Arctic sea ice extent for 2016 is up nearly 25 percent over 2012 levels as polar temperatures continue to drop. The information comes from satellite imagery provided by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which has been tracking Arctic ice extent since satellite measurements began in 1979.

Mid-September is when Arctic ice is at its lowest and prior to 1979 climate change experts have had to rely on ship reports, News articles, and other less scientific means to approximate earlier sea ice coverage.

The good news is that the polar ice is growing faster in September than at previous times, indicating a quick recovery for winter.

Summertime in the Arctic

Ice melt in the Artic summertime is normal, but by how much has only been measured with any accuracy with the advent of satellites. Without melting ice, polar bears would starve to death. They eat the plump baby seals that pop up for air through ice holes in the thinning Arctic ice.

The NSIDC shows that 2016 is about the same as 2007 and better than 2012 through 2015 levels. Based on the most recent compiled data from last week, Arctic ice covered 2.5 million square miles (4.1 million square km) of sea water, up from its low of 1.3 million square miles in 2012.

Antarctica continues to grow

On the other end of the planet, Antarctica is actually growing year over year. It also goes through sea ice withdrawal during its summertime months (which is our winter) and hasn’t varied since 1979.

The continent has actually gained in size by over 30 percent from accumulated snow and ice since satellite measurements began over 30 years ago. They also found that Antarctica is covered almost entirely in snow and ice, which reflects sunlight back into space.

Former vice president and climate warrior Al Gore famously predicted in 2009 that the Arctic would be ice free by 2014.

Gore was making his predictions to the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. And in 2007, scientists predicted Arctic summers would be ice free by 2013:

The so-called Arctic ‘death spiral’ has been used to sell newspapers since ink met paper for over a hundred years. And they persist despite data showing the polar region is now entering a cool phase.

And all this fearmongering comes at a price.

For every claim of an ice-free Arctic is the counterclaim that previous declarations have not come true. In a sense, the science behind these climate-model predictions is running headlong into the most important variable routinely ignored: how the unpredictability of climate makes it impossible to predict.