“In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly. It might not be as early as 2013 but it will be soon…” – Prof. Paul Wadhams 2007 (‘Arctic will be ice free by 2013’ – BBC)
“greater than even chance” that the North Pole could be ice-free for the first time next month. – Prof. Paul Wadhams 2016 (‘A Farewell to Ice‘)
Arctic ice “may well disappear” this September – Prof. Paul Wadhams 2016
A Cambridge University professor has been accused of “crying wolf” by predicting the imminent disappearance of Arctic ice.
Peter Wadhams has been criticised by scientists who fear that he could undermine the credibility of climate science by making doom-laden forecasts.
He repeatedly predicted that the Arctic would be “ice-free” by last summer, by which he meant it would have less than one million sq km of ice. His forecasts, reported around the world, turned out to be wrong.
Satellite measurements revealed there was a minimum of 4.6 million sq km of Arctic ice last summer, well below the long-term average but above the record low in 2012 of 3.6 million sq km.
In June this year, Professor Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge, predicted that Arctic ice “may well disappear” this September. He added: “Even if the ice doesn’t completely disappear, it is very likely that this will be a record low year.”
A recent press release promoting his new book, Farewell to Ice, claimed that there was a “greater than even chance” that the North Pole could be ice-free for the first time next month.
The US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which monitors Arctic ice, said last week: “It is unlikely that Arctic sea ice extent this September will fall below the record minimum set in 2012.” Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, analysed Professor Wadhams’ forecasts on a climate science website and questioned whether they should be taken seriously.
He wrote: “There are very serious risks from continued climatic changes and a melting Arctic but we do not serve the public and policymakers well by exaggerating those risks. We will soon see an ice-free summer in the Arctic but there is a real danger of ‘crying wolf’.”
Dr Hawkins said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN’s climate science advisory body, had forecast that the Arctic would be “reliably ice-free”, meaning more than five consecutive years below one million sq km, by the mid-21st century.
Dr Hawkins said: “Putting a precise date on when we see the first days or weeks that are ‘ice-free’ is unwise because of the chaotic nature of the climate system and uncertainties in future greenhouse gas emissions.”
Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, also expressed concern. Writing on the same climate science website, he said: “When someone talks up imminent catastrophe, they might think they are getting a quick win by getting a scary story out there, but in the long term it will be an own goal.”
Last year, Professor Wadhams claimed that assassins may have murdered three British scientists who were seeking to reveal how rapidly global warming was melting Arctic ice. He complained about a report in The Times on his claims, saying he had been misquoted. The Independent Press Standards Organisation dismissed his complaint, stating “the article had accurately reported his position as he had explained it to the journalist”.
Professor Wadhams declined to comment apart from suggesting that he knew more about the Arctic than Dr Hawkins because he had been there on many research trips.
The Real World
- Arctic sea-ice is tracking 2015 levels at around 4.6 million sq km.
- Current sea-ice level is higher than the 2007 summer of 4.13 million sq km, when Wadhams made his dire forecast in the BBC article “Arctic will be ice free by 2013“
- 2016 sea-ice levels are a mile away from Wadhams’ 1,000,000 million sq km “ice free” tipping point.
- Current Arctic sea-ice levels are well above the record low set in 2012 of 3.6 million sq km.
There has been a massive expansion of thick Arctic Sea ice since 2012
Arctic summer melt season ended a week early
Arctic Sea-Ice related
- You Were Lied To About Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing | Climatism
- “Science Is The Belief In The Ignorance Of The Experts” | Real Science
- Climate Science Falls To A Record Low In 2016 | Real Science
- The ‘Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016’ turned out to be not so great for sea ice doomsters | Climatism