Meaningless data

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, arctic sea ice appears to have reached its annual minimum extent on 10 September. The minimum ice extent was the third-lowest in the satellite record, after 2007 and 2008, the Center says, "and continues the trend of decreasing summer sea ice."

The big joke, of course, if you are into these things, is that arctic ice extent seems to run on a seventy year cycle, as well as being affected by short-term cycles which have more to do with wind patterns than they do temperature. Thus, a declining trend since the beginning of satellite data – which started in 1979 – is actually meaningless. Unless you know what happened in the previous cycle, you have no comparative base, and therefore you are just producing figures in isolation.

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