Arctic ice quiz (2)

The post with the Arctic ice quiz has turned out to be phenomenally popular.  It has received two comments – this is two more than the grand total of readers’ comments in the last few months! Anyway, I shall now reveal the correct answers to the two probing questions in the quiz.

The Arctic ice cover has just turned the corner and is on the way up again. It bottomed out at around 5.1 million square kilometres, which is 50% more than the all-time low of 3.4 million square kilometres recorded on 17 September 2012. Here is the graph:


So, does it mean that the decline of the Arctic ice has stopped? No, it does not. The next graph shows that the Arctic ice has been shrinking since 1979 and it would take a few years of growth to reverse this trend:


This year’s minimum is not plotted but it would push the red wiggle well above the dotted trend line. The 2012 and 2013 minima show that the Arctic ice cover fluctuates year-to-year as a result of natural variability, superimposed over a long-term downward trend. One cannot read too much into a single reading and the orgy of media negativity in September 2012 is now looking distinctly silly.

But what about the Antarctic ice cover? I am pleased to report that, as evidenced by the graph below, it is currently at an all-time high:


Again, it does not mean much by itself but the long-term growing trend shows that the Antarctic ice shelf appears to be stable.

So, as usual, my dear friend Nick was right – the correct answers are E & E!



One Response to “Arctic ice quiz (2)”

  1. Nick Says:

    Thanks, V. I am actually not sure if I need to be glad or sad about it. I have just realised that I do not care about polar bears or melting swamps of Russian Tundra. I do not like ice. I would selfishly prefer if it was 1-2 degrees warmer here in Auckland during both, winters and summers. Am I just an awful non-conformist?

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