Eli suggests I start hedging. Well no. Mostly because the sums people have been prepared to put up so far are trivial. But partly because getting over-exciting about one exceptional year would be really silly, and there does seem to be some danger of people getting carried away. Saying “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.” is either trivially true, because of the at-this-rate, or silly, if you assert that the rate is sure to continue.

Anyway, I need to put up a summary of the bets at some point and will do so, probably in the quiet period over christmas.

While I’m here, let me point you towards the veritable butterfly effect.


  1. #1 Phil Hays

    The interesting question is “is this an exceptional year”, or more correctly several exceptional years, or are we seeing the end of the summertime ice cover?

  2. #2 Alexander Ač

    for me, more interesting quote has been following one:

    “However, for nearly the past 30 years, the data pattern of its ice sheet melt has zigzagged. A bad year, like 2005, would be followed by a couple of lesser years.

    According to that pattern, 2007 shouldn’t have been a major melt year, but it was, said Konrad Steffen, of the University of Colorado”

  3. #3 fergus

    Follow the long-term trend line…
    Does it take cover below 10% in three years’ time?

  4. #4 Steve Bloom

    Of course Zwally’s projection of the present trend to 2012 is not a prediction of any sort, but Maslowski’s model result showing the same outcome in 2013 very much is. Since the former was a comment on the latter, really just pointing out that the model result doesn’t require the ice to do anything different from what it already seems to be doing, it’s a little unfair to characterize it as trivial or silly.

    Regarding that butterfly, don’t forget what transpired there a few months later. Apparently butterfly size matters. :)

  5. #5 mugwump

    “552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet…It’s an amount of water that could cover Washington, D.C., a half-mile deep, researchers calculated”

    OMFG! We’re all doomed! Doooooomed I say.

    Never mind that Greenland has 2.85 million cubic km of ice. Or that 552 billion tons of ice is only about 500 cubic kilometers of the stuff, or 0.017%.

    No skeptic can hold a candle to the ecofascists/alarmists when it comes to misleading the public.

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