Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sea Ice - Arctic and Antarctic

The National Snow and Ice Data Center is sponsored by NASA, NOAA, and the NSF. I leave you their latest estimates of sea ice, and the pattern over the past few years. Click on the images below for much larger and more legible versions of the charts.

You can find the full story at Arctic sea ice reaches near-average extent in April � Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis It is hard to be sure of anything aside from the fact that it is within 2 standard deviations of "average." Given that the average is for a very limited 34 year history of readings (compared to all of history), it is hard to put much faith in the average volume. (Or I find it difficult to put faith in such a small sample size, even the 134 years of temperature data available seem small compared to the number of years since the last ice age. Which ended 19,000 to 20,000 years ago.)

1 comment:

Zendo Deb said...

I wonder if the climate folks will be trumpeting how antarctic sea ice has been higher than average all year. Or if you will hear much about how "things are improving" on the sea-ice front.

Probably not.

They were screaming that 2011 was the 19th WARMEST YEAR EVER. And that 2011, was warmer than 2010, which was warmer than 2009. And it was the 19th WARMEST YEAR EVER. Out of a 134 year record.

I guess Americans really do suck at math. That means that 2011 wasn't in the top 10% of warmest years "ever." And neither of the 2 preceding years were in the top 10%. (Dividing 19 by 134 isn't hard, even if you don't have a computer, or a calculator.)

I heard that "19th warmest year ever" for about a day and half. Sad to think it took the entire journalistic community that long to find the calculator function on their computers, or cell-phones, or tablets. But once they did, it dropped off the news like nothing I've seen.