Claim: global warming causes Arctic ice to melt and Antarctic ice to increase

Within just a few days in September, Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest minimum ever recorded by satellites since 1979, while at the same time, Antarctic sea ice reached the greatest extent ever recorded.

In my post “The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw” I explained how natural forces work to produce these phenomena.  In my post “Challenge to the Arizona Daily Star – get the facts” I accused the Arizona Daily Star of content bias because they prominently reported the Arctic minimum, but until now, did not report the Antarctic maximum.

Now, 21 days after the Antarctic maximum, the Arizona Daily Star has reprinted an AP article which attempts to spin observations to fit AGW global warming theory: “Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice.”   The article author is Seth Borenstein, long known for bad reporting on climate change.     With global warming media bias, it’s “heads I win; tails you lose.”

The AP/Star story says, “It sounds counterintuitive, but the Antarctic is part of the warming as well.”  Really? Was this a surprise to some climate scientists and their models? Let’s see what the climate models said according to a study in the Journal of Climate:

“We examine the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small a SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum.”

A study from Ohio State University titled “Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions” says “temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.”  Also, there has been “no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.”

In other words, the climate models predicted less sea ice in the Antarctic as well as in the Arctic.

The AP/Star story says: “Shifts in wind patterns and the giant ozone hole over the Antarctic this time of year – both related to human activity – are probably behind the increase in ice, experts say.”

The shifting winds affect mainly the West Antarctic peninsula and these winds have the effect of breaking up the ice, not increasing it.

From the Ohio State study:

“The westerlies have intensified over the last four decades or so, increasing in strength by as much as perhaps 10 to 20 percent.  There is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we’re only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean. The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide….The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies. If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves…Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent.”

That Antarctic sea ice increase is due to global warming is without proof, only desperate speculation.

Even the Arctic sea ice minimum has little to do with global warming.  As I reported in Arctic sea ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not” the National Snow & Ice Data Center said Arctic sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8 during what they called “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012.”  That storm caused “mechanical break up of the ice and increased melting by strong winds and wave action during the storm.” So wind tends to melt and dissipate ice, not increase it.

In this era of alleged human-caused global warming, both continental and sea ice are increasing in Antarctica. “Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice sheet interior north of 81.6-S increased in mass by 45±7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003.” (Source) And a new paper says in part: “Antarctic Peninsula ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855…” (Source). According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1% per decade since the start of the satellite record..

It seems that the AP/Star story is mainly science fiction, agenda-driven spin,  and once again the Arizona Daily Star is doing disservice to its readers by not getting the facts.

And there is this other inconvenient fact: there has been no net global warming since 1997 in the lower atmosphere according to UAH satellite data nor any net warming of surface temperatures on land or sea according to the British Met Office.


  1. The Earth’s climate has always been changing. The question is whether man-made CO2 is the cause of climate change. I don’t believe so, nor do 30,000+ other scientists and engineers who signed a petition rejecting the man-made global warming argument.
    There is a peer-reviewed position paper that thoroughly rebuts claims of those pushing this theory of man-made global warming, which I highly recommend everyone read:

      1. And your estimation of the number of people unqualified to offer an intelligent science-based skeptic assessment at the petition is what, compared to what amount who are qualified?

        Are you aware that your line of logic might also make the IPCC itself a very unconvincing entity? When Al Gore’s current spokesperson Kalee Kreider is seen at a list of “Authors, Contributors, and Expert Reviewers” at an IPCC report?

        The woman has a B.A. in history and Russian and is a public relations expert. Are you sure you want to pursue a defense of man-caused global warming using an anti-Petition Project stance?

      2. Russel,
        The Oregon petition is most certainly NOT a “science-based assessment”.
        It asserts that human release of carbon dioxide will, “in the forseeable future” not “cause catastrophic heating of the Earth”. Since it fails to define which timeframe is “foreseeable” is and what is considered “catastrophic”, it leaves interpretation of the statement entirely up to the OPINION of the reader.
        Which makes the oregon petition a clear case of biased political mis-information without ANY scientific merit at all.
        In fact, you are doing scientific “skeptics” a great dis-service by continuing to push this political opinion piece 14 years after its conception.

  2. So, what is an unbiased journalist to do when Arctic sea ice extent record get obliterated ?
    You divert attention away by pointing at Antarctic sea extent maximum.
    You start by forgetting to mention that the Antarctic “record” is actually only a tiny increase (0.5 % since 2006) whereas Arctic sea ice minimum reduced a whopping 20 % since 2007’s already devastating low, to end up at HALF the size that it was just a few decades ago.
    If then another journalist points out that scientists long predicted that Antarctica would respond slower to GHG warming, and that even for that tiny increase in Antarctic sea ice has explanations that have long ago been explored and presented in peer-review scientific literature, you start blaming them for “global warming bias” and “bad reporting on climate change”.
    And to top it off, you point at a study suggesting underestimation of Antarctic sea ice, while not even mentioning that Arctic sea ice losses are unraveling 50 years ahead of schedule, and are now 4 sigma’s below the IPCC model projections.
    The question is not IF you are presenting a biased opinion on global warming and climate change, but the question is WHY you are presenting such a biased story, Jonathan ?

    1. The facts show that the doomsday scenarios painted by the climate models and promoted by certain politicians are not happening. The facts explain that the sea ice variation can be explained by natural variation, no need to invoke “global warming.” And if you blame low cyclic Arctic sea ice extents on global warming, why isn’t global warming global? If the “greenhouse” doesn’t work everywhere, there must be another explanation.

      1. Jonathan, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
        The FACTS show that the scenarios painted by the climate models are happening much FASTER than anticipated.
        In fact, Arctic sea ice decline is now 50 years ahead of the trend anticipated by IPCC 2007 climate models :
        And, NO, decline in Arctic sea ice CANNOT be explained by “natural variability” alone. In FACT, scientific reports (such as by Day et al 2012) indicate that multi-decadal natural variability can only explain between 5-30% of the observed downtrend trend over the past 3 decades.
        Since you call the climate model projections “doomsday scenarios”, I wonder which wording you would choose for actual OBSERVED sea ice decline…
        You see, FACTS are stubbern things…regardless of your biased opinions, Jonathan.

  3. That
    Tucson will be partially deserted in 30 years time from the heat and
    lack of water makes no difference to the writer of this biased story.
    That I am now able to grow Giant Sequoia and Windmill palms in my
    Connecticut garden is also of no significance right? The climate is
    changing far more rapidly then most Americans know. The arctic sea ice
    and that entire habitat has been torched- how it changes our weather in
    lower latitudes is just beginning to be understood. One thing is for
    certain- the arctic sea ice for millions of years has been the ‘air
    conditioner’ of the planet- once it is gone the whole physical dynamics
    of the what we have known since the ice formed in the Miocene is

    1. I can tell that Peter is not a scientist since he demonstrates ignorance of physical phenomena. Arctic habitat “torched”? By the way Peter, palm trees have grown in Ireland and southern England for hundreds of years. That too is far out of the tropics.

      “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams (1770)

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