Just a short post. In previous post, I lamented whether I was the only one who wondered about the trend change of Arctic sea ice and trying to visualize it. Doing an ultimate search using several search engines, I finally found a graph that visualized that same trend change, although in a bit different way. Surprisingly enough, I found it on the NSIDC website (scroll down until “September 2019 compared to previous years”):
Reading previous post on the Arctic sea ice extent, you could ask yourself: what about the Arctic sea ice volume? Well, that is the exact same question that I asked myself when I was busy creating the minimum Arctic sea ice extent graph. It was a long time ago when I looked at the Arctic sea ice volume data. That was in 2016, at the time when predictions of an ice free Arctic, that until then were based on sea ice volume, suddenly switched to sea ice extent and I was a bit puzzled by that back then.
In 2012, Peter Wadhams predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2015 based on the “exponential” decreasing Arctic sea ice volume trend. He illustrated that by showing this graph from the PIOMAS project at the University of Washington:
That graph was also the inspiration for the updated minimum Arctic sea ice extent graph in previous post. Let’s now do the same in this post and upgrade the minimum sea ice volume data and see what happened after 2012.
There was some controversy about Arctic sea ice in May of this year. Back then, I saw some (contradictory) messages in a quick succession. First, there was a tweet claiming that Arctic sea ice extent was the same as in 1989, followed by a fact-check claiming that this was just cherry-picking and that it in fact going steadily downhill, finally a reply that also the fact-check was cherry-picking and overall sea ice extent was just fine.
So, what is it? Is Arctic sea ice going to hell in a handbasket or is it doing just fine, already recovered to 1989 levels?
It is several years ago since I looked at Arctic sea ice extent data and at that time there was what seems to be a modest beginning of a pause, so I was curious how it evolved since then. Did that pause continue or is it straight down again?
Let’s first look at the arguments from both sides. It all started with a tweet containing this comparison: