Our title today is an allusion to Bill Bruford’s “Five Percent For Nothing”, from the 1971 album “Fragile” by Yes. Here’s what the cover looks like:
A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.
The sums are obviously rather tricky, so we’ve enlisted the aid of a spreadsheet. Here’s what it reveals to us:
|NSIDC Daily Extent (million km²)||Day 249||3.558||5.236||47.2%|
|NSIDC Daily Extent (million km²)||Sep 8th||3.523||5.179||47.0%|
|NSIDC Daily Extent (million km²)||Aug 27th||3.94||5.632||42.9%|
|NSIDC Daily Extent (million km²)||Aug 15th||4.845||6.159||27.1%|
|NSIDC Monthly Extent (million km²)||August||4.71||6.09||29.3%|
Whichever way you look at things, on a “same time last year” basis at least, the magic number of 60% seems to be out of reach. Whatever the arithmetic David Rose actually performed, whether mentally or on his pocket calculator, it would appear not to involve comparing like with like. We have asked David and the Mail on a number of occasions what numbers he started from and what calculations he performed. We have received no answers as yet.
Getting back to our title, when you start to look at Arctic sea ice volume instead of extent, 160% of almost nothing is still almost nothing:
Video courtesy of Andy Lee Robinson
Small print: We have yet to double check all the numbers in our simple spreadsheet. The NSIDC web site is still down today.