A story circulating online that points to a sea ice thickness map as evidence that global warming is not happening is false.
Powell Media, an online news site, is running a colour-coded map from June 26, 2018, that shows ice thickness across the Arctic Ocean. The map, attributed to the Denmark-based monitoring group Polar Portal, shows that the ocean is almost totally covered by ice.
“On the 26th of June! Where’s that (so-called) global warming?” the site asks. Powell Media links to identical information published on Ice Age Now, an online site run by a non-scientist architect promoting a book that predicts a coming ice age.
Scientists say the map — a daily look at ice levels — is simply a snapshot and does not provide perspective on what has happened to the ice over time. Sea ice fluctuates seasonally with the lowest levels in mid-September and highest levels in March.
Mark Serreze, senior scientist and director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, said the idea the map reveals anything about global warming is “nonsense.”
“There is always a lot of sea ice in June,” said Serreze, adding that this year the June extent is quite low compared to previous years.
According to the centre’s statistics, the 30-year average for June 27 is 4.29 million square miles of ice coverage, but as of 2018 the ice coverage was 3.90 million square miles. This means the ice coverage in 2018 is 389,000 square miles below average. The size of Texas is 268,580 square miles by comparison.
This is the seventh lowest amount of ice extent since the start of sea ice satellite monitoring in 1979. The National Snow and Ice Data Center is funded by NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.