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Canadian Arctic ice coverage before there were satellites

20 Mar 2024 | Science Notes

For years we have been treated to graphs showing the decline of Arctic sea ice based on satellite measurements, which began in 1979. The Canadian Ice Service also maintains detailed data on annual sea ice coverage throughout the Canadian Arctic and sure enough, the record since 1979 looks like the satellite record for the Arctic as a whole with a clear downward trend:

But here’s something interesting: the Canadian Ice Service data don’t start in 1979, they start back in 1971. And you’ll never guess what happens when we add in the earlier data. At least alarmists won’t. Because it’s that the trend vanishes.

Here’s what the longer series looks like, and it’s quite a surprise:

Despite the supposedly “record” low ice cover in recent years, they’re not even records compared to the early 1970s, never mind earlier in the 20th century.

Further support for the early ice record comes from, of all places, the IPCC. Tony Heller has pointed out that its very first report in 1990, before the IPCC turned into just another alarmist lobby group, said that some less complete satellite records, as well as aircraft reconnaissance reports, were available back to the early 1970s and they also showed very low sea ice coverage prior to 1975:

That graph, naturally, hasn’t been shown since. But wait, wasn’t it supposedly colder in the 1970s? How could there be less ice when the climate was colder?

Maybe the answer is things are more complicated than we’re often told. Maybe the planet is hugely complicated and many important weather and climate phenomena depend on cycles, in ocean currents and elsewhere, that run on a scale of centuries, rather than the temperature last week or last month or last year. And sometimes we’re only shown the part of the data that matches the theory.

8 comments on “Canadian Arctic ice coverage before there were satellites”

  1. On CBC this morning a commentator was remarking on the dire state of arctic sea ice. She implored the interviewer and listeners that we must reduce emissions drastically if we want to see arctic ice in the future. Wha' are they on about?

  2. And they wonder why more and more people are turning away from mainstream news sources and have little trust in governments.

  3. Why are you only showing "Canadian Arctic", which is a specific region, rather than data for the entire Arctic?

  4. The narrative and the corresponding comments here seem peculiar. The graphs shows that there was an increase in Canadian sea ice coverage between 1971 and around 1983, which is now slowly decreasing over a longer period. Presumably there are one or more phenomenon causing each features. The next logical step would be to investigate what those phenomenon might be.
    Climate scientists claim that the decreasing sea ice over the last 30 years or so is caused by global warming. How does the lower sea ice previously contradict that? Can the climate not be a result of multiple factors?
    I don't know what caused the lower sea ice in 1971 but something caused it. Has the author or the commentors who are convinced that climate change is not real investigated into the literature to see if these changes are in fact understood and accounted for?

  5. Satellite global observation began with Nimbus in the mid 1960's but data preservation has been a problem, not least as some of the early tape recording formats no longer had machines capable of reading them. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214242815000212
    Trend lines showing "Global Warming" all cherry pick the mid 19th century as the "industrial" start date, just coincidentally the end of the "Little Ice Age", but what likely caused the acknowledged prior decent into that period, seems to attract little interest...just coincidentally.

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