Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.
Let's give credit where it's due: Al Gore.
When Al Gore speaks, the opposite happens. Where Al Gore goes, snow is sure to follow. So when Al Gore frightened a bunch of German kids by telling them that the North Pole would be gone in 5 years, that Santa Claus would die along with his reindeer, and that Polar Bears would either become extinct or catch the last few ice floes south to Europe where they'd "eat little kiddies like you," you just knew that the Arctic would grow ice faster than Joe Biden's head grows hair plugs.
And that's just what's happened.
Keep in mind, though, that we have only 30 years of satellite data on Arctic ice. So the melts of the past few summers might be dramatic--or they might very common. What do know beyond a doubt is that the Arctic ice experts know no more about Arctic ice than you or I. They were all 180 degrees off about the properties of "new" sea ice.
Why were predictions so wrong? Researchers had expected the newer sea ice, which is thinner, to be less resilient and melt easier. Instead, the thinner ice had less snow cover to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, and therefore grew much faster than expected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
So the next time an expert at NSIDC says the Arctic is meltic, remember that there is no such thing as an Arctic ice expert.