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30 years of sea ice data. The red line indicates deviation from the seasonally-adjusted mean.  (Source: Arctic Research Center, University of Illinois)
Rapid Rebound Brings Ice Back to Levels from the 1980s.

An abnormally cool Arctic is seeing dramatic changes to ice levels.  In sharp contrast to the rapid melting seen last year, the amount of global sea ice has rebounded sharply and is now growing rapidly. The total amount of ice, which set a record low value last year, grew in October at the fastest pace since record-keeping began in 1979.

The actual amount of ice area varies seasonally from about 16 to 23 million square kilometers. However, the mean anomaly-- defined as the difference between the current area and the seasonally-adjusted average-- changes much slower, and generally varies by only 2-3 million square kilometers.

That anomaly had been negative, indicating ice loss, for most of the current decade and reached a historic low in 2007. The current value is again zero, indicating an amount of ice exactly equal to the global average from 1979-2000.

Bill Chapman, a researcher with the Arctic Climate Center at the University of Illinois, says the rapid increase is "no big deal". He says that, while the Arctic has certainly been colder in recent months, the long-term decrease is still ongoing. Chapman, who predicts that sea ice will soon stop growing, sees nothing in the recent data to contradict predictions of global warming.

Others aren't quite so sure. Dr. Patrick Michaels, Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, says he sees some "very odd" things occurring in recent years. Michaels, who is also a Senior Fellow with the Cato Institute, tells DailyTech that, while the behavior of the Arctic seems to agree with climate models predictions, the Southern Hemisphere can't be explained by current theory. "The models predict a warming ocean around Antarctica, so why would we see more sea ice?" Michaels adds that large areas of the Southern Pacific are showing cooling trends, an occurrence not anticipated by any current climate model.

On average, ice covers roughly 7% of the ocean surface of the planet. Sea ice is floating and therefore doesn't affect sea level like the ice anchored on bedrock in Antarctica or Greenland. However, research has indicated that the Antarctic continent -- which is on a long-term cooling trend -- has also been gaining ice in recent years.

The primary instrument for measuring sea ice today is the AMSR-E microwave radiometer, an instrument package aboard NASA's AQUA satellite. AQUA was launched in 2002, as part of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS).

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RE: No. Way.
By foolsgambit11 on 11/10/2008 6:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, he went out of his way to point out 2007 was a historic low. And he also posted an article about 2008 that predicted the melt was over (when it wasn't) and that the total extent of Arctic sea ice was significantly more than the final numbers, which hadn't been released yet. However, when the final numbers were released, and indicated that 2008 was the second worst year on record, he didn't bother posting that news. Then, when sea ice levels rise - which could be promising, though it's only a single data point - he jumps back into reporting sea ice levels. That's not unbiased journalism.

Also, note that the scientist who urges us not to make too much of this data is from the University which released this report, but that's not made explicit. That would add weight to his statement, as the primary source for the data. Can't have that.

Additionally, Mr. Michaels, who he quotes as seeing some strange things in the recent data, isn't made a global warming skeptic by recent data (as I would have thought just reading the article). He's been a skeptic for 15 years. He was also a skeptic on the effects of CFCs on the ozone layer, arguing against their ban through 2001. He has belonged to several industry-financed research groups - for big oil and big tobacco, for instance. And yet he either personally contacted DT or was contacted by DT for comment.

I would be curious how this article came into being. Was masher tipped off on this data by Dr. Patrick Michaels, or did masher decide to contact him after discovering this report?

However it breaks out, I don't mind. I have no illusions that journalism can ever be totally unbiased. The comments generally debate both sides of an issue so the interested reader can get other sides of the argument. And everybody is entitled to their opinion based on weighing the information and the credibility of the sources of that information, based on their own criteria. Which isn't to say I won't try to give people my own opinion, and contribute any information I've found to be helpful in making a decision.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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