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Are the ice caps melting?

Climate science's bipolar disorder

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

But in 2008 we are not seeing that. The winds and temperatures in the Arctic are quite different, and as of today there is more ice than normal around Siberia. The Arctic melt season ends in about seven weeks because the sun will get too low. As of June 26, there is no indication that the North Pole is in danger of melting.

The BBC's Richard Black wrote an article last week claiming that Arctic Ice is melting "even faster than last year." Looking at the Cryosphere Today map, it is abundantly clear that ice is melting more slowly than last year. By the end of June, 2007 the Hudson Bay was essentially ice-free. This year it is close to normal, with cold temperatures predicted for most of the rest of the short melt season. Someone is apparently having trouble reading maps at either the BBC and/or NSIDC.

Northwest Passage?

Last summer, the headlines read "First ever traversal of the Northwest Passage". This sounds very dramatic, except that it is entirely incorrect. As the BBC reported: "In 1905, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first person to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage, in a wooden sailboat." The Northwest Passage has been navigated at least one hundred times over the last century.

According to official US Weather Bureau records (pdf) from 1922, there was open sailing very close to the North Pole that year. Anthony Watts unearthed this quote from the Weather Bureau:

"In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The expedition all but established a record, sailing as far north as 81 degrees in ice-free water.

We must check back in seven weeks to see if the North Pole is ice-free. My money is on the experts being wrong - again. As the great physicist Dr Richard Feynman said, "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts." ®

The author, Steven Goddard, is not affiliated directly or indirectly with any energy industry, nor does he have any current affiliation with any university.

Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series examining "PBEM", or "Policy-based Evidence Making".

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