Are Arctic and Antarctic Ice Correlated?

There may be a correlation between ice extent loss in the Arctic and ice extent gain in the Antarctic.

Arctic in red. Antarctic in green

Over the past decade, Antarctic ice reached record highs for the satellite period. The Arctic reached record lows for that same period. In order to show a possible correlation, I put the graphs through four steps. First is the overlay above.

Next comes a vertical flip across the x-axis.

Next step is to shift Antarctica left by six months, so that we are comparing NH winter to SH winter and NH summer to SH summer.

Final step is to shift Antarctica downward by 0.5 Mkm². This is done because the magnitude of ice loss in the Arctic has generally been greater than the magnitude of ice gain in the Antarctic.

Is it a perfect correlation? No. But there is something there worth investigating. Note that the record (low/high) peaks in both hemispheres between 2007 and 2008. The video below shows the whole process.

h/t to rbateman for the idea of merging the two graphs.

About Tony Heller

Just having fun
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11 Responses to Are Arctic and Antarctic Ice Correlated?

  1. LetsGoViking says:

    not intending to poke at you, and I understand changing the magnitude, but doesn’t that somewhat automatically move towards a correlation? Statistically impaired here!


  2. etudiant says:

    The Cryosphere Today website includes a global sea ice graph which has boringly remained at the 30 year average, +/- 2 mm sq km. It has been very reassuring to look at when hearing about unprecedented global climate change.

  3. Amino says:

    It just can’t be a coincidence: trend of increase in the Antarctic and trend decrease in the Arctic. And it looks like they have reversed in the last 2 years. Do the graphs match up perfectly? As was pointed out, they don’t But if you could understand all the characteristics of ocean current patterns, wind patterns, jet streams, etc., you’d see why the little variations are caused.

    Because of land being at the south Pole ice loss is different there than at the North Pole. It more variable at the North Pole. Overall trend is important though. And the data shows a correlation in overall trend. It would be nice to have a satellite data set that is 1000 years long instead of 30. The Vikings should have sent one up there. 😉

  4. baffled24 says:

    Related? No! Antarctic sea ice, spreading? What about volume? This is a red herring.

  5. AndyW says:

    They don’t correlate at the moment.

    Also, what happens if you change the anaomaly graph to a percentage of total for each Pole?


  6. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Svensmark noted the N/S polar cycle and suggested a possible mechanism in his book ‘The Chilling Stars’.

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