Arctic Sea Ice | 2013 Extent

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.


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9 thoughts on “Arctic Sea Ice | 2013 Extent

  1. Some people find it easy to lie and whore themselves. You called Huckabee by the right name, “showman.” Climate scientist, not so much. Thanks for the rebuttal. I’ll pass it on to others who care about facts.

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  2. Huckabee…ha…anybody that listens to him will not be convinced by science. I do have a question…ice extent…this does not measure thickness..?? and do we have measurements of the thickness in the arctic..??

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    • That is a good question. Here is some info from the Earth Observatory link.
      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82094&src=eoa-iotd

      “The Arctic sea ice cover today is much thinner on average than it was years ago. Satellite imagery, submarine sonar measurements, and data collected from NASA’s Operation IceBridge indicate that the sea ice thickness is as much as 50 percent thinner than in previous decades, going from an average thickness of 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) in 1980 to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) in recent years. Older, thicker ice is being replaced by thinner, seasonal ice.

      Most of the Arctic Ocean used to be covered by multiyear ice, or ice that has survived at least two summers and is typically 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) thick. This older ice has declined at an even faster rate than younger ice and is now largely relegated to a strip along the northern coast of Greenland. The rest of the Arctic Ocean is dominated by first year ice, or ice that formed over the previous winter and is only 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) thick.”

      I hope that answers your question. Thank you for stopping by and asking.

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  3. That is a very interesting post. There’s been lots on our news in the last couple of days about global warming. Sadly for us, because of the ice melting and desalinating the sea, the Gulf stream seems to be leaving us so we will be colder. That’s if i have understood the science correctly. I was an English teacher not science! 🙂

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    • There will be some climate shifts. I admit to not studying how that might impact you there. I will see if I can find out.

      Thanks for stopping by today.

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