NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why

Posted: February 1, 2021 by oldbrew in modelling, research, sea ice, Uncertainty
Tags: , ,

Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]

Warming, but not global – is the polar see-saw hypothesis in play here? In any case, it seems climate models are falling short again.
– – –
Sea ice in the Southern Ocean defies predictions.

Observations show that ice extent in the Antarctic has been growing slightly, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Paul Holland, a climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, has spent the last ten years studying Antarctica’s sea ice and the Southern Ocean.

Lately, he has been scrutinizing the seasons of Antarctica and how fast the ice comes and goes.

Holland thinks these seasons may be a key to a conundrum: If Earth’s temperatures are getting warmer and sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking fast, why then is sea ice in the Antarctic slowly increasing?

Opposite poles

Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool.

When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming.

Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of warming and melting in the Arctic. To them, Arctic sea ice is a reliable indicator of a changing global climate. They pay the most attention in September when Arctic sea ice shrinks to its smallest extent each year. Measured by satellites since 1979, this minimum extent has been decreasing by as much as 13.7 percent per decade.

Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator. Whereas Arctic sea ice mostly sits in the middle of land-locked ocean—which is more sensitive to sunlight and warming air—Antarctic sea ice surrounds land and is constantly exposed to high winds and waves.

According to climate models, rising global temperatures should cause sea ice in both regions to shrink. But observations show that ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk faster than models predicted, and in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly.

Researchers are looking much closer at Antarctica, saying, “Wait, what is going on down there?” Holland is one of those intrigued.

“The Antarctic case is as interesting as the Arctic case,” Holland said. “You can’t understand one without understanding the other.”

Minding the models

To Holland, the discrepancy calls parts of the climate models into question.

Continued here.

NASA pdf:

  1. Chaswarnertoo says:

    This is how glaciations start. No summer melting….😇

  2. P.A.Semi says:

    First a little off-topic comment:

    On Jan 31st, on the Sun has been displayed: “USA Cold Hell”…
    I thought, what does it mean?
    Then I saw a prediction of a major Winter Storm on North-East coast of USA centered on PA, about 20-30 inches snow at peak over the next week, starting Monday (today)…

    And as the warning has been displayed on the Sun, it may be a notice about God’s wrath from the Stolen USA Voter Fraud, and to warn the present illegitimate usurpers of USA government and their puppet-masters, that the God really exists and that they should behave more nicely than what seems they are planning, or else…

    And I do not know, if it would be limited to this Storm, as I am not a prophet, I just observe signs, compare and analyze…

    Video about the weather prediction:
    Youtube ZmtqICob5Bk
    as posted on


  3. Jim says:

    Interesting. Ice and election theft. The two are not equal. And the sun, a gas ball deciding something? Hot idea. What does an ion appear like after it cools? Rain? Dust? Snow? How does it vote? What party is it affiliated with? Does it retain it’s electrical charge? How is one related to a another?

  4. P.A.Semi says:

    Then some Climate Science:

    I noticed, that Milankovitch Cycles are not smooth…
    One of them, the change of ellipticity of Earth’s orbit is presently changing to more circular orbit,
    which means, that we are getting more far at January and more near at July, which means, that the effect of ellipticity, that softens northern Climate and hardens southern Climate, is presently decreasing (for past and next few millenniums)…

    But it is not smooth, and at some winters we are more close to Sun and at some we are more far, and it seems the average January temperature little follows that…

    Two bottom charts, the “distance” line is higher, when we are closer to the Sun…
    Which also shows, that starting from winter 2021-22 and the next decade, there is a place of “more far at January”, so expect some more severe winters ahead, while knowing it is not only this effect…

    Also, the past and this Antarctic winter, we were little more far from the Sun…

    The difference in hemispheres may also be caused, that Northern air is more dusty (it’s not CO2, it’s dust…), which has been mitigating the winter-cooling effect of this Milankovitch cycle, sparing us from the unpleasant winter cooling…?

    And top chart shows, that just AFTER the Climate Alarmists started their Hoax, the temperatures started rising, not the other way round, and it rises quite linearly, while it was constant for previous decades… So either they were prophets, or they are helping the rise of temperatures, for example by “spraying from plains” at just the right points to make pressure lows and pump African air into Europe, which events seem to occur more often recently than in the past… (It is just my theory, that the Warming may be intentionally caused by the Alarmists to prove their Agenda, and that it’s not some effect of Co2 that has been rising steadily since 1850s, but intentional weather control started at early 1990s… Just a theory and possibility…)

    I would like to model, how that Milankovitch cycle affects Climate on longer term, but that would need a better figure for water albedo, since I suspect the value from Wikipedia being wrong…
    The sand has supposedly high albedo, which is because the small spherical grains reflect the Sunlight in all directions and seem bright from every view-point, while water reflects Sunlight in single direction (plus some effect of waves scattering it), and it seems darker from most view-points, except the sub-solar point, which is brighter on visible-light images…

    On this image, the blue arrow points to the center of sub-solar lighter point in ocean, as seen on water among the clouds:


  5. P.A.Semi says:

    see – The Sun votes for Trump …

    It’s the God displaying inscriptions on the Sun, since no one else could do it…
    And the yesterday’s inscription “USA Cold Hell” was by far not a single one…

    There has been just after the Election Night displayed Map of America on the Sun, with inscription Fraud from Alaska to Greenland and most fraudulent states marked by darker points, while on the day of Electoral College 2020-12-14 there has been FRAUD displayed in three different ways simultaneously to show, it is not a random coincidence…

    And at and after the Inauguration of Fraudster in Chief, there have been other inscriptions, in Corona and in Magnetic field regions, listing names, with map of Washington DC and “China” written below and “Total Rip” beside, then changing to word “PIT”, and suggesting Biden is actually “A Baddon the Destroyer” from Revelation 9:11 …
    Few days ago, that has been “US Theft” displayed in two different ways, and a list of countries responsible for that, with Brits marked prominently…

    Here on Tallbloke Talkshop there is also a thread about this in comments:

    Better analysis is pending few days from now, when the rest of that region gets into scientific archives, while most part of it is already there and well archived elsewhere also…


  6. P.A.Semi says:


    In that “radical left” article, now last few comments were my arguing with Paul Vaughan, where he stated, that “Climate stalemate would last forever”, and I explained my prediction, that instead it will fall shortly after the Censorship will be lifted, after and if the Fraudsters would be defeated…
    And few links to explain that…

    In the fight against the Climate Hoax that seems to concern you most, I am standing on your side fighting against them with you, just with slightly different philosophical arguments, adding to your efforts…

    And I think my and our arguments will be a “checkmate” for the Hoax… We will do it…


  7. oldbrew says:

    Yesterday marked a year since the official Brexit day. Just a reminder that swimming against the supposed political tide, including demonising CO2, is not necessarily a lost cause.
    – – –
    Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why

    Questioning our climate models? How dare you?! 🙄

  8. ivan says:

    oldbrew, the answer to that question is, I think, because it is getting colder. The UN Church of Climatology won’t accept that answer and so will twist the climate models to show it is wrong.

    We had snow in the village again last night which makes it a record for the 30 years I’ve been here – and they keep rabbiting on about global warming.

  9. Gamecock says:

    ‘Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator.’

    Right! And cold is weather; heat is climate change.

    Political decisions. Not science.

  10. gbaikie says:

    “NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why ”

    More heat from Southern Hemisphere is transported to Northern Hemisphere, and related El Nino and since that reversing, lately, it should mean less Antarctic sea ice is in future.

  11. […] NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why Warming, but not global – is the polar see-saw hypothesis in play here? In any case, it seems climate models are falling short again.

  12. stpaulchuck says:

    they don’t know but they are absolutely sure people caused it

  13. garyh845 says:

    NASA – Arctic sea ice has been shrinking a bit, but we don’t know why.

    Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

  14. Paul Vaughan says:

    stpaulchuck lands yet another money quote

  15. Phoenix44 says:

    This is what happens when an entire discipline becomes obsessed with a single hypothesis that supposedly explains everything.

    The simplest explanation is that the Arctic is warming but the Antarctic is not, and that warming is not global. We might then spend some effort seeing why the Arctic is warming.

    But no, let’s get all observations to fit a single unproven, unlikely hypothesis.

  16. Matt Dolan says:

    The expansion of sea ice is due to melt of land ice over Antarctica. Article is misleading, and will be recycled by the Murdochs to support denial.

    [reply] the researcher said “we don’t know why” – but you do?

  17. oldbrew says:

    ‘Fact check’ moans about Sky News Australia. The Sky guy should probably have said ‘no significant warming’ to keep the nitpickers at bay.

    FEBRUARY 2 2021 – 2:00PM
    Has there really been no warming of the planet in 22 years?

  18. Gamecock says:

    “Has there really been no warming of the planet in 22 years?”

    Get rid of the annomoly charts and graph temperatures in Kelvin. It is rather obvious there has been no significant change.

  19. ivan says:

    Gamecock, since those comments were by Australian media you would also need to remove the upward ‘adjustments’ the Australian BoM has been making to the records for the last 20 odd years. If they are removed you will most probably find a downward trend during that time.

  20. oldbrew says:

    = = =
    So why are “scientists” not telling us the truth about the Antarctic?

    Our man at the BAS* seems to be trying to, or at least posing questions.
    (*Paul Holland, a climate modeller with the British Antarctic Survey)

  21. Gamecock says:

    ‘Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool.’

    [citation needed]

    A quick internet search says the reflectivity of ice and water are about the same, in fact, water is slightly MORE reflective.

    And at the angle of attack of sunlight at the southern ocean, 60-70°, there’s going to be so much reflection, it seems unlikely to make a difference, anyway.

  22. P.A.Semi says:


    Difference between Water and Ice or Sand reflection is, that from one place of Water surface there goes single beam of light in one direction, while from Ice (or Snow) and Sand and water droplets in Clouds the light is dispersed in many directions, reflecting from many small spherical surfaces, so they appear bright from any direction…
    Since Granularity of Snow and Sand and water droplets in Clouds is much higher, than Granularity of Water surface (beside Waves)…

    It is a question then, which reflected beams are better re-absorbed to heat the Atmosphere and surrounding Terrain, whether one intense or thousand (uncountable) less intense?
    (It would not be easy to model that in computer…. The heating of Terrain from reflected light is being used in calculations, for example the mountain-side may get some heat also from light reflected from the flat land below… But it’s quite more complicated than it seems at first…)


  23. Don Andersen says:

    I see this NASA article from 2014 being re-hashed on other sites. This is not current news ……..
    Is there something I’m missing?

    [reply] the GWPF featured it this week

  24. Roger, I should have been reading and posting on your talkshop. I do apologize.
    Karl F Zeller sent me a link to this posting.

    Polar sea ice is easy to understand.
    Tropical ocean currents thaw polar sea ice.
    When sea ice is not covering the polar oceans, evaporation and snowfall rebuild the sequestered ice.
    Volume and weight and flow rates of ice increase. Ice shelves push out and ice shelves a icebergs are dumped into the turbulent saltwater. Just like in a hand cranked ice cream maker, the temperature of the warm ocean currents are chilled to below freezing and sea ice forms. The sea ice grows until the snowfall no longer falls on the old sequestered ice. The ice continues to flow until it is depleted and the ice pushed into the oceans is diminished and warm water takes away the sea ice. This cycle repeats in North and South Polar regions, independently. Sometimes North and South Sea ice grows and shrinks at the same time and sometimes they are out of phase.
    Polar ice cycles alternate warm and cold, It must work this way. The temperature that sea ice forms and thaws is the thermostat set point. The sea ice is the switch that turns the snowfall on and off.
    When warm, it snows until sea ice forms. When cold it don’t snow until sea ice is removed.

    Herman A (Alex) Pope

  25. Gamecock says:

    “It is a question then, which reflected beams are better re-absorbed to heat the Atmosphere and surrounding Terrain”

    Terrain? We’re talking about sea ice.

  26. oldbrew says:

    FEBRUARY 3, 2021
    The Arctic Ocean was covered by a shelf ice and filled with freshwater
    — by Alfred Wegener Institute

    The Arctic Ocean was covered by up to 900-meter-thick shelf ice and was filled entirely with freshwater at least twice in the last 150,000 years. This surprising finding, reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature, is the result of long-term research by scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the MARUM. With a detailed analysis of the composition of marine deposits, the scientists could demonstrate that the Arctic Ocean as well as the Nordic Seas did not contain sea-salt in at least two glacial periods. Instead, these oceans were filled with large amounts of freshwater under a thick ice shield. This water could then be released into the North Atlantic in very short periods of time. Such sudden freshwater inputs could explain rapid climate oscillations for which no satisfying explanation had been previously found. [bold added]

  27. oldbrew says:

    From the Met Office: Decadal forecast – Summary
    Forecast issued January 2021.

    There is some indication of continued cool conditions in the Southern Ocean.

    Note: *continued*

  28. Tom Williams says:

    Even Arctic sea ice is surviving much better than models predicted. It was supposed to disappear by the summer of 2013. Eight years later – it’s still there – even in summer. Now the activists have adopted 2040. What’s next – 2100?

  29. oldbrew says:

    Tom Williams says:
    – – –
    Any date past the forecaster’s expected retirement date should be OK 🙂