Arctic Ice Rebound Predicted

Man is not the primary cause of change in the Arctic says book by Russian scientists

Forget the orthodox view of Arctic climate change – this book has a very different message.   (h/t to WUWT commenter Enneagram)

Published last year, this is a synthesis of work by the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI).  It sets out the data and experience of scientists over 85 years, drawing together much already published in the area.  For a book that is billed under a climate change heading, this is actually more an antidote to the hype usually associated with warming in the Arctic.  A few pages of each chapter are available on-line and even that is well worth reading; no doubt even better in its entirety.

The Preface sets the tone of the book very clearly – “.…scientists have predicted a significant decrease in sea-ice extent in the Arctic and even its complete disappearance in the summertime by the end of the 21st century.  This monograph presents results of studies of climatic system changes in the Arctic, focussed on ice cover, that do not justify such extreme conclusions.”  “Many studies and international projects, such as the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), attribute the air temperature increase during the last quarter of the 20th century exclusively to accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  However these studies typically do not account for natural hydrometeorological fluctuations whose effects on multiyear variability, as this monograph shows, can far exceed the anthropogenic impact on climate.

Northern Sea Route (Source: Northern Sea Route User Conference)

The book begins by examining the major effects of the Polar Ice caps and their overall stability on Earth’s climate – affecting albedo, and regulating the heat flux from the sea to atmosphere.  Climate variations are discussed and the WMO’s “30 year average” definition of climate is not considered applicable in the Arctic because fluctuations in the polar climate are so large.

Chapter 2 looks at what is known about changes in sea ice in the 20th century.  The Russian data sets probably hold the most extensive information available for the first half of the century due to interest in the Northern Sea Route in the 1930s.  In addition, measurements of ice thickness also go back to the middle of the 1930s when they were taken regularly for coast-bound ice at many of the Polar stations.

It is particularly interesting what they say about Arctic air temperatures (Chapter 4).  “Periodic cooling and warming events are evident in air temperature fluctuations in the Arctic during the 20th century, similar to changes in ice cover.”  A cool period at the beginning of the 20th century was followed by what is commonly referred to as the “Arctic Warming Period” in the 1920s-1940s.  Relative cooling was widespread between the late 1950s to late 1970s, followed by the current warming period peaking in recent years.  Gridded average temperature anomalies for 70⁰-85⁰N produce a curve that fits a polynomial trend to the sixth power and the cycle periodicity is 50-60 years (Figure 4.1).  Other indicators in Arctic and Antarctic support this cycle and show its global nature.  On the subject of polar amplification, whereby weather and climate variability increase with latitude, a number of models and explanations are discussed.  None of these involve CO2.

Cyclic temperature for Arctic stations in the GHCNv2 dataset (originally posted at: )

The authors point out there is an abundance of hypotheses as to the possible causes of climate and ice variation and climate change (a ‘long-term’ phenomenon)  but these lack detailed long-term data.  They state “where data do exist, we should prefer data to computer models”; they believe model projections of future ice area fluctuations are unreliable.  Actually, they have some deliciously scathing remarks about climate models.

The models neglect natural fluctuations because they have no means of incorporating them, and put the entire blame for climate changes since the 19th century on human activity.”

On possible future changes they predict that “ the 21st century, oscillatory (rather than unidirectional) ice extent changes will continue to dominate Arctic seas. A new ice maximum in 2030-2035 is predicted (Figure 6.1) and this will have major implications for shipping in the region.

From the results of spectral analyses, they conclude that there are 50-60 year cycles and less prevalent ones at 20 years, 8-12 years and 2-3 years.  These are closely related to variations in general atmospheric circulation.  In the longer term the decreasing trend of ice extent may be a segment of a 200 year cyclic variation responsible for the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age.  Much of the discussion about solar effects is behind the paywall for the book, however there are some strong conclusions about solar effects on Arctic climate.  Despite the small variation in Total Solar irradiance (TSI) through solar cycles, solar activity may have a greater effect on high latitudes because of interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field.  Solar system “dissymmetry” (barycentre) influences are also mentioned as closely corresponding to the 60 year cycles.

The authors conclude that the simulation by the general circulation models does not appear to reflect the cyclic features in Arctic ice extent and climate, and, if their cyclic interpretations of climate variation are correct, ice cover will continue to fluctuate as there is little connection with the anthropogenic burning of fossil fuels.

Climate Change in Eurasian Arctic Shelf Seas: Centennial Ice Cover Observations. Authors: Ivan E. Frolov, Zalmann M. Gudkovich, Valery P. Karklin, Evgeny G. Kovalev, and Vasily M. Smolyanitsky.  Published by Springer/Praxis (2009) ISBN 9783540858744

[I spotted this come in as a tip to WUWT, and in checking the links before approving the comment, realised this book was just pure gold.  So I offered to review it hoping Anthony would deem the review suitable also for WUWT and he has (here).  In comments PapyJako says a free download of the book is available.]

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17 Responses to Arctic Ice Rebound Predicted

  1. John of Cloverdale WA (Aus) says:

    Ivan E. Frolov, Zalmann M. Gudkovich, Valery P. Karklin, Evgeny G. Kovalev, and Vasily M. Smolyanitsky.
    Who are these guys? And, are they well respected climatologist modellers?
    This is a book, and not a peer reviewed paper in Nature. No credence at all.
    The science is settled, is settled, is settled……………………………………
    Arrr, the sky is falling!
    Al Gore where are you?

  2. golfcharley says:

    Hi Verity,

    There is a lot of archived material, much of it not written in English, concerning historical attempts to explore the arctic, find the North Pole and North West Passage etc

    None of these expeditions would have been possible if the Hockey Stick Graph temperature record has any truth. The Hockey Team have tried to eradicate the LIA and MWP, but they cannot erase history, written in Russian, Norwegian, Suomi etc sitting in dusty libraries.

    Don’t let the men of Franklin’s expedition remain dead in vain

  3. golfcharley says:

    Thank you for these links.

    I followed the Bear Grylls expedition, which started late due to mother nature (ice perhaps) and required an ice breaking support ship. Why? I admire their bravado, but their motivation was suspect. I have travelled some distance in a RIB, it is fun for 20 minutes, but after that, simply very uncomfortable!

    I noted their discovery of possible Franklin evidence, and hope that this may be followed up.

    Please keep up your posts. This is so much more meaningful and enjoyable than Bristlecone pines and dendroastrology.

    Franklin and co knew the NWP existed, because someone had been there before. Who and when?

  4. gallopingcamel says:

    Much less ice in Arctic waters would have many benefits for the Russians including ports that are ice free for more months each year, so the IPCC predictions would be welcome if they proved to be correct.

    Even so, it appears they prefer facts over fairy tales.

  5. ArndB says:

    # “…..there are some strong conclusions about solar effects on Arctic climate”.

    Assumptions of any significant effect of e.g. CO2, sun cycles, or air circulation, should base findings on the fact that the sun has nil, or only a very remote direct influence in the Arctic during the winter season. Frolov et al. bring a lot about solar influence (Conclusion 9, 10, & 11), but neglect to investigate whether that makes any difference during the summer and the winter season.
    For example, the Arctic warming from 1919 to 1939, was actually a warming during the winter season, which indicates that the sun had no direct role in the change, due to the long polar night from October to March. Instead the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding sea areas determine the weather conditions, and changes of climatic pattern, as discussed in the book “Arctic Heats Up. Spitsbergen 1919 to 1939” (2009, pages 106, IUniverse, US-ISBN: 978-1-4401-4087-7) it examines the last great warming -prior to the modern one- in eight chapters in great detail. It covers the period 1920 onwards: Ch. 1 at:..

    Reply – Dr. Bernaerts sorry I didn’t recognise your name. I noted Tonyb referring your book on WUWT and I suddenly made the connection. Tony did originally send me the link to your book and I really must make the time to read more of it – it did make quite an impression on me at the time. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Verity Jones says:

    I think the weakness of the book is that it is mainly a synthesis of the AARI research and discusses too lightly areas that they have not looked into in detail (or perhpas that is unfair as I have not been able to read all of it). I have been aware of the other book you mention but not read all of it. It is quite clear to me that the sun in the summer has only a part to play in Arctic temperatures and ice extent and that ocean temperature (heat transported into the Arctic) is as a result of heat build up due to solar (and other effects) in other areas. Ocean temperature and ice extent then affect winter temperature. That of course is very simplistic.

    I would like to get a chance to read the whole book, rather than the publicly available bits (far from ideal to do a book review only seeing parts of a book, but such is the life of a blogger). For example on first reading, some of the conclusions came as a complete surprise but then I could see from the contents and references that they had been discussed in detail in the ‘hidden bits’

  7. tonyb says:


    It is possible to download the complete book as a free pdf for a limted period. I am currently ploughing through it.

    What with Dr Bernaerts book and my own article on the 1820 warming

    we have a pretty good idea of what went on through the 19th and 20th century. Unfortunately the IPCC don’t tend to ascknowledge recent history such as this in their AR4.

    In reply to Golfcharley my article is based around the search for the Northwest Passage so may answer many of your questions on the period.


  8. tonyb says:


    I have now just finished reading the book on line. If I could take only one book on arctic conditions from 1900 to the present day to the (somewhat inappropriate) desert island, it would be this one. It is extremely detailed and should be required reading for all politicians (together with my article of course!)

    It would benefit from summaries of the content after each chapter however as the writing and information is pretty dense.


  9. tonyb says:


    This is no criticism of Dr Bernaerts book, but in selecting this one over his it was because the period covered is more extensive.

    Dr Bernaerts book is a much better read as I think it was constructed specifically as an e-book (or at least it reads very well in this medium)


    • ArndB says:

      Interesting, but the research context of the two books differs considerably, which makes it difficult to compare them:

      __Frolov et al investigate one century, a region (Russian shelf), sea ice (and other parameters) to identify long-term (climatic) cycles lasting about 10, 20 and 60 years. Based on this findings they assume it possible to extrapolate the cycles forward, and to make forecasts for the 21st Century as follows: “continuing natural cyclic changes will bring about both decreases and increases in the ice extent of the Arctic Ocean marginal seas” (Conclusion, last paragraph, item 14, p.133).

      __My book has only one event in focus, the early Arctic warming 1919-1939, actually concentrating on the winter seasons since the end of the 1910s (WWI period), based primarily on available air temperature data and other observations, by showing that the event started very suddenly and very pronounced in the most northern North Atlantic area (south and north of Fram Strait) in winter 1918/19, which must have been caused by internal changes or shifts in the ocean sea level structure in that area, and was sustained by the ocean for two decades until about 1940 (Chapter 1-7, pp.1-86), and that human activities may have contributed (Chapter 8, pp.87-96).

      The result of my investigation would, with regard to the first half of the last century, not support the cycles thesis, as it had been the ocean that initiated and sustained the Arctic warming from 1919-1939.
      Hopefully my book answers the question, concerning the period 1919-1939, which V.F. Zakharov raised a decade ago:
      · Why are the maximum climate fluctuations confined to the Atlantic sector of the Arctic?
      · Why are these fluctuations pronounced, first of all, right here?
      · Should the Atlantic sector of the Arctic be considered as a center of some kind, a source of climate change over the hemisphere?
      · Source: Zakharov, V.F. (1997) ‘Sea Ice in the Climate System’, Arctic Climate System Study, WMO/TD-No. 782, p.70f.

      Wishing interesting reading and with best regards

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  11. tonyb says:


    I must say that if I wanted a book specifically covering the period 1919-1939 I would choose your book. It is very informative and seems to have been written for the e-book style format as I found it easy to read on line.

    If I wanted a good overview of the whole of the 20th century I would choose the book under review purely because it covers such a long period. It reads much more like a conventional paper however and is not easy to read on-line-it could certainly do with a summary of each chapter.

    Last year you presented your book at the German online climate conference. I commented on your piece and linked to my article on the warming from 1820. I think the audience were surprised that there have been oither periods of warming other than the current one 🙂

    What reaction did you get to your article? Are you participating again this year-if so please provide a link.

    best regards


    • ArndB says:

      your kind contribution to the paper (HERE: ) at the online conference KLIMA2009 is well remembered, which was also published also by AIR VENT and WUWT with your positive comment on November 5, 2009 at 7:04 am : . A thorough discussion of the paper and book findings, and the possible causing by human activities, has not happen yet.

      For this year conference KLIMA2010, a paper concerning the definition “weather” and “climate” has been submitted, but rejected, as the reviewer felt that: “Further, the science of meteorology seems to live happily without problems caused by misconceptions caused by the lack of definitions of these two words.” Here is an earlier paper about this matter:, or
      as generally discussed at:, a topic which I raised for the first time in a longer paper (ca. pages 42) back in 1992 (Here: ), as to my understanding, the climate change issue, and the role of human activities in this respect, is primarily an oceanic matter, as i.a. expressed in a letter to NATURE (1992, Vol. 360, p. 292),,
      ___” For too long, climate has been defined as the average weather and Rio was not able to define it at all. Instead, the Climate Change Convention uses the term ‘climate system’, defining it as “the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions”. All that this boils down to is ‘the interactions of the natural system’. What is the point of a legal term if it explains nothing? For decades, the real question has been who is responsible for the climate. Climate should have been defined as ‘the continuation of the oceans by other means’.”
      Thanks again for your kind comments TonyB,

  12. Will Crump says:

    Verity Jones:

    The book cited above “sets out the data and experience of scientists over 85 years” of the Eurasian arctic ice shelf. To use data from a limited time period and portion of the arctc to “prove” the existence of a 50 to 60 year cycle of changes in sea ice extent and predict a rebound of arctic sea ice extent is little more than wishful thinkng.

    Before reaching a conclusion that there is a 50 to 60 year cycle in arctic sea ice extent, a longer period of time and coverage of all of the arctic is needed. While satellite records only provide a data set from 1979 to date, there are other methods, using arctic sea and land sediment cores, ice cores, driftwood, and arctic lake sediment cores that can be used to develop a longer term database.

    Below are cites to a few sources, but by no means the only sources, that can be used to test the 50 to 60 year cycle using records from other areas of the arctic over much longer time periods. These studies generally conclude that the changes to the arctic in the last 50 years are atypical of any “natural variability” seen in records prior to this time. The data from these studies refute the existence of the cycle claimed in the book you have cited. Additionally, the data from these studie indicates that reliance on any perceived cycle before this 1950 is not supportable as the forces that are driving the current arctic sea ice decline are different from the forces that affected arctic sea ice extent before 1950.

    The link below has a complete copy of the following article from Quarternary Science Reviews that provides such information for multiple locations in the arctic (as indicated in figure 3 in the artile).…/Polyak_2010_historyofseaiceArctic.pdf


    Leonid Polyak, RichardB.Alley, JohnT.Andrews, JulieBrigham-Grette, ThomasM.Cronin, Dennis A.Darby, ArthurS.Dyke, JoanJ.Fitzpatrick, SvendFunder, MarikaHolland, Anne E.Jennings, GiffordH.Miller, MattO’Regan , JamesSavelle , MarkSerreze , KristenSt.Johnm, JamesW.C.White , EricWolff

    Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47 Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13–14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2–3 million years, in accordance with Earth’s overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.

    A summary of the article can be found at:

    Arctic Ice at Low Point Compared to Recent Geologic History

    ScienceDaily (June 3, 2010) — Less ice covers the Arctic today than at any time in recent geologic history.

    That’s the conclusion of an international group of researchers, who have compiled the first comprehensive history of Arctic ice.

    For decades, scientists have strived to collect sediment cores from the difficult-to-access Arctic Ocean floor, to discover what the Arctic was like in the past. Their most recent goal: to bring a long-term perspective to the ice loss we see today.

    Now, in an upcoming issue of Quarternary Science Reviews, a team led by Ohio State University has re-examined the data from past and ongoing studies — nearly 300 in all — and combined them to form a big-picture view of the pole’s climate history stretching back millions of years.

    Now, in an upcoming issue of Quarternary Science Reviews, a team led by Ohio State University has re-examined the data from past and ongoing studies — nearly 300 in all — and combined them to form a big-picture view of the pole’s climate history stretching back millions of years.

    “The ice loss that we see today — the ice loss that started in the early 20th Century and sped up during the last 30 years — appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years,” said Leonid Polyak, a research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. Polyak is lead author of the paper and a preceding report that he and his coauthors prepared for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

    Satellites can provide detailed measures of how much ice is covering the pole right now, but sediment cores are like fossils of the ocean’s history, he explained.

    “Sediment cores are essentially a record of sediments that settled at the sea floor, layer by layer, and they record the conditions of the ocean system during the time they settled. When we look carefully at various chemical and biological components of the sediment, and how the sediment is distributed — then, with certain skills and luck, we can reconstruct the conditions at the time the sediment was deposited.”

    For example, scientists can search for a biochemical marker that is tied to certain species of algae that live only in ice. If that marker is present in the sediment, then that location was likely covered in ice at the time. Scientists call such markers “proxies” for the thing they actually want to measure — in this case, the geographic extent of the ice in the past.

    While knowing the loss of surface area of the ice is important, Polyak says that this work can’t yet reveal an even more important fact: how the total volume of ice — thickness as well as surface area — has changed over time.

    “Underneath the surface, the ice can be thick or thin. The newest satellite techniques and field observations allow us to see that the volume of ice is shrinking much faster than its area today. The picture is very troubling. We are losing ice very fast,” he said.

    “Maybe sometime down the road we’ll develop proxies for the ice thickness. Right now, just looking at ice extent is very difficult.”

    To review and combine the data from hundreds of studies, he and his cohorts had to combine information on many different proxies as well as modern observations. They searched for patterns in the proxy data that fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

    Their conclusion: the current extent of Arctic ice is at its lowest point for at least the last few thousand years.

    As scientists pull more sediment cores from the Arctic, Polyak and his collaborators want to understand more details of the past ice extent and to push this knowledge further back in time.

    During the summer of 2011, they hope to draw cores from beneath the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia. The currents emanating from the northern Pacific Ocean bring heat that may play an important role in melting the ice across the Arctic, so Polyak expects that the history of this location will prove very important. He hopes to drill cores that date back thousands of years at the Chukchi Sea margin, providing a detailed history of interaction between oceanic currents and ice.

    “Later on in this cruise, when we venture into the more central Arctic Ocean, we will aim at harvesting cores that go back even farther,” he said. “If we could go as far back as a million years, that would be perfect.”

    Another study is “Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling” by
    Darrell S. Kaufman, David P. Schneider, Nicholas P. McKay, Caspar M. Ammann, Raymond S. Bradley, Keith R. Briffa, Gifford H. Miller, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Bo M. Vinther, and Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members. Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1126/science.1173983

    A summary of the article is at:

    A third study “Arctic Lake Sediments Show Warming, Unique Ecological Changes In Recent Decades” provides a study based on lake sediment sequence from from Lake CF8 on Baffin Island that records warm periods of the past 200,000 years, including the 20th century.

    Additional information showing an ice free arctic is in

    Quaternary Science Reviews

    New insights on Arctic Quaternary climate variability from palaeo-records and numerical modelling

    Terrestrial and marine geological archives in the Arctic contain information on environmental change through Quaternary interglacial–glacial cycles. The Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes (APEX) scientific network aims to better understand the magnitude and frequency of past Arctic climate variability, with focus on the “extreme” versus the “normal” conditions of the climate system. One important motivation for studying the amplitude of past natural environmental changes in the Arctic is to better understand the role of this region in a global perspective and provide base-line conditions against which to explore potential future changes in Arctic climate under scenarios of global warming. In this review we identify several areas that are distinct to the present programme and highlight some recent advances presented in this special issue concerning Arctic palaeo-records and natural variability, including spatial and temporal variability of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Arctic Ocean sediment stratigraphy, past ice shelves and marginal marine ice sheets, and the Cenozoic history of Arctic Ocean sea ice in general and Holocene oscillations in sea ice concentrations in particular. The combined sea ice data suggest that the seasonal Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean. This has important consequences for our understanding of the recent trend of declining sea ice, and calls for further research on causal links between Arctic climate and sea ice.

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