Energy

The Arctic Was Supposed To Be Ice-Free In 2016 — That Didn’t Happen

It’s been a little over four years since an “Arctic expert” claimed the North Pole would be ice-free by the summer of 2016.

That never happened.

Arctic sea ice hit its second-lowest extent on record, tying with 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. There was still 1.6 million square miles of ice — that’s a lot more than zero ice coverage.

But that’s not what some “experts” predicted. In September 2012, The Guardian amplified the predictions of Cambridge University’s Peter Wadhams that the Arctic would be ice-free within four years.

“This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free,” Wadham told the Guardian. “The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates.”

This isn’t Wadham’s first prediction of an Arctic meltdown. “The imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007,” The Guardian reported. Sea ice did hit a record low that year — until it was broken in 2012.

“I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer,” Wadham said in 2012.

Wadham is just one of several notables to make dire predictions about Arctic sea ice.

Former Vice President Al Gore famously predicted in 2008 the Arctic would be ice free within five years. Then-Sen. John Kerry claimed in 2009 the Arctic would be ice free in five years.

These predictions were also — unsurprisingly — wrong.

So what’s happened to the Arctic? The region’s lost about 10 percent of its sea ice coverage since 1979, but the last 10 years have actually witnessed a “pause” in minimum sea ice extent.

Dr. David Whitehouse, the science editor at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, wrote “it is obvious there is no general decrease in minimal ice area, by this measure, between 2007 – 2016 – ten years!”

“Did anyone run the headline that Arctic minimum ice extent has showed no significant change in the past decade?” Whitehouse asked, slamming media outlets.

“The case can be made that the behaviour of the Arctic ice cover has changed from the declining years of 1998 – 2007,” he argued.

In fact, Arctic ice grew at record pace since the start of September, adding over 3.7 million square miles of sea ice, according to data collected by the climate blog Not A Lot Of People Know That. That’s a record amount of ice for that time of year.

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