Peter Wadhams contradicts Arctic ice extent facts

This morning I woke to the following story on Reuters:  ‘Arctic to be ice-free in summer in 20 years; scientist.’  

That would be fine except that it contradicts a story we posted on September 24th which indicated that the ice extent actually increased for the second successive year.  In fact, the Arctic Ice Extent on 17 September 2009 was 23.4 percent greater than it was on the same date in 2007.

[Read:  Arctic Ice Increases For 2nd Straight Year But Don’t Tell the Alarmists]

The Reuters story opened with the following:

Global warming will leave the Arctic Ocean ice-free during the summer within 20 years, raising sea levels and harming wildlife such as seals and polar bears, a leading British polar scientist said on Thursday.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, said much of the melting will take place within a decade, although the winter ice will stay for hundreds of years.

Does Wadhams have any supporting evidence to suggest that the two year increase in Arctic ice will take a turn over the next 20 years?  First he would have to acknowledge that the increase occurred.

Scientists say evidence of melting Arctic ice is one of the clearest signs of global warming and it should send a warning to world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December for U.N. talks on a new climate treaty.

“The data supports the new consensus view — based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition — that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years,” Wadhams said in a statement. “Much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years.”

Peter WadhamsWadhams is considered one of the world’s leading experts on sea ice cover in the North Pole region so why ignore data that refutes this data?

One of the things we try to accomplish here is properly vet the organizations or people who discuss this issue.  As such, we have forgone using some people as they may have been employed by or served on a board of a company that would cause a conflict of interest with the subject matter.

Reuters obviously doesn’t concern themselves with such trivialities.  A couple of simple Google searches produced the following information about Wadhams.

Berks at NERC snub Peter Wadhams, again  

This article was published in the Telegraph (UK) on 04 September 2007. 

He lived, but he has now fled the country after suffering academic death by a thousand cuts at the hands of a research council charged with keeping British environmental research afloat. In my humble view, it is a disgrace.

Wadhams is most famous among scientists as the man whose researches aboard a British sub in 1996 revealed that Arctic ice had thinned by 40 per cent since the 1970s.

Do we have to mention that the warming trend ran from the late 1970’s through 1998?  Therefore, it should be no surprise that the Arctic ice had thinned during this time period. 

When researching weather patterns you can’t extract a portion of time.  You must include historical patterns.  That is why some in the scientific community were warning of a coming ice age since the ice was increasing during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Trends occur over multiple decades and there is significant evidence that the pendulum is now trending cooler over recent years.  Wadham doesn’t have to venture far from the same Arctic he is researching.

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Atlantic water makes its way into the arctic beneath the ice from Barents Sea reaching Siberia a few years later. Pacific waters enter through the Bering Strait. See how the Pacific (PDO) and Atlantic (AMO based temperatures relate to the arctic temperatures as measured by Polyakov.

Notice the dip in the Arctic Mean Temperature in the 1970’s – around the Ice Age concern – as well as the earlier dip in the 1920’s.  Conversely, see the peaks in the 1930’s and around 2000.  Clearly, this is a cyclical temperature pattern.

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NOAA GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network) arctic temperatures show the same cyclical temperature pattern.

Both graphs from

What also caught my attention was that Wadhams had suffered ‘academic death by a thousand cuts at the hands of a research council.’

Apparently, Wadhams has the ability to do his research from British and US naval submarines which seemingly upset the British government’s National Environment Research Council (NERC).

“NERC is constantly saying in its publicity that sea ice is a critical parameter of climate change,” says Wadhams. “But it won’t provide me with any funding, even though the submarines are being provided free of charge.”


NERC has turned down his last TEN grant applications – including critical studies into mysterious giant whirlpools off Greenland that may drive the Gulf Stream, another topic on which he is a world authority. “I am the most experienced Arctic researcher in Britain. So I have to conclude that it is personal,” he says.

But it may be bigger than that. His problem may be that he is based at a British university, Cambridge, and not at NERC’s big budget National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, which soaks up most of the available cash for studying the oceans, including the Arctic.

Gideon Henderson, professor of earth sciences at Oxford University, complained to a Commons select committee back in May of a “widespread frustration” in the country’s top universities that NERC was hogging all the cash.

As this 2007 article points out, Wadhams had ten consecutive grant applications denied. 

One of the attacks alarmists use is that skeptics are all on the payroll of Big Oil.  What goes unnoticed is that many of the alarmist scientists need grants in order to continue research.  Without grant money or if the hypothesis is disproved, the scientist must move onto a new research project.

By producing results that support the hypothesis there could be support to continue the research.  And if the subject matter is extreme enough, it is easier to garner grant support.  At this point in history, not too many subjects can harvest the kind of grant dollars that ‘Global Warming’ can.

As with all good Global Warming alarmist articles the Reuters story conclude with the following:

“The Arctic Sea ice holds a central position in our Earth’s climate system. Take it out of the equation and we are left with a dramatically warmer world,” he said.

“This could lead to flooding affecting one-quarter of the world’s population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions …. and extreme global weather changes.”

Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said the research “sets out the stark realities of climate change.”

“This further strengthens the case for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen,” he added.


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