Many news media have claimed that the ice in the Arctic is declining dramatically, which is simply false. The following charts are from the Danish government’s site, here.
The above chart shows that although ice in the Arctic melts and breaks off from glaciers in the Spring and Summer to form icebergs, it returns again each Winter, and as of last year, was entirely within measured historical standards, which began in earnest in 1981. It also appears that there is a net gain year over year, as the right side average is above the left-side beginning of the year. If there were no gain, they would start a year and end it at the save level.
Snow Mass in the Northern Hemisphere?
From the Finnish government site we find the total snow mass is growing presently, more than 2 standard deviations above the 1982-2012 average in the following chart, here.
This is concerning: when snow increases in the Northern hemisphere, this is a positive feedback loop that will lower spring temperatures, shorten the growing season, and this in turn has the follow-on affect on the following winter. If snow builds up over time, the problem becomes solar energy being reflected by the snow, increasing the Earth’s albedo, thus causing further cooling.
This may account for the precipitous declines in temperatures that have sometimes dropped more than 10˚ C in periods of less than 20 years during the planet’s past hundreds of millions of years. This would cause an ice age, which is not really a good thing for the nearly 8 billion people living here.
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University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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