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Arctic Sea Ice Extent, October 27 2009: 6 Standard Deviations Below the 1979-2000 Mean

The latest data on sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean includes information up through October 27, 2009:

Extent of Arctic Sea Ice on October 27, 2009, with comparisons for 2008, 2007 and the mean of 1979-2000

Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

The National Snow and Ice Data Center’s standard for measuring a notable deviation from the 1979-2000 sea ice average is two standard deviations, which is a reasonably strong standard, considering that in a normal distribution 95% of observations will tend to occur within two standard deviations of the mean.

The latest Arctic sea ice observation is placed six standard deviations below the 1979-2000 mean.

6 comments to Arctic Sea Ice Extent, October 27 2009: 6 Standard Deviations Below the 1979-2000 Mean

  • JD

    It’s the Antarctic ice that’s more concerning. Ice that is in the water (Arctic ice) doesn’t raise the sea level when it melts (think of ice in a glass of water). Most of the Antactic ice is on land. When it melts or slides into the ocean it makes a difference (think of ice added to a glass of water). And there is a gob (technical term) of ice down there.

  • Jim

    Right. This is more of an indicator than a source of concern, for sea level anyway (think Greenland in the Arctic if you’re concerned about sea level). Accompanying changes are leading to other varieties of upheaval (literally) in the Arctic.

  • MadmIke

    Melting of any ice also significantly reduces the albedo of a surface (non-technically, causes the artic sea to reflect less energy) leading to increased energy absorption and more warming. This feedback effect is probably more dangerous in the long term than rising sea levels. I’m also concerned about melting artic ice as increased fresh water content in the north sea could disrupt the gulf stream, making my home (UK) have winters just like Canada. This couuntry hasn’t seen 6 inches of snow in my lifetime, let alone 6 feet.

  • MadMike

    Hmm, interesting typo. My name should have read Mad Mike, not Madam Ike …

  • Tom

    good one mike!

    Yeah, for the past couple of years i’ve begun thinking that it’s too late to do much about this climate catastrophe looming in the distance. Big Oil and most of the ignorant people on the planet don’t care and won’t change their ways. Changing light bulbs isn’t going to cut it in the long run (which, as mentioned above, is becoming the short run as we keep denying and delaying real action). Others think technology will save the day, but they don’t realize how fragile our FOOD supply is with respect to climate.

    If the thermohaline cycle is even disrupted, let alone shut off (as Mike mentioned above), the climate for most of Europe (if not the entire planet) will be adversely affected for decades.

    We fund space programs to search for near earth objects that could impact us and screw things up royally for everyone and everything on the planet, but we don’t do much about the way we impact the planet more directly. Sad how stupid we are as a species.

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