Arctic sea ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not

Jonathan DuHamel in an opinion piece for the Tucson Citizen writes:

Image: Real Science
The media are atwitter because the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced that: “Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era….Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).”

If that is true, then the world has 0.006% less ice this year than in 2007. (Source).
NCTCS blog has recently written of Arctic sea ice:-
  • Sea Ice 8000 years ago  less than half 2007 "record (link);
  • Science Haters and Ice Loss. (link)
DuHamel continues (confirming that we both use similar sources)
The NSIDC would have us believe that the satellite era began in 1979, but it actually began in 1967. Below is a graph from Steve Goddard with data from IPCC 1990 report showing that sea ice was much lower prior to 1979 which happened to be the year of largest sea ice extent since 1967. We should also note that extent of Arctic sea ice is cyclic. Setting records depends on where you start counting.

Let's start 8000 years ago!

The following graph plots the years 2007 to 2012 and is from the National Ice Center - LINK.
Note that the red is 2007 and the  pale blue 2012


  1. Arctic ice extent for August 29 from NIC:
    2007. 5.04 M sq miles
    2012. 5.93 M sq miles


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