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Rich and Mike Island

Between August 11 and August 12, arctic sea ice extent decreased 29,375 square km faster in 2011 than in 2007. A decent chunk out of the lead.

However 2007 still leads by 406,406 square km. I agree that with the terrible state of the remaining sea ice vis a vis 2007, we will see some convergence, but I think we will probably not have enough time to set a new record low minimum. But it will be close I think, a close second.

Paul Klemencic

The preliminary Bremen map is out, again showing major receding ice pack edge between Severnaya Zemlya and the Greenland Sea, with open water above Svalbard. The ice moved back at least 20 km, and moving off the eastern island of the Svalbard Archipelago by over 30 km. This area of the map usually doesn't see significant changes when the final map for today comes out, so this extent loss should stick. However, the ice transport into the Fram has now stalled almost completely, with ice pack below the choke point moving into the Greenland sea, but with almost no flow through the choke point.

The weak area of ice in the 105-135 quadrangles continues to grow, mostly to the west, but the area is getting larger. This area should end up drifting toward Greenland and will likely melt out enough for open seas to get above the 85N latitude and perhaps within 300 km of the North Pole.

The slush puppy seas in the E. Siberian, Chukchi, and Beaufort regions, seem to be moving around a lot, but this area of the Bremen map gets revised substantially in the final map, so I will wait to comment.

michael sweet

The conclusion of the MIT article says:

Rampal best explains this complexity himself: “It’s hard to predict the future of Arctic sea ice.”

In the end we will have to wait and see what happens to the ice. It is interesting to guess who's model is the closest to reality.

Seke Rob

Think it's all about the cell percentages... the more spread out, the more melt. We'd not want the compaction through wind to start too late as else you have the weird situation that the extent increases whilst the outline is shrinking. Can anyone picture that too?

Mind you, what has best PR value to get the on the fence skeptics across. A humongous low concentration [CAPIE] with low area has it's appeal... if it goes it goes however the cards fall.

Hans Verbeek

Sometimes I wonder why the amount of sea-ice in the month September became so important.
The amount of sea-ice in the rest of the year seems so insignificant.
Our time is coming to an end, fossil fuels are running out.

Seke Rob

I'm doing a running chart of the average
SIE since Jan.1 (SIA planned) and few days ago 2011 passed the previous low on that metric, 2006, not 2007. Here's JAXA in numbers,

Year, km-square, rank
'11 11493467 (1)
'10 11769078 (5)
'09 11987644 (6)
'08 11988801 (7)
'07 11573072 (3)
'06 11514338 (2)
'05 11717343 (4)
'04 12007070 (8)
'03 12288382 (9)

2007 is now in catch-up mode, but it needs by last calculation to be ~475,000 kmsq per day ahead of 2011 all through the minimum day to win 1st spot.



Why extent? Surely the purpose of an average to date is to see effect of albedo feedback but for that surely area is a more appropriate measure than extent?

On a different topic, the latest Bremen Uni chart

seems to show increasing possibility of sailing from Scarpa floe or Bergen to Bering Strait such than once clear of land and there is no land between pole and vessel this could be maintained for whole route. I wonder whether/when someone might attempt this.

Seke Rob

Chris R, see the bracketed insert [SIA planned] :D ... insolation... kind of dark out there in wintertime. Maybe SIA is good for a heat retention kind of correlation in ocean water? Have to play with data to see what can be teased out.

Oh wait, nearly forgot, this maybe?:


Ignore the file name... it's the average of the first 223 days of the years 1979 to 2011. All bars recompute with each day there a new data record. Think it would look brilliant in animation, the bars going up and down and the year progresses.


Sorry I missed that bracketed part.

Impressive graph. :D


I've been a bit extra busy lately and in the process of buying a delapidated farm

Neven, wish you all the best with your farm. We are also in the process of buying a hobby farm in Tasmania. Would like to have a go at permaculture.

Chris Biscan

The right side of the pack receded a ton today.



Seems as though it's not just the ice on the move. We moved house last month. And now have 15 fruit trees and vines on the planting conveyor belt before the next delivery of a dozen more arrives. (Along with the potatoes and other delicaces.)

Good luck to both of you.

Chris Biscan


Modis shows some more melt for sure up in the slush puppy area.

the East side moving won't stop for at least 7 days.

the HPs rearrange a bit, but more warm air coming off super warm record SSTs coming from recrod warmthn in Northern Europe will fly into the pack as the SLP sets up SE then E of Greenland. 5-10C 850s get pushed all the way to the inner arctic circle as the -5 to -10 850s move West towards the Beaufort then Chukchi.

The Eastern Side of the ice pack could go as far west as a whole as we have ever seen..with a tremendously large area of open warm water that has to refreeze come this winter


Steve Bloom

Are delapidates anything like medjouls? :)

Steve Bloom

Neven: "Most of you will probably heard about this, but an MIT study says Arctic ice thinning 4x faster than predicted. I don't find it trustworthy enough to turn it into a new blog post, even though I did that for Funder et al and Kay et al papers."

'splain, please?

Daniel Bailey

Can't speak for why Neven wrote that, but the abstract form of the study (in press) is here and talked about here.

Kevin O'Neill

We know the GCMs have badly underestimated the rate of loss of Arctic ice. The abstract for the MIT study gives a pretty good rationale for why the GCMs have it wrong.

The coupling between the ice state (thickness and concentration) and ice velocity is unexpectedly weak in most models. In particular, sea ice drifts faster during the months when it is thick and packed than when it is thin, contrary to what is observed; also models with larger long-term thinning trends do not show higher drift acceleration.

There's not much to argue with there - simply a statement of how the models handle thinning ice versus what we actually observe.

Lucia (The Blackboard)

seke robert
Think it's all about the cell percentages... the more spread out, the more melt.
Correlations of past behavior indicate that the more spread out (as indicated by the difference between extent and area) the more extent loss we will see. In fact, for this time of year, using this difference to predict remaining melt up to the minimum gave me the best predictive method based on information I looked at. I discuss that prediction here here.

You can see the correlation between remaining extent loss and the difference between extent and area is pretty good:

If this is what you mean by the more spread out, the more melt, I agree. This idea seems to stand up to scrutiny.

Using this idea to create a statistical prediction suggests there is a 7% chance that we will set a new minimum.

It turns out though that other statistical methods predict the future minimum ice extent almost as well as looking at the difference between ice extent and area.. I discuss some in a recent post.

I wasn't able to detect any noticeable correlation between being spread out and losing ice area. Right now, I think there is a pretty good chance we will set a new record for the minimum ice area while not setting a record for ice extent.

Bob Wallace

Is this for real? IARC-JAXA has a number out for 8/13/11. 5713594 kmsq.

A drop of 113906. Closes the gap with 2007 to 334375 kmsq.

Is this number likely to hold or are revisions pretty much an every night event?

Chris Biscan

there is always revisions. But it might get revised even lower.

the next 2-3 days will see massive losses, possibly 100k per day or more.

the winds are howling from the Beaufort to the Siberian Sea crushing the ice together causing compaction...while the Right side of the ice by the Kara is being pushed towards the other side causing the low concentrated ice to finally be compacted. So even if it doesn't melt off...its so low concentrated it will compact hardcore for 2-3 days before it starts to get pushed West again.

on the East side warm winds have started to push very warm SSTS into the ice pack...we have seen rapid melt/compaction the last 5 days.

I am very curious to see what the 00z global's have in store.

If we lose 80km2 per day by the 20th we will be down to 5.160km2 or so with another 20-30 days of melt. If those last 30 days drop at 30Km2 per day. that would be another 900km2( in thousands) and end the season very close to a record.

Paul Klemencic

Bob Wallace: Judging from the amount the ice receded almost everywhere, the drop in extent seems reasonable. We could easily see several more big extent loss days because of the amount of low concentration ice in the melt zones in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and E. Siberian. But in order to get century melts we seem to need significant pull back (or push back) in the east. I don't think we see any more 110k+ melt days, but could easily get a couple of 90-100k before the weather shifts.

Check out the regional extent maps for the Central Arctic Basin. The last three days saw this very "hard to melt" region lose almost 20k per day. If we get the damage I expect on the east side, coupled with a normal drift toward the Fram, we should see the Central Arctic Basin lose another 300k-400k sq km easily. This would blow through the 2007 levels for this region.

I think if the weather keeps as it has, it keeps putting a lot of melt pressure on the "slush puppy" seas, and keeps pushing the eastern edge of the ice pack back; then this sets the table for a massive Fram flush when the winds change. Right now the ice seems to be melting before it even gets to the Fram. When the wind does shift, there is room for a massive movement of ice into the Fram.

Seke Rob

Re: Lucia | August 14, 2011 at 04:26

If this is what you mean by the more spread out, the more melt, I agree. This idea seems to stand up to scrutiny.

You're on to me... not an original thought on my part and good you gave it a statistical test.

This recent finding of thin FYI ice melt, saltier, cold, sinking to push up warmer water below [relative] to amplify melt hit me like a eureka. The more spacing in this phase, the more exchange, to include melt from the sides. That effect was not in the models and substantially explains the faster than predicted declines, continuing even in less optimal conditions. This is how I summarized it in my mind.


P.S. Did read your blog entry from your posted link and perused the comments.


2011 is now (pending revision)below the minimum extent reached in 2006 (5,781,719). The next minimums 2005 (5,315,156) and 2009 (5,249,844) are a bit further down the track...


Okay, I have changed delapidated into dilapidated, and more importantly: 'trustworthy' into 'newsworthy'. Sorry for the confusion!

Phil and Adelady, let's experiment and muddle for a few years, and then we'll start a farm on Greenland. ;-)

Rich and Mike Island

Huge century break! The gap between 2011 and 2007 closed by 72,031 square km in a day. I wasn't expecting that!


Thanks for your post Adelady. Hope your fruit trees and vines do well in SA (?). A few months ago, I thought I would get a job in Adelaide, but it's been Tasmania instead. Looking forward to the move (in mid September), closer to Antartica :-)... at least to the action. The Australian Antarctic center is based in Hobart, so is the French one I 've heard !!!
Sorry fellows for this little bit of OT oz banter!

Seke Rob

Re: Chris Biscan | August 14, 2011 at 05:51

the next 2-3 days will see massive losses, possibly 100k per day or more.

On the quick, this 113kkmsq is the largest JAXA reduction in a single day, so late in the season. Numerically, tomorrow will gain 40kkmsq at minimum on 2007. The Arctic is [very] likely to hit the 5M mark on or before the 27th. Going by the past, which is almost no reference anymore, 2011 would then be < 250kkmsq behind on 2007. Mixed feelings on this... the planet does not need this, but the people might need a wakeup slap. I'll call this the "Bachmann contradiction" [Low employment is good for my campaign]

Through Sep 1 for 2005-2010, there's only the 14th of 2008 that has a significant reduction day at 87k. Said it months ago, on the record at Tamino's... 2011 will pass 2007... in SEARCH that'd be a heuristic prediction :D


Century break, yay!

Chris Biscan

The planet does not need this is right.

the Arctic Ocean is so warm its sick.

the Modis images from today so far..show the Western pack compacting inward.

the Eastern side the same as yesterday.

The Eastern side has constant strong winds coming at it over warm warm WARM WARM WARM VERY WARM SEAS. HELL THESES SEAS SHOULD BE FROZEN OR BETWEEN 0-3C FROM CLIMO.

No wonder the Eastern side is falling to pieces like an army is marching into it. There are 2-4C all the way to 80N.

It may receed 75-100km in the next 7 days over a 2 million km stretch.

you guys can figure the math out..not good.

Chris Biscan



The Polarstern bouy moved from 83.4N to 85.5N in THREE DAYS.


toggle from the 8th to now. Holy mother of all things not good.

the Bouy moved 145 miles in 3 days or 233km

Chris Biscan


NM...I found it was a ship.
No wonder I couldn't find the bouy data on it.

Seke Rob

MASIE lost 145kkmsq for the 12th. Their 3day average is 155kkmsq. Per the 12th their total is 5765185km^2 where JAXA had 5827500, MASIE thus moved from behind on same date to ahead on same date. Bodings.

Here's the MASIE NH Regional Extent Spaghetti. Look at that right hand bottom corner... it's almost like sperm race.

The central pack is doing a slim round the 'waste band' (intentional misspell)


Now, our sky here is bluer than the coldest steel... never ending. Wonder about that clouds causing La Nina [untested] theory of [Dr.]Roy, and the tele-connection of the Pacific ENSO with the Med. It's dry here too, too dry.

Have a nice Sunday.


Seke Rob, your graph looks really good and informative. I'm going to squeeze it into the Daily Graphs page if that's okay with you.

Chris Biscan

After digging at Buoy Data.

Im hedging my bets that the very warm SSTS are getting under the ice and frying it from below.

Seke Rob

Neven, go ahead. No promises though I could not keep it's daily. The uploads are automated [program detects new data/timestamps], the generation requires me to push a button i.e. an attended effort as I've found that too many failed attempts in a limited timespan cause me to be locked out of me PhotoBucket. Does not stop the viewing though if the hard-link is known... unlimited bandwidth to a certain degree.

-- SekeRob


@Seke Rob: On the quick, this 113kkmsq is the largest JAXA reduction in a single day, so late in the season.

Only number two, Rob - its the second latest century break behind 121,562 on 25 Aug 2008 (ie later and bigger). Just quietly, I doubt its the last century break we'll see this season, so hold that thought.

@Lucia: I haven't been a regular at your blog, but I happened to see a couple of recent posts and wanted to compliment you on the quality of analysis you're doing. Very thought-provoking - I particularly liked your last Wednesday update. I'm not sure if the "Day 211" graph only has a very short forecast period, but the fit is a thing of beauty.

Chris Biscan


That Buoy last updated on July 31st.

It was in ice. howevever between 0 and 100M below the surface the temps reached 2-3C

Seke Rob

FrankD, [slaps forehead, red cheeks smiley], the 2008 column was hidden in the data sheet, from from previous comparison. You're absolutely right.

Chris Biscan

Jaxa final was -127,200km2

UB prelim is not out yet.

DMI 30% nose dived as well.

MODIS Sat image comparisons shows the same situation as yesterday. So we will see if we get another century break. If not probably still close.

Chris Biscan


The SSTS getting pumped into the Eastern side of the pack are getting ridiculous. The long range forecast as of 00z last night called for a week at least of warmer air/water transport into this side of the arctic.

Paul Klemencic

Chris Biscan: Yes, it looks like a new one day record melt for August was set on August 13, 2011. Today, the conditions and the averaging procedure for IJIS makes another century break possible, probably even likely. After the previous record 121k melt on August 25, 2008, the next day saw an 82k decline.

If we get 102k decline today, then 2011 gains 70k on 2007, since the August 14, 2007 decline was only 31.4k. That would leave 2011 only 251k behind, and conditions remain favorable for continued melt.

Daniel Bailey

To give some sense of just how warm July was, and just how much damage it did to the ice:


Paul Klemencic

I have to admit, although this outcome is a dire message for people concerned about the future of the human race, it does give a bit of satisfaction that we were able to call this situation by examining the physical system. Essentially the statistical trend analyzers didn't see this coming, but looking at the actual physical world, allowed us to see the potential for some big late season ice loss.

Chalk one up on the blackboard for the physical systems analysis versus statistical trend forecasting.


Paul: if 2011 averages 75k per day for the next 7 days (8/20), we will only be 100k behind 2007. Then the race will begin.

Chris Biscan

CT, SIA dropped 206,000K

not surprising when beyond crazy warm SSTS are being slammed into the Ice.

Bob Wallace

The 2007/2011 race will be run between two quite different ice packs. If one compares 8/11/07 and 8/11/11 (most recent date available) on CT it's striking how much less 90%-100% concentration area remains in today's ice.

Take a look at what is missing on the right side of the 2011 frame.



Flash melting seems a good title with a 205k area drop! Down to 3.344 so only 425k above a record minimum area.

Lucia (The Blackboard)
You're on to me... not an original thought on my part and good you gave it a statistical test.
The thought might not be original to you, but it was people discussing the amount of slushy ice that made me add this to my statistical fits.

After I tested this, I added this comment to my spaghetti script:
"## WOW. This works better. Add."

Seke Rob

Think I'm going to sit a little further away from me comp and put up the umbrella... tears are gonna rain down in the 5M Heuristic forecasting country.

Seke Rob

Neven might get tingly now on the Global SIA front... still blow for blow, for the day slightly behind on 2007, for the year the race might have already been run.


Quiz: Who was saying that there's no OHC hiding, in 2 closely following blog header articles at that?


German research vessel Polarstern today 12Z:
air temperature -0.6°C and water temperature +1.8°C.
ICE-code 56094 (ice concentration 9-10/10; medium-thick first year ice; no ice of land origin; ship in ice; ice difficult to penetrate, conditions improving).

Location: north of Franz Josef Land (85°54'N and 59°54'E).

Seke Rob

When looking at that Polarstern map, had forgotten all about their annual Arctic mission, I noted that it was going on exactly the 60degrees eastern meridian aiming for 90 North. Even Cryosat-2 has a 2 degree gap on that axle spot... are they going all the way?

Chris Biscan

the GFS outside of the cold ball of 850s rolling through the next 7 days torches the arctic after that.

however its long range and nearly useless.

But it has shown the Torch coming back out of Alaska for a couple days and its a bit faster moving the cold out and the warm warm air in this week.

Chris Biscan

The warm water the are in must have come from below the ice.

Patrice Pustavrh

After revision, IJIS extent dropped to 5.700.313 and drop is now 127.187 km2, which is more than break on aug 25th 2008: 121.562 km2

Paul Klemencic

I have been looking closely at the preliminary Bremen map, and see a couple of interesting things. The receding edge on the east side of the pack seems to be slowing down some from yesterday, and the west side continues to move around. My guess is another sizable extent loss day, but not as big as yesterday. However the reported number likely has a pretty big extent loss contribution already in it due to the averaging procedure.

I have been concentrating on looking for weaknesses in the Central Arctic Basin ice pack above 80N. The area in the quadrangles 105E-135E has been seeing a fall off in concentrations for over a week now. Today, a new weak area seems to be forming in quad 150E - 165E with ice concentrations less than 70%. If this area begins to grow, the open seas coming from the direction of the Laptev region could eat through into this area. This would eliminate a source of fill-in ice for the 105-135E "hole"

The other interesting observation: With the big shift in the ice pack toward the Bering side of the Arctic, the ice pack is no longer lined up on both sides of the choke point for ice entering the Fram. When the wind shifts, the quadrangles between 15W and 45E should empty into the Fram before the 2011 minimum is set. When this happens, where will the ice come from to fill in and replace the lost ice?

It seems to me, that unless the ice pack shifts dramatically back, that ice will come out of the pack north of 80N. This in turn will be filled in from ice between the pole and the weak areas discussed in the first paragraph of this comment. I think the loss of ice extent above 80N in the Central Arctic Basin region, will set a record this year, and a blowout record at that.

Seke Rob

More on CT SIA... the 12 months Anomaly averages, no other year but 2007 in contention (in Million kmsq):

2000 -0.0644520
2001 0.1206763
2002 -0.6764529
2003 0.0208366
2004 -0.2274516
2005 -0.5008028
2006 -0.9575248
2007 -1.1246524
2008 -0,3455266
2009 -0,4191562
2010 -0,6241619
2011 -1,2687523


I realize the North West Passage has been open for a while now, especially for the creative ones, but very soon we will see the Grand Opening for the not so clever guys, on the other hand its interesting to watch that Svalbard is now free of ice to the north, and unless something goes really wrong I am almost going to bet that 2011 will be a Headline Year, so you better watch on from now!
Regards Espen


Holy smokes, guys. I was away for the day because it was my girl's birthday, but I obviously shouldn't have, considering what's happening in the Arctic. ;-)

Flash melting seems a good title with a 205k area drop!

You know, I was planning on writing a more cowardly or übercareful SIE update than usual, because the high-pressure area wasn't placed ideally and things were going to shift again in a few days. But then I read the comments made during Thursday and Friday, looked at the satellite images, saw IJIS revising by 13K downwards, and thought: 'flash melting' is a nice pun on 'flash flooding', and who knows, it might come about this time.

With the SIA cliff-faller CAPIE hit a record low. I'm turning that in a short blog post.

HenkL, bedankt for those snippets you leave here. Those are great! And thanks to you too, Paul Klemencic and Chris Biscan, for your day-to-day analysis. They are invaluable.

BTW, is it a coincidence or do we all have Yugoslavian/Serbian/Croatian roots (just like tzupancic, and Arctic scientists Don Perovich and Chris Petrich)? I'm half Croatian.


By the way did you notice the beautiful scenery north of Norway (by courtesy of Modis), it reminds me of the Pink Floyd Shows in the 70ties!
Regards Espen


I am half Croation and half German. I have read millions of studys that the Germans, Jews, croats and so on from that area are the smartest group of modern humans on the planet. Outside of religious affiliation the Jews take the Cake with the Germans and croats sitting in 2nd.

That is def for another day.

The UB preliminary map seems to be to cocentrated over quite a few areas. Probably going to be revised some. The winds are howling over the Kara I believe it's the Kara today at 25-35'mph over thousands of miles. That fat area of ice where it's mostly low concentration kind of twisted today. The NW part was slammed by 30-40 mph winds accross the Siberian sea. While the south east side is being hit the opposite.

It is also sunny there with warm 850s. So top down melting will be out today. Also the higher globs of concentration are only .50 meters thick at best. All of that ice will melt.

Steve Bloom

Seke Rob, at this point Spencer is doing politically-driven science, which is to say not science at all. Confusing cause and effect as he has in his latest (which took him 3 years or so to find a place to publish -- another clue) is truly the bottom of the barrel.


the smartest group of modern humans on the planet

Hehe, that's what they all say. The Bulgarians, the Serbians, the Czechs, not to mention the Greek, etc... Must be a Balkan/Slavic thing. :-p

The post on the CAPIE record is up BTW. Global SIA anomaly next?

Seke Rob

Re: Steve Bloom | August 14, 2011 at 22:20

Steve, you may have missed my later post in this thread with the quiz question on hiding OHC ;>)

Bob Wallace

A question on the HYCOM/CICE drift maps.

If I click on the current thumbnail I get a map labeled 08/19/11. I assume that's a model projection/forecast?

If I click on the link labeled 8/13/11 I see a lot of ice flowing out through the Fram Straight. That's the best indicator of what is happening today?



The Fram Strait animation has been updated. I'll do one of the other side tomorrow (should've started it a few days back of course).

Transport through Fram has stalled yet again.


By the way did you notice the beautiful scenery north of Norway (by courtesy of Modis), it reminds me of the Pink Floyd Shows in the 70ties!

I was waiting for the clouds to clear a bit and get a good view. I've just turned that view into my desktop wallpaper (which is beautiful). Maybe I'll do a short blog post on it tomorrow. Off to bed now! Have fun waiting for the new IJIS number. I'm getting up extra early. To work. ;-)



has titles of run on and valid on so I think the 8/13/11 was run on 13th Aug and is saying what happened on 11th, a hindcast.

8/13/14 gives this

and previous runs for the 14th were similar. There are also forecasts as well as hindcasts.

Bob Wallace

Thanks, c. That's what I was assuming. Too bad they don't use 'valid for'.

If the 8/13 drift map is correct then tomorrow's Arctic Central map should have lost more ice but the Greenland Sea map shouldn't be down much, if at all. That area is getting refilled with a lot of Central ice.

Peter Ellis

Bob said: Too bad they don't use 'valid for'.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Each of their outputs is "valid for" exactly 24 hours, if you want to call it that - it's then replaced by the next model run.

Look at the full set of screenshots here (for ice thickness: there are equivalent pages for all their other parameters).

Screenshots come in sets of 8, generated daily. You have the "nowcast" of current conditions, 5 days' worth of forecast, and 2 days' worth of hindcast.

As I've said here before, I really do not think their model performs well either in forecast or hindcast mode. Try it yourself: take any given date, have a look at the "nowcast" released on that day and then the two hindcasts released on the subsequent days. You'll find that the first and second days' hindcasts change considerably from the original nowcast. Obviously, the past itself cannot alter! So, this must reflect model instability when moving away from the "now" in either direction.

To take a concrete example (which I picked entirely at random):

Here is the drift "nowcast" for August 3rd - i.e. the best guess at the time as to what is actually going on. Note the huge low in the upper right, driving a tight anticlockwise spiral motion

On the next day, the 4th, the low has blown out and the motion has slowed, as seen in the 4th October "nowcast".

However this change in the weather between the 3rd and the 4th seems to be weighted too highly in the model. When they run the hindcast, the altered motion field is propagated backwards in time, so that the 1-day hindcast (i.e. what had happened on the 3rd, as calculated on the 4th) now looks like this.

Note how similar it is to the 4th August "nowcast". The current data for what is happening on the 4th is altering their estimates of what had previously happened on the 3rd.

You get the same picture the next day as well: here is the "nowcast" for the 5th, followed by the hindcasts for the 4th and 3rd (i.e. 1day and 2day hindcasts generated on the 5th).

Once again, the updated "now" data has propagated backwards and altered their estimate of the historical drift patterns.

Now, obviously we have no way of telling which of these three pictures of what happened on the 3rd is the most accurate: the nowcast, the 1d hindcast or the 2d hindcast. However, since within any single experimental run (i.e. the set of 8 images generated on a given day), the overall story is absolutely dominated by the "nowcast", it makes sense to me that we should focus on that.

That is, for the HYCOM model we should only look at the "nowcast" outputs, and put very little weight on either the forecasts or the hindcasts, since they are essentially carbon copies of the "nowcast".

Bob Wallace

What I meant by my statement was "Run on 01/01/11 (valid) for the date of 01/03/11".

Now, thanks for all the information you supplied. I'll spend some time looking at the pages you linked.

Is there any external validation of their "nowcast"? Any source which shows how ice actually moved on a given day? Or can we count on HYCOM to have sufficient 'today' actual measurements so that they are useful in seeing what is happening?

Paul Van Egmond

Somewhat offtopic, but can anybody tell me what's going on over at NSIDC's arctic sea ice extent map? It shows lot of grey pixels. Does this have something to do with massive cloud cover?

Be advised, this image is being updated daily (mostly) so what you'll see today will be gone tomorrow.

Chris Biscan

just spent 30 min comparing modis images from today to yesterday and the ice long the CA Islands is hauling bleep due west..vacating some tiny holes..but this will allow the Eastern side to continue to push... am not sure if UB updated real early but Modis shows quite a bit of pack retreet again on the East side.

Chris Biscan

UB shows a retreat in many areas. Looks like the NW passgage area will give quite a bit.

Greenland Sea had huge loses..all the way to the tip of the ice near the Siberian Sea.

the Beaufort divergence out some but slightly compared to the rest.

I predict a 104K prelim on Jaxa.

Greg Wellman

Check out the ocean just north of Scandinavia. As in http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r02c04.2011226.terra and http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r02c04.2011226.terra
I think it's a huge algal bloom in cobalt, azure and cyan. Cyan makes sense with cyanobacteria, but I didn't know that algal blooms could cause such dark blue colors too.

Account Deleted

It looks like ice might be moving from the AB into the CA - sea ice area loss in the CA has stalled. It would be nice for a clear MODIS image.
Greg - I won't be surprised if the deniosphere starts picking up on all of these algal blooms in the Arctic and starts an argument along the lines of ice loss/warming water in the arctic is good - as it increase the carbon sink.
As in my area we get the arguments in the deniosphere that replacing old growth TRF with plantations is good as plantations are better carbon sinks than rainforest.

Seke Rob

Was already discussed recently by scientists in a report or paper... Arctic not a CO2 sink, and what with all that CH4 trickling up from the shallows waters along the Siberian coastline... permafrost melting too. There's trillions of tonnes waiting to leak away from clatrates.

Worse, the algal blooms suck up oxygen, don't they? Dead zones in the making.

R. Gates

Slightly OT, but take a look at this major plankton bloom in the Barents sea just NW of Murmansk. Quite incredible...


Bob Wallace

A prelim number is up - 5,624,063 kmsq which is a drop of 76,250 for the day.

That's a gain of 44,844 on 2007.

Seke Rob

With prelims at 5624063, for minima in JAXA Extent:

2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 have been passed. Next victims up are:

2005 at 5315156 (Sep 22)
2009 at 5249844 (Sep 13)
2010 at 4813594 (Sep 18)
2008 at 4707813 (Sep 09)
2007 at 4254531 (Sep 24)

Currently I have August 25 as the earliest 5M crossing day, meaning 2005 and 2009 ticked off before that... then it's nail clippers.

Chris Biscan

How rare is the plankton and blooms? Can someone explain it to me please.


I don't believe it's rare, Chris, but I can't give you the exact numbers. I was already seeing it for a few days through the clouds.

I had been looking for a similar image a few months back to use as a desktop wallpaper. Now I made one myself! :-)

Chris Biscan


UB took a nosedive. It's daily so is this a prelim? or the final for yesterday?


Colin Maycock.

if you do a blink comparison between 08 13 2011 and 08 14 2011 looking at the channel west of axel Heiberg island you can see substantial transport into the CA. an area about 50sq km has moved more than 50km in 24 hours.

Seke Rob

Colin, that took some digging and Google Earth aligning to get me bearings, but now I know. Hugged up against Ellesmere. Good exercise.


It looks like the switch that ECMWF has been signalling for a couple of days now, is really going to come about, starting the day after tomorrow. Normally this should make for a stalling extent decrease.


German research vessel Polarstern August 15 12Z:
air temperature +0.1°C and water temperature +1.6°C.

Location: north of Franz Josef Land (86°12'N and 59°12'E).

Winds are southerly today at Fram Street, due to a high pressure area around the White Sea with a ridge stretching north to Svalbard and Frans Jozef Land.

Chris Biscan

Neven is right this would slow extent loss for sure...

but the winds coming in on the Eastern Side are so warm and and coming with such warm water the Ice sheet will still lose everywhere but Beaufort.

So it may not effect it to much

Chris Biscan

00z GFS is out and is much warmer in the Greenland Sea and more expansive of the warmth into the Arctic Basin upwards of the NP. It it also still very warm in the Kara and Siberian Sea reaching well into the arctic circle. 850s the last 10 days in warm areas have been to quick to cool on models. That area by Russia is exposed to sun the last 24 hours and should be for another couple days. The flow there will squash the ice south towads warmer waters while the flow on the East Side of the ice is going to slam that side with record warmth from the sea to the air the next 5 days.

L. Hamilton

UB extent is now below the minimum for any year before 2007.

Bob Wallace

The Beaufort doesn't have a lot of ice, about the same as it did in all years but 2008. And in past years ice in that area has continued to melt down close to zero.

This year it's the Greenland and East Siberian seas that are holding off a record extent.

2011 has just met 2007 levels in the Central Arctic. If you look at the regional maps 2011 is screaming toward the bottom in most areas.

I would assume a lot of the Greenland ice will bottom-melt. It seems that a lot of the low concentration ice in the East Siberian would do the same. (I'm assuming that low concentration ice is also relatively thin ice.)

Seke Rob

Whilst the Arctic SIA stalled a bit, the Global SIA still moved ahead of 2007, courtesy the Antarctic declines. It's a cart race. Global SIA 13.8.2011

If any has punny comments to add for any year not in the legend since 2000, let me know. This gets posted and reposted at 'Still Aint True' places for a little heart-leaping ;>)


Paul Klemencic

The preliminary Bremen map is up, and the receding edge along the east side has slowed down a lot, but the concentration along the edge seems to have fallen a bit. The weak area I am following closely in the two quadrangles at 105E to 135E continues to expand, with some fairly big holes opening up just below the 85N parallel. The emerging weak area in the two quadrants 150E to 180E won't be visible until the final map for today.

The Fram is stalled, but there is weak area between the main pack and the Greenland sea pack. If the weather stalls the Fram for the next three days as expected, the Greenland Sea pack could be separated from the main pack (which is kind of interesting, but not so important).

There appears to be significant damage to the ice pack in the Chukchi and Beaufort regions, but this portion of the map often changes with more detail in the final map. If the open areas don't fill in with slushy areas (as they usually have this month), there should be a fairly significant extent loss there. But it doesn't appear to be a big extent loss day.

The last three days has shown a bit of what appears to be open water showing up in several places along the edge of the pack with the Canadian Archipelago, and these are getting more definitive each day.

Off-topic: Neven, yes, as you surmised, I am a 2nd generation ethnic (100%) Slovenian-American. I grew up next to a coal mine and a company coal town near Pittsburgh. Both my grandfathers worked in the mines their whole lives. I still own the property adjoining the mine, and yea, I have tons of mining stories etc. Zupancic is very likely ethnic Slovenian, since that is a very common Slovenian name, with the root 'zupan' meaning mayor.

Paul Klemencic

Regarding weather impacts: the ice pack is set up right now, to be really torn apart, if we get a classic Arctic dipole effect. A low over the Siberian side, particularly the Kara sea or Barents sea, coupled with a high over the CA, would clobber the pack. With the Fram showing a lot of open water, and no effective land anchors left, we could see huge movement of ice into the Fram Strait with a dipole in place. Also the warm water in the Laptev and Kara would chew into the pack. If we get an Arctic dipole for just four days, we could easily lose 380k in extent, with over 100k of that coming from the Central Arctic Basin.

According to the weather forecast, by Thursday a ridge of high pressure will extend from Franz Josef Land to the Chukchi sea, with a low over Greenland. This is the opposite pattern compared to the dipole. But if the low keeps moving west, the high could fill in, and coupled with a low in Siberia, we could see a classic dipole in about a week.

But right now, the loss in extent should be suppressed for the next 3-4 days.

Paul Klemencic

Bob Wallace: I agree with your assessment of the regional ice maps... but keep an eyes on the regional map for the Central Arctic when the weather reopens the Fram Stait; we should see the extent there blow past 2007 on the way down.


Great stuff, Paul. I agree with every word.

I live not too far from the border with Slovenia by the way. :-)

Patrice Pustavrh

Well, a little bit of Ex Yugoslavia OT, but nevertheless, Paul, I am Slovenian myself (living in Ljubljana), and it is good to see guys from Slovenia and Ex Yu coming to this blog (my last surname Purstavrh is typical Slovenian too). Anyway, I am also glad we have really international community here with this blog.
And OT 2: Unfortunately, the AGW awareness is not at the level in my view it should be. Also, I personally find it that many people realize that one can actually benefit from polluting less (at least for the CO2), by employing really simple measures (such as using bicyle instead of car for daily commuting). Not just in term of reducing CO2, but also in terms on getting to your destination faster. Here are the times I need to get to my job:
- walking (my preference): 17 min
- cycling (good, but to fast, cause I find my daily walk very relaxing): 7 min
- driving by car (and driving me nuts): 25 min
I must admit I have the commodity not living so far from my job (1.8 km). But:
From my boss, who is 25 km from job - public transport (and in Ljubljana, PT is as bad as it could get): 30 min
- using car, he'd need more than 40 mins in rush hour.
My opinion is, that with just a little policy adjustments we can make a great difference with actual improvements of our life. Yes, it is just my gut feeling. But I think we have to tell people that it works and it works better than BAU. For me, the greatest punishment is to drive car for hours to get some satisfaction (store, job, or even vacation). Because, all I need is close to me (I know this may not apply to all people). But, this just my small personal view.


Take a look near the bottom right corner of these images - NE corner of greenland:




Has landfast ice broken? for first time? (Looks intact to me at 24/9/10 first link above.)

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