there do you think the poor polar bears would be dying…? NO they freaken wouldnt they wouldnt be endangered if they werent disappearing so get your facts right before you make a stupid website k…. thanks dumbass!!!!!!

  4. lee says:

    Dear Awesome, I would ordinarily delete such an abusive and poorly written comment but your grammar is so funny bad, I will leave it for all the world to see for all time. Awesome!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh my God! You have got to be fucking kidding me! I am a kid and I know you’re wrong!!!!! Go to hell

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hate you Lee. I cannot believe that you would say something so untrue. I am only 14 years old and know more than you. Where the hell do you think all of those polar bears going? And how come the NOAA and NASA have confirmed that the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased about 1.2 degrees in the last 100 years? Which is the largest difference in temperature since any major events during Pangaea. Go fuck yourself!

    p.s. I am really on 14 and just proved you wrong, the ice caps had better watch out and not listen to any asses like you…

  7. lee says:

    Dear Anonymous, please note where my information comes from. I am not saying world ice coverage hasn’t changed since 1979, the Arctic Climate Research group at the University of Illinois is saying it. Those people are the world authority on this type of stuff.

    PS. It’s inappropriate to tell someone to fuck themselves, especially when you aren’t completely sure of your facts.

    PPS. The internet isn’t as anonymous as you think.

  8. Frank DiCostanzo says:

    You should take a look at some of the other graphs on your link. This one is a good example. Those charts start to look a little droopy as time goes on.

    Even the graph you show as an example of a lack of ice change suggest otherwise. The lowest extents on the 1979 side suggest a minimum of 16 million sq miles whereas the current measures bottom out at 15 million sq km for a regular difference of a million sq km. A million sq km would seem to be pretty big. If the loss is not uniformly spread out (whatever that means) then it could spell trouble for whomever expected it to be there.

    Also, the winter difference of 2 million sq km which was mockingly circled could be serious if one had spent a large amount of time migrating to some ice spot only to find it wasn’t there as was expected. Taking merely 10 feet off the end of a 3000 foot bridge still makes the bridge useless.

    “There is no ice crisis. So, if you please, shut up now.”
    I think you invited the 14 yo to the party with that one.

  9. lee says:

    I’m not going to dig my heels in on global warming… there are many other things in life to worry about. That said, here’s a couple important bits:

    * The solar sunspot cycle is about 11 years long but there are also cycles that last hundreds and thousands of years. It is very difficult to tell what is going on with only 30 years of data. For example, it appears that the Dark Ages a few hundred years ago really were dark… temperatures in many places fell several degrees below normal, creating a mini-ice age (I’m not an expert on the Dark Ages, sorry, try googling for more info) and then there are those big Ice Ages every 27,000 years or so.

    * The tv and radio news had a giant flip-out last year saying how the sky was falling (or the icecaps were melting, as the case may be). The data they presented to the public was completely wrong. You’ll notice that this summer there is hardly any news about ice caps. Why do you suppose that is?

    * It is inappropriate that the Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois has highlighted on their homepage the Northern Sea Ice Extent (the chart you quote) while they pushed the page I quoted down to a secondary page with no theories or explanations. Why aren’t the experts talking about it? Because they don’t know. If they don’t know, they should be shouting from the rooftops “We Don’t Know!” instead of “Panic!”

    * A loss of 1 out of 16 million sq miles of ice is a 6.25% loss. Looking at the graph, it is very difficult to tell if that is significant. It might be signalling a trend… or not. Your bridge analogy doesn’t totally work but I understand where you’re coming from.

    * Someone mentioned to me that it’s possible significant ice mass is being lost, where the thickness of ice is currently decreasing though the surface area isn’t currently decreasing (yet). That might actually really be signaling a crisis but I haven’t been presented with any data for or against that which implies it’s not happening.

    Frank, thank you for your intelligent comments.

  10. Frank DiCostanzo says:

    The importance of global warming depends upon where you live I guess. My understanding is that the effects are not evenly distributed. I’ve even heard some people say that the US might be a net beneficiary.

    Your right that TV gets things wrong. The accuracy and value of the media is a discussion in itself. But does that in itself invalidate the idea of global warming?

    Data can tell a different story depending upon the perspective that its presented. For instance, the graph you present shows Global ice coverage. Small changes in that graph appear negligible because there is a large amount of “permanent” ice that doesn’t completely melt, scattered around the globe. Another way of looking at it would be that there is a seasonal variation of, say, ~7 million sq km. An increase of 1 million sq km represents a 14% increase in seasonal variation.

    Now, if you consider that perhaps the effects are not evenly distributed, then within some local environment, like the arctic ocean around Alaska, might experience a much larger variation. Animals and subsistence hunters who depend upon the historical ice coverage patterns will feel the impact in such a change far more acutely.

    For me, one of the most important things to remember is that the process is non-linear. You suggested that 6.25% loss would not be significant. Lets say, for the sake of argument, that there has been such a loss. I sense that many peoples perspective on this is that “well, if it took 30, 50, 100 or whatever years to loose 6.25%, then it will take the same period to loose another 6.25%, at worst”. I don’t personally believe this to be true. I think it will increase far more rapidly in the future.

    One reason is the melting of the permafrost which will start to release methane as temperatures rise. Also, oceans without ice absorb more energy than those with ice coverage meaning the more that’s melted, the more energy the oceans absorb, increasing temperatures, and melting ice.

    Of course, all this may be wrong. The point is, why take the chance? It would seem that a lot of scientists in the know think it might be correct, so why not take a serious look at it? Should we as a planet ignore the potential when the worse that would happen if we are wrong is that we have to drive electric cars and live with windmills?

    As a postscript, I don’t follow the philosophy that we are “saving the planet”. The planet is fine, no matter what we do. I don’t even think we are saving humanity, we will survive. But the thing is, I like bears, and I like living in a world where there are bears. I don’t like the idea of a future of just humans, ants, and cockroaches just because we don’t want to make some changes now.

  11. lee says:

    >The point is, why take the chance?

    Because, if we are to believe the Sierra Club (via the recent debate between Sierra Club’s Carl Pope and Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly (hear the whole event here)recent debate between Sierra Club’s Carl Pope and Chevron’s CEO Dave O’Reilly) we have to cut our carbon emissions by 90%. To do that and still have niceties like electricity, food, and powered transportation, we would have to kill maybe 50% of the human population. I’m not game for that.

    Sorry if that sounds crass but that’s pretty much how the options stack up.

    I encourage you to listen to the debate. Truth be told, I could only make it about 15 minutes before turning off my radio in disgust. Sierra Club’s Carl Pope was all about aggrandizement and fomenting the people’s struggle against “the man”. Please listen carefully to what he is calling for instead of getting caught up in his emotional plea. Then ask yourself how we might reach the goals he demands.

  12. Soldier says:

    first, i doubt the polar bears are just dieing off and becoming endangered. if the ice melts, they go where there’s land. like Canada! Canada cant melt. Second, to the comment up top about ‘Global Warming’ and NASA reporting the global average temp increasing 1.2 degrees in the past 100 years is OUTRAGEOUS! mostly because im positive that over the past thousands of years the polar ice caps and melted and re-froze, then melted again and sure enough froze over again. also, no days, more than EVER have there been more laws and regulations to human ‘pollution’ with the United States leading that cause. one of the most Eco friendly nations on the planet. ive traveled to more countries than you’ve spoken of and i have seen how other nations deal with pollution and human waste. basically, they don’t. to believe we are destroying the environment is just ignorance and believing everything you see on the T.V. and read on the internet. Please understand that our earth is a living breathing thing. it cools, it heats, it changes over time. ice ages come and go. it makes since. granted, we do pollute but, do your small part and it makes that much difference. but to run scream and cry that the sky is falling is just ridiculous.

  13. soldier says:

    Also something most people don’t take into consideration is that information gathered on how much ice is floating in the Arctic Ocean from 1979 is FAR FAR less accurate than information gathered in the current year. and information on temperature readings from hundreds of years ago are of course far far less accurate than temp recordings in the modern year. basicly, the more accurate the reading of ‘change’, the more drastic it will appear on a chart.

    (P.S. i dont base any of my information off written published facts, im just expressing my opinion upon what i have seen and observed in the real world)

  14. Frank DiCostanzo says:

    Kill 50% of the population? Really, you think so? That’s the only way? Somehow I suspect that it could be done differently. Nice try on the straw man argument

    I don’t believe the Sierra Club is the spokesperson for everyone fighting global warming. They have their opinion, they state it, good for them. But they don’t represent me. They offer some ideas, maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong.

    As exampled by your choice of showing but a single chart that you claimed proved “There is no ice crisis” and your inability to listen (not agree- just listen) to someone talking about an alternative point of view without disgust, I propose that you are not seriously engaging this issue but simply seeking confirmation for beliefs you already have.

    As for the accuracy of the measurements, the measurements start in 1979 because that’s when they started taking satellite pictures of the polar ice caps. They have a picture for just about every day since 1979 so I don’t think your measurements argument holds.

    Re: USA most Eco friendly country: That’s its own argument but I would prefer to stay focused on the global warming thread. If you believe that carbon dioxide is causally related to global warming, then the US does not rank so well as a carbon emitter, per capita.

    Here is a piece of advice for you to ignore Soldier: Consider Confirmation bias. Without taking in rational perspectives from outside your world of observations, you may only see things in ways that do not threaten your preconceived notions. Reconsider “written published facts”

  15. lee says:

    Let me reiterate that, according to the world authority on the subject, the polar ice caps are not disappearing. Recent news articles claimed that the polar caps would be gone in 30 more years. The evidence does not support this at all.

    The area of the surface of the earth that is covered with polar ice has decreased approximately 6% in the last 30 years. It is very difficult to say whether the 6% decrease is anomalous given that there are normal solar and terrestrial fluctuations. There certainly has been a change, the northern polar ice caps have decreased and the southern polar ice caps have increased.

  16. Caiti says:

    Thank you someone who freakin has a brain enough to tell that the ice caps aren’t melting. And if they are there is nothing nada zip zilch that we can do about it and that it just happens.
    Any one else who believes that crap about man-made global warming is an idiot. Who knows less than a 13 year old. (AKA Me.)

  17. Cyrus says:

    The science is quite strong in this area. There has been a collapse in sea ice extent in recent years. It all melts in the summer. There is lots more that freezes again in winter but it isnt as thick anymore. Anyway, please consider reading this excellent article.

    As to the bears — the 2 centuries that burned all the oil — good time to be alive but biodiversity is likely to take a significant hit from such a dramatic change to the earth carbon balance.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SeaIce/page1.php

  18. polar bear says:

    you all are nerds :) polars bears are fuzzy he he

  19. lee says:

    Cyrus, I read the article, thanks. I couldn’t find any science about decreasing ice thickness that people have been talking about. Though it did talk at length (page 4 and 5) about how Antarctic ice was increasing and that the current climate models can’t explain why that’s happening. IE, the last paragraph of the article reads

    Through 2008, the total annual Antarctic sea ice extent increased about 1 percent per decade, but the trends were not consistent for all areas or all seasons. The variability in Antarctic sea ice patterns makes it harder for scientists to explain Antarctic sea ice trends and to predict how Southern Hemisphere sea ice may change as greenhouse gases continue to warm the Earth. Climate models do predict that Antarctic sea ice will respond more slowly than Arctic sea ice to warming, but as temperatures continue to rise, a long-term decline is expected.

  20. Cyrus says:

    Lee, I think you missed the point of the article. The arctic sea ice (ice cap) is more than 2 sigma out from normal variation in recent years. The arctic cap has basically melted. It does refreeze in winter sure, but the persistent ice is gone. Focusing on the antarctic portion of the article basically misses the point, also it didnt say that antarctic sea ice is increasing. It is basically flat (1% per decade is nothing compared to variance) The normal state of the antarctic is to melt the sea ice in the summer anyway, but the arctic never melted in past history. In the past few years it has. Hence my statement is contrary to the title of your post –> ice caps are melting/have melted. I hope we can right the ship before we crash.

    Since 1979, satellites have provided a consistent continuous record of sea ice. Through 2008, annual average sea ice extent in the Arctic fell by about 4.1 percent per decade relative to the 1979–2000 average. The amount of ice remaining at the end of summer declined even more dramatically—over 11.1 percent per decade. Declines are occurring in every geographic area, in every month, and every season. Natural variability and rising temperatures linked to global warming appear to have played a role in this decline. The Arctic may be ice-free in summer before the end of this century.

    Antarctic sea ice trends are smaller and more complex. Through 2008, the total annual Antarctic sea ice extent increased about 1 percent per decade, but the trends were not consistent for all areas or all seasons. The variability in Antarctic sea ice patterns makes it harder for scientists to explain Antarctic sea ice trends and to predict how Southern Hemisphere sea ice may change as greenhouse gases continue to warm the Earth. Climate models do predict that Antarctic sea ice will respond more slowly than Arctic sea ice to warming, but as temperatures continue to rise, a long-term decline is expected.

  21. lee says:

    I’m concerned about sea ice as you are. I’m want to listen to the facts so I’ll point out some concerns I have from your comment

    >The arctic sea ice (ice cap) is more than 2 sigma out from normal
    >variation in recent years.

    One astounding thing I noticed from my college statistics class is that if you can find 5 data points, you can be pretty darn sure that your projection curve is going to be correct. The thing that concerns me here is that the data mentioned that is 2 sigmas out of norm only goes back 30 years when we should be considering somewhere between 30,000 and 30,000,000 years of data (30,000 years would cover all the recent mini ice ages and 30,000,000 would cover all the major ice ages)

    [Insert example here where the reader is called to look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average from only the year 2008 and is led to conclude that all companies will be worthless within the next 3 years (4,000 point loss per year, starting at 12,000)]

    [Insert example where the reader is called to look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average from Sept 9th 2009 to Sept Sept 10th 2009 and is led to conclude the Dow will close above 350,000 within the year (1% increase per day for 365 days, starting at 9,400)]

    >The arctic cap has basically melted. It does refreeze in winter sure,
    >but the persistent ice is gone.

    That is incorrect. The section that you quoted confirms this when it says “The Arctic may be ice-free in summer before the end of this century.”

    Your statement is so incredibly incorrect that we maybe should just stop here since it is pretty much the crux of this whole post. Every piece of science I have read, including data from the Arctic Climate Research group at the University of Illinois and the NASA Earth Observatory article that you mentioned disagrees with your comment. I welcome you to refute it with science.

    >it didnt say that antarctic sea ice is increasing. It is basically flat (1% per decade is nothing compared to variance)

    Umm. No.

    You argue that an Antarctic 1% per decade increase is “basically flat”. The article says that the Artic decrease has been 4% per decade. (“Through 2008, annual average sea ice extent in the Arctic fell by about 4.1 percent per decade relative to the 1979–2000 average”) Is that also “basically flat”? Or is that “time to panic”? Where is the panic line here? You don’t know. I don’t know. Al Gore doesn’t know.

    >The normal state of the antarctic is to melt the sea ice in the summer anyway,

    That is true (I have seen charts showing that summer Antarctic ice bottoms out at about 2 million square km and peaks at about 15 million square km). Could you please explain how that furthers your argument? It is still true that total ice coverage has been increasing at 1% per decade.

    It remains that I can’t find any science about decreasing ice thickness that Cyrus and others have been talking about. If you find any science, I’ll be happy to talk about it.

  22. lee says:

    I was re-reading the Earth Observatory article and I needed to point this out…
    Here is an image from the article. This could be considered a good example of how to lie with images (though all the reader has to do is read some of the surrounding text to get the facts):

    antarctic_min_max_map

    Let me point out that the following image is just as valid. I’m sure it’ll make you feel a little a little less panicked.

    Antarctic_summer_winter

    I’ll also point out to our dear readers the surrounding text:

    Since 1979, the total annual Antarctic sea ice extent has increased about 1 percent per decade.

    Antarctic sea ice peaks in September, and reaches a minimum in February. In some places, sea ice melts completely in the summer. (NASA maps by Jesse Allen, based on AMSR-E data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.)

    Antarctic sea ice does not plainly show the effects of global warming. There is little evidence of long-term change in either the maximum (September) or minimum (February) ice extent. (Graph by Robert Simmon, based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.)

  23. Cyrus says:

    Lee,
    Thanks for the detailed review. I guess my feeling is that we have crossed the concerning point and are approaching the panic point. This is clearly opinion. A mini ice age or rapid desertification or sea level rise would rock our world. The “common” 3 or 3.5 or 4 sigma events would really put a crunch on diversity and ease of living. Sure people and the Earth would be fine. I think the time scale we are talking about is the 100-200 year time scale. Not the 10^3 or 10^4. Clearly there is interesting stuff going on in those time scales, but the super short time scale is showing some large and significant signals when I study the data.

    I am just glad we are looking at the right data and the key question is the analysis and policies and decisions that result.

    Please tell me when to panic.

    this looks flat to me :
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SeaIce/images/antarctic_max_min_extent.gif

    This doesnt :
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.updated.jpg

  24. ev says:

    i agree with lee and i am only 11 sometimes ice melt more than usual on a chart sometimes there is more than usual but very few charts can be accute to the timescale used here but what i belive is this is just a slightly bigger flux in the ice caps and as refured to above this might just be the oposite of a “mini ice age” and be a “mini water age”

    p.s this is my personal oppion so contodict it as much as you like

    p.p.s do not point out endless spelling mistakes i am only 11 :(
    lol

  25. lee says:

    Here’s a little more about the Mini Ice Age previously mentioned.

  26. Common Sense says:

    It is not suprizing that you are so easily convinced that global warming is not real. The amount of money that stands to be lost if there is real change in how fossil fuels are consumed means there are a lot of people with a vested interest in convincing you that it is not real.

    You probably thought that Iraq had atomic bombs (weapons of mass destruction), that sub prime mortgages were a good idea and that W. Bush was a good president. You will probably react to global warming the same way. When it is to late and it is impossible to hide what is really happening you will blame the press and the government for how easily you are manipulated.

    Unfortunately people dont dream up ideas like global warming for fun. GLOBAL warming does not mean local warming. If you take the time to learn something about the world around you will see that on a global scape the environment is changing. Remember all of the excitement about the ozone layer, although it is not sexy anymore and it is no longer in the media it didnt go away.

    The reason that the rate of temperature increase is greater now than 100 years or even 30 years ago inspite of some of the new regulations is that there are a lot more people in the world than there were 100 or even 30 years ago. In fact there are about 3 times as many.

    As countries like India and China industrialize and start to burn fossil fuels at rates similar to North America the problem grows exponentially. The population of North American is in the range of 500 million, the population of China and India combined totals more that 2.5 Billion (more than 5 times North America).

    There are other issues called positive feed back loops. As the ice disappears there is less reflection of sunlight which causes the oceans to warm in the North. The warmer water takes longer to freeze and this means less ice. Again less ice means warmer oceans and so on… This cycle causes warming to happen at a more rapid rate regardless of human interference. Also as the perma frost melts (less ice to reflect sunlight) methane gas is releases into the atmosphere which increases the rate of global warming, which increases ice melt, which increases global warming, which increases ice melt… can you see what is happening yet.

    I do not believe that people can just stop buring fossil fuels because I am in touch with reality. Unfortunately capitalism is driven by profit. Greater profits are realized through maximum output and minimum input. Currently carbon energy is how we realize maximum energy output through minimal production expense which leads to maximum profits. I also do not claim to be that smart but I take the time to think about what people tell me and try to figure out how the tend to benefit by manipulating my or the popular opinion.

    What do the scientist that study global warming and claim that it is real have to gain? What do the polar bears have to gain through claims that the ice is melting (other than survival of their species)?

    What do the scientist that claim that global warming doesnt exist have to gain (who do they work for). Who really has to gain if people are convinced that global warming is not real????

    Who stands to lose if the wool is pulled over their eyes. There were scientific studies which “proved” smoking was harmless. There were scientific studies that “proved” leaded gas was harmless. There are scientific studies that claim that fossil fuels do not effect the environment??? Think about it.

  27. lee says:

    Common Sense, thank you for your arduous yet vaguely insipid comment. Once again, I am not saying that the ice caps aren’t disappearing, the Arctic Climate Research group at the University of Illinois is saying it. Please present your evidence for your suppositions.

    >You probably thought that Iraq had atomic bombs…
    I recommend you search my own website for terms like “bush”, “iraq” etc.

    Common Sense, as it stands, none of your suppositions are backed by any facts so I must ignore them.

  28. ev says:

    i know that many people like climate change and that it is a bad thing but it will not stay forever i know about all the oil companys gaining loads of money from this but it will flux back eventulally probalbly not in are life time but it will and however you think o he is only a child what does he know surrounded by probergaina. what i have to say to that is i know all to well what is happening to the polar bears i am a vegetarian and belive that things are happening but they will change back. recently i raised 100 pound for polar bea rs

    you can say that i am young you can say i am uneducated but don’t say that i do not care.

    thank you

  29. Cyrus says:

    Another interesting study below. The antarctic pole has not shown a decrease in sea ice extent as you have pointed out in this thread. Does that prove the ice caps are not melting?. New measurements are showing they are getting thinner … hrm. Please let me know when to worry. I am thinking sooner would be a safer time to cover our selves to the potential risks of rapid and significant climate change. As I said it is diversity and the total number of people the Earth can support that is likely to take a crunch from significant and widespread global warming. Science is a process and a way of thinking and we all need to approach with an open mind. Anyway more food for thought :)

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=40569

  30. lee says:

    Cyrus writes, “New measurements are showing they are getting thinner”

    I’m sorry Cyrus but the article you mention does NOT say that the ice sheets are getting thinner. The article ruminates on the subject but doesn’t offer any proof.

    Here are some quotes:

    Many of these fast-moving glaciers are accelerating, thinning the ice sheets that feed them, adding an increasing amount of ice to the ocean, and raising global sea levels. Ice loss due to accelerating glaciers is so poorly understood, writes glaciologist Hamish Pritchard and colleagues in a September 2009, paper in Nature, that no one knows just how much such glaciers will affect sea levels throughout the next century.

    The fastest changing glaciers are in Antarctica, where some glaciers thinned more than 9 meters per year. The average rate of thinning for fast-flowing glaciers in Greenland, said the authors, was 0.84 meters per year.

    Areas where glaciers thinned most, shown in red, radiate in from the coast.
    iceChange_ice_2003-07

    So the article uses the word “thinning” but it doesn’t offer any conclusions. If they had conclusions about thinning ice caps, darn it, they’d be concluding all over our asses (if you’ll excuse my language)

    You’ll notice that the red “thinning” areas are a tiny tiny fraction of the area in the image. This is interesting stuff. It looks like there might be enough data collected to publish a paper on the subject. But still, no one had said that the ice caps or ice sheets are thinning.

    The most interesting part of the article also presents us with the most problems:

    The thinning extends far inland, hundreds of kilometers in places. “This kind of ice loss is so poorly understood that it remains the most unpredictable part of future sea level rise,” said Pritchard.

    The first part sounds scary but the second part tells us they have no clue if what they are witnessing is bad or not.

    PS. Refute me! Prove me wrong! Bring on the science! Bring on the funk!

  31. […] credits:National Geographic,Lee,Greening […]

  32. lee says:

    I present to you the temperature in Greenland for the last 50,000 years. The data comes from the NOAA. Things aren’t looking good for global warming theories. (via)

  33. rose says:

    my parents took a cruise to those ice caps and that area of the globe last year. there are skyscrpaer sized waterfalls pouring off of our glaciers.

    global warming a myth? hm.

  34. hillary says:

    You act as though common sense had no valid arguments. You seem like you have your mind made up and nobody will be able to sway you. Good for you, however, will you admit that we are trashing our world? Will you admit that pollution and deforestation are wrong? That maybe we should be taking more measures to ensure a healthy world for our children and their children? Is it so hard (even if you dont believe in global warming) to admit that we need to change our strategy.. that even if the world isnt getting warmer and the polar ice caps arent melting (not that I agree in the slightest) we still need to start using our technology to stop our reliance on fossil fuels and start cleaning up our act (pun intended) ? Obviously everyone has their own opinions but your statement is arrogant to say the least

    There is no ice crisis. So, if you please, shut up now.

    Yet there are so many other arguments on the other side and you snub common sense who actually had some valid points. If you want to start an argument you have to look at both sides, and your one track minded approach helps nobody. I just think you should use your website and make it positive because even if you dont believe in global warming you should still believe in making this world healthier.

  35. lee says:

    Hillary, you say we should do “more” to “ensure a healthy world for our children”. How much more? I’m not just trying to goad you, I really want to know. Knowing the right amount is vital because the computer screen you are looking at is consuming electricity and there is no way to get electricity for free. Either coal has to be burned, uranium mined, hydroelectric dams built, solar panels manufactured, something has to happen. Lots of “alternate” forms of power sound exciting and new but they, thus far, don’t work as well as what’s being used right now. So, if you want a better world, do I ask you to turn off your computer and never turn it back on? No, that’s silly, the community of the internet makes your life better and will make your childrens’ lives better. You might say “Well, we should make power cheaper”. Thousands of very smart people all over the world are working on that problem. If you have anything to add, please do. As a side note, Google’s electric bill is effing HUGE compared to yours.

    So you want a better world for our children. Which will it be, running the wheels of industry building things like bridges, computers, medicine, entertainment and food or will they be better off without these things?

    The world will survive just fine. If there is global warming, it’s impossible for us to tell if we’re doing it. And besides, if it’s a carbon pollution thing, we’ll run out of oil fast enough. I’m hoping our wheels of industry turn fast enough to find some cheap alternatives so our kids don’t starve to death.

    > Will you admit that pollution and deforestation are wrong?

    Sure, but how much pollution and deforestation is bad? You ate today, creating food creates pollution. You pooped today, more pollution, unless you compost your poop. Why don’t you compost your poop?

    How much deforestation is appropriate? You are currently sitting in a building, likely made of wood. Where the house is there were trees. Your food comes from a place that used to have trees. Your computer was built in a facility that used to be a field of trees.

    The Church of Euthanasia is recruiting but I personally find that objectionable.

  36. bruce says:

    Lee you are right. Facts are our friends. There are three times more polar bears than there were in the seventies. People out for profit show a film of polar bears jumping off a floe into the ocean which they’ve been doing for eons and these bleeding hearts think they are dying. They can and do swim for miles and miles…..gobbling up cute little seals. People adopting polar bears are idiots and being had. Solar cycles are the primary cause of heating and cooling and it is arrogant for man to think they have more impact than that. When I was in school in the seventies they were all concerned that man was causing an ice age because of polution. Now because of polution we have global warming. I am not for pollution but again solar activity is what is causing the heating and cooling and I’d like to see some of you jump in and try to pet a polar bear.

  37. hillary says:

    Lee your response is insulting on a number of levels. You should learn how to be intellegent without being arrogant. It goes alot further. As for your comment.. what I am talking about is not stopping “the wheels of industry” so your dramatic examples of having no bridges, computers or medicine hold no substance. Obviously. What I am talking about is holding big companies accountable. Not watching with blind eyes pretending we are holding them accountable. Car companies have the technology to create more fuel efficient and even non fuel vehicles. They keep coming out with these vehicles with 32 MPG.. when in reality that should be the minumum MPG in a vehicle right now. In these years with our technology we should be pushing people, thats all I am saying. Im not taking away our right to poop or eat. Once we start holding the large companies who are responsible for more pollution than our poop or food.. then we can work on ourselves. I would have a compost pile if I didnt live in an apartment building and as for the computer I use, I use a library. As for deforestation, we could start educating people on the importance of using recycled wood and reusing old wood. Instead of running out and buying hardwood floors use alternatives. These are the things I am speaking about. Nothing major. Little, small steps that we can all take to help. We use and take way too much. Reduce, reuse, recycle.. say it with me. We can take these steps without stopping our lives completely.

  38. lee says:

    Hillary, you’re missing the point. You think that accountability is some magic bullet. It is not. With regards to automobile MPG, if someone could build a better car that people would buy, someone would build it. If the Tesla car performed better than a gas car, people would buy it. (it’s actually exciting because they are getting close!) I’ve got a friend who is starting an electric car company, Ecocruse. If people start to buy his vehicles, then he will be a “big car company.” Do you think you could do better? Then start a car company. Don’t whine.

    >Car companies have the technology to create more fuel efficient and even non fuel vehicles.
    “Non fuel vehicles”? Umm. saywhat? Good luck with that.

    >I would have a compost pile if I didnt live in an apartment building
    Instead of whining, you should be practicing what you preach. Move out of the city and do something that you consider productive. “Oh but I can’t”, you’d say. Why not? Those are the same barriers that companies have.

    >we could start educating people on the importance of using recycled wood and reusing old wood
    Is it important to use recycled and old wood? You eat farmed plants and animals, and we grow farmed trees. If you’re really committed, maybe you should become a breatharian.

    >as for the computer I use, I use a library
    Oh so you’re the reason my taxes are so high. If my taxes were lower, I’d have the money to buy a Prius. But I don’t. You’re killing us all! (Ok, that was a bit of snark, but I hope you get my point)

    Again I will ask you since you haven’t answered at all except to be indignant:
    You say we should do “more” to “ensure a healthy world for our children”. How much more?

  39. Hillary says:

    Im missing the point? I believe you too are missing the point. Im saying more steps can be made, thats all. If you cant grasp that then this conversation is over. How much more? Accountability. Thats how much more. When illegal timber is coming from Russia and being shipped to China and being brought into the US to unknowing consumers thats what I am speaking about. Accountability to those companies who do not take the time to see where its coming from or turn their shoulders because its cheaper. Thats what happens when there is no accountability. If they knew they were going to face large fines or even be shut down they wouldnt do it. I dont recall whining, ever. Just because someone has different views and ideas than you doesnt give you the right (clearly it gives you the audacity however) to start belittling. Grow up and come up with healthy solutions and learn to listen. Im not attacking you or your ideas, Im talking about new ones.. so deal with it. You can continue to live in your bubble where you are always right and we can go on with our lives. Im the reason you pay such high taxes? Because I choose not to own a computer? Are you f’ing serious? Im a full time student and find myself at the library more than my own home so for me it makes sense. I work a full time job too, and pay taxes, so on top of your arrogance you prove to also be shallow and judgemental. You’ve got a lot going for you. Good luck with that let me know how it works out in the end.

  40. Hillary says:

    and on the farm issue, eating locally is also a good way to “do more”. Staying away from factory farmed meats is also a way to “do more” .. you can find fresh produce, eggs, and meat and local farms. If you dont have a local farm.. sucks to be you because there is nothing better than farmers market veggies and fruits. On that note we can demand tougher laws and tougher regulations to protect our water from the contamination it faces from factory farm run off. Again, accountability. Thats just hte beginning of the problems with factory farms and I dont feel like opening pandoras box on that one. Doing more isnt just the doing its also educating ourselves on where pollution is coming from and what we can do to resolve it.

  41. lee says:

    Again I will ask you since you haven’t answered at all and you keep reiterating the point:
    You say we should do “more” to “ensure a healthy world for our children”. How much more?

    This is a really tough, big question.

  42. hillary says:

    yeah.. really tough. My answer, old wise one, is pressure on government and holding people in power and authority accountable and educating ourselves on the issues. Is that okay? Or should I add in a smart remark like “so shut up” or “people like you are the reason for…” maybe you would understand that since its more your style. Simply proving a theory wrong and moving on with your baseball and unicycle baseball blogs arent exactly helping. Your immature, face it. Im done now.

  43. lee says:

    >>You say we should do “more” to “ensure a healthy
    >>world for our children”. How much more?
    >My answer, old wise one, is pressure on government and holding people
    >in power and authority accountable and educating ourselves on the
    >issues. Is that okay?

    That’s a fairly weak answer but on the right track. As I said, it’s a really hard question.

    >Simply proving a theory wrong and moving on … arent exactly helping
    You argue for:
    * pressure on the government
    * holding people accountable
    * educating ourselves on the issues
    Those are good ideas. I’d say that proving a theory wrong (or right) is the “education” part of your triumvirate. More so, I’d say that it’s important that the education part has to come first, otherwise the other two will generally be counterproductive. You want to hole people accountable… but to what standard? (that comes back to my initial question “How much more?”). Holding a big protest rally for something that is wrong is pretty counterproductive, more so if people start to follow the wrong advice. It seems to me that proving a theory wrong and moving on is exactly the right strategy. The next step would be to get to work on other theories that can be proven right and move toward a better world from that knowledge.

    I hope as you mature your answers will get stronger. I hope that in coming years you find yourself in places of power and authority and do as well as you expect. If you want change to change the world, think big and do big.

    Open your calendar and put a note for you to come back to this blog post in 3 years. Reread the comments then and see how you feel.

    Oh and it’s unicycle basketball, not baseball. But that would be fun too!

  44. panda bear says:

    i am in 5th grade and my teacher says ur wrong so i consider u wrong

  45. lee says:

    Observer (who did not leave a real email address when submitting their comment), you say my position is “poorly positioned”. I am quoting world experts on polar ice caps. I assume your main objection is the chart in my post. That chart comes from a world authority on ice caps.

    I have not added any conjecture in my comments except to discuss the matter in greater depth. I make sure to quote my sources. I am talking science. You are talking trash.

    >one university out of many
    If you are referring to the Arctic Climate Research group at the University of Illinois, they are world recognized authorities on the subject. Many universities get their ice flow facts from these guys. If you want to refute me, you’ll have to find some facts and post them.

    >If you were to aggregate all the opinions based on data analysis around
    >the globe, I am of the opinion that global warming is real

    flintstones_carFirst, please work on your sentence structure. Second, I welcome you to start aggregating data and forming your own opinions. I have quoted sources above. Here’s a good wikipedia temperature record pointer. Make sure to check out the Paleoclimate records. If that chart is to be believed, it was warmer 1,000 years ago than today. And 8,000 years ago they must have been screaming about global warming because it was crazy hot then. (must have been all those Flintstones SUVs, eh?)

    You are welcome to talk about your “opinion”. I will continue to talk about about “facts”. I welcome your debate as long as it is intelligent. I heartily encourage you to do some legwork and find some data so you can form your own educated hypothesis.

    Think or get out.

  46. observer says:

    This isn’t so much a discussion as Lee is just trying to defend his poorly positioned stance on global warming. If he were sure of his position, he wouldn’t feel the need to defend against every single posting/attack about his opinion. Purely his opinion is taking from a small sample of poorly chosen data. One university out of many. One interpretation of data out of many. If you were to aggregate all the opinions based on data analysis around the globe, I am of the opinion that global warming is real, and the vast majority of scientists and respected scholars are of the same opinion. So feel free to be ‘warm’ and comfortable in your opinion Lee. I can only imagine your anxst with all the other disbelievers.

  47. Leroy Kelley says:

    Here’s just one of many sources about the polar ice thinning. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/08/arctic-ice-ocean. The link you provide uses data from NOAA–which organization agrees that climate change (warming) has a significant anthropogenic factor. Sorry, Lee. You’re wrong.

  48. Jessica says:

    i agree with Lee because this has everything to do with global warming because this has never happened before and nobody seems to care about the animals they only care about them selves. maybe if everybody started thinking about the animals then maybe they wouldent be in this situation, but no people are selfish and just dont give a flying fuck.

  49. Jessica says:

    I love polar bears.

  50. lee says:

    Leroy, thanks for that Guardian link. I’ll have to look closer but that’s the first sciencey thing I’ve seen on polar ice thinning. It’s certainly worth looking into. I’ll be unavailable for a few weeks. I’ll look at it when I come back. Thanks!

    Jessica, I love polars too.

  51. Will says:

    I looked at that article and noticed it did not contain the date that the images were recorded, nor did it state if it was a year average. They could have just left out the units and it would have the same meaning. If this is the best a satalite can do I am very dissapointed. I would also like to note, where is the data for the years in between?
    Anyone else notice at the bottome of the article that 2 of the 3 lasers have failed, is this a measuring tool we should rely on?

  52. Robert says:

    :O Tragic keep the polar bears and other wild life strong by supporting them with foundations.and to the geinuses who almost ripped out our forest dont try to do it again. I LOve the polar bears and wild life im sorry to say lee but you might be right :(

  53. guy says:

    U R all RETARDS. I blame all of this on Clay Aken!!!!

  54. guy says:

    POLAR BEARS RULE! We must save them! Anyone who tries to stop me will be destroyed! >:(>

  55. “Polar Bears are just survivors, and like all creatures are subject to radical changes in their lives, be it environment or over hunting. The thing is, a polar bear’s habitat is not just the polar ice cap but literally anywhere they can travel to. Perhaps being forced south due to some climate change, they may get a sun tan and find a ‘grizzly’ girl friend to start an ‘alpine’ mix. Go much farther south and evolution will change them into tax payers and fund raisers.”

  56. dabuffalo says:

    You keep saying that it is the Climate Resaerch group in Illinois that say the ice caps arent melting but, by putting this on your site, isn’t that meaning that you find little truth in what they are sayin. I’m just wondering what you believe in because it sounds like you are flip flopping between decisions here.

  57. lee says:

    Dabuffalo, I believe in data, not in hype.

  58. barbiegirl says:

    dear everyone,
    we should not be mean to each other. lets be nice and come together as one to save our beloved, cute polar bears. I mean what would we do without them!!
    P.S IM A PEACE MAKER, LOVE N PEACE EVERYBODY:)

  59. meow says:

    Holy crap, GET A LIFE!

  60. Cyrus says:

    Just another datapoint. Doesnt prove a thing… I am still concerned that just in case the icecaps are melting, the runway for reacting is getting a little short.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=49132

  61. Questioned says:

    Wow… i mean i love polar bears but all htese facts are kind of pointless when you think about it.. besisdes why get all of this data and research just to prove a point….

  62. lee says:

    Questioned, did you forget to include the “;-)” after your comment or… or… or is today Opposite day?

  63. maranda says:

    dear,Lee

    I was wondering i am doing a progect on polar bears and i was wondering do you think this whould work for what is wroung with polar bears dissapearing? i didnt know so i thought of asking you… thanks and i like this website very much i hope all those plp learn a lesson thank you by the way for saveing my butt when my mom came and asked if i found a good website for this….

    From, Maranda….:)

  64. lee says:

    Maranda, I’m not sure I understand your question. Could you rephrase it please?

  65. Cyrus says:

    Just another datapoint. Doesnt prove a thing… I am still concerned that just in case the icecaps are melting, the runway for reacting is getting a little short.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=50726&src=eoa-iotd

  66. Elliot says:

    This is interesting.
    Im currently studying geography AS and soon A levels.
    Our current module is to do with climate change. I came across this blog post as I was doing my overdue homework piece showing evidence of climate change. (Note: It isn’t showing global warming, just climate change) I understand the patterns that occur, volcanic activity, sunspots, the earth’s tilt etc. (Sorry im not using geographical terms, I learn geography in the Welsh language)But when you look at the levels of pollution that has been given off this past century. We had watched a documentary that Algore had made. It seemed to open my eyes. I’m aware that there are peaks of warming and then lows with the cooling. But over the 1000’s of years that had been recorded, the peaks and lows were present, but these past centenary have been rapidly increasing, and the forecast seems to be extremely out of order compared to the pattern that had been seen previously. It’s a brilliant subject, I do want to find out more. :)

    Also to soldier, polar bears have adapted to their habitat. Polar bears would have considerable difficulties if they migrated to Canada. Polar bears food sources are unique they often feed on seals, which would be hard to find on Canada s coastline as compared with the Polar region.

    Anyway, back off to work. Have a lot left to do!

  67. Brian says:

    At one time, there was 200 feet of ice covering southern Alberta , This all disappeared before man came on the scene. The more ice that melts, the warmer earth will become. Who’s to say that the earth isn’t returning to it’s natural condition. The polar caps and last ice age was the result of a catastrophic event. Under the ice of both polar caps lies tropical vegetation. If the poles were tropical at one time, where were the polar bears. (note, the population of polar bears has increased in the last 50 years)

  68. Cyrus says:

    Just another way of analyzing the data. It seems that there may be a signal in this data. What do you think Lee?

    peace
    cyrus

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/arctic-sea-ice-loss-part-2/

  69. lee says:

    Cyrus, thank you. Yes, I think that link shows some serious charts. The author tries to calculate average ice thickness instead of ice coverage and those numbers look much more ominous indeed.

    I updated my original post to point out these discussions.

  70. Macenzie says:

    seriously, i dont know who you are but look at the facts, global warming, sea level is rising 17 feet in the last century but the polar ice caps are melting and polar bears are extinct because of that you should look at http://climate.nasa.gov its all about climate change

  71. Dah says:

    If you look at that graph carefully you’ll see the trend.You have only selectively chosen a graph in which the change is difficult to recognize. Well, that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Here is better image from the same source:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png
    Million sq miles. Huge area.
    And it is interesting that you note that your original argument is false, but you still keep on claiming (only with a minor disclaimer) that polar ice caps are not melting. It doesn’t seem to bother you at all that you are by indisputable evidence spreading disinformation.

  72. Lee says:

    Dah, please look more closely at the graph you chose to show us. You are referencing the Northern Hemisphere Sea Anomaly chart. I am showing the Global Sea Ice Area chart.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I happened on your idiotic website and I had to comment. You should know that it is in fact true that the polar icecaps are melting. The reason people, such as yourself, doubt this is because climate change is gradual and happens overtime. I would know this because I am a environmental scientist at Harvard. In the future I would suggest you receive your facts from reliable sources next time. But since in our country we have freedom of speech I can not tell you what to say or post. However, being as it may that you express a more and more unpopular opinion, you should be open to criticism.

  74. lee says:

    Anonymous, did you read the very beginning of this post? Did you read the rest of the post? I hazard a guess that you did not. I ask you to do so now, then I welcome your comments!

    I very much doubt that you are an environmental scientist at Harvard as your text doesn’t pass the smell test in multiple ways, and it doesn’t help that your comment was written from a computer in Toronto, Canada.

  75. Greg says:

    It is obvious that we do need to do all we can do to lessen the effect on global warming him but in fact global warming is cycle that happens more than once in the past history the last time was the ninth and 10th century when it was 12 to 15° above the current temperatures we can lessen the effect on global warming and need to but we will not illuminated and man is not the total cost of it he greatly affects it but weeks have to stop the scare tactics and do something trying to tell people that they are totally to blame and that we’re going to all die that is a Roni us it’s a means to control and that’s all The biggest joke of all is Al gores quote on the ninth and 10th century when he was asked about that he blamed it on the Buffalo and the camels insist that’s why there was a need when we wiped out the Buffalo it had to be done to stop global warming him so much for the guy that wanted to put Methane collectors on cattle we also need to remember there’s a thing called the 1500 year flood cycle that were 300 years overdue for and at the last time that occurred areas like Phoenix Arizona we’re hundred to 300 foot of water and I know this is fact because I’ve been out there worked and lived in the area and have found skeletons of fish 250 feet up the cliff walls they’re not petrified and they were 20 to 25 foot long fish big fish but we can stick their heads in the sand and methancollectors and cows and pigs

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