On September 12, 2013, noted climate scientist and showman Mike Huckabee reported that the melting of the Arctic ice must be over. He jokingly chided the scientific efforts to study the problem of global warming and sea ice melting. In his dismissive facebook report, he made several claims, none of which were substantiated with any evidence or links to it. He says…
Well, we’re coming to the end of the summer of 2013. So what’s it like up in Santa land? It’s freezing. The Arctic ice cap has grown by 60 percent in one year. There are almost a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than there were last year.
What is the truth? You won’t find it in his social media status update. You will find it in the report of the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Yes, there is more sea ice in 2013 than last year. The ice extent in 2012 reached the smallest area ever. The extent in 2013 is greater than 2012. But, it is well below the 30 yr average.
NSIDC scientists said this year’s higher extent is a temporary reprieve for the sea ice. “While this is a very welcome recovery from last year’s record low, the overall trend is still decidedly downwards,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.
“The pattern we’ve seen so far is an overall downward trend in summer ice extent, punctuated by ups and downs due to natural variability in weather patterns and ocean conditions,” Serreze said. “We could be looking at summers with essentially no sea ice on the Arctic Ocean only a few decades from now.”
NSIDC research scientist Julienne Stroeve said this year’s summer was cooler than the last several summers and that helped to slow the melting. Stroeve said, “Despite the lower temperatures, ice extent still fell well below the long-term average. That’s consistent with the Arctic’s ice cover being thinner than it was a few decades ago.”
The report by the NSIDC was further elaborated upon by this post from the NASA Earth Observatory. “I was expecting that this year would be higher than last year,” said Walt Meier, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “There is always a tendency to have an uptick after an extreme low. In our satellite data, the Arctic sea ice has never set record low minimums in consecutive years.” It is clear from their chart that the 2013 values of ice extent are well below the 1981-2010 mean values. The extent for 2012 was a record low.
If you want to explore this data yourself, here is a link to an interactive chart. All of the instructions are there on the page. You can include or exclude any of the years in the plot by clicking on the legend at the right of the chart.
The post by Huckabee is a shameless attempt to cast doubt on the scientific efforts of many to understand a significant and growing problem. To joke about it, offer no supportive evidence to claims, and state lies and deceptive statements is easy and inexcusable. It is also not hard to find and report the truth. Earth and humanity deserve the truth.