Flash Point: Neat or on the Rocks?

We’ve commented before on “coin” issues. By this we aren’t referring particularly to monetary issues but to issues that in some sense are binary – issues that have two sides. A simple example is the much discussed hypothetical sale of US Treasury debt by the Chinese. Selling is a binary event. As we have pointed out, if China sells someone else buys. The debt remains ‘owned’.

We have been aware of news that arctic sea ice is at the lowest ever recorded. Firstly we would point out that reliable data only extends back to 1979 and the beginning of satellite measurement. This is an infinitesimal span of time in climate terms. But secondly, sea ice appears to be somewhat binary as this article suggests: Antarctic Ice Area Sets Another [maximum] Record – NSIDC Is Silent. Sea ice is a complicated area of climate science that we do not wish to get into, but because reporting of climate issues is so politically motivated and one-sided, we present some evidence to keep the discussion two-sided.

And because we like pictures, from Wikipedia:

The seasonal cyclicality is to be expected. What is interesting is the “volatility” or variance is increasing. Cycle minima show a larger variance than cycle maxima. In other words, the arctic sea ice does recover with only a slow loss over time and we have no idea what the cyclicality of the cumulative gain or loss is.

Update 20120930

For anyone panicking read this Wall Street Journal article for perspective: What Arctic Foxes Know About Global Warming. It’s all happened before so get a grip.

Update 20130321

A quick update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In the following two illustrations, the magenta line maks the 1979-2000 average ice extent while the actual extent is shown in white.

Figure 1. Arctic ice extent. (click to open in a new window)

Figure 2. Antarctic ice extent. (click to open in a new window)

While arctic ice extent is below average, antarctic ice extent is above average. Climate alarmists certainly talk about arctic ice. Have you ever heard them talk about antarctic ice?

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