Ice extent grows at both Poles (and a cold start to winter here?)

October 20th, 2013 at 3:44 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

arctic ice  antarctic ice  Click on the graphs to enlarge.  The graph on the left is the current Arctic ice extent and the graph on the right is the current Antarctic ice extent.   An update on global ice from Paul Homewood:  “Antarctic sea ice has set another record for maximum extent, beating the previous record of 19.513 million sq km, set on 21st September this year.  What makes the new record so astonishing is that it was set in October. Climatologically, the maximum extent is reached on 22nd September, so it is most unusual for the ice still to be growing.  At the 18th October, extent is still running at 998,000 sq km above normal.  With the Arctic ice running at 728,000sq km below normal, this means that global sea ice is 270,000 sq km above the 1981-2010 norm.”   The Arctic ice extent today is within one standard deviation, while the Antarctic ice extent is more than two standard deviations from average.  Both poles have seen substantial increases in ice extent in the past year.

Here’s a good discussion from Jeff Lutz, Meteorologist at NWS Gaylord (Saturday) that I think is worth reading:  “I was working the long term desk today, and looked at the upcoming week. Wow, is it beginning to look cold. If you read this previous post, I told how the re-curving of a typhoon in the western Pacific Ocean will lead to colder weather here. The typhoon I was talking about is beginning to have its effects felt here in Michigan by Monday night. There is another Super Typhoon that is taking the same basic track as the first. This means that we are going into a below average period for temperatures, and my guess, an above normal precipitation period.  The thing is that one model, The European Model, which has been doing the best of the long range models, came in with an even colder temperature at 850 mb ( about 5000 ft mean sea level) today. The temperature was cold enough that we may not just see a mix of rain and snow, but all snow, and an accumulation at that.  The other issue is that there has been some research to suggest that the patterns that set up in the middle to the end of the fall, determines the repeat of the pattern throughout the winter. This could mean that we could be seeing a colder, snowier pattern, until January, when the Lakes freeze (maybe).”

The European model overnight run has the 850 mb temperature for next Friday AM in Grand Rapids at -7.2C with surface temperatures in the upper 20s!  With the Lake Michigan water temperature at 60F, this could mean accumulating snow (and perhaps a good deal of accumulating snow in some areas downwind from the Great Lakes) and possibly even slippery spots on the roads if it snows hard enough at times.  We’re already getting sleet (and snow in the higher elevations of the U.P. and northern Lower Michigan) mixing in tonight with 850 mb temperatures of around -2C.  On the European model G.R. goes to -4C at 850 mb by Monday evening and stays below  -4C until next Saturday!  This’ll be a good week to watch the latest forecasts on WOOD-TV and here on the blog.


56 Responses to “Ice extent grows at both Poles (and a cold start to winter here?)”

  1. JuliaBL says:

    Very interesting, though the whole thing can be summed up by the last word in the second paragraph…(maybe). :0)

  2. Ned S. (Now in South Holland) says:

    I bought a golf cart cover the other day. Probably should buy a heater too.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Golf season will be ending soon this year. Get ready for the COLD and SNOW! Bring on skiing and snowmobiling season baby!

      1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        Cut the grass yesterday for what I hope is the last time this fall.

    2. michael g (SE GR) says:

      Word of warning, I was golfing with my boss on a cold October day a few years ago and when we were out on the green putting, the wind blew the side of the cover onto the heater and melted a giant hole in it.

  3. Chey R. says:

    If ice is growing at the poles and it means a cold start to winter. That’s alright by me. Its means money for the snowplows this year.

  4. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Generally when a weather pattern sets up we stay in that pattern from 30 to up to 60 days. So will we have a cold, snowy winter? Well I still think that is hard to say for sure. Looking back at last fall September, October and November were almost “average” temp wise. And thanks to a much milder then average December and January last winter ended up being above average temp wise and for the most part near to above average snow fall wise.

    Right now we will have to see where the storm track sets up and then see how the next 6 months play out. One thing for sure come April we will know for sure, But for now keep track of the long range guesses and see witch ones play out. As I feel we have a long way to go before we can “forecast” a whole seasons weather in advance.

  5. Steve T - Hudsonville says:

    After last nights Tiger defeat, this potential weather pattern shift really lifts my spirits. Fall/winter is the BEST!!!

  6. GunLakeDeb says:

    I’m worried about the upcoming forecast for snow…. I hope the snow comes with wind. If we get a sticky wet snow, tree branches will be falling – most trees around here are fully leafed out still. Be particularly mindful of parking under “brittle” tree species like Chinese Elm, Poplar, Willow, etc.

  7. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Bill, keep the good news rolling concerning the “global cooling period” that we are transitioning into! Winters will be longer and snowier. Bring it on!

  8. mr. negative says:

    Nonsense…eveybody knows there is no ice on this planet.

    1. Paul says:

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the resident cross dresser of Bill’s Blog. Drum roll or should I say turkey roll, lol. Here’s another long winded rant of Marxism by bdbc…yawn.

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        It sure is difficult matching wits with you, Paul the Racist. I am humbled by your sharp-cutting humor and clever banter. You truly are the thinking-man’s mouthpiece. Glad to see that trailer still gets the internet. :)

        1. Paul says:

          It certainly isn’t difficult matching wits with you, lol. Now get back to your corner you little whore, lmao.

  9. big Daddy BC says:

    Thanks for the update on growing sea ice, Bill. It’s amazing to many that the increasing humidity due to global warming actually causes annual sea ice to increase despite a dramatic decrease in ice volume across the globe. So as glaciers melt, surface area increases and then melts away. I realize your intent is to distort this and confuse people like Rocky into thinking we’re actually cooling, but anyone with any sense just has to go to NOAA and examine an historic temperature record to see the trend. Nice try, Captain Tea Party.

    1. Ned S. (Now in South Holland) says:

      Right back at ya, “Progressive.”

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        The agenda-driven alarmists are RE-gressive, not progressive, forcing us to go backwards through unnecessary, job-killing regulations and imposing higher utility rates on the poor and middle class.

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          Sure, Bill, and the Bush recession was a fantastic job creation tool. Regression is right!

          I’ve got a great video for you.

    2. Ryan (Rockford) says:

      1. I’m not affiliated in any way with the Tea Party or their beliefs.

      2. That article is one of the lamest I’ve read in terms of a prediction based on actual science. It merely rehashes the assumed (but in reality, uncertain at best) correlation between higher greenhouse gases and warmer temperatures, and then uses that false assumption to make overly broad and vague “predictions” of what’s going to occur at the end of the 21st century. This next sentence (copied/pasted directly from the article) is a pathetic attempt at a scientific hypothesis:

      “The study also shows a 20-30 percent expected increase in the maximum precipitation possible over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases continue to rise at a high emissions rate.”

      So there is an uncertain “expected increase”…based on the computer models I assume? Then there’s reference to the max precipitation “possible” (is that a 50 percent chance? A 1 percent chance?) over “large portions” of the “Northern Hemisphere.” How much is a “large portion?” Why is it only the Northern Hemisphere? The sentence then makes all of the above contingent on the continued rise of a “high” emissions rate, which again wrongly assumes the cause-and-effect of emissions to warmer temperatures. I couldn’t access the actual study, but that article is pure garbage in my opinion.

      1. Ryan (Rockford) says:

        Let me add that the graph shows that most of the Southern Hemisphere is within 10 percent of the “normal” and even contains areas where there is a predicted 20 or more percent drop in precipitation amounts. Keep in mind that the CPC’s 60 to 90 DAY forecasts are frequently inaccurate; I think a 60 to 90 YEAR prediction should face at least as much skepticism.

    3. Sarah says:

      You are the only one with an agenda here.I didn’t see any comments whatever about global warming or cooling in Bill’s post. Why don’t you save your inane comments for a political forum?

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        Are you new to the blog, Sarah? LOL I haven’t checked back here in a good month, but I know that EVERY time I do, Bill will have some cooling propaganda reposted here from Watts or Maue, Exxon’s finest. And if you think this isn’t a political blog, stick around and have a read. Occasionally rational science-minded people post good stuff here, but mostly it’s trailer-park repubs, religious zealots, and weather hobbiests (the minority).

        Ryan, thanks for reading the NOAA piece. I agree that predicting the weather is a crap shoot. That’s why Bill gets it wrong 80% of the time. But longitudinal examinations using statistical modeling is a tad more accurate. Are you saying you think the world will suddenly curb it’s addiction to hydrocarbons? That China will suddenly go green? Of course not. The study looked at temp increases, which are easily predictable based on a steady increase in CO2 output. It looked at convection and cross winds and the relationship between these three, evaporation, and weather events. No one is able to predict when a future storm will occur but they can with certainty calculate whether the odds are increasing or decreasing. The dice are loaded.

        But my point was less about weather and more about the increase in sea ice. Warming deniers like Bill Steffen like to point to sea ice as evidence that warming is a scientific hoax and ignore the real canaries in the coal mine…melting glaciers, an increase in droughts, and dramatic changes in biogeography. My point was that an increase in the annual surface area of polar ice is attributed to a warming, wetter atmosphere. It’s too bad we can’t scoop up all that sea ice before it melts and repair our vanishing glaciers.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          The images on this blog post are from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Don’t lie. I came within ONE INCH of getting the season snowfall right for G.R. last winter: and we’ll get more than 66″ this year.

          You say “temp. increases are easily predictable? HA!

          “There is no evidence that climate change contributed to the lack of rainfall, because rainfall has risen over the past century in the state.” John Nielsen-Gammon, State Climatologist of Texas

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          I never said a thing about the drought, but IT IS still going on three years later. I suppose that’s normal, huh?
          What’s funny about last winter is when it happened. As you’ll recall it didn’t start until the last third of January. We can’t really nail you down on a seasonal forecast because you didn’t make one. You tucked tail after muffing the previous winter, spring, and summer SO badly. But we all forgive you for it. After all you and that giant stash were in a a most-excellent dub video.

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          The 1930s called…they want to educate you on multi-year droughts:

          People can read the article here: I nailed the seasonal snow forecast.

          Listen to Alan Colmes: (Jon Stewart and Wolf Blitzer said the same thing)

        4. Sarah says:

          I guess the antarctic ice cap must be a cooling propagandist also. I fail to see how Bill is engaging in any kind of cooling propaganda by simply accurately stating the extent of the polar ice caps at present. You don’t belong in a scientific forum if you can’t appreciate scientific data for what it is and you have to look at it through a political lens and skew any post Bill makes into a political post. You also don’t seem to be able to avoid lumping the majority of readers of Bill’s blog into adversarial political groups/ cretins. Get help.

    4. Bill Steffen says:

      big Daddy and the rest of his agenda-driven alarmists have changed their tune, adjusting to the reality of the increased ice extent. Al Gore in 2007, 2008 and many times in 2009 said: “the icecap (will be) gone in five years.” I said in 2007 that I’d give Al Gore 10 to 1 odds on the icecap still being there in 2013 (or 2020) and I’d give him even money that the icecap would be bigger in 2013 than in 2007. I even offered to have the winner’s money returned and the loser’s money go to the Red Cross. Gore’s got money to spare:

      And…here’s the liberal NPR on polar bears: If you’re school is still teaching that the polar bears are all dying off from so-called “global warming”, show your teacher the NPR article and challenge them to find a polar that can be proven to have died from “global warming”. Here’s another article:

      We have had LOTS of animals die from unusual cold recently: (not a word of this in the U.S. press)

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        LOL Wow, look who was waiting for me. It’s been a while, Bill. I guess I’ve given you time to stack up a few more right-wing links. Funny that you’re challenging Gore to a bet. You don’t honor your bets. I’ve bet you and won twice but never got the pay-out. What’s even funnier is that you can’t challenge the science so you pull good old Gore back out as evidence of the liberal hoax. Broken record.

        Your links are anecdotal wastes of time, and you challenged me to produce pics of drowned polar bears last year, as you’ll recall. When I did, you claimed the author couldn’t be trusted even though he worked for the state of Alaska. Give us a break, Magoo. You don’t know anything about Polar Bears. You’re just parroting Fox News again.

        Here’s what NOAA has to say: “The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for August 2013 tied with 2005 as the fourth highest in the 1880–2013 record, at 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F).

        The June–August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average, the seventh warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 20th century average, the fifth warmest June–August on record.

        The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the year-to-date (January–August) was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.3°F), tying with 2003 as the sixth warmest such period on record.”

        Now I realize they didn’t come up with a dead bear, but they sure do have a trend on their hands!

        1. Emily says:

          Bill – Thanks for being matter-of-fact and bringing so many great reputable resources to us! Kids at that school I used to teach at dress up as you for Halloween, so your fan base just keeps growing! Though I don’t mind a good debate, I wish someone would ‘unfriend’ this Big person. His comments are so rude and unnecessarily so. He may have a point to make, but no one can hear it through the cringes at his low-ball attacks and spiteful retorts. Truly like reasoning with the five-year-olds I used to teach…I hope he knows his tactics make people stop listening to whatever points he wants to make.

      2. Austin says:

        As always…YOU ROCK BILL!!!!!! Thanks for putting these “know-it-alls” straight!! Keep up the good work!!

    5. Robert(Plainwell) says:

      Oh bDBC, water vapor looks steady to me.

  10. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    While I am for the most part skeptical the effects of the so called “climate change” and the Earth as a whole may very well be getting warmer, or cooler or even stable. And any warming or cooling or even being stable if that is the case could be long term natural changes. But one has to recognize that we as inhabitants of this Earth have made changes that may or may not have contributed to any changes that may be taking place.
    Everyone should remember that if there is warming taking place that not all areas of the planet would suffer. if there was warming taking place as some areas would greatly benefit but it also should be noted that if cooling was taking place that could hurt some areas worst then any warming could. But in general live on Earth had had a way to adopt to the changes that it has faced.
    On a side note if there was even a slight chance of warming taking place one would think that the so called “cold and snow lovers” would be very concerned its funny I do not see that. Lets hope they are not just in denial.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      There is no global warming taking place and we are headed into “global cooling period”! Winters will be colder and snowier for years to come! I love it!

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          The no trick zone, really? Is that suppose to be ironic?

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          You climate profiteers had to “use Mike’s TRICK to HIDE THE DECLINE” (from an incriminating Climategate email)

    2. big Daddy BC says:

      Don’t forget, Slim, that we aren’t alone on this world. Climate change affects the entire biosphere. Finite regions of the globe will definitely benefit from a redistribution of water, but overall an increase in the rate of this mass extinction isn’t desirable for anyone or anything. You can’t eat money!

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        Let’s just keep throwing money at the rich and hope they know best huh, Boehner, eh, I mean, Bill.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          Can’t respond to any of my links on so-called “global warming”, so you change to bitter jealousy and class warfare. The “rich” have been paying an ever-increasing share of the tax burden, while Harry Reid is spending the wealth of the next generation on websites that don’t work ( and boondoggles like Solyndra (

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          Oh, those poor billionaires. You’re making me sad. But if they’re paying more, than why are we getting poorer while they get richer.

        3. michael g (SE GR) says:

          Because they’re smarter than you Kevin.

    3. Mike M. says:

      True, Slim, just look at black soot and it’s effects on ice melt. That’s why glaciers stated melting way before Co2 was supposedly a concern. Look at the air conditioning effect of turning the Midwest into the breadbasket of the world. Man made lakes and dams. Billions of tons of asphalt and concrete. Dirty air, then clean air. And still we thrive.

  11. Nerd says:

    Can you provide a better graphic of the Antarctic? Something as neat as the Arctic graphic would be great!

  12. Larry from Hastings/Barry Co says:

    Liberals try to save animals, wildlife etc., but they never talk about human life. Al Gore and his people will have answers to everything. The bottom line is they will say “global warming”. I am so glad Al Gore didn’t become president. If he would have, we would have “green police” kicking in our doors to see if we are using the proper light bulbs. That will happen if the liberals get their way. The frozen north and south poles should be a wake-up call, that there is no such thing as “global warming”. I am sure the polar bears are really enjoying the ice. I just hope Santa Claus doesn’t get stuck in the ice at the North Pole. If we get cold and snow between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, this will help the retail stores and create some good seasonal jobs. Stay warm everyone.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:

      Yeah, they talk about human life. They despise it. They think “the planet” would be better off if there were 5,000,000,000 less humans on it. How they propose to get to that number? Well, let’s not get caught up in the details.

  13. Good grief says:

    So apparently instead of a local news weather blog, this is actually a liberal bashing blog? I think this needs to be moved to livejournal or something. Also? Scientists not “believing” in global warming is just plain disturbing.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      It’s disturbing to those who seek to profit financially or politically from global warming alarmism. For the rest of us, we’re happy that global temperatures have leveled off, that the icecap in the Arctic has grown significantly in the past year (certainly not what you guys expected), that we’ve had another year with a lack of hurricanes in the U.S., that the tornado count this year is at a recent record low, that the drought of 2012 was followed by significant rain this year, producing a near record fruit crop in Michigan, that the growing season has been a few days longer (a big help to those farmers who had wet fields that delayed tilling and planting back in April/May) and that the winter sports industry in Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota should have a fantastic year.

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Scientists will “believe” whatever they’re paid to “believe.”

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Unfair, generalized statement. Not all scientists are on the take, but you get my point.

      2. DF (SE Mcih) says:

        Research of the infinite research grant… :)

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