Arctic sea ice has drastically grown since the past year, by as much as 60% and almost 1 million square miles, according to a recent report by the Daily Mail. The Australian also reports that there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica; rather, the ice is actually growing.
“Ice is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap,” The Australian report states.
Since the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s, environmental concerns have plagued the global population. Due to the high volume of fumes being released into the atmosphere, it is widely believed that there is a massive, growing, predominantly man-made hole in the ozone layer, particularly at the poles, where the ice caps are.
A recent report from the United Nations stated with 95% certainty that global warming as a result of these ozone layer holes is in fact caused by human activity.
The recent reports of growing ice caps contradict this data, and say that due to a chillier-than-usual summer, the Antarctic ice cap rebounded from a record low and grew exponentially – “by a whopping 60%,” according to the Guardian. The Guardian report also describes an already-growing ice sheet over half the size of Europe.
Backlash to these reports has rejected them as misleading and inaccurate. Foremost among the criticisms of these reports is the idea that the growth is a short-term response to conditions that were not usual. Environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli acknowledges the growing sea ice as “technically true, [but] also largely irrelevant.”
“The long-term trend is one of rapid Arctic sea ice decline, and research has shown this is mostly due to human-caused global warming,” Nuccitelli goes on to say.
“The sea ice area is a great example of how you have to look at long-term trends. You can’t look at just year-to-year variability; you have to look at long-term changes in the climate, long-term changes in the sea ice as a result,” Dr. Chris Forest, an associate professor of climate dynamics with Penn State University told AccuWeather.com.
Another dispute to the touting of the growing sea ice as a “smoking gun against climate change” is the inherent and important difference between “land ice” and “sea ice,” according to SkepticalScience.com.
“In Antarctica, sea ice grows quite extensively during winter but nearly completely melts away during the summer,” says the science blog. “It is quite clear that really when it comes to Antarctic ice and sea levels, sea ice is not the most important thing to measure. In Antarctica, the largest and most important ice mass is the land ice of the West Antarctic and East Antarctic ice sheets.”
On the same note, AccuWeather also says, “Though Antarctic sea ice is increasing, land ice is consistently decreasing.”
Reports of colder-than-usual Arctic summers and growing sea ice do however come in contrast to the BBC’s 2007 and 2008 reports that global warming would leave the Arctic “ice-free” by the summer of 2013.
Arctic and Antarctic ice trends have proven to be unpredictable at best, and the general consensus to the Daily Mail report and similar reports has been that a year-to-year analysis of ice growth is not enough to extrapolate a larger trend of growth.